Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Literary Circus in Asheville, North Carolina

Look at those beauties! Writers, all of us. We've become a "thing." An Asheville creative collective of women who write and perform. Of all the ways I could expend energy, this has become one of the most fun and uplifting because we're redefining what it means to be successful writers in a commercial, hypercritical literary culture.

Not that we don't care about quality. We do. We're each interested in improving our work. For Randi Janelle (far left, purple hair) that means cultivating a creative life and mind, channelling, being happy, teaching yoga, and performing. For Alli Marshall (second from left, striped scarf, closed eyes), this means writing every day at dawn because she loves it, working with other artists to make new art, leading a local writing group, and memorizing poems...because, well, shouldn't you? For Nina Hart (middle, abracadabra hand), her work has evolved into a full-time career as a writing and creativity coach. Watch out for Nina--she can spot negative self-speak before the paint is dry on your faux mea culpa, and she may give you a sock monkey to stay positive.

Photo by Adam MacMillan
As for the last gal on the far right (in turquoise and impossible scarf), she's still figuring it out. She's more about flying by the seat of her pants, playing it fast and loose, scribbling a poem, pecking away at a novel, writing a public letter that uses the word pu**y (the cat, silly!) about 25 times (yes, I read it at the Fringe Festival. No video!). She loves playing with words, publishing a few other than her own, and maybe someday, a few of her thoughts strung together will see the light in an eager audience's eyes.

We came together to take the downer out of being unknowns. With financial rewards and wide recognition seemingly out of reach, we decided to make our goals less about admiration/acclaim and more about pushing the boundaries, airing our creative voices, and enjoying the writing more. A year into this experiment, it's going well. We've had four successful events (with public participation), and we're planning to publish a zine later this year. The fun may just be starting. Hula-hooping encouraged. Bring your sock monkeys.