Explore the Creative Voices Inside You at Girls' Club's Proxy Selves Writing Workshop

Writing is a solitary endeavor — except, of course, for all the voices in your own head. 

Whether you write in the privacy of your bedroom or in a coffee shop surrounded by the hustle and bustle of caffeinated humanity, the task itself requires a drawing in, an exclusion of the world around you. So when you aren't putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper, it's good to get out of that solitary space and seek out others who've shared the experience and the inspiration of the world around you.

“I want people to disable the nagging voice that we sometimes get as writers."

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Proxy Selves is a fast-paced, prompt-driven writing workshop being led by Jan Becker, the current writer in residence for Girls’ Club Collection. Located in Fort Lauderdale, Girls' Club is a private museum and exhibition space that sponsors educational and outreach programming in the arts. That includes writing and each year they host a writer in residence. 

Proxy Selves describes itself as "a poetry/creative nonfiction workshop that will explore and give voice to the multitudes of self-contained within each writer." This theme hit home with Becker, who is a current MFA candidate at Florida International University. 

"Through workshops at FIU, I became really aware of how different we can be at different stages of our lives and how we create different selves in writing," she says.

Although targeting poetry and creative nonfiction, she stresses that this workshop will create helpful tools for writers of any genre.
"I want people to disable the nagging voice that we sometimes get as writers that says, Oh, you can’t write about that or That’s not any good," Becker says. "The way the workshop is designed you don’t really get a chance to listen to that nagging voice. You have to march past it. A lot of the times writers, especially beginning writers, have these hang-ups about writing where they get that voice and they feel like they have to listen to it. I think that our inner critic disables us and prevents us from accessing the really good writing that comes from our gut."

Proxy Selves is based on Girls' Club's current exhibition, "Self Proliferation," curated by Micaela Giovannotti. "It explores not only printmaking as a medium but also the way the collection artists proliferate themselves, their minds, their bodies, and the archetypical female characters," says gallery director Sarah Michelle Rupert. Becker's workshop specifically relates to this and the different iterations artists have as they take on different roles through different pieces of their personality.

Girls’ Club is all about helping artists explore ways of self-expression. They know that artists are not contained within one discipline, either. Much like onions and ogres, artists have layers. Rupert says it best: "One thing we [Girls’ Club] enjoy is cross-disciplinary programs where we get to unite the different creatives within our community whether they lean more toward the literary world, visual arts world, poetry, or dance choreography.”

The “Self Proliferation” exhibit is currently on display at Girls’ Club, located at 117 NE Second St., Fort Lauderdale, until June 25. Proxy Selves workshop will be held at Girls’ Club on Saturday, May 28, and has a $20 registration fee. More information can be found at
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Tana Velen