Writing From the Chakras, Sept 15-Nov 10, online class

NOTE: Enrollment for this class has ended, but it’s not too late for you! Please email me if you’d like to receive a note when the next course enrollment opens, or if you’d like to work your way through the class materials as an independent student.


Writing from the Chakras

An Online Writing Workshop

Sept. 15 – Nov. 10, 2011

with Minal Hajratwala

Are you ready to jumpstart your writing and discover new, exciting sources to fuel your creativity? Writing from the Chakras is a body-based writing system that leads to fast, energized, powerful, breakthrough writing. In this 8-week online course, we will tap into the seven levels of human experience that make up rich, versatile writing. Whether you want to write ancestral memory or science fiction … a high-impact fight scene for your action movie screenplay (root chakra! survival!) … or a moment of epiphany in your subtle and elegant short story (crown chakra all the way!) … this workshop will offer a plethora of tools and play to make your writing come alive. Fun creativity exercises, tools for engaging mind/body/soul in our writing, and work that heals trauma and busts through blocks: Join the journey. Isn’t it time to get in touch with the most powerful possibilities in your creative work?

(image by Izolda Trakhtenberg)

This online workshop is suitable for all levels of writers, from beginning to experienced, and you can join from anywhere in the solar system. You will have the opportunity to share work and receive feedback in a supportive, vibrant, temporary community. The focus is on generating new work and developing robust creative skills in order to free your writing to take a great leap forward.

All genres and genders are welcome.

Fee: $215 US, 4500rs India.

Dates: We start September 15 and finish November 10, 2011.

Registration: Pay $215 by PayPal to hajratwala {at} gmail {dot} com to reserve your space.

Questions? Please scroll down for Frequently Asked Questions, or email me.

About the Instructor

Minal Hajratwala is the author of Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), which has been called “incomparable” by Alice Walker and “searingly honest” by the Washington Post. The book won a Pen USA Award, an Asian American Writers Workshop Award, a Lambda Literary Award, a California Book Award (Silver, Nonfiction), and was shortlisted for the Saroyan International Writing Prize. She spent seven years researching and writing the book, traveling the world to interview more than seventy-five members of her extended family.

Ms. Hajratwala was a 2010-2011 Fulbright Senior Research Scholar based in India, researching a novel while also writing poems about the unicorns of the 5,000-year-old Indus Valley civilization. She is the editor of The Queer Ink Anthology: Contemporary LGBT Stories of India, forthcoming in 2012 from Queer Ink Publishing. Her creative work has received recognition and support from the Sundance Institute, the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, the SerpentSource Foundation, and the Hedgebrook writing retreat for women, where she has served on the Alumnae Leadership Council. Her one-woman show, “Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium,” was commissioned by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco for World AIDS Day in 1999.

As a journalist, she worked at the San Jose Mercury News from 1992 to 2000 as an editor, reporter, and the newspaper’s first reader representative (ombudsperson). She was a National Arts Journalism Program fellow at Columbia University in 2000-01. She is a graduate of Stanford University.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How do I sign up for Writing from the Chakras?


The quickest way:

Via PayPal.com, submit a payment of $215 to hajratwala {at} gmail {dot} com. You can use Paypal funds or a credit card. You’ll get a confirmation from PayPal immediately, and a welcome email from me by Sept. 10.

If you’ve never used PayPal, don’t worry. It’s easy, takes about 3 minutes, and you don’t even need to set up an account. Grab your credit or debit card, then just follow these simple steps:

• Go to www.paypal.com

• Click on “Send Money”

• In the box that says, “Send Money Now,” enter the amount $215. Under “My payment is for,” choose the option that says “Buying Something.” (This means that I pay the PayPal fee, not you.) Click Continue.

• Under TO, enter hajratwala@gmail.com. Under FROM, enter your email address. Click Continue.

• Enter your credit/debit card info and follow the directions to finish. That’s it!

Other good ways:

If you prefer to mail a check, ask me for my address.

Or send your owl / passenger pigeon / unicorn. Please do not pay in leprechaun money, though.

Payment is due in full before your first class, unless… scroll to the bottom of this FAQ.

Q. I’m on the east coast — I understand that it’s online; is there any kind of group interaction? Do you have to be in the Bay Area to participate? Are there specific days/times when we must sign on?

A. You can take this course from anywhere if you have access to your email once a week.

The course will be largely self-paced; you post your work and you comment on others’ work on your own time. All of the weekly homework (or, as I like to call it, home play!) will be on your own time.

Live interaction will be optional, via 3 webinars (web seminars). We’ll work out the times for these webinars based on who’s in the workshop. Everyone registered for the course will have access to recorded versions of the sessions, so you can always catch up later.

Q. Is yoga a requirement?

A. No. We’ll explore a cornucopia of ways to tune into the energies of the physical/metaphysical body. Some of those might be about things to try in the context of your own physical practice — whether that’s yoga or dance, reiki, skateboarding, walking the dog, ec. All of the ‘assignments’ are optional so if it doesn’t work for you, choose something else; you’ll get plenty of choices each week.

