Convivir: Las Lunas Locas a Way for Women to Write

By Cynthia Guardado

10556301_10152236812158869_8412873542192959471_nIn March, I began attending a women’s writing circle called Las Lunas Locas in El Sereno, Ca. The women’s circle was started by Karineh Mahdessian and Sophia Rivera, with the intention of creating a safe space for women to write in communion. Each Monday night we meet at 7:30pm and begin our journey for that evening. We sit in a circle inside Here & Now a beautiful space that provides reiki, herbal workshops & community events.

As a poet, a mujer, I noticed that the manuscript I have been developing for 5 years is extremely feminine. This was somewhat of a surprise to me, but I’m not sure why it wasn’t obvious since I am a woman who writes about herself and other woman. Perhaps it was because no one has ever taken the time to acknowledge me and say you are a women, you write from your own perspective, and then follow that with encouraging words that made me feel comfortable writing from my femininity.

In graduate school, I participated in large workshops filled with a variety of races and genders. I rarely had the pleasure of enjoying a workshop that was less than 10 people. And let’s be honest, graduate school workshops are not nurturing environments for writers. They are spaces where people critique your work, many of whom have nothing in common with you. And as a women in a workshop, I encountered many of the same social forms of oppression women endure on a daily basis. Often times there was someone saying, this is too emotional, too wordy, too much about your personal life and many of those times the comments came from a man.

After finishing my MFA in Creative Writing, I was burnt out like many graduate students. Over a two-year period, I barely wrote anything.  So when earlier this year, at an open mic for Palabra(a reading series at Avenue 50) I met Karineh who also hosts that series. She invited me to join the circle. Her group was a new idea to me, only women? really? I realized the reason why Las Lunas Locas was appealing to me was because I had never in my life written with only women.

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