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In January of this year, a million years ago, I was formally introduced to our community at the State of Arts and Culture in Wake County event.

You can read more about that experience and my Piedmont Laureate Remarks in my first blog post:

2020: we begin with love for writers and writing

Here is a snippet of what I said then:

I applied for the Piedmont Laureate position because I’m in love. In addition to my spouse, I’m in love with North Carolina and our growing region of the world. I’m in love with the people who reside here, including a multitude of creatives, artists, and writers of all genres and mediums. 

I’m in love with writing plays and audio fiction, and what’s more I love encouraging others to experience the soulful benefits, the exquisite struggle, the gentle bliss, the crucible of putting words on a page…and then sharing them…and then hearing them performed by others. Playwriting has transformed my world internally and externally. Experiencing a powerful script — whether it’s powerfully funny, gut-wrenching, or thought-provoking — is one of the greatest joys of my life.

My intention for the year was to amplify love and joy for local playwrights and the writing process. 2020 has proven to be a year of unexpected, formidable and heart-breaking challenges, and yet, I have witnessed pockets of love and joy that sustain me, our creative community, and our work as writers.

One such pocket of love and joy is The Declaration of Love Project: an audio anthology written, performed, and created by over 30 Triangle-area artists. It is a project that I have undertaken as Piedmont Laureate to live out my intention for this year. I hope it does so.

In July, my co-producer Aurelia Belfield and I commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”

Recorded remotely by local actors, the finished scenes will be lightly sound designed, and released to the public in podcast form later this year.

If you would like to hear more about Declaration of Love, please join us for the livestream from the Clayton Center on Tuesday, September 29 at 7pm.

Here’s the event link

Aurelia and I will be talking generally about DOL, how it came together and why we think projects like this one are valuable. And, we’ll be showing 6 of the 11 pieces in various forms (mostly unfinished because we don’t want to give it all away before the release!).

Here’s the event link (again!)

If you are available, we’d love for you to tune in on Tuesday and give the project an audience boost.

Featured actors for this event: Aurelia Belfield, Lakeisha Coffey, Thaddaeus Edwards, Sai Graham, Trevor Johnson, Kyma Lassiter, Yolanda Rabun, AhDream Smith.

Featured playwrights for this event: Aurelia Belfield, Lakeisha Coffey, Thaddaeus Edwards, Michael Ivory, Jr, Tamara Kissane, Robin Carmon Marshall.

I’ll be sharing more details about the Declaration of Love in the coming weeks. For now, please share the link, mark your calendars, and get your popcorn ready. (Actually, a quieter snack would be better. 😄)

Sending you love and good writing vibes,