#LiveToWrite, personally: A retrospective of #thisisthebeginningofanessay


My last blog entry was just as I was entering the second trimester of my pregnancy and here I am on the other side of carrying a child, more than halfway through the fourth trimester, as it’s often called.  Raffaele is 7.5 weeks old now.  He came on a mission to be in this world as I was on a mission for him to be here, too.  After about 3 hours of active labor and just four pushes, he was born on July 16.


Since Raffa arrived in all his cuddly humanity (as he was very much already a presence from before I even knew I was pregnant), I’ve been writing short posts on Facebook mostly while he’s nursing or while bouncing him on a ball.  They are tagged as #thisisthebeginningofanessay, because I knew that eventually I would get to writing them, though I haven’t figured out how to do that with one hand and a baby on my lap or in the crook of my very aching arm.  You can follow the hashtag on Instagram and Facebook, which are definitely a part of how I am tracking the journey of mother and writer.  

Here I am.  Day 1 of my poet-in-residence time at the Museum of the African Diaspora.  I finally have the time and mental space to actually start some of those essays.  I’m also currently taking an Introduction to the Personal Essay class with Vanessa Mártir that is fostering some deep thinking.  I also have an essay I need to write for VIDA on the emergence of my consulting work and defining the value of my labor.  I have a lot of things going on, in short, so I wanted to use this space to explore the writing process to come and some beginning ideas.  I also want to find the space to reflect on this writer’s life, particularly after leading my second LiveToWrite workshop through The Speakeasy Project, which went especially well.  

#thisisthebeginningofanessay pictures of my posts are loaded in this file.  I’ll be linking to these files over the next few weeks.  

Today I start with my writing tasks at the Museum of the African Diaspora.  Here are some things that I want to accomplish at my residency.  Somethings are within the prospectus, but most are projects that I want to take on.  

Prospectus from the MoAD

  • Spend time in the museum each week to be inspired by the museum’s exhibitions to create original work.
  • Facilitating a partnership with ARISE High School in Oakland, CA
  • Creating curriculum for a poetry workshop with a 9thgrade creative writing class. At least one workshop will take place at MoAD during the school day and a culminating reading event will be organized in the evening or on the weekend. 
  • Present a program of the Contractor’s work throughout the residency. The form of that program can be chosen by the Contractor and developed in conjunction with the Director of Public Programs at MoAD. 
  • Develop 2 public readings with established poets that will take place at MoAD in Spring 2019. 
  • Develop the criteria for choosing the participants for the 2019 Poets in Residence Program. All of this work will be done in conjunction with a concurrent 2018 Poet in Residence.

Tasks that I want to take on
  • Write up workshop ideas for universities in Italy and send out so that I might set up some scholarly visits to universities in the Milan area.  (strikeout for things completed today)
  • Read for my consult with a phenomenal writer next week.  I’ve started taking writing consultation clients, which is filling me with an incredible joy.
  • Apply for my pre-professor review at my university.
  • Work on a press packet so that I can schedule university visits for this fall and next.  I really enjoy doing readings and workshops with creative writing students.  
  • Complete the work for my Intro to Personal Essay class.  I want to come away with 5 essays that I can send out. 
  • Work on a new workshop on summoning joy and play to generate new work
  • Write new work for a new collection of poetry I want to submit to Salmon Poetry.  
  • Work on an essay project I want to submit to Nomadic Press.
  • Work on an anthology project I want to submit to Art Público Press and University of Arizona Press.  Let’s be ambitious!
  • Write an essay for VIDA on assigning value to my labor
  • Apply to more residencies and writing opportunities (see below to see what I have my eye on)

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