LETTERS TO ATHENA: A workshop on healing, writing, and accessing the goddess within

I’m so excited to announce my upcoming workshop. I hope you’ll join me — and Athena — on an adventure of words, stories, healing, and connection.

Letters to Athena uses mythology and the archetype of the Greek goddess to reframe our own stories. There will be writing prompts, response writings and free writes all aimed at connecting with Athena energy and our inner warrior goddess — but this is not a writing workshop as much as an afternoon of personal empowerment and communing with the creative power of the goddess. Join me Sunday, May 20, 3-5 p.m. at Asheville Raven & Crone, 55 Merrimon Ave.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 3.21.27 PMWhy Athena? The goddess of wisdom, courage and the arts is exactly the spirit we need to call in right now, in this time of #METOO, political and environmental anxiety, and the kind of reshaping and intense transformation many of us are experiencing. Athena is also known as the goddess of war, but I prefer to focus on her qualities of justice, strategy and strength. Continue reading

Community Author FTW!

I’m so thrilled to share that I’ve been chosen to receive the 2018 UNC Asheville Ramsey Library Community Author Award. “The award provides a writer in Western North Carolina with a yearlong residency in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library, with a courtesy faculty appointment that provides a library study carrel and other campus resources,” says a press release. “The residency will run through December 2018, and will culminate in an opportunity for Marshall to showcase her work at a campus reading.”

Read more about the initiative and my wildly imaginative plans for what I’d like to accomplish (dream big, right?) here.

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Me, living in the library, with all my best book friends.

Observer in residence

I was invited by online arts and culture magazine HOLLER to be an Observer in Residence for a week in January. It was an fun challenge to post a photo and up to 300 words describing what I was thinking about or inspired by that day.
This is a snippet from Day Five:

There are tiny altars everywhere. I’ve started to notice them, focus in on them. A Buddha in a tattoo studio, a crystal scattering light on a window sill, a bell calling us to the present moment, a murmuration of starlings swooping, in formation, in the deep blue of evening.


Find all of my posts here.

Find the entire Observer series here.

“Catching Out”: 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize-winning story

At long last my short story, Catching Out, which won the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, has been published. You can read it in the 2018 edition of the The Thomas Wolfe Review or, more immediately, you can read it in full here:


Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 3.50.15 PMGranted, it wasn’t everyone who showed up to the gym in flannel and work boots, but Nevada Bloom could just as well have been carrying a sign to say she didn’t belong. Not there, and not anywhere, really. The night before she’d shaved the hair on the left side of her head clear down to the scalp. The prickle of stubble that snagged the threads of her stocking cap would grow back blond, a poor match for the feathery black strands still covering the right side of her head. But she was okay with the dichotomy.

Nevada shoved her hooded sweatshirt into a locker and quick-changed into ratty track shoes, mainly because work boots made too much noise on the treadmill. The soccer moms in their pink tops and grey knee pants stared at her as it was. She also kicked off her black jeans so she was just skinny, hairy legs in green running shorts. Denim chafed after a few minutes of jogging. It was a problem she’d have to address another day, though the point was not to have to jog for very long. Not if she did it right the first time. Continue reading

Asheville’s non-white literary scene

“In a lot of places in the United States, you can still get a degree in English literature and not have to study any people of color,” says poet, author and educator Frank X Walker.


This postcard of a child with a book is from the The East Riverside Photographs Collection associated with the East Riverside urban redevelopment project of Asheville. Photo courtesy of Special Collections, UNC Asheville

“It’s part of the whole master narrative that displays the idea of a hierarchy in our society, that suggests whose work in this culture is more valuable. And it’s not women or people of color.”

I spent several months working on a three-part series about the history of black writers in Western North Carolina, and why the voices of those artists have been excluded from the dominant narrative.

Find Part 1 here (with quotes from Walker, UNC Asheville history professor Darin Waters and Asheville-based author Monica McDaniel); find Part 2 here (with quotes from authors Meta Commerse and Ann Woodford and poet Glenis Redmond); and find Part 3 here (with quotes from poets Nicole Townsend, James Love and Damion Bailey and author Charles Blount).

Why writers need community, Part 2

hands-in-teamwork_headerThis is a myth we often buy into as writers: that it’s solitary work. The stereotype is romantic — the novelist or poet locked into a small room, hunched over a typewriter, pouring inspired verse onto a page. Genius happens in solitude. Friends can be found and parties attended after the writing is published. Whenever that happens.

I don’t buy it.

Sure, we all need periods of quiet and focus to get our work done. But if writing is such a solo endeavor, why do we writers often get so much done in a class or workshop or write-in or group? Company — the right kind of company — bolsters creativity because it energizes and inspired and reminds us that we’re not alone. Others know this path, others can relate to our struggles, others appreciate our efforts and we will not languish in obscurity because we’ve already arrived in community. Continue reading