Writing Room

Writing Through The Rough Spots

with Ellen Schmidt

Comments From Participants

Workshop participants share information about themselves only through their writing. What is shared is completely determined by each participant. Workshop participants have ranged in age from 18 to 80s. Their work backgrounds include nurse, restaurant server, physician, hairdresser, therapist, social worker, acupuncturist, musician, life spent in or working in prison, athlete, artist, crafts person, scientist, poet, bank teller, educator, real estate agent, bookkeeper, author, clergy person, nutritionist and exercise physiologist among others. They have come from various parts of the US, Denmark, Chile, Canada, India, Croatia, Korea, Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Armenia, Egypt, France, Romania, and Germany.

“What I love about Writing Room…” (initiated and collected by a Writing Room student in Nov. 2018:) The instant bond between strangers, the kindness that flows between us, the trust that is not broken. ...I love that I am becoming and being without judgment...The beauty of words and rhythm....I love the generosity and the sharing of the tender, emotional moments of our lives...Ellen is accepting and by doing so builds our confidence in telling our own stories. Thanks isn't enough!!...Thank you for keeping the Writing Room such a healing safe place...Meeting so many diverse people and hearing their stories......The collegiality, good humor; and connection/Ellen's gentle and wise guidance and observations/the other writers.  ...Writing Room has given me courage to see the value in my writing...Writing Room has created a little world of warmth and humor and creativity. Thank you, Ellen!...The amazing outpouring of support as someone unabashedly shares deep emotional stories or light humorous events of life.  It's an affirmation of life, love and the art/act of writing...You really have created something wonderful and everyone's contributions keep the becoming alive and growing.  


More Comments from Writing Room Students Over the Years

The comments below are identified only by date in respect of the privacy of the participants


I LOVE your slight alterations.  It scans so nicely with those changes.  Thank you so much ... you helped the poem to be more than I thought it was. 2023

And what a gift your class is for all of us, I feel so lucky to be a part of this group of writers. 2023

I am so grateful for the writing room.  2023

Your feedback on my writing over the years has made me feel seen and known. This feeling keeps me on the writing path, despite the many difficulties and frustrations along the way.   2023

Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful editing and commentary on my book.  I am ready now for another draft.  2023

Thank you so much Ellen! I’m so excited to join the class and share with the group! It’s a special dynamic you set up I’ve missed it!  2023

... thank you and everyone for welcoming me into the class so generously. There is something so unique and special about this opportunity to be creative while tackling tough personal topics in a group format. And it has been so powerful to listen to these other voices and also to be listened to/heard!  2023

Writing can set one on edge, especially when anticipating 'the share' with you and with classmates ("Will they 'get it'?" "Is the writing sound, as well as interesting?"), and you are always right there for us in your good-humored way, your mind always able to quickly find the compliments as well as the suggestions.  Thank You for your kindness, steadiness, and generosity of spirit, Ellen.  2022

I am filled with gratitude for you! I don't know how you do what you do. You can hear something once and give erudite comments and quote back phrases. Incredible.  Thank you for creating a safe and supportive space for me and all of us.  Happy, Blessed Holidays to you and yours. 2022

Thank you so much again for a rich and stimulating class. Thank you also for the care and close attention you give in reading our pieces.  I treasure  your comments and advice . I admire the way you know how to create such a caring and safe atmosphere. 2022

Thank you for holding this writing community together. You do it so well.  2022

I am always appreciative of the time and thinking you devote to reading our pieces, and for your thoughtful comments and suggestions. They are unique and heartfelt. 2022

Yay! Looking forward to it! Thanks for your kind words, and for being such an inspiring teacher! 😀  I feel honored to have a place at your table. 2022

I'm so pleased to continue.  As you know sometimes I feel I've hit an impasse, nothing more to write, but I keep being inspired by others, and look forward to working myself into new areas, like dialogue, fiction, to just relax and enjoy writing.  2022

Thank you for your editing comments on my  piece this week. They improved the writing and also stimulated my thinking about the piece. Those comments and your comments in class were so encouraging. You are always encouraging but since I felt that I had stepped out a bit it was more important to me this time. Always I appreciate the thoughtfulness, the expertise and the warmth with which you respond to all of our writing.  2022

Thank you so much for this wonderful class. I can't tell you what it means to my life, to have the space you create for all of us. I feel so lucky to have you as a teacher. I look forward to seeing you in two weeks!    2022

Looking forward to writing with you in a couple of months.  I enjoy your class! You create a strong sense of community - such fine ingredients to draw out the creative spirit.  I find myself constantly surprised by what comes out in each of our written pieces.  It's so good to share these moments of touching intimacy! 2022

