I wish I was a pun-master. You know those people, don’t you? They can mash up ideas and words and pull slapping sticks out of thin air. That’s not me. I’m what you call a “word processor” (see that attempt?!) No, truly. I think of jokes four hours too late and usually in the most useless arenas; a shower, balled up in bed- just ready to doze, highway 11 traffic. (In truth, I’m NOT thinking of jokes when merging lanes on any of our deconstructed Racine highways – or finagling through the detours around our city… I”m thinking of OTHER highly amusing things, and biting my tongue.)
I DO practice stand-up comedy in my bathroom mirror. That is a total confession that has landed on this page and has never actually left my lips, … or my bathroom.
I don’t mind microphones, or stages, or anything with a spotlight. In fact, having been a professional clown by trade…. (yes, clown-school and the whole bit) and having tasted the glory of a high-school glee club, and having done a small bit of acting // commercial work, and having gracious invitations to speak and present and prophesy to groups of people domestically and abroad, I normally find myself quite at home in front of a crowd. Actually, I kick into a weird high-gear of overly animated gesture-type movements as if all my audience members are all doe-eyed pre-school students. In short, performance -it doesn’t make me shrink, as so many do when handed an amplified device. It causes me rise. Interestingly, ( and annoyingly because I’m a writer) it’s the blank screen of a computer waiting to record all my typos and incomplete or ill-conceived thoughts that can knock my knees together. This will go out into the cyber-universe and float there. just, … existing, … forrrreverrrrr. <<enter eerie echo>> everrrr, …everrrr, ….everrrrrrrrr….
Who has anything worth saying that will last that long?
It’s the angst of which tattoo to pen on virgin skin.
It’s the opening line that you want to use on your future forever partner.
I digress. I’m here to introduce myself as the new writer in residence – a position I didn’t even know existed until 6 months ago. I have followed fascination from application to acceptance and now in residence, and am still in wonder of the portals that exist in our community.
In fact, I’m not even really sure how this all came to be. But somewhere, somehow, there is a sub-culture of art-heads and open-armed people who believe that expression is important and that creativity should be patted on the back, handed an egg-shaker and invited to join in on the chorus of a jam session. There are humans who create forums for voices to be used and heard and validated. And I’m like a stunned bee when I think of how that came to be me.
I’m a mom to four weird (in a great way) kids. I’ve served our community with free education on holistic wellness for the last 5 years. I’m always showing up when there’s food and a sense of gathering and connecting. I’m such a fan of kids and love feeling small in a big, big world. I work as a land steward with any free hour I wrestle out of the day at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Preserve – and am undone and reborn each time I learn about a new species of flower or bird or bee. The underground language of life enthralls me; keeps me young with vigorous curiosity.
My huz, Brian Knapp, is woven into the fabric of Racine small business owners as the creator of Hawk and Hatchet http://www.hawkandhatchet.com and uses every square inch of his workspace at the 16th Street Business Center – along with so many other genius-heads who do their work in that hub, to create.
My hope over these months of residency, is to meet and connect with as many of our community members who have an itch for the creative life, and give those too timid in our community to call themselves “writers” the chance to find a supportive forum, hone the craft and find recognition for their work. So, part of my role is to find ways to coax the work to the surface. One of our initiatives will be a weekly writing prompt that goes out over the inter-webs for ANY Racine resident that wants to participate. Writers, non-writers (as if…!) children, elderly, black, white, round, whatever. Anyone who lives here- makes up the fabric of our city – all are welcome to submit work. In due course, each week we will choose honorable mentions and compile the collection into an ebook called “Under.Story” that is downloadable for all to enjoy. Note-able article writers will also receive a free cup of joe and a a constructive critiquing session with one of our resident writers. To join the party and submit work join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/583235185541493/?epa=SEARCH_BOX
Another role of the Writer in Residence is to help give our readers a magnified look into the subcultures of Racine. Our city is rich with them; single-hearted pursuits, common interests creating movement, and pockets just below the surface doing grass root work that creates heat and flavor in this diverse city. We may not always see them doing what they do. They are not our politicians or civil servants. They are much more elusive than that, but spear-heading change, nonetheless. Each week, I will utilize this blog to highlight underground movements happening in our city and bring some attention to areas of wellspring life within our city. If you are a part of a club, community or gathering that creates impact on our youth, elderly, middle class, minority-groups, lands, shorelines, orchards, the weak or vulnerable, tourists, our economic state, art-scene, education system, (fill in your own blank)… I’d love to meet. You can find me at the branch on Thursdays from 8-2. Feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a block of time to chat.
Lastly, we are working to create special forums for children in the writing world, for adult Beginner Writers, and intensives for the established writer. Keep your eyes // ears peeled for these events as they unfold.
Special thanks to the Racine Literacy Council and Nick Ramsey who created and dusted off the stool that I now sit on. And to all the writers in residence who have gone before to make this a smooth entrance onto such a cool, hip scene.
Excited to be here!