Michelle Otero, who’s taken the brave leap as the second ArtSpark project so far, is gathering momentum… GREAT! Impressive impact so far: since launching her project (to write a memoir entitled Vessels) in December, her blog subscriber list has increased, she’s received a donated plane ticket to a writer’s conference as well as $100 to continue meeting with her writing coach. One of my favorite things that Michelle has requested from her community is a “devotion” – or a commitment to some action until January 31st while she is committing, full-time, to write Vessels.

So please take a moment to consider donating time (Michelle’s looking for a volunteer(s) to pull together a reading and chocolate party to celebrate the completion of her manuscript); a book from a list of beloved books that Michelle lost in the fire that destroyed her apartment (Bookworks here in ABQ has a registry of titles to choose from); a devotion to do some action until January 31st; and, of course, the gift of good ol’ cash to support her writing time and an upcoming trip to the writer’s conference in Washington D.C.

Michelle’s ways of giving back to contributors are wonderful: one sentence per day from the manuscript-in-progress via email; an invitation to the Chocolate Party and private reading in late February from the completed manuscript (and if you cannot attend the party and private reading, she’ll send electronic links to party/reading photos and youtube video); and financial and in-kind contributors of $50 or more will also receive an 8½ x 11” broadside of one of five prose poems from Vessels.

I’m impressed by Michelle’s passion for her writing and her ability to share, with humor and humility, the ups and downs of her creative process (like making the time to write in the midst of Christmas holidays, travel to see family and needing rest). Doing one’s art isn’t easy; it takes a lot of discipline to make time to write, to compose, to sing, to dance, to put pastel to paper before the day is gone. A daily miracle of sorts.

My “devotion” that I dedicate to Michelle and her writing is to take quiet time everyday to read poetry. A small stack of new and old poetry books sits in the living room waiting for me – a bow to the artists who create beauty with words in myriad ways.

Thank you Michelle.