As a 2017 Fellow in the Lambda Literary Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Writers, I participated in the Non-Fiction Workshop Facilitated by Diana Cage in Los Angeles, California.
It is among North America’s most competitive writers’ residencies and the only one specifically for LGBTQ writers. The retreat was a week-long intensive that took place in August on the campus of the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California. There were about sixty-some participants who came mostly from the U.S. but also a handful from Canada, participating in one of five workshops (with a few working independently)—mine was non-fiction.
Each morning we met in our workshop, writing together, discussing writing and publishing and engaged in some of the most incisive and relevant critique sessions I have ever experienced. Each evening there were readings (videotaped and open to the public) from each participant—mine was scheduled on the last evening. I read an excerpt from “Radical Lesbian Feminism in Practice” about the magic and impact of feminist bookstores in the seventies and brought my entire workshop on stage with me during the reading. I also developed a chapter “I Want a Women’s Revolution” which is part of my memoir-in-progress about the lesbian feminist nineteen seventies, weaving my own personal narrative within an herstorical tapestry.
An anthology comprised of submissions from the 2017 Lambda Fellows will be published. An excerpt of my essay includes the following: “We queer writers, critical thinkers, dreamers, cultural boundary interrupters, in our particular diversities and textures, we are the voices that need to be heard to contribute to the dialogue, the discussion, the insights that are so desperately needed. We may be the very ones to articulate the moans and sighs and exaltations, to confront and celebrate, discover and disseminate. We are the hope givers, the rhythm and change makers, the seers.”
I want to deeply thank the members of the SSAC committee who honoured me with this grant that helped enable me to be part of this amazing and life-changing experience, spending a week amongst other queer writers with whom I have bonded and an experience I will never forget.