Please describe your gathering and how it was AROHO-inspired?
Barbara Rockman: In April 2010, I organized an AROHO fundraising event in Santa Fe, NM. It was titled, “A Celebration Of Audacious Women Writers.” It was the organization’s tenth anniversary and the call had gone out to encourage AROHO retreat and conference participants to create events that would celebrate AROHO’s goals and raise funds to offer scholarships for new retreat participants.
Assisted by two other Santa Fe retreat alumni, I gathered diverse women authors to read at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. The women writers who read were Luci Tapahonso, Pam Houston, Summer Wood, Dana Levin, and Sara Marie Ortiz. Sadly, Carolina Monsivais, was unable to attend at the last minute.
Our fliers were designed by another AROHO alum. Extensive press appeared in newspapers, radio shows, and mailings. Included in the evening was a presentation by Darlene Chandler Bassett and a raffle of donated art and gifts. Suggested entrance donations were $10-$20.
What was your original goal and did you accomplish it?
Barbara Rockman: We packed the bookstore with over 100 excited and generous listeners. We raised over $1200 and were able to fund a full scholarship for a Native American woman writer to attend the 2011 retreat at Ghost Ranch. Erin Bad Hand was the recipient.
By gathering diverse readers in multiple genres, a palpable, moving and rich experience was offered to those in attendance. There was electricity in the room. And laughter. And tears.
The Santa Fe community learned more about AROHO and, through the distribution of literature, Darlene’s comments and the enthusiasm of the organizers and readers, interest grew.
One of the great unspoken rewards of the event was the collaborative planning by Shanti Bantwart, Nena Villamil and myself. We brainstormed, delegated, laughed, and unearthed different strengths in each other. We were a team and the energy of the evening flowed from our enthusiasm, our playfulness, our months of planning sessions, and our professionalism. In this way, our AROHO community deepened and our isolation as women writers was lessened. By inviting amazing women writers into our Santa Fe AROHO community we all, visiting writers and planner writers, were inspired by AROHO’s mission to build support, writer to writer.
What about your gathering made it unique?
Barbara Rockman: Because AROHO is based in New Mexico and because the retreats take place in this landscape, I think it was especially powerful to gather writers from the southwest. It was an opportunity to showcase diversity of the region and offer the women readers a rare opportunity to be part of a shared evening and support a cause they all believed in.
Contact Barbara Rockman at: motherpoet AT aol DOT com