plunging fingers into fissures.. where is the crack in the wall, the rip in this reality, that will lead us back home? i say – bring on the dark. all the better to see our glow.. LIGHT IT UP.
January two thousand and fourteen. Ladies & gents, I feel blessed to be here, doing what I do. This year is all about doing things that scare me, or challenge me. New frontiers, new collaborations, new ways to play and be inspired.
After doing an amazing firepit “ritual” on my 26th birthday surrounded by family and friends, my best friend and I came up with an idea – set fire to your fear. Routinely. And the other night we did just that – mine? “I am afraid of losing my way.” And then – LIGHT IT UP.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown tired of holding back. Grown tired of being ashamed. I am what I am what I am. We are all sparks and when we come together we can make something magical.. Give yourself PERMISSION, give yourself kindness and grace. To be exactly who you are. To create the world you want to live in..
on my last birthday cake i blew out the candles and said: ‘i wish i would never grow up.’ blessings all around & i feel the little girl i used to be constantly tugging at my sleeve. ‘don’t forget. don’t forget to believe.’ everyday.. keep the lights on. keep hollerin’ from the trees. keep swingin’ on the monkey bars. keep scrapin’ your knees. keep the happiness in your heart.. the rest will work itself out. here’s to lost boys. here’s to flying. here’s to never growing up.
I am so looking forward to EVERY. THING. HAPPENING. This year. To burst out in a blaze of color. “Audrey Dimola, what a production…” a dear of mine sighed to me last night. Yes.. Yes indeed ;)
First up: I hope to see you at the return of NATURE OF THE MUSE later this month, my reading and live writing event by the fire at LIC BAR! I’m honored to have some dear friends and fellow writers of diverse backgrounds coming along for the ride, in addition to two wonderful musicians! This is where it all started.. The first event I ever solo-curated – thanks from the bottom of my heart to my very talented pal Gus Rodriguez for setting me up with the fireside space and giving “Muse” a home, this time last year. LET’S DO THIS! You can find out more about previous Nature of the Muse events HERE.
Thank you so much to Brandon for the flyer! XO
Yesterday! I was thrilled to have been Glitter & Doom‘d! The amazing photography & interview project founded by my soul sister & dear friend, Liz Nieves, throwing the spotlight on local creatives. It’s so fun to remember where you’ve been.. Grateful.
“Years ago I would feel trepidation in calling myself a writer. I would feel silly saying it. You go through this whole struggle with validation. Are you a writer when you are published or are you a writer when someone tells you that you are? I just realized that this is what I am come hell or high water. Now I introduce myself as a writer, hell yes I do. If I feel like being fancy I say I’m a poet…”
Ha! ;) Please check it out in addition to all the other great content – an exhibition of photos from the series is also going up next month!
I’m really excited to be reading for several wonderful friends of mine across NYC over the next few months, which you can find out more about below, AND – please save the dates! Thanks to the connection of two amazing people (DB & Handan!) I will be curating my first events at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center! MARCH 28 is a live playwrighting/staging/acting event in site-specific spaces around LaGuardia, co-curated with my crazy talented playwright/musician friend, Tyler Rivenbark! AND – APRIL 12 will see a multi-disciplinary celebration of Queens literary arts in the 200-seat little theatre at LPAC. SO. EXCITED.
More deets to come, for everything.. Until then, please feel free to reach out! Add me on Instagram @audreyleopard! Email and say hello! I will be living by the incredible Hermann Hesse’s words.. This is a new age of creation for me – of collaboration, invocation, inspiration – guided by dreams and visions, open hearts, open doors..
From the sacred center of the world
streams forth an irrepressible desire
to overcome the silence between things.
Art, the ever flowing fountain, reveals
the secret of life through word and gesture, color and sound.
The world wants to be known to spirit
and find expression for timeless wisdom.
All life longs for a language.
Deep intuitions wish to surface,
find words and numbers, lines and tones,
always evolving forms of understanding.
This. This. This.
Love in the infinite & abundant possibilities..!
Curating/hosting Nature of the Muse at LIC Bar – 1/30/14 [Facebook]
Reading at In Celebration of The Year of the Horse: A Prose and Poetry Reading at Bliss on Bliss Studio – 2/2/14 [Facebook]
Reading at Poetry Teachers NYC’s The Unveiling Arrival at Bowery Poetry Club – 3/9/14 [Facebook]
Co-curating Live Playwrighting/Staging/Acting at Rough Draft Festival at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center – 3/28/14 Save the date!
Curating/hosting Queens Literary Festival at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center – 4/12/14 Save the date!
“Art in Hesse’s vision and practice leads the way to joy. The true artist nourishes the soul. The true poet’s medium is the sacred word. Hesse tries to restore the word as an instrument of the possible and the imagined, as a luminous bridge to the unknown.” – Ludwig Max Fischer, PhD, from ‘The Seasons of the Soul,’ a collection of Hermann Hesse’s poetry.
