Laurel Braitman, #writingmedicine

Write Now

Jenny Harrington


It’s called Reflective writing. I participate in a virtual writer’s workshop led by Laurel Braitman. Laurel holds the official titles of PhD, Director of Writing and Storytelling, in a program known as Medicine and the Muse in the Center for Biomedical Ethics. She is also Adjunct Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. (Whew!) She tells it with so much more eloquence and concision here:

Why is this important for you to know? Because once a week, I sit down with her, and many others, in the comfort of my own abode and am led in communal, guided writing and storytelling by Laurel. It is a beautiful, inspiring practice. It has giving my Saturday morning’s meaning. It is important for you to know that when days are knocked over like a hot coffee mug spilled onto your workspace, running faster than you can sop up with the sleeve of your sweatshirt. Damning hot and damaging hand-scribbled notes, staining book corners and dripping onto what used to be your nice rug… When calendars serve no purpose and we can’t hug our best friends because we can barely go out our front door… When life is messy, we can still embrace the world.

from #writingmedicine April 25, 2020

Cold-hearted me–mother of four, ahem, three, can still, will still, show up, sit up, and listen. I might even, sometimes, let the shades be drawn back and sun in.

And you can, too. Reflecive writing is for everyone.

When life is messy, we can still embrace the world.

Sometimes, its a matter of finding the right people. Determined people who show up at your door and pull back the drapes on rainy days and let the light in. I owe Laurel a huge thanks for being that determined, right person for the past forever Saturdays. And magically, she does it from another state, from a tiny, 13" macbook screen, without even knowing my middle name or my stories. I know her as Oliver’s Mom and Holly’s friend. Now, I know her as the Fearless Felt Hat Writer Leader. We all wear many hats in life. Who are your determined, right people, right now? Who can you gut your heart out to and hand it over as an expression of gratitude? Hat-Wearer of Heart-Gutter is a vital role. As essential as Mask-Maker, Prescription-Filler, Package-Delieverer… Who can you send a virtual hug to? Right now? Write now.

Do it. I dare you.

Quote from Mark Nepo, The Eqxuisite Risk as shared in #writingmedicine April 4, 2020.



Jenny Harrington

Author, researcher, mother living on an island near Seattle. Now, notably, an international bunny smuggler. Find her struggles and snuggles at