No Matter What State I’m In I Can Be Beautiful
Dec03

No Matter What State I’m In I Can Be Beautiful

How easy it is for us to find beauty in our creative sisters. In contrast, what images of our own creative selves do we tolerate or, worse, defend? Made from photos of her that she had previously rejected, “Self Portrait” taught Amber J. Deltorchio that “no matter what state I’m in I can be beautiful.” How can our artistic approach flip our perspective? Imagine what can be learned from our creative sisters. We crown our 20th year with the gift of our creative intentions – offerings of written and visual self-portraits that honor our creative selves and make room for our creative sisters.                                                               “Self Portrait” art by Amber Deltorchio An artist and art educator, her art was created as an emotional healing tool that provided structure and love. “Self Portrait” – made from photos of her that she had critically rejected – showed Amber that “no matter what state I’m in I can be beautiful.”   _______________________________________________________   “Why Write?” by Penelope Dane   Because you were told hush. Because you used to sit in church, terrified you would stand, shouting that you hated God, Jesus, yourself, your family, this town. None of those things were true. Maybe it was the anti-depressants, filling your head with unspeakables. But in college, the Psychology of Addiction professor taught that drugs do not contain highs, they release them. If this is true, the unspeakables were always there, set loose in your synapses by a psychiatrist’s prescription pad. Because when you were four, you sat, constipated, swinging your legs in the mint tiled bathroom, singing heroic epic poems about yourself. You never wrote down the poems because it took until you were six to learn to write the alphabet. Because novels do not emerge, slime covered, fully formed like babies. You are no Doctorow. For you, writing a novel is not like driving at night, seeing only as far as the headlights but making the whole trip from notes to finished book in the dark. Following this metaphor, you spend two years, rising in the cold upstate New York mornings to write. After sunrise, you drive past dingy houses and wide snow covered fields to your tutoring job. You spit out 400 pages, not looking back, only ahead at the bit of illuminated road. When you read the pages, there is no novel. There are ten scenes, written over and over, blurred mimeographs of themselves. You print this out, snap it into a 3-ring binder, which...

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Healing Across Time and Space
Nov06

Healing Across Time and Space

Dear Creative Woman, To begin to comprehend our need for each other, consider the medieval pair Hildegard von Bingen (a mystic cloistered from age eight) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (a queen imprisoned by her husband for sixteen years), who forged an epistolary relationship. Today, we are no longer forced to wait patiently for letters to cross seas, yet our connection is equally precious. __________________________________________________________ “At a time when I was resurfacing from illness and isolation, the encouragement … in ‘A Room of Her Own’ enabled me to reboot my dreams … and stalled projects … changing my whole perspective as a viable artist.” – Rosalinda Ruiz-Scarfuto, Global Summer Camper (Spain), 2020 AROHO Grant Writing Fellow, newest book A Poet’s Survival Journal in the Covid-19 Pandemic Global Day Camps bring us together, amplifying the muses at our table and summoning back bits of us that have been floating, unmoored. Our November day camps featuring WAVES contributors in residence still have space available, Nov. 7 and Nov. 21. Join us! Join Us for Global Day Camp   Raging Wave” art by Carolyn Wright Read More __________________________________________________________ Get sick, stay in bed and that’s what happens. You become a ghost in your own life. Bits of me are floating back like moons to their Mother planet. No one else has this exact memory Of honey on toast or this bitter echo of a child lost. I water the rosemary, sweep away cobwebs, let light and sound Stitch my wounds, healing across time and space. “Coming Back” by Beverly Lafontaine, Writer in Residence, Global Day Camp, November 21 Read More __________________________________________________________ Brigid was the Celtic goddess of poetry. She also ruled over fire and healing and metalwork. The first three made sense to me, but I did not come to understand metalwork until one day, typing away at my computer, I suddenly saw the metal of it. The metal of the box that held it. The metal wires and components inside. The metal conduits to the electrical grid that brought power into it. The metal towers that provided signals and service for this communication. “No Faith Without Body” by Cassie Premo Steele Read More “Golden One” art by Lyndia Radice, Artist in Residence, Global Day Camp, November 7 Read More     In honor of Diwali, Hindu Festival Day, November 14, we offer the gift of Bhanu Kapil’s words, “When you speak your truth, there will be waves in the desert.” A 2020 winner of the Cholmondeley Award from the UK Society of Authors for distinguished achievement in poetry and former member of AROHO’s Board of Directors, Bhanu’s luminous presence, unique take on...

