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by Hedgebrook Guest

And…you get some passion! And you get some passion! And, you, yes you, you get some passion too!

Passionate: The BAM plus POW I feel in my crooked big toe and heart. Simultaneously. The yes! Yes! Yes! I experience in my tear ducts. Think blue lightening meets shut the front door! Or maybe it’s the one dog-eared thought I cannot get over, get out, get through—get it? If you do get it, I feel thrilled. It took me nearly all of my adult life to understand following my passions is/was/be a good thing.



My mother did a fabulous job of letting me art around as a girl child enamored with books, pastel chalk, climbing and whispering to trees. This kind of passion was outlandishly perfect. However something happened between say ten and twenty-four. All of the sudden pastel chalk and tree whispering (singing Stevie Wonders Isn’t She Lovely in public) was not appropriate in the real world. Consequently as an emerging writer living alongside people who appeared to be doing all the right things, saying all the right things, wearing all the right things, purchasing all the right things and thinging all the right things—my passion(s) began

to be elaborate doodles in my journals or list of things I “wanted” to be/do/say.



Here’s a short creation story: Once upon a time passion and fear finally broke up. Passion decided to keep the house, mind, body and spirit and fear was very messy and left residue and negative notes. It was not all together amiable but at least there were no more life years lost. I woke up and didn’t care about not doing all the right thinging. My passion seeds sprung up wearing mulberry lipstick, tattoos and spiky-spongy petals as courage, and above all else, rows and rows of words for those whose words fidget in their mouths as alphabet acid reflux. Once upon a time I woke up being okay with making people uncomfortable for the sake of giving others comfort. Once upon a time my scales went all Kafka and turned into bedazzled wings.



Back to passion: A whirling semi-circle of go for it geez. When I sit myself down to write I never ask who I am writing for or who might enjoy what I am writing. I first ask myself what don’t I want or feel comfortable writing about? After much procrastination, coffee drinking and on rare occasions reading, my next question is what am I going to be brave enough to write about? How will it impact the reader/audience member? Do I care more about the intent or the impact? Both? And then I write. I never end with questions like is it good for the children? or will they like it? I usually re-read what I’ve written and come to two conclusions: 1. HEY! This is about me. How did that happen and/or/but it can or will help someone else who maybe couldn’t be paid to write about this topic. 2. HEY! This is not even my story or life! Am I able to capture it right? How did that happen and/or/but it can or will help someone else who maybe couldn’t be paid to write about this topic.



I am extremely passionate about writing about:

Women centered issues




Lost Love

Childhood Experiences (mine and others)

MIA Fathers





Persona Poems




The City



Black Boy Experiences



Lastly, I am passionate about living passionately. Everyday is an opportunity for me to get supersonically excited about something and a choose my own adventure about what I want to write. My new favorite three words: I’m on it!



9Ounces_3Anastacia Tolbert’s work is a syrupy rune—wings, words & why not. She is a Cave Canem Fellow, Hedgebrook Alumna, Jack Straw Writer, EDGE Professional Writer, VONA alum, creative writing workshop facilitator, documentarian and playwright. She is writer, co-director, and co-producer of GOTBREAST? Documentary (2007): a documentary about the views of women regarding breast and body image. Lately she’s been obsessed with the body & the stories it holds. Her poetry, fiction & nonfiction have been published widely.

writer • performance artist • workshop facilitator



Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.  

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1 Comment

  • Natasha Ria El-Scari
    7:50 AM - 3 November, 2014

    You are doing it! You have kicked fears butt and each time you do, we get to experience your keen eye for love and life. You are the fearless outside that you have always been inside. I am so proud of you and like a little sister watching her big sister cross the stage at graduation, I know that this too can be me. I love you sis, I am proud with you, and share in your passions! I too, do not read enough but every chance I get, I write, write, write. Love you Staceyboo! Your bff

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