Open Mic Friday! you talk: living gifts

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to the Open Mic! Today’s mic is a discussion post (I’m seeking guest posts for the rest of the year!). If you’re new here or haven’t visited in a while, here’s how it works: I pose a question, we all talk in the comments. Comments are threaded so you can respond to each individually; that way, it’s less a series of single speakers than a mutual conversation. Here we go!

It has been a wild week here with my recent anthology release and readings. The readings were the “graduation” event for the IWL (Interdisciplinary Writers Lab) workshop that began back in April, and — as with many graduations — now that it’s over, I’m aswirl in excitement, gratitude, fondness, and lack of sleep!

If you have not yet read through the anthology, which is online at, I encourage you to check it out — not just to read my piece, which is the first in the table of contents, but to immerse yourself in the tremendous creativity and energy of my 10 fellow writers and 2 of our instructors. They have shared beautiful, heartbreaking poetry; experiences that tread the border between hilarious and painful; self-affirmations both quiet and roaring. They have done this in words, pictures, and video — and in the openness and kindness of their presence. These are the people, and the art, that have changed my perspective so much in just a few months.

IWL class 2011

IWL 2011. L to R, top row: Elwin Cotman, Jenny Strauss, Ron Ragin, Maria Allocco, instructor Brenda Wong Aoki, Lisa Hsia, Sarah Dayley. Bottom row: Nayomi Munaweera, Indira Allegra, Dylan Casama, Erika Céspedes-Kent. Not pictured: Jen Palmares Meadows, instructors Jaime Cortez, Leticia Hernandez, Cheryl Dunye.

Each of my IWL classmates has been like a living gift I’ve been humbled to receive. In honor of these dear friends and inspirations, in today’s Open Mic I’d like to hear about the people who’ve changed you. To whom do you owe your deepest gratitude — who are your living gifts?

See you in the comments!