Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Lots of good changes coming to myincision!  By January 2013, this blog will be part of my website ReStory Your Life. This website will not only house my blog but will announce my speaking engagements, workshops, and publications and showcase my poetry, prose and artwork.

I am excited to announce my first presentation of 2013, which will take place Saturday, January 5th at the Fair Oaks Library, 11601 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, California 95628 from 1 – 3 pm. Griffin Toffler of the Women’s Motivational Meetup Group is hosting me. Everyone is welcome, and I would LOVE to see YOU at this event. Please email me to RSVP at wendy@wendypwilliams.net.

Here are the details from Griffin’s meetup post:

ReStory Your Life ! 

What personal story holds you back?
What belief falsely shapes who you are?
What is the real story, the one that tells of your inherent worth?
Rewrite your Life Story the way YOU want it to be!.

In this interactive lecture, Wendy will tell how she reshaped her own story of despair into one of empowerment and freedom. Then it’s your turn to ReStory Your Life as she guides you through a brief writing exercise. Materials provided.

It is my privilege to introduce you to Wendy Williams, a writer, speaker and blogger whose blog, https://myincision.wordpress.com/enlightens the world about finding freedom after trauma. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and has published numerous short stories and poems. For over 30 years she has been speaking and leading workshops about Writing as a Healing Art. This is an amazing opportunity to converse up close with a phenomenal and talented woman. It’s all free! (but donations are accepted to help pay meetup costs)

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Let Love

Let an open heart

drench us in love.

When critique flies in

fill your well with kindness–

a hand offered, a drink, a cup.

Let us understand,

step back from analysis,

bow to forgiveness. Let us

put our hands together

in a prayer of thanks for our mistakes

that teach us to laugh at ourselves,

smile, connect to all human hearts.

Forgiveness feels so good.

Let’s hug it to ourselves like a pillow.

Let’s lie on it like a feather bed.

© Wendy Patrice Williams

The People of  NO

I was attracting broken

people torn off at the root.

Aimless we wandered

or just keeled over, our

branches dead on the earth.

We found others with holes,

sisters, brothers floundering;

we dragged heavy nets of shards

until there were too many. Sharp-

edged or dry and brittle, we

were empty, pretending to be full,

stirring up a ruckus. Wastelanders

picking up broken cups to drink from,

in our way, trying to find home.

No one told us to stand still, sink roots.

The word “broken” had hypnotized

us. It was a matter though

of waking up. A snowflake landed

on my third eye—it couldn’t have been

random. The seed of me in there

somewhere        YES

yearning to take hold.

© Wendy Patrice Williams

The poems appear above without their stanza breaks. WordPress undoes them after I save the post, so each poem is without its paragraph breaks so-to-speak. Hope you enjoyed the poems regardless.

Poetry is a tool of healing. I’ve always told my students that poetry saved my life. Through it, I was able to express raw emotions as a troubled, young woman and share them with others. This process of catharsis and witnessing was priceless. Writing poetry is still a lifeline. And I love the circle of friends I’ve made in the sharing of it.

My poem “Rondeau for Blue Jays” is coming out in the new anthology for Sacramento poets. Come hear me read! Come hear a bunch of wonderful poems from many different contributors!! Below are the details in the words of the Poet Laureate of Sacramento, Bob Stanley:

“Mark your calendar!  [The] Saturday, October 20 event is the official Book Release Party for Late Peaches, Poems by Sacramento Poets, the new anthology from the Sacramento Poetry Center, featuring 117 poets from the Capital region. We hope to have as many contributors as possible attend, read their poems, and sign books at this event. We plan to start with a reception at 6:30, followed by a reading from 7 to 9:30.  The reading will take place as follows:

–       Sat, Oct 20, 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Antiquité Maison Privee, 2114 P Street, Sacramento, California.

We also have two other scheduled readings for the anthology:

–       Thurs, Oct 18, 6 to 8 pm at the Rancho Cordova Library

–       Thurs, Nov 8, 4 to 5 pm at California State University at Sacramento Library Galleria

At each of these readings, we will have . . . books for sale. The price of the book will be $20, and there is a possibility for a discounted price for . . . [Sacramento Poetry Center] members.”


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but we have been shaped by it. Case in point: Dead Girl.

That’s what I call this photo, my high school graduation picture. To my mind, there is no joy or aliveness in my face. There is image–who I was supposed to be. A mask. Was I happy to graduate? Sad? Full of pride?  Fear?  Truth is, I didn’t know how I felt, and no one else did either. Locked up, shut up, frightened, and in retreat, I’m holding my breath. If I move too quickly or spontaneously, I’ll break. There are many reasons for this, including what our society told girls about who they could be. But largely, I’m frozen due to unacknowledged PTSD, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, from infant surgery.

Next is my college graduation photo about twenty years later after a breakdown; a year living in a rehabilitation community; two years of a botched therapy relationship; four years working in therapy with a psychologist I loved; two years in couples’ counseling; a decade of living with my beloved partner Griffin; and twenty years of writing, drawing, and painting.

Ten years after my college graduation, I learned the words for what I had: PTSD. Because I can now identify my symptoms, I know that the fear, nightmares, startle responses, excessive cautiousness, frozen breath, rigid body, and panic attacks that I still cope with are not me; they are a result of PTSD. And I can transform them.

