Hey sweet loves, we had this brilliant mind today. Have you heard of her, the Ninja Poet? She is pretty lovely take a gander at what she is up too.
Maya Rachel Stein: I am a Ninja poet, writing guide, and creative adventuress. I wrote my first poem, “Papa Tree and the Seasons,” when I was 9 years old. It told the story of the life cycle of leaves, honing specifically on the fate of one little leaf that is the last one clinging before winter comes. I bound this poem into a little book, filled it with color pencil drawings, and proudly offered it up to my parents one evening. I see now that this quite accurately represents the instincts behind most of my work to date – the desire to capture that which is most fleeting, to locate the heart of its beauty and power, sustain its life through language, and share that language with others. I have self-published four collections of writing, most recently “How We Are Not Alone,” a compilation of work from my poetry blog. Since 2005, I have also kept a weekly writing practice, “10-line Tuesday,” and my poems now reach more than 1,200 people each week. I lead “Feral Writing” workshops, both live and online, providing mentor-ship and guiding students through simple, often playful exercises and activities that help strengthen their creative instincts in order to develop a writing practice that sticks. Among my latest escapades are a 30-day tandem bicycle journey through the Midwest, a French crepe stand at a Massachusetts farmers market, a relocation from San Francisco to suburban New Jersey, a business collaboration— Food for the Soul Train — turning a vintage trailer into a mobile creative workshop space with my partner, and most recently, marriage and step-motherhood. My favorite body part is my left hand, as it has gifted me the ability to sink a nearly invincible hook shot and peel a whole apple without a break.
Today, right now what does your next breath wish to say?
Don’t rush what isn’t ready to become.
Ya I am asking it, what turns you on? Makes your heart quicken? Lights you up?
A genuine embrace.
Homemade bread swiped with butter.
Afternoon cocktails on a porch,
watching dusk advancing.
What supports the true expression of your authentic self?
A blank page.
A quiet afternoon.
An open road.
A mountain lake.
both literal and figurative.
The words “What do you feel like doing today?”
What is your mantra, your words to live by?
How so much of the time, all it takes for a fantasy to become reality are two words: “Yes, please.”
What does mystery taste like to you?
Tangerine sorbet. The sweetness punctuated by a hint of tart that wakes up the mouth and makes it pay attention.
What are your tools and teachers? What have you been learning from them personally?
Silence is powerful. When I allow myself to get quiet – and to still the other voices in the room – the landscape is a lot more navigable. And silence is hard to get to because it is a rare moment when there is nothing and no one clamoring for your time and attention, when your brain lies low for a little while. We are constantly anticipating and responding and reacting to the forces that present themselves to us. So part of the work of getting quiet is clearing that path. Parting the sea of cacophony so we can actually distinguish what we’re listening to.
Love is always an incredible teacher. The tests it takes of us. The test we take of it. Ultimately, if I can get to the place where I am doing things from a place of love and feeling loved, I am so much more flexible with what success looks like.
What are you saying YES to these days?
Frivolous projects. I love getting off the train of over-focused productivity. Play is an extremely important element in my work.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
Write good poems (though I’ll even take the bad ones). Love. Play. Do this as many times as I can, and with people who are open to joining me.