I'm a big believer in the powers of story and mentorship.
My first collection of poems, The Apple Speaks, shares stories about Swiss Mennonite culture in Wayne and Holmes County OH, along with the often complicated and ongoing story of being an "AMK" (adult missionary kid).
With this book, I'm adding my voice to the autobiographical work of American Mennonite and Mennonite-affilliated female literary artists, a conversation that's been growing since the release of Julia Spicher Kasdorf's award-winning 1992 poetry collection, Sleeping Preacher. In her essay "Writing Like a Mennonite" Kasdorf explains, "I bore witness in writing until I could speak." "The Apple Speaks: A Book-&-Arts Tour" hopes to highlight the powerful role of the arts within community and to encourage more stories to be written, spoken, and shared as a form of mentoring.
Starting in late March, 2012, I'll set out on a "book-&-arts tour." Everywhere I give a reading, local artists (writers, photographers, painters, dancers, quilters, etc.!) will add their voices to the creative potluck (or "carry-in," where I come from). My hope is to invite as many Mennonite artists to take part in this tour as possible. As part of Mennonite Church USA's Women in Leadership Project, I'll also be offering free storytelling and poetry workshops to groups of intergenerational women, particularly those with ties to Mennonite Church USA.
In order to offer these workshops for free, I'm asking for financial support. Every $150 dollars raised in this project will fund a 3-hr workshop. Though the tour will be planned in the simple-living spirit of Mennonite Your Way, I hope to visit vibrant Mennonite communities beyond the Midwest. Some funding from this project will go towards gas, train, and airfare.
Non-monetary donations: Would you like me to give a reading or to teach a workshop in your community? I'd be grateful for tour stop suggestions & reading invitations, your written online book reviews (on Amazon, etc.), social media PR for the book & arts tour, and for spiraling prayers & good thoughts as I start on this adventure.
Please follow my tour plans and updates at http://tattooedmennonite.blogspot.com/
**Events in the works**
March 17th: Lawrence, Kansas
Writers' Salon with local creative writers
March 29th-April 1st: Harrisonburg, VirginiaEastern Mennonite UniversityMennonite/s Writing Conference: Readings March 30th & 31st
April 1st: Official Book
April 10, 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m: Athens, Ohio
Book signing at Little Professor Book Center
April 12th: Athens, Ohio
7:30 Reading at ARTS/West with poets Carrie Oeding & Kent Shaw
April 22nd: Athens, Ohio
Earth Day Arts Salon at Good Earth Farm w/ local artists
Reading, book signing
June 25th: New York City, New YorkCornelia Street Café
Reading with fellow Bennington Poets
June 30th: Bluffton, Ohio
Writing workshops for Mennonite high schoolers
July (TBA): Orrville, Ohio
Orrville Public Library
Reading and Q&A
Special thanks to David Colagiovanni (video) and Gwen M. Stamm (book cover design)
- (30 days)