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions.  I always love what you write on top of my writing pieces. Your words are beautiful and always encouraging. 2022

Thanks for all you do to make Writing through the Rough Spots happen.  You make it look easy, even though I am sure it is not.  The fact that you always have a waiting list should tell you how important these groups are to so many of us, for all kinds of reasons.  So grateful for you.  2022

I always feel sad at the end of a cycle, but fortunately the sadness is dulled by the excitement of the next group of people I will write with. Of course, you are the center that holds it all. Thank you! 2021

It's wonderful to participate in WTTRS and share the joys, sorrows, and unique styles of the others' writings. Thank you for all you do to create a safe place for both sharing and  helping us improve our writing.  2021

I'm sad it's the last class for this series, it's been the best experience of 2021!

Thank you for believing in me. There’s so many stories yet to be told and a few that cry out to be rewritten. Having fun!   2021

Thank you for paying such close attention - which is one of the reasons you are so good at what you do! 2021

This last class, as always, was so good. The chance to read and be heard and appreciated, and the richness of hearing other voices.....it's a giving fest. 2021
I so much enjoyed the writing workshop and I learned something every session.  The group chemistry was so good, which is a compliment to the leader. 2021
I am excited about continuing this process and as you said in the comments on my last piece, I am feeling more ease with writing. I feel like my stories are coming more directly from me, with less self-consciousness than before. I am enjoying the classes so much. They are a true gift!  2021
Writing class is the highlight of my week.  2021
I am grateful for you in my life and the classes you hold throughout the year. Writing consistently along with your comments and suggestions, and the conversations in class have made a tangible difference in how I read, think about the world, and write. 2021
I've made some changes. Hopefully this works better. Thanks for the feedback. I think the piece is much stronger now.  2021
Thanks for your comments! I like your idea about the last paragraph, I am going to try it!  2021

And thank you for guiding us through a wondrous eight weeks of class. I am not embellishing or exaggerating when I use "wondrous," as the process of discovery and creation is indeed wondrous. The result of my two classes with you has been the refining of my daily observations of things great and small, as well as evaluating with greater discernment how written or spoken words could be changed or improved. I think you must be sitting on my shoulder ;-)  2021

I appreciate your setting time aside at the start of our sessions to unwind and deep-breathe. This is well-needed, but who ever stops and thinks about this before launching into something "heady" and perhaps emotional? I'm glad you do!And then closing out the session with a poem, followed by the link - this is truly thoughtful and caring. Thank you.  In other words, we receive so much more from you than your expert, thoughtful, and kind feedback. Wonderful "bonuses"!  2021

This was a really fun challenge to carry around in my head all week. I loved to play with the words until I could jot them in my phone for safe keeping.  Thanks for brightening the week with this! 2021
Thank you for your comments on my writing this week. It really touched my heart to feel seen and have this special relationship acknowledged through your words. See you tomorrow2021
Your comments are most helpful/insightful, as always - thank you! 2021
I’m sure you have more interested students than you have spaces. The classes are so good and the format works as well as any Zoom format can because you’re a gentle yet strong class leader (as well as writing guide) and people speak one at a time! 2020


Thank you for expressing your thoughts on my writing. It means a lot to me, and a much needed encouragement to continue to write.2020
I had been frustrated by not finding time to write at home over the last few weeks, but this week's writing spark spoke to me, as it opened up the doors to exploring.... I will say that the writing allowed me to discover something that I had not quite realized before - so truly, writing through the rough spots as a source of insight!   2020
Thank you so much for your helpful guidance and suggested edits. I worked on the piece some last night - I am feeling more ready today, so I think I will read it this evening .... I always get so much out of our group's feedback and reactions, it might really help me to think about where else I want to go with this story.2020
Thank you so much for another wonderful, rich and re-generating class. Your insightful and generous comments, your help in re-writing was invaluable.The 500 words limits (which I really hated  at first ) made me re-think and re-center on what was at the core of each piece. 2020

The comments you made about my piece made me feel heard and seen.  2020

Thank you Ellen. It was really a wonderful group and great writing . The synergy was strong. And , of course , you were a fabulous reader and convenor. 2020

Thanks for another wonderful 6 weeks of writing and learning.  I've thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope to re-join at some point in the future...2020

Thank you, Ellen. The 6 weeks of listening, writing, and reading in class kept me grounded in this shaky world. I'm glad our writing together will continue for another 6 weeks and beyond. 2020