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And Rose Our Voices Like Waves
Oct05

And Rose Our Voices Like Waves

Dear Creative Woman, Today we respond to the call of our times and our community to release the confluence of women’s voices — both from our anthology and new work — into shared, published WAVES. Our New WAVES         “Dragging Virginia Woolf’s Body Out of the Ouse” WAVES digital cover art by Christy Sheffield Sanford, Artist in Residence, Global Day Camp, Oct. 24   __________________________________________________________   “There Was a Door” by Leatha Kendrick, from Waves: A Confluence of Women’s Voices “There was a door to the river I never lived beside — a door on its changing shoreline, its shining.                  My hand on the lever.”   (Previously published in her 2020 book, And Luckier)   Read More   __________________________________________________________   “At Least Prostitutes Bring Home Money” by Sokunthary Svay, from Waves: A Confluence of Women’s Voices “My whole life you never know who I am.”   Read More   __________________________________________________________   “Leaves are Waves are Us” by Sacha Rosel, New Work Watercolour pencils on paper (10x10cm/39.37inchesx39.37inches) and poem, August 2020   In the phosphorescent hem of light I met my sisters, a crumpled heap forgotten on the ground. We exhaled our trembling births, an oval breath expanding from each other’s filaments, and made our secret sound happen, jade-leaping into a new truth, jumping blue streams and pearlish-grey purples, fuchsia enchantment of chromatic prayers, instants lost and erased. And rose our voice like waves stronger than wind, until the world was now and us and our story unwritten, finally loud and vivid: We are the instants beyond silence, and the words within silence rising like fire in the sky.   I consider the small painting and the poem as one single work, as they were both created as my personal comment to the AROHO Global Summer Camp 2020 experience....

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We Ask Our Ancestors to Speak to Us
Sep11

We Ask Our Ancestors to Speak to Us

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés says, “Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation.” The process by which AROHO invites submissions is an invitation into call-and-response, a shared dialogue as women of the world and, deeper still, into our own transformations. We paused on Friday for 9/11 to remember; and in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month this September, we celebrate the richness of “origins” and culture, and we ask the ancestors to speak to us. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ “Like the Women before Me” by Ashley Fernandes, in response to “What Do My Ancestors Tell Me?” They whisper to me at night, softly into the crevices of my mind, as my body lulls into a state of drowsiness. On the brink of sleep, I hear them – they’re female, but they sound deep, raspy, and soulful like that of wise women who speak for all it’s worth. “Write the poem,” they tell me. My eyes dart open, my heart beats faster and arrhythmically. “Tell the story.” “I don’t know where to start,” I think back to them, pulling the covers up to my chin and squeezing my eyes shut. “Or what to even write about.” “Write from the legacy of women before you,” they say, and I wrap my blanket around me tighter.   Although I cannot see them, there are weary smiles and crinkled eyes in their voices, I can feel it in my bones that ache for sleep. They have lived lives full of damnation, of hardship, of rights and opportunities stripped away from them. I know they are the women before me that used art as a symbol of their determination, of their battles they refused to give up. Reinventing the definition of beauty, breaking out against the norm of normalcy to create pieces of noble history – the things that women can do if given the chance, written in their fiery legacy. “Write about us.”   And so, like Toni Morrison, who defied all odds with her bouts of necessary wisdom, I use my freedom to free others. I rise from my bed, and I sit down to tear away the fibres of my mind, letting the darkest parts of me spill onto paper. Through an opening of the heart, the selfishness of man comes apart.   Like Georgia O’Keeffe, a goddess of art and femininity, I paint, but with words. Strokes of vowels and consonants and splashes of thought hit the page through smears of raven ink, drawing pictures of lands far away and flowers too beautiful to be real. As I listen to the sound of the...

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What Does It Mean to Be a Creative Woman?
Aug07

What Does It Mean to Be a Creative Woman?

  What does it mean to be a creative woman? In the call to gather in a virtual women-led, intention-setting creative workspace called Global Summer Camp, so many of you responded from around the world that we expanded our original attendance to include more women. We are from seven different countries and stunningly-diverse backgrounds, and AROHO is galvanized to make more room for more women in gatherings to come. Congratulations to the Gift of Fellowship recipients for our flagship GSC! If you were unable to make our Summer gathering, please stay tuned for our Global Fall Camp! To see the recipients for The Amanda Gorman Fellowship for one young woman poet of color, The “Voices of Women Artists during the Pandemic” Gift of Fellowship for an international woman mentor and international woman  mentee, and The Global Summer Camp Gift of Fellowship for five registrants, go to our Global Summer Camp Gifts of Fellowship. _________________________________________________________ “An Artist” by Nancy Iannitelli Ink and Gold Leaf on Vellum paper, 2020, in response to “Who Am I as a Creative Woman?” My spirituality lies in all that is good. I believe my talent is a gift from a greater power than myself. – Nancy Iannitelli . . _________________________________________________________ “Diss Track” by Fiona Alwora, excerpt of spoken poetry Tempting as it is to build a pyre and be done with it/ Keep those sticks and stones/ Trust me/ Build a bridge and watch who finds their way to you. . . I was born and raised in Kenya and moved to the US at 19. I went from being a member of the majority to finding my voice as one of an extreme minority. I came to poetry out of necessity. – Fiona...

