ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
The Sisters Singing community is a remarkable web of creative, innovative, productive and extraordinary women of spirit. Reading this list of contributor bios renews one’s faith in the possibilities for humanity and for
Please note that the text of these bios is from Sisters Singing, Wild Girl Publishing, 2009, and do not include updated biographical and/or publication information. However, every effort is made to add or update website links.
Rae Abileah is an imaginative writer, an artivist (blending art and activism), and a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace, a creative women-initiated movement working to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and to prevent future wars. Rae grew up in Half Moon Bay, California and graduated from Barnard College. She is a contributing author to 10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military and her poetry has been published in several journals and zines. When not on the road for PINK protests, she tends to the heart fire that compels her to work for justice by surfing, eating leafy greens, hiking in the redwoods, calling the Congressional switchboard on speed dial, and remembering to breathe deeply. Rae is humbled and inspired to be included in the goddess group of contributing women authors.
Marcy Alancraig first began hearing the sacred voices of the natural world when she was a child. At first dismissing those messages as pure imagination, she now takes them seriously and crafts her fiction from them. Her work concerns the interaction between humans, the ancestors, and plants and animals. She lives amid the trees in Santa Cruz, California, where she writes and teaches. Her first novel, The Ghosts Between Us, is forthcoming from RockWay Press.
Terese Armstrong makes her home in Asheville, North Carolina. Expressing her love of nature through photography and videography, Terese hopes that the beauty of the Earth will inspire us all to walk tenderly upon her. Visit armstrongphotoarts.com.
Kate Aver Avraham is a published children’s author (Joey’s Way, Margaret McElderry Books/MacMillan, and upcoming in 2009 from Charlesbridge Publishing, What Will You Be, Sara Mee?), a poet, teacher and artist. Her poetry has appeared in Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature for Women, Nimrod International Journal (where she was a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize), and many other journals and anthologies. She is the founder of Blue Moon Creations, a nonprofit artistic endeavor that aids charities both locally and internationally. She volunteers as an art therapist with senior citizens as part of the Family Service Agency’s I/You Ageless Art program. Kate lives with her husband, English bulldog, and tabby cat in the house where she grew up, by the sea she loves in Santa Cruz, California.
Ruth Barrett is a Dianic high priestess, ritualist, and award-winning recording artist of original Goddess songs. Her numerous recordings have been among the pioneering musical works in the Goddess Spirituality Movement. She is author of Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries: Intuitive Ritual Creation (Llewellyn, 2007). Ruth served the Los Angeles women’s community as cofounder and religious director of Circle of Aradia (CoA) for two decades, and is currently director of Temple of Diana, Inc., a national Dianic religious and educational organization. Ruth has taught magical and ritual arts in the Dianic tradition at festivals and conferences across the U.S., in Canada, and in Great Britain. www.templeofdiana.org and www.dancingtreemusic.com.
Linda Barton Poetry was not what I planned on. It dropped in my lap like a screaming, huge oak tree and has stayed with me for the last fourteen years. I am grateful for its vast, lusty and at times tricky ways. Poetry allows me the spaciousness to be rooted in the world. I am wildly curious to see where it leads me next. I can be reached at email@example.com. www.lindalbarton.com.
Connie Batten lives on a ridgetop in the Santa Cruz mountains, where she draws vitality from the changes of light through the seasons. She has published articles on feminist parenting, survivors of suicide, Buddhism and menopause.
Lisa Beaulieu: I live in the San Francisco Bay area with my husband and two cats. I take as many writing workshops as will fit into a week, and read a poem every day.
Sandia Belgrade: I have been fortunate to have my writing informed both by spirit and the natural world, and to be able to share my work with others by having poems appear in anthologies and magazines. I was one of the winners of the 1998 Anna Davis Rosenberg Poetry Award. Two poetry books have been published: a translation of Renée Vivien and a book of my own poetry, Children of the Second Birth. It is an honor to have a poem from my new collection, The Running Shape of Wisdom, included in this inspiring anthology.
Alison Bermond, 1953–2008, lived close to the Pacific Ocean and was in love with language and story for as long as she could remember. As an artist, storyteller, healer and writer, she trusted the power of the imagination and of art to inspire us and show us peaceful ways that we can participate in “Tikkun Olam”, the mending of the world. She gave thanks for the amazing, visionary and passionate women who walked this road with her; their open-hearted ears and fearless voices gave her courage. Alison was honored to be included here and dedicated her words to her wild and wonderful daughter and to all the children.
Durga Bernhard grew up in the Hudson Valley of NY and has been a freelance illustrator and fine artist for more than 25 years. She is the illustrator of 22 children’s books and the author of 5, including fiction and nonfiction, natural science titles and multicultural folktales. Durga’s work encompasses several different styles and has been published on everything from book, magazine, and CD covers to business logos, brochures, websites, and publicity for religious and ecological causes. Her creative activities also extend to West African dance and drum, which she has studied and taught for almost twenty years. She is the mother of three, and lives with her family in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
Mary Blaettler is a writer who fell in love with words at an early age, entranced by the flow of them around the family dinner table. She is also a producer, teacher and artist in kirigami, the art of free-cut paper. She has been a student of African drumming for many years and appreciates the influences of this heartbeat within her writing. She composes songs and drumpoetry as well as prose, performing and leading circles in her community. She is a devotee of the goddess Brigid (she who gave us poetry, midwifery and smithcraft), and with a group of magical women keeps Brigid’s flame alive in these troubled times. Mary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June BlueSpruce: I began writing and reading poetry in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s. My work has been published in two chapbooks, clear cut and I Am Ready to Speak; the anthology My Lover is a Woman: Contemporary Lesbian Love Poems; in What Will Take Root? A Raven Chronicles Open Forum on 9/11 and its aftermath; several journals; and on the Poets Against War and Voices in Wartime websites. I work as a shamanic dreamer and healer, coach and consultant. Deep thanks to herons, trees, oceans, people, spirits and all beings for their gifts of poems; to my partner, Martha Read, and our sons, Jeremy and Mikaelin; my teachers, Deena Metzger and Grandmother White Bear (Valerie Wolf); and the writing and healing communities that offer so many blessings.
Martha Boesing has written more than 40 produced plays, led workshops, and directed plays for theaters throughout the country. She was the Founder and Artistic Director of At the Foot of the Mountain Theater in Minneapolis (the longest running professional women’s theater in the country) from 1974-84. She has won several national awards, including an NEA, a Bush fellowship, and the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American playwrights. In the Sixties, she was a company member of the Firehouse Theater (iconoclastic, experimental theater), and her work remains true to the ideological concerns of that time. She now lives in Oakland, close to her four grandchildren, and creates theater pieces for The Faithful Fools, a street ministry in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
Gaza Bowen, 1944–2005, was an internationally known wearable artist, sculptor, book artist, and printmaker whose work spanned many genres and media. She received an NEA individual fellowship in 1995. Gaza was also a shoe historian, lecturer, educator and generous teacher of the art of custom shoemaking. Perhaps best known for her wearable shoes and shoe sculptures, her work was always remarkable for its fine craftsmanship, dry wit, and social commentary. Gaza was fascinated by the way in which the history of use/abuse becomes indelibly etched into the very fiber of matter and how those traces of incorporated memory can evoke meaning in the viewer. She viewed her art as a continual inquiry into the nonverbal communication between people and objects.
Gail Brenner: My home is Santa Cruz, California, where life under the great redwoods is a daily dance with the spirit. The rich, rugged beauty of the Central Coast inspires reverence…and writing, as do the barefoot memories of a Carolina childhood, and the extraordinary gifts of family and friendships. From such good sources, words take shape and become a small tribute, a celebration, a prayer. I teach English as a Second Language at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and do freelance editing. Previous publications include English for Dummies (Wiley, 2002); Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook (Wiley 2003); and (co-author) ARCO Master the TOEFL (Peterson, 2004, 2005, 2006). “Mystery’s Shoes” is my first poetry submission.
