Workshop Descriptions & Instructor Bios

November 20

Drinking From Places: A Route to Health Through Creative Nonfiction and Place
Pamela Pierce


“Drink from Places” will invite participants to deeply think about the location that surrounds them and how that impacts health by writing brief creative nonfiction pieces inspired by an archival image of their choosing.

Pamela Pierce is a librarian at Oregon Health and Science University. She was previously the Digital Library Coordinator and Certified Archivist at the Theodore Roosevelt Center in Dickinson, ND. She is a creative nonfiction writer, with work published in RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage. She is a proud native Tucsonan, who also loves Portland deeply.


December 17

From Burnout to WEll-Being: Transforming Empathy into Compassion
Candice Kim

Empathy burns us out. It’s hard to keep feeling what other people feel when they’re experiencing pain, emotional or physical. In this workshop, we’ll practice evidence-based meditation and write narratives from different perspectives to transform empathy into compassion. Because unlike empathy, compassion keeps us whole, allowing us to keep giving.

CKim_HeadshotCandice Kim, MS, is a third-year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine. For the past four years, she has taught Stanford undergraduates how to write the story of their dreams, whether it be the narrative arc of their research project or their personal journey. She has organized creative writing workshops for medical students and has led a research project studying the effects of storytelling on improving well-being. She has presented her project at multiple conferences and most recently led a creative writing workshop for almost 100 participants at the 2018 Women in Medicine Conference. In addition to writing, Candice has a special place in her heart for live storytelling, having performed for the San Francisco-based series The Nocturnists at two sold-out shows. She helped start a live storytelling series called TALK Rx for her medical student peers and serves as a student coach, helping her classmates craft their personal story for the stage. She is involved with the Stanford Storytelling Project and is creating a podcast episode for their award-winning show State of the Human on the patient perspective of schizophrenia treatment. Her newest project is a graphic novel that she is collaboratively writing and drawing through the Stanford Graphic Novel Project.

Past Workshops

October 16

Creative Embodiment: A Tool for Art, Self- Care, and Resistance
Liz Asch Greenhill

Drawing on concepts from Chinese Medicine and acupuncture theory, we will explore how visualization is used for self-care. A creative shift in our self-perception can open us up to new awareness, creativity, and a felt sense of transformation. In this workshop, we will begin to explore generative language and imagery as therapeutic tools and we will learn techniques which can be practiced at home.

Liz Asch Greenhill_headshotAbout Liz: Liz Asch Greenhill is an acupuncturist, visual artist, and writer. In each of these modalities of expression, she helps others explore embodied creativity to grow new awareness around pain both physical and emotional. Liz holds a BA from Vassar College, and MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Eastern Oregon University, and a Masters in Oriental Medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. She has been a practicing acupuncturist in Oregon since 2009 and also works as a consultant teaching individuals and groups ways of applying acupuncture theory to the creative process. Liz has taught embodied creatively classes at the Portland Underground Graduate School and forthcoming at Lidia Yuknavitch’s Corporeal Writing school. At her private practice, Night Sky Acupuncture + Ideaphoria (close-in on East Burnside), Liz paints and writes, curates magically transformative acupuncture experiences, and counsels artists on the phone. Learn more at or

September 18

Creation Myths as Metaphor for Mundane Magic
Katy Liljeholm

Creation myths are the human imagination’s response to the inexplicable. They weave together the mundane and the extraordinary into a new world. We’ll explore the structures and purposes of creation myths. Then write your own creation myth to explain your mysteries in this workshop.

unnamed-1About Katy: Katy Liljeholm is a theater director and writing teacher who transplanted to Portland from Ohio purely out of a sense of adventure. She’s worked as a director, stage manager and puppeteer at local theaters, including Tears of Joy, Teatro de Milagro, Profile Theater, Portland Actors’ Ensemble, New Century Players, Beaverton Civic Theater and others. She was Artistic Director of Well Arts from 2010- 2014, and taught playwriting workshops at the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Washington County, the Northwest Down Syndrome Association, Hollywood Senior Center, REACH CDC, Friendly House, Homewoods and other locations, presenting her work at conferences including the Society for Arts in Healthcare, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and OHSU’s Health Aging Alliance. She currently provides oral history services for palliative care patients through Legacy Health Services, teaches family history and memoir writing classes at local community centers and is pursuing her Masters in Arts in Health at University of Florida. A stalwart believer in preserving and sharing stories, you can find her online at She is a pound mother of three and loves exploring the nooks and crannies of our community with her sons and hirsute, but never hipster, husband.

August 21

Writing through Life Transitions
Aryn Bartley


In this workshop, participants will encounter a framework for thinking about life transitions, freewrite about one of their own life transitions, and read and discuss poetry by Mary Oliver. Sharing is optional.

About Aryn: Aryn Bartley teaches writing and literature at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR.

July 17

Listening and Story Sharing as Practices for Radical Self-Care
Niki Steckler

Radical self-care means tending and befriending ourselves as well as others. Our capacity to notice our own internal stories is fundamental to our capacity to listen empathetically and witness what is true for another person at a certain moment in time.  Participants will experience the restorative power of story sharing and generous listening during the workshop and will leave with a taste of how they might integrate listening and story practices into their daily lives and work.


About Niki: Niki Steckler, Ph.D., teaches and coaches academic leaders and healthcare professionals on how to increase their leadership capabilities in order to make a meaningful difference in health and healthcare. Her methods for teaching emotional intelligence and influence center around awareness of the stories we are telling ourselves (and others) and how greater awareness and choice about our narratives can help us reframe and broaden our understanding of what is happening around us and what it means. Dr. Steckler has won awards for her teaching excellence; she currently teaches graduate courses and professional development workshops on becoming an effective manager, influence and communication skills for leaders and increasing human sustainability in healthcare contexts. She is currently an Associate Professor of Management in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University.


The InterPlay of Narrative Medicine
Cassandra Sagan (June 2018)

InterPlay is an active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body. Using simple, incremental “forms” we’ll play with words, sounds, stillness, and easy movement to find new ways to unpack and express our stories. It’s possible to “have” your experience, even when you can’t articulate it.

About Cassandra: Cassandara Sagan is a poet and educator, ordained maggid (Jewish teacher/preacher/storyteller), artist and songwriter. She has been leading InterPlay in a variety of seetings since 2009. Cassandra is on the faculty of Reclaiming Judaism’s national Maggid-Educator training program where she teaches educators to use InterPlay in creating classroom cultures based in story, embodiment, and play. For more about InterPlay, go to


Fiction as a Route to Truth (May 2018)
Cara Olexa

When local writer and workshop facilitator Cara Olexa tried to piece together the story of her mother’s illness and death, she found the facts conflicted. But retelling the story as fiction revealed deeper truths. Explore how fiction can find the truth in the stories we need to tell.

About Cara: Cara Olexa earned an MFA in fiction from New Mexico State University. She has facilitated workshops for the Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative and for Write Around Portland, a nonprofit partnering with community organizations to provide free creative writing workshops to people who might not otherwise have access to them. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is currently working on a book of narrative poetry.