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A Gift to the Silenced
Jul10

A Gift to the Silenced

You hold space with us in this world for diverse women’s voices. It is the call of our times to reach together across limitations to connect in rooms of our own making and to amplify each other’s voices and our creative work. We are excited to share a new vision for AROHO gatherings, Global Summer Camp. This is one way we are making more room. Inspired by women’s requests in The Q and our recent “Voices of Women Artists during the Pandemic” webinar with St. Pauls College in Bangalore, we have imagined five days in August for breakthroughs in creative projects, women-led wisdom sharing, and joyous discovery. ________________________________________________________ Global Summer Camp Available for 2- or 5-days. Funds support open-access submissions for diverse women around the world this 2020. Find more on Global Summer Camp here. The first 5 women to register will receive a special Gift of Fellowship mentoring session for your creative projects! More details will be provided via email after your space is reserved. Art by Karina Puente, hostess of GSC ________________________________________________________ “Bendita No. 4 A Gift to the Silenced” Ink and Gold Leaf on Vellum paper, 2020 Maria Emilia Faedo In 1961, I was an unaccompanied Cuban child arriving in Miami during kinder times. Today, my work is in collections such as FIU and USF Public Art. I received an Art Matters NY Fellowship and was featured on the Smithsonian’s curriculum “Expressions of Assimilation.” This is one of several mixed media Benditas who – neither virgins nor saints – stand as a visual reminder that rich forces of courage may be friends, sisters, teachers … Who they are and how they came into your lives is of little importance. What matters is that you stand ready to open your door. –Maria Emilia Faedo ________________________________________________________ “Disturb” by Melinda Jane, the Poet Mj The first physical act of rebellion is to speak words out loud to yourself. The second act of rebellion is to speak them out loud to another. The third is to a crowd an outcry this is this, is this… Betwixt outcry is breath the out of rebellion in transmission of memes. Respiratory infection gestation of ideas. Prayer not taken up from demolition words distill, disturb the air. Undercurrents of the unknown direction. I am the author of the poetry book, Nature’s Nuptials, the children’s book, The Currawong and the Owl, and fifty-three written works published in international anthologies and literature journals like Mekong Review, Rattle, Dime Show Review, Hawai‘i Review, Rambutan Literary etc. – Melinda Jane, the Poet...

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Voice of Women Artists During the Pandemic
Jun17

Voice of Women Artists During the Pandemic

On June 24, 2020, St. Paul’s College and AROHO Foundation participated in an international webinar on “Voice of Women Artists during the Pandemic.” Panelists Darlene Chandler Bassett, Karina Puente, and Sun Cooper participated live with Moderator Saranya Francis, with a special video message from Bhanu Kapil. AROHO is grateful to Saranya Francis and St. Pauls College for making this shared space possible, and to every participant who brought their presence here. It was a different kind of WAVES, one that reached across limitations of location and time, in order to connect and share women’s voices. If you participated in the webinar or wanted to and were unable to, we would love to invite you into this community of women and to hear from you. To sign up for WAVES or submit your creative work, please find more by selecting the “Submit” or “Subscribe” blue buttons in the sidebar. If you would like to watch the “Voice of Women Artists During the Pandemic” international webinar, please scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the link to watch in full. Enjoy!   ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________   Watch “Voice of Women Artists During the Pandemic in full, broadcast begins at 31:45! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EblDLeRwSwqpgVVgPgteGH_t0n0cVaFP/view?invite=CP6kmO0F&ts=5f067dcd     Reading from WAVES: A Confluence of Women’s Voices, Darlene Chandler...

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The Fire is a Kind of Breath Too
Jun12

The Fire is a Kind of Breath Too

A Room of Her Own Foundation has always worked to elevate women’s voices from around the world to help us find each other and make waves. This is why AROHO aligns in principle with anti-racism and justice movements. We are committed to our moral and mutual responsibility to each other, and to the principle of inclusion that honors, engages, and sustains our diverse, global community. We stand with our sisters for love, equality, and change. Our digital Waves archive and bookshelf houses extraordinary Black women’s work.  Among them, find t’ai freedom ford’s To The Lighthouse Winner book, how to get over.  In partnership with INKPEN, AROHO is donating 40 titles for young student readers. Would you like to help us give more? To meet the historic surge of the movement together, we dedicate this Waves to elevating Black women’s voices and we carry our vow forward by inviting dialogue, sustaining open-access submissions, and robustly publishing diverse voices in WAVES.   To help us donate more books to INKPEN, find the link below. To support these Black women writers and artists, click on their names to find their websites and/or books and art, find them on social media, share them, and purchase their creative work. Don’t miss a very special offer at the close.   _______________________________________________________________________   “you ain’t seen nothing yet” by t’ai freedom ford underneath the floor’s unforgiving squeak lives a boy forever crying i wonder the shape of his tears: bulbous diameter of saltwater how might i measure the radius of his grief? how many droughts could be solved by this unhappy child? some days i long to braid his tears into song – other days i want to collect the sour milk breath of each wail in a mason jar and carry it off into the world: show this lil boy what sadness is all about. t’ai freedom ford, “you ain’t seen nothing yet” from our To the Lighthouse Winner how to get over Having my book enter the world is my proudest accomplishment and I am so very grateful to AROHO for blessing me and countless other women with this opportunity. – t’ai freedom ford   In partnership with INKPEN, AROHO is donating forty copies of how to get over by t’ai freedom ford for young student readers in one classroom (25) and one book club (15) at an under-resourced public-school library in DC.  Join us by making a special purchase of t’ai’s book to add to the number of students who receive this powerful, contemporary voice which speaks to their life and culture.   Donate a copy from AROHO’s bookshelf here.   _______________________________________________________________________   “I’ve...

