Adjunct Faculty have a long history with the Proprioceptive Writing Center and in various ways have helped to bring Proprioceptive Writing (PW) into the world. Some are still actively teaching PW. Some have gone on to other work that has been informed by their experience of PW.
Kaitlin Briggs, Ed. D.
Kaitlin is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the University of Maine System. For some 15 years she used PW as the basis for her longstanding and well known Honors Program course: “Thinking and Writing in Honors: Focus on the Essay/Writing as a Path to Self and World” and more recently for Arts & Humanities courses such as “Thinking and Writing/Writing and Healing: The Literature of Personal Disaster.”
In the mid-1980s I was unwell for a period of time: a choking condition where I kept feeling pressure around my throat. Doctors found nothing wrong with me; yet at times this choking was pronounced. It was this condition that led me to my first PW workshop with Linda and Toby. Little did I grasp at the time just to what degree this initial encounter with these exceptional teachers and their innovative, transformative writing practice would influence my life and work across the ensuing decades.
Through PW, I discovered the etiology of my symptoms, and eventually they dissipated. As the saying goes, PW helped me to find my voice; and later I became a teacher of the method. In my doctoral studies at UMass Amherst, my research centered around a course I developed and taught there — Women and Creativity — theorizing this writing process and adapting it to the university classroom setting. Since then, not only have I incorporated aspects of PW into my courses at University of Southern Maine, but I have also discussed these experiences in several publications—peer-reviewed, academic essays and book chapters.
Jane has a private Feldenkrais® practice in Portland, Maine and teaches classes and workshops in Feldenkrais on a regular basis. She still teaches occasional private series of sessions in PW.
I first met Linda and Toby in 1979 and we became instant friends. I was a potter then and had no thought of writing and couldn’t even imagine what writing as a psycho-spiritual discipline would come to mean to me. I began to understand from the first Write/read/feedback session, and didn’t stop learning, attending every teaching for the next ten years and having a daily practice.
Early on, Linda and Toby asked Mary Bok and me if we’d like to train to become teachers. We both said yes and became the first trained teachers of this transformative process. I became part of a teaching team at workshops and led a weekly group in my home until the early nineties. There was a vibrant PW community around Toby and Linda when they lived in Rockport, Maine, and then in Portland.
With the help of PW, I moved organically into the next right profession which is teaching healing movement, (The Feldenkrais Method), and meditation which I’ve been doing for twenty-six years now.
Sandra lives and teaches PW near Asheville, NC. She is an award-winning playwright. “The Subject Tonight is Love” premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in 2003, where it was nominated for the Best New American Play Critics Award. “So Long on Lonely Street” premiered at the Alliance in 1985 and went on to productions in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Sandra has taught creative writing at Agnes Scott College, Mercer and Emory Universities.
One rainy morning in the summer of 1990, the second day of a 5-day introduction to Proprioceptive Writing with Linda and Toby at the Omega Institute, I took my place at the table, closed my eyes, took three deep breaths, and when the music began, I opened my eyes and wrote…… “Whatever happened to Rita Hayworth? She was a beauty in her day.” Twenty-five minutes later, when the music stopped, I knew I had come home.
That year I entered the first formal program to become a certified teacher of the Metcalf-Simon Practice of Proprioceptive Writing. In the years that followed, I taught weekly PW groups, as well as workshops and retreats throughout the Southeast: at Columbia Seminary, Emory University, Mary and Martha’s Place, Actors Express, The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Mercer University, The Center for New Beginnings, and Omega South.
As a teacher and as a forever student, PW is a source of deep learning and joy in my life. I never get over the palpable sense of gratitude and spaciousness in the room as we write together and then read our Writes aloud….alone in the presence of others.
Joan Lee Hunter
Joan is a writing teacher and coach and the director of Fifth House Lodge in Bridgton, Maine.
In the early 1970s, struggling with an auto-immune disease and a toxic marriage, I followed a friend’s advice and attended a PW workshop with Linda and Toby. It was a deeply cathartic experience; a path opened up. With the ongoing guidance and inspiration of Linda and Toby, I wrote myself into a whole new life.
I was certified as a teacher of PW in 1992. In 1999 I bought Fifth House Lodge in western Maine as a writers’ retreat where I continue to use aspects of PW in my classes, workshops, and individualized work. In addition, I offer several fiction and creative non-fiction workshops in which I incorporate aspects of PW as a way of both generating and informing literary material.
In addition to my work at Fifth House Lodge, I teach students at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine and lead a weekly writing group of combat veterans (men and women, Vietnam to the present) with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ginny is a watercolor artist living in Yarmouth, Maine. She teaches PW in Maine, Mexico, and Ireland.
In 1995, the year I was certified to teach PW, I was also diagnosed with breast cancer. The practice held me steady, and I went on to share PW in gatherings at hospitals and healing centers throughout New England. This was the beginning of the Cancer and Creativity workshops.
Years as a volunteer at the Center For Grieving Children in Portland led to A Family’s Journey: A Handbook for Living with Illness and Finding Hope, a collaborative work which began with proprioceptive Writes.
A long-time student of Buddhist Meditation, I have lead writing and meditation sessions both in the US and abroad. Fellow PW teacher, Annie Jacobsen, and I teamed up to lead week-long PW retreats at Anam Cara, an Artist and Writer’s Retreat in the West of Ireland.
In 2000, while at Anam Cara on my own retreat, I was invited to join a watercolor workshop. In order to quell my apprehension, I turned to PW. In those Writes, I found the confidence to participate in the workshop, and thus began an entirely new adventure in visual art. Today I am a founding member of The Artisans Collective of Yarmouth and exhibit in local galleries.
Charles, a graphic designer and photographer, is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design on the BFA faculty at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine.
I was 28 and teaching photography in Rockport, Maine, and Linda was my photography student. Though I could describe through visual means, I felt awkward using words. I still remember my first experience with PW. This was a new world. This possibility that I could access and explore my many selves was a revelation to me. I learned to trust my thoughts and this has become a profound comfort to me. This practice opened something in me that had never been opened before. It broadened my ability to listen to feelings and inner thoughts. It gave me immediate connection to emotion. It gave me a sense of aliveness I did not believe possible.
I have practiced PW ever since that first Write. I did my teaching apprenticeship with Linda and Toby for two years in the late 1980’s assisting at all workshops and retreats. I began teaching PW in 1990. I’ve taught in Scotland, Germany, and Maine. I have used this practice to help young art students find their individual voices. Since 2005 I’ve led introductory workshops and ongoing groups in Portland, Maine.
Before her death in 2005, Annie taught PW and creative writing, practiced as a Jungian psychotherapist in Toronto, Canada, and recorded a series on dreams for Canadian Public Television. She brought her laughing, sparkling, intelligent presence to all she undertook. She loved teaching PW and was treasured by her many students.