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There's So Much Life to Live

Yes, it's fantastic to set intentions like writing every day, or in my case posting every day, but then, there's also life to be lived! Set your goals, do the work, but also get out and take chances. Go on adventures!

I missed a few days here but have had incredible adventures traveling. The extensive community of writers that we are connected to feeds my soul. And getting the chance to read and share at St. Augustine Poetfest 2023 has been absolutely wonderful! Not only is it an honor to be a part of an event that is just finding its ground and audience, but it's also inspiring to see Chris Bodor at work, making connections and supporting literary artists at every stage of their professional process.

The person I didn't get nearly enough pictures of was the incredible John Burroughs. Not only has his Crisis Chronicles Press supported budding and established poets for years, but he is truly a lover of poetry and poets, a true connector in the poetry community. I'm so thankful for him.

One of the panels I was in was about Women and Writing with the most incredible poets - Cynthia Atkins, Paula Hilton and Princess Simpson Rashid. We had the opportunity to share poets/artists who have inspired us, but asked the audience members to let us know who inspired them. Wow, what a list we got!

But more than that, we rediscovered the power of listening to each other's stories. That one of the best ways to fight ignorance and cruelty is simple conversation. There are a lot of misconceptions spread about women and a lot of silencing and shame, and plenty is perpetuated by women themselves. To break those barriers, let's slow down and actually talk to each other. Actually listen.

Your prompt for today is to have an adventure. It doesn't have to be expensive or involve far-off places. It just has to put you some place new.

Go out... maybe to an event, a library in a neighboring town, a restaurant you've been interested in.

Talk to somebody there... doesn't have to be your new best friend. Just enough to get an idea of who they are and let them know a little about you.

Go home and write... imagine sharing something difficult with that person. Imagine your conversation continuing until you find yourself sharing your abortion, drug addiction, difficult divorce, jail time... whatever you hide because you are afraid to say it out loud. Write out what you would say. Imagine them listening, asking questions. Write your story with fear, without shame, write it as you experienced it.

Just putting it on paper gives you power.

When you're ready... share what you've written with someone you trust who you may not have told that story to. Practice telling your story, the truth of it, without fear, without shame.

Here is the heart of communication. Here is the heart of community. Where we reach out instead of push away. Where we step forward toward each other.

And here's that list of inspiring female writers:

Nadia Wolnisty

Reverie Koniecki

Erica Stephen's

Christine Howey

Judith Mansour

Lisa Cihlar

Carolyn Srygley-Moore

Dianne Borsenik

Kerry Trautman

Karen Schubert

Paulette Hansel

Kim Addinozio

Rita Dove

Dorriane Laux

Audre Lorde

Adrienne Rich

Muriel Rukeyser

Wislawa Symborska

Kathy Ireland Smith

Mary Oliver

Marge Piercy

Louise Gluck

Emily Dickinson

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Paige Lewis

Franky Choi

Ashley Jones

Diane Wakoski

Joy Harjo

Margaret Atwood

Sylvia Plath

Anne Carson

Claudia Emerson

bell hooks

Anne Sexton

Lucille Clifton

Gwendolyn Brooks

Sonia Sanchez

Didi Jackson

Carol Frost

Lynne Thompson

Marie Howe

Selina Hill

Patricia Smith

Marie Ponsot

Jane Mead

Sharon Olds

Jane Hirshfield

Sei Shonagon

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Chris Bodor
Chris Bodor
Apr 18, 2023

Jonie, thank you for this post. You are part of the success story of this year's PoetFest. You were the first to book a hotel room and very supportive with your guidance. By the way, the dates for next year's St. Augustine PoetFest will be April 12-14, 2024, with a special Thursday night ticketed show on April 11th.

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