Dear writers,

Because this year’s Summer Leadership Institute took place online, we have chosen to publish a virtual edition of the anthology, in addition to the hard-copy version. The contents will be shared in order, with a new piece published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This anthology was written in an unprecedented time. COVID-19 has disrupted our world, and in our microcosm, it shifted what was once an in-person, concentrated summer gathering into a virtual, expanded community. When it took place, quarantine had been in place for approximately three months, and many of us were still deprived of in-person interactions with our peers, our friends, and our families. The pandemic also foregrounded vast racial and economic disparities in the United States, coinciding with violence and with subsequent protests that amplified divisions among people of different perspectives.

Accordingly, there was an underlying question that entered the workshop with us: Could we support the same connected community online that would have developed in person during previous summers…and do it despite a public atmosphere of shock, anger, and distrust? 

Many of us, participants and facilitators alike, entered the workshop yearning for connection. To enter a space of strangers and leave that space as a community is no small feat, and yet, this connection bloomed. It is no coincidence that the kindness and connection we found in our community came from intentional vulnerability, purposeful gentleness, and respectful challenges composed around writing.

This anthology is the work of a group of people seeking connection and finding new meaning in each other. Together, we wrote; we shared; we grieved; we healed; we were forever changed by one another.

Looking ahead, we hope that this experience will resonate with others who found that, in times of great darkness, great light is also within reach. For as much as they may at times divide us, words also connect us.

With hope for a more connected world,

TBAWP’s 2020 SLI Community

Table of Contents

Creation by Mieke Valk

All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter by Julia Genkinger

Behind the Scenes: A Week in the Life by Emily Kent

Sacred by Lisa Inserra

Heartbeat #3 by Julia Genkinger 

The Realities of Teaching & When Quarantine Hits by Jessica O’Brien

Vigils by Katharine Werthwine   

Intrusion by Karen Holbrook  

Altered Spaces by Courtney Nickel 

Portraits by Anonymous   

First Love by Julia Genkinger

Marcos Who… by Mari Aviles 

Koi no yokan by Gabriela Salazar   

Whispering Pines by Julia Genkinger   

Moonlit Memory by Gabriela Salazar   

Tell Me About the Flowers by Lisa Inserra

Blowing Rocks Preserve by Katharine Werthwine   

Innocence by Karen Holbrook  

Midsummer Day Dreams by Mieke Valk  

The Color of Pink  by Katharine Werthwine  

Keep Thinking About It by Lisa Inserra

Peonies in Brown Paper by Mieke Valk   

Dualisms by Gabriela Salazar  

COVID Teaches Me by Mike Sherry   

Real Success by Mari Aviles 

The Second Year It Creeps by Samantha Beatty   

Thrownness by Lisa Inserra   

The Ant or the Ibis by Mike Sherry   

Measurements. by Mari Aviles   

What I Think Now by Lisa Inserra

Papa Bill’s Pancakes by Emily Kent   

Shell by Mari Aviles  

The Mask by Mike Sherry   

Where I’m From by Emily Kent   

Transitions by Courtney Nickel

Decades of Carrot Cake by Patricia Tuzzolino   

Where I’m From by Gabriela Salazar   

Layers of Love by Karen Holbrook

Where I’m From by Patricia Tuzzolino   

Heritage Kitsch by Mieke Valk

I Am From by Katherine Werthwine   

Adam Thomas Beatty by Samantha Beatty   

Quantum Entanglement by Mieke Valk   

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