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Writers Workshops

Storytelling as a Mindful Practice

Wednesdays Starting February 16 6:30 pm–8:00 pm running 6 weeks skipping Wednesday, March 23
Instructor: Kaj Tanaka

Please note that this is an online workshop conducted via Zoom. Participants will be provided information on how to join the online sessions.


If this workshop is full when you try to register, please email info@inprinthouston.org to get on the waiting list and put Texas Children’s Pediatrics in the subject line.

This free workshop is for Physicians at Texas Children’s Pediatrics which funded this class.

The art of storytelling isn’t always about having epic narratives to unravel or an important message for the world to hear. On the contrary, many fiction and nonfiction stories begin, not as stories at all, but as a collection of peculiar details and thoughts from the writer’s own daily experiences. In this way, the storyteller is first an observer of everyday life and a collector of small miracles.

Each day during this 6-week course, participants will be encouraged to observe and record an experience—something small, strange, and (hopefully) extraordinary, buried in the usual patterns of work, play, and family. These short notes will serve as a record of the writer’s own experience, a deep well for personal inspiration, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, as a form of daily mindfulness—a method for processing experiences that can often feel, by turns, either chaotic and overwhelming, or dull and repetitive. However, careful observation can reveal magic and wonder hidden in the corners of our seemingly mundane worlds.

The class will meet each week to discuss our experiences and observations, to process our reflections, and to craft arresting pieces of short fiction and nonfiction from our notes, ideas, and discussions.

To help us better write and tell our own stories, we will also study the work of writers whose lives and narratives seem to hover between miracle and mundane—writers like Lydia Davis, Richard Brautigan, and Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, along with many contemporary writers whose work demonstrates the ways in which an ordinary life is filled with small, hidden wonders.

About the instructor

KAJ TANAKA is a PhD candidate in fiction at the UH Creative Writing Program and recipient of the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Fiction and an Inprint Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones/MD Anderson Foundation Fellowship. His stories have appeared in Tin House and The New Ohio Review and have been collected in Best Small Fictions 2018 and Best Microfiction 2019. He was instrumental in founding the Inprint creative writing workshops at the Harris County Jail, in partnership with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Reentry Services, and led several sessions.