I’m happy to share that “Madness is Remembering,” my essay awarded the Penelope Nivens Award by the Center for Women Writers and Elissa Washuta last year, is now in the Summer 2017 issue of Prairie Schooner. The essay is about love, cyclical violence, Romani (“Gypsy”) culture, inherited trauma, and survival. I’ll be in there alongside writer and friend Brenda Peynado, so make sure to check out her story too! The summer print issue will be available to order soon!
If you need resistance literature and community organizing in your life, join me for LUNA LUNA RESISTS: Protest, Lit, Community. Some of my favorite writers are performing, as well as a number of writers I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing. It’s important to use our work for resistance, to support those affected by Trump’s despotic regime, and to create a safe community for dissent, activism, and mobilization. Here’s the run-down from the organizers:
This Sunday, 2/5, from 5-8 PM, Luna Luna Magazine presents a night of poetry, prose and dialogue in the spirit of resistance & community support. Partnering with GAMBAzine at the Gamba Forest space in Brooklyn, NY, Luna Luna will host short readings and a space for informal discussion and conversation around support, organizing and personal stories. Each reader will present 1-2 short pieces. Drinks will be available for purchase. There will be a few intermissions and time for talking.
We encourage people to bring friends and family. We especially welcome women, people of color, immigrants and other marginalized groups that are at risk under the Trump administration.
IF YOU OR YOUR FAMILY ARE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY TRUMP, PLEASE LET US KNOW. WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR WORK.
*** READER LINEUP ***
Lisa Marie Basile
Melissa Hunter Gurney
Tala Abu Rahmeh
Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari
Olivia Kate Cerrone
Nicola Maye Goldberg
Jasmine Dreame Wagner
I’m delighted to announce that I’m running a bi-monthly Writers’ Circle at Tarot Society in Brooklyn, NY, every other Wednesday night from 7-8:30. It’s my experience as an English and Writing Professor and yoga teacher that ritual can lend not only structure to a creative person’s life but also a great deal of inspiration. Ritual helps us delineate space and energy, and if you are the type to believe that writing is a kind of alchemy, then you may appreciate the practice of charging your writing time and environment with intention. Think of it as a magical rite, invoking the muse, calling to your higher self, or appealing to your genius (those delightful daemons the Romans believed worked through us). We’ll draw from various traditions of meditation, mindfulness, and magic work to open the space for our writing. Then, we’ll begin the circle with craft talk, usually incorporating examples from a diverse array of writers (often outside of the great white canon). From here, we move on to writing prompts and time to write, and end with optional sharing and feedback. The goal is to have you leave with some new material that you can play with afterwards, and if you choose to invite feedback, our suggestions are informed by the freshness of the work, rooted in questions like, “What did you love? What did you want to see more of? What were you curious about?”
If you feel like you could use some more energy, discipline, and magic in your work, then join the Writers’ Circle, open to all genres and writers. Follow Tarot Society on Facebook or join the mailing list to keep on top of the Writers’ Circle schedule.
The Writers’ Circle and Tarot Society is a decidedly safe and intersectional space, welcoming to all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and abilities. Please come in the spirit of art, love, and tolerance.
I’m so happy to share the stage with these artists and writers who I admire so much. During this performance on September 2nd at Hell Phone (starts at 8!), I’ll be performing a different piece from the Summer Writes performance, but this one will also include a cocktail of Romani (“Gypsy”) dance and literature. If you can make it, I can assure you that it will be an evening of diverse artists bringing and baring themselves to the stage. We hope to see you there! And if you would like to perform at these monthly events, you should get in touch with GAMBAZine too! Check out the full lineup and Facebook Invite below.
*Readers will know how much I like reclaiming the word “Gypsy,” so do’t be alarmed by this act of linguistic empowerment.
The Island of GAMBAZini presents monthly night of curated literary and musical performances from diverse and independent artists. This particular event is meant to inspire your inner island. What would you share in your freest moment? What magical creatures exists within you? When you are nude and experiencing the heat of nature what do you think about? Skinny dipping at night under a full moon with an endless amount of ocean surrounding you – what do you reflect on?
Feel free to wear island inspired attire – mermaids, unicorns and plant life welcome.
Joseph Alexander Garel
Lisa Marie Basile
Ruby Brunton & Deirdre Coyle
*Photo by Eat the Cake NYC*
I have such immense gratitude to The Center for Women Writers and to Elissa Washuta for this award. The piece I wrote, “Madness is Remembering,” deals with my experiences of childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, and antigypsyism. It was really fucking hard to write, and I wrote it like an exorcism. My friends, writers Misha Rai and Emily Alford (check out their work!), encouraged me to enter it into a competition, as did Victor Pachas (musician & artist– look him up too). Without their support it would have sat in the proverbial drawer, proverbial because I never print things out anymore and who even has a printer anyway.
The judge, Elissa Washuta, says this about the essay–
“In this exquisite essay, the narrator is wounded by the doublepunch of past trauma compounded by a lover’s new inflictions: the failure to understand rape trauma, the acts that make old pain show up nearly new in the body, the incomprehensible violence. Employing an enchanting cadence, stunning figurative language, narrative tension so taut I forgot to breathe, and a bedrock layer of the history of violence inflicted upon Romani family members, the author infuses the page with the dread of intergenerational trauma that makes space for new wounds.”
I’m still floored and humbled– just, thank you.
Right now my essay is still unpublished, so I’m now in the process of finding it a home.
You can and should check out the other winners and honorable mentions here. Congratulations to everyone!
*Photography by Allison Nichols for Loverly and David’s Bridal
Love writing and yoga? Do both this weekend, May 1st, with Elissa Lewis and me at our Writing and Yoga Workshop! The workshop will be held the first Sunday of every month at the beautiful Sacred Sounds Yoga studio in Greenwich Village, NYC. We’ll guide you through yoga postures and writing exercises to relax and open your mind and body. All genres, styles, and levels are welcome. To register and for more information, you can go here. And if you feel so inclined, take a look at our Facebook Invite and feel free to spread the word. Thank you!
I am so jazzed to be reading with GAMBAZine at Hell Phone speakeasy! There will be music, art, writing, food, and refreshments, and who doesn’t love all that? GAMBAZine is all about art and writing that’s edgy and raw, and I’m honored to be part of this event. If you’re in or around Brooklyn, join us. It will also be International Romani Day, so I’ll be getting my Gypsy Pride on, y’all.
Here’s the Facebook event— please share if you’re so inclined. Thanks!