Thanks, Ellen, for another wonderful, writing growth session. I continue to be amazed at what comes out of our minds to share. 2020

Thank you, Ellen, for once again, leading us toward being honest, creative, and positive. Your advice is always welcomed. 2020

I have been touched and moved by your careful reading of my pieces, and by your thoughtful comments, references, and suggestions. Your comments let me know that I am successful at conveying my thoughts and feelings in the pieces I write. It also encourages me to continue to write even when I feel discouraged, and unduly critical of my writing skills. Thank you for your time, for bringing us all together, and for your sharp sensibility.  2020

I've been interviewing people and summarizing the challenges and solutions they are facing around schooling this fall for an article I am writing for a periodical.  It's challenging to cut it all down to <1200 words. I'm grateful for the editing skills we worked on last Spring!   2020

Thanks as always for your astute reading and suggested comments. I loved the idea of playing more with the spacing to match the tempo of my poem.  2020

Ellen, it’s been a challenging and satisfying journey. Your positive and helpful comments encourage me to keep on exploring those rough spots. I like experimenting with different points of view, moving away from my self absorption. Thank you! 2020

I keep hoping for a cancelation for a spot in the fall workshops so that I can join a class - someone gets promoted and transferred to Switzerland, not because life closed in on them and they no longer have the time.  2020

Ellen, taking this class is literally a dream come true. I have wanted to write for years, decades even, but do not have the discipline to do so on my own. And of course your tutelage has made all the difference. You are such a skilled listener and teacher - thank you.  2020

We really needed you during these past weeks to rekindle with your sparks the joy of writing and sharing our wonderful gifts with each other during these challenging times. 2020

Our weekly classes have been a lifeline for me during this time of pandemic restrictions. I appreciate so much that you figured out a way to keep us going and writing.  2020

Thank you for the welcoming, insightful, and inspiring ten weeks, Ellen! I feel like I learned a ton, I really enjoyed everybody else’s talents, and the weekly pace gave me the sense of accountability I needed to actually put some words down.  2020

I am grateful for all you do to make these classes possible for us. I was nourished by our virtual meetings, and pleasantly surprised at the richness and fullness of our meetings on Zoom. Thank you! I'm looking forward to my class next week.  2020

Thank you so much, Ellen, for another great Writing (virtual) room. It helped me tremendously to keep focused on thoughts, reflections  that I would otherwise let go of in the fast running flow of the day.  They are, however,  some of the most precious and replenishing minutes that glimpse into your mind while going about daily routine. 2020

And thanks for continuing to offer these classes. I’m sure it’s not easy during the pandemic and everything going on in the world now. 2020

I am very happy it worked out.  This class has helped me so much in so many ways.  I'm very grateful and happy to be able to continue this, very rich for me, writing process.  2020

Thank you so much Ellen! You have no idea how much your support meant to me during the early stages and throughout this long process. Quite frankly if you hadn't been so affirming, I may well have lost my confidence. A million thanks.  2020

I'm grateful for the opportunity to write in a group setting, and get feedback from others. I particularly appreciate your input on my writing, your warmth and kindness. 2020

I am very anxious to get back to your table!  2020

You are such a great, gentle, inspiring and deeply attentive teacher, leader. I owe you so much! And I know that I am far form being the only one. You made a real difference in my life in Ithaca and for ever. 2020

Still traveling but ready to be home and get back to a writing routine.  You inspire me!!!  2020

I'm not sure you remember me from one of your writing room courses. I took one almost 7 year ago with a group of students, most of whom I remember well. Since then I've moved from Ithaca...to  California after finishing my PhD...But thanks to that little step I took with your class, I've continued writing whenever I can. I've found a new love in writing for middle-graders probably since I read the most when I was a middle-grader myself. Recently, a story of mine was accepted for publication in Cricket...It makes sense to share it with you since you got me started with my writing journey.   2020

Thank you for such kind words.In each of our groups I have appreciated the people and their writings. I always leave having new thoughts and insights. 2019

...such a good WR day. It's amazing what our group is writing. We are all so human. I am very grateful to you for starting this back in 2006...         2019

While I wish that summer was about 3 months longer, I look forward to returning to writing with you and the other fabulous women and men that populate your classes.  2019

I decided it's time to put my pen to paper again.  I welcome the chance to get my brain creativity working again.  I look forward to the sessions, Ellen, and feel as always that you and fellow writers all make me feel so safe to express myself. 2019

It goes without saying that your writing class is the highlight of my week.  2019

I leave your classes feeling stronger than when I came.  2019

Thanks Ellen, a great session. I definitely got a lot out of coming and being with this group. 2019

Thank you for this poem and everything Ellen.  I love this poem, and how nice to hear it in the voice of Garrison Keillor.  You spin magic and healing in your Writing Room  2019

Thank you so much for your feedback and response! Your opinion means a lot to me, and I appreciate your deep thoughts about the piece.I played around with the arrangement and intentionally made the stanzas for the groups that tied into my way of thinking. Some lines hold a lot of feelings for me.  Writing has become more enjoyable for me over the course of your workshop. I can't express enough my appreciation for your support and strength holding the safe space where we can work.  2019

I am so glad that you had an opening for this session.  What I wrote today has helped me work through some "stuff" about my current situation.  I'm hoping I can continue and will try to write about different alternatives of where and/or what I will end up doing as another class member suggested. I feel good for the first time in a very long time.  Thanks!!  2019


Your write up for the first class was a wonderful read!    I felt safer already, less anxiety, and your encouraging words about the value of sharing our readings outloud were a delight.  I’m looking forward to this voyage with you.  2019


I became involved in two writing group after I moved away from Ithaca last fall.  The first group meets twice a month. We share up to ten pages of work. We meet for two hours and give feedback on our submissions. No homework or writing in class. My other writing class is at a writing center in town here. The leader is a MFA teacher we submit up to 3000 words and when we get to class we discuss writings. Each class is so different but none is as comprehensive and as challenging as yours. I miss the sparks and writing and sharing in class. I feel lucky I was a part of your class. I learned so much and my confidence soared. I will always be grateful for your kindness and good teaching.  2019

I decided it's time to put my pen to paper again.  I welcome the chance to get my brain creatively working again. I look forward to the seesions and feel, as always your table and fellow writers all make me feel so safe to express myself.  With you at the helm, Ellen, it's all so easy.   2019

"Being able to be in Writing Room while I am grieving was life saving for me." 2018

"I’m just beginning to realize that I was in something of a funk this fall after......and other aspects of my life, and truly you have been a breath of fresh air." 2018

"Thank you so much for the way you organize the class and your responses to each of us. I am very glad to be part of it." 2018

"I want to keep in touch with you because you have been so instrumental in giving me the confidence to share my writing. Writing has filled my life in such a positive way. I will always be grateful to you." 2018

"A participant let the library know that your workshop here was amazing and they learned so much from you. Let us know when you want to come back." 2018 

"I am looking forward to the Wed. morning classes. I'm also excited to be with old friends or meet new ones." 2018 

"Thank you for the important conversation we had about creative writing. When the flow of words and ideas slow down for me, I tend to think I should just give up." 2018 

"Thank you so much for these poems and ideas. I particularly like 'Introduction to Poetry,' by Billy Collins,which was exactly how I talked about poetry in our last class! I am really enjoying your class, and flexing my pen a bit. Everyone is so encouraging and positive. I look forward to more!" 2018 

"I'm sorry I'll miss the last class this session. And I'll say again, the two sessions in your writing room have been a breakthrough experience for me. I've never written like this before. I have learned so much from you and the group! Your editing suggestions and comments have been very helpful. The gentle way you lead and steer the group is awe-inspiring." 2018 

"I checked my schedule at work today and unfortunately, I will not be able to take the next session. Please keep me on your list and I will try to enroll in your wonderful class next time." 2018 

"Thank you for taking the time to think about my writing dilemma and to write me not once but twice! What you have said is so very helpful. Last night I talked with my friend at some length, but I still felt stuck/unresolved. Your comments have loosened my thinking, and for that I am most grateful....Thank you for the safe place you create, your encouragement and support for all participants, and for your sensitive and helpful thoughts on my writing situation." 2018 

Thank you, Ellen. You have been essential to my making strides! I so appreciate your perspective and help. 2018

"I won't be able to make the last class due to my work schedule. I really regret that. This round of classes (especially) has led me to a different place in my writing. Last round I realized that when I don't miss classes, I can really see a change in my writing process, so I don't want to miss. I hope to continue in the future and will make every effort to avoid these conflicts. I'm realizing now as I write this how much hearing other people's writings, seeing their progress, and getting feedback has had an impact on me, so I am appreciating the importance of being with a group as opposed to writing on my own. Today I wrote something on the spark from last class and had no intention of linking it to other things I've written recently, but the writing took me there. A scene came alive that I hadn't imagined before I started to write. I'm beginning to let writing take me places it wants to go. This has been an entirely new experience for me. I'm seeing writing as less a chore to work through and more as something I'm drawn to, wondering what new experience will come from it." 2017 

