It is December, and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is, like most of us, very busy enjoying changing seasons, cold weather, and family visits. Unlike many of us, she is managing her schedule as an award-winning writer and performer, workshop facilitator, Poet Laureate of Kansas, and Graduate faculty for Vermont's own Goddard College. Mirriam-Goldberg founded of the Transformative Language Arts Program at Goddard. Her ability to peacefully “be patient and loving” while waiting for her words to flow in writings has resulted in at least ten books, including her award winning Write Where You Are, and many other literary publications and anthologies. She is also a mother of three, the self-acclaimed owner of a menagerie, an advocate for self-care, and very diligent about her own artistic vitality, and how it affects her physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. This formidable artist voice, is an active TLA Artist and Writer with many awards, honors, and successes to her credit.
Mirriam-Goldberg founded TLA after “years of working with people to develop something that encompassed both the written and spoken word, social change and personal transformation”. She and those supporting her solicited articles from students, alumni, faculty, and other people in the field they were defining. They put out a call for proposals, and then worked with those writers who were able to fill the various needs of the publication. Soon after the new study program came to be, Mirriam-Goldberg co-edited the first TLA book, The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader, with Janet Tallman over a year. There is now a Transformative Language Arts Network which uses this book as one of its main sources.
Caryn has been leading workshops in her community for over 18 years and doing readings and performances for almost 30, so “word of mouth” works well for her at this point. Performing collaboratively with Kelley Hunt and dancer Laura Ramberg, the groundswell of her art is able to fulfill her artistic and financial need. “Laura and I did a performance as part of a panel I was on last week called "Who Dances?" I read a poem she danced to (rising out of the audience as I read).” This is just some of the spontaneous artistic happenings that occur when experiencing Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg the artist, in her performing element.
“I love writing very much, and I find it pretty easy to simply write. Sometimes I take walks, do yoga, watch movies, etc., but generally, I figure if I show up at the page, the writing will come, and if it doesn't, I need to be patient and loving with it, work on something else, and then return. I write anywhere and anytime.”
Work with people. Love what you do. Spread the word. Change the world. “Simply write”. For whatever your artistic talent, this is wonderfully simple advice to hear. Artistically do what is in you to do, “anywhere and anytime”. It will take years. It will take collaboration. It will take education.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a shining example to follow.