Revisiting the goals I wrote below, which I had created prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I can safely say that some of these have most definitely been shelved. It’s been a very difficult year for everyone. I know many people are struggling far beyond having creative projects go off the rails. One of the things that the pandemic and the social unrest has caused me to do is to reflect on how much of my time is spent “elsewhere” (by that, I mean in the future or the past, within my own head, or online constantly). It has helped me to recognize how important it is to truly be here now and to be working on priming ourselves for happiness.
Please take care of how much negativity, anger, hatred, etc. you consume on a daily basis if you spend large amounts of time online – especially on social media. It will change the way you see the world and the way you experience it, and not for the better.
Of course, people are allowed to express their unhappiness and anger when something has occurred, but consuming large amounts of it as a passive spectator is unhealthy. It will affect your mental and physical health. Guard your humanity.
Take time each day to consider one beautiful thing you’ve experienced during the day, one thing you love, and the people, animals, etc. in your life that you love. Live simply and live in the moment.
One positive creative thing that the pandemic did provide though was the shift to Zoom for performance projects. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to re-connect with my cast from my play LAME C(ity)++, but we had the chance to do so once the pandemic through us all into various lock-downs. We’ve also made the decision to take the play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2022 (if COVID-19 is over by then, which we all hope it will be). I’ll soon be working on a budget and fundraising strategy for this, so stay tuned!
Another great creative turn for me was re-connecting with a fellow writer to work on the Teleplay that we’d been brainstorming together since May 2019. We have over 150 pages of notes for our story bible. I’d put it on hold to begin working on the play I was developing, but we decided to finish this. We’ve worked steadily on it since July about 4-5 hours a week. It allows me to feel less guilty for not always spending all my waking hours on my creative writing projects.
Speaking of which, I’m most likely going to create another 10,000 word challenge. If you are interested in joining this upcoming challenge, you can join my TinyLetter list for more info.
I am currently focusing my creative energy on a full-length play. I have also recently started a course on writing micro flash nonfiction essays! It’s fun to try a new form. My first flash turned into a prose poem though.
My goals for 2020 are:
- Finish draft of full-length play, which I’ve been presenting on a monthly basis at a public reading series called Playwright’s Tirade run by A Public Fit theater company.
- Send out my work for publication. I took a year off last year from submitting work.
- Begin working on a new poetry manuscript.
- Finalize collaborative chapbook of translations/anti-translations (in Japanese/English).
- Work on a series of dance and video poems in collaboration with a photographer/videographer.
- Restart Creative Cauldron: a creativity workshop and New News: Literary and Performing Arts incubator series.
The year went by without me updating once. I was in a bad car accident in late 2018, which prevented me from updating online until the lawsuit was completed. I was also in pain and unable to do any performance. That said, during early summer I was commissioned to write a full-length play for a theater company based in Las Vegas. I’ve been working on this and should be finished with a first draft of it by summer 2020.
I did curate and edit a new Interim issue called Carrying Across: Crossing Disciplines as a Form of Translation.
I successfully staged the play “Time to Get a New Car,” written by Erica King, a playwright with autism. We won the categories of Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best “Oh Snap!” line at the 4 x 6 Festival in Tampa, Florida this past July. Because we won in the category of Best Play, we were invited to compete in the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival in early September. While we didn’t place at this larger festival, the actors were amazing.
*****Upcoming event on the horizon: As part of Write Shop, the online creative writing workshop that I founded this past July, I will be hosting “Creative Cauldron,” a creative writing workshop online starting October 1st for one week. This is open to any writer of any genre (playwriting, novels, short stories, nonfiction, and poetry) who want to dive into surrealist writing techniques while also getting a chance to meet other writers and share the work they’re producing. The one week workshop can be done self-paced, but there will be one or two specific online meetups. At this time, the workshop is free of charge but I require those that participate to commit to the work.
