Last weekend was the last session of the Mujeres de Maiz Writing Workshop Series, and the whole month and a half that it lasted shook all of me.
First, I met Tara, an artist/poet from New Mexico who came to show us how to make beads out of the print outs of her poetry. It was so awesome to learn this because it made me think of special ways I could gift someone with my own poem beads. She let me take a couple of the templates for bead-making, and I was really happy to have met her and learned that from her. Also, I was very excited to meet all the other womyn that were gonna be part of these series. I came ready to open up & it was food to my soul and fuel to my writing.
Right from the beginning, we introduced ourselves and shared a little why we were there. Everyone has a story to tell. I shared that I was there because I had set a goal for this year to be one where I dive into writing in whatever form came to me — poetry, memoirs, good old journaling, etc. and that I wanted to surround myself with artists and writers to inspire me and push me to eventually get on a mic. There were about 4 of us who were always there for every workshop, but I also bonded with other womyn who only made it for one or two. Most of the workshops took place at Eastside Cafe in El Sereno every Saturday from March to mid-April. The series were led & coordinated by Iris De Anda, a wonderful mujer who just published her first book of poetry, you should check it out!
The second meeting was at CSUN (closer to me!), and our facilitator that day was Xanath Caraza, a Spanish Literature professor in Kansas and incredible poet. She led an intense workshop that made every womyn in the room dig places in our hearts through her poetry. It was an experience that allowed me to write a piece about the time I was homeless with a child on my shoulders. We all got to share and at the end we gave each other affirmations, and held hands, even hugged a couple of the womyn I connected the most with. All these connections and powerful words gave me so much reassurance in the journey I am taking as a womyn, writer, mom, and sister/friend.
A couple of the other workshops allowed me to write a long poem about my name and its origin, and another one about my skin and body(will share those soon). It was so exquisite to have that space and time and inspiration with other womyn, because there are experiences that only womyn understand. We bring a special, mystic, significant energy to places, and to harness that in writing collectively was an immersion I want to experience again for sure. The other womyn I shared my piece with really felt my words and wow, that feeling — when you are done reading out loud and people getting emotional reactions to something I wrote — it’s tantalizing and I’m getting hooked.
Some things I am doing to keep this ball rolling is I am getting back to attending ITWOW (In The Words of Womyn) more regularly in Sylmar at Tia Chucha’s (I’ve been invited for open mic nights, gah!). I have been going to Write Club LA every month (I DO NOT miss that for anything in this world), and I am planning to go to the LA Writer Underground Open Mic, La Palabra Reading Series & others that come up. I follow poets & writers on social media that keep me inspired. I have made sure to surround myself with all these little angels, who may not be aware that they are helping me, a womyn in the midst of my creative evolution, rebellion & liberation become stronger and more of a believer in myself and the stories I have to tell.
P.S. I recently went to Grand Park’s Book Fest, and ran into Wendy C. Ortiz, who is a captivating writer I met at one of the first spoken word events I went to at the beginning of the year. She was writing free poetry for people (poesia para la gente) & I got so excited when I saw her because I had read her piece on the New York Times Modern Love column and absolutely fell in love with her writing. Here is the poem she wrote for me on single motherhood. Happy Heart 🙂
Single mother, what do you know?
You know the secrets
of the refrigerator
what happens when the lights go out &
you have the power to keep the lights on.
You are keeper of crayons, scissors & glue stick.
You control the parades
& the rain on them.
You are yes. You are no.
You spill schedules &
The siphon that is you
never runs dry; it can’t.
Yours is a special power.
And you are always more than mother ❤