Martha’s Vineyard knows Nancy Aronie in many ways. She is the mother of two beautiful sons, Josh Aronie, who owns and runs the Menemsha Café, and Dan Aronie, who recently died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was instrumental in bringing the story of Dan’s illness, and the inner transformation that it brought to him and those around him, to the community in the film A Certain Kind of Beauty. She has also taught hundreds of Islanders the art of creative journal writing in her workshops called Writing from the Heart, where she helps people become inner alchemists, turning their darkest moments into beautiful personal narratives, oftentimes releasing the trauma altogether, or at least creating space around it.

In a recent talk at the Chilmark Public Library, Ms. Aronie told a story about asking Dan how he had become so accepting of his deteriorating health and, in his words, his “inability to do anything.” She said he responded: “I realized that being angry didn’t help anything.” After delivering the line, Ms. Aronie let the room be quiet for a moment to allow the simple profundity of the statement to sink in, as it had sunk in with her.

She is a person who is in touch with spirituality, often citing the famous Ram Dass phrase, Be Here Now, or other parables.

And her favorite way to be in touch with her inner self is through writing. Ms. Aronie has been teaching writing workshops for 18 years. She runs the Chilmark Writers Workshop, that meets weekly throughout the summer. In her talk, she related an early experience that had served as a lesson on how not to conduct a writing group.

She had been invited to a writing group in Hartford, Conn., where she was living in the early 1980s. The group met regularly. The first time she went, one person read a story that Ms. Aronie thought was pretty good, but then the other people in the group tore the writing and the writer to pieces with negative criticism. She went a second time and the same thing happened. The third time she went, it was her turn to read. She was intimidated and brought in one of her best stories. In her words, “They did a job on me.” It took her two years to write again, she said.

She found her way back to writing and in 1986 became a commentator for National Public Radio, where she read stories from her life. In 1991 she held her first writing workshop after putting an ad in the newspaper.

“About 12 people took it and they were all people I sort of knew, and since I had never facilitated a group before, I didn’t know how to wend my way,” she recalled in an interview at the Menemsha Café. “I saw them do exactly what that bad writing group had done. They tore each other apart, they tore the writing apart. And what I saw: physically I saw their shoulders get tense, I saw their shoulders get stiff, and I saw the writing get generic. And there was nothing I could do about it.”

So she put another ad in the paper, but this time she only admitted people she did not know into the workshop.

And what she said to them was, “Creativity requires safety. I will make this safe. I can’t teach you writing. I have no idea how to teach writing. But you will be safe to experiment. You will be safe to go wild. You will be safe to express your voice, sound like you, write your story, use your rhythms, your words, your language — and we have one rule and the rule is, when someone finishes reading, you are going to tell them what you loved.” She continued:

“I could not believe the transformation. I could not believe how people deepened and got excited about what they were writing and got kinder and stopped repeating, and they cheerleaded for each other and couldn’t wait for each other to read and their comments were astute. That’s what happens, people are coteaching with me.”

That basic format is exactly what happens in her writing workshops today. Participants read their stories, and Ms. Aronie tells stories from her life.

“I tell a lot of personal stories where I don’t look so great and that way it’s an invitation for people to realize that writing their story where they are not the hero is really much better storytelling than when they are perfect and when they did something great,” she said.

She believes people see the world through the prisms of old wounds. One of her own personal traumas comes from when her father died of a heart attack when she was 15 years old. She will sometimes tear up when she sees fathers and daughters walking down the street, she said. For her husband, Joel Aronie, the trauma was being called Dumbo on the playground as a child because his ears stuck out, she said.

“[The diversity of backgrounds and wounds that people write about is] what makes all the stories so interesting and so different, that everybody’s perspective is completely different . . . What we all have in common is that we all just want to be listened to,” she said. “We all want to be loved. We all want to be held. We all want to be honored. We all want to be loved. The core of everyone, I believe, that’s what everyone wants.”

And she believes everybody is capable of transforming their deepest wounds into beautiful works of art, through writing, dancing, singing or some other creative expression.

“You have the ability and the capacity to transform this horror, this shard of glass that has ripped through your heart . . . into gold, but the most important part of that equation is you have to feel it. You have to feel the sorrow of what happened to you,” she said.

“[Writing] is a way of getting it out of your body, out of your cells and being willing to look at it and go, that was then. This is now. Instead of the way our culture, which I think has become very cynical, uses the expression get over it — I think you should get through it. Actually look at it, feel it, feel the sorrow of it, treat it with great respect, write it down on the page, and then ritualize it, learn it, and throw it into the garden, you’re done.”

As the interview finished, Adrianne Ryan came into the café and stopped to thank Ms. Aronie for a workshop she had taken with her several years ago.

“It was transformative because it gave me a safe place to go where I could explore things creatively that were coming up for me in my life. It was the most amazing supportive environment that I had ever been in,” she said.

Nancy Aronie’s Writing from the Heart workshops are held Monday through Thursday at her home in Chilmark. The workshops are open to all ages. Call 508-645-9085.