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What is Summoned Forth?
May08

What is Summoned Forth?

What is summoned forth for you these days? At our April invitation for creative women to submit, a surge arrived speaking to ancestors. Whether by sirens of courage or whispers of persistence, we are compelled to meet each other in the waves and listen to the stories coming from the depths, “from everything.” Find and share these women and their works in full. Names are in bold for those who have provided more about where you can find them. How do your artistic ancestors speak to you? Find the submit button to your right. _______________________________________________________   “Siren Songs and Sea Stories” by Jane Baldrige-Fisher The ocean lures us with its beauty. I am a life long sailor and artist, who studied art at California Institute of Art (Valencia, CA) and the Alfred G. Glassel Museum School (Houston, TX). Being a creative requires being fearless. I was influenced by John Baldessari, at Cal Arts, to never repeat what has been done. My artwork has been exhibited in Times Square, The Musée du Louvre, Lincoln Center, Museum of Computer Art, Mint Museum, Cameron Museum of Art, Fayetteville Museum of Art, World Festival of Art on Paper and has her 911 tribute, in the Library of Congress.  – Jane Baldridge-Fisher _________________________________________________________ “Creative Ancestors Speak” by Alexandra Newton Rios My artistic ancestors tell me to persist. Do not give up, though the world pandemic seems unreal, though [hard] days teaching the Spanish language on long distance learning waves, where I try to reach each student individually and make each one laugh while they learn together, leaves me less time … it is needed more than ever – my words written with depth, honed with vision. My artistic ancestors are mystics in times of pestilence that grew angry with the lies and corruption of priests and the Church around them and responded. They speak easily to a divinity within themselves, with God, with the Virgin Mary. Julian of Norwich in England became an anchorite and lived in the smallest of rooms as a room of her own. I found Julian through the poetry of Denise Levertov who wrote one of her Showings as a spinoff from Julian’s Revelations. I read Julian of Norwich’s Revelations and Caterina of Siena’s letters who wrote from a dukedom that would later become Italy. I wrote poems to both ancestors as a direct dialogue. And then the fourteenth century answered and fiction became real. The Julian/Caterina Project was born. I am a bilingual, bi-hemispherical writer, translator and teacher, runner of marathons. in this time of pandemic I am writing and teaching from northwestern Argentina, a place where there is...

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In a Time Apart, What Does It Mean to Have a Room of Your Own?
Apr10

In a Time Apart, What Does It Mean to Have a Room of Your Own?

In a time spent apart, our creativity becomes resourceful. Our rituals are a reminder of what roots us. Our community and virtual acts of connection are all the more vital, and yet the claim to our own space all the more necessary, too. What does it mean now to have room of your own? Has it changed or remained the same? If a photograph, an essay, a poem, a piece of art could reflect your “room” in these historic days, what would it look like?  Tell us … Do you have a room of your own? Find the submit button to the right. ____________________________________________________ “My Mac is My Room of My Own” by Carol Radsprecher   I’m a native Brooklynite who will never leave. I’m a longtime painter who taught myself some Photoshop and find that this medium suits me perfectly. I have an MFA in painting from Hunter College, CUNY. Very liberal politically; atheist; elderly; little money. English-speaking only, unfortunately. You can find me at my website: www.carolradsprecher.com. On Facebook: Carol Radsprecher. On Instagram: @cradsprecher. Be safe, all! ____________________________________________________   “A Room of My Own” by Christiana Martin Give me a place where sunlight spills in unfettered, spreading itself out like a lazy cat. Give me a space where words may come to me unhindered and flow out onto notebook paper. Give me a room with no color on the walls so the colors can float in front of me. Give me a room with windows to match my open heart. Give me a room where my body can explore my ideas, where I can take up all the space I want. Give me a door that I can close when my soul selects its own society. Give me a journal so I can soar or plunge. Give me music that makes me think. Give me a room big enough to hold all of who God made me. Give me a room quiet enough to embrace my loud. Give me a workshop to write this down. I used creative license by putting a twist on Virginia Woolf’s title “A Room of One’s Own” and by making an allusion to Emily Dickinson’s “The Soul Selects Her Own Society.” I am a Christian who loves to use the creativity I was given. I am in my senior year at Messiah College. I believe art is a great communicator, and I’m excited to share mine with the world. I have a blog, which you can check out here: hellohumanitysite.wordpress.com ____________________________________________________     “Where I Live and What I Do There” by Henri Bensussen There is a brook behind Brookdale, the senior...

