John Amen attended the Workshop in poetry and songwriting in 1983 and 1984. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine.
I live in Charlotte, NC. I came to Charlotte in 1984 to attend college. I moved several times, to NYC and New Orleans among other cities, returning to Charlotte in 2001.
I’m a freelance writer, performer, workshop facilitator, and editor. I feel very grateful that much of my vocational work is also what I naturally enjoy doing. There are, of course, tedious aspects to any job or pursuit, but for the most part I’ve landed in a field that is ideal for me.
While I mostly read fiction and poetry, I also make a point of reading history, psychology, and philosophy. I appreciate a wide range of music.
I’m working on new poems as well as a new collaborative project (fiction) with a poet in OK. Daniel Y. Harris (with whom I co-wrote The New Arcana) and I have a new project we’re working on as well. These days I’m particularly appreciating collaborative and multi-genre/mixed media pursuits.
I’m the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy, and the abovementioned The New Arcana. I’ve also released two folk/folk rock CDs: All I’ll Never Need and Ridiculous Empire. I founded and continue to edit The Pedestal Magazine (www.thepedestalmagazine.com).
YWW was a seminal experience for me. It was the first time I felt kinship with like-minded people, and it was also the first time I had ever been in an environment where art—writing, in particular—was taken seriously. I would cite attending YWW, particularly the first year, as one of my most formative experiences, one that had longstanding impact.
Make a commitment for the long haul; plan on writing consistently, every day if possible. If you want to pursue writing as a profession, there will be certain practical steps/options you’ll want to consider, but again, just commit to writing and thinking about writing for the rest of your life. Make it a life-practice.