The World as It Is, as It Could Be, and the Spaces Between
At a community coalition meeting several weeks ago, I took on the role of a “spider”—building relationships with different people and connecting their work together. I had one of those magical moments of thinking, “THIS is my work!” I am energized by listening to people, facilitating spaces for sharing stories, and finding collective unity among seemingly disparate parts.
I started learning how to “weave” as I heard stories from different people in my home of Flagstaff, Arizona. I deepened my understanding of things as interconnected and intersectional: complex, different, and yet, overlapping.
I’m now lucky enough to get to work on my masters in Sustainable Communities at Northern Arizona University. For my research, I am writing collaborative poetry in an attempt to center stories, emotions, intuition, creativity, imagination, and complexity.
I wanted to bring together activists to slow down together, dialogue, and hear each other. The process is emergent—it’s collectively created in the moment and unfolds through dialogue.
I’m still in the beginning stages of this research process, and so far I have only completed one group dialogue/writing session. This first group of co-writers are all in their twenties, living in Flagstaff, and act for justice related to education, energy democracy, immigration, total liberation, and environmental justice. Each person wrote about 1-2 pages of creative writing after our long group discussion on the world as it could be. Then, I deconstructed each poem and wove lines/stanzas together so that everyone’s voice remains intact but woven with the others. The authors are Frankie Beesley, Sara Johnston, Madison Ledgerwood, Kelsey Morales, Mara Pfeffer, and Nina Porter.
Here is a selection from this series of poems (click here for the entire series):
A public reading by (L-R) Nina Porter, Danielle Austin, and Frankie Beesley at the Climate Justice Stories Night in Flagstaff, Arizona, on May 18, 2018.