Worst Ex Stories – An Entertainment and Healing Workshop

Do you have an ex story? Most of us do. And chances are, you've told it over and over again. But are you satisfied? Probably not. Somehow, that story lives on in you and, though you may not think of it often, it can click into "play" at the oddest moments. It won't go away, because something remains unresolved, unsatisfied.
That something can be called healing.
So that's what this workshop is about; telling your story in a way that can be more healing than recounting it in your head again, or to a friend or two (who've probably heard it before). A group share can do an interesting thing; it can lift your story and your pain up out of your hands and place it down, separate from you, in a collective pile with everyone else's. And then, through the group experience of hearing others, of feeling heard by everyone in the room, and ultimately of laughing at the absurdity of it all, the group share can set a flame to that pile of pain and burn it down to dust right in front of your eyes.
So, by popular vote (I suggested this workshop in my survey earlier this year and the vote for it was a resounding Yes!), we are going to do a "Worst Ex Stories" workshop at Women At Woodstock. Wanna join in? Come on! It's going to be a great party! 
And lest you worry that the workshop will devolve into a whine fest or general men- (or women)-bashing, here are the rules and the structure that we're going to follow in order to keep the workshop moving along, the mood light, and the closure certain:

Worst Ex Stories Rules & Regulations

  1. If you want to share your Worst Ex Story, you must write it and submit it to us ahead of time. There will be a cap on the word count.
  2. Each participant will read her story from her manuscript, like a reading at an author's workshop. As if her story belongs to her, but she is not her story.
  3. Your fellow WAW sisters can react, but there will be no extended discussion after each story. We will simply hear one another, and in turn be heard.
  4. We will do something symbolic at the end, to celebrate. To celebrate what? Being here, being whole, having what we have, believing life to be full of possibilities, perhaps believing in forgiveness.  
  5. And, because of the enthusiasm this workshop has created, we are going to publish our Worst Ex Stories as an anthology next spring. Why? For entertainment, for enlightenment, and, I hope, for the edification of younger women who might come upon the book. What if we help a few of our daughters and younger friends avoid the pitfalls we fell into, thanks to our shared experience and wisdom and our willingness to tell about the mistakes we've made? Wouldn't that be amazing!

I've got a Worst Ex Story, and I'll lead off the workshop by telling it. So let's pop open the cork on that healthful bottle of wine and get the party going!

New Announcement:
We're publishing an anthology of the best "Worst Ex Stories" this spring!

All submitted stories from Women At Woodstock attendees will be considered for the anthology - and, because of the enthusiasm for this project (we've heard from many women who aren't attending but who want to submit their stories), we've decided to open up story submissions to everyone - not just those who are attending Women At Woodstock. Of course, you can't read your story to the group unless you're attending, but you can submit your story for consideration for publication in our anthology whether you're attending our retreat or not. Those whose stories are selected will receive a free copy of our very first Women At Woodstock Anthology - Worst Ex Stories when it's published!

Click here to submit your story.

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6 thoughts on “Worst Ex Stories – An Entertainment and Healing Workshop

  • April 14, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Please provide an address (physical and/or e-mail) to where the manuscript can be sent.

    In addition, I wish to have my story published. Will I own the rights to this manuscript?

    • April 30, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Pat – I’m so glad you’re interested in contributing your “worst ex story” to our workshop at Women At Woodstock this October. However, this exchange of stories will happen at the workshop itself, and will include stories only of women in attendance. If you’re planning to attend Women At Woodstock this year, then wonderful! Once you register, you’ll receive information on how to submit your worst ex story. And to answer your last question, yes, you will own the rights to your story.

  • May 15, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    I have some questions and comments about this segment of the retreat.

    In your description, you say ”Somehow, that story lives on in you and, though you may not think of it often, it can click into “play” at the oddest moments. It won’t go away, because something remains unresolved, unsatisfied.”

    So, yes, I have an ex-husband and plenty of stories, but I don’t have that feeling about something remaining unresolved between him and me. Is the story supposed to be one requiring a catharsis? I am so far beyond that bad circumstance and am so glad I did a course correction in time. Maybe because it was a change I initiated and thus had charge of, that I have no such regrets.

    So please let me know how to proceed, if at all.

    • May 16, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Hi Loesje – “Worst Ex Stories” can be anything you make of it; it can be a catharsis, yes, or a “Wow, top this, wouldja!” or a bittersweet lesson, or a story that will make us all burst out laughing. Really, I hope the whole hour of sharing will be communion at its best; a group share, a realization that we’ve all been through something, a generous show of understanding, sympathy, humor, and sisterly love.

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