In fact, somatic and neural repatterning is happening as I write. I am literally making new connections all the time so that each day, my experience of life gets better and better. Yesterday, I floated anxiety-free on a lake under the blue bowl of sky. It was as if the sky were water and the white wisps of clouds waves radiating out from a center. When I found myself worrying about my wallet left behind in the canoe, I reassured myself, All is well. When I became concerned about my safety, constantly checking my surroundings, I told myself, You are safe. I was floating in harmony and trust with the world and the universe. I am not my PTSD. I am Alive Girl.

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PTSD happens without warning. This week, I stayed at my god-daughter’s while attending The Healing Art of Writing Workshop. Each night before I went to bed, I warmed up the room with a heating lamp; its glow was friendly and warm. I usually turned it off well before I shut the light. One night though, I unplugged the lamp just after turning out the light; in the dark, the glow was a fierce and frightening orange. A PTSD moment took hold of me.  Later, I wrote this poem, which helped me cope.

Oh, that heating lamp, that orange unblinking eye

of Hades. My fired up amygdala clanged and bonged

like fire engines called to a house already in flames.

I stood, stuck, frozen, staring at the cyclops eye–giant,

throbbing pulsar–wondering what memory its Big Bang:

a  lamp in the operating room, glaring at baby me strapped

on a gurney, the surgical field of my belly aflare.


When had I first seen that paralyzing orb?

What will put out the fire once and for all?

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I just turned in the grades for the four English classes I have taught this spring at the College of Alameda. It’s a great feeling. I’ve done my best and learned a lot. Now, I’m retired, turning a page. Here’s a recent journal entry dated May 21 that speaks to where I am spiritually and emotionally. It’s a cross between a poem and a prayer:

Here before the flowing green river, I hear birdsong and feel

the breeze swing my hair. I vow to take all I have learned

from three decades teaching writing and self-expression

to help people, myself included, heal from unconscious beliefs

wrongfully running our lives. I vow to help us hear

these monsters–hurt little ones really–so we can change their messages,

for transformation is possible. Each of us is a god and deserves

to live as such–a master of his or her own destiny in this land of generosity.

Let me believe unswervingly in the human heart. Let me cherish

the liquid gold at the center of each being. And let us live

up to and beyond our potential in the name of the grass, the birds,

the air, the water, the sun, the soil, and the integrity of each and every soul on earth.


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Just want to share some feedback from  two of the participants in my workshop Blog, Heal, Teach at the Carver College of Medicine in Iowa and some photos.

This response is from Dr. David G. Thoele:

I really enjoyed this presentation and am now filled with ideas for starting my own blog in the future. Wendy explained the tools used in blogging and really explained the value of the blog in creating a conversation in addressing a broader community. We spent three minutes writing our own “blog entry,” and I was amazed at how easy it was to come up with some ideas on paper that I had thought of regarding my profession as a pediatric cardiologist: How can I show compassion to my patients when I work in a community of doctors who is often uncompassionate to ourselves: long hours, interrupted sleep, and a prolonged hazing process called med school, residency, fellowship?

Here’s another response from Nancy Gross, Humanities Educator at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey:

*certainly learned about your particular medical issue, which was unknown to me

*how it affected your personhood

*and how you used blogging to create community and wholeness–


Below, the medical education building, MERF, where the conference The Examined Life-Writing, Humanities, and the Art of Medicine was held:

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Three days of intense medical humanities immersion at The Examined Life Conference, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa in Iowa City!  What fun! There’s so much to say. Here’s a snapshot.

First, the friendships I made are  the most precious take-away. The support that I received was so heartwarming and generous. Another big gift is the privilege and unforgettable experience of writing, sharing, and learning with medical professionals and writers; these folks are just so smart! I’ve got a zillion handouts, pamphlets, books, and business cards.

Presenting my blog workshop was thrilling–to stand up at the podium click-click-clicking the mouse, sending an image of my blog onto the big screen as I ran through the different types of things bloggers do, was so cool. One of the participants asked what happens when you get tired of the blog you’ve created. I realized that a blog is a medium that grows with you. Initially in blogging, I was looking for fellow pyloric stenosis survivors (and I still am). In the past two years, many of  my posts discuss ways to use PTSD as a teacher in healing from early trauma. In the future, myincision could morph into serving as the base of a non-profit organization that seeks to fund research for understanding the true cause(s) of pyloric stenosis. Realizing that was an epiphany!

One of my favorite moments at the conference was in the workshop “Public Medical Writing: Highlights from a Longitudinal Curriculum for Medical Trainees” led by medical students at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The facilitators broke us up into groups. Three doctors, a medical humanities educator, and I wrote in response to a prompt. We then took turns, each reading his/her piece and getting feedback from the group in a manner prescribed by the workshop leaders. I loved this exercise because it involved doctors and non-clinical types, like me, teaming up.

Another key highlight of the weekend was meeting a fellow pyloric stenosis survivor in person, who I had come into contact with through my blog and with whom I have been emailing. He just happened to live near Iowa City and drove over one morning to have breakfast with me!

There is so much more. I’ll leave you with this: The study of medical humanities is my home and The Examined Life Conference is a place where, as Dr. David Watts put it, “kindred spirits” find each other.

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