If I was still a devout Catholic, I would have done penance today for the sin of complacency and laziness. Today, I realized that I have been a breath away from one of the best resources on campus, especially for those who recognize the power of words. I have known about, and have benefited from the work of the New York State Writers Institute for years. I have been to several programs hosted by the Institute. Thanks to their work, I had the great privilege of seeing the incomparable, June Jordan speak and read several of her poems. I was able to ask her a question from the audience, which meant the world to me, for I considered her to be one of my aunties. Along with Nikki, Zora, Toni M., Toni C. B., Alice, Audre, Sonia, Maya, Nawal, Isabel, and so many others, Tatie June's words strengthened me as a teen, trying to gain strength in the midst of familial and emotional chaos. These women, empowered me with their stories, and their resiliency. What a privilege it was to be on a campus where some of my sheroes have come to speak. And to this campus I have returned to guide the next generation of creative, powerful, people. It is a work that it dear to my heart and that I do not take for granted.
How is it, then, that I have never visited the Writers Institute? I have been to many a program in the Standish Room, located next to their offices on the 3rd floor of the UAlbany Science Library, and have never ventured to see what else was there. Had I taken the time to do more than my to-dos, I would have been blessed with walls showered in literary history. I would have met colleagues whose desire to inspire and engage, rises out of their words and body language like neroli incense. I would have realized that I had access to books from every Institute guest author. I might have been offered a smorgasbord of sweet treats, as I was today. Since their offices are on the 3rd floor, the views are fantastic, overlooking the Helderberg Mountains. Their physical space seems to say, "Stay awhile - we have been waiting for you."
Today, as a result of an invitation sent to me by one of our Project MyStory volunteers, Kerry DeBruce, I took advantage of the privilege that belongs to all of us in the Capital Region, and I visited the Writers Institute. I spoke with Paul, Suzanne, Jessy, and Mark, and I look forward to collaborating with the Writers Institute to help students become more aware of how they can get involved by volunteering and other activities. We plan to have our Project MyStory monthly meetings there in the Fall and to have 1-2 workshops to help our volunteers in their story sharing.
Added bonus to my visit: Jessy is an avid tea drinker and, it seems that we have frequented the same tea spots. I love meeting tea freaks, so I suppose that it was kismet for my first visit to be today.
If you have not done so already, take some time to visit the Writer's Institute. They will be having another event on May 10 at 2pm to 4pm, for students to de-stress and stuff their faces with delicious diet-destroyers.
In the mug:
AM - Masala Chai from Heavenly Teas mixed with Exotic Greens from Divinitea
AM - Hazelnut Chai Late from Argo Tea
PM - Serene Chamomile from Short and Stout Tea
Here, I share new discoveries and thoughts about things I love. Ride along with me. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.
Tea Houses I Love