Sunday Question

What action would you take after reading this?

Ellen Morris Prewitt is an award-winning writer who uses creativity to create community. Her first published book was on making crosses from broken and found objects as a form of active prayer (Making Crosses: A Creative Connection to God (Paraclete Press, 2009.) The book led her to facilitate two years of cross-making workshops, where she learned the power of creating in small groups. She and her husband established the Servant Leadership Team at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, where she also served as Artist in Residence. As a member of the Mission Group of the Memphis School for Servant Leadership, she led its nine-month Formation class based on the Parker Palmer method, and participated in the inaugural Formation class at Memphis Theological Seminary. This experience led her to form and facilitate for eight years a weekly writing group of men and women experiencing homelessness. She edited the group’s ezine, set-up public readings, led field trips, organized four annual Community Writers Retreats where the housed and unhoused wrote together, worked with Rhodes College students to provide original content in establishing The Bridge street newspaper, and edited the group’s memoir, Writing Our Way Home: A Group Journey Out of Homelessness (Triton Press, 2014). For this, she was named an Upstander by Facing History and Ourselves and as Champion, Memphis and Shelby County Homeless Consortium (2015). She is currently offering workshops and speaking engagements based on her book We R Righting Group: A Pocket Guide on Writing in Groups…and Righting the World where she shares the power of the yellow pencil to create community. She splits her time between Memphis, New Orleans, and the Gulf Coast where she attends St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral,  Church of the Annunciation, and Christ Church.

What action would you take after reading that?


#WeRRightingGroup, #WRRG, alternative writing groups, creating community with a yellow pencil, how to create community through writing, nontraditional writing groups, We R Righting Group

Comments (6)

  • Hi Ellen,
    Curious question. I read the post twice, looking for an explicit call to action but couldn’t find it. What I “get” from it is that you have facilitated lots of creative activities to foster a sense of community, are clearly energetic and dedicated to helping people find their voices. As for action that I would take? Maybe work harder on my own in-person writing community.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      That’s good feedback. This is a bio I’m using (with various tweaks) to send to organizations that might want me to speak/lead a workshop on creating community through writing groups. I’m going to change the sentence on “currently offering workshops…” to “Contact her at ellenmorrisprewitt@gmail.com to request she lead a workshop or speak to your organization on The Power of the Yellow Pencil to create community.” This marketing stuff is almost beyond me. ):
      And thank the bejesus out of you for reading it twice!!!

  • As Susanne notes, I don’t feel a “call to action” with your bio, but I’m definitely intrigued and would hope that a community group would reach out to you to give workshops or talks. Once you revise your bio as you suggest in your comment to Susanne, you’ll have to your call to action for people to contact you and I’m sure they will!

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Thank for your support and confidence. A retreat center in New Orleans is working on a Saturday morning workshop in January, so I’m really pleased about that. I find that when I show the book to folks, they’re like, okay. But when I tell them for eight years I facilitated a writing group of men and women experiencing homelessness and the book contains what I learned from that, they start paying attention. I guess it gives foundational credence to the book?

  • Yes, your story — or rather the writing groups’ stories — is what will sell the book, what differentiates it from any other guide for writing in groups. I imagine there’s lots of those out there and people need to know why yours is different. They don’t want to figure it out on their own. We’re inundated with advertisements all the time; authors, especially indie authors, hawking their books. It’s awfully hard for a potential reader to sort through. As much as I hate the idea of marketing (one reason why I’m proceeding at a snail’s pace with revising my novel), it’s necessary in this world where everyone is clamoring for attention. Your story is so different, the purpose of your book so different. How many writing guides profess to go beyond freeing a writer’s creativity to righting a social wrong? And how timely?

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      This pep talk is very helpful! I’m going to copy it and ponder it and use it to craft a new pitch specially to writers that focuses on why this book is different. Thank you!

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