RVA Litcrawl

RVA Litcrawl was birthed in a period of distraction. I was busy writing my book on somatics due in a few months and paused from tapping at the keyboard. Out of habit, I checked out Facebook. I learned that friends in Denver were taking part in a litcrawl. What fun!

A vision of book lovers intoxicated with words standing wobbly on the sidewalk, friends walking to their cars swooning from a passage, or scene or line from a reading captured me. I put out a call on Facebook. Richmond, being the city of writers that it is, responded.

With the help of fellow writers Meriah Crawford, Lenore Gay, and Patty Smith, Richmond will have its first ever litcrawl. Fifteen readings with over 75 writers at venues across the city will be gathering to celebrate writing!

My books and projects start with a compelling vision. A What If appears in mind and nudges into the foreground of my awareness. If it persists, I know I must act. That persistence is important. How else to sustain the months and years it can take to bring a vision to fruition? Gladly I yield to the force of the creative impulse. It brings much needed beauty and humility to a world too often raw and belligerent. It generates conversation and connection where there may otherwise be alienation and despair. A literate community is a community that recognizes the power of words as an opening, as an eternal spring of creativity.

RVA Litcrawl is one such project. Check out the link for more information.

Contact Improvisation Book Available as E-book

Contact Improvisation

An act of love like so many books, Contact Improvisation: an Introduction to a Vitalizing Dance came out in print in 2006 after several years of writing. It took that long because I interviewed so many dancers around the country and abroad. I wrote the book because I loved the dance.

Still do. The dance remains among my greatest teachers.

Defining contact improvisation can be difficult. My elevator speech is to describe it as a combination of modern dance, aikido, gymnastics and yoga. The difficulty in Describing it especially difficult with someone with no dance experience.

Years ago when I taught writing in Malaysia, one of my students from a local indigenous tribe asked about what else I teach in the U.S.

“Contact Improvisation,” I said. It’s a type of modern dance.”

“What is modern dance,” he asked.

I tried to explain. “It has some similarities to jazz,” I said.

“What is jazz,” he asked.

“Improvisational music,” I replied.

“What is improvisation,” he asked.

Nearly thirty minutes passed in which we tossed words in search of common cultural understanding. He finally understood when I explained it as expressive dance.

Here’s a poetic excerpt from the prologue: “Let your body call you back into yourself, into your most deeply embodied self. Land, dive, soar. Find the crumbs that lead back home.”

If you’re an e-book reader wanting to know more about this improvised partnered dance, know that its electronic version is now available.

You can check it out here.

Healing and Rumi

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We may believe that illness and pain happen to us. A migraine, a cold, or a fever erupts. A car strikes us and we suffer broken ribs and a concussion. We receive a diagnosis of cancer. We are passive recipients of misfortune. Our life gets complicated with this snarl that is not welcome. We do our best to deal with the misfortune.

It helps to reframe the occurrence as an encounter on a two-way street, one in which we have a say. We take an active role. Continue reading

Foremothers and Sisters: Suggested Reading

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At this year’s Los Angeles AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs), Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Leslie Samuels Entsminger, Jan Freeman, Renee Olander, and myself participated in a panel called Literary Foremothers and Filling the Gaps. We wanted to honor women writers who have influenced our writing. Renee teaches women’s literature at Old Dominion University and built a substantial lifetime Continue reading