I'm excited to announce that I've been awarded a 2-year artist residency with Creative Alliance, a community based non-profit organization that presents and promotes the arts and humanities in Baltimore, Maryland. In mid-June, I'll be headed back from whence I came a year or so ago. This is a fabulous opportunity, as the residency comes with a loft apartment downtown, where I'll be living with other artists (I can feel the energy already!), and the chance to develop a writing program for writers of all ages, with a focus on underprivileged youth. It also means taking my teaching and mentoring skills to another level with an established organization that has far-reaching resources and an awesome mailing list. In some respects, it's like an apprenticeship, but with more latitude.
I expect that by the end of my time there, I'll have gained valuable experience working with kids and teens, have established a good contact base, and will have already launched my private workshop/mentoring business in the Baltimore community. Not to mention the completion of another novel, a book of essays on writing retreats for women, and a poetry manuscript. Hey, it's two years, I can get a lot written in two years!
While being in Los Angeles has given me many opportunities to teach and volunteer, and I've made friends (artists, writers, musicians, you name it) that are important to me, I think it's best to take what you know to where it will do the most good. LA has a thriving art and non-profit community. There are many wonderful people here doing wonderful things. Baltimore is thriving as well, but in a smaller way, and I know that, with the help of Creative Alliance, I will reach a larger group, giving as many kids and teens as possible the chance to express themselves through writing and other creative projects. What artist/writer doesn't dream of such an opportunity?
Of course I'll continue to offer all my teaching and editing services, as well as the newsletter and online classes and discussion groups.
I'll be sure to post updates on the experience and the process here on a regular basis. In the meantime, I'm close to the final edits on my second novel, and have been able to "kill my darlings," (as Faulkner advises us to do), or at least most of them, in an effort to have the cleanest writing possible. It's not about the ego or desires of the writer, it's about what the piece, be it a poem, a novel, or an essay, needs to be fully realized. This is an ongoing struggle for every writer, no matter how many years experience you have! Is there something you can edit out in one of your works today? Something you love, that you think is the most fabulous writing ever, but is probably clogging up or blocking the light in your writing? Get rid of it. You'll feel better when you see how well things flow afterwards.
For anyone interested in the work of Creative Alliance, or in applying for a residency, their website is www.creativealliance.org