"I so enjoyed the Writing Room Reunion and Reading get together. Thank you for assembling the party and all of us who love writing at your table. I have such good memories of writing my heart out. The writings I heard yesterday were amazing as always. What a talented bunch." 2017 

"The comforts of yesterday's event followed me into the sleep last night. Thank you for creating such a fertile and nurturing platform. It has been one of my main portals into my creativity in the last couple of years. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and I have been writing since." 2017 

"I was just reading over what you wrote on the story I gave you. I was happily surprised to see only a few grammar mistakes. And not surprised by your kind comments. But, what a big change from the past grammar corrections. I have learned so much from you. I am grateful. Thank you." 2017 

"Your classes are so wonderful and I may yet be back one of these days..." 2017 

"I am sorry I can't be at the Writing Room Reunion & Reading this year. Thanks for facilitating this event for those who have shared with you and others. You are such a source of growth for so many. Blessings to you..." 2017 

"Ellen thank you. How wonderful and instructive your comments are." 2017 

"I was gathering stuff up for Star which includes my Star Is. writings note book and voila, there were two writings I had not copied in to my computer file of Star Is. writings. I typed them in and as I did so, felt so much gratitude over having the opportunity to be involved in your writing circles over the years." 2017 

"Thank you so very much for your comments. This has been an all-around special day!" 2017 

"Thank you again and again for making this safe, so creative space for so many of us!" 2017 

"I can't tell you how many times I have thought of you, the group, and how important that was to me." 2017 

"I am so looking forward to being in your writing class again. It's at the top of my list of the best things to do. I have missed seeing you and being part of the group." 2017 

"The days go so fast now that I don't say 'I can't wait for .....' any more but I can't wait for writing class to start. It is the place in my life where some of the most meaningful sharing happens." 2017 

"Wow...thank you, Ellen. That means a lot to me because it comes from you. I did look back at some of those early pieces. They need a lot of editing! My writing has definitely improved with your instruction and with practice! Thank you for offering the time and space for all of us." 2017 

"I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with you. The setting you create is very open and comfortable and your sparks are really thoughtful. I appreciate your insights and critical feedback. I also really enjoy getting input from the talented, diverse group(s) and love listening to their work and their process. I hope to join again in the future. And write in the interim! The sparks are a treasure trove for me to draw from." 2017 

"Ellen, you are a terrific instructor and I have learned so much in your class. You manage to bring out the best in us and then we find out that we can be even better!....Thank you so much for your kindness and specific recommendations for improvement." 2017 

"Thank you, Ellen - I focused on myself and feel re-centered after just an hour in class." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"Why is this only 7 weeks?" 2017 (Cornell student) 

"Very powerful workshop, created a safe and intimate space from the start. Thank you for this. It really motivated me to do some more writing." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"I liked sharing my thoughts and writing anything that came in my mind. I'd like more sessions, every week of the semester if possible. Ellen, you are awesome sauce." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"I liked hearing others' stories, worries, perspectives, and sometimes, triumphs. Thank you for a great few weeks!" 2017 (Cornell student) 

"I liked how it was not required for us to share our writing. We need a bigger room for everyone who wants to come to attend." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"The workshop was led in a confident and open manner. I wish it were continuing next Monday." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"I liked writing down my messy thoughts, and also I liked resonating with the thoughts of others expressed in their writing." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"The sessions have helped me to reflect on, and give form to, some of my thoughts. I have also appreciated the opportunity to share some of my written thoughts in a non-judgmental setting. Lastly, thank you for the list of physician-authors you prepared for me." 2017 (Cornell student) 

"....[thank you for] all that you do for people in need, helping stories to come about because of your support and providing a safe place to write it all down." 2017 

"Thank you Ellen, your classes have helped me so much through the sessions I spent with you. The article you sent confirms that people need to write for better mental health. These days we need a diversion from the negative situation in our country. Take care and know you are doing so much for those who need to write!!" 2017 

"Florida is just fine, but one of the things I miss about Ithaca is the writing class. I'm sure it's going well under your inspirational leadership." 2017 

"Thank you so much for your insightful comment! Meant a lot to me!" 2017 

"Thank you for creating a safe place for expressing my deepest thoughts. Looking forward to the next session." 2017 

"So nice to know you all these years and to be part of your magical writing room." 2017 

"It was a blessing finding your Writing Room last year." 2017 

"I've learned a lot from you, and I'm glad we're keeping a connection. Many thanks." 2017 

