Thank Yous and Appreciations

Gratitude to several artists and organizations in the Bay:
Shannon Holbrook, who designed and co-organized the AfroSurreal Writers reading at Litquake’s Litcrawl. Thank you to James Warner and Nick of Litcrawl for including us; thank you to The Laundry, The Laundry’s Maria, David, and Kyle, and The Mission Local for supporting us. We’re also honored to have been part of the Living Room Light Exchange’s October presentations; we’re thanking curators Liat Berdugo and Elias Vargas and everyone in attendance..Thank you to the Oakland Public Library and much love to the Golden Gate Library (which just held their centennial/block party, pictures below), IMG_1333 (1)


Good news: Poets and Writers and AWP’s WC&C

Thank you, Poets and Writers, for this article about Bay area’s literary community.

And thanks to AWP’s WC&C for featuring the AfroSurreal Writers in their newsletter; we’re glad to be part of a discussion about building writing communities.

We’re excited about Oakland’s Digital Literature Garden, featuring innovative work from writers and artists who love Oakland and the Bay area. We plan to make a couple of announcements very soon!

Starting the New Year…

Exciting news: the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop has received an NEA grant for our planned digital projections with Pro Arts/The Great Wall; ASWW Founding Member/Co-Director Thaddeus Howze is one of the most-read Quora writers for a second year (check out The World According to Superheroes, his essay series); the talented Norma Smith, who read in our second reading/workshop was featured on Easy Street (thank you editor Camille Griep!); our first reading and workshop is on p. 97 of Clockwise Cat (thank you Alison Ross!):

You can read an excerpt from the interview, which features the words of Lyndsey Ellis, Nazelah Jamison, Raina J. Leon, and Arisa White below:

Lyndsey Ellis B&W
Lyndsey Ellis

(Lyndsey Ellis: photo credit Joseph Duff)

On March 9, 2017, the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop held their first creativity and intuition reading and workshop. Clairvoyant Tarot Reader and fiction writer Alia Curtis provided a workshop on understanding one’s psychic and intuitive abilities.

(Alia Curtis: photo credit Susan Boytorf)
Alia Curtis photo

The workshop was followed by a reading with writers Lyndsey Ellis, Nazelah Jamison, Raina J. León, and Arisa White and held at Nomadic Press Uptown. The roundtable was moderated by Audrey T. Williams, with additional questions from Dera R. Williams and curated by Rochelle Spencer. This event was sponsored by Nomadic Press and Pro Arts Gallery. (The second reading creativity and intuition reading series was held at Nomadic Press Uptown; the third reading and creativity reading series was held at Chapter 510 and The Department of Make Believe. The second and third reading series were curated by Audrey T. Williams and Dera R. Williams.)

Audrey: We’ve been discussing how all forms of creativity are deeply intuitive. Audre Lorde has said that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house, so what tools do you then turn to in your creative work? What is your writing process? Do other creative practices inform your work?

Lyndsey: I use dance a lot. I’ve never considered myself intuitive. Still, I’m always trying to get out of my head, and my process is very fluid. I go with the flow–and consider music a gift.

Arisa: Dance has a kind of wildness, that sense of play. In childhood, with my siblings, we’d play with each other and dismantle pain by being in artistic collaboration.

Alia: I try to do Tai Chi and Chi Gong Breathing is an important aspect of Tai Chi. It balances your body chemistry and relaxes you giving you a better handle on stress and ensuring better health.

Raina: I do a lot of sleeping–I use dreams to help get me started. I also talk to Siri in the car. I use the dictating function on the phone and ask questions–how are the characters related?

Forthcoming Interviews & Chats

Many thanks to Clockwise Cat, which will feature an interview with Alia Curtis, Lyndsey Ellis, Nazelah Jamison, Raina Leon, and Arisa White from our Creativity and Intuition Reading Series #1. Look for it in Issue #38, which editor Alison Ross says will run sometime in October. Much love to Weird Sister and editor-in-chief Marisa Crawford, for encouraging and supporting us. And we’re grateful to EasyStreet Magazine and editor Camille Griep, which will publish an interview with Norma Smith, who was part of our Creativity and Intuition Reading Series #2, curated by Audrey T. Williams and Dera R. Williams. We are also at work on an interview with Tureeda Mikell, who was also part of the Creativity and Intuition Reading Series #2.

The writers who have read with us will make you think seriously about what it means to write and create. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for being so committed to your art.

Beyond Grateful

We are beyond grateful to all the writers and artists who participated in the exhibition June 2-June 29 at Pro Arts. Thank you for your creativity, thank you for your generosity and your support of other artists. We have video, directed by Alton Ray, a media student at Laney College. We also have pictures with Johnnie Davis, Author and Director of Serenity House, and James David Lee, creator of The Reading Room, who spoke at the curator’s talk on June 22.

Here’s our video: