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Five Questions with Shanna Melton

1.) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I've been creative writing since I learned how to write. My mother kept so many of my stories and pictures from a very young age and has them to this day. I had my first poem published when I was thirteen-years-old. My grandmother found a poem that I forgot at her home and entered it to be published in "Treasured Poems of America" and I won. That was the first time that I realized my poetry could exist outside of my journal and among other talented artists. Since then I have shared, published, and created platforms for my peers to create and share poetry.

2.) What do you love most about the writing process?

I love the liberation of the writing process. My ideas tap on my brain until I release them so it is truly self care to write it down and clear my mind for more. I also love the physical act of writing, a smooth pen, my arm sliding across the paper, turning the pages. I love finishing a full journal and beginning a new one. The research and navigating my thoughts into a clear idea is also quite gratifying. 3.) What do you love most about teaching writing?

It is always rewarding when people who feel nervous about writing spend time in my workshops and elevate to a space where they are loud and proud about what they have created. The courage they didn't know existed within rises up and they speak about things they once feared to write about, never mind speaking it out loud. When I work with people and something they write is published or wins an award it feels like a win for our entire community. Adults often put their passions to the side and take jobs that they may not even like because we have to be responsible. In the meantime our love of writing and creating gets put aside for decades. It often happens that people realign with their passion for writing in my workshops and being a witness, facilitator, ally in that journey is one of the greatest gifts. Also, art of all mediums can be very isolating. My gatherings create community for people who love writing and really allows us space to inspire one another. 4.) What are you reading right now?

"When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times" by Pema Chödrön 5.) What's your favorite writing quote? “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

**Shanna will be teaching Poetry: Writing From the Inside Out with us on Wednesday mornings this fall.

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