I feel very grateful right now to be able to connect with people through my own work as well as through my cultural efforts in Queens. I am forever indebted to the art and words of people from present day to centuries past – the inspiration that has pulled me through some of my darkest days.
To be able to pay that forward – to connect with the universe in such a way that it allows me to deliver a message to someone at the particular moment they need it – be it a piece of my work, direct spoken encouragement, sharpie-scrawled words on a wall outside, my book, a poem sticker, or just a smile or an outstretched hand.. There’s just nothing better. Because I know how important those moments have been for me – and to be that for someone else is just unbelievably precious.
I had an absolutely WONDERFUL time at my first solo featured reading at First Tuesdays in Jackson Heights. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Richard for the opportunity and to everyone who shared the evening with me!
Among many other reasons to be overjoyed, I was also so happy to hear that the following poem delivered its message – something I feel very strongly about. WHEN will we take ownership of who and what we are? WHEN we will give ourselves permission to be exactly what we ARE? No gatekeeping, no being held back, no waiting for someone ELSE to say yes. What validates you as an artist? Is it within yourself? Or is it when someone else acknowledges you – publishes your work, accepts you into a festival or a gallery? It’s something I know we’ve all struggled with. Here is my take – or at least what I try to remind myself as much as possible – it’s a poem from my book, “Decisions We Make While We Dream.”
it seems to me
is the muse’s silent killer..
you write and stand on a street corner
holding a sign,
or shouting from a mountaintop,
or thrashing in the sea,
waiting for someone to notice.
we writers have to ask ourselves
over and over –
does it matter?
in so many ways
the greats, and others like them,
have said – write not for an
the purest writing comes from you,
praise or criticism may come
or alternately, you may
have only silence.
but whatever you are faced with,
i tell you –
picking up the pen is your
you have realized
the grand illusion –
out of nothing.
and do you know what else?
have you considered
how much of your audience
is invisible –
simply part of the pen and ink,
the walls of your heart,
the fragments of memory..
spirits of the past,
circumstances of the present,
possibilities of the future –
star-trails and planets
and the universe all one –
it all moves to an
when you take that breath,
that step – to create.
how much more validation
do you need?
In other semi-related news! I’m very, very excited to be hosting the first QUEENS LITERARY TOWN HALL on October 18th from 6:30-8:30pm as part of Queens Council on the Arts‘ 3rd Space Series, which offers artist-led performance and exhibition opportunities the third Friday of the month. Part performance, part soapbox, and part networking opportunity, the Town Hall event will serve as a platform for local literary organizations and reading series to connect with each other and to writers/lit lovers in the borough. Please join me for this sampling of literary Queens – all in one place, all in one night!
On that note – this week I put together a list of all the Queens literary resources I know of (including reading series, literary organizations, workshops, bookstores, etc), posted on the new Boundless Tales website. Please check it out here and share it with your contacts!
We’re all fighting this good fight together – closer than we may seem. Keep walking your path, sharing your stories, and making your art. It’s the only way to live authentically – and to connect with others authentically, too.
Looking forward to this season of transformation..
Celebrating the return of Boundless Tales Reading Series! – 9/19/13 [Facebook]
Hosting Queens Literary Town Hall as part of QCA’s 3rd Space series – 10/18/13, 6:30-8:30pm [More to come!]
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver