has a story, says Milwaukee writer and poet Dasha Kelly. Through her
Still Waters Collective, she is helping children, teens and adults not
just tell their tales, but find their voices.
Kelly, who started
out as a fiction writer, was teaching creative writing in classrooms as
an artist-in-residence. As demand for artists in the classroom grew, she
saw the chance to place fellow poets and writers in those positions, and
founded Still Waters as a clearinghouse for effective presenters.
Now, 10 years
later, Still Waters nurtures writers of all ages and genres, but Kelly
says it’s not just about putting words on paper or speaking one’s
personal truth behind a microphone. It’s about that moment of
discovery, when, during an exercise or a performance, a new writer
realizes that what they have to say matters. And, she says,
"proving to them that they’re brilliant."
"I think, ‘This
is another person who, through these goofy exercises, these random
challenges, has turned on a tiny little light and is capable of one more
thing,’" she says. "And sometimes that ‘little thing’ is
that we can do anything."
For those who find
the space to create at Still Waters Collective, the medium is words. The
product is power.
information, visit www.stillwaterscollective.com
Collective has fielded teams in the Brave New Voices spoken word
competition, taught kindergartners to tap their imaginations and
showed executives how to use fairytales to jump-start strategic
Dasha Kelly says some of her best experiences have come while
working with prison inmates in Racine. She says nobody expected
hungry," she says. "I heard one guy say he never knew
that words could be so strong. I’ve literally heard a brilliant
poem about oatmeal."
drops in to visit.
down one month and they had created a tribute to Langston Hughes
and Mark Twain," Kelly says. Writing, she adds,
"automatically creates a community."