Deborah Edler Brown is a poet, performer, journalist and author. She was born in Brazil and raised in Pittsburgh, where the magic of words captured her at an early age. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies and in various journals, including Kalliope, where she was the 2005 winner of the Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Prize. Brown was also the 1997 National Head-to-Head Haiku Champion and a member of the 1998 Los Angeles National Slam Team. She is the co-author of Grandparents as Parents: A Survival Guide to Raising a Second Family (Guilford Press, 1995). Brown consults and teaches privately in Los Angeles.
Louisa Calio is a poet, artist, writer, performer and traveler, current Director of the Poet’s Piazza for Hofstra University, published internationally, and winner of several awards: 1978 Connecticut Commission of the Arts Award, 1987 Women in Leadership Award, and the Barbara Jones and Talisan prizes for Poetry (Trinidad). She was recently honored, along with Alice Walker and other feminists who changed America (1963-76) at Barnard/Columbia University. Cofounder and Director of City Spirit Artists, a nonprofit arts organization in Connecticut, she has written, taught and dedicated her life to the arts for more than 30 years. In 2007, she organized and exhibited in “A Passion for Africa,” a photography and poetry exhibit that opened in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where she lives part of the year. See www.italianamericanwriters.com/Calio.html for more.
Debbie Carlson is a writer, gardener, teacher and global nomad. Although she currently resides in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, she has been privileged to live in Japan, England, Germany and Scotland. She is the busy mother of two energetic toddlers, Gabriel and Daniel, and joyful partner of David Blatner.
Shawna Carol is an internationally recognized sound healer, author, singer, composer, and recording artist. She is author of The Way of Song: A Guide to Freeing the Voice and Sounding the Spirit, published by St. Martin’s/Griffin. She is the top-selling artist on Ladyslipper Records with her CD Goddess Chant. Ms. Carol has been a featured guest on Wisdom Television, and served as the core music faculty at the Omega Institute for five years. She has taught SpiritSong at the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury England, The New York Open Center, the Women of Wisdom Festival in Seattle WA, Julia Camer’s Creativity Camp, and Paul Winter’s Living Music Village. Her song"Sacred Stones" can be seen performed at the Stanton Drew stone circles in Somerset, England at
Libby Chaney is an artist. She was born and raised in Ohio and has lived in California since 1966. She has a B.F.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and has made, studied and taught art most of her life. Wanting to bring more figurative images into her abstractions, she has recently shifted her focus toward writing and storytelling. Libby lives in Mill Valley with her husband and has two grown children, two cats, an elderly dog and a view of Mount Tamalpais.
Miriam Chaya, writer, actor, director, producer, educator and documentary filmmaker, has written solo performance pieces about her spiritual journey and performed them throughout the country. Odyssey of a Jewish Woman, her critically acclaimed one-woman show, was seen on PBS. She is a graduate of the Jewish Spiritual Leadership Training Program at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley. She wrote, directed and produced Timbrels and Torahs: A Celebration of Wisdom, a documentary film showing the importance of creating ceremony to honor the wisdom of our elders. She is the author of two feminist children’s books, The Forest Princess and Return of the Forest Princess. Visit www.timbrelsandtorahs.com or write to her directly at email@example.com.
Kimberly Childs lives in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with her husband Carl and 2 shi-tzus. Kimberly has received many gifts through visits to The Laurels Nursing Home with her dogs, bringing pet therapy to the residents. She has meditated for the past 35 years and finds this practice a constant rudder against the vicissitudes of life. In 1996 she developed neurological problems which make blinking and speech difficult. These have become her greatest teachers.
Catherine Holmes Clark: At 62,I ‘m just getting started writing the words that want to be passed on. Earlier I raised two daughters, painted faces on the mall in Washington, D.C., sewed mythic clothing and soft sculpture, taught witches to fly, helped create a tiny church, and built online communities. A subversive dedication to play—improvisation, moving from deep sources, opening the imagination—tells me to “keep dancing” when I’m stuck, and makes me relish feeling my mind stretched. I’m a cyborg—feel like a limb is missing without my computer—and a hermit, due to chemical sensitivities. I wear not only purple, but also a garden hat covered with aluminum foil to shield me from UV. Gaian feminist Buddhism keeps me sane. www.loudzen.com/catherine.
I’m V. Diane Corbin, age 75, married at 19, divorced at 42. Parent of four girls, one boy, grandparent of three granddaughters, two grandsons. After five universities in three states, a B.A. in English. Back in California, one child with me, I worked in Social Work, attended Fresno State University and received an M.S.W. Retired now, I’m active in areas of civil liberties and rights, peace, social justice, women’s rights, the environment, racism, etc. I grew up Southern Baptist in Oklahoma but now I’m Unitarian Universalist, Humanist, Wiccan, Pagan. It works for me. I’ve wanted to write ever since I figured out words, a first poem at age six, then off and on as my life unfolded and I’m not done yet.
Johanna Courtleigh is a licensed therapist, writer, singer and performance artist living near Portland, Oregon. She is the founder of One Planet One Peace. Her goal is to help people come to deeper self-love, awareness, personal empowerment, ease and integrity, both internally and in their relationships with others. To awaken that which longs to know itself out beyond the confines of the small perceptions of the mind, and in so doing, help change and heal the world. She can be contacted via www.johannacourtleigh.com.
Beth Coyote: Published in synapse, When It Rains From The Ground Up, Snow Monkey, Chrysanthemum, Gumball Press, Mindfulness Bell, Mute Note Earthward, and Tattoos on Cedar. Two chapbooks, Reclaiming Mercy and I Am Ready to Speak.
Kathleen Crocetti is a local costume designer, performance and installation artist who moved to Santa Cruz in 1996. Counting Lives Lost: Making Tangible an Abstract Measurement of Grief is a community installation that could not have come to fruition without the assistance of more than 150 volunteers. From inception to first installation was three years of labor intensive emotional work. The piece was initially installed at Sierra Azul Nurseries in Watsonville on Memorial Day 2006, and continued to grow in size until its removal in September of 2006. Every weekend you can find Kathleen forming more 4-inch clay figures, making one small memorial for every person who has died in the Iraq War conflict. A new installation date and site have not been set. www.carmelart.org/artists_pages/crocetti/crocetti.html
Melody Culver received the elusive Chameleon Award in 1990 and continues to explore evolutionary traits of adaptability and versatility. In her present persona as freelance copyeditor, she peruses texts and manuscripts with enthusiasm and joy. She loves the sun and ocean climate of Santa Cruz, California and enjoys her grown son, camping, swimming, and spending an unreasonable amount of time reading.
Riva Danzig was born in the Bronx in 1948 to a family of Jewish working class intellectuals who believed Spirit (or God as She was called then) was a concept for the weak and uneducated. Riva’s path to Spirit, though circuitous, has taken her exactly where she’s needed to go in order to get there. More often than not, she finds herself happy to be alive, thrilled with her beautiful children and her dear friends. She has been and remains the grateful recipient and bestower of love, passion, friendship, and caring, and is embarking on the next phase her life with curiosity and abandon.
Pavita Decorah “Lily and the Deer” is almost a true story. Once I lived in the village of Blue Wing and spent hours walking in those enchanting and mysterious woods. Now I am seventy and back home in the Colorado Rockies, as the director of a retreat center. Here in the San Luis Valley, our struggle is to save Mother Earth from oil, gas and water exploitation. My partner lives in Taos. Just driving to see her, past ancient and sacred Mt. Blanca, is a beautiful experience.
Ahraiyanna Della Tone was born into an Italian family in 1955 in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. She acquired a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell in 1982. She is mother to an angel named Timothy, a Reiki Master, an animal communicator, a dancer, a Lover, a heart resonance healer, a White Buffalo Woman and a teacher of One Heart Medicine. To Ahraiyanna, all life is the Beloved and all relationships are sacred. It is her most passionate desire to live this truth moment to moment. She resides in Santa Cruz between the redwoods and the Pacific Ocean, deep in the heart of the Great Spirit.
Coleen Douglas lives in Santa Cruz, California on the northern tip of Monterey Bay. Being outside in nature has always provided her a strong connection to the Oneness, Divine Spirit. Coleen is a singer and percussionist, from blues and soul to calypso and samba. She ministers in music with the Inner Light gospel choir, where the message honors all paths that lead to Truth (www.innerlightministries.com). Coleen lives with her partner Ellen, opening to life’s changes now that the kids are grown. Life is full. Love is here.
