On gratitude

So many folx are putting wonderful free resources out there to support each other and the collective during these stressful, uncertain times.

I wanted to gather all of them up into a great big blog post or website page, but given the inevitable fragmentation of my energy and attention right now, I’m just going to post what I can, when I can. I’ll tag and categorize these posts with #support, in case you want to pull them all up at once. And maybe one day I’ll collect them into a helpful page that lives on the site permanently.

Most of my social media time is on Instagram, so most of my references will be to that and/or folx’ websites. I am guessing a lot of these also have presence on Facebook and/or Twitter, so feel free to explore and search. Also, if you have free support resources you’re grateful for – or providing! – please feel free to comment on one of these posts (just one post, please – no need to post your service/recs on all of them!).

So! Here are a few that I’m particularly grateful for today:

The Local Library – for me, it’s ppld.org or @pikespeaklibrarydistrict on IG – they’ve gathered a list like this for local resources in the Pikes Peak Region. It’s pretty great. Check your own local library’s website, they’re probably doing the same thing because libraries are awesome. (Shoutout to my mom, who was a librarian for many decades.)

Rebekah Borucki – @bexlife on Instagram, she also has a FB page and a website. She’s made the e-books of her work free, including a beautiful meditation book for kids called “Zara’s Big Messy Day,” which is in English and Spanish, and two books for adults. She’s also leading guided meditations live on IG daily at 11:11 a.m. (Eastern, I think), and has a bunch archived on her YouTube channel. I personally am finding meditation to be a really helpful self-care resource these days; even a couple minutes at a time can make a difference.

Fierce Womxn Writing – @fiercewomxnwriting on IG and Twitter, fiercewomxnwriting.com. Sara is amazing and so is her podcast. Listen to it on any podcast platform (or the website) for gorgeous, real-life inspiration and writing prompts. Terra Preta Review and Fierce Womxn Writing are collaborating to publish In the Fray: An Anthology of Pandemic Creativity, which is now accepting submissions right here!

Many School Districts in El Paso County, CO – and, I hope, where you are too – check your local school district’s website to see if they too are providing free breakfast and lunch for all kids under 18, whether you’re in that district or not. There are multiple pickup sites around the county. Please practice safe distancing, and wash your hands, but I’m so grateful to our school districts for working to try and keep kids from going hungry while out of school at this time.

Google Arts & Culture: Frida Kahlo Exhibithttps://artsandculture.google.com/project/frida-kahlo
A collaboration of multiple museums and The Google to bring you some really cool explorations into Frida Kahlo’s art, writings, and life.

That’s all for right now, but this will be an irregularly recurring feature on the site. Again, please feel free to drop suggestions in the comments! I will sort these into “totally free” and “low-cost,” this one’s totally free, so comment accordingly.

Keep well and keep writing, beloveds.

On courage

Today is a good day to spend some time with the question, “What healing do I need to gather courage to undertake?”

The truth is that all healing takes courage. Some more than others. But it’s hard to really look at your own wounds. We’re taught to hide them, avoid them, run far and fast from them.

You can’t heal what you don’t examine.

It takes a hell of a lot of courage to even admit to the wound sometimes. And if you’re struggling with this, with naming the wound, with pulling back the years-old bandage, go gently with yourself.

Having a hard time facing the wound does not mean you’re a coward. It only means you are in tremendous pain.

Don’t discount your pain. It won’t be healed by trying to dismiss or minimize it. Maybe try, instead, to reach out to it. Write it a letter. Ask it what it wants to say to you. What it wants to teach you. What it needs to be healed. What kind of love it needs. Write it a poem. Or write a poem from the point of view of your pain personified.

Something to remember:

Your pain is not your fault. But you are the one who will need to do the healing work. If it feels like too much to do alone, please don’t do it alone. Call a trusted friend who will hold your heart with tenderness and care. Call a mental health counselor – many, if not all, offer phone or video chat sessions. If you can’t afford counseling, call a crisis line – each state has one – here in Colorado it’s 1-844-493-8255, but elsewhere, do a quick search on “crisis line.” We all have burdens that are too big to carry by ourselves. All of us. You deserve support. 💜🌱

On Hope

I just read (or reread) Maria Popova’s gorgeous treatment of Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark on brainpickings.org. Both are such brilliant writers. I love the way they resist simplification of a subject, which is a hard boundary to set.

You might find the essay brings you some comfort, reflection, or inspiration. (And Solnit’s book, which I’m now adding to my to-reread list, right after Women Who Run with the Wolves.) If you aren’t already in love with Brain Pickings, may you have time amid the chaos of now to fall head over heels with it.

For example, this reminder of Popova’s particularly resonated with me:

“With great care, Solnit — whose mind remains the sharpest instrument of nuance I’ve encountered — maps the uneven terrain of our grounds for hope:

It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings.”

Nuance could surely be one of our greatest weapons in the fight for hope, as fear relies on a reductive, myopic narrative just as much as pollyanna-ish delusion does.