Image via Pinterest
I’m sitting here right now watching a snowglobe out my window. It’s amazing to me just what kind of memories snow can conjure.
A dear friend and fellow artist told me that if the snow sticks they were going to have a snowball fight outside a local bar, and it struck me. It’s really good to see “grown-ups” keeping the inner child alive.
The inner child is such a very important idea for me. I was talking to another lovely friend about visualizing your way out of anxious situations – and really what it comes down to is imagination. So soon we forget the hours we spent imagining – even the words themselves, when you look at the phrase and break it down – “make believe” – MAKING your BELIEFS – how could we know then how essential it would be for us to remember?
Litanies of to-do’s, places to rush to, ten million apps to check on. I can still remember long car rides with nothing but myself and what I imagined in my head. No music, no phone, no books (but only because I’d get carsick ;)).
I find that some the most friction I feel in life is when “reality” (insert HUGE air quotes) is forcing me to give up on the inner child. On the endless possibility it represents. When you were a kid, everyone told you – the sky was the limit, you could do anything you put your mind to. You could create worlds to live in and spend hours there. Now, you have to fall in line. Pay the bills. Keep your head down. “Grow up.” Society at large – or even more insidiously, sometimes the closest people around you – try to convince you your dreams are too big, or you should take the safer route, or THEY tried and failed so YOU shouldn’t bother getting hurt too, or, of course – it’s not the time or the place, or you’re too young or too old or too inexperienced or you need this qualification or that qualification or etc. etc. etc. Gatekeepers. On and on, forever. But.
NO ONE should make those decisions for you. But you.
I will never let go of the inner child – because the inner child is me, no separation. What stops us from manifesting things into reality? From dreaming so big we have no idea how it will actually happen, but only that somehow, it will?
When I reached out to a very cool street artist who was hanging his DIY cardboard graffiti paintings around Astoria and the NYC area, I shared my Compass Project poetry sticker project with him and he pointed out this poem on one of the stickers, which I wrote from 5 prompt words a friend gave me:
it’s always on the darkest days
when a sliver
of phantom sunlight
hits my face -
that i am reminded
of all you lose in the strain.
as a child you think: when you’re older
you won’t ever be afraid -
so next time you fear
remember that little boy or girl
and convince yourself, for them, to be brave.
It was so cool to have a reminder like that – and the poem came back and sat in my heart, waving pinwheels and sparklers. I remembered.
THIS was the time we were all waiting for when we were kids. We’re “grown-ups” now! We can do whatever we want, and we won’t be afraid! Or so we thought. So many dreams are left in schoolbooks or toy boxes – in the corners and under blankets where we hid. There’s no reason why we can’t go back and pick them up again. Every moment is a chance – and there is nothing that can change that.
We all have the power to use whatever situation we are born into to learn something, to leave something behind, to create worlds or even just make one person’s day brighter with a small gesture.
When you wake up in the dark, as I did this morning, and the fears start creeping in from the floor and the ceiling, remember – you are the only one who can change that moment. Your perception, your will, your joy or your sorrow. Take steps to live the life you’ve always wanted to.
Make your inner child proud.
Happy Snow Day,
Trajectories: words and music / collab with thingNY – 12/12/13 [Facebook]
“To the one who didn’t fit. To she who bucked authority and challenged the status quo… To the ones whose dreams were crushed by adults whose dreams were crushed… To the child of light who cannot die, even when she’s choking in seven seas of darkness… You are holy. I love you. You are a miracle. Your life, your feelings, your hopes and dreams – they matter. Somebody failed you but you will not fail. Somebody looked in your eyes and saw the sun – blazing – and got scared. Somebody broke your heart but your love remains perfect. Somebody lost their dreams and thought you should too, but you mustn’t.”
Photo via crbustamantejr Instagram
I would LOVE to send a HUGE shout-out to my great friend and fellow journalist Cesar Bustamante who put together a LIVE CALENDAR OF LITERARY EVENTS IN QUEENS! Please check this out - click HERE!
I would also love to thank Underground Books‘ Unlikely Blond blog for reviewing my first book, “Decisions We Make While We Dream”!
“She has been tearing up the New York poetry scene with her dream-like poetry. Audrey Dimola, the young and vivacious character straight out of Long Island City, Queens, is as charismatic personally as she is in her writing. Her collection of poems, Decisions We Make While We Dream, has me entranced. Here, writing this with her book at my side, I am still enshrouded in a mist of wonderment.” You can check it out HERE.
They also published three of my pieces – “winter (reprise),” “V.XII,” and “becoming” on their Kitchen Poet online journal, which you can check out HERE. Much love and gratitude!
