Summer reading ☀️📚

I love summer for countless reasons. There’s more time to lounge and read, the days grow longer, my birthday falls in the summer. My spirits are always higher in this season — something about the warmth of the sun on my skin, the fireflies lighting up the night.

When I was a kid, summer vacation also meant summer reading, great for an avid reader like me! That’s stayed constant in my life even after school. I’ve already read lots of books this summer, and plan to finish more.

Also, this summer is jam-packed with poetry readings and literary festivals. Here are some upcoming events that I’m super excited about:

 July 28: I’m a featured reader at The Deaf Poets Society’s reading at Bards Alley in Vienna, Va. at 7 p.m. Bards Alley is a brand-new bookstore in the DMV area, and the DPS literary journal has been doing incredible work at offering a space for D/deaf/disabled writers and artists. There are going to be incredible readers, like Camisha Jones, so make sure to come to this one.

Ask Rayceen Show August 2017August 2: As a part of The Ask Rayceen ShowI’m participating in the Authors’ Corner with OutWrite 2017 panelists at the Human Rights Campaign at 7 p.m. There will also be live music, poetry readings, and a burlesque performance.

Queer Enough panel at OutWrite 2017 OutWrite 2017, August 5:

Hope to see you at some (or all!) of these events! Happy summer (reading)!

That’s a wrap on AWP 2017

I am not invisible photo

Wow. AWP is over. I am exhausted, and sick (who gave me this cold?!), and heartened by the writing community I’m a part of.

This was my first AWP, and it is just as massive as it sounds. About 15,000 writers, editors, publishers, university professors, etc. attended. It’s like an entire city converging on D.C. for several days, spreading infestations of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translation, and more.

I’m so grateful that I was able to meet several editors of literary journals who have been so kind to publish me. Meeting fellow editors and writers in person is such a wonderful experience. If I missed you, know that you mean so much to me. I really enjoy broadening my writing community — especially in these times, we need each other more than ever.

I tried to attend as many panels on disability and accessibility in writing as I could — unfortunately, I could not attend them all. I had to listen to my body, pace myself, take breaks, and find some time to eat. The off-site events, too, were supportive spaces, especially the Kick Ass Women Kick Ass reading, Split This Rock’s candlelight vigil for free speech, and the Inner Loop’s joint reading with District Lit, Sakura Review, and the Boiler Journal.

Here’s my roundup:

  • It’s the End of the World as She Knows It: Apocalypse Poetry by Women
  • The Politics of Queering Characters
  • Beautiful Mysteries: Science in Fiction and Poetry (got some sweet STEM temp tats from this panel)
  • Body of Work: Exploring Disability, Creativity, and Inclusivity
  • Audio Drama and Podcasting: The Future is Now 2.0
  • Not Invisible: Editors of Literary Journals Speak Out on Disability and Building Inclusive Writing Communities
  • Page Meets Stage with Carolyn Forché, Sarah Kay, and Derrick Brown
  • Writing With and About Dis/Ability, Dis/Order, and Dis/Ease
  • Reading and Conversation with Aracelis Girmay, Tim Seibles, and Danez Smith

Read some of my thoughts on these panels on my Twitter by searching #AWP17 on my timeline.

On Friday, I had a vital and challenging conversation on my panel about disability, accessibility, and building inclusive writing communities. Listening to and talking with Jill Khoury, Mike Northen, Sheryl Rivett, and Sheila McMullin was so powerful.

Mike summed it up when he said, “As editors, we’re always walling someone off.” As gatekeepers, how do we check our privileges and biases and make sure to open the door to others, especially disabled writers, women writers, LGBTQ writers, writers of color, and more. These voices are so often overlooked and left out of publishing. We discussed some ways we try to do this. And I’m always open to hearing how to improve and keep building more inclusive (writing) communities.

Thank you to all who attended our panel and asked important questions. Thank you to VIDA for sponsoring, and to Sheila for planning and leading our panel.

AWP is next week!

I am not invisible photo

I’m so excited for AWP. It’ll be my first time at the enormous conference that brings writers and editors of literary magazines together. The week will be packed with panels, readings, difficult and necessary discussions, and more.

I’m looking forward to widening my writing community, making new friends, and meeting writers and editors from all over the country. I’m planning to attend panels led by disabled writers, LGBTQ writers, and writers of color — especially because these voices are so often overlooked or left out of the publishing world (and the world at large). So to see diverse voices and people speak on panels and attend this conference is really heartening.

Also, I’m overjoyed to be speaking on my panel with some amazing editors. We’ll be talking about how to build inclusive writing communities. The panel, “Not Invisible: Editors of Literary Journals Speak Out on Disability and Building Inclusive Writing Communities,” is Friday the 10th at 3 p.m.

Hope to see you there or at the other events!

Upcoming panel for #AWP2017

Not Invisible: Editors of Literary Journals Speak Out on Disability and Building Inclusive Writing Communities

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) hosts a huge writing conference in a different location every year. AWP 2017 is coming to Washington, D.C. next year. So I knew I’d be attending for the first time since it’s my city. But I didn’t know that I’d also be a part of the lineup of amazing events.

I’m thrilled and humbled to have my panel accepted for AWP 2017. The selection process is incredibly selective — and I don’t take the acceptance of this panel lightly. My panel is titled “Not Invisible: Editors of Literary Journals Speak Out on Disability and Building Inclusive Writing Communities.”

I think we’re experiencing a new passion and increased support for the ADA movement and disability rights. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to get to discuss this and more at AWP in February 8-11, 2017. I’ll keep you posted about what day and time this panel will be held.

Here’s the full list of accepted events.

Our panel will focus on how disabled writers are often viewed as invisible. Chronic pain can be unseen from the outside. Disabled writers have typically had fewer publishing opportunities than their able-bodied peers. But we’re not invisible — we’re taking up space, writing our experiences, and submitting our work. Literary journals are featuring calls for disabled, neurodivergent, and underrepresented communities. Recently, the Deaf Poets Society was founded to feature disabled writers. Many editors of literary journals are seeking work from diverse and disabled writers. We want to showcase them and their stories. We want to see more of ourselves.

The fabulous Sheila McMullin will moderate the panel. The panelists include: Jill Khoury, Mike NorthenSheryl Rivett, and me. Sheila is the managing editor at VIDA–Women in Literary Arts; Jill is the editor of Rogue Agent; Mike is the editor-in-chief of Wordgathering; and Sheryl is the editor at ROAR Magazine.

I hope to see you at my panel and many others! Early-bird registration is open now.

awp2017panel

Upcoming panel for Western Maryland Independent Lit Festival

If you’ve ever sat in a creative writing class, you’ve probably heard the old adage: “Write what you know.” While this may or may not be good advice, what about writing where you know?

This fall, I’ll be moderating “The Geography of Writing: Writing Where We Know” panel at the 10th annual Western Maryland Independent Lit Festival. The festival occurs on October 14-16, 2016. I’ll keep you updated about what day and time this panel will be held.

Our panel will focus on how place invades our writing. The panelists and I live in the DMV area, and the city of D.C. and suburbs of Maryland and northern Virginia shape our words.

My session features the incredible Diana Bolton, the editor and founder of District Lit, Meg Eden, an incessant writer and lit mag submitter, and Kelly Ann Jacobson, an author of many books and editor of anthologies. These amazing ladies will share the importance of place in their work.

The Western Maryland Independent Lit Festival occurs every year in Frostburg, Maryland — a small town in my state I’ve never been to. I can’t wait to explore and be surrounded by other writers.

I hope you can attend the 2016 festival and our panel. See you there!