Meet our workshop facilitators
I've been writing for as long as I can
remember. What has kept me writing is
ongoing encouragement from others.
That's why I launched Compass Writers
— to write in community even as I face
the page alone and to pass on
connection and encouragement to
Sure I've been published. If you'd like to explore my work, it's available at CherylMurfin.com. But, really, what's most important is my love of writing and my love of seeing others love or perhaps fall in love for the first time with their own unique voice.
We each have one. In fact, we are all born with creative genius. If you pick up a pen (or open a blank computer screen) and put words down, you are a writer. I embrace the philosophy of the internationally renowned Amherst Writers & Artists method: A writer is someone who writes. So, whether you've been writing forever or are petrified because you are just picking up that pen for the first time in 50 years, I want you to know that you are safe in any of the writing spaces I offer.
I believe too that writing and most other artistic pursuits are a wonderful tool for unlocking your truth as a person. Meeting yourself on the page and in other art practices is both a means of healing and a means of growing as a human being. I will encourge you to write with your entire being, body, mind and spirit.
I hold a BA in Journalism and an MA in Integrated Arts and Education/Writing. But that is not what makes me qualified to guide you. Come because you want to part of a supportive writing community and you want a workshop leader who believes in you and will support your work with a positive, affirming approach.
Write like someone is chasing you. Creativity can be as instinctual as little kids clutching crayons and fearlessly scribbling stories. It is possible to outrun your inner critic. Learn from your strengths, find wild metaphors, jump in!
I value a warm welcoming atmosphere that nourishes both introverts and extroverts. We create a space that enhances exploration and humor.
When I discovered Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) years ago, practicing free-flowing creativity was alien to me. AWA practice opened me up. I now edit separately from writing. Strengthen your strengths. As AWA proclaims: You can teach writing craft while preserving “a writer’s original voice and artistic self-esteem.”
I got my B.A from Yale University then traveled for nearly a decade—primarily in Japan, Australia (where I also got my Master’s), and New Zealand. I value exploring the human experience through performance and writing. An actor and vocalist, I have been doing standup comedy for several years. I write primarily fiction (medium.com/lindseyloon), creative non-fiction, songs, and comedy.
My creative methodology emerged from practicing writing in literally dozens of classes, and generating over 700 pages of content. I trained in comedic writing with Hugh Fink, an Emmy-winning comedy writer and 7 year veteran of the Saturday Night Live staff. I also took over 20 classes with AWA facilitators through programs including Write Around The World. Additionally keen to keep my editing/analytical skills sharp, I work as a writing coach and editor at Ilumin Education— helping high school students voice their personal stories through college admissions essays.
I am originally from Cambridge, MA and now based in Los Angeles. I have also called these places home: Houston, TX; Kyoto and Yokohama, Japan; and Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia.
You contain a multitude of story worlds. Come play.
I reluctantly re-claimed the titles of writer
and storyteller; you can too. A 20-year
career working with crime victims and
offenders has given me considerable
material, what’s your story? At various
times, I have been: a hospital-based
first responder for victims of sexual
assault, child abuse, and domestic
violence; Family Law Guardian ad Litem;
prison teacher and researcher; Victim Offender
Dialogue facilitator; and communications coordinator for a legal aid nonprofit. The unexpected commonality? At the end of the day, immersion in other people’s stories.
As lead writer and associate editor of The Tucson Dog Magazine for the first two years of its production, I began reclaiming ‘writer.’ During this time, I rediscovered my love of creative writing through an Amherst Writers & Artist’s (AWA) group. As a now-trained AWA facilitator, I participate in and lead multiple AWA writing groups weekly. To further help my mental health during the pandemic, I am working on 2 novels, both of which tangentially draw upon travels through the criminal justice system.
Whenever possible, I prefer being outdoors, far away from prisons, hospitals, schools, offices, or other institutions dedicated to human trauma and discomfort. A nomadic yogi who enjoys long road trips—having traversed the length or width of continental US by car more than a dozen times—I am a hiker, mountain biker, swimmer, and an anything-involving-sunshine person. As a semi-professional dog stalker, I am likely to strike up conversations with random strangers holding leashes. I appreciate life’s finer things: good books, good food, good friends, playing in the dirt, and laughing (most often at myself).
I look forward to writing together. I hope that, through our shared writing, you can also reclaim your titles: writer and storyteller.