Workshop Confession: Joy Harjo Reminded Me to be Me

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to a writing workshop with Joy Harjo. Yes, that Joy Harjo. After nearly collapsing, I, of course, accepted the invitation.

After days of holding my breath, the workshop finally arrived. It was absolutely incredible. Joy was kind and inviting. We wrote and discussed our craft. She asked about our paths—where they were going and where we wanted them to go.

Of all of the advice she gave to me, there’s one statement that sticks out the most. She said, “Write what is you.”

Words can’t explain how desperately I needed to hear her—or anyone—say this to me. For those of you who follow my writing, you know that I write weird fiction. I dabble in magical realism, science fiction, and, occasionally, horror. All of it is tinged with a literary bent, but it’s weird stuff. Sometimes, I feel as if my style isn’t literary enough, but, in truth, I can’t imagine writing anything else at this point in my life.

I left the workshop and drafted an outline for a story that I need to tell. It’ll be finished soon. And it’s a story that is purely me. It’s weird, and it’s me.

Thank you, Joy Harjo. Thank you for reminding me that I am enough.