Michelle Doyka, M.F.A. “Prayer in the Andes” is one of a series of line drawings about life in ancient times. I have often wanted to go back and live in the past, and these drawings allow me to do so in my imagination. Most of my art reflects antiquity through symbol or image and expresses the desire to connect with ancestral roots, mine or anyone else’s, for that matter. It is said that until you know your past, you will not know where you are headed. That made it easy for me to then understand: we come from Art and are heading into Art.
Lora Dziemiela is committed to living big, laughing often and stirring things up a bit. Connecting to the world through poetry, song, dance, long walks and even longer conversations, she finds her inspiration in the small moments. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Joyce Eakins, M.F.A., who has exhibited internationally, teaches art at the university level. At present she is immersed in painting Hands and Hearts for healing. She creates personalized meditation icons with unique symbols for each individual. The process begins with a “laying on of hands” which opens the door to universal healing energies. Line, form, space, color, light, and texture begin to flow like a river onto the paper. The healing imagery emerges and the healing process begins. Start your healing process by reaching your hands and hearts out to Joyce Eakins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pamela Eakins lives atop a high cliff at the westernmost edge of the North American continent. In this place of monumental erosion, she communes with ocean waves enfolding one into the next, magical dark-eyed silkies, and iridescent ravens. Through the years, Pamela has donned the cloaks of professor, author, counselor, and peacemaker. She has given birth to babies, attended the dying, lived and loved in several cultures, and spoken multiple tongues. Her poetry grows like stalks of wild yarrow out of the untamed earth that spawned her; it is the mystery of the cosmos that sets her heart aflame. You can reach Pamela Eakins at www.pamelaeakins.net or by writing to Pacific Center, Box 3191, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.
Lisa Espenmiller lives in Oakland, CA with her husband where they nurture a magical California Native and Mediterranean garden. Her poems appear in numerous literary journals including DMQ Review, Black Bear Review, Home Planet News and Women’s Studies Quarterly. Lisa works as a technical writer and editor.
Maria Fama is the author of three books of poetry. Her work appears in numerous publications and anthologies. In 1998, she was a finalist in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. Fama has read her poetry in many cities across the country, read one of her stories on National Public Radio, cofounded a video production company, and recorded her poetry for CD compilations of music and poetry. Maria did her undergraduate and graduate work in history at Temple University. Fama’s poems were awarded the 2002 Aniello Lauri Award in Creative Writing and the 2006 Amy Tritsch Needle Award for Poetry. She lives and works in Philadelphia.
Acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter Ferron began writing songs at age 10, bought her first guitar in her late teens, and sang her way from coffee shops and benefits to paid gigs. Her first LPs were picked up by Ladyslipper Music, and in the next decade she produced Testimony, Shadows On a Dime, Phantom Center, Resting with the Question, Driver, and Still Riot. Ferron has played the largest venues in the U.S., including Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Opera House. She is one of Canada’s foremost folk musicians and one of the most influential writers and performers of women’s music. Her recent release, Turning Into Beautiful, was recorded in an old farmhouse on an island in British Columbia.
Marigold Fine has been a video producer/documentary filmmaker since 1984 and is the creator of Full Circle Productions. Her award-winning documentaries have been seen internationally. Marigold is a SPECTRA Artist in the Schools through the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County. She teaches video camera and editing, and video performance art. She is a freelance writer, editor, and scriptwriter, with a screenplay in progress. She received a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Illinois, and was an advertising copywriter in a previous incarnation in Chicago. Marigold enjoys integrating her love of storytelling and her creative, intuitive wild woman. Her passion is positive, life-affirming media, and empowering images of women. www.fullcirclevideo.com
Carolyn Brigit Flynn is a writer and teacher dedicated to language as a pathway to soul and spirit. Her poems and essays have appeared in literary journals and anthologies nationwide, including Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, The Pedestal Magazine, Porter Gulch Review, Black Buzzard Review, Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure, Inside Grief: Death, Loss and Bereavement, and New to North America: Writings by U.S. Immigrants, Their Children and Grandchildren. She is the editor of The New Story: Creation Myths for Our Times, and teaches writing groups and spiritual retreats called Writing to Feed the Soul. She lives near the ocean in Santa Cruz, California. www.carolynbrigitflynn.com
Sara Friedlander has been working in the Santa Cruz community as a psychotherapist, a writer, and an artist for thirty years. Her photography, however, goes back to her first trip abroad at the age of nineteen. Whether printing single unaltered photographs or combining and extending multiple images with oil paint, her intention is always to honor her subject, be it an individual, a culture, or the natural terrain.
Carol Gaab: Crone in training, lover of nature and the animals that inhabit it, architect of visionary spaces, Jungian therapist, cancer survivor, artist, wife, grandmother/auntie to a beautiful little girl, avid gardener, lifelong student, adventurer in life, world traveler, discovering my poetic voice, wanting to be part of helping to change the world, dedicated to navigating the deep caverns and waters within me, nourished by being in real relationship with others, curious, grateful.
Cooper Gallegos: The silence and beauty and chance for reflection at Pema Osel Ling had a profound effect on me and my writing, and in many ways marked my spiritual awakening. I have been writing since I was a small child watching my father struggle with the Great American Novel. I have an affinity for the marginal among us and see the miracle in small flowered weeds that make their way up through cracked concrete. I have previously published in Writing for Our Lives, Looking Back, I’m Home, and What It’s Like To Love a Woman, and have read my work on Central Coast Public Radio. I am currently writing a novel set in the 1970s in the Mojave Desert. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Bakol Ruben Gellar has lived in Canada, Israel, Senegal and the United States. Although she was born in Canada, Israel is her true home. She has worked as a high school teacher, researcher, radio broadcaster, actress, advertising representative for a newspaper, and practitioner of acupressure. She presently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she is involved with the Jewish Renewal Community and has acted on stage, radio and in film. Recently she has become the co-artistic director of the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington. She looks forward to the day when she will return to Israel.
Pesha Joyce Gertler is Seattle’s Poet Populist Emerita 2005-2006. She teaches Creative Writing at N. Seattle Community College, the University of Washington’s Women’s Center, city parks, living rooms, and numerous venues. She cofounded and coordinates a reading series sponsored by the college. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and has received many awards. Both her poetry and teaching are grounded in her belief in the ongoing need for women’s voices, the healing power of writing, and the magic of sitting in a circle of women and writing together. Further details may be found at www.PeshaJoyceGertler.com.
Cheryl Gettleman, the prolific writer of boxes of unpublished short stories, stacks of poems, two screenplays and one novel, lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and Airedale. Tennis, travel, books, and film balance the life of this busy writer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info on her blog.
Elenna Rubin Goodman is devoted to the creation of healing, peacemaking, and compassionate understanding on our beautiful and beleaguered planet. She works with individuals and communities desiring to navigate our times as sacred journeys. Spirit and the ancestors guide her. The wisdom of our bodies, of the earth, story, dreams, ceremony, silence and Council are among her medicine allies. In her medicine pouch, bearing the tail of the “ancestor squirrel,” is this prayer: Holy One, Hinaynee. Here I am. Please use me well. The continuing generosity of Spirit, the earth, of the ancestors and many of her fellow beings who share these times sustains her. To elder and teacher Deena Metzger, and to her beloved partner Garner, she offers her unending and imperfect gratitude.
Deborah Gorman, M.A., M.F.A., is a visual artist, poet and teacher. At the height of the AIDS pandemic, her extensive experience in group process, mediation and grief and loss counseling facilitated her work with terminally ill patients and their families. As an intern at Coming Home Hospice and Shanti Project in San Francisco, Deborah’s use of art and poetry with her patients was a valuable tool for healing and self expression. A practitioner of Zen Buddhism and a graduate of Being with Dying, Deborah currently facilitates “The Year to Live Project” and teaches art and poetry classes in her studio. For more information about upcoming classes and published works, please go to www.deborahangyogorman.com and click “contact.”