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to curate and host an event that brought together some of the most talented artists and organizers in the Queens literary community. The QUEENS LITERARY TOWN HALL is a night I will never forget, and now there are lots of photos and a video of highlights featuring ALL the performers and presenters:
First Tuesdays Reading Series & Open Mic
Newtown Literary Journal
Oh, Bernice! Reading Series
REZ Reading Series / Richmond Hill Library Readings
Boundless Tales Reading Series
Five Boro Story Project / Art, Food & Soul
Canvas of Words
Poetry Teachers NYC
Mindful Writing with Emily Herzlin
Mission to dit(Mars)
Nature of the Muse reading & live writing
All of these individuals and organizers are from all over Queens – Kew Gardens, Jackson Heights, Astoria, Jamaica, and more – and if you’d like to see what’s in store for the Queens lit community in the coming months and who is working hard to promote and support it, please check these people out! I am lucky to know all of them, and every single person who helped promote the event and joined us to celebrate that night.
Watch the video below and please GO HERE for many more photos and info on the presenters and performers.
Forward, always -
Listen to this speech if you have a chance.
Truly a great man. Emotionally resonating, especially today – and especially in light of what’s happened to 5 Pointz, and in Talking Transition to our new mayor in New York City.. Let these words sit in your heart and mind.
Rest in power and poetry, JFK.
When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover’s quarrel with the world. In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. [...]
If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. [...]
But democratic society–in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.” […]
I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens.
Just a moment to say…
Hello, everyone. New friends, old friends. My loves and cherished family. My Nana coming to me in dreams at night. Every stranger changed by a smile, with hand outstretched and face lit by enthusiasm. Hello, Queens crusaders like me fighting the good fight, and hello to all creators creating at every moment. All lovers of words and art and life, taking step by step. Everyone who has to be brave. Everyone who has to leave their comfort zone. Everyone who is standing on the ledge waiting to take the leap into exhilarating uncertainty.
This swirling soul in my chest, kinetic and wide-awake. It’s the rest of me that can’t keep up..
I feel blessed for it all. For this chance.
The Queens Literary Town Hall is one of my proudest moments – I could not be more ecstatic about and grateful for the participants, attendees, presentations, and performances.. I will never forget the energy in the room, the sheer joy watching people being able to connect with each other for the first time – to further their projects, their businesses, their passions. There is so much more to come, from all of us..! My good friend and journalist/videographer Cesar put together a great multimedia piece with some photos and videos, and It’s Queens Magazine is featuring my photos and article about the event this month! My brother and I are also editing a video piece, to come soon.
Tonight was ever-lovely artist Priscilla Stadler‘s opening reception for FAVORS at SPACE Gallery in Dutch Kills. I was one of two readers (so great to finally meet Elisa from El Paper!), and I was so happy to stand onstage amidst the springy green FAVORS spirals, each carrying a message of handwritten good deeds. FAVORS is meant to “challenge the people of Queens, NYC and beyond to smash the stereotype that New Yorkers are cutthroat, competitive egoists by doing favors for friends, family and strangers”! I’ve always loved the concept, and so to commemorate I read some poems included in the next iteration of my guerrilla poetry sticker project, the Compass Project – which I will hopefully be expanding (and printing from something other than my home printer..!) SOON. Suggestions are welcome!
There is much to be thankful for in this season of giving but I maintain that gratitude is for everyday. New paths are opening up and I am doing my best to walk them with grace. Feel your sadness, but let it slip through your fingers. The sorrow will leave, the memories will remain.. I remember.
See you out there – I feel so blessed to have done a reading, event, or performance every month in 2013! Not counting my birthday month of August.. I guess we all need a break sometimes ;) Wrap the year up with an exciting collaboration between myself, some amazing poets, and Queens-based new music ensemble thingNY at Aurora Gallery in Astoria – poets and music! Mash-up! Improv! The return of my “Nature of the Muse” reading/on-the-spot creation series in a new guise (..it’s a shifty one ;))! Can’t wait – more deets to come.
And I will leave you with some words, from me.
Thank you for reading, seeing, being, doing, creating, living, loving – you.
Trajectories: words and music / collab with thingNY – 12/12/13 [Facebook]
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do -
determined to save
the only life you could save.
