Mary Allen

Biography

Mary Allen is the author of The Deep Limitless Air:  A Memoir in Pieces, published by Blue Light Press, and The Rooms of Heaven, published by Alfred A. Knopf and Vintage Books.   She has received an NEA creative-writing grant, and her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Real Simple, Library Journal, CNN On-line, Shenandoah, Tiferet Journal, The Chaos, and Beloit Fiction Journal, and in the anthology If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings.  She won Tiferet Journal’s yearly spiritual writing contest in 2013 and received an honorable mention in that contest in 2019.  She received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has taught in the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa.  She is a full-time writing coach and lives in Iowa City. 

Events

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Encounters with Life: Spiritual Writing

When
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Event status
Scheduled
Presenters
Short Description
As anyone who has engaged with writing in any serious way knows, writing itself is essentially a spiritual endeavor. In order to write well it’s necessary to tap into the flow of spiritual energy inside each of us, whether we call that energy creativity or inspiration or something else. In this class, we’ll generate new work in an energizing, strictly positive environment, using prompts and in-class writing to explore the places in our lives where the moments and details intersect with meaning. We’ll use my easy, fool-proof method for tapping into the inner wellspring from which all good writing comes. And we’ll spend time working on editing the writing we get, using spiritual skills such as listening to intuition and briefly dropping down into the silence beyond thought, to improve our editing skills and finish some writing we’ve generated. Together we’ll create a small, close-knit community that fosters creativity, engenders fresh material and new ideas, and results in writing that shines from within. This class will be useful for anyone writing essays, a memoir, or a spiritual autobiography; for anyone struggling with perfectionism; and for anyone who’s just getting started or trying to locate their true material. The class welcomes writers at all levels.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments.
Mary Allen photo

Travel Writing Made Easy, and It's All Travel Writing

When
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Event status
Scheduled
Presenters
Short Description
Our travels through life are unavoidably interesting. Whatever happens to us—a hike through the desert, a night stuck in the airport, a trip to Hawaii, a stay in the hospital— anywhere we go and anything we do there—becomes a captivating adventure if we pay close attention and turn it into a story. And turning whatever happens in our travels into something we can write about makes us pay attention to whatever’s there, while something is happening or after the fact, and that makes everything more interesting and enjoyable; even the hard stuff becomes easier. In this class, we’ll use easy, fun, foolproof writing exercises to turn our travel stories into writing that’s fresh, exciting, and surprising. We’ll create a small creative community in a strictly positive environment. And we’ll talk about how to use writing as a life tool that can turn every trip we go on, whether it’s exciting and wonderful or not so wonderful, into a transformative experience, for us and our readers, allowing us to make the most of our travels through life. This class welcomes writers at all levels.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments.
Mary Allen photo