Di Drake -- Diana “Di” Drake is a multifaceted artist using the pallet of life. That pallet is unfinished, the right colors having to be created along the way. The art being created with life’s pallet is her dedication to helping others achieve their full potential.
Through her own life experiences, Di became a fierce advocate for equal rights. She witnessed some of the cruelty of life when a close same-sex couple of 20 years was denied the simple right to be together during a devastating hospital stay that separated the couple finally by death alone and apart.
She worked hard to prosper against the odds of societal norms and found her way up the corporate ladder in the states of Oregon and California through careers in Business and Information Science Technology, Corporate Management, Human Resource consulting, and Real Estate Development spanning over 30 years. While a consultant, Di assisted corporate executives in dealing with sexual harassment issues.
Then, came another life-changing event. She and her partner of decades split up propelling her to travel to the Sacramento Delta where Di’s passion to help others re-surfaced and she become a CA certified educator. She is currently establishing a tutoring business designed primarily to coach and teach teens in various subject areas where they need help in order to graduate from high school.
It is from some of these experiences that she came to compose the poem presented under the “Inspirational Writing” tab called “Path Less Traveled” as her expression of a love she fantasized while walking along a river bank in Oregon.
Sheri Wright -- Why I write...
Sheri Wright is a person who believes in acceptance of all people, their humanness, and their unique differences. She writes from the heart in an effort to open the minds of those around her to accept their own vulnerabilities and also to help them understand their sameness with others. In her own words...
""What are we underneath our masks and social conditioning", Sheri L. Wright wants to know. How do we re-work threads that have frayed away from who we really are, while simultaneously, push away hands that would have them come undone, or threaded into conformity? Starting with very strong coffee, Ms. Wright explores what makes us who we are, what we choose to be through observations and her own personal experiences.Often, the characters she writes about are quirky, allowing readers to accept that their own quirks and flaws are often what sets us apart from each other, that to have a smudge in the polish can be a sign of having lived and not merely set in place to look pretty. After all, we are here and alive right now. What else do we have, but the opportunity to explore ourselves, each other and the world face-to-face. "
Ms. Wright is the author of four books of poetry, Sharks Never Sleep, Nuns Shooting Guns, Contains Scenes Of Indigenous Nudity and The Courtship of Reason. Her work has been published in numerous journals across the country including Clark Street Review, Out of Line, Earth's Daughters and Crucible. She was a guest on Accents WRFL, 88.1 in Lexington, KY and has read extensively throughout the region, taught workshops for The Kentucky State Poetry Society and Women in Transition. Her latest venture is being the host of From The Inkwell, "a radio show dedicated to all things literary", on CHRadio, 1650am in Louisville, KY, live-streaming on www.chradio.net.
Eileen Flanigan --
Having lived in a variety of northern and southern states, Eileen has been exposed to many cultures within the north and south. Her life experiences began while still in high school having to suddenly become an adult. The harsh life blows did not end there. Each experience made her stronger and more determined. And, as most writers, most of those experiences of loss, pain, and devastation were kept inside. Only her family kept her moving forward. Recently, faced once again with a life-changing event, she began to allow people to see inside some of those moments. She calls them her "dark" moments. We call them LIFE. For all her challenges and losses -material, emotional, physical- Eileen still remains a very strong and vibrant woman. She and her domestic partner have shared many years together and live happily in California. While her family lives on the east coast, Eileen stays on the creative edge vicariously through her partner, a musician. Her grandchildren are significant in her life and help her to see the things she must do, and the legacy to pass on. It is from the depths of her experiences and memories that she brings forth her poetry, reluctantly, but willing now to share.
Betsy Petersen --
Bette Petersen is passionate about the process of creating! As a fierce advocate for change and a champion of self-discovery, she believes in fostering a global community, which encourages and applauds the empowered individual AND collective voice! An established intuitive visual artist, she uses her art pieces as the impetus for her written and spoken word. In 1997, she founded "Retrospect Artline" a women- based community art collective, which focused on reclaiming, recycling and re-purposing items for artistic use. The shared objective of this group focused on creating functional, affordable and accessible original artworks. Bette is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, breast cancer, oppression and some other "stuff". Bette now wears these lessons proudly and walks with abundance and grace through her life. Affected deeply by the recent youth suicides and continued bullying issues experienced by youth, she has ramped up her commitment to making the world more open and tolerant for her grandchild. Her moniker of the late seventies "Betsy For freedom" continues to personify her passion for equality, diversity and inclusion. We thank Bette and her ever present cup of coffee, for being here!
Tracey Rush -- Where I come from and what makes me tick...
Trey. A simple enough name. Yet so complicated in its arrival. Born in the Bronx, and raised in the suburbs, Trey was smack in the middle of the racial upheaval of the sixties. Birthed among the common times of child abuse and hidden family secrets, Trey evolved and began writing intensely in high school. Trying to feel the way through college that was too costly, working summers and finally admitting defeat, Trey arrived in a work world of commercial upheaval and faced constant corporate bankruptcy moving further and further south for employment.
There was no support. Home was wherever a roof, or job was found. Stability was unknown until late in the 1980's. A job finally materialized that would not go bankrupt. Finally, as a Police Officer, Trey found a purpose. Through the years as an officer there were many challenging experiences, but none compared to Hurricane Katrina who did not allow Trey to escape the impact of overwhelming devastation. Learning throughout life to just shove things down and keep moving forward, Trey finally found the courage to unburden the heart of all its horror and secrets by writing. Any of the books written by Trey will spill the secrets kept over decades. exposing physical, emotional and sexual abuse in "respectable" families as they carried on pretenses during societal encounters that were known to be occurring by local law enforcement agencies and the "good ol' boy" ways that inter-weaved racism, political corruption and drug trafficking that was a way of life -- most of which extended benefits up to the US Congress. These are the things you will find within these pages.
Trey's books were written by a driven writer/author who exposes the men encountered in his life-time in their ugliest form. The improprieties of their sex drives that were perpetuated on children, young teens, naive college freshmen, and women seeking corporate professions. The secret games and perpetuated lies, the wife-swapping, and drug-trafficking of political persons with community "respect," and the corruption of those in positions of "trust." Welcome to Trey's world. This is real. This is raw. This is true. It is happening every day around you. It is hoped you can appreciate that names had to be changed to protect those already threatened, making the truth subjugated to fiction category. Nonetheless, you will recognize the emotion to be true, real, and in your face.
[Note: In October of 2011, Trey was diagnosed with Large Diffuse B Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which delayed completion of the above writing. Treatments went continuously through the end of 2012 ending in a Stem Cell Transplant. Raw emotions from life experiences will likely bring on another book, but for now, Trey is expected to complete the work on the one reported above. If you are interested in seeing another book dealing with the cancer experiences, please contact us so we may encourage it to be written.]