Women who inspire me to write in 2021
2021 began for me with a climb up a hill with Amanda Gorman. She pulled me aside and, with wisdom blessed at birth, reminded me that I am the ‘‘author of a new chapter”. She stressed the need to ensure “Harm to none, harmony for all”. And in the end, advised me “to be brave enough to see the light” and “brave enough to be it”.
Where does one find inspiration to be creative as we sink into a whirlwind of chaos? We look to poets and writers to light the way. And that is what Gorman did on that freezing morning in Washington.
This January, I have also been inspired by groups of women whom I meet regularly on-line. The groups are open to all, but since today I am focusing on the women who have inspired me, I’d like to share their work. Writers, teachers, and poets, their commitment to creativity has helped me to stay focused.
- “Shut up and Write” sponsored by California Writer’s Club is hosted by Audrey Kalman and Lisa Meltzer Penn, who makes sure we do just that.
- Loren Rhoades and Jenny Bitner both host weekly writing sessions in an online community. The Spooky Writers Planner keeps my writing life organized.
- Lyzette Wanzer reminds us that writers need to be seen and heard.
- Solano Writer’s Society’s Shea Robinson writes Young Adult fiction and blogs. Breanna Hardy is a poet and Kimberley Policarpio writes urban fantasy.
- Women’s National Book Association’s Vice President, Elise Marie Collins, brings the group together with the grace of a yoga guru.
- Alif Se Yeh‘s Wajiha Saqib re-acquaints me to the eloquence of Urdu literature through the poetry of Zehra Nigah and Kishwar Naheed, among others.
- Four Paths to Sanctuary, of which I am the fourth member, a group of women revealthe path to sanctuary through our stories: Veena Rao, Judith Teitelman, and Cindy Rasicot.
- The Wine and Write Group, professors and friends from Cañada College, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lisa Palmer, and Salumeh Eslamieh, all dedicated to teaching and writing.
- And of course, my sister, Selma with her art and writing which keeps us searching for the Simurgh.
Creating a Corner for Creativity
Grey on the left and cream on the right. The corner of my dining room is the space I have filled with what I love most. It is my corner to sit and write with friends I have known for decades and those I have just made.
In this corner, I sip vino tinto from Rioja, Spain. I sway to haunting notes of the duduk from mount Ararat.
This corner is my corner of magical words. It is the corner of stained fingertips struggling to control charcoal, sanguine and black.
Above me Don Quixote prepares his fight with the windmills of his mind. Below him, two majas in mantillas flirt with fans.
“Tu y yo”, said Selma when she handed them to me.
Though we have never flirted with fans, and we will never flirt together.
This corner, half grey, half cream, colors the crevices of my mind with words that flow like molten multicolored thoughts. Notions that jump in like monkeys, the only ones who look in corners.
In response to the prompt, Only monkeys look in corners.