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Palace of Pages
Mar13

Palace of Pages

In lean times, we find our sustenance. Feast on “bread and roses” from women in your community who are sharing their creative origin stories. Our resilient pageant continues: in a climate where many art programs are cutting back and communities worldwide are thinking more deeply about how to better take care of each other, we are sustaining open-access submissions this year for any woman who would like to share her story, her creative work, her room of her own. Women’s voices will be supported; Waves continue to build. As always, find your own invitation to submit in the side bar and consider giving $20 in honor of 20 years of advocacy and, together, we build us “a palace of pages.” _______________________________________________________________________________     Lazarus Nazario, “Rose Cottage,” an origin story I aim to catch the viewer off guard; have them rethink what they see. Through paintings & drawings I confront individual, political, and collective disconnection. – Lazarus Nazario     _______________________________________________________________________________     Ava Garfinkel, an origin story “Ginsberg and Dickinson Told Me Who I’d Be” I breathed in words like bread baking, I built us a palace of pages, I grew impatient with my own mind. This was the life I once chose, This is the world I ran from. This feels like the person I am. He told me I’d be angry He taught me to be bold, He made me face my worst fears. She holds me when I’m alone. She whispers secrets of beauty She pushes me toward the world. They cradle me in stanzas, They wrap me inside prose. They open up my rundown head, They stand behind me waiting, For the next words to reach my page. I am a 23 year old queer Jewish poet from small town Manitoba. I have an MFA in Art history and am beginning a masters degree in September 2020. I enjoy writing poetry when I’m procrastinating on assignments. I’ve been writing and procrastinating since I was seven years old. – Ava Garfinkel...

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Celebrating 20 Years of Creative Women
Feb14

Celebrating 20 Years of Creative Women

In celebration of 20 Years of Creative Women and in the spirit of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment for women’s rights, we begin by inviting you to a year-long pageant of supporting and elevating each other’s voices. Alongside our new monthly series sharing excerpts from the upcoming Waves anthology, together we are sustaining open-access submissions this year for any woman who would like to share her story, her creative work, her room of her own. Enjoy contributions from women in your community and find your own invitation below.   _____________________________________________________________________   Virginia Danz, “The Awakening” . Ten years ago after a rewarding career as a mental health counselor, I decided to take a chance on a career as a painter. The #MeToo movement had a profound effect on me, as did turning 50 and losing my father last year. I feel like I’ve awakened from a long nap, shrugging off the patriarchy and becoming my own mentor. I am now creating the most authentic, truly satisfying work of my life. I’m thrilled to find a community space online that honors and lifts up women’s voices. My work can be found at www.gingerdanz.com and @gingerdanzart on instagram. – Virginia Danz _____________________________________________________________________     Rebecca Harvey, “Bone”   Raised to be a good girl in the Midwest, I greatly failed my parents by climbing trees and playing in the mud. A further disappointment when I dropped out of Father’s law school alma mater to pursue art. Ended up ok, I learned to be a room of my own. – Rebecca Harvey _____________________________________________________________________     Nazli Karabiyikoglu, “Throwing Off the Blanket” How many types of going are there? Walking away, leaving for good, acts of escaping are hung on which part of going? What is the purpose of going and why do we hide behind the term leaving away when we are overwhelmed with life? Where does humanity stand between the inability to go, although desiring, and cutting loose through the backstitch of going and leaving? I’ve been thinking about these questions for years and all of them unravel quite different questions. In order to get out of the question labyrinth in which I’m lost, I have to go once more. I think I like questions mostly because of that.   My travels began in the back of the yellow car, with the mark of my pink plaid pillow on my face. The wind blowing through the car’s window, the sun that made my eyes squint, the dizziness of the child-me who just woke up turned the back seat into a one-person, magical brougham. The scenery, trees, steppes, and forests...

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A Room of Her Own for the Season
Nov22

