Gratitude

Con Thien
The view from Con Thien (The Hill of Angels), looking north across what was once Vietnam’s DMZ.

I have a lot to be grateful for, always, but especially in the last month. And, as there is no lack of need for more gratitude in this world, I will take this opportunity to quickly and insufficiently outline mine here.

I recently traveled to Vietnam with my Father where, for the first time in 51 years almost to the day, we visited the sites of his war. It was a complicated experience, and my mind is still buzzing with the swarm of implications, emotions, and sensory details of it all. In the next little bit, I hope to find some clarity that will enable me to share this journey and what it meant/means.

Since returning, my upcoming multi-disciplinary art show, Convergence, has finished its call for artists and selected an incredible variety of works to exhibit. I cannot thank the artists who submitted work enough. It was humbling and invigorating to see the many ways people are engaging with both the perceived human/animal divide and the very real effects of the Anthropocene.

And just this past weekend, for Veterans Day/Armistice Day, my Father and I were humbled to put on a workshop/reading/conversation for veterans and their families. It was an intimate and powerful experience. I thank everyone who came out, shared their stories, and listened to our perspectives on how to use writing to convey experiences that can often be difficult to translate into words for the benefit of both the veteran and those who love them.

Both these events were made possible by the support of the Center for Creativity and I look forward to doing more work with them in the future.

Lastly, my Father and I were interviewed for Words on Air, by the OSU Center for Poets and Writers. We each read a bit of our work and spoke, briefly, on what patriotism and service looks like to us and how racism is antithetical to both (though no less common for it). I’m excited to share it with you as soon as it is live.

Thanks to everyone who made these events possible. And thanks to you for being interested.

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.

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