Friday, January 22, 2010

Physical and Mental Literary Exercises at the Library

Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Marvin K. White, and Jaime Cortez

Writer Marvin K. White hosted a writers’ workshop at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Jan. 20, 2010. Most of the audience had seen a flyer advertising an “LGBT African American Writers Series,” but everyone stayed to get involved with the hands-on event. Others saw the writing workshop on a “be my friend” website and had anticipated the honing of their skills. The goal of published writers White, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, and Jaime Cortez was to enhance guests’ literary abilities through physical and mental exercises.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe writes novels for adults and children. Her interests include Antarctic kayaking and backpacking in the Rockies. She has written four novels for adults and five for children, and has received multiple awards.

Jaime Cortez produces graphic novels about immigration, AIDS, and gun violence. He is well-known for his HIV/AIDS prevention outreach work. His novel is about a transgender Cuban immigrant in a new culture.

Marvin K. White is the author of two poetry collections. He is also a performer, playwright, and visual artist. He is a dedicated and loved community arts organizer.

Karen Sundheim, of the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, introduced host White, and he kicked off the event by stating that the evening was about the practice of writing. He said that guests should not despair if they felt the creative process was not flowing on the paper. He then led the guests through some exuberant standing aerobics exercises and asked them to write ideas inside and outside a circle on a piece of paper, all to clear their heads. A charged bonding ritual followed, as guests read what they had written. Bledsoe quipped that she called it speed writing.

Then White let it be known that he felt that the library was not seen as an LGBT space, and that the event was a claiming of queer space. Cortez had written “wounding, healing, and revelation” on a blackboard to explain his writing process.

Provocative author Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, a personal guest of White, spoke about his book “Santo de la Pata Alzada: Poems from the Queer/Xicano/Positive Pen.” Audience members happily mingled and enjoyed the rush of literary creativity.

The event was sponsored by the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center and the African American Center at the San Francisco Public Library.

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