If interested in joining, email me: awiddoes at gmail.com
This past August, I decided to pursue several creative projects at the same time, as well as soft launching my writing & editing consultancy, A Word or Two. After a successful CampNaNoWriMo, which helped me produce 40 new pages of writing towards the hybrid novel I’ve been working on, I made the decision to create Write Shop, an online creative writing workshop and writer community (you can find more information about Write Shop on A Word or Two‘s website – scroll down to the bottom). To kick start Write Shop, I made the decision to do a #1000wordsadaychallenge, something that I heard about this past July and wanted to do. I was able to write nearly 30,000 words in August, though not all of this went to the hybrid novel. I found the challenge very difficult and ended up turning towards two new short stories that I had wanted to write prior to the beginning of summer.
The other creative project was working on fundraising and then re-staging the play I directed at the 4 x 6 Festival (see my September entry for more information on this). August was a very productive month and I needed to take a few weeks off as of September, but I’m very happy I committed to writing 1000+ words a day. Now, I’ll need to commit to doing this again for another bulk of time to focus on producing more writing and editing the writing I’ve done so far. Wish me luck! 🙂
I will be directing a play at the 4 x 6 Festival in Tampa, Florida on July 15th! I participated in this as a playwright during its inaugural year in 2015. The festival is a 24 hour play fest which requires playwrights to create a 10 minute play in roughly 12 hours, which will then be given to a director and actors to stage in the next 12 hours. I’m so looking forward to being back in the realm of the theatrical and am grateful that I was selected to participate.
After the long, glorious haul of three years studying poetry and fiction, I finally graduated UNLV’s Creative Writing MFA program. Now I’m focusing on accomplishing much bigger goals. Onward and upwards…
I presented my paper “The Afterimage of Trauma: Memory, Language and the Photographic Image in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz and Audre Lorde’s ‘Afterimages,’” at the 2018 MELUS conference.
Interim Poetry and Poetics, the journal I managed for the past 2.5 years, accepted my proposal and invited me to guest edit and curate the Body issue. I’m really proud of this beautiful collection of fearless work.
Interim, UNLV’s Creative Writing International Program, and UNLV’s College of Liberal Arts sponsored the National Poetry Month Event that I produced with the help of several Interim colleagues.
I presented BIG DATA, a verse drama, as a selection of my thesis and was granted my Masters in Fine Arts by my committee (Prof. Claudia Keelan, Dr. Donald Revell, Dr. Emily Setina, and Dr. Lezli Cross).
My final Neon Lit reading features a section of a long poem I wrote for my thesis as part of my first full-length collection of poetry.
My work was featured in LUSH, Word as Image: a Design + Poetry Exhibition.
Interim Poetry and Poetics hosted Rain Shadow Readings + Rituals at the Rialto Theatre in Tampa, Florida during the 2018 AWP Conference. I produced and hosted the event.
I designed the following advertisement for Interim’s new Test Site Poetry Book Series.
I read several of my poems at Mind This! A Workshop on Mindfulness and the Art Encounter.
Interim’s new All Women print issue launched. I oversaw the production of this issue.
My poem “Villanelle for America in the 21st Century” was published as Helen Literary Magazine’s Friday Night Special.
I attended the LA Review of Books/USC Publishing Workshop where I learned many new skills related to editing and publishing. I created a cohort that focused on imagining a “future book” that would be able to display multimedia but still have the same qualities of a print book.
I ran for the position of Secretary on the Executive Board of the Graduate and Professional Student Association for UNLV and I won!
My poem “Meditations on Love in a Time of Fear” won third place in the Helen Steward Poetry Contest and was published by Helen Literary Magazine.
The gorgeous journal White Stag published two of my poems, “A Range” and “The Storm” in their #Neogoddesses issue, which is now available for purchase.
I presented my paper “The Structural Influence of Utakai, Renga, and Haiku on Kota
Yamazaki’s Dance OQ” at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association convention in Salt Lake City, UT.
