After deleting 139 photos of my ex, my photo gallery looks like I’ve only ever vacationed by myself. I suppose that’s sort of true: Me leaning casually against Hadrian’s Wall; me at Edith Piaf’s grave; me, in an optical illusion, touching the top of the Temple of Kukulkan as if it’s miniature and I’m a giant.
I can barely remember feeling hot that day, in Chichen Itza, or motion sick from the bus ride. I recall those details like an itinerary, like a packing list, like a fact that could also be a lie. Like a movie I once saw while sick with the flu that I later, inadvertently, adopted as a series of scenes from my own life. Memory is like that: Fallible, slippery. Continue reading
I found a folder of 68 photos, from a 2015 trip to Ireland, on a forgotten SD card. Like finding an old role of film, it turned up some treasures and lots of questions. What is this shot even of? What was I feeling on this day? Who was I, three years ago? So this week’s post is a flash fiction on that theme.
It’s not this town. And you’re glad, though this town is scenic, sprawling along a mineral-gray lake. The banks are mossy and the sky is pale blue and the hill beyond the village is artfully terraced by ancient people who carved civilization from the land with Iron Age tools. Maybe it was Bronze Age. You should know from all the museums but you don’t know. Continue reading
It’s the time of year when kids go back to school and people on the precipice of adulthood go off the college — some for the first time. This year it seems like everyone I know is the parent of a 17- or 18-year-old who is starting college, so my social media feeds are full of photos of Move In Day(s).
It’s a rite of passage — one of many that I, a person without children, have not been through.
Move-In Day, 1948 , from University of Mary Washington
Two things: 1) I barely recall being dropped off at college for the first time. I know my mom took me. I remember she had a perm at the time. There’s a photo of us somewhere and I’m wearing cargo pants. She might have been sad to leave me, but that’s not how I remember it.
So the going-off-to-college initiation is likely more impactful for parents, because the teenager’s life up to that point has been nothing but change, nothing but new experiences. It’s been school and life lessons and body morphing. College is of all of that (on steroids) with different scenery and less adult supervision. Continue reading
A performance from this year’s Asheville Percussion Festival. Soundscape by Bonnie Whiting, movement by Brandi Mizilca, words by me. It’s a poem about creative work and women’s work and the intersection of the two: the point at which an artist steps through fear to meet a challenge. (At least that’s what I think it’s about — but it’s totally open to interpretation.)
Video and audio by Joshua Messick, live soundboard audio mix by Steve Beatty and Edward Link at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, video editing by Asheville Rhythm.
After I separated from a partner of 15 years and was headed for divorce, I found the return to pagan traditions to be a great comfort. I connected to the cycles of the moon, the agricultural calendar, and my ancestors. I joined a community of women. I rediscovered my sense of magic. But as Beltane neared, I felt outside again. Middle aged, single, full of questions about sexuality and my relationship to relationships (ha!), I couldn’t envision a place for myself in Beltane’s celebration of fertility, conception, passion, marriage, and sex-positive heteronormality.
Xochiquetzal, left, by Thalia Took, and Artemis by PinkParasol
But, as my connection to the divine feminine and earth magic deepened, my perspective began to shift. Traditions are important, but spirituality is a living thing and, as such, breathes and morphs and expands to serve the needs of its practitioners. Our connection to spirit shapes us, but we’re active participants. We shape spirit, too. We evolve with it and in it and of it. Continue reading
If you live in Asheville and missed the debut of Sleeping on Rooftops at The ReHappening in March, here’s one more chance to see the show! We’ll be at REVOLVE on Wednesday, May 9, 7 p.m. The show also includes a solo set by musician Sally Ann Morgan.
Sleeping on Rooftops + Sally Ann Morgan (solo set)
Wednesday, May 9, doors at 6:30 p.m. / show at 7 p.m.
Sleeping on Rooftops, a collaborative work of spoken word, dance and experimental cello music, follows the model of the hero’s journey, as explained by mythologist Joseph Campbell. The story is of a young woman who ventures into the world for the first time. The piece was inspired by the collaborations of Black Mountain College artists M.C. Richards, Merce Cunningham and John Cage, and their collective foray into the source of creativity, and it debuted at the 2018 ReHappening.
Performed by: Alli Marshall (spoken word), Sharon Cooper and Coco Palmer Dolce (dance), and Melissa Hyman (cello).
Tickets are available here.
UPDATE: THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN CANCELED FOR THE TIME BEING. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES AND RESCHEDULING!
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.
Find all of my posts here.
Find the entire Observer series here.
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