“LISTENING is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other.”
“Dancing on the Page” — what a lovely title for an article! And what a pleasure it was to learn more about how my friend, Julie Maloney, a gifted poet and the founder of Women Reading Aloud (www.womenreadingaloud.org), made the transition from dancer to director of an organization where women writers are free to “gather, read aloud, get feedback, feel supported…and most of all create.”
Over the past eight years, women have been inspired to write and seek support by Women Reading Aloud (WRA). Today, as featured on its Web site, this thriving little mobile arts colony offers workshops, special literary events, and writing retreats.
I attended a WRA workshop a few years ago and still remember how exciting it was to hear the astonishing range and depth of the voices of the writers who gathered for a day of inspiration, reading, feedback, and comaraderie. Jacqueline Sheehan, an accomplished novelist, spoke about her work and shared some of her ups and downs in pursuing the writing life.
The programs that Women Reading Aloud offers are amazingly varied. There are eight-week workshops offered in the fall and spring. Writers in the middle of a project can get support and feedback via a Work-in-Progress series. There’s a highly popular Writer’s Weekend Retreat each spring in Sea Girt, New Jersey — and even a Writing Wellness Day complete with yoga!
How wonderful to think that this wellspring of writing support started with one talented, determined woman’s vision! Julie’s creation is all the more awe-inspiring because she danced toward her dream while battling breast cancer. As a dancer, Julie learned that “the discipline and passion to create never dies.” She listened to her inner voice and it led her down a whole new path — one that many grateful women now walk with her. Write on, Julie!