Thursday, November 20, 2008

O'Keeffe Museum Writing Workshop

On Tuesday, November 18th, I was lucky enough to work with 28 women in a writing workshop entitled "Snapshots: The Art of Identity and Writing the Self." The workshop was sponsored by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum as part of the Art & Leadership Program.

I asked the writers/participants to undertake a circuitous journey to creating a written self-portrait. We began with a list of 32 self-inventory prompts including: "For what cause or which person would you give up your life?" "I have never told anybody that___." "My last interesting dream was ____." "I have never told anybody that___." "My favorite creature is ____." Then, we read several self-portrait poems (Plath, Johnson, etc.).

Next, we wandered the current exhibition ("Georgia O'Keeffe and the Art of Identity")choosing one of many photographs of O'Keeffe and then wrote an imagined dialogue between the photographer and subject. Finally, writers addressed a letter to O'Keeffe in which they told her about themselves.

The result was a range of beautiful, fascinating, eloquent, forceful short pieces by the women-writers who took part, recited in one of the galleries of the museum in the presence of O'Keeffe paintings and photographs of her home and studio. I think O'Keeffe would have approved.

At the end of the workshop I asked the writers to type up their dialogues and self-portraits and send them to me so that I could share a few with you, here. I can't wait to receive them. Look for excerpts in future posts.

Thank you Cynthia, Betsy, Linda, Marilyn, Nance, Joan, Lyric, Mary, Kathleen, Judy, Anna, Jeanne, Barbara, Jane, Jackie, Lori, Robin, Debby, Edi, Lynn, Tash, Elaina, Victoria, Joyce, Diane, Devin, Christine, and Carrie. And thank you Jackie M. and the O'Keeffe staff.

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