Nancy Grace was born and has lived in the Santa Cruz area her whole life and is the mother of two beautiful grown daughters. Early in childhood, she found music to be a way of expressing her deepest feelings. She has finally realized a lifelong desire to support herself through music, delighting in being a “Music Together” teacher, offering musical encouragement and opportunities for young families, and voice coaching and guitar accompaniment lessons for adults. Nancy’s search for meaning has led to a life devoted to building a deep connection to spirit and following the call of this voice. The song “Godfather” was written out of a healing experience she had in a guided meditation to remember a positive memory of her father.
Marci Graham weaves her love of Continuum Movement, participation and leadership in Love, Intimacy and Sexuality Workshops, her sculpting, painting, and creative writing into a vibrant exploration of her inner landscape that is reflected in her storytelling and poetry in this volume. “Writing turns my life experiences into tools for sharing with others how I navigate from one place in my heart and body to another, which just may awaken more possibilities for love and peace.” Since 2000 she has interned Love, Intimacy and Sexuality Workshops by the Human Awareness Institute (HAI). Starting in 2006, Marci is co-leading Nature Moving Women retreats with her sister, Jade Sherer. Marci is the mother of three loving, grown children and lives in Aptos, California with her partner, Jason Weston.
Vivian Gratton was born in New Mexico and spent her childhood in Dallas. She has worked for oil companies, taught people about earthquakes, written science curriculum, trained tribal leaders in renewable energy, written grant proposals, birth-assisted, led ceremonies, and worked with children with learning differences. She is currently a counseling psychology graduate student. She lives with her partner and two children in Santa Cruz, California.
Bayla Greenspoon is a transplanted Canadian now living contentedly in magical Mt. Shasta, California with her dear partner Raven, dog Wyatt and cat Mylo. Bayla had the good fortune of growing up with a father who had music in his soul and with a family who constantly sang Broadway tunes, good old folk songs and Yiddish melodies. Bayla uses songs and chants to teach children, comfort the dying, celebrate life passages, and to inspire and express all manner of emotions. She believes that everyone can sing, and that one of the greatest travesties of North American culture is the lack of community singing. She would like to help change that…one voice at a time!
Lara Gularte is the editor of Convergence (www.convergence-journal.com), a literary and art online journal. She has served as poetry and art editor for Reed Magazine, San Jose State University’s literary journal. Gularte received the 2005 Anne Lillis Award for Creative Writing and Phelan Awards for several of her poems. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including the Santa Clara Review, The Montserrat Review, Kaleidoscope and Art/Life. Her chapbook, Days Between Dancing, was published by Poet’s Corner Press in 2002. Gulart’s poems have been translated into Portuguese by the University of the Azores. Her work was presented at an international conference on storytelling and cultural identity in June 2005, at Angra do Heroismo on the island of Terceira.
Reem Hammad is an Arab-American woman living in Los Angeles, California. She was born in Syria and grew up in Lebanon before immigrating to California. For the past 25 years, Reem settled in with her husband, worked, raised her two boys, went to college and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from UCLA. Reem is now a ceramic artist who has recently chosen writing as another outlet for self-expression. Her childhood memories and the world she has left behind inspire her creative work.
Lea Haratani lives in Davenport, California with her son Holden, daughter Kamila, husband Colin, twelve chickens and a dog named Miyotis. She works as a communication specialist for the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District. She enjoys traveling to faraway places, trail running, and reading in her spare time.
Lawrie Hartt trained as a musician and served as a university chaplain, congregational minister, consultant and retreat leader for many years prior to being called by dreams and the natural world into the old ways of shamanic practice. She works as a spiritual counselor and healer in Southern California.
Jody Healy, whose mission is to heal hearts through song, has been singing since childhood and writing songs most of her adult life. Currently her songs appear on: Barbara McAfee’s Coming from the Heart (2006), Debbie Nargi-Brown’s Into the Rhythm (2004), The Threshold Choir’s Listening on the Threshold (2004), Cider Jazz Mug Shots (2003), and her own upcoming CD. She is an executive coach for MBAs at Stanford Graduate School of Business and concurrently runs her own business, Creative Change Consulting and Training. As a life coach, she considers herself a “Joy Detective.” She is gifted at recognizing and supporting individuals and groups to awaken to the joy of fulfilling their life purpose. Her interests include human and organizational transformation and world travel. She resides in Santa Cruz, CA.
Linda Holiday lives in Santa Cruz, California. Her life path took her to Japan in 1973, where she trained intensively in Aikido, a modern martial art dedicated to the cultivation of peace. Linda is the head instructor of Aikido of Santa Cruz, a nonprofit school (www.aikidosantacruz.org). She has a sixth-degree black belt and an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University. She is writing a book on the spiritual practice of Aikido, with her teacher in Japan. Linda finds greatest joy in writing, in the practice of Aikido, in the sacred places of Japan, and in Nature, especially the high mountains of California.
Nora Jamieson lives in Canton, Connecticut where she works with women individually and in groups. She has been bringing women together with a spiritual focus for 15 years and currently holds a monthly Women’s Council and Into the Deeps dream groups. She is cofounder of Women’s Temple In Her Name. For more information, see her website www.norajamieson.com.
Jonell Esme Jel’enedra is the author of Stilt Walking at Midnight (Hummingbird Press 2004). “It was in the midst of my own incredibly painful divorce that I encountered the beautiful, but terribly wounded man for whom I wrote “Prayer”. And it was the moment when I began to hold his heart in my prayers that I felt my own broken heart begin to heal.” She lives and works in Santa Cruz, California.
Sarah Jones stumbled upon her passion for literature and writing poetry during high school. It has been a loyal companion throughout her journey. Her notebooks have traveled with her through many adventures, heartbreak, and joyous moments. Currently she resides in San Francisco and teaches a peer leadership class in a middle school.
Alicia Knight grew up all over the world, including many formative years in Southern California, specifically “The OC” before it became pop-culture cool. Now Alicia lives in Virginia, below what she calls the “sweet tea line,” the geographic point at which the waitstaff in restaurants begin asking if you prefer your iced tea “sweet or unsweet.” The psychological sweet tea line demarks the state of the Southern mind: full of angst, still defensive, and too proud for its own good. This is the place of Alicia’s ancestors, who whisper to her of their triumphant joys and painful sorrows. In between writing for politicians who borrow her words to speak their minds, Alicia writes poetry and prose whenever the spirits or events inspire her.
Deep-rooted daughter, sister, wife, stepmom, friend, peacemaker, and elder-in-training, Sarah Knorr works, dreams, and votes for a place at the table for all. Her recent work has appeared in Tough Times Companion, Moondance, Ashé Journal and the Women Artists Calendar. Honored to keep company with the women whose works fill Sisters Singing, she gives thanks to Wild Girl Publishing for dreaming and birthing this book into being.
Caroline Koch (Stronck), a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, has always possessed an affinity for the literary arts. Influenced both by contemporary literature and by an innate sense of Spirit, Caroline, a recent Silicon Valley retiree, now devotes herself to a fledgling career as a fiction writer; she is currently working on a novel and several short stories. She lives with her husband and son in the hills of northern California.
Karen Koshgarian retired as an art educator in 1999, after inspiring teenagers in Silicon Valley for 32 years. She now carries a digital camera 24/7 in hopes of documenting an alien visit from infinity and beyond. In the meantime, she creates artists’ books, botanical illustrations, studies calligraphy, writes a thought-provoking blog, and creates collaborative murals with her life partner of 20 years, a corporate worker bee who keeps her in the lifestyle to which she is accustomed. She passionately loves Pixar animation and dramatic film, collects world music, is a Macintosh addict, and is never without something to read, be it a book, magazine, an interesting pamphlet, or a cereal box. More of her work can be seen at www.twokandoux.com.
