Make Your Life a Writing Residency…

Amores, I just got back from a two-week writing residency at Ragdale. If you’ve never been to an artist colony before, here’s a basic rundown of how it works: you apply to the residency, usually by submitting work samples and an artist statement. While you’re there, the residency provides space to sleep and space to work (mine was the same space – a cute room with loads of books and a desk between two windows) as well as food, all for a nominal fee.  Sometimes they’ll want you to present work in progress, sometimes they won’t. Usually, there are a handful of other artists around, which affords ample opportunity to share ideas, tips, and experiences – personally, I found this to be one of the most rewarding parts of my stay. Can you believe I actually made friends with a journalist/novelist who writes about war and violence against women and who grew up traveling all over the word because her parents were anthropologists? My soulmate!

Okay, the residency was great (if a little too quiet for my city-loving self) but realistically, I know that going away for 2-6 weeks isn’t an option for many of us here at Proyecto Latina. I mean – I have one of the MOST flexible jobs on the planet, and I still found it stressful to clear my calendar. So… I’ve spent the past few days thinking about residency “take-aways” – how to incorporate what was most useful about the residency into my everyday life. Here goes: (more…)

Making time for your story

Making time for your story

“…how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children, because all I had read where books in which characters were foreign I had become convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things which I could not personally identify.  Now things changed when I discovered African books…” –Chimamanda Adichie

This morning I discovered Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, via a TED video where she speaks at length about the danger of the single story.  The single story is not inclusive of all perspectives, dis-empowers and results in unfair assumptions and/or portrayals about cultures and people.  I know all too well the value and importance of telling my story.  Its a discovery, that took me through a process–that sometimes angered or caused pain–as I came to terms with it in creative writing classes in college.
Chimamanda’s message resonates and reminds me why six years ago I agreed to collaborate on a monthly open mic event that would eventually evolve into a multi-media project  that includes this website.  At the time I had also committed to another labor of love–I had opened a small independent bookshop that carried books that reflected my story.  So, I have had a firm grasp of that lesson for some time now.