A Room of Her Own for the Season

    During this season, we understand how full these festive and holy times can be; may the women’s voices and art shared here be a warm beacon. This is one way we make room for ourselves and for each other. Do you have a room of your own? Submit your creative response/work for possible publication with AROHO. Find the “submit” button on this page. Enjoy these creative women’s words and art and truth.     “Her Hands in Bloom” by Liz Asch I am her.  She is me.  We are folded in a collective She.  This girl.  Risen up like a flower in a brown potato field.  Fields of Russia.  Poland.  Germany.  Austria-Hungary.  Jewess.  My daughter, my ancestor, my lover, my grandmother.  The bright shape of her wafts through each blackened shtetl.  Where she sleeps in a cotton gown on a straw bed, dreaming she is a sylph caught in the river’s current.  The candles of the sky shine on her.  Dollbaby.  Poet.  A father’s daughter.  Have you seen my girl, such beautiful hands! Our baby, whispered over her, each time, fingers tracing the felt-like fur fringing her newborn ears.  The soft collar of fuzz that trails up her neck as she grows.  Wispy strands elongate from her temples, brow, nape.  Her head’s thick blanket fingered into braids, tucked in a bonnet for sleep, wavy as a waterfall by day.  Dark curls brushed in a high basket or left unruly and wild, pinned low at her shoulders.  Wet tendrils like serpents tamed into domesticity, hypnotizing a woman’s back.  Just to be there, to be allowed, to touch her skin, to run down the river of her spine. This Jewess, my ancestor, when the air flickers around me like shabbos candles, it is her hands, shadow-birds, freed in an act of consecration, that I feel.  Ephemeral, silent, made of her fingers, the only shadows allowed to dance—to unlock their wings, to reach. We, the women in my lineage, we don’t tell our secrets, we hide them in our mouths.  They soften to pulp within us.  Our bodies are dark nights.  Our throats are the tunnel where the moon rises, it waxes in our wombs.  A beam of light searching a galaxy.  Oh, mystery! Breathe it.        Whisper it.       Write it.           Swallow. Would that we could wander, were we not domesticated by the family’s yoke, by a rope of a ring around a finger, by society’s glare, by the fences staked around our breasts, our hips, our thighs. Strands of her hair fallen into her undershirt, wasted on her bedsheets, dusting the floor, snaked through her comb.  Tufts of her hair...

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2019 Corazon de Corrales Gift of Fellowship for Two Women
Nov08

2019 Corazon de Corrales Gift of Fellowship for Two Women

The Corazon de Corrales Gift of Fellowship Dear Creative Woman, We are delighted to share Corazon de Corrales, a bed-and-breakfast in the Village of Corrales, New Mexico, and Charlene Spiegel, the generous woman who is offering a writer’s residency for two women here. On this beautiful secluded acre, Charlene Spiegel has hosted AROHO’s Fire Heart Circle’s annual meetings. We’ve gathered in her rooms, brainstormed at her dining table, and built fires in her adobe hearth, just past a water-blue gate, surrounded by sage and floral gardens. Her place is aptly named Corazon de Corrales. Nestled in the village of Corrales, you can walk to nearby restaurants, the Old San Isidro Church, and the Rio Grand Bosque. Schedule your own creative residency here or donate-to-win the April 16-20 Corazon Gift of Fellowship below! In a conversation with Tracey Cravens-Gras, Charlene shares the details of her gift and her response to our featured question. Q: What does it mean to have a room of your own and whom do you share it with? A: I have always been a creative person even though I seldom realized it. And after surviving two long term marriages and raising two children – mostly by myself – I often felt alone, never experiencing true intimacy with another and somehow feeling “less than” most of my life. Now that I am in my 70’s, I’ve come to understand that being alone in many ways was my power. I had just turned 70 when I experienced what I call my “senior ah-ha!” moment: owning and running a bed and breakfast – by myself! At last I had the complete freedom to create a beautiful environment – nay, a haven – where I could do all the things that inspire, fulfill and sustain me spiritually and physically: gardening, cooking, decorating, entertaining, and sharing my property with other amazing people. Q: Can you name and describe the details of your gift? A: “Corazon” is Spanish for “heart,” and Corazon de Corrales is the name of my bed and breakfast. Not only is it located truly in the heart of this small village in New Mexico, where you may walk to many of the restaurants, galleries, the Rio Grande River and the Bosque, but it is also my “heart” – and the source of my gratitude. My gift is a 4-night weekend stay for two women – each in her own room – from April 16 through April 20, 2020. Delicious breakfast will be included. The quiet, secluded harmony of this place will provide each woman her freedom of creativity, as well as a special session with Darlene Chandler Bassett,...

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An Intimate Conversation with Sandy Coomer
Oct25

An Intimate Conversation with Sandy Coomer

Dear Creative Woman, In an intimate interview, AROHO’s own Cassandra Lane met with Sandy Coomer to talk about the Rockvale Writers’ Colony, her upcoming gift to one woman for a week-long writer’s residency there inspired by the power of creativity, and her effervescent response to our featured question : Do you have a room of your own? What inspired your creation of this gift and could you describe the details? Be inspired by Sandy’s words on the power of creativity: Listen here. Would you like to find out more about Sandy and her work? Watch another clip here and read her work “Available Light” here. __________________________________   “Suddenly the Sun” by Donna Spector In these times of turmoil, I am grateful for any moments when there is no new news, no tv, no radio, just two cats purring in the kitchen, and my study quiet and full of dreams. __________________________________   “Room Enough to Be Me” by Elizabeth Best In Dutch, it is my ruim: the hold of the ship of my life … When I have read enough or thought enough or written enough and I am too tired to do anything else, this room becomes my cabin, my chamber, my cove. __________________________________ Want to read Donna Spector’s and Elizabeth Best’s gorgeous submissions in full? Also find alongside complementary art by Korean feminist artist, Yun Suk-nam here. __________________________________ Find more on the Rockvale “Power of Creativity” Gift of Fellowship here....