By the time Robin Rector Krupp was 2, if her mother didn’t give her paper, she pulled up her dress and drew on her thighs! Robin encourages a wide range of art in herself and others. She is grateful to have presented art to more than 300,000 people from Y’upik Eskimo villages, to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, and to schools in South Africa. Her advanced art degrees are from Pomona College and CSUN. She has taught in five colleges and universities. She writes and illustrates children’s books, including the award-winning Let’s Go Traveling. Her most recently illustrated book, written by E. C. Krupp, is The Rainbow and You. Robin received lifetime achievement awards from the Children’s Literature Council and Women’s International Center.
Cara Lamb has been writing ever since she learned how. She has worked as a street vendor, a hot tub installer, a nude model, a nonfiction book editor, a COBOL programmer, a kitchen designer, a mover, a graphic designer, an event planner, and the Playboy Advisor. She has an M.A. in spirituality. She has written, and tossed, a fantasy novel, and is now at work on a fairy tale. She produces prayer books in Hebrew and unlikely quilts. She studies tarot, Torah, dreams and mythology, mixing them in her mind into a strange and wonderful soup. She never wears shoes unless she has to, and flosses almost every day.
Emily Lardner: I have had many wonderful spiritual teachers, including Quakers, Catholics, Presbyterians and Buddhists, as well as bees, raspberries, goats and children…always inviting a kind of presence and awareness, and an opportunity to participate in the sacred part of life. I teach academic writing and co-direct a center for professional development to improve the quality of undergraduate education. I love walking.
Sonya Lea is a sixth-generation Kentuckian who lives in Seattle, Washington. She has written for The Southern Review, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tricycle, and nthPosition, and has received three screenwriting awards. Sonya is at work on a collection of essays based on her famil’s transformation during her beloved’s cancer treatment, and the link between personal and collective memory.
Lori Levy‘s poems have appeared in Lullwater Review, Portland Review, Rattle, MacGuffin, International Poetry Review, The Comstock Review, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Hawaii Review, and others. Born in New Jersey, she grew up in Vermont, lived in Israel for 16 years, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
Contact her at email@example.com.
Heather Lewis enjoys photography in the natural world.
Rose Lobel is a novelist, poet, mother, gardener, and radio programmer. Some of her poems and playlists can be found at www.redplumpoetry.com.
Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is a scholar of Buddhism, Systems Theory and Deep Ecology, known widely for her workshops and trainings for activists. Her many books include Coming Back to Life, Widening Circles, and World as Lover, World as Self. For information about her work and calendar, see www.joannamacy.net.
Jean Mahoney is a writer who roams and wanders in and out of the fog in Santa Cruz, California. She has been writing for forever, at least since 1958 when she published two editions of the “Mahoney Family News” in her own handwriting. Since then she has enjoyed writing poetry, essays and short stories and hopes to continue this practice until at least 2048.
Maía: I live and write in Southern California. My first word, “bird” (imitating a blackbird) and, 12 years later, first sonnet, “To A Sunflower” (imitating Shakespeare), previewed a lifelong devotion to both natural history and nature mysticism. Later, I experimented with essays and short fiction about homeless people, eccentrics and artists. For ten years, I read my work in planetariums, sea life museums, libraries and cafes. I’ve published in more than 60 journals and anthologies, including Intimate Nature (Ballantine) and Shared Sightings (John Daniel & Co.) I am gathering a collection of poems written in response to the death, in 2005, of my partner and muse, Charlie, called The Spirit-Life of Birds—also finishing a near-future novella called See You in My Dreams.
Susan Manchester lived on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California from 1992-1997. While managing Scorpion Ranch and working as a guide and naturalist, she was in daily interaction with the elements. Susan assembled a body of poetry and photographs. “On This Day” was Susan’s first attempt to recall in glimpses her life on the island.
Christine McQuiston, M.L.A., has been writing poetry since she was eight years old. She is in love with the limitless music of creation. Poetry is her path for finding the essence of the sacred in all and everyday things. Some of her work appears in the We’Moon Datebook, 2005 and 2007 editions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a sample of her self-published poetry reader, 3-Fold Quarterly. She lives and works in San Francisco, California.
Carmen Rita Menéndez Núñez was born, raised, and educated in Puerto Rico. She also holds an M.A. in Spanish Literature from UCLA. Ms. Menéndez spent twenty years teaching the literature and language of her soul, subsequently moving into the field of leadership in the public affairs arena. The transition into addressing issues of social justice in education happened in a wink. For the next thirteen years, as part of a school reform initiative in Los Angeles, Ms. Menéndez was instrumental in creating trusting environments across cultural differences. The great gift of these various endeavors, and their common denominator, was the discovery of her untold stories, and the inevitability of telling them. Ms. Menéndez is also a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher in Los Angeles.
Holly Metz lives and photographs in the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. www.hollymetz.com
Deena Metzger is a poet, novelist, essayist, healer-medicine woman. Her most recent books include From Grief into Vision: A Council; Doors: A Fiction for Jazz Horn; Entering the Ghost River: Meditations on the Theory and Practice of Healing; The Other Hand; Writing for your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds; Tree: Essays and Pieces (including The Woman Who Slept with Men to Take the War Out of Them); Intimate Nature: Women’s Bond with Animals (coeditor); A Sabbath Among the Ruins; Looking for the Faces of God and What Deena Thought. She is working on a new novel, La Negra y Blanca. Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems, from Red Hen Press, will be published in 2008. She lives at the end of the road with the wolves Tschee Wa’Yah, Shoonaq’ and Cherokee. www.deenametzger.com
Peggy Tabor Millin lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina. Through her business ClarityWorks, she facilitates women in writing process so they can move past fears, find inspiration, and discover their writing voice. Her book, Mary’s Way, was published in the U.S. and Mexico. She has published short fiction and nonfiction in various magazines and literary journals, including Thema and Native Peoples. Peggy lived a year in the Mediterranean and worked eight years with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. A student of Zen Buddhism, her study of eastern religions, metaphysics, and dreams shapes her worldview and authenticates her voice. She is currently working on a book on writing process and the feminine. Learn more at www.clairtyworksonline.com.
Anne Mize‘s passion for the outdoors led her to the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, the Tongass Forests of Southeast Alaska, and mountains throughout the United States. Her fascination with African cultures and wildlife has drawn her back to Africa for nearly 25 years, where she has worked with women’s cooperatives, village banks, and conservation-related development projects. She adopted her 13-year-old daughter from Ethiopia. With poems and stories published in Scent of Cedars, Cup of Comfort for Sisters, Sun Magazine, and Christian Science Monitor, Anne presently teaches creative writing to middle school children.
San Francisco native Marcia Moonstar began writing poetry as a teenager. She has performed in coffeehouses, bookstores, and at many women’s events throughout the Northwest with her unique style of performance poetry, which has grown over the years to include music, dance and masks. In March of 2001 Marcia released her first CD of poetry with new age and world music, entitled Moon Magic. She self-published three poetry books and designs greeting cards and posters with her poetry. Marcia looks forward to traveling with her poetry performance and Moon Wise astrological workshop. She currently lives in Seattle. For more information about Marcia’s creative endeavors, see her website www.marcymoonstar.com.
Cathy Moore I am a certified nurse midwife and a belly dancer. I attend births at a hospital in Boston, MA. My work “catching babies” has been a deep well of inspiration for my dances. I am a co-owner of The Goddess Dancing belly dance company. We teach and perform belly dance as a tool of personal empowerment for women. Our dances tell stories, enact myths, and depict goddesses and mortal women. “A Midwife’s Invocation” began as a prayer that I wrote for myself while in midwifery school. I later adapted and fleshed it out with the intention of creating a performance art piece comprised of spoken word, music and dance. Learn more about me and my company at www.thegoddessdancing.com.
Maggie Milazzo Muir lives in Santa Cruz, California, nestled between the redwoods and the ocean, with her husband Andrew and daughters Chelsea and Katelyn. Her greatest joy comes from mothering, and she has the good fortune and privilege of supporting other families in her work as a lactation consultant and family counselor. For many years she worked as a doula, providing in-home care to mothers and babies in the precious first weeks and months postpartum. As a girl, her family provided foster care for infants, and she credits her parents for nurturing her deep love of babies.
