by Christine Celise
This summer was about more than sunning on the beach or even racing to the nearest BBQ. I really wanted to immerse myself in the craft of writing. I sought out any and every workshop I could find, hungry to smooth some apparent rough edges, discover the not-so-apparent jagged edges, continue to hone my voice and fellowship with peers.
Tara Betts and Derrick Harriell, Aquarius Press Authors, Idlewild Writers Conference, 8/2010
The past couple of years, I have worked on redefining myself as a writer – moving beyond the emotional purging solely for spirit’s sake. I am deliberately weaving myself into that artist that takes the reader on a ride with letters that create words that become lines that write the story.
I have transformed into that person that writes a piece then walks away, and revisits it a dozen or more times before finally saying that I have finished it sufficiently. The process can be somewhat long and take patience but how sweet it is to hit the end and be in awe of not only the final product, but the commitment in getting there.
As artists, as people, the path to growth cannot be explored without guidance. I think of it as a shared experience and had the pleasure of sharing space with respected writers these few months, from late spring at the Split this Rock writing workshop to mid-August’s Idlewild Writers Conference in historic Idlewild, Michigan where I had the honor to rub elbows with notables such as Aurora Harris, Detroit educator and poet advocate, and be introduced to Aquarius Press’ newest poet, Derrick Harriell, the author of Cotton.
A list of the workshops I participated in this summer follow:
- Taking Risks
hosted by Split this Rock, facilitated by John Murillo
- Metaphor, (re)vision, and the Ode
hosted by Split this Rock, facilitated by Aracelis Girmay
- Resistance Poetry
hosted by The Emergence Community Arts Collective, facilitated by Dominic Moulden of ONE DC
- Fantastic Voyage: Infusing Rhythm and Music into Writing and Performance
facilitated by Holly Bass
- Spiritual Memoir
hosted by All Souls Church, facilitated by Kimberly Washington and Martha Ertman
- Idlewild Writers Conference
hosted by Broadside Press and Aquarius Press, facilitated by various instructors
I have pages of notes in my handy notebook and mounds of new connections (FB friends) from my summer of workshopping, including quotes from facilitators and participants that resonated with me … It’s all about the wordz.
Here are some wordz I picked up along the way. We will see what is ahead in the Fall!
- Trust the language and move towards strangeness. (John Murillo, poet)
- Creativity is a form of transportation for me and a vehicle I’d like to pass on to others as well. (Christon Bacon, musician)
- There are clues about ourselves through metaphors. (Aracelis Girmay, poet)
- I am dark so therefore I hold infinite light. (Sylvia , Emergence Community Arts Collective)
- Organize out of love for ourselves to create a new world (Resistance Poetry workshop participant)
- Focus on organizing a world where our humanity and history are respected. (Dominic Moulden, ONE DC)
- Travel is the most revolutionary thing you can do for yourself. (Lisa Pegram, Taking Risks workshop participant)
- You have to do what’s truly your spirit. (Christine Rhone, actress/dancer)
- You have permission to take up time and space and energy. (Holly Bass, poet/performance artist)
- Spirituality is a very internal experience. (Davina Renee, Spiritual Memoir workshop participant)
- I taste in my natural appetite. (a reference from Lucille Clifton, poet)
- …it’s a blessing however you get there. (Kimberly Washington, radio producer/educator)
- Art should move us to think not tell us what to think. (Quraysh Ali Lansana, poet/educator)
- Anything that stops you from getting what you want is the devil. (Carolyn AKA Diamond Dancer, performance artist)
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