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A place to listen, to learn. A space to share, and to receive. Each and every day we take action, we make choices, decisions that drive us in directions that serve our life, our ambitions, our ultimate power and purpose. We make plans, we chip away at goals, aspirations, jobs. In each of these moments, there are opportunities to learn. Perhaps we learn a little more about something we already know. Perhaps we learn something completely new. Sometimes we can learn on our own, but it is pertinent that we continuously learn from others. We expand, we think differently, we recreate. We need feedback; we inherently crave and desire it from the outside world. We seek validation, approval, and appreciation. Good or bad that it is to want for external acknowledgement, the approach we take toward the feedback we receive is what helps us move forward, helps us grow and expand. How we process this feedback can shift our thoughts, ideas, and next steps. Or, we might listen to feedback, acknowledge that it doesn’t fit, and move on.

Engaging in critiques is a fundamental practice for creators of all types and styles to engage in. It is a place where like minded community members come together to provide less biased opinions and thoughts for consideration.

An Author critique space recognizes the importance of the eyes of all the people who want to see us follow our dreams and find our successes, including our most loving and adoring family members. Okay, but where is this safe space to share all that we’ve been working on and receive feedback so that perhaps we can make our work even better? How do we take the first step to find a safe space to share? How do we feel safe in our body, heart and soul to share some of the writings and works of art that we hold so innately in our entire being only to be critiqued – more than likely in ways that will challenge us. Being challenged is important; it provides a place in our being where we can choose to learn and grow, where we can acknowledge where we are in the present moment and choose to take the next step in our personal and professional transformation.

We have seen little places for diverse communities to both critique and support each other in a safe space and enrich our creative communities. We felt a need to share our stories and narratives, honoring ourselves as creators, editors, proofreaders and so much more and provide direction to each other within the BIPOC community. This season we are forming a monthly BIPOC-powered program where creatives of color can workshop their writings, receive community feedback and encouragement, share their experiences (and aspirations), and build interwoven networks for future projects and collaborations. The series is open to writers, authors, poets, playwrights, oral storytellers (podcasters, Youtubers, etc.) and anyone with a passion for decolonizing and reclaiming our magic through word-work. Illustrators and comic artists are also welcome to attend the programs and showcase their commissioned or published pieces to prospective partners-in-collaboration.

We have dreamed and now created up a space for BIPOC writers and authors. It is a place and space where BIPOC creators can grow, evolve and raise each other up to a more powerful and strengthened voice. I believe in this community's growth in decolonizing dreams, shaping new narratives in literature and media and ultimately building the world we all believe in.

But hang on one moment, can it be that simple?? Well no… Because human beings are not always that simple. We create, we explore, we seek out other people’s approval in so many ways and on so many levels. Each and every one of us is raised differently, conditioned by family and societal norms as well as historical events and judgements we place on our abilities based on these events. We bring our personal experiences, our adventures and day-to-day activities, our love and joy and our heartache. We bring it all. We hold so much near and dear to our hearts. Sometimes, we are closed off from receiving criticism regardless of how it is expressed to us. Criticism and accountability from our communities, immediate and extended, is necessary towards improvement and creating stronger, more dynamic works of art. So let’s grow safe AND BRAVE spaces to share our work, to receive feedback, make changes and keep evolving. We welcome BIPOC authors and creators to our nest of encouragement, the sharing of experiences, and ultimately, the building of community to create an interwoven network of writers, storytellers, authors, poets, playwrights and every form of creator to inspire and enhance future projects.

“We must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.” ~Audre Lorde

From the very first rough drafts to publishing-ready pieces, BIPOC folks (folx) interested in exploring the creative process, navigating publishers and editors, bouncing research and rough drafts in group sessions, manifesting projects across different media, or simply nurturing decolonized dreams are welcome in this community garden! In finding a safe space to try, fail and continue trying, we experience the most profound growth. And in this ever changing and dynamic world that we live in, writers and creators have to be at the forefront of being open to change, feedback, and ever continuing creativity.

The language we use. The words we piece together to create something greater than ourselves. Something more powerful, long-lasting, a legacy perhaps. For the longest time, the incredible creative works of BIPOC have been suppressed, words have been silenced, stories unable to be told. The access, the support, the space to try hasn’t been available. Not only has it not been available, it has been undermined, considered worthless. We have an opportunity to play by our own rules. We must think differently, we must write the narrative in a voice that gives strength, power and support to each and every BIPOC creator who comes after us. In this, we honor and acknowledge each and every BIPOC creator who came before us, and whose voice is still yet to be heard.

“Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” ~ Toni Morrison

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