Kate Munger is a singer and songwriter who lives with her family, sings, works and swims along the shores of Tomales Bay, and has led community singing for more than 30 years. In 2000 Kate founded the first Threshold Choir for women who are called to sing at the bedsides of people who are dying, ill, or in a coma, and with women who are incarcerated. Today there are 45 Threshold Choirs and 800 singers in the U.S. These choirs bring together a magnificent community of huge-hearted, collaborating, creative women who know that true service heals everyone. The choirs have released two CDs: Listening at the Threshold and Tenderly Rain: Songs of Gratitude, Remembrance & Keeping Watch. www.thresholdchoir.org.
Art historian, editor, and Master Gardener, Katherine Metcalf Nelson has taught at Westminster College, Mississippi State College, California College of Arts and Crafts, and the University of California. She has written numerous articles and is the author of Apricot Eggs, an autobiographical fish tale, and Night Fishing, an illustrated dream journal. Katherine has been an editor for Utah Holiday and ARTNews. She now lives in Seattle, Washington. After two decades of teaching and writing about art, a Felco #8 pruner replaced my pen. Clearing a tangle of Himalayan blackberries and morning glory vines in our garden, I saw the light. Since then, the language of plants has led me from artwork to earthwork.
Jane Nyberg is the founder of Wild Girl Publishing. At a writing retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains, Jane reconnected to the wild girl who ran free chasing the wind, the one who climbed into treetops and made trails through empty lots, who boldly spoke her mind and knew she belonged on earth. This wild girl’s joy is to publish books that encourage each of us to find and recognize our wild souls. www.wildgirlpublishing.com.
Maria Papacostaki is the great-granddaughter of a priest, the granddaughter of a gambler, and the daughter of a cook. Therefore, she is endowed with a perfect, if at times slightly imbalanced, mixture of reverence, instability, and sensuality. She is a lover of many things, including: her two children, swimming through the myriad blues of the sea, the moon, food, the musky smell of Greek churches and the candles that light them, and finally, mornings with a book and a good cup of leafy tea. This bio was written by her daughter.
Laura Wine Paster, a writer and licensed clinical social worker, leads writing and healing groups that support the creative, emotional, and spiritual growth of women. A certified group leader in the Amherst Writers & Artists Method, she coauthored The Jewish Women’s Awareness Guide. She is the proud grandmother of Naomi, Eleanor, and Judah. She lives in Walnut Creek, California, with her husband and their two dogs.
Sandra Pastorius: I have practiced astrology for 25 years, offering private consultations, workshops and public talks. For ten years, I authored “The Lunar Monthly Muse by Laughing Giraffe” using the Moon cycle as a teaching wheel. While living in Santa Cruz, California, I worked at Gateways Books and Gifts as Event Coordinator, hosting many visiting authors. I produced several Astrological Forums during this time. In the 1990s I was part of a circle of women known as the “The Holy Hemp Sisters”, which brought together the spirit of circle and the power of intention into our political voice. I now live in Ashland, OR, and offer readings and workshops with an emphasis on “The Zodiac As Medicine." E-mail DancesWithPlanets@opendoor.com.
Sylvia Bortin Patience is a mother, grandmother, and home birth midwife in Santa Cruz County, California. She writes about birth and death, and what comes in between. Many of her poems are inspired by the ocean and mountains near her home. Sylvia has had poems published in Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Porter Gulch Review, La Gazette, and The Anthology of Monterey Bay Poets.
Hannah Peabody, 16, attends San Lorenzo Valley High. One afternoon when she was 14, Hannah sat down with some blue and white paint and began to doodle. Two hours later she knew the piece was finished, but has never figured out who this woman is, or why she appeared that day. Along with being open to her creative process, Hannah enjoys an eclectic group of friends, singing, dancing, playing piano and guitar, soccer, swimming, water polo, and reading books that move her.
Judy Schatan Phillips is honored to be included in Sisters Singing, her second publication with Wild Girl Publishing. Judy, a native Californian, lives and loves in Santa Cruz, California with husband Dan, family and friends. She is engaged in writing, painting, yoga, food, movies, swimming, walking, talking, reading, sleeping, planting and tending her succulents, traveling and being a grandma.
Deborah Phoenix The desert poem “One Precious Moment” came to me when I was trying to cheer up my best friend. We have been going to Joshua Tree together annually for over a decade. Together, yet individually, we’ve shared sacred time in the desert ever since our first vision quest. This poem was inspired by an opening in my heart to bring the desert back to him when he could not return “home” to Joshua Tree one spring. No matter how harsh the desert is, its sacred beauty and teachings help us bring back “medicine” to our people. This poem was my way of bringing that “medicine” back to an Elder of my Clan, my best friend.
Moved by the spectrum of life’s journey, Kathleen Pouls taps deeply into her creative resources. Joining elemental and subtle energies, her works are expressions of her inner and outward experience. “From the primordial essence in the clay of the earth, through the hands of the artist, present feelings and ancient echoes resound, inviting the creative to come forth.” Kathy teaches Creative Process Art & Clay classes. She is also an acupuncturist, working with traditional Chinese medicine, energy and MicroRelease bodywork, reflexology, and injury and trauma resolution. www.kpoulshealingarts.com
Lynx Quicksilver was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. “Music is my life and kindness my religion.” She has always sung, as far back as she can remember. Her father taught her saxophone and how to read music when she was eight. In high school, she took up guitar to accompany her singing, and during her college years at Sarah Lawrence evolved into an accomplished singer-songwriter and performer of classical and folk music. In the last ten years, Lynx has played bass guitar in various bands, and now is a master of styles, from opera to country and Portuguese-American fadista. Lynx presently lives in Huntsville, Alabama. She has just released a CD of original songs, The Wound Heals.
Becky Reardon is a singer and composer whose rounds and songs celebrating the earth and stars, the seasons and the sacred diversity of life are sung by song circles and choirs all over the United States and the British Isles. She lives and works and takes lots of walks near Taos, New Mexico. Her two CDs, Follow the Motion and Songs for a Walk, can be ordered by e-mailing email@example.com.
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman is one of nine children and mother of three. While a student at UC Santa Cruz, she cofounded the children’s literary and art magazine Stone Soup and later worked as a printmaker, art teacher, administrator and community organizer. Her advocacy provided increased funding for arts education for schools both locally and throughout California. An active member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, she practices a monastic way of study, art and daily meditation. She recently made a pilgrimage to the Saccidananda Ashram in southern India and will return to Ireland to explore its literature, spirit, history and art with her daughter, sister and mother. Ziggy and her husband Jesse live in the Santa Cruz California, where she is compiling a book of poems and drawings.
Coleen Rhalena Renee lives as a Healer, musician and writer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She teaches SpiritSong, archetypal transformation and BodyListening. Coleen loves working with clients in transition, those initiating change in their lives and those learning to navigate the challenges of change that life brings. Coleen cofounded BodySong Healing and Arts Center in Seattle, and travels and teaches in her ancestral lands in the Ohio Valley. Coleen is a member of the Sacred Fire Choir and performs internationally. Visit Coleen at www.ColeenRenee.com.
Jane E. Reyes, M.A.: I have been creating art since I could pick up a pencil. My art is about transformation and history and life and color and joy and politics and healing. A rich African-Latina heritage influences my simple palette of red, blue and yellow. I am an artist, educator, gardener, herbalist, mother, grandmother, activist and lover of life. I was born and grew up in Oakland, CA and have lived in Santa Cruz County for the past thirty-six years. I can hear the surf at night while I fall asleep in my beautiful place two blocks from the beach. This little paradise allows me to reflect and contemplate in a certain atmosphere of calmness. Enjoy!
Rhiannon is a vibrant, gifted singer, composer, performance artist and master teacher who has brought her unique and potent blend of jazz, world music, improvisation and storytelling to audiences for more than three decades. In 1976 Rhiannon cofounded the groundbreaking all-female jazz quintet Alive! She is a founding member of innovative a cappella ensembles Voicestra (with Bobby McFerrin) and SoVoSo. She continues to tour with Bobby internationally, in addition to pursuing her own solo and ensemble performances. Teaching has been a strong and continual theme in Rhiannon’s professional life. In clinics and workshops around the world she teaches her own unique body- and spirit-based vocal improvisation process. Rhiannon regards music as a vehicle for healing, community building, transformation, and social change.
