After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: ‘Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.’
Annie Dillard from The Writing Life page 79.
Write, friends, write, friends, write and do not waste time. As simple as that the wisdom of the great artist and genius, Michelangelo, has been coopted for us here at the Go Dog Go Café this week. And written we have… and posted and visited and commented and liked. This has been one of the most exciting weeks yet at the Café as the original vision of the café being a friendly place filled with warm, talented and inspiring people has come to fruition. We are building a healthy and supportive writing community that has attracted many like-minded souls who journey together writing and finding our voice in the world. Let this only be the beginning!
On Thursday’s we promote other poets and writers from the broader writing community. I plan to highlight one of these wonderful people in each of these chats. This week let me draw your attention to Barbara Leonhard at Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver who delivers a fabulous weekly Podcast on poetry here. Full disclosure, she is using one of my poems in this week’s podcast on Mindful Presence; and you can read more about her here. My interactions with Barbara have been filled with kindness, support, and a shared passion for poetry. I am eager for all of you to get to know her, listen to her podcast, and share her wonderful spirit with others around the inter webs.
This month, the Café has evolved with the addition of the Level UP Writing Challenge on Wednesday’s and the move of my weekly chat to Sunday. We have a good rhythm now: Monday we Promote Ourselves, Tuesday we take a Writing Prompt Challenge, Wednesday we will Level UP, Friday’s our Baristas Throwback to some older poems, along with Thursdays invitation to the café others who have either inspired us or are just getting started on Word Press.
Next month, we will see the evolution of the Café continue with the formal introduction of Tanya Cliff as a barista and her fantastic and brilliant Writing Workshop beginning on the 7th… keep an eye out at this space and hers for teasers and trailers. This step marks a significant milestone for me. First, I have wanted Tanya to be involved with the Café since its inception due to a spiritual thread we shared in our writing and her success as an author with Legend of Lumenstones, now with a fabulous 5-star review by Writer’s Digest, and a powerful book of poetry, A Haiku for Ricky Baker, proceeds of its sale go to fund art programs for children in juvenile detention centers. I have also wanted a workshop at the Café. With Tanya’s introduction we have… shall we mix metaphors… caught two birds with one net! I am very excited.
Over the course March, we will spend some time revamping the appearance of the website to show a menu that reflects the weekly schedule and archives some older material. I am also looking at introducing a regular feature called the “Dead Poet’s Society” where our Baristas talk about a poet and poems that have informed, inspired, or otherwise influenced their writing. Another idea that has been brewing in my head is a virtual workshop where writers share their work and meet via Skype or some other service to constructively critique one another. Comment down below if this interests you. Finally, I plan to slowly build a page to complement the Level UP challenge that consolidates writing challenges from around the web.
Offline, a much larger project slowly brews: a Veteran’s Writing Group. This will be one part of a non-profit I started with a friend called Even Keel Development, Inc. dedicated to bringing veterans of the world’s armed forces to developing countries to set up sustainable and effective humanitarian missions. As we ramp up to achieving that mission, I look to establish a network that supports healing through creative work, not unlike the Go Dog Go Café, but for the world’s veterans to help them recover from the often unhealthy impact of that stressful life which often leads to addiction, unhealthy behavior, and PTSD.
Enough for now, but I will close with another beautiful quote from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, a book I could not recommend highly enough. We writers, like other artists in other mediums, are riding the point of a line connected to the Absolute into the possible, weaving with our words a truth to bring back to the show of life. Keep at it, write, write, write… then share, scroll around a while and support one another!
“Purity does not lie in separation from but in deeper penetration into the universe,” Teilhard de Chardin wrote. It is hard to imagine a deeper penetration into the universe than [Dave] Rahm’s last dive in his plane, or than his inexpressible wordless selfless line’s inscribing the air and dissolving. Any other art may be permanent. I cannot recall one Rahm sequence. He improvised. If Christo wraps a building or dyes a harbor, we join his poignant and fierce awareness that the work will be gone in days. Rahm’s plane shed a ribbon whose end unraveled in memory while its beginning unfurled in memory while its beginning unfurled as surprise. He may have acknowledged that what he did could be called art, but it would been, I think, only in the common misusage, which holds art to be the last extreme of skill. Rahm rode the point of the line to the possible; he discovered it and wound it down to the show. He made his dazzling probe on the run. “The world is filled, and filled with the Absolute,” Teilhard de Chardin wrote. “To see this is to be made free.”
Annie Dillard from The Writing Life pages 110-111.