Date: March 17, 2022
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Like many, my earliest memories of this holiday are connected with impressions of springtime. For me, it’s spring in the Arizona desert; magical golden poppies spreading across the dry arroyos and the cactus blossoms splashing colors pointillist-style across the sides of rolling hills.
Springtime is all about regenerative forces; life bursting forth where before there was none. It is the bright signs of hope emerging against the dark still-life of winter. Living in the Pacific Northwest, this contrast between the darkness of winter and the creeping light of spring is even more pronounced. Every year the slow approach of spring coming to life brings me those same feelings of joy that I felt as a child.
Having said that, I also know that many people are having to take a step back right now. For many - including myself - the events going on in the world, with the string of tragedies over the last few years, the war that has started in Ukraine, and book banning (really!) in parts of the U.S, it seems like it is just too much to handle.
This stepping back is a natural way to try to process and come to grips with what we can do in a world that seems so far out of control. I am trying to follow advice I have been given by a wizened sage: Everyone of us is on the same difficult journey and so we need to have grace with others, give others the space they need, but also do what we can to draw others in toward ourselves.
I am most able to find strength through the magic of joining with like-minded souls. Community activities give me hope and helps me feel like I can show up for the world again. This camaraderie brings me back from the darkness. It grounds me and allows me to feel joy again.
Luckily for us, here in Tacoma, there are some amazing, beautiful things happening right now. I don’t want to miss any of it and I hope you will find your joy here as well!
Creative Colloquy is turning 8 and launching Volume Eight Print Anthology! Contributors to volume 8 include Cameron Combs, who - along with Lisa and me - is the third leg of our writer’s group, The Page Turners! I am so excited to join the celebration with Jackie, Cameron, and all in the South Sound literary community on Monday, March 21! Email Jackie if you would like to attend this event!
Creative Colloquy, in conjunction with Tacoma Public Library and Tacoma Creates, is presenting Show & Tell: Bring Your Story to Life with Jenny Bartoy on Tuesday, March 29, 6pm to 7:30pm. I was able to participate in this same workshop when Jenny offered it last year and I learned a lot of skills which I was able to immediately put into practice. I highly recommend checking it out!
Blue Cactus Press has several upcoming workshops:
The aptly named, Layout Design 4 The End of Times, led by creative entrepreneur and designer Knic Pfost, is available March 23 or 24. I am excited to learn more about this and hope to see you there too!
Poetry as Unquenchable Dream, on Friday, April 8th, is facilitated by the talented poet Esther Vincent Xueming. Esther’s book of poetry, Red Earth, will be used as a model for the workshop and registered attendees will receive a copy. I have attended several events where Esther read and I highly recommend this workshop (and her book)!
Book Production 101, offered as a half-day, in-person workshop facilitated by Christina Vega, is on June 25. I did this workshop when it was first offered and can’t say enough about how helpful it was in getting my planning started around the publication of my current works in progress.
On Monday, March 21 Norwescon’s Bibliophiles is having a Book Discussion on Defekt (2021) by Nino Cipri, book two in The LitenVerse novella series. The first book, Finna, was nominated for a Hugo in 2021. Nino Cipri is a queer and trans/nonbinary writer, editor, educator, and 2014 Clarion Writers' Workshop graduate. I look forward to the discussion!
One thing I would love to share is an interactive article from The New York Times, A Poem (and a Painting) About the Suffering That Hides in Plain Sight. Unfortunately it seems that readers may need a subscription to view the interactive feature, but I encourage you to try! It seems very pertinent to me in light of the absurdities going on in the world right now.
I have truly enjoyed reading "Children of the Land: A Memoir" by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo and want to recommend it to everyone. The book tells the tragic story of a boy growing up in an absurd-bureaucratic world where he and his family are treated like criminals just for living in America, the land of the free. I also was drawn to Castillo’s descriptions of how he turned to poetry and how poetry became a way for him to define himself in the face of a world that doesn’t make sense.
Lastly, for the last several months I have been joining the Tacoma Arts Commission meetings live (the meetings are also recorded and are available on the Tacoma Arts Commission Agenda and Minutes page). It is great to see the Commission at work and I applaud what they do to make our city such a vibrant artist haven!
To send you off, in this the week when we are forced to adjust our clocks, I offer this haiku:
Time is relevant
Daylight savings time is not
Falling back no more!
Until next month, happy reading (whatever you enjoy reading)!