Award-winning author and documentary filmmaker Nancy J. Rigg has campaigned tirelessly worldwide to ensure that rescue personnel have the equipment and training needed to handle dangerous swiftwater and flood rescue operations. In addition to articles published in fire-rescue journals, magazines, and newspapers, Rigg has produced and appeared in documentary programs for the Discovery Channel, Public Television, BBC, and other news and information outlets. She facilitates an online memoir writing group for the Story Circle Network; moderates information and support websites for swiftwater rescue personnel, the SwiftH20-News, and for families who have lost loved ones to drowning, the Drowning Support Network; and serves on the Board of Directors of the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue. Visit Nancy at www.nancyrigg.blogspot.com.
In 1968, Diane Roberts Ritch received a B.A. in Art from California State University at Los Angeles with a study emphasis in weaving, surface design and art history. After graduating, she exchanged the loom for the more portable needle and thread. She traveled abroad and studied the world’s embroidered textiles for many years. Diane taught needle arts locally and nationally until the mid-1980s, when she was introduced to handmade Japanese paper. Seduced by its strength and versatility, she began to embroider, dye, sew and weave it. Moving from textiles to paper seemed a natural progression. Not surprisingly, paper invited the traditional treatments of drawing and painting; recent work reflects little of Diane’s textile training and more of her fine art foundations.
Sarojani Rohan: Motherhood has graced me with curiosity and trust in holiness everywhere, and in the magic and miracle of surprise. Teaching for 26 years, I continue to find joyous inspiration in children’s innate communion with delight and wonder. Poetry is my way in to make sense of the Mystery—and my way out of dark corners and closets full of tigers and monsters and other things that go bump in the night. As I grow older I find I am opening and deepening and have a sincere willingness to be dazzled.
Kim Rosen, MFA, is a poet and spoken word artist as well a teacher and facilitator of inner work. Through her practice of learning and speaking poems by heart, she has become a voice for poetry’s power to awaken, inspire and heal. She offers “Poetry Concerts” and workshops in collaboration with many gifted musicians, where the alchemy of music and poetry becomes a force of transformation. Her latest CD, Only Breath, is an interweaving of spoken poems of ancient and modern poets with the music of cellist/composer Jami Sieber. Currently she is writing a book about the art of learning, living and speaking poetry by heart. www.kimrosen.net
Since 1965 Susan Rothenberg has been sculpting earthy women in clay, concrete and bronze. Some of this art is full human scale. Of her work, Susan says, “Women are powerful, joyful, loving and sassy. We are deeply connected to each other, nature and spirit. This is what I want my sculpture to express.” Her elemental art has been exhibited frequently in the United States and Europe. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gaël Roziére: My mother was a poet. I love words. I am a mother and a grandmother. I want to pass my pulse on in words. I write for the pure joy of it. I write to remember, to record, to bear witness. I write to heal, to open passageways, to reground. I’m a CranioSacral therapist. My favorite writing is in the company of others, particularly Carolyn Brigit Flynn’s writing group, where time after time she leads us to the depths of the earth, the stars and the patterns that dance us. For this I am eternally grateful.
For Carolyn Davis Rudolph it began with a journal, then another and another. Though she squirms when introduced as a writer or poet, a small yes dances. Her writings are a spiritual dialogue placed on the altar of life to unearth why she has been sent here, a meditation on the mysterious partnership between the unreasonable suffering and the dazzling beauty a human heart is expected to hold. Carolyn began channeling the performance piece “The Shaman Housewife” while stranded in suburbia with her husband Rudy and two sons. Leopard-skin spandex and a feather boa are involved. She swims with sea creatures and doesn’t enter the water. Any time now she plans to settle down.
By the light of the moon Karen Sallovitz writes poetry and science fiction. She has just completed her first sci-fi novel, The Unwinding. By the light of day she is a Certified Advanced Rolfer and a muckraker in Santa Cruz, California.
Electric cellist and vocalist Jami Sieber reaches inside the soul with compositions that are contemporary, timeless, lush, and powerfully evocative. She has worked in a variety of musical settings that have taken her as far as China, Korea, the Balkans, Italy, France, Russia, and recently to Thailand, where she had the most enriching experience of improvising and recording with the Thai Elephant Orchestra outside of Lampang. She has toured nationally and internationally with her band, Rumors of the Big Wave (1984-1995) with Rhiannon, Ferron, Jennifer Berezan, and as a soloist. Jami has released four independently produced recordings, each a sonic journey exploring the breadth and magic of acoustic and electric cellos, with compositions that will open the heart, defy the mind, and, at times, set the body dancing. www.jamisieber.com
Gretchen Sentry: I am, on occasion, a writer, grandmother, dieter, dollmaker, seer and collagist, but hardly ever in that order. I’m thinking of adding curmudgeon to the list. And possibly mathematician, but that would be a total fabrication.
Linda Serrato: I have been writing for several years. I have a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Chico State University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Being a Latina, a native Californian, a mother, a teacher—and just a woman in general—has informed my writing. The interaction between the inner and the outer landscape has had a great influence on my work, as has my relationship with the Virgin Mary, and of course my ongoing love affair with the moon. I currently teach elementary school in Chico, California.
Sharon Rodgers Simone is a poet, writer and public educator who has devoted her life to healing the wounds of violence and moving toward a more peaceful world. She is the mother of six children and has three grandchildren. Sharon lives in Redlands, California with her husband, Pat, and granddaughter, Jessica Ann.
Marcia Singer, M.S.W., directs the Foundation for Intimacy in the Los Angeles/SFV area. A shamanic artist-healer and hypnotherapist with a Masters in Clinical Social Work from UC Berkeley, this former nightclub entertainer is a consultant on Conscious Aging. Marcia teaches improv to seniors, sings to the terminally ill, and runs wisdom circles for older women. She self-published a national songwriter’s tipsheet for 16 years, wrote three children’s awareness primers (P.L.A.Y.House Press), edited Marshall Rosenberg’s first nonviolent communication booklet, and freelances for SoCal publications. “Lillian” is excerpted from a manuscript entitled Iron Jane: Tales of Awakening A Wild Heart. Marcia anticipates publication of The Tao of Play: Joy, Originality, Vitality and Connection for Life.
Patti Sirens is an ex-New York poet and punk rock musician turned surfer/kayaker. She comes from a family of mermaids, fishwives, net menders, and bootleggers. Her poetry has won prizes in the Artists’ Embassy International Dancing Poetry Contest, National Writer’s Union Poetry Contest, and the Virginia Poetry Society Contest. Her first book of poetry, Antarctica, was published by Burning Bush Publications in 2000. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
Judith Tamar Stone is a psychotherapist, consciousness teacher and writer. Through a process she has created called Body Dialogue, Judith gives voice to the body. In honor of her body and the loss of not having had a child in this lifetime, her prose is often dedicated to the spiritual birth of her creative process and mission. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and life partner, Michael.
Elizabeth Lyttleton Sturz was born in the Texas hill country midway between Lone Man and Lone Woman Mountains, lived in Marshall, Beaumont and Dallas, and attended the University of Texas and George Washington University Graduate School. She wrote about U.S. life and literature for the U.S. State Department and the BBC, lived four years abroad and published four books, one with Herb Sturz, her husband. Her poetry was published in the Saturday Review and elsewhere. She worked four years for an antipoverty agency and is founder and president of Argus Community in the South Bronx, which provides personal development, skills training and jobs for people left behind. Her book about Argus, Widening Circles, was published by Harper & Row.
