Mt. Airy Learning Tree: “Transformative Storytelling”
May 2019: In many cultures, the Cantadora was the “keeper of stories,” the revered position as the woman who heard and remembered the community’s stories. Throughout history, storytelling has been a way to teach and entertain long before written language. Stories shape our plans, inspire us to create new adventures, to survive, grow, and create a new mythology. Listen to examples of oral storytelling, receive weekly writing prompts, and rework and rehearse one story to share at the end of class. This course is available to writers and storytellers of all levels. Register at Mt. Airy Learning Tree.
Mt. Airy Learning Tree: “The Illuminated Narrator”
February 2019: Revisit significant life events and give them new meaning. Explore storytelling methods from many cultures, receive weekly writing prompts, and identify the ongoing threads in your personal narratives. Discover the transformative nature of reclaiming your life’s most meaningful stories. This is for writers of all levels who are interested in writing creative nonfiction, short stories or memoir. Consider bringing any of the following: a story that your family tells about you; a life event that was difficult; a story about loss; a story that you’re proud of; or a family story that has been passed down for generations. Register at Mt. Airy Learning Tree.
Corporeal Writing: “Epistemologies”
November 4, 2018: I’m joining bestselling author Lidia Yuknavitch as an online workshop leader for Epistemologies: Writing to Unmake and Remake Meaning. Over the past year, I’ve been a columnist and the curator of Corporeal, a curated series at Corporeal Writing. Part of the CW philosophy is “leading people into new and unknown territories from which they can make art,” and because I so love collaborating with other writers, this new role at Corporeal Writing sets my heart on fire.
How many different ways do our bodies make meaning in our lives? The birth body, the death body, the body inside the pulse and heat and sweat of sexuality? The incarcerated body, the liberated body, the body in pleasure or pain? The athlete’s body, the dancer’s body, the body abled differently.
Epistemology is simply The Study of Knowledge, but that study has historically left bodies out. We think writing and literature is a place where we can insist our bodies have a POV, just as writers such as Leslie Marmon Silko, Duras, Acker, Whitman, Colette, Lispector & Irigaray have done. In this workshop, we will contemplate creative writing techniques and structures that innovates, invents and performs the ways in which the body is an epistemological site—a site where all human meaning is made and unmade. A made again. Anew.
“I’d studied with Leigh before and found her as kind and compassionate as she is industrious, witty, and gifted at bringing out the best in everyone around her. Interesting, thoughtfully-planned lessons led to assignments that hardly felt like work at all. As I participated, it was fascinating to discover not only that my story had a way of telling itself and I was just its ‘keeper,’ but that my voice seemed to simply be awaiting my call for it to venture out. I was truly surprised at just how uplifted and inspired I felt receiving the positive, helpful comments and feedback – and respond with a very heartfelt thank you.” Kelly, Minnesota
“I am so so happy that I decided to take this course. Viva Institute puts on a friendly, professional course that helps you with writing, making it better than ever. We also critique each other’s work, which helps us grow as a writer and a communicator. Very helpful, It helped me grow in ways that I never expected, such as everyday communications with others. Leigh Hopkins is a kind, gentle, sensitive, and very capable individual with high credentials of her own. Great course, and I look forward to taking more Transformative Storytelling courses offered by Viva. You absolutely won’t be disappointed, take the course!” – Betty, Colorado
Transformative Storytelling is also offered in person in rotating locations around the United States. Join Leigh’s mailing list to find out about upcoming events.
“How many times have you read a testimonial that described their experience as ” life-changing” and thought to yourself: “Really?” Please put your doubts aside and give yourself the best gift ever. I met extraordinary women, was awed by exquisite scenery of Sedona, led by a truly gifted teacher and made friendships I will hold in my heart forever. I went a caterpillar and left a butterfly.” – Kimberly, New Jersey
“I would highly recommend this retreat. It brings you back to your authentic self and reconnects you with Mother Earth. It was extremely enlightening!” – Amelia, Illinois
About the Instructor
Leigh Hopkins created Viva Institute in 2008 with the goal of creating an organizational catalyst for personal transformation. With a twenty-year background in public policy, education reform, and program development, Leigh channeled her talents into developing content-rich courses to support all learners. She hand-picks all instructors and is personally involved in all stages of Viva’s programming – from content selection to curriculum development to program delivery.
Among her career highlights, Leigh was vice president for a leading social policy think tank, running literacy programs in underserved communities across the country. She has worked as a policymaker, a grant writer, a raw-vegan chef, a reading specialist, a creative writing teacher, an intuitive coach, and even a choral accompanist.
Leigh Hopkins received her Bachelors in Elementary Education and Music and a Masters in Education. She has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University and is a certified Usui Reiki Master. She is fluent in English and Portuguese, and can get her point across in Spanish, Italian and Greek.
“When you combine the vortexes of Sedona with the energy and insight of Leigh Hopkins, the time spent together is irresistible. Leigh’s careful planning delighted and inspired us to seek more depth and exploration into our own spirits. She is a very special woman, and her willingness to share her light with the rest of us is a priceless gift. If at all possible, take a plane, take a train, take a bus or a car and make it to Sedona. It will be a gift to yourself, and you deserve it.” – Sue Ellen, Arizona, Director of Gina’s Team
“Sometimes telling the story is the thing that saves your life.” – Lidia Yuknavitch, author