Jennifer Cross - Transformative Writing


Jen Cross is a  writer, performer, survivor, and writing workshop facilitator based in the SF Bay Area, and has led transformative writing workshops in the SF Bay Area for over a decade. As of Fall 2015, she is a full-time MFA Candidate (Creative Nonfiction) at San Francisco State University.

Like so many others, she has been in love with writing, words and books since she was very young — and her my experience of trauma as a teenager/young woman, it was writing that brought her back into her breath, her voice, her possibility. She's been publishing work since the late 1990s.

She is an experienced group facilitator and has been certified in the Amherst Writers & Artists method, described in Pat Schneider’s book Writing Alone and With Others, Oxford University Press (2003).

Interviews with Jen:

In 2009, she got to talk with Britt Bravo and the Arts and Healing Network about what happens when survivors gather to write their stories; we discussed the Writing Ourselves Whole workshops, the transformative uses of writing, and more: Interview with Britt Bravo about Writing Ourselves Whole (mp3)

You can read about her erotic writing groups in Caryn Mirriam Goldberg and Ruth Farmer’s new collection, Transformative Language Arts in Action (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

Dorian Katz wrote about her first writing group (and the Dirty Ink  troupe that grew out of that group) in Clamour Magazine, Volume 34, Sept. 2005.

Toward the end of 2011, she got to go to UC Davis as a part of the Conversations with Writers program to talk about erotic writing as liberatory practice. Here’s a link to a video of the talkPlease note: This talk opens with a sexually-explicit reading.

In 2013, she returned to UC Davis to speak about using writing to transform trauma, as a part of UC Davis’ year-long campus engagement with the Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide. (Click here to access a list of lecture videos from that series; scroll down to find my presentation on 10/31.)

In 2013, Art Animal magazine did an interview with Carol Queen and Jen about the Erotic Reading Circle.

She got to talk with Jianda Monique about the workshops and writing as a transformational/liberatory process on her Lesbian Relationships Podcast.

Here’s another brief interview on the Goddard IMA blog where she talks some about how she came to be doing this work.

Jen’s background:

In 2003, she received her MA in Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she studied and wrote about the ways in which erotic writing can be used as a tool for sexual- and self-healing.

Before and after that, she worked at social justice organizations in Portland, ME, and San Leandro, CA, as an advocate and psychoeducational group facilitator for domestic violence survivors.

A writer/performer, she has gotten to feature at such events as Perverts Put Out, Writers With Drinks, the National Queer Arts Festival, and the Queer Open Mic. She's participated in Carol Queen’s stop on the LitQuake’s LitCrawl every year since 2006, and she get to co-facilitate (with the aforementioned Mz. Carol Queen!) a monthly Erotic Reading Circle at the Center for Sex and Culture!

She has led workshops and/or performed at:

  • Stanford University, Wesleyan University, the University of California at Davis, Dartmouth College, the University of California at San Francisco, Brown University, Goddard College, the University of Oregon at Eugene, Evergreen State University, Southern Oregon University, Pacific School of Religion, Art Institute of San Francisco;
  • the Power of Words/Transformative Language Arts annual conference;
  • the Femme Conference;
  • Survivorship and the Survivorship annual conference;
  • San Francisco Women Against Rape;
  • Bay Area Women Against Rape;
  • Community United Against Violence;
  • San Francisco PRIDE;
  • the UCSF Med Center’s Art for Recovery Program;
  • the Center for Sex and Culture;
  • staff at the UCSF Office of Medical Education program;
  • the Transformative Language Arts Network;
  • and at many other community organizations, bookstores, and schools.

She loves writing with community and student groups — please contact her to organize a writing group project for your organization or group!

Click here for more information about where to find my writing in print.