I have long been one of those “open book” people. I’m quick to share and like listening; as a formally trained writer, I look at everyone as a potential story. Good, bad, or otherwise, the way I see the world is forever tinted by my writerly intent.
I don’t write stories for a living now; I am (finally) back to teaching, but I don’t teach creative writing in the capacity I once did. Instead, I took elements of my art education, elements of my writer’s education, and elements of my personal struggle, and I put together classes that I wanted to see birthed into existence.
One such class is the 4 week course from my Art + Writing series, and the premise of the class embraces artfully expressing your written soul. We use creative writing prompts to develop a narrative poem or essay, and then create images with color to further bring the work to life.
This is, to me, an obvious way to work. But in my five-plus-some years of creative writing and miscellaneous instruction, I never really saw this method being shared or used much. It made sense to slap together my ideas into a 4-week course and go forth and teach what needed to be taught.
Part of what is required in this class, is a certain amount of self-disclosure and a willingness of transparency. Art must be authentic, and as with any art class, this class asks students to bring their authentic self to the practice. It gets personal. Usually I share things, and students share things, and sometimes people cry (in a good way).
It is incredibly rewarding, and as I introspectively examine where I am now and what my 2018 looks like going forward, I realize I am called to *this* page with greater authenticity and honest transparency.
I quit teaching and I lost myself to an abusive marriage. I escaped, but barely, and have fought a hard battle to keep my kids safe. Currently, they are safe, but the legal battle is draining in a myriad of ways; much of our fight MUST be kept quiet, for reasons my lawyer would lay out for me sternly in a three page email if I disregarded his advice.
The hardship we have endured, though, brought the scope of my work and purpose into clearer focus. I am ready to teach and lead, while my own life shapes itself. I am on a journey of healing, of self-discovery, of self-acceptance and braver self-expression. I invite you to follow my journey, to discuss, learn, grow, and share the experiences with us.
I am excited for 2018; will you meet me with your authentic self and grow into the person you are meant to be?