I wrote my first poem, “Papa Tree and the Seasons,” when I was 9 years old. It told the story of the life cycle of leaves, honing specifically on the fate of one little leaf who is the last one clinging to the branch before winter comes. I bound this poem into a little book, filled it with color pencil drawings, and proudly offered it up to my parents one evening. And I see now that this quite accurately represents the instincts behind most of my work to date – the desire to capture that which is most fleeting, to locate the heart of its beauty and power, sustain its life through language, and share that language with others.
I have been leading Feral Writing workshops, both live and online, since 2010. In this spirit, I guide students through simple, often playful exercises and activities that help strengthen their creative instincts in order to develop a writing practice that sticks. I also work one-on-one with those who need more accountability, feedback, and personal attention with their creative projects. My classes offer the opportunity to let loose and take risks in order to navigate the stories that matter, and at the heart of my teaching and facilitating work is a commitment to telling the truth with compassion and support.
My first job out of college was at a PR firm whose primary client was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In between writing tip sheets and press releases, I found myself immersed in the whimsical world of clowns and daredevil acrobats and dancing elephants, and I began to see the larger connection between the written page and the landscape outside of it. Since then, I have sought out creative adventures to weave into my writing life, and have designed projects that bring writing opportunities to unexpected places. My 2010 Tour de Word was a two-month, 12,000-mile driving trip circumnavigating 30 states, during which I led writing workshops for children and adults. In early summer 2012, I launched, Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem, riding my bicycle for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles from Amherst, MA to Milwaukee, WI towing a typewriter behind me, stopping daily to gather words from strangers in the communities I visited. I followed that with Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour, a tandem bike ride from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin in July 2014, during which my partner and I built 25 Little Free Libraries and wrote poetry for the people we met along the way. The motivation behind these and other projects is to inspire people to share their stories, to make writing more accessible – especially to those who don’t consider themselves writers - and to build community through creative action.
At the heart of it all, I remain curious, engaged, and hopeful about the world around me, and continue to discover new ways to be a part of it and to share my experiences through writing, photography, and other outlets. I love leading a life of creative investigation - even with all the uncertainties it comes with - because it helps me connect with and support others who are driven by similar instincts. And I never stop forgetting how lucky I am.