During the fall equinox of 2019,
myself and Lila Arnaud co-organized a group of writers, artists, and community activists to travel from New Orleans, Louisiana to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a creative writing retreat that supported self-actualization and community building. Participants were encouraged to deepen awareness of barriers and opportunities in their work by:
◈ exploring wounds as sites for transformation;
◈ producing new writing, and expanding upon existing writing through facilitated activities;
◈ sharing work with each other, offering feedback, identifying ways to amplify each other’s work and connect to resources;
◈ ritual-making and practicing tools for mind-body connection.
BLOOM activities included
◈morning yoga ◈silent breakfasts ◈vegetarian meals, snacks and beverages ◈exploratory conversations ◈creative writing workshops ◈time at the beach ◈free time ◈sharing writing and receiving feedback ◈open-mic salons ◈shared altar-building and ritual making ◈support around connecting with resources and other ways to amplify each other’s work.
◈ Gathering with People, Building Community
◈ Cooperative Economics
◈ Design Justice: Centering Accessibility
◈ Practicing Awareness of Consumption
◈ Organic Emergence of Patterns, Styles, and Ideas that Bring Our Shared Vision to Life
◈ writers/ artists/ movement workers/ community builders/ culture bearers with an interest in the ways that art and community activism interconnect
◈ those willing to reflect and share with fellow participants
◈ feminine creative spirit
◈ cultures and experiences of Black and Brown, working-class, queer, women and gender non-conforming people
◈ people wanting to address wounds as sites for transformation
◈ people wanting to deepen their practice of self-development and ritual making
BLOOM was set to launch its second iteration in June 2020, with plans to deepen programmatic goals by working with both cohorts to:
◈ Cultivate space for self-actualization
◈ Strengthen participants' writing crafts
◈ Expand participants' writing crafts
◈ Expand participants' capacity to tend to our growth needs in relation to other people and ecosystems that we exist in. [Self-awareness; inter-connectivity; interdependence.]
◈ Deepen community among a sizeable yet intimate group of writers, artists, and creatives based/rooted in New Orleans.
Nurturing Creative Spirit Through Pandemic Times
Virtual Workshops 2020-2021
Shaping Time & Presence: An Exploration of Everyday Routines and Objects as Sacred
writing under the influence of texts by Alexis de Veaux and Kiese Laymon, and sounds by Amina Claudine Myers, Spirit McIntyre, and Sexto Sentido
BLOOM Literary Salon
a space to share & receive feedback to a work-in-progress or finished piece of writing, a song, the story behind a work of visual art, or an oral story.
BLOOM turns 1!
a gathering to celebrate && breathe && write together
An Exploration of Our Body's Connection to Memory
This 90-minute workshop presented participants with an opportunity to get curious about memory. We paired mind-body exercises (breathwork, meditation, and body scanning) with sensory stimulation (existing texts, visuals, and sounds), to offer creative writing techniques that prompted participants to connect to memories held in particular places within our bodies. Participants were encouraged to explore the collective memories to which our respective lived experiences belong.