On Writing Illness: Craft and Prompts with Sarah Cedeno
“There is, let us confess it (and illness is the great confessional) a childish outspokenness in illness; things are said, truths blurted out, which the cautious respectability of health conceals.” –Virginia Woolf, “On Being Ill”
Illness impacts all our lives. It can make us uncomfortable, take away from us, push others away. But through the lens of illness, writers can offer valuable, enlightening perspectives on living.
Virginia Woolf describes the mind as a “creature within,” whose lens is the body, a “pane—smudged or rosy.” Interrogating the connection between our physical bodies and our minds captures realities of the human experience. Woolf writes of “childish outspokenness in illness” that conveys truths through an alternative perspective that our bodies, in health, would not utter.
In this workshop, we will explore illness through a variety of prompts that interrogate the connection between our senses and thoughts. These prompts are adaptable for writers who are experiencing illness themselves; who are caretakers, family members, or medical professionals; and/or are working in nonfiction or hybrid genres.
Sarah Cedeño’s chapbook of essays on womanhood and illness, Not Something We Discuss Often, was released in 2022 from Harbor Editions. Her work has appeared in Brevity, The Journal, The Baltimore Review, The Rumpus, Hippocampus Magazine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Sarah lives in Brockport, NY, and teaches writing at SUNY College at Brockport. She can be reached at www.sarahmcedeno.com.
In person at Writers & Books, attendance is limited to 12 persons.
Members $30 | General Public $40 | Scholarships available