What is the Common Denominator


This is Domi. Shoemaker. The Corporeal Writing™ Seasonal Workshop Series coordinator and co-facilitator. 

2 weeks ago, I had conversations with a person from Dubai. Last week, I helped someone from NYC find accommodations here, and, just yesterday, I spoke with a person at least 2 layovers away from Portland, Oregon. That’s where I live, and where Lidia lives, and where the Face2Face Corporeal Writing™ Seasonal workshops have taken off. The 2 layover away person has never been to Portland, so we had a long conversation about what they could expect in Oregon and what sites they might enjoy at the coast with their partner once the next workshop is over. That’s the thing. All of these people coming here for one thing. Corporeal Writing™ with Lidia Yuknavitch. 

What is it about Corporeal Writing™ Workshops and Lidia Yuknavitch that get people so energized? The interesting thing is, I can’t find a particular single common denominator. The very first workshop we opened in the fall was sold out in less than 24 hours. That’s 20 spaces in less than 24 hours! We decided right then and there that we had to open a 2nd Fall workshop to try and accommodate more writers. The second Fall workshop also filled within 24 hours. On to opening registration for the Winter Workshops. Then Spring. Same thing. Class after class filling up as fast as we can post them. 

I realized that we were witnessing the beginning of a revolution of sorts. I started the hashtag #lateralrevolution at our first CW Workshop, after Lidia reiterated that she does not believe in hierarchy. She teaches out of a desire to stick her foot in the door for as many people as possible, so that a wide variety of voices can be heard. In an increasingly divisive political landscape with religion and politics and going for each other’s throats, it’s the artists who will change the world. One artist through the door at a time.

Last weekend was our first winter workshop. I had intended to relay to you all how intense the energy was in the room that weekend. But as I sit here and stare at this screen, I know I can’t really spin the exact phrase to tell you what it felt like. Not yet.  

Let’s listen to what Zinn has to say about it: 

“I can’t convey what it felt like to watch people moan and groan about how “hard” the writing prompts were, only to put their heads down and not look up until Lid yelled “STOP,” and then hear everyone moan and groan about wanting more time because it was coming out as fast as they could write or type. I can’t quite convey how I felt when they took a deep breath and read their words out loud to us—shaking with fear, or crying with sadness or release or happiness or all of it, banging the table with their fists in rhythm with the words they pushed from their being. How I swallowed a little bit of their determination and bravery and triumph. Nor quite how many times I caught myself holding my breath because their words stopped it in me. All of me. I can only convey that the experience again this weekend left me rearranged. I took all of them with me. They will forever be in my work now, and I feel myself reaching to theirs, in some kind of cosmic connection. I CAN’T WAIT to be in that room again with a new group of workshoppers. I think I might be addicted to this incredible high.”

I sincerely hope to see each and every one of you here someday. At a Corporeal Writing™  Seasonal workshop. But if not, don’t worry, we are carrying you with us, too. 

In Art,