Welcome to this excerpt of a reading and discussion of the memoir Mama Bear, recorded in front of a live audience and a Zoom audience at Her Story Garden Studios Sunday, October 24, 2021. Forgiveness and multigenerational healing for Black Women through writing our stories are among the lively, soulful topics discussed here.
In order to survive in a society not designed for our survival, Black women learn to quiet our laughter, swallow our pride, and get over it if we hurt. In the process, our stories, which are the wellspring of our own self-definition, healing, and liberation are lost to us, and to the Black women of the next generation.
When you arrive at the Studio or arrive at a place where the Studio is in pop-up mode, you will take off your shoes, leave those old raggedy social messages at the door, and write yourself to revelation. We will use other art forms to inspire the writing. We will write in the aesthetics of a living room or nature, and share a nurturing meal from a well tended garden.
Zelda or one of the other facilitators will hold you in orbit while you use the writing and the comfort of the environment and group to make the sounds (quiet or loud) that are true to your story.
I was a little girl who wanted nothing more than to be outside playing in the dirt and filling my pockets with the magical things I discovered. Being told to be quiet and keep the family secrets was like someone telling water to stay behind a wall. Through stories I navigate and discover new paths for myself, and by reading and listening to your stories I am inspired to keep planting my truths and discovering what sorts of fruit they bear. As a queer, Black woman, mother, grandmother, author, I am passionate about fostering freedom of expression for other Black women in what ever way that expression springs forth in my workshops, through writing, song, dance, images...
My research and facilitation focusses on utilizing the food, medicine, and kinship of writing and literature as ways for people to self-define and authenticate their relationships. I do this work with individuals one-on-one, in workshops, in academic settings, and as a tool for community and organizational development.
ZELDA LOCKHART is Visiting Associate Professor of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington. She holds a PhD in Expressive Art Therapies, an MA in Literature, and a certificate in writing, directing and editing from the New York Film Academy. Her latest books include Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World’s Most Notorious Jewel Thief(by Doris Payne with Zelda Lockhart), and The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript which takes readers on the emotional, psychological and spiritual journey of utilizing personal stories to transform their lives while completing a work of fiction, memoir or poetry. Lockhart is author of novels Fifth Born, a Barnes & Noble Discovery selection and a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award finalist, Cold Running Creek a Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Fiction Awardee, and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle, 2011 Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her fiction, poetry, and essays appear in several anthologies as well as in periodicals like Chautauqua, Obsidian II, and USAToday.com.
is Visiting Associate Professor of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington.
The way the workshops are taught and the way we write together builds community, and so the feedback and input of the participants shape the teaching and the Studio itself. Participants' energy as feedback and volunteerism is a big part of Her Story Garden Studios' magic.
We also collaborate with others to bring about free expression for Black women through the arts. When we say Black women, we mean all Black women, straight, queer, and from all cultural backgrounds.
"We have the most to gain and least to lose. Straight and lesbian among us, we must fight, learn and grow with, and for, ourselves, our mothers, daughters, and sisters across this nation across this globe..." (Andrea Canaan).
Featured in the image: Top - Candace Parish, Tracy Roberson-Woolard, Zelda Lockhart. Bottom: Maya Corneille, Linda Riggin, Pamela Thompson.
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