(If you happen to be in San Francisco, Oakland, or Chicago, bonus news: I’ve taught Writing from the Chakras with yoga instructors who teach regularly in those cities. In case you’re looking for a yoga class to complement our chakra work, I’d be delighted to refer you to a teacher who is familiar with the concepts we’ll explore here. Again, not a requirement at all, just a bonus!)

Q. What are the dates? Can I get a sneak preview of the syllabus? How much time should I allot?

The assignments are flexible and each week, you’ll be given a choice of things to do. You’ll probably want to allot at least 1 hour a week. If you got excited and did everything on the list, you might spend up to 4 hours a week — or even more, if you decide to write write write!

Wednesday online course ‘assignments’ go out:

Sept. 15: Intro plus (1) The Root Chakra

Sept. 22: (2) The Sexy Chakra

Sept. 29: (3) The Power Chakra

Oct. 6: (4) The Heart

(We will take two weeks with the heart. This is an opportunity to take a breather, explore deeper, and catch up.)

Oct. 20: (5) The Throat

Oct. 27: (6) The Third Eye

Nov. 3: (7) The Crown

Nov. 10: Integration & Celebration

Weekend webinar tentative dates*:

(*We’ll schedule these sessions once I know everyone’s time zones. The sessions will be recorded, too, so if you miss them, you can always catch up later.)

Sept. 24 or 25

Building a Strong Foundation: Writing from the Lower 3 Chakras

Fight scenes, sex scenes, power struggles, ancestor work, our deepest dramas.

Oct. 15 or 16

Manifesting in the World: Writing from Heart, Throat, Hands

Are you really saying what you want to say? Dive in, unblock, and get to the truth of the matter.

Nov. 5 or 6

Connecting to Source: Writing from the Third Eye and Crown; Integrating the Energy Spine

Vision and transcendence, writing that flies off the page and into the ether, the future, alternate universes and beyond.

Q. How will the online course work? What technology do I need?

A. At the beginning of the course, I’ll send you a syllabus and welcome document that will include technical details, logins, etc.

In brief:

A google group will be our main tool for communicating with each other. (You do not necessarily need a gmail address or google profile for this.)

I’ll host 3-4 webinars (that’s web seminars) to cover key concepts and share what we’re all learning. These are optional. You can use a regular land or mobile phone to dial in, or you can log in via computer.

The tech basics you will need are:

• An email address.

• A computer with access to email once a week.

Optional tech:

• A gmail address for accessing the full features of google groups. (We won’t be using Google+, so you can use a pseudonym, in case you’re worried about that.)

• A phone, or a computer with audio or video capability, to dial into the webinars.

Q. Can I take one session at a time? What if I’m going to be away part of the time?

A. Each lesson will build on the previous ones. We’ll be sharing work and creating a temporary community. So, in order to keep it safe for everyone and manageable for me, there will be no drop-ins.

If you are going to be away for some of this time, don’t worry. This is a self-paced class, so you can always catch up on the exercises you’ve missed. Or you can just skip them and go back later, after the class finishes.

Q. I just saw this and it’s already past Sept. 15! Can I still join and catch up?

A. Before Sept. 24, yes. You’ll have a little catching up to do but it should be fine. After Sept. 24, please email me at hajratwala gmail com.

Q. What level of anonymity will there be?

A. The group will be together as a google group, and you’ll post your own writing and give feedback as whatever email address you use for that. It’s absolutely fine with me if you want to create an alter ego for the purpose of this workshop. We’ll also lay down some ground rules which will include not discussing or sharing anyone’s work outside the workshop.

Q. How many students do you expect or will you cap?

A. I’m really not sure, right now I’m open! If it gets too big or unwieldy, I’ll probably split it into two smaller “sections” rather than close it off. Since I don’t know when I’ll have the time to teach this way again, I’m reluctant to say no to anyone who’s ready and willing to move into this work now.

Q. Is there any provision for people with financial hardship?

A. Yes. Times are tough, right? Instead of paying the full registration fee up front, if you need to, you can make payments on the following schedule:

$55 due Sept. 15 or before your first class

$55 due Oct. 1

$55 due Oct. 15

$50 due Oct. 31

Please note that when you sign up, you are committing to the whole course, so this is not a way to “try out” the class and hedge your bets! I trust you to honor your commitment. You can pay via PayPal or, if you prefer, you can mail 4 checks to me, postdated, and I will cash them on the appropriate date.

Q. Are you accepting international students?

Yes. If you are based in India and have limited finances, you can apply for a special reduced rate of 4,500 rupees, which is about half the US student rate. Please contact me at hajratwala {at} gmail {dot} com for payment options if you cannot access PayPal.

Other countries, the course fee is $215 US. Please contact me for payment options if you cannot access PayPal or if you have a question about currency conversion. Thanks!

Q. My question is not answered here.

A. No problem. Ask me at hajratwala {at} gmail {dot} com .

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