I have some news. You don't need any more news today, especially non-joyous news. This is a moment that will be a reference point in our lives: before COVID-19 and after COVID-19. I hope you and yours are well, home, and safe. This is a moment when we are reaching out to each other. I was given roses at the grocery store today. It is also a moment to reach in. I hope you have moments of quiet and moments of creativity. I hope you are writing (drawing, dancing, singing...) so that this moment in time is as much as possible a time of growth and centering.
Two months ago, I made the decision to retire Green Windows later this year, after twelve years of incredible work. I've taken some time to have conversations and make some decisions, and can now make it public. (I didn’t call everyone I wanted to. I’m sorry if I didn’t get to you!) My timing is bad. I apologize. I like the word “retire.” After years of good work, Green Windows is not going away: it will stop working professionally, but its spirit and work can continue. Partly because they exist with you.
Thank you. Thank you for all your words: all the words you braved onto the page and all the words you found to tell other writers what you loved about their writing. Thank you for the community you created, with your openness, your belief in each other, your trust in your authentic self and your fidelity to creativity. Watching our community grow was a privilege. I have been deeply pleased to give you the space to create it.
We have done 125 monthly workshops! Many, many 4th Sundays, especially in the moments my life was hard, I spent the afternoon wondering how I would have the needed energy for the workshop that night. I wondered why I was doing this. Without fail, the very first lines of the very first piece of writing that was shared impressed, settled, warmed and inspired me so that I recalled, again, Oh, oh yeah, of course, this is why I’m doing this. Thank you.
Two years ago when my finances became more challenging, I had to ask Green Windows to pay more of its share of my livelihood. I had a clear choice: either Green Windows grew into something sustainable that could help me live in the Bay Area, or I’d have to close its doors (its shutters?). I gave it a last go, with a lot of help, especially from Yesenia Sanchez and Catherine Mencher, but also from everyone who donated money and/or showed up to a fundraiser. Thank you. We did this cool impact survey that enabled us to show others what we already knew: that Green Windows grows artists and develops cross-cultural community. And we met our financial goal for 2019! But that goal was just a step toward sustainability and I can’t imagine doing it again, much less ramping it up to be able to meet the next step’s goal.
I love the workshops. I love being in that space. I love the writing and the constant reminder of the brilliance of individuals when they are encouraged to be themselves. But I do not love all the work that has to happen to get folks in that space and to pay for it. Furthermore, I do not believe in the current (just pre-COVID-19) climate that it is possible to do the work - the work in the space plus the work to get in that space - part-time. I’m tired of the hustle. For these reasons, I need to retire Green Windows. But also, frankly, it’s time. Twelve years is a long time to do anything. I'm very, very proud of what we’ve done together for a dozen years. Proud of you. Grateful. And I’m ready for the next thing, though I don’t know what that is. (First order of business: get a full-time job).
And you all don’t need me. Or Green Windows. Your brilliant selves are still your brilliant selves. You can carry the spirit of community and creativity that we built with you, into everything you do. And I want to know how you will do that. Please let me know (in a comment on this post, ideally) what Green Windows and its community have given you that you will always have. Please let me know how you will carry it forward and share it.
Here is my plan, very much subject to fluctuations as we shelter-in-place and have to go through extreme measures to keep each other safe.
[Read May 20th update on the plan here.]
THANK YOU! All your words have always been welcome in Green Windows workshops. Your words remain welcome, and important, even just on the page, or just shared with one person. Please remember that I believe in you and your words. Trust yourselves: The page knows that with that trust, you can’t write wrong.
Thank you. Thank you all. Thank you for sharing.