I started working as the managing editor for Interim, which has been an incredible experience so far. We’ve just finished putting together the annual print issue that will be out in early 2017 and is available for purchase. Please considering buying a copy.
I also started learning ballet and began writing fiction again. I plan on continuing both in 2017 and onwards.
I oversaw the education program as Head Teacher and Academics Coordinator for the English Language Center summer camp located at UCSB in Santa Barbara, CA.
I read a creative nonfiction piece “Ouroboros” at Neon Lit in Las Vegas, NV.
I presented my paper, “‘The World is Mediocre’: On Chaos and Existence in Haruki Murakami’s book A Wild Sheep Chase” as well as a small portion of my play “LAME C(ITY)++” at the Far West Popular Culture Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
I filmed and performed in the video poems for a Huffington Post article on Claudia Keelan’s new book Truth of My Songs: Poems of the Trobairitz.
I took part in an ensemble performance of an essay from fellow UNLV Creative Writing cohort member Michael Berger’s book, Ravish the Republic: The Archives of the Iron Garters Crime/Art Collective, which is a wonderful collection of essays that documents the existence, methods, and art of the Iron Garters, a collective that existed/exists in San Francisco. The reading took place at the Velveteen Rabbit in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 24, 2015. The ensemble piece was a devised performance that took one of the essays in his book and performed it throughout the audience and the outdoor space in which the reading was located. I also created a video of one of the “provocations” in the essay as an installation during the event.
It was really interesting to work with this group of poets/writers who have training in theater and improvisation. The piece flowed well and it was great to push back against the typical book or literary readings through a staging of a written text that was not originally meant to be a performed text. Michael Berger also pushed against the typical reading by using the Q&A as a jumping off point for the reading of portions of the text.
Coming up in a week, I’ll be writing a 10 minute play as part of a festival called 4×6 FEST. My play will then go into competition with other plays written over a period of 24 hours. All of these plays will be staged by directors and actors based in the Tampa Bay area. On June 28th, the winning play will be announced after each of these plays is produced publicly at the CL Space in Ybor City. I’m looking forward to this event! If you’re in Tampa, please join.
Just wrapped up a month long rehearsal process that culminated in a one-night-only workshop of selections of my play LAME C(ITY)++ at GASP! 2015 @ Tampa Museum of Art. It was awesome. I’m now seeking a venue/festival(s) in which to show the entirety of the play. I hope to eventually take it on tour.
“A Homecoming” with Elizabeth A. Baker (music) was presented at the Tampa Museum of Art as part of Five by Five 2014. “A Homecoming” is a multimedia dance performance in the form of an interactive happening. It is the third part of the うち・家 (home/home) trilogy created by TASK 沖縄。
All photos of “a homecoming” by Desiree Fantal at FIVE BY FIVE 2014, Tampa Museum of Art.
“A Trace of the Echo” (a work-in-progress) and “SIREN CALL (I will tell you something you don’t want to hear)” at The Japan Writers Conference – November 2nd, 2013 at Okinawa Christian University.
In addition to the performance and short dance video, I gave a brief talk related to writing for and making performance
For those interested in reading more, here are Talking Points given at the Japan Writers Conference.
For more info on the performance lecture:
“Autumn Widdoes, assisted by Maki Tatsuhiko, Tamura Kenji, Yamashita Sakurako, and Robert Duckworth”
“Performative Words: Writing for and Making Performance”
How do you enter into a new language with only the performative words that you know? This performace lecture will discuss how to create work for performance in Japan (performance art, poetic narratives for movement/dance theater, and plays), how to find both non-Japanese and Japanese collaborators/actors/performers to stage the work, and how to cultivate an audience, with a particular focus on doing this outside of the major cities and without networks. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to incorporate and enfold personal experience, the writing and unwriting of oneself into the texts, working with translations (and “anti translations”), and engaging with new language(s) and their complexities in one’s work without using it/them as simplistic ornamentation.