Mrs. Sheila Marchbanks is the consummate cultural event planner. When she extends an invitation to attend a gathering it is promised to feed mind, body and spirit. So, it was a great honor when she invited me to give a presentation on my book Sirens in Her Belly to the Sistah Readas Book Club.
I arrived a little early and Mrs. Loretha Nwosu graciously lead me on a tour through the pleasant, well-lit, Ontario Museum. Sistah Readas began arriving and many brought a guest with them for the event. This was one of those days where everything took its cue from the weather and the book club members made a unanimous decision and requested that the meeting be moved to the museum courtyard. As soon as the request was made, Mrs. Loretha Nwoso graciously orchestrated the arrangement of the tables and chairs.
When Mrs. Sheila Marchbanks arrived so did the delicious homemade food.
The day blossomed into a picnic with Sistah Readas. The ladies came prepared with questions; conversations unearthed emotions and explored the roots of situations in the poems, our society, and our personal lives. We closed the day with a writing exercise and future plans.
A little of Bessie Smith's Black Water Blues and Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman coupled with a template on how to write the blues, made for a fun evening of playing with rhythm in poetry. All I needed to do was bring ingredients and stir and the creativity poured out.
Kris Peterson wrote and performed blues at the workshop.
Thank you PI Founder and IE Literary Laureate, Nikia Chaney for the invitation to teach. It was great fun being a guest facilitator for the lesson: Writing in Rhythm at PI - The Poetry and Performance Alliance of the Inland Empire in San Bernardino's Garcia Center, 536 W. 11th St. They meet every other Monday evening 6 - 8 p.m. It is one of my refilling stations and I'm looking forward to our next poetry rendezvous in music, meters and memory.
Welcome to my observations on the craft of writing, venues and writing community experiences.