Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Art Angel: The Barbara Robinette Moss Scholarship in Memoir

A self-portrait by Barbara Robinette Moss

This year, the Taos Conference Writing Community will remember the incomparable Barbara Robinette Moss, who taught beginning memoir at the Conference from 2006-2009.   We lost Barb on October 9, 2009.  Members of her 2009 workshop along with Barb’s husband, Duane, were moved to remember her at the Conference, which Barb deeply loved, by offering a one-time scholarship in her name.  The winner of the scholarship will be reimbursed for the cost of the workshop, up to $650.  (A weekend winner will be reimbursed for 2011 and will receive registration for a weekend workshop in 2012.)

Participants enrolled in a weekend or week-long memoir class are invited to apply for the scholarship by writing a short personal essay inspired by the work of Barbara Robinette Moss.  To do so, please acquaint yourself with her artwork and read excerpts from her memoirs, and then let the art angel loose in your life.

To get you going, here’s a quote from her first-person narrative, “Quest for Beauty” by Barbara Robinette Moss (the full essay can be found at this link):

“You think you’ve got an idea of what you’re doing, but once you start creating, it really has its own life and it does it itself, sort of. My son calls it the art angel. Because I’ll tell him about some piece that I’m going to do and I’ll start working on it, and then when he sees it it’s just like, “Well, Mom that’s not exactly what you said, but this is great.”
The greatest joy is in the making. When you’re at that point where there’s no time and there’s no space and the art angel has flown over and the art is making itself and all you have to do is move around the instruments, that’s when it’s just…like flying. I don’t know another way to explain it. That’s when it’s at its very, very best. I told my husband sometime that it was right up there with sex. He just laughed!”
To read sample chapters from Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter and fierce, go to this website.  This website also showcases some of her artwork.

An article from Present Magazine in Kansas City gives additional insights into Barb’s artwork and her inspirational life story.
 Please submit short personal essays, double-spaced, five pages or less, to Elizabeth Tannen at taosconf@unm.edu by Tuesday, July 5th.  The winner, to be announced at the Conference, will share an excerpt from the “Art Angel” essay at the Thursday, July 14th, Open Mic.  

1 comment:

  1. The first-person narrative you quote from above comes from an interview I conducted with Barbara in 1998 as part of the Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project. I crafted the much shorter (usually 5-page) first-person narratives from interview transcripts of roughly 25-30 pages, and have been publishing them on the Project website when the interviewee/artist has died. The excerpt from the narrative that you posted is one of my favorites.

    You can hear audio clips and see artwork of other artists (and read full first-person narratives of those artists who have passed on) on the Project website, http://www.lucidplanet.com/iwa.

    Jane Robinette
    creator/director of the Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project