Students talk about ‘writing the self’

“I had the pleasure of taking Dr. Reinekke Lengelle’s Writing the Self course this past fall through Athabasca University. I didn’t really know what to expect when I signed up for the course, but it turned out to be a powerfully positive, even life-altering, experience. 

As it happens, I was going through a major life transition at the same time I took Reinekke’s course. It isn’t too much to say that her kindness, humour, deep insight and gentle guidance through the writing exercises helped me navigate the treacherous shoals of wrenching change. Specifically, Reinekke’s model of “re-storying” this difficult life event helped me reframe the transition and come to terms with it in a way I would not have been able to do otherwise. She was an inspiration and I will always be grateful to her for this.  

Writing the Self is the right course for people — writers or not — who seek a new way of looking at any aspect of their own life or career. It takes commitment and discipline to take on the daily writing practice the course entails and there were times when it was hard to find the time to do it. In the end, though, I found its value far outweighed the cost of my time and labour. I highly recommend this course.”

M.L. Bream,
Journalist & former editor Toronto Star

“I always knew there was truth in writing, but taking Reinekke’s course showed me that having a dialogue with myself is valuable, meaningful, and can generate alternatives with a goodness of “fit” for me right here, right now.

Reinekke’s feedback guided me to become courageous on the page step-by-step, listening to my “soft body” and remembering that no matter what – I am enough. Reinekke reminded me that insights I voiced and affirmed in the course were in fact pointing me in the direction where my energy wants to flow, that I no longer needed my energy going to places where I felt an inner “no” (“an inner know” perhaps more accurate).

Through the course I learned that courage needs to be exercised (in writing and out). In writing, like life, taking small steps can bring big gains. Be vulnerable. It is wise to tell one’s own truth, especially to one’s self. You don’t have to be good. You don’t have to know anything for certain.

Sometimes all you need to do is get your butt in a chair, take a deep breath, and write “Once upon a time…..” when you have no idea where to even begin, and sometimes, just sometimes, something magical can happen.

Career life narrative writing can provide much insight, more than I ever imagined. The course gave me insight not to worry about end product and destination, not to rush to find answers. I feel like I discovered myself again and what I might choose to do in the years ahead. And if I don’t choose anything different that’s okay too, maybe I do need time to reflect, discover, dialogue with myself, to be patient; it is fine to not be ready to act “yet”. I can let my “soft body” love what it loves. I learned to listen to my heart; to practice courage, a little every day.”

Suzanne Wood,
Writer, poet, artist, blogger, patient advocate

Dr. Lengelle’s courses “Writing the Self: The Experience and Potential of Writing for Personal Development” and “Narrative Possibilities: The Transformative Power of Writing, Story, and Poetry in Personal and Professional Development” invite students to consider writing as a critical tool for personal growth. These courses changed my relationship to writing and I continue to utilize her concepts in my professional life as an English instructor and in my creative pursuits as an MFA student. Dr. Lengelle’s pedagogical style encourages students to critically examine their experiences for insight and empowers them to use these insights for the betterment of their future. I have truly benefitted from her approach to writing and I will always cherish my time as her student.

Cara Violini,
Writer & English Instructor

Though I have always enjoyed the writing process, it wasn’t until I met Dr. Reinekke Lengelle that I fully realized the potential of writing to help me explore, define and refine my life experiences.

Reinekke’s facilitation of “Writing the Self” has been an absolute game changer for me on a personal, professional and academic level. Working under Reinekke’s guidance, I was encouraged to not only commit to a regular writing practice, but to also reflect on my work and to discover patterns in my thought processes and motivations.

“Writing the Self” has allowed me to uncover truths about my life experiences that I have misread, neglected or repressed altogether. With Reinekke’s insightful feedback and gentle encouragement, I felt myself engaging – for the first time – in the realness of my world.

This process has led me to develop deeper relationships with my family members and friends, to discover my romantic wants and needs, and to reveal authentic meaning behind my work as an educator.

Reinekke has also helped me to unleash a creative flow in my writing that has extended itself into my work as a graduate student. It’s not a coincidence that my research papers come together more efficiently nowadays. I directly give credit to Reinekke and her “Writing the Self” program for helping me to think more openly and critically in all areas of my life.

Even after my formal learning time with Reinekke has passed, I continue to put into practice all that she has taught me and continue to reap the rewards. Simply put, learning from Reinekke and discovering “Writing the Self” has been the ultimate gift – a gift that I hope everyone has the chance to experience.

Mario Rocchetta, Teacher,
Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board and Professor, Sault College

I registered in my first Writing the self course just after my father-in-law passed away. He had pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver, prostate and bones. He was the first of our parents (and our children’s grandparents) to die. His death was extremely painful and is something our family is still working through.

Through the process of Writing the self I learned how writing can help me fully travel my experiences and emotions. This allowed me access to the place where deep self-knowledge is revealed. A writer for most of the past 40 years, I had danced around this deeper place without truly seeing it before. I went on a raw and difficult journey the year I discovered Writing the self, and I am wiser for it.

Writing the self provides a set of tools that opens the heart to deep inquiry. As a mentor and facilitator, Dr. Reinekke Lengelle encourages a questioning process that is fulfilling and gently challenging. In my experience, this process has been of benefit in experiencing and managing grief, in deepening personal relationships, and in making positive career choices. Writing is more than just a creative outlet now. It is a way of connecting with my own unfaltering guide.

Adrienne Mercer Breen,
Journalist & Communications and Engagement Officer, Vancouver Island Health Authority