Experiments in Writing Sex
an online workshop
for writers who left an Orthodox Jewish community
Chozrim/ot // Yotzim/ot Beshe'ela
Experiments in Writing Sex
After six years of facilitating this workshop, I’m excited to open an Experiments in Writing Sex online workshop exclusively for writers, aspiring writers & artists who have left an Orthodox Jewish community.
This is an invitation to an experiment, in which we will approach writing sex as entering unknown territory, leaving behind expectations of what sex or writing sex look like.
Through our experiments in reading texts, watching scenes, and writing exercises, we will explore, deconstruct, & re-envision the sex scene.
In this three session workshop, we will consider questions such as:
Where do body, sexuality, place, and history intertwine & diverge in our writing?
How do we break through concepts, dogmas and stories we inherited to find our own words, images, and forms?
How do we create a dialogue with internalized concepts, while also searching for our own unique gaze, language & narrative?
How do we approach the sex scene as a liminal space that plays with boundaries of sacred/profane, danger/allure?
What does it mean to risk abjection in writing?
Where do desire, disgust and creation intersect?
Can depictions of pleasure be redeemed?
We will mine these sites for encounters with the ugly-messy -vulnerable-pleasure-pain of it all…allowing for new language and form to emerge.
Our methods will include examining ways of gazing. Participants will be responding to writing prompts after interacting with scenes from film and television, essays, stories, poems, photos, paintings.
Writers of all genres and artists of other disciplines who have left an Orthodox Jewish community (a.k.a. OTDees, Chozrim/ot // Yotzim/ot Beshe'ela, Datlashim/iyot) are invited to apply to this workshop.
This is a feminist, queer-friendly space.
Women and LGBTQ+ writers are encouraged to apply.
// a new language of desire
Sundays, March 20th & 27th, April 3rd
Some partial scholarships are available for OTDees, Chozrim/ot // Yotzim/ot Beshe'ela, Datlashim/iyot who may be struggling right now. Please be in touch with me here or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
7 PM – 9 PM Israel time
* Clocks are changing over this time, which means the workshop hour may change too, depending on where you are in the world.
We'll be sticking to 7 PM - 9 PM Israel time.
Get in touch to calculate the time difference in your area.
Online - on Zoom
180 USD / 585 NIS
* This workshop will take place in English. If you're interested in attending a future Experiments in Writing Sex workshop in Hebrew for writers who have left an Orthodox community, or my classic Experiments in Writing Sex workshop in Hebrew or English , please be in touch with me here & I'll keep you in the loop.
* Please answer these questions.
* Then send a short writing sample of your choice on any topic & in any genre (up to 1000 words) to email@example.com.
The group will be small, space is limited. Apply soon!
If you'd like to contribute by sponsoring a participant or donating towards making more scholarships possible for this workshop, contact me here!
AMITAL STERN writes film, theater, and hybrid work. Her plays have been performed at the Theatronetto Festival, the Jerusalem Fringe Festival, the Arab-Israeli Theater and more. Her work has recently appeared in Guernica, Elderly, and Best American Experimental Writing 2020. You can read some of her writing here & here.
Testimonials from previous workshops:
Amital’s conception of what we were doing together, and how to write about sex, was transformational… Amital’s sequence of writing exercises made me realize that writing about sex was writing about our life and death force, and breaking taboos about what you could write about transformed every part of my writing that day, and I have continued to mull over these insights over the past month. I’m inspired by Amital’s sense of urgency about reading and writing, and their transformational effect.
Amital is simply an amazing teacher. I found myself completely transfixed and transformed by my work with her. What she knows how to do (that I believe is rare to find), is to stand there ready to help, in the way that YOU need help. It is your class, your work, and she knows how to stay out of your way, but support, nurture, and engage with you. She very perceptively gives you feedback and in an unusual way that makes it very easy to hear and understand.
That doesn't mean she won't provide structure and guidance and clear lessons. She does all of that so seamlessly that you are thrown back into yourself to find your solutions.
I felt her feedback and her teaching methods incredibly thoughtful, deeply perceptive and most importantly inspiring. I can't wait for the next class she offers. My advice: grab it!
Amital has the ability to share post-post modern writing and crazier assignments with perfect poise and then has the nerve to ask if there are any questions. Listen to her deeply and your writing arm will free a little more after each class.
Amital began each session with a range of texts and images, drawn from many genres and worlds, for us to engage with and to prompt us into our own writing. Along with making for rich reading and conversation, this did the work of creating a writing space which was expansive and free of judgment, where I felt safe to experiment with my own writing style and to explore my thoughts, wherever they may go. Amital's experience and her entirely accepting presence created a tone where it became easy for all of us to jump in, cover a lot of ground and go deep in a relatively short amount of time. It was one of the most original and enriching writing workshops I've ever taken part in, and would welcome the opportunity to do another one with her.
I have no hesitation in recommending Writing Messy workshop led by Amital Stern to all aspiring writers who want to explore subjects which challenge our sense of decency and sometimes fill us with disgust. Such subjects offer a potentially rich wellspring of ideas with which to experiment.
Amital uses an eclectic mix of artistic material to challenge the senses and stimulate creativity; avant-garde art, film and literature that both repels and entices. No subject is off limits. The workshop has developed my confidence to experiment with material of which prior to taking the course, I had no knowledge. I consider that my writing has benefitted significantly as a result.
Amital is an inspirational teacher. She is very enabling, encouraging and has a fierce intelligence. It has been a great privilege to have been in her class. It is a testament to the power of the class that the writing of all the participants flourished as the workshop progressed.
I would take this workshop again in a heartbeat. The whole experience was brilliant.