"I thoroughly enjoyed our Writing Room Reunion and Reading. I found my soul over-whelmed with the depth of stories and the poetry read in a warm welcoming environment. The food was amazing also." 2016 

"You do such excellent work in guiding writers." 2016 

"I'm so happy to be continuing on in the class!" 2016 

"Being in WR has been so helpful for me, and I'm so grateful to have found you." 2016 

"You are a really fast editor!" 2016 

"Thanks so much for class today. I almost did not go because I felt kind of lost and out of sorts. Class really helped. Your spark was prefect. Your kindness, always present. Thank you, it made the difference for a better day." 2016 

"Thank you so much for leading the Writing through the Rough Spots workshop at the library last week. You lead us seamlessly from learning about how writing is beneficial to our health to actually getting strangers to write and share with each other. You are a gifted and inspiring teacher." 2016 

"Thank you for the several comments and suggestions on my last writing. I appreciate the suggestions and experienced the difference in the reading! Thank you again." 2016 

"I am so excited. I was thinking [my agent] might drop me as a client and instead she praised me and extended our contract. None of this would have been possible without Writing through the Rough Spots, and all you have done for me by way of support and encouragement. " 2016 

"And the last two sessions of the writing experience were very precious to me. I grew to love writing more than before. And got some clear vision of my past and my relationships. Thank you so much for this opportunity to look back and forward of my life!" 2016 

"At the risk of being mushy and repetitive, I have got to say that you are uniquely talented for this role you have created for yourself. I am frequently in awe, as I watch your responses to each person in the class somewhat agape, and feel I have a lot to learn from how it looks when someone can step outside themselves to listen well, as you tenderly apply your compassion and specific knowledge of each person's writing in your loving words. Please, no need for any response except a nod of recognition at the observation that I am sure most or all of us share." 2016 

"Your work is a gift to the community." 2016 

"Ellen thank you. Your tightening suggestions are right on. I’m learning so much from you!" 2016 

"I really enjoyed last night's class. I think we are a fun bunch. You create such a fun, safe and creative space for writers - Thank you!!" 2016 

"I miss all the writing and sharing and learning. You have created a wonderful workshop. Obviously a large group of folks agree, and thus you have ongoing class participants. I hope to rejoin you in the fall." 2016 

"Thanks for giving me a 'room to write in' during my years in Ithaca. You're the best thing about that town!!" 2015 

"I’m editing the piece I wrote for class for a blog. It felt close, but a little off and unfinished. Since this is the time of year to talk about entering darkness, I wanted to make it work. Your edits are excellent and a gift to me. I feel relieved when I read them. Oh, that’s it! Without changing my words, you bring me closer to myself and what I want to say. You make me feel heard and revealed. Thank you for being supportive as I lumber around looking for what I want and need to say and how to say it." 2015 

"Having the Writing Room opportunity has been a highlight of my return to this area. Some of the other facets are tougher, but the Writing Room, your welcome, and meeting the others in the class, have been all positive. So thank you." 2015 

"I will be happy one day to join again, and am so grateful for your classes." 2015 

"The Writing Room!!! How I wish I could blip across the 2500 miles and join you.... Like college and travel and friendships and falling in love, your writing room changed me ---for good and for good. Thank you, thank you." 2015 

"Writing Room was a very moving experience this summer. I am so glad I was able to stay through all ten sessions, even though I missed a couple. Today also was an remarkable experience which demonstrated so beautifully how your method works. Thank you for the little scroll of commentaries about writing. I love having those. The dahlia and Queen Anne's lace are beautiful. I have little red dahlias growing too, but the ones I have are smaller than yours, more like little red balls. I love the one you gave us. And thank you for the pen. When I pick it up I am always glad it is from you and Writing Room." 2015 

"Thank you for the last 5 weeks, which was the best "therapy" I could have had...Thank you for your guidance, encouragement and kind presence. I enjoyed being one of 6 writers in this little 5 week community." 2015 

"I want to thank you again for a wonderful experience in the writing workshop. You have a gift of helping your aspiring writers illuminate their deepest thoughts. It was really refreshing to participate in that process with you. I wish I had been to more sessions. The women in our group have had riveting experiences to which your keen ear and eye bring clarity and focus." 2015 

"I want to thank you again for a wonderful Fall semester of writing room .... Those 2 hours at your table were often my very best moments of my week. ( and this semester was a good semester ) and I left with wonderful memories written down in my secret personal folder.I do share some of the stories as gifts to my friends and daughter. The 'yellow dog story' was a success. I will certainly miss your winter classes at lot. I am going to try to see if I can find a writing group in [country of sabbatical] but I am not sure that writing in another language will work. I will let you know." 2015 

