FAQs for Powder Keg in the Pandemic Community Sessions
What am I signing up for?
When you register for the Powder Keg, you join Suzi’s mailing list. You will receive a weekly invitation to join the Wednesday workshop. You will receive a few emails a month from Suzi at Rising Forth, her website, where she writes about daily creative practice, motherhood, and art as a tool for change. You can always unsubscribe if you do not want to get the invitations or updates from Rising Forth.
In the workshops you can expect 90 minutes of guided writing and small art experiences designed to bring your attention into your body. We work at the intersection of literary and visual arts, with a strong sense of art as a tool for personal and collective transformation.
Every week, we send out a page of resources which contain suggested readings and prompts to warm your practice in the days between workshops.
Is there a cost to participate?
This workshop is free and will remain free.
We don’t ask for a fee because we want to offer you the comfort we find creating in community. We want to engender the feeling of us all in the same room, maybe at a big round wooden table, hearts humming as we write.
Every week, we have a Tip Jar suggestion. We select organizations doing front line work with women and families here in the Berkshires, where our home is, or in other areas that are hard hit by COVID-19. As of April 22, we invite you to make a tuition contribution to support the work we do for the Powder Keg. This supports us with income and allows us to pay our guest teachers.
Tuition contributions are optional. We suggest $30 per session. Whatever amount feels fair and good. If you are not able to donate, this is fine. Ability to pay is not a threshold to participate.
Must I attend every session?
That is up to you. We send the resource page out to the entire workshop roster, whether you are in attendance or not. These sessions are not recorded, and we do not send out the prompts from the workshop itself.
Who is Catherine?
Catherine is an almost college graduate. She is involved with making higher education accessible to incarcerated folks through the Bard Prison Initiative. She also does academic tutoring with system-involved youth. Catherine loves history more than anything.
Who is Suzi?
Suzi is a writer, maker, and mother, living in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. She grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the water, the woods, and the pasties tinted her blood copper. Her work dwells at the crossing place of literary and visual arts which takes form in hand bound books, mixed media collages, needlework, photographs, and plant magic. Suzi has been published in print and online. She teaches in the US and internationally.
What do you mean by Powder Keg?
When Suzi first began teaching writing workshops, her sense was that women often sit on story, stow story inside them like combustible fuel. Those stories are needed by the world. But if we do not defuse what could at any moment burst into flame, the stories become destructive to our inner world. You’ve heard the writing provocation, “Write like your hair's on fire?” Suzi had a hunch about where those flames come from, thus, the Powder Keg. She believes in the power of daily practice to turn our lived experience into super food.
What happens next?
Suzi's summer teaching is now all directed toward Backyard Art Camp which can come to you as Camp in a Care Package. Stay tuned for that. She may teach at Snow Farm in August.
Catherine will graduate from Bard in May. She will crew on the Clearwater Sloop on the Hudson River this summer.
Can I send you what I wrote in this workshop?
Thank you for taking your work seriously enough to seek feedback or simply share it. We are not in a place to offer feedback at this time. You can imagine that our emails would be flooded with your good work. Please find a friend to share what you are writing or look for a writing buddy. Look for calls for entries at Submittable online. The International Women’s Writing Guild hosts Open Mic readings online.
We will at one point in the next month, share more of our writing within the group. We have not worked out how that will take shape. Perhaps we will have our own Open Mic event?
How long will this free workshop run?
Our final session is May 13, 2020.
What made you offer this to us now?
Catherine and Suzi are creative first responders. We step up. Here is a blog post about what we did in 2012 in Newtown, CT.
When this period of social isolation began, we were both marooned in the middle of large writing projects. Each of us found ourselves hungry for faces across from our writing desks, for a sense of communal devotion to daily practice, and wanted to make rich resources available to others. The Powder Keg Writing Workshops are a long running in-person and online workshop that Suzi teaches throughout the year, so it seemed the right vehicle to deliver what we hope to share as a way to help the collective.
How else can you engage with Suzi & Catherine?
Suzi’s in-person teaching is on hold for now. You can order her 100 Day Primer to give wings to your daily practice. The 100 Day Primer gives you ideas and tools to dive into a daily practice and stay with it. Check our her Shop, found here.
You can wave to Catherine from the shores of the mighty Hudson River all summer.
Later in 2020, Suzi leads Advent Dark Journal which happens from late November through January 6, 2021. You’ll hear about it in her newsletter.
Suzi offers One on One conversations about your daily practice, your writing, and how to move your work to the next level. These can be arranged by emailing her here.
Sessions are $200 for the first hour. Recurring sessions for $150.
May I share the materials you give us each week?
Please no. We prepare the resource pages and prompts for every workshop. This is our contribution to the collective. Please do not share the materials with people who are not registered for the workshop. If you know people who are hungry for inspiration, ask them to register for the workshop and they will receive the emails about the workshop and get the resource pages.
Because this honors the work we do to prepare. If you are inspired to share our prompts with your writing groups, please attribute us. All materials shared on the resource page are under the copyright of the writers. You can support those authors by ordering their books, reading and sharing the work they do online, and by requesting their work at your local libraries. These are ways to be literary citizens, even now!
Anything else you want to know?
Our guests, Holly Wren Spaulding can be found here. Rowen White can be found here. Desiree Cooper can be found here.
You can read past blogs by Suzi on daily practice on her website. If you wander around there, you can read about her project in Gyumri, Armenia
You can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone, any gender is welcome at these workshops. At-home learners who would benefit from the prompts and sharing are welcome. As always, bring some sticks, a journal, and a pen!