Beyond the Pink Ribbon Fellowship
The Beyond the Pink Ribbon Fellowship, created by Liz Bedell and Lisa Lutwyche, provided Retreat funding for a breast cancer survivor. Here, Lisa shares her reflections on the inspiration and intention behind this fellowship:
What inspired you to create the Beyond the Pink Ribbon Fellowship?
I attended my first AROHO in 2009, having survived breast cancer myself, and I found that the quiet time at the retreat allowed me to safely to revisit, and heal from, some of my experiences. I wanted to allow for another woman to have a similar experience.
What best defines the spirit of the fellowship?
It is as if we are sisters in surviving a terrible ordeal, and we deserve to have it validated, even celebrated. In our everyday lives, we are not rewarded in any way for having endured the terror and mutilation we survived. In fact, we are not particularly invited to speak of it.
Can you share one story which illustrates this spirit?
In one workshop, at my second AROHO, I wrote a poem that I hadn’t expected to write. It was based on a Georgia O’Keefe painting, but somehow it took me to my lost breast (who can ever explain how inspiration works?) The women in the workshop were warm and supportive to me, and to my small piece of expression.
What are some ways you have benefited from a community of supportive women writers and artists?
The community of AROHO does not end when the retreat ends. We give each other advice, share opportunities, and encourage each other all year round. The women are joined on social media, at subsequent events, and I have formed friendships that have lasted for years.
Can you name some current women writers who inspire you and your work?
I am lucky to have met Ellen McLaughlin, Summer Wood, Janet Fitch, Breena Clarke, Barb Johnson, and Marilynne Robinson at AROHO. They certainly have inspired me.
What is one resource you wish all women writers had or knew about?
Is there anything you hope the recipient of the Beyond the Pink Ribbon Fellowship will discover through their experience at the AROHO 2015 Retreat?
I hope she finds a place of peace, inspiration, safety, and sisterhood, and that those things stay with her for years to come.
In our everyday lives, we are not rewarded in any way for having endured the terror and mutilation we survived. In fact, we are not particularly invited to speak of it.