"I am very much looking forward to be sitting around the table in the room you have made into such a safe place for so many of us to come and explore our lives and our worlds." 2015 

"Your classes were important to me and I want to be able to take another one soon, as soon as the book is finally put away, which I hope will be a few weeks from now. I thought a lot about your classes while I was writing about teaching and writing because your classes are some of the best I've ever seen. I've been looking for the words to say why. Just now, I was reading a book about play by a psychologist, Stuart Brown. I read a few pages and thought of your class, and how you create this space where people can be authentic and find their way in words. In teaching in academic writing classrooms-- there's so much talk. And you very deftly nudge people to find out for themselves. I hope I will be able to take a class with you soon... when the book is done and I can return to the pleasure of writing and creating." 2015 

"Thank you for all you do and how you do it." 2014 

"What a wonderful class on Wednesday night! I'm back on a roll. I wasn't sure I could get something from scratching the sparks together. Forcing myself to prep a story for class was fabulous. As you could tell, I was completely wired-up from the experience. Thank you for the powerful listening and encouragement. I have no idea what the next six months holds but I'll make it if I can keep up the writing." 2014 

"Just thinking of how encouraging you were when I could barely hold pen to paper, how your sparks worked even when my sprinkler system would not shut off, and how delightful it was to listen and be heard. I was always amazed by what we did under your gentle direction." 2014 

"I think back very fondly to your writing class and what a rough spot I was in when I started there. It truly was a comfort to have that place to go every week and to be reacquainted with my big imagination between classes :) I miss having time for that." 2014 

"I think your mentor did a great job because if not for you, I don't know if I would have believed this much in myself- I truly love working with you-I am lucky." 2014 

"The opportunity to write and actually get it out there saying it, is a pretty powerful tool for my inner self to work on my own healing. Thank you so much for this amazing experience in safety and kindness, attention and support in the environment you have set up in your work. It is much appreciated." 2013 

"You are a great editor. All your comments on my piece this week are right on the money." 2013 

"I am psyched about writing. And I'm getting a clearer idea of who I am as a writer, confidence in the value of things I have to share, and awareness of the unique style in which I write. I guess this is another way of saying I'm finding my voice." 2013 

"I appreciate the tenderness with which you nurture each of us. There have been several miracles in our class so far this session." 2013

"...it really stimulated some deep work... that is obviously my truth. Did love being with the others on Thursday and will miss them and seeing you weekly. You are helping poets and writers give birth to themselves! Was working on taxes all day - now off to dinner - would rather write! Edited the poem from class - I'm happy with it. see you tonight." 2013 

"In class,....each of us has a distinct style as well as universal themes/feelings. I have gotten to appreciate a wider range of styles; in particular I am more aware now than I was in earlier classes that each class has a personality and distinct gifts to offer us...I fully expect this to be another fulfilling class. I aspire to be (almost) as able as you are to see people's potential beyond whatever limitations/hesitations they have at any given moment. Thanks, again, for being you." 2013 

"I miss you and your table and the writers around it. But I'm so grateful for the happy and comforting and provoking and electrifying hours spent in those writing circles. Thank you." 2013 

"Thanks for seeing the best in me re: the writing. I can imagine how you need those words of encouragement re: the class as well. Usually people just assume the teacher needs no support. Well I'm here to tell you, people blossom in your class because you see the best in them. Thanks for your earlier suggestions on the poems. I had no idea that your class would force some unexpected much appreciated writing out of me." 2013 

"For what it is worth, today is my 86th day in a row of writing on my book, in the mornings at 6, right when I get up. I love starting my mornings with the words and sentences. It was WONDERFUL sitting at your table; I learned so much and really enjoyed myself each time. The safe but prodding environment elicited writing that I'm proud of, and that I didn't know I could produce. Watching that happen before my eyes was spell-binding. Thank you!" 2013 

"As difficult as it is for me to be there sometimes, I do appreciate so much the impetus the weekly meetings give me to write, and that you do the amazing work you do of listening, and really hearing each of us." 2013 

"You are the magic that makes it work. You always inspire us to do more by seeing why our writing is meaningful! And the results of all of us doing it together is very exciting. Thanks so much." 2012 

"It was a wonderful workshop. Thank you, Ellen for being the world’s best listener, someone who knows how to draw forth the best in each of us. I had sufficient time for writing, and I’m still reflecting on the feedback. It was good that you also allowed time at the end to just chat informally with each other. All in all, a terrific day, and I hope there will be another workshop next year." 2012 

