Write Here! Write Now!

Valerie Gay

“I want to use my talents to not only achieve personal success for myself, but to inspire others to be successful in their personal endeavors.”

– Bill Holmes

I’m so excited that my creative-writing workshop, Write Here! Write Now! (WH!WN!), will be included as part of the 31st Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival (CBW), hosted by the Art Sanctuary of Philadelphia, on Saturday, 23 May 2015. I created and taught a workshop at Temple University’s Pan-African Studies Continuing Education Program (PASCEP) for five years beginning in September 2007 to give back to community, sharing my knowledge of writing poetry, fiction, and non-fiction with active participants. I haven’t facilitated my workshop in over two years since I decided to stop teaching in December 2012 so I could complete my master’s degree in mental health counseling. However, I enjoyed the five years I taught at Temple on Monday evenings, interacting with my students and coming into my own as a workshop leader during that experience. I hadn’t realized how much I missed WH!WN! these past two years.

Last year, I began leading journaling group counseling sessions at the agency where I’m employed as a rehabilitation counselor. I incorporated some of the assignments and lessons I used from the workshop. Although the journaling group counseling is a different setting than the workshop, there are some similarities. Both groups have participants who wanted to attend the sessions and loved to write. Seeing the enthusiasm in some of my clients’ eyes as they wrote for several minutes in their journals, struggled to convey their thoughts onto paper, and shared their reminded me of some of my former students’ exuberance when they participated in their in-class assignments throughout the semesters. Yes, indeed.

The Art Sanctuary of Philadelphia sent out its electronic newsletter last fall to its subscribers announcing that they were looking for participants in the 2015 CBW. This was the opportunity for me to bring back my workshop. I completed and submitted an electronic proposal for the upcoming event by its 1 December 2014 deadline. I received an email confirmation that the document was received and would be reviewed. A formal decision wouldn’t be made until 15 January 2015. That was not a problem since I was confident and faithful that everything would fall into its proper perspective if it was meant to be. And it certainly did when I received the email confirmation on that day letting me know that WH!WN! was accepted as one of the workshops for the 31st Annual CBW. The official announcement of the event’s lineup would occur on Sunday, 1 February 2015 at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA at 1 p.m. As much as I wanted to share the news with my loved ones, I kept quiet and didn’t say a word to anyone until afterwards. The congratulations and the inquiries I received from my loved ones made me feel special, happy, and fulfilled to have accomplished this goal.

I have to give thanks to Valerie Gay, Executive Director of the Art Sanctuary, and her staff for selecting me to be one of the 2015 CBW participants. WH!WN! was a great experience for myself and my former PASCEP students as we got to know and creatively collaborate with each other. I do keep in touch with some of them via social networking, and there are quite a few who are pursuing their creative aspirations, which makes me feel like a proud parent witnessing their child developing his or her talents. I’m looking forward to meeting and interacting new participants for the workshop this coming May. Although the workshop will be a one day event as opposed to a 10 week college semester, it only takes a moment to make a positive impact into a person’s life. This will definitely be the beginning of the next chapter for my creative-writing workshop.

For more information about the Art Sanctuary and the 2015 CBW, please visit their website at http://artsanctuary.org.

See you on the 23rd of May.

Take care and be blessed.



About Bill's Universal Expressions!

Poet, writer, therapist, and ESSENCE Best Selling and future New York Times Best Selling author.
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