I just returned from a marvelous weekend of flight at The Power of Words conference. I soared and felt the wind on my cheeks so crisp and sweet I thought I had accidentally swooped over Lake Superior. In reality, I sat, stood and danced at Unity Village, MO. Through workshops including one I led, readings including one I did, and one wild 90 minutes of experimenting with spoken word performance, I finally trusted that gravity would never again be a problem for me.
There were, shall we say, a few stomach-plunging moments like the instant when I read past my time limit at the coffeehouse and kept going despite the MC’s gentle efforts to bring my reading to a close. I honor MC Peggy Mulvihill and thank her for not dragging me off stage. A thousand thanks to the amazing Annola Charity for donating her time to me. How wonderful that someone else then donated their time to Annola who sang for us.
Because of Peggy and Annola, I was able to finish reading an essay that was important to me personally, but then everyone’s reading that night was important, not only for them but for the rest of us. And shall I add that the readings were also amazing? Thank you all for sharing your work. Thinking about the snafu, I realized that the best solution would have been to beg a special favor from the other writers and ask if I could return at the end of the evening to finish reading the essay about Mom and me. I think they would have happily agreed.
There are times when you attend a conference, and you pick up a few tips but nothing else of substance happens. A week later nothing remains except a few handouts tossed into a drawer. The Power of Words Conference felt different. Something happened there. I finally let go.
Thanks to new friends and teachers I met this weekend. Check them out, people! Thank you to Jimmy Santiago Baca, Xánath Caraza, Thandiwe Shiphrah, Darren Canady, Laura Packer, Doug Lipman, Rebecca Hom, Lyn Ford, E. G. Bailey and Shá Cage, Jenifer Strauss, Beth Honeycutt, Priscilla Howe, Tina Games, and of course, many thanks to Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and the Transformative Language Arts Network. As always, a shout out to the magnificent Jean Ryan. I wish I could have talked to everyone! Amy Oestreicher, I will be in touch.
IMAGE: Thanks to Unsplash and Andrej Chudy.