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Do You Have a Room of Your Own?
Oct11

Do You Have a Room of Your Own?

Dear Creative Woman, Do you have a room of your own? We want to hear from you.  Find the submit button to the right and share your creative response in art, prose, poem, photography, essay, music and more.   ______________________________________________   “Solitude” by Jana O’Dell Quiet yet chaotic, this room holds all my secrets, all my faults and shortcomings, yet it still sees how fragile I am. No one knows me better than this room, where I cry, laugh, and scream. This sacred space is just something small, yet it is everything to me. It calms my mind, quiets my soul, repairs my broken dreams, and makes me feel whole again. It is my mind’s only solitude.   I am a mother of three and wife to the most amazing woman. I struggle with many mental health issues and through poetry, I am able to safely express my inner feelings. I have found my personal experiences are all I need for helping heal myself through writing. – Jana O’Dell In honor of World Mental Health Day this October, we are grateful that women of AROHO share their experiences in creative expression with all of us, raising awareness. Thank you, Jana and every woman who finds the courage to step forward and to share your words, your healing, and your wisdom.     ______________________________________________     “The Room That Grows” by Gwynn O’Gara The room I named my studyo is upstairs in our house. It’s where I read, write, think, practice yoga, and keep track of earnings and expenditures. Over 23 years I’ve assembled journals, books, feathers, stones, shells, family photos, jewelry, art, broadsides, and bouquets living and dry. At the east window sit file cabinets and two desks, one with my computer, the other with an inbox; a day bed and a book case share the west window. Bookshelves line the walls; a couple of rugs, chairs, and tables hold more books, acorns, seaweed, et alia. This studio, library, laboratory, launching pad, office, gallery and getaway invites me to experiment, invent, and cultivate peace, clarity, joy, ease, and the fallow state that sometimes precedes creativity. Before my husband, son, and I moved to the edge of this small town 23 years ago, my need for a solitary workspace was met by the diminutive dining room of our tiny San Francisco apartment. While on a business call during the 6.9 earthquake of ’89, I sheltered under my desk as the world shook and shook and shook. (The man I was interviewing tried for days to reach me to learn that I was safe.) Under the chandelier I’d recently inherited from...

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What is A Room of Your Own?
Sep13

What is A Room of Your Own?

“In an environment like mine, what may have seemed too lofty or ambitious in my character was absolutely needed to keep the heart from breaking and enthusiasm from extinction.” — Margaret Fuller, American journalist, editor, and advocate, The Letters of Margaret Fuller   Dear Creative Woman, In considering our ancestors and each other, Margaret’s letters and Virginia’s questions of utmost importance shape our vision and ask us for answers that respond in a much broader space than what was available to our ancestors: What are our rooms, who are we sharing them with, and upon what terms? With you, we are willing enough and ambitious enough to look “beyond what the eye sees” and swim for that “shore.” We release constructs to make room for the idea that every woman’s creative work matters and that when we collaborate together we begin to manifest a truly collective work and joyful fellowship, accessible to anyone willing to participate. And so, we listen to our ancestors and we ask each other: What does it mean to have a room of your own (and do you have one)? SUBMIT YOUR CREATIVE RESPONSE HERE.   _____________________________________________________________________   “How I Carry My Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother Within Me” by Lorna Ritz, The Q   I love to see open, breathing, moving space create entry ways … The horizon gives prelude to what is beyond landscape in the paintings … and I want to push it there, beyond what the eye sees. I am 3rd generation abstract expressionist painter of 5 decades, the daughter of a classical pianist, 4th generation American. In painting my hand knows before I do. I step outside of myself in order to find how things connect, feeling from within, an exceedingly more pleasurable way to paint. – Lorna Ritz _____________________________________________________________________   “I’ll Lift You Up as You’ve Lifted Me” by Jocelyn White, The Q Sister, I had that dream again. I was drowning, you were there. You reached for my hands and held me above the water. I saw the sun, felt the warmth and adored the rays over the waves. Oh, how it glittered for miles and miles. That breach, quaint and lifesaving, was heaven. Forgive me, sister, I was naïve. I thought you had your own raft. I didn’t know of your tribulations – that sand dollars and kelp and hermit crabs nestled in your throat. This wasn’t the same dream, not the one where I scream without a voice, where my limbs hang heavy, where sailors cheered from their ships. What is it about women hurting women that chums the water for these sharks in men’s clothing?...

