After Action Reports- Veterans Workshop

The spring and summer of 2018 have been more focused on creating and submitting proposals for events and projects as they have been about actual writing. And as such, I’ve had little to show, publication-wise, for the year, but I’ve been able to create and participate in more events with my community here in Tulsa. That may not inflate my sense of writer-legitimacy, but I think it soothes the soul by bringing meaningful work to audiences who may or may not otherwise have access to it.

That said, another of the projects I’ve been preparing for has been announced and this one is near to my heart.

John Musgrave
John Musgrave— Marine, Poet, Father

After Action Reports is a joint reading/workshop for veterans and their families that I will be facilitating with my father, John Musgrave (recently featured in the Ken Burns Documentary The Vietnam War). This reading comes from two sources: my father’s writing (available here), which has always been a means of healing and processing for him after returning from Vietnam; and my strange relationship to his war, having grown up both utterly disconnected from it and yet intimately shaped by it. After Action Reports hopes to offer tools for how to make writing a viable tool for for veterans and their families, through the combined perspectives of a Marine Infantryman and his adult, civilian son.

For more information, including time, location, and dates of the event, please see the official announcement from the McKeon Center for Creativity.

Convergence— Call for Artists

Sunrise Hunt
“Sunrise Hunt,” Oil on canvas, by Yatika Fields 2018

I’m pleased to announce I’ll be curating a multi-media, interdisciplinary art exhibit and workshop this coming year at the Center for Creativity in downtown Tulsa. The show will examine humanity’s place in the world with a goal of challenging the commonly held western ontology of humans as separate from or special among the natural world. I will be joined as curator by one of my good friends, fellow Osage, and Tulsa Artist Fellow, Yatika Starr Fields. Yatika’s work is an inspiration to me and it embodies much of the aims of this upcoming show and I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator.

As a part of the show, I will be giving a craft talk on how to be present in the natural world through photography and writing, using examples from my own process. From this workshop, Yatika will gather ideas for, design, and paint a mural that will live in the Center for Creativity.

The Call for Artists PDF can be found here: Convergence: Challenging Anthropocentrism.

For additional information, or to read the Call for Artists in html, please see here: Call for Artists.

To see more of Yatika’s amazing and moving art, you can find him at Yatikafields.com.

New web series— Words on Air

This has been a summer of drafting and traveling, so the publication news has been sparse. However, I’d like to let everyone know that OSU’s Center for Poets and Writers is releasing a new web series, “Words on Air.” The series will be uploading new episodes weekly for at least the next couple months with more to come at a later date.

As a part of Tulsa LitFest, I had the pleasure of interviewing the illustrious Susannah Sharpless of Graywolf Press and this conversation will soon be released as part of “Words on Air.” My goal with the discussion was to provide an introduction to parsing the publication landscape at large and Graywolf Press itself.

If you get a chance, check it out. The series will feature some of my colleagues from the Tulsa Artist Fellowship as well as some of the best writers in Oklahoma.

A small interview- On Teaching

TCC Faculty Profile.

In which I talk about (or at least touch on in a couple words):

  • Trying desperately not to become a writer and failing.
  • Why coming to Oklahoma didn’t sound like punishment.
  • How certain hobbies inform my writing.
  • Dealing with the international travels of my wife through application-mania.
  • The inherent privilege of teaching*.

*Although teaching is inherently a privilege,  and I am inspired by my students on a daily basis, and, as with writing, I am not sure I could stop myself from being a teacher even if I tried, I would be remiss not to note, in solidarity with public educators, the current state of Oklahoma public teachers as the poorest paid in the nation

Correspondence in The Sun

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Maynard, August 2017

In the March 2018 issue of The Sun, the editors gave me the opportunity to respond to some reader correspondence. You may read it HERE.  I am very grateful to them for it. Although this is not a new experience, I was still surprised by this particular response to “Eclipse.” How strange, I thought, that someone could read my pain and react with such aggression toward me for it. But this week we’ve seen the teenage survivors of another school shooting receiving an even more venomous reaction to their pain.

I want to believe that those who see pain and think attack are outliers. I want to believe we are better than this.

I know that we can be.

Upcoming Reading- Tulsa, 2/16

As my creative writing students know, I’m a big fan of George Saunders. If you’ll allow me to be effusive, bordering on obsequious, I love the ways he plays with language and the empathy he manages to extend to every one of his characters. More than that, I like him as a person. In my personal experience, he’s open and gracious and doesn’t hesitate to hold up his book-signing line to offer a few words of encouragement to an aspiring writer.

And so, knowing this, imagine my excitement at being able to share a reading him. Friday, February 16, at the Philbrook Museum, I have the unbelievable good fortune to be one of the opening readers for “An Evening with George Saunders.” I won’t use emojis here, but I’m sure they’re easy to visualize floating around my head.

Unfortunately for all of you, as of right now, the event is sold out. Though, if you want details, and to keep up to date on if they expand to a new, bigger venue, follow along here: An Evening with George Saunders.

“Eclipse” live at The Sun

My latest essay, of the aforementioned TBA acceptance letter, is now live at The Sun Magazine. (Found here in its entirety.) I just reread it and the words felt new to me even if the events did not. Like someone else had been writing about my life. I wrote the piece to power through my grief and take me outside of the moment and myself. Guess it worked.

Over the holidays, I missed Maynard a lot. I kept forgetting our new normal. That when we returned from one family event or another, there would just be one dog waiting to be let out, not two. I’m thankful that he’s been extended to others through this piece.

The headlines haven’t really let up yet, but I’m hoping that this new 2018 will bring more light to all.