Monday, April 10, 2017

Writing for Transformation

Left to Right: Omope Carter Daboiku, Grace Curtis,
Furaha Henry-Jones, Melody Moezzi

Writing for Transformation
43rd Annual Writers' Workshop
Sinclair Community College

    Today I attended this amazing workshop funded/presented by the English Department at Sinclair Community College. Furaha Henry-Jones headed the event, bringing together the awe-inspiring talent of Melody Moezzi, Author and Keynote speaker, Omope Carter Daboiku, Storyteller and Memorist, and Grace Curtis, Poet. 
     These wonderful, wonderful women have, in one short afternoon, totally changed my outlook on writing, and maybe even in how I think and look at life. They are bold, brave, courageous women who are actively living the lives they want to live. To someone like me, who has been feeling old and "stuck" in my current life lately, hearing them was like being granted permission to change my current path; they all shared a common thread of advice: "do what you want to do, be who you want to be." I needed to hear that, to be given that permission. 
     My notes look as if I attended a motivational seminar instead of a writing workshop, but I believe the two go hand in hand. Every writer, that is every person who writes (I write, therefore I am a writer!) goes through this emotional roller coaster. We can be on a writing streak, loving every word, every syllable, shedding tears of joy at the genius of our prose, and then, BOOM! BAM! ZWING! the tears become pools of self-berated despondency at the horrible, sickening, disgusting garbage we've slung at the page, daring to think of it as literature, miserable in the belief that there is no creativity, no talent; it was just wishful thinking. We decide to give-up, vow never again to touch pen to paper or keystroke to electronic-device-of-your-choosing, when KABOOM! inspiration strikes and we're back to the proverbial drawing board, hunched over like a predator over its prey, pounding away at the keys (maybe even cackling), once again rejoicing at our own self proclaimed genius, wondering how in the world could we have ever doubted our brilliant gift?
Or, at least that's what happens to me. 
   Three completely different women, and I was able to relate to each one on several levels. Their messages were:
Be authentic.
Be bold.
We are experts of our own stories, and each of us has a story to tell.
Know yourself, and know what you have to say.
Just do it. (one of my personal philosophies, see my post "Do It")
Write to heal, to purge, for the joy of it.
Don't be scared.

     Lastly, I'm going to toot my own horn for a second...after the workshops, there was an open mic session, and as emboldened as I was from the day's workshops, I bucked up, sucked it in and read a very personal poem that I had written. I have never done that before. Most of what I write, I keep to myself, so "yay, go me" :)

In Grace's workshop, we each wrote a poem about a random item. Here's mine:

Crackle, crumble, dry and square
plastic wrapped, but please beware,
if uncovered, naked, bare,
freshness wanes, but do you care?
I think "no", as my soup is cupped,
and the cracker serves to sop it up.
by Shari Young, 4/10/17


  1. No greater compliment than this post. This is exactly why we keeping doing the work to bring these incredible writers to Sinclair. You are the reason. I am overjoyed that this was a pivotal day for you.

    1. Thank you! I am so glad I found this event. What an incredible day! You did an amazing job bringing it all together!

    2. "keep doing the work" haha!

  2. Shari, want a great post. It was a delight to have you in my workshop this afternoon and to get to know you. I feel so blessed! Keep writing. You have it! I look forward to hearing more from you. I know I will.

    1. I enjoyed your workshop so much! You are so upbeat and inspirational!

  3. You Go Girl!!! You know I was thinking, have you ever thought about writing a book on becoming a writer, self doubt, not a real get gist. Your poem was terrific. Golly I could of never thought of that and to write it so quickly, then being so good...Wowsers!!! You Rocked it!!!

    1. I honestly don't know if I would have taken writing this far if it hadn't been for your steadfast encouragement. Thank you so much my PJ Sister!