I also savored this gift of a double quotation:

“Invoking James Baldwin’s famous proclamation that “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” Solnit writes:

It’s important to emphasize that hope is only a beginning; it’s not a substitute for action, only a basis for it.”

Yes. Every bit of yes. So when we say that we hope to provide you with some comfort, some inspiration, some prompts to support your creative response to this actual pandemic, even yes a moment of hope or inner peace, please know that what we mean is we hope we can bolster your resolve to keep going, to hang in for five more minutes any way you can, beloved, and maybe to make something that someday people will see and say, “Yes. It was like that for me too.”

We hope you’ll have time to read the essay. But whether you do or not, consider taking a minute or more to respond to the question, what does hope mean to you? Use whatever creative form speaks to you at this moment – writing, art, photography, meditation, yoga, cooking, singing, dancing… The list goes on.

Be well, beloveds. 💜🌱

Writing in the Time of Coronavirus

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Photo taken on the fourth night of our quarantine, March 17, 2020, when the weather felt in sync with our inner landscape. (c) Ann Hagerty Davenport

In this time of coronavirus, life has been turned upside down for virtually everyone on Earth. Now is a time when we need our writing and art, when our instinct to create is tantamount and in tandem with to our instincts to survive and thrive. Worth noting: this is different from the capitalist-induced worry, “Oh shit, I’m stuck at home for two weeks and if I don’t write that book and reorganize my entire house while homeschooling my children I will be a total failure.” Darlings, tear up that script and throw it in the trash-heap right now. Write a poem about what bullshit that is, and how and why we do this to ourselves so often, and let the false construct go. The more compassion we can give ourselves and each other, the better we’ll all be able to weather this storm. And the more we can turn to our art as a pressure release valve, instead of coming to it from a sense of pressure, the more it will nourish us.

In that spirit, we are thrilled to partner with our beloved friends at Fierce Womxn Writing in response to the pandemic. We’re now accepting submissions for an Anthology of Pandemic Creativity. We’re still taking submissions to Terra Preta Review, as well, and are curating an amazing next issue to share with you all.

We’ll also be using our blog more often to post prompts, comfort, and inspiration, in case you need some. We’ll be sharing things we find inspiring or helpful, as well as posting our own thoughts. You can also follow us on Instagram where we’ll be sharing a lot of content too. In the spirit of terra preta, now is the time to dig deep, reconnect to the richness of our own soul’s earth. We will make art that speaks to the breaking-down and supports the building anew, as our own ways of making peace with this totally surreal transition to a new reality. We hope you will too. And we hope you’ll share it with us. In years to come, this anthology will speak to the realities and surrealities of this time in ways that only great writing and art can. The world needs your voice, our voices. Speak your truths (since truth is never a monolith, it’s messy and multifaceted). Make your art. Release your pressure valve. We’re here to support you through this. We feel like our mission as a literary journal speaks to this time directly, even though we never anticipated this happening…

Quick update – good news & bad news

Whenever someone says, “I’ve got good news and bad news,” which do you ask to hear first?

Me, I always want the bad news first – I guess so the conversation will end on a happier note.

So the bad news is that we’ve had to make the difficult decision to skip our planned September issue. We don’t want to put out a rushed or poorly-presented edition, you know? And we have some fantastic works on deck for publication, so the next issue – which will launch on Dec. 21st – is going to be SO FREAKING AMAZING I CAN HARDLY STAND IT.

And that’s not even the good news! The good news is that with the funds raised from submissions and donations in support of our first issue in June, we were able to pay our contributors to that issue AND make a donation to Soul Fire Farm, a fantastic non-profit that we’re proud to support. So if you kicked in a Tip Jar submission of your work before June 21st, or donated in appreciation of our awesome first issue, please know that those funds are making a real difference in the world, and THANK YOU.

rrrrgh….

Beloveds, our free submissions are once again on hiatus on Submittable. We are sorry for this. It’s fucking frustrating.

We are looking at other ways to manage our submissions so we can just offer free submissions throughout the year without them getting yanked away from us every damn month.

In the meantime, if you are eager to submit now now now, Tip Jar submissions are open for $5. If you don’t mind waiting until June 1st, free submissions will reopen that day.

 

Daily prompt 30

Today’s prompt ::::: plant :::::

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More suggestions:

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I want to plant seeds that’ll grow…

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I could learn a lot from a plant:

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We reopen for free submissions tomorrow!! Hope you had an intensely beautiful National Poetry Month, and that these prompts were able to spark some writing or art for you along the way. 💚🌱

Daily prompt 29

Today’s prompt ::::: light :::::

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More suggestions:

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This light seems unbearably bright….

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The shadows give depth to light…

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Daily prompt 28

Today’s prompt ::::: water :::::

▫️ More suggestions:

If I could immerse myself in water…

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Were I a boat I’d need water that’s…

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We’re almost to the end of #napomo2019 !! Hope you’ve gotten to write and read some incredibly soul-nourishing poetry this month. 💚🌱