If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. — From ‘Keeping Quiet’—a prayer/poem for peace by Pablo Neruda



This workshop is on demand, and the fee negotiable.




A workshop specifically designed for people from opposite warring nations or communities, past or present.  It can be offered to high school students and LAUSD teachers, as well as in community centers and private homes.

In an atmosphere of non-judgment and respect for the human soul, we gather to write stories borne of conflict, war and atrocity. We go beneath rhetoric and political agendas to the personal experience, to just telling the story.

Imagine what can happen when a writer whose ancestors dropped bombs on a certain population writes together with someone who was a victim of that bombing. What kind of bridges can be formed when we listen to each others’ stories with compassion? Can such listening to “the other” empower us as peacemakers and artists?

Writing the pain and trauma out of our bodies and souls is transformational. Bringing out into the light of day that which has been hidden and denied creates more space inside ourselves to breathe, and allows us to act more effectively. Turning wounds into literature is an act of defiance, an act of self-preservation, and a step toward personal and global healing and peace.




What participants say:

“In Elana’s ‘Writing for Peace’ workshop that I participated in, there were two Iranian writers who had been politically persecuted in their native land. As a sheltered American, I was struck and humbled by their personal stories of imprisonment, their witnessing of executions, and their flight to freedom. The workshop gave me insight into a world I would not have otherwise known.” Elisabeth Elwell, American travel consultant, world surfer, writer, USM grad


“In the ‘Writing for Peace’ workshop Elana created this tender environment in which I felt safe to write and share my grandmother’s story for the first time: how she had been expelled from her home in Acca, Palestine, in the Naqba, the 1948 war between Israel and the Arab countries.” Hadia Haaj, holistic healer, USM grad