"It makes me glad to know that you will read this new draft first and talk with me about it before I do a final go through. I love working in collaboration with you and am grateful." 2012 

"I was going through a drawer in my bedroom and found a journal with my writings from 2004 on Star Island. I sat down to read them-some coming back to me and others as if I had never read them let alone wrote them. Tears came to my eyes-some of them the cause of tears, and some just leaving me overwhelmed with amazement that I had written them. And the prompts-absolutely amazing! Well, I decided to copy them into the computer for posterity-who knows who will ever see them, and maybe I'll print them out and put them into a binder, for who knows why. I quickly thought of you and how wonderful a facilitator you are during the writing workshops. Not that no one else can do the job, but you have something that I cannot describe, that others don't have. And so, I want to thank you again for the hundredth time." 2012 

"Again I thank you Ellen for your encouragement, expertise, constructive suggestions, loving support, and kind friendship. My cousin who is an organizer in the yearly writer's conference [in her state], has asked me many questions about your classes since there is new grant money for writing classes. I rave about your skills, so she wants to learn more about your style of teaching as she applies for this grant money. I sent her to your website, but the truth is that it's not the techniques I can list that matter as much as your perceptive reading, your ability to give consistent constructive feedback, and the nurturing atmosphere you create." 2011 

"Thank you for always having tea and hot water and honey available for us. I really enjoy your writing class and hope to be able to join again in the spring or summer. Thanks for making this writing experience so much fun and rewarding." 2010 

"I'm noticing that the essays since a year ago when I began writing with you are more engaging and powerful, because I went for my grief rather than trying to conceal it or make it more acceptable to others…It has been nurturing and inspiring to have you walking beside me for more than a year now. Friends who read the articles I have written said that my writing has become stronger and more engaging. I owe much to you for the suggestions you give and the structure you create." 2010 

"I wanted to tell you that I'd like to take the marathon class if there's still room. Also, that a number of my poems were accepted for an online publication." 2010 

"I just wanted to thank you so much for writing me a recommendation. The other two people who wrote me letters were not familiar with my writing so your letter was really important and so meaningful to me personally." (Upon acceptance into MFA program) 2010 

"As I reflect back to my work done in the Writing Room, I am so grateful for your cues and guidance. The opportunity let my subconscious 'out to play' giving it a safe place to be blessed into reality. Thank you so very much, Ellen, honestly taking your class was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I still hold on to our last writing assignment, knowing that when I am able...no let me rephrase…when I want to write again, that is where I will start." 2009 

"I think the structure you've created for the class is excellent. All the aspects feed into each other nicely." 2008 

"[The class] inspired me to write more." 2008 

"I am still awed by the different tangents we all take on the same topic. The human mind is so very amazing, isn't it? Makes me smile, makes me laugh, often makes me sad, I guess, and makes me think hard. What fun!" 2008 

"If you ever want to have a wonderful writing, self-discovery, and sharing experience in a comfortable environment where senses of humor are very welcome and critiques are gentle, positive, and insightful -- I recommend Ellen's workshop. …[I feel] absolutely fulfilled and more. I not only 'wrote through a rough spot,' I gained more confidence as a writer and creative thinker. If you have an ongoing or dreamed-of writing project, Ellen's technique can even help you get unstuck or pick up the momentum. She's really amazing." 2007 

"It feels good to write again. I feel grateful to you for helping me into the gentle waters of creativity." 2007 

"And thank you for your energy and ability to 'pull' things out of us!" 2007 

"You amazed me, remembering the details in each of our stories and finding a way to encourage each of us. I'm really enjoying the space & place to write. I'm looking forward to future sessions." 2007 

"Thank you for the kind words. Such diverse thoughts/writing among so few people! Interesting, indeed." 2006 

"It is an honor to be part of the group!!" 2006 

"Your reflective skills stood out to me. Very thorough reflective responding doesn't happen so frequently in everyday life --I tried to listen deeply to everyone's stories and to anticipate how you would respond. But I had trouble generating in my mind as perspicacious and warmly genuine of a reflection as you did." 2005 

"I left feeling VERY enthusiastic about writing. For 5-6 years, writing was completely shelved from my consciousness: I had gradually come to conceive of the activity as completely foreign, something that someone else is meant to do, not me. But I left with a warm sensation of writing and its potentials: as fun, as self-introspection, as a channel, as a friend, as a purpose -- and these feelings about writing enriched my life. Thank you for instigating this unforeseen excitement." 2005