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.
Why 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
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.
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This 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
Join us at the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. The Literary Circus will stage two performances of Flying Clothes & Prose — two sets of spoken word pieces inspired by clothing, complete with costume changes and musical accompaniment by Nights Bright Colors.
Photo by Vickie Burick
It’s well established that writing is a solitary art form. It takes discipline and focus to forgo the social events and TV shows in order to slowly compose and polish a poem or short story or essay. And there are lots of books and blogs and, probably, TED Talks about how to make that happen. I mean, there’s an entire month — November — dedicated to writing a novel in 30 days.
Beat writers at a cafe in New York City. Photo from Wikimedia Commons
But what’s equally important to the writer’s life — and this is less-often discussed — is community. I’ve spoken about this, recently, to creative writing students at my alma mater and a writing/marketing class, and was met both times blank stares and skepticism and protest. And I get it. We’re all too busy and meeting new people is weird and we’re comfortable with our own writing voice/style/process and don’t need outside input. Only, the thing is, we really do. Here’s why: Continue reading
Now through Nov. 17, I’m participating in the fourth annual Mountain of Words, a Write-A-thon to support the work of Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community. I’ll be writing like a madwoman. You can help by sponsoring me.
This organization changes lives through engaging children, teens and families with innovative writing and arts programs for those too often overlooked and unheard. Programming is centered in communities of color and provide learning and healing spaces where powerful voices can be shared and amplified to create a more just and equitable world.
Your donation will help to fund:
• an online magazine program for youth of color, who produce Word on the Street/La Voz de los Jovenes, a bilingual online arts and culture platform for youth.
• Family Voices, a family writing and arts program for schools and community programs.
• Artist mentor residencies in schools, afterschool, summer and community programs .
Click the link below to sponsor me for the amount you feel comfortable in giving. All donations are tax-deductible.
Want to send a check? Make it out to Asheville Writers in the Schools, mail to P.O. BOX 1508 Asheville, NC, 28802 and put my name in the memo line!
What is the responsibility of venue bookers, music promoters, club owners, and festival organizers to create a platform for artists of color? It’s a tricky conversation to introduce, because there are so many issues — ticket sales, popularity, potential tokenism — but I think it’s more important to have the conversation than to be graceful about it.
Photo by Jorge Salgado from this year’s Neon Desert Festival
So I’ll start here: Asheville, where I live, is a predominantly white town with a nationally recognized music scene and a high per-capita number of excellent concert halls and listening rooms. But peruse the lineup of at least three of the most popular venues in town and you’re lucky to find one person-of-color-led act in any given month. I recently browsed the calendar for one such music hall that lists no artists of color from September through December. Continue reading