Creative Writing Ink

Creative Writing Ink-68
His piece won second place, and when he was released from jail, he was invited to do a reading in New York City with Joyce Carol Oates.Soon afterward, he was awarded a scholarship to an MFA program in New York City.

His piece won second place, and when he was released from jail, he was invited to do a reading in New York City with Joyce Carol Oates.Soon afterward, he was awarded a scholarship to an MFA program in New York City.

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Last year, 70 percent of the students who applied to our program said they were interested in social justice and creative writing, specifically teaching in prisons and rehab facilities.

Each year, more creative writing graduate students have asked to be intimately involved with communities outside of academia, and they are finding inspiration in working with and teaching those who are incarcerated or confined to a rehab facility.

I find myself looking forward to her presence, to her questions about narrative and structure, and to the increasing sophistication in the craft of her essays. “Dude, chill,” Holly, a normally quiet woman, offers from across the room. I mean it, too: Anna is a good writer, and her voice deserves to be heard.

She’s generous and insightful in her criticism and support of the other women’s work, and the workshop feels a little empty when she’s not there. “All I know how to do is strip and cop drugs,” she sobs. I can’t imagine a time when she, or most of the women we work with at So Ho, might be able to afford an MFA program.

Here’s my own tale about teaching creative writing in a rehabilitation facility.

*** Anna* is twenty-five when she enters So Ho, as we call Sojourner House, a residential rehabilitation facility for women who have children.

And in 2016, the reported, “suicide in the United States …

surged to the highest levels in nearly thirty years.” The creative arts have been shown to have a positive effect in harm reduction for addiction as well as for the kinds of depression and hopelessness that sometimes lead to suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids increased 200 percent from 2000 to 2014.

More than 33,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2015.

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