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Ancestor Maps & Muses
Aug30

Ancestor Maps & Muses

From an Artistic Ancestor, May Sarton “I wrote poems to and about them [the muses]; I put them into novels … I lived with their faces … I studied them as if they were maps of the world — and in a way, I suppose they were.” — May Sarton, American poet, novelist and memoirist “Portrait of May Sarton” by Polly Thayer, 1936, courtesy of Fogg Art Museum Whether they serve as muses or maps of the world, ancestors can “call forth a narrative.” Sharing your submissions, gifts, and responses in The Q elevates the narrative unique to women today – waves with the potency to impact our realities. By reading and sharing these women, we not only subscribe to women-supporting-women, we step into the current that is changing our present and our future. Click on each woman’s name to see her poem, prose, photographs or letter in full.   ________________________________________________________________________ “Releasing the Sadness” by Midge Guerrera Something told me that in order to understand my present I needed to look to my past … L saugu t chiama, Zia Giuseppina told me in the dialect of Pontelandolfo, the blood calls.   ________________________________________________________________________ “Mantle” by Andrea Mozarowski Today I turned to a pocket in my journal, which held the rye and voloshky that I had tucked in for safekeeping … I had pictured myself someday saying – look – my father handed me this single stalk, rye, all around us, scarves billowing in the wind. A dark, shattered man stands in a field and offers his daughter what she could have chosen for herself.   Photography by Andrea Mozarowski In the Ancestors Master Class, the positioning and insistence of sacred artistic memory broke open my heart. My generational lineage is one in which little that is tangible has survived. In metaphorically making fire by rubbing together bones, or fragments, to call forth a narrative, I have begun to retrieve miraculous and sacred artistic memory.  Through this “return” I came to claim the story more faithfully, to claim my voice, to claim myself as one of the storytellers. – Andrea Mozarowski, AROHO Legacy Fellow 2019 ________________________________________________________________________   “Granddaughter of Stonewall” by Ona Marae I write for herstory documented for lives recorded for stories told and retold. I write because now I am in the history books, thankyouverymuch.   Click on each woman’s name to see her poem, prose, photographs or letter in full. ________________________________________________________________________ What “maps of the world” have your ancestors given you? Explore the current Q here and share your words, art, photography and more for potential publication in digital Waves. Find the submit button to the left...

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Homage to Literary Ancestor: Toni Morrison
Aug09

Homage to Literary Ancestor: Toni Morrison

“Tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.” – Toni Morrison, American novelist, essayist, and teacher       Dear Creative Woman, Our town was a tiny landlocked one in Louisiana. Devoid of bookstores and gathering writers. As kids –  black, white, a girl whose family had fled Laos as refugees – we all went to the same school. After the afternoon bell rang, though, we scattered to our still-segregated neighborhoods. It was the late ’70s and then the 80s. I was a girl who had fallen in love with written words partly because my own were sewn so tightly within me, and I didn’t know how to let them unravel naturally. Eventually, I had a passionate literature teacher, and the town library. I read classics written mostly by (long-ago dead) white men, the local newspaper, Judy Blume, the World Book of Knowledge encyclopedias, but was woefully ignorant of the existence of black authors, did not even hear of Toni Morrison until I got to college and, lo and behold, there was one class that jumped off the catalogue at me as though I were looking through a magnifying glass: African American Literature. I enrolled – curious, breathless. Morrison’s Song of Solomon blew my brain wide open, what with its language and characters, some named after Biblical figures I’d read about for years in my family’s church. These black characters reminded me of my maternal grandparents, born in 1904 and 1908, and of many of my uncles, born in the late 1920s, 30s, 40s. They looked like my people, sounded like my people, hurt and loved like my people. They were complex human beings. And I had not seen that before in literature. Even so, looking back, I’m sure so much of that book went over my head, but no matter: I was baptized; I was hooked; I was being enlightened. The book considers the notion of flying, inspired by a story passed down by enslaved Africans who claimed to “fly back” to Africa. When I heard her explain this in an interview, I thought: My grandmother used to sing that old song, “I’ll Fly Away,” as she went about housework, or tried to avoid getting stuck in one of the many old arguments looped by my grandfather, whose father had been lynched before he was born. Who was this Milkman who wanted to fly? I wondered, we all wondered as we read Song of Solomon, and where is...

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A Life Force Quickened
Jul26

A Life Force Quickened

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”  ― Martha Graham, American modern dancer and choreographer   “If you dance, dance. If you sing, sing. If you build, build. If you cook, cook. If you carve, carve. If you weave, weave. If you write, write. If you prophesy, prophesy.” – Barbara Eikner Thompson, excerpt from “Be Free,” The Q ______________________________________________________ When women consider their ancestors, creative expression can be a summons to freedom or an inherited “why.”  Whatever vitality has been translated through us, it quickens a rising into “the fray of living.” Read these women’s works in full here. ______________________________________________________ . “I can say these things now that I carry you inside the bends of my bones. Maybe I want to break every rule. Maybe I want to break body.” – Rebecca Woolston, excerpt from “If I Am,” The Q   ______________________________________________________ “I learned that no matter how hard the fall, I must always rise, scatter the dust, hug my battered selves, water effort with tears and dance despite the pain … Like her, I feed on kernels of tough ancestral truths, despite pressure to discard them for convenient alternatives. Daily energized, I fly into the fray of living with grit and grace overlaying my wings, reducing drag, insulating spirit, sustaining flight.” – Elizabeth Best, excerpt from “Legacy,” The Q...

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