"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Finding Inspiration in the Spontaneous Community Created within Literary Gatherings: Mountain Words Literary Festival, Crested Butte, CO

"Perhaps we are all here to trace and collect words, to sow meaning; we collect that thing which people discard as ordinary and bring it to a page of life where it can flourish and be the map of human struggle and therefore an instruction as to how we can all survive. " - Aaron a. Abeyta

I jumped in my car a bit last minute a week ago to drive 16 hours across Nevada and Utah to participate in an exciting new gathering of writers. The Mountain Words Literary Festival is a multi-day literary celebration at nine-thousand feet, featuring readings, workshops, kids' events, parties, panel discussions, live theater, and more. Over four days, I joined other writers, film makers, scientists and artists beginning at 9 am to stretch our imaginations and hands in a shared community at the architecturally striking Arts Center in downtown Crested Butte, CO.

Thursday morning early I found a seat with a view of the valley looking north towards Mt. Crested Butte peak for Nuha Fariha's workshop, "Better Together: Creative Collaboration". Fariha is the Fiction Editor of the New Delta Review.

I finished Thursday morning with a dive into the concepts of status and stasis, exploring where we stand in our writing. This workshop applied the concepts of playwriting by Keith Johnston in Impro for Storytellers. Dr. Paul Edwards, a retired professor of Communication Arts of from Western Colorado University and playwrite/director at the Crested Butte Community Theater, guided us through a discussion of how status actions motivate a character in a scene. I wrote some dialogue and felt a prick of Ahha!

So much inspiration here in the varied writers, teachers, panels, and workshops! More details will emerge in blog posts over the next few weeks. I just want to mention one particular writer and teacher who was awarded on Friday night the Karen Chamberlain Award for “ outstanding service to poetry in Colorado, a long history of building communities of poets & providing inspiration to us all by developing a body of powerful work”. Aaron Abeyto is a poet, novelist, teacher, and the mayor of his hometown, Antonito, Colorado. He read for us an open letter he's published in praise of books. His passion and obvious love and care for other human beings shone from his face as he read this letter. I bought his novel Rise, Do Not Be Afraid, and can't wait to become more familiar with his poetry!


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