Community Writing Sessions offered in March

January 27, 2021

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The University of Omaha (UNO) is offering a Community Writing Sessions program, which is open to members of the UNMC community.

UNO writing professors will help participants create poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction based on experiences of living and working in the pandemic. These sessions are free of charge and open, first come first serve, to all members of the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine community. The goal is to provide guided reflective and creative writing opportunities for health care workers, staff members and others.

Session information

Tuesday, March 2

  • 5:30-6:15 p.m. - poetry, led by Steve Langan, UNO Medical Humanities and Seven Doctors Project
  • 6:15-7 p.m. - fiction, led by Kevin Clouther, UNO Writer's Workshop/MFA in Writing
  • 7-7:45 p.m. - creative nonfiction, led by Jody Keisner, UNO Department of English
Register here.

Wednesday, March 10

  • 5:30-6:15 p.m. - creative nonfiction, led by Jody Keisner, UNO Department of English
  • 6:15-7 p.m. - fiction, led by Kevin Clouther, UNO Writer's Workshop/MFA in Writing
  • 7-7:45 p.m. - poetry, led by Steve Langan, UNO Medical Humanities and Seven Doctors Project
Register here.

UNMC leaders including Steve Wengel, MD, assistant vice chancellor for wellness at UNMC and UNO, Jennifer Larsen, MD, UNMC vice chancellor for research, and Juliann Sebastian, PhD, dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, are in support of this pilot program.

"I discovered the value of writing in managing my own reactions to stressful situations," Dr. Wengel said. "For example, I keep a gratitude journal where I have developed a discipline of writing regularly on events or people in my life that I am thankful for. The act of thinking, of composing my thoughts, and then putting pen to paper makes a difference in how I see the world."

"Writing helps me process events that are confusing or troubling," Dr. Larsen said. "Needless to say, I have been doing a lot of writing this last year and encourage others to try it."

Dr. Sebastian, who also helps lead the UNMC Wellbeing Coordinating Council, said, "Writing creates space for self-care and empathy by allowing us to take time for ourselves and process and reflect on our fast-paced lives. In this chaotic and confusing time of the pandemic, creative writing gives us an outlet for forming our thoughts and making sense of days that seem so different from the norm. As caregivers, we must care for ourselves so we have something to share with others."

"We're honored to share our expertise in poetry-making and storytelling," said Steve Langan, director and community liaison for UNO Medical Humanities and founder of Seven Doctors Project, who is one of the participating instructors. "We expect these sessions will lead to more extensive programming and even development of an archive that will be used for historical and research purposes."

This debut program is hosted and sponsored by UNMC/UNO Wellness, UNMC College of Nursing, UNMC Office of Equity & Inclusion, McGoogan Health Sciences Library, UNO Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Communication, Fine Arts and Media, UNO Medical Humanities, UNMC IAE Health Humanities Educators, Seven Doctors Project and others.

For more information, contact Langan via email or at 402-659-6343.

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