A Conversation with Sheila Bender

Interviewed by Mark Matousek
October, 2013

Sheila Bender is an American poet and essayist, best known for her popular books on writing instruction, including: Creative Writing DeMystified, Writing in a New Convertible with the Top Down, Keeping a Journal You Love, and a memoir, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, which chronicles how reading and writing poetry helped her cope after the loss of her 25-year-old. Her newest collection of poems, entitled Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, appeared in 2012. Sheila has devoted most of her career to the teaching of writing and her organization, Writing It Real.com, where she provides an on-line instructional magazine for those who write from personal experience and offers individual as well as online group writing instruction. Sheila talked to Mark about why criticism doesn’t work and how to help writers who are just beginning.

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Other authors include Tara Brach, Natalie Goldberg, Sharon Salzberg, Martha Beck, Mark Nepo, Esther Perel, Henry Grayson, Julia Cameron, Robert McKee, Adyashanti, and more.

About Mark Matousek:
Mark Matousek is the author of two award-winning memoirs, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story and The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search For His Lost Father, as well as When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living and Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life. A featured blogger for Psychology Today, Purple Clover, and The Huffington Post, he has contributed to numerous publications including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Yoga Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Details, AARP, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Saturday Evening Post. A popular lecturer, mentor, and teacher, he is on the faculty of The Omega Institute, The New York Open Center, and other institutions, as well as offering private workshops and classes internationally. He is the Creative Director of V-Men, an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls, and the founder of Mark Matousek Media, a digital publishing company whose products and editorial services focus on transformational writing, self-inquiry, and creativity. His latest book is Ethical Wisdom for Friends.