Originally Posted: August 1, 2016
DALLAS (SMU) – When Lakiesha Carr decided she needed a quiet place and the support of her peers to finish her debut collection of short stories, she knew exactly where she wanted to go: The Kimbilio Retreat for African-American fiction writers at SMU-in-Taos, New Mexico.
“As a writer, it’s always great to have workshop opportunities, because you want as many eyes and insights as you can get for the work,” Carr says. “Kimbilio has a great legacy, even though it’s a young organization, of having tremendously talented and intelligent people coming there, and that in itself is a gift.”
Carr says she choose to attend Kimbilio because it’s hosted by SMU, her alma mater; because she’d heard great things about it from fellow writers; and because of the renowned beauty of northern New Mexico.
“A lot of the great retreats and MSA programs are often not just in remote areas, but places where natural life is preserved and honored,” Carr says. “I appreciate how much landscape scenery and the history of a place can inspire my creative process in particular, which I think is fairly common for a lot of writers.”
A former journalist with CNN and the New York Times, Carr says she decided to write a short story collection to tell stories with the kind of nuance that national media can’t muster.
Her debut collection will focus on the experiences of African American women going through change; whether it’s the change of flowering youth, the change of old age, or the change of becoming a mother in a community that often feels its youths are victimized by the police.
“There’s a story touching on the things we see in the news today, particularly with the police violence toward young black people, and the response of a mother who is raising two black boys and what fears, rational and irrational, it causes in her,” Carr says. “Each story is a woman experiencing something critical to her sense of self and sense of identity, and we see how that changes them or if they resist to what that change brings.” READ MORE