- Mary Oliver, excerpt from “The Journey”
OUT OF MY HEAD & HEART:
here i am. and i can see the light catching the near-invisible threads between all these things that i do. you just have to move with the current. embrace instead of resist. no, it’s not perfect. yes, i am still looking. but that’s okay. this is my life. i want to be endlessly challenged, always moving, constantly creating. that is what we are meant for.. step back and you’ll see it. you don’t have to fixate as hard as you do. let the things that move you to tears, to grand sweeping emotions – be the things that actually matter. love. beauty. awe. ache. i am thankful to be here.. because finally i am walking in my own shoes. finally i am seeing the signs. finally i know it is a process. everything has a purpose. i am meant to take risks and make mistakes. and it’s okay. it IS okay and it will BE okay. i went from a few months ago feeling nothing in a way i hadn’t in a very, very long time - now i am here. i am not afraid anymore, i am not afraid. because life goes on and on and on and it is beautiful and terrible and shocking and perfect and harmonious and discordant and magical and a downright, absolute mess. but that’s what we’re here for. that’s the purpose. that’s it. if we did everything right, we wouldn’t LEARN. we wouldn’t have any richness or DEPTH of experience. it’s what we’re here for. that’s it. that’s it. and so i will be – the mischievous little goat breaking fences. peter in neverland. the restless sailor always voyaging. the little girl in fairy tales. and on and on and on. i believe, i wish, i hope, i love. and i will go harder, brighter, bolder, louder. because this is who i am. and there is no other way for me to be.
Banksy in Woodside, QUEENS! Incredible.. More info
It’s remarkable where these strange and wonderful oscillations of life will take you..
I truly want to thank everyone who has supported me, reached out, heard my call, or gave me a chance to speak about what I am most passionate about.
The first ever Queens Literary Town Hall is this Friday!
DNAinfo New York interviewed me and did a great story, Brownstoner Queens sounded the alarm, BORO Magazine ran an interview with me in its latest print edition, the Town Hall was shouted out in a NY Daily News article about the growing Queens literary scene, the LIC/Astoria Journal did a preview, and of course..
I got the amazing opportunity to speak with Rocco Vertuccio on NY1!
It’s really been amazing and I plan to do so much more from here.. These things are just a part of me – crusading for Queens, spreading cultural awareness, and connecting people – I can’t imagine it any other way.
Can’t stop, won’t stop..
I also feel very lucky to have one of my poems, “exceptions,” published in issue 14 of the absolutely stunning literary magazine, Words Dance. Please check them out and read the gorgeous and powerful work they’re sharing with the world!
Speaking of publishing – I was able to share my piece “requiem (soon to be)” that was published in the Spring/Summer ’13 Issue #2 of Queens’ own Newtown Literary Journal at their reading at Astoria Bookshop last week. If the crowd was any indication – word is getting out there. People are coming to these new spaces, connecting, and recognizing (hopefully more and more) that there are so many opportunities to enjoy this expanding literary world in Queens.
Please check out the list of QUEENS LIT RESOURCES I put together and share it with your contacts! It’s the only way we can keep going forward – by supporting and promoting each other.
See you out there this week! I’ll be hosting this month’s edition of Boundless Tales Reading Series at Waltz-Astoria, which also got a write-up in the Queens Chronicle! The theme is “departures” which couldn’t be any more appropriate.
“Verily the lust for comforts murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral. But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.”
Kahlil Gibran’s words always resonating in my head. Comfort in the unknown. Bliss in the adventure.
Let go, take a deep breath – and enjoy.
Hosting at Boundless Tales Reading Series – 10/17/13 [Facebook]
Hosting Queens Literary Town Hall as part of QCA’s 3rd Space series – 10/18/13 [QCA]
Reading at artist Priscilla Stadler’s ‘Favors’ opening in LIC – 11/8/13 [Favors]
Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.
But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.
Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.
You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.
You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
And though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.
- Kahlil Gibran, excerpt from “The Prophet”
The 1st ever Queens Literary Town Hall is coming up on October 18th!
The RSVP link is now live on Queens Council on the Arts’ site – please spread the word and join us if you can!
More info about the event and QCA’s 3rd Space series:
3rd Space – Queens Literary Town Hall
Where do artists gather to be with other creative minds and spirits?
Artists in Queens now have a unique independent creative space where the artistic and cultural communities in the borough can come together to talk shop, attend workshops, network and share their works in progress in the 3rd Space at the Queens Council on the Arts.
3rd Space is a series of monthly events that invites local artists to host events to build strong and vibrant artist networks and to creatively lead the continuing transformation of the borough’s cultural economy.
The inaugural 3rd Space event features “The Queens Literary Town Hall”, curated by Queens based artist Audrey Dimola. The evening will be part performance, part soapbox, and part networking opportunity, and will serve as a platform for local writers/literature lovers to connect to each other and to the literary organizations and reading series in Queens.
3rd Space – Queens Literary Town Hall
Friday, October 18th from 6:30-8:30pm
Queens Council on the Arts
37-11 35th Ave, Entrance on 37th Street
Astoria, NY 11101
Admission is $5: RSVP HERE!
Please pay at the front desk upon arrival.
Scheduled to appear: Boundless Tales Reading Series, First Tuesdays Reading Series & Open Mic, REZ Reading Series, Oh Bernice! Reading Series, Newtown Literary Journal, Astoria Bookshop, Enigma Bookstore, and more.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon!