Friday, March 20, 2015

Writing as Activism Prompts: March Recap

March 31: Cultural Identity
Writing Prompt:
  • What culture do you speak? Write the narrative of your unique American history

March 24: Human Nature
Writing prompt:
  • What's in your human nature? Describe the parameters wherein you see creativity or communication can flourish

March 17: The Classroom
  • Reading material
    - featured poems by Rabi'a and Rumi rendered by Daniel Ladinsky (see
    Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West), and a poem by Mary Oliver titled "The Poet Dreams of the Classroom"
    - "A school I sat in cured me of hurting others" - Rabi'a
    - "What classrooms have you lounged in; What nonsense have you traded your gold for?" - Rumi
  • The function of public schooling
    - system of indoctrination and subordination
    - preparation for the workforce or higher education?
  • Current state of higher education
    - corporatization of the university
    - student debt, average student owing between $25k-$30k upon graduation, debt surpassing $1 trillion mark
  • Contrast with structured hierarchy of formal schooling with informal educational institutions
    - Institutions arising out of a collective organic need
Writing prompt:
  • Write the vision that comes to mind for your ideal classroom

March 10: Letters
Writing prompt:
  • Write a letter to someone, alive or dead, or to something, past or present

March 3: Circles
  • Reading Material
    Circles (essay) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Viewing Material
    Islamic Mysticism: The Sufi Way (documentary), written and narrated by world religions author/professor Huston Smith
    - Opening preface from documentary:
    "Going around in circles is a pejorative, a put-down. And with reason for life has its mad whirl, its deadening round. But for the Sufis, circling is the perfect motion. For the circle triumphs over time. It travels without leave-taking. It's true that going in circles gets us nowhere, but what if we're already there?"
Writing prompt:
  • Write what has come full circle in your life or what seems to be spiraling out of control

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Writing Lab at Gemini Ink

Post Spring Break Recap
- With more free time available during the semester I've taken on hosting a writing lab at local literary center Gemini Ink.
- I see writing as a form of activism - I'm concerned with political activism, community organizing - and in the writing lab we engage the "Active Imagination." Poet Melissa Kwasny introduced this term during a reading last fall at Bihl Haus Arts. Inspired by mystic Sufi poetry, she takes the idea of the image further, deeper, deepening into a vision, ultimately arriving at the center of a "visionary recital" wherein we all play a part, bearing witness to a world actively, creatively occurring around us.
- Each class begins with a brief introduction to "Active Imagination" followed by a prompt.

See below for writing laboratory info. Hope to see you at Gemini Ink (111 Navarro St, San Antonio, TX, 78205). Spread the word!
Free coffee and a warm place to write—join Gemini Ink and see where your words will take you.
Unlike a formal workshop, writing labs are a time and space to write in a group setting. Share your work in progress. Get encouragement and feedback from fellow writers. As a member, you can participate in as many member-led writing labs as you like.
Open Writers
Share your works-in-progress in this peer-driven workshop.
Hosted by Dario Beniquez
Last Monday of every month, 6:30–8pm, Ongoing
Writing as Activism
Engage your creative imagination.
Hosted by Rene Jaime Gonzalez
Tuesdays, Mar 3-May 5, 2–4pm
Writing for Young Readers
Make time to scribble that story for your child, or your inner child.
Hosted by Lisa Cortez Walden
Thursdays, Mar 5-May 7, 12–1:30pm
Voice Lab
Explore many genres of writing and build your voice in a focused, supportive environment.
Hosted by Julia Jarrell
Fridays, Mar 6-May 1, 9:30am–1pm
Non-members are welcome to come check out one FREE session.  Register by emailing

Member Writing Labs