The Edge: Where Fear is a Friend – A Guest Post by Sandra Kleven

“Inside you is an artist you don’t know about… Is what I say true? Say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.” Rumi

“ In the long journey out of the self, there are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously and the back wheels hang almost over the edge.”

Fear is a good friend. Fear keeps us away from the dangerous edge. As you move toward danger, you can hear your heart pound. Apprehension equals excitement – a buoyant energy that moves and lifts. Energized brains make new connections. When you take a chance, the mind clears and genius comes out of slumber. Maybe there is brilliance in the poem or song or painting you have been holding back. Maybe you can move before you are sure without reaping dark consequences. Many fears are groundless – apprehensions connected to the unfamiliar – but the excitement generated when you extend yourself refines in the manner of fire; something falls away and something of spirit comes forth.

“Working the Edge,” an October 16th offering of the 49 Alaska Writing Center, is designed for people who would respond to Rumi, “Is what I say true?” with a resounding “Yes.” It will involve: Action, not theory. Moving, not sitting. Speaking, not listening. Fearlessness is not required but this workshop it is not for those who say “I can’t.” If we start with the willing, this adventure will accelerate, happily, beyond the agenda.

The fears to be met in this workshop relate, mainly, to letting your guard down and expanding your field of play, so you can grow (to quote the poet Anne Sexton) “by leaps and boundaries.” The few rules include: Speak for yourself. Be respectful of all ideas and viewpoints. Practice kindness. The workshop will be made safe for creative discovery. The single applicable descriptor is the word play. If a midwife, assists in birth, this facilitator will act as a playwife, bringing methods from theatre, dance, visual art, and the word.

Workshop activities will center on the creation of a map. Throughout the day, the map will grow, illustrated with emblems, icons, drawings and pictures cut from magazines. Each map will be a lasting key to ideas that surface during the workshop. Those who take part will also build a foundation friendship with fellow travelers.

Join this gathering of movie makers, poets, writers, dancers, and jugglers. You will make a difference. Register today!

Kleven is a poet and film maker who recently completed her MFA in Creative Writing. She brings to this workshop experience in drama, dance, and adult learning. Kleven has worked as a behavioral health clinician and has taught psychology at the university level. Her influences include Jung, Fritz Perls, Wilhelm Reich and Milton Erickson. Kleven is the author of two books, The Right Touch and Holy Land. She has also published many essays and poems in journals and magazines such as Alaska Quarterly Review, Cirque, F-Zine, Topic and Alaska Women Speak and the anthology Cold Flashes. Kleven recently produced a film “To the Moon!” a tribute to the poet Theodore Roethke.

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