Literary Citizenship (Why we owe each other in this broken world.)

I spent the last week at The Mineral School, one of my “happy places” as a writer and a Pacific Northwesterner. I first attended The Mineral School as a resident writer in 2015, returned in 2016 as an alumna reader/resident, and this July had the absolute pleasure of pitching in as a volunteer “dorm mother”. Why would I spend a week of my non-teaching time volunteering? Because this is how we keep the literary world alive–and, honestly–I believe it’s also how we keep ourselves connected and focused on positive growth at this ugly moment in our cultural history. One of my commitments this year (post-Trump election, post-loss of faith in humanity) was to devote some of my writing time to literary citizenship. For me, that has meant co-curating the Write Our Democracy/Hugo House quarterly series (our next event will be in October, Seattlites!), sending the little bits of monetary help I can spare to the organizations I believe in, and volunteering at The Mineral School. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to give back to the arts community–a community that has supported and loved me over the last twenty years in ways that have enriched and deepened my life–and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to give to other artists the kind of generosity I have been given. Also, art makes the world better, smarter, and more beautiful, and we all benefit from that. So, there’s my pitch, fellow writers. Go out and build community the way you’ve been building art.

(And here’s a little interview I did with The Mineral School’s blog if you’d like more information on my experience of a residency there.)