Author: Porscha Coleman

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year… To Work

Happy Holidays, everyone!  This season marks a lot of things, the observances of many religious and secular celebrations, cold weather and for many a break from work and school. For some this time of year is happy and filled with family, and friends. Unfortunately for others this is a tough and sad time. I sincerely wish for everyone that they are able to get whatever it is they need now and over the next few months as we brave the cold and dark inside and outside while we wait for the warm light of spring. One thing we all have in common is that a new year is coming. No matter what we thought of 2016 it is coming to a close for better or for worse. While it is important to take stock, celebrate, and have rest and relaxation it is equally if not more important to prepare for a brand new year. Folks are talking about resolutions, and while I’m not a fan of the concept of ‘New Year, New Me’ for many …

The Chair Approach To Change

This morning at 6 A.M. I validated a 50,000 word rough draft of a fiction manuscript for National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo). While I am proud of myself thousands if not millions people around the world write 50,000 words or more in the month of November. My ‘winning’ this contest is not the reason for this post. After I won and posted about it to my facebook page, I got a question in my inbox about how one writes a book. Well after I made clear that I wrote a draft that would need a lot of editing and rewrites, and care before it could be called a book. We talked about passion and how passion is important but what makes writing is sitting butt in seat and DOING it. This month has been hard and busy, November usually is. Birthdays, holidays, politics, other deadlines, anxiety, bouts of depression. Life happens at full throttle. This month in particular has been incredibly difficult emotionally and mentally. As a young black woman writer wading through everything that is …

Lessons in Lasagna For MFA Applicants

Tis the season for hearing back from M.F.A programs. Not only are people hearing back about fall but they are still applying to  workshops and fellowships for Summer. The next few weeks will determine where cohorts of people land, where people move, what they will pack, where they will live. Anywhere from the next few months to the next three years are being decided in these moments. I know it seems silly to give a lasagna recipe in the midst of all the decision making, chaos and motion so I won’t. To quote Lil’ Wayne “real G’s move in silence like lasagna”.   Granted this is not the best line in music, in my opinion it’s not even the best line that Wayne has said. The point is that there is a value to silence, and keeping some things close to the vest. There is value in not letting excessive opinions, and agendas into the process of how you live the next months and years of your life. It should go without saying that those …

Navigating the Need for Help

  I don’t like needing help; I like asking for help even less. In the solitary practice of writing it wouldn’t seem that I rub up against this aversion for help very often but I do, more than I could have ever imagined. Lately as I’ve turned over in my head what I would write about this month, I came back to a few underlying concepts and as New Years Eve approached and I had not managed to form these words my thoughts shifted to what “advice” I would give writers going into a new year, new deadlines, contests, opportunities and difficulties. The internet is bursting with advice for writers, all of it important; much of it technical. I have read countless articles about creating and maintaining a writing routine, how to choose where to submit, M.F.A vs. workshops. Even more articles on craft and nuts and bolts of good quality writing. I don’t see much about navigating life as a writer. I’ve always focused my words in that general direction here because other topics …

How Writing Saves My Life

This is the time of year when people start to talk a lot about gratitude and thankfulness. This is also the time of year when the days drastically shorten and leave with more darkness daily than light; that is both literal and figurative. I don’t remember how many years ago I  first heard of “Seasonal Affective Disorder” You may also know it as Winter Blues, or any host of other names that describe how people with ‘normal’ mental health, fall into a slump of sadness or depression during the winter months. As soon as I knew this was a thing, I knew that this is what I went through every winter, this especially sucks because my  birthday is in the middle of December. Winter is only a few months, so I never thought too much about this and having a bit of winter blah is normal for most people. What I missed in my initial assumptions about Seasonal Affective Disorder is that for many it is a precursor or early warning sign for clinical depression. Depression is one of those things that exist on …

Black Poetry Day and Why It Matters

Image: Wikimedia When I was a senior in High School, My A.P English literature teacher, Mr.  O’Leary dropped me off at the National Museum of Women in the Arts one morning after his 7:30AM class to attend a Morning with Nikki Giovanni. The event was a small gathering of high school students from around the city sitting in a circle in awe of Ms. Giovanni as she talked about writing and life, and history. When I was a senior in High School, My A.P English literature teacher, Mr.  O’Leary dropped me off at the National Museum of Women in the Arts one morning after his 7:30AM class to attend a Morning with Nikki Giovanni. The event was a small gathering of high school students from around the city sitting in a circle in awe of Ms. Giovanni as she talked about writing and life, and history. At the time of that event I was 17 years old, and had been reading and writing poetry since I was nine. The word poetry to me meant black …

The Process and Pathway of a DIY M.F.A

There is no way to avoid Emily Dickinson as a poet or someone who is studying poetry, same with Walt Whitman.  I knew they were going to be chapter one reading in the Contemporary and Modern American Poetry class. I know this because I have signed up for the class two other times with varying levels of participation. I liked the course but I was intimidated by all that I didn’t know. As many of my fellow contributors sit in classrooms and participate in University life; I am taking what I call a DIY M.F.A; Utilizing Massive Open Online Classes (MOOC), discussion groups, in person writing and study groups. Taking classes with thousands of other students has many freedoms and also many dangers. My professors do not know me; I am not accountable to anyone but myself. My education is completely in my own hands. I decide if I pay extra for certificates of my classes or if I am okay with a statement of accomplishment, I decide if I follow up with local people …