Ratna Jennifer Sturz: Something about the process of writing draws me into more mythical and symbolic realms of being. Writing widens access to imagination and thoughts, exposing awareness and subtlety that might otherwise remain abstract or hidden. This process of self-unfolding also helps define my life path. I am a longtime practitioner of yoga meditation, an educator and a coach towards mind/body/soul wisdom. I have an M.A. in Counseling from Santa Clara University, California and a B.A. in political science from Washington University, Missouri. Originally from New Jersey, I have lived in the Santa Cruz, CA area since 1975. www.coaching-essence.com
Michelle Sumares: Taking a leap of faith and leaving the certainties of home, career and community, Michelle recently moved from the familiarity of the San Francisco Bay area of California for the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. She is currently working in clay, exploring the aesthetics and social issues associated with the female form. Michelle enjoys painting watercolor portraits, using art as a tool for healing and transformation, and producing graphic design work for individuals and organizations. Capturing nature using digital photography is an enjoyable pastime. The image of the single lotus flower entitled “Contemplation” was taken at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Visit www.michellesumares.com.
Marie Summerwood is an author, wailing woman and composer of women’s sacred chants. Included here are selections from her highly acclaimed first CD, She Walks With Snakes. Step Into The River, her second CD, is recently released. Marie teaches workshops for women to write their own sacred chants. The first CD from this work is Memories From The Lost Pines—A Labyrinth of Chants, from PineCrone Labyrinth Retreat in Texas. Marie is a playwright, author of In Praise of She, The Muse. Her work can also be experienced through workshops on the sacredness of grief and wailing, and through her performance art piece on the spiritual reframing of torch music.
Barbara Thomas’s artistry flows through her life, her paintings, writing, clothing and relationships. She has lived at the edge of a mountain all of her adult life. For the past 17 years she has lived in the heart of a redwood forest. She has a clear awareness of the presence and influence of the nonphysical world interpenetrating the physical world. This close connection with the spirits in nature has influenced her painting, her writing, and every part of her life. Relating with nature in such an intimate way has been a nurturing support and wise teacher as she has moved through her husband’s death and opened to an exploration of life as an individual, no longer as part of a couple.
Mary Camille Thomas is a rare native resident of Santa Cruz, California who considers herself lucky to have returned after living in Davis, Germany, Los Angeles, Holland, and on the road in a motor home. A cradle Catholic, she dips her cup into the sweet water of the spiritual life wherever she finds it, whether in a Benedictine monastery on top of a mountain or in an Ohlone sweat lodge, whether reading St. Theresa of Avila or Rumi. Although Mary is a librarian by profession, she wanted to be a writer almost from the time she learned how to read, and has written two novels.
Elizabeth Tozier grew up in a military family, stationed all over Europe and the U.S. Watsonville, a small agricultural town on the Central Coast of California, was the only permanent home she knew. In 1972, she graduated from Stanford University. For more than twenty years, she has taught English and history in a continuation high school. She and her husband of many years divide their time between Santa Cruz County and northeastern California. Their two children are young adults. Elizabeth’s lifelong dream of being a writer has come to fruition in her women’s writing circle.
When Alysia Tromblay started singing into a hairbrush at the age of three, her parents decided that perhaps she might want to learn to play the piano as well. A graduate of Ithaca College School of Music, Alysia is a gifted healer, teacher, singer and songwriter now living in Washington state. “All of what I do, really, has to do with a quality of prayer, a way of acknowledging my passion for the Sacred and its ability to transform humanity.” “Mother Mercy” was written as a direct response to September 11th. Alysia formed the Bon Future Fund, a nonprofit trust to provide higher education for indigenous children of Tibet living as refugees in India and Nepal. Please visit www.alysiatromblay.com.
Jodine Turner: While living in Glastonbury, England, the ancient Isle of Avalon, Jodine began writing the “Goddess of the Stars and the Sea” trilogy. These visionary novels tell the story of spiritual evolution, culminating in the present-day “Shift of the Ages”. The novels carry keys to embodying the Sacred Feminine and are an initiatory journey into the Mysteries of the Goddess. First in the trilogy is the highly acclaimed The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis, followed by the award-winning The Keys to Remember. Carry on the Flame is soon to be released. Jodine presently lives in Oregon with her husband, Christopher. She is a therapist and a consecrated priestess. www.jodineturner.com
Andrea van de Loo: Sixty-four years old, I am at this turning point in time. The desire to spearhead, together with brother and sister warriors, a new way of life, a new way of being and relating for peace on our planet, is burning in my heart. I have spent decades in an intensive inner exploration, digging up, reclaiming, rejecting, winnowing out the dross from my personality, thinning the veils between my mind and the living truth. I have learned that trust arises as I practice transparent truth, kindly. In that spirit I share myself with you. Wherever I go, I look into your eyes and behold the Beloved.
Leslie Claire Walker hails from the lush bayous, beaches, and concrete jungles of the Texas Gulf Coast. She can often be found indoors with her laptop and an extra large cup of tea—or outside, listening to the voice of the land. Her stories have appeared in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume XVI, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, City Slab, and Fantasy Magazine. She is passionately dedicated to the transformation and healing of all the worlds through the magic of story.
Carmella Weintraub: My work is about color, light and evocative images. I design silk scarves and fashion accessories. The color palette is rich and intense, reflective of years living on the water in Hawaii and California, where color is a way of life. The movement and light-reflective qualities of silk push color to its utmost brilliance and beauty, and the flora and fauna of the natural world are a constant source of design inspiration. Like most artists, I am motivated by the intrinsic pleasure of capturing the light and color of the world. The cultivation of beauty through light and color is a healing force, one which will help transform our world.
Danelia Wild is a writer, singer and healer living in Los Angeles. She worked for many years as a reporter specializing in covering crime and the courts for a variety of newspapers, wire services and radio. She has also worked in literary publishing and as a consultant to nonprofit organizations. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies and magazines and she has published three chapbooks of her work. She was born in Los Angeles to an Irish mother and an American father.
Cathy Williams has been teaching her ART & SOUL Workshops since 1989. She has taught extensively throughout the United States and in Indonesia and Italy. To be honest about it, Cathy is a remarkable teacher. Her workshops open the way for deep creative principles to be felt and experienced. She delights in seeing her students discover and then ride their own unique expressions. Cathy sings, she writes, she paints and she dreams herself into constant joy. To find out more, visit her website, www.artandsoulworks.com.
Elizabeth Williams is an untamed EcoFeminist artist living in Santa Cruz, California, surrounded by talented artists, poets, musicians, political activists, dancers, actors, and lovers of life. Her paintings and found-object sculptures can be described as neo-folk. Her work is narrative, with themes of heroic women, the circus, nature, animals, history, mystery, spirituality, animism, the feminine divine, and ecology. Elizabeth was born in 1955 and raised on a dairy farm in rural Massachusetts during the consciousness-raising Sixties. She graduated from the school of the Worcester Art Museum in 1976, and settled in Santa Cruz after a few years of exploring the U.S. She earned a B.F.A. at UCSC in 1995. She is a full-time artist.
Valerie Wolf/Grandmother White Bear is a shamanic healer, dreamer, teacher and writer in an eclectic Medicine Ways tradition. Her lineage includes Nimipu, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Tupi, and Celtic ancestors. She is committed to restoring the ancient shamanic traditions of working with dreams to learn to be in right relationship to our Earth Mother and all Beings who dwell here. She teaches Medicine Dreaming and is currently writing a book on a shamanic paradigm for dream understanding. She founded Dream Weavers, a nonprofit foundation that explores and supports indigenous dreaming wisdom throughout the world. She also trains shamanic healers, and leads medicine walks and vision quests. Valerie lives in Topanga, CA with her husband Glen; son, Nick; two wolf/dogs Tara and Bear, and cat Fiona.
Diane Wolverton is a woman in love with the lusciousness of life, beauty and the pleasure of inhabiting a human body. Her love informs her work as a teacher and advocate of sustainable business as well as her play as gardener, writer, mystic and celebrant. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality from Wisdom University. She is the author of the book, Return of the Yin: A Tale of Peace and Hope for a Troubled World and the play, Bring Back My Body to Me. www.dianewolverton.com
Sara Wright: I am a naturalist, a writer, ritual artist, dreamer, and teacher who lives in the western mountains of Maine. I teach Women’s Studies, Psychology and English at the University of Maine and Central Maine Community College, and hold an M.A. from Goddard College. I share my small log cabin with an assortment of animal friends both inside and out, and an assortment of animal friends both inside and out, and am presently being initiated by Nature into my crone years.