Michelle's South Valley Writing Studio

Michelle Otero is declaring her commitment to writing a memoir, Vessels, for the remainder of December and into January. Her focus hasn’t come easy, what with sharing a lively house with her novio, Henry, and his two children. Michelle writes in her wonderful blog about sharing an office with Henry (who works at home a lot) with “big Sony headphones over my ears, my laptop set to “Spirit of the Rainforest” on Pandora to tune out Henry’s conference calls.” While she knows that “this arrangement worked much better than not writing,” she still “craved a room of my own.” As artists, don’t we all?

Enter ArtSpark, and specifically a fellow ArtSpark artist Suzanne Sbarge, executive director of 516 ARTS and curator of the first ArtSpark project, STREET ARTS, that was extensively featured in this blogspace. At a meeting of ArtSpark artists and arts organizations last Sunday, Michelle barely let slip her need for a studio space when Suzanne offered the guesthouse on the property where she and her husband, Rufus Cohen, live. And (this is one of the best parts…) they all live in the same part of town, ABQ’s south valley. Neighbors!

So Michelle in now creating her writing nest among the cottonwoods with Joey, the Welsh Corgi, as her doggie companion. Michelle’s memoir, Vessels, is her chosen ArtSpark project and we’re excited about her voyage as she writes, edits, completes a draft, and then goes another round.

Please visit Michelle’s blog where she’s chronicling her creative process, both its ups and downs, with humor and perspective. In her most recent 12/16/10 blog post she’s also requesting specific kinds of support from her community, ranging from replacing books that were lost in the fire that devastated her apartment in summer 2009, to practicing “devotions” like joining Michelle in going without chocolate (!!) for this time, to volunteering to coordinate a “chocolate event,” to donating $$ toward her REAL work (writing) while she takes time off from income-generating projects. Michelle gives so much to her community and now it’s time for the community to give back to Michelle.

ArtSpark will follow Michelle as she moves forward, co-blogging about her progress with Vessels, and continuing to offer coaching and tips around using social media, in-person events and fundraising tools to make her project a success. Buena suerte Michelle!