Author Archives: Johanna

Upcoming Reading for Prose Month

For the last five years, SOMOS, Taos’ literary society, has hosted a Poetry Month every April. This is the first year they are hosting a Prose Month. They chose November to coincide with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which I’m thrilled about it. This is my third year participating in NaNo. For Prose Month, I taught a workshop, Jump Start Your Novel. Next week, I will host a series of Write-Ins, where NaNo participants get together to write. I am most excited about my upcoming reading on the 18th with author, John Biscello, and musician, Ashleigh Grycner. No doubt it will be an interesting evening.

Writing in the Body Workshop Series

While this isn’t related to my podcast, Yoga for Writing,  it deeply relates to my path of bringing yoga to writers. Joining forces with the talented Taos poet, Robin Shawver, we introduced a series of seasonal workshops called Writing in the Body: a yoga and writing workshop. Finding your voice through movement, we use yoga, guided meditation and writing prompts to help writers supersede their purely intellectual mind and speak through their bodies. In our inaugural class last month, students generated some amazing work that was both creative and therapeutic. Also, it was fun. I like how this method compliments my podcast in that it is more related to hatha yoga and the physical aspect of the practice than to jnana yoga, the intellectual part. The combination makes for a great balance. Your body is trying to speak to you, what does it have to say?

Yoga for Writing Podcast

In case you haven’t noticed yet, my new podcast, Yoga for Writing: a podcast for miserable writers, is going strong.  I just completed episode 12 (one part of a 3-part series about Writing and Letting Go) and have no intention of stopping. I’ve really been enjoying applying yoga principles to my writing life and exploring even deeper how yoga can help writers to be less miserable. I’ve been practicing yoga for a couple of decades and teaching for nearly three years now and the lessons of yoga have seamlessly integrated into all aspects of my life without requiring me to think about it much. Just the act of practicing yoga has improved my life. In this podcast, I hope to help others in the same way, even those who may not find themselves on the mat. I secretly hope to encourage people to practice yoga on the mat (not much of a secret anymore, I guess) but I’m glad just getting people to see yoga as more than just a bunch of twisty poses. Already, I’ve heard from people who have told me that the podcasts have helped them. That’s the best. Moving forward, I hope to hear from more people. I know there are plenty of people struggling with their writing out there or wanting to write more but feeling held back for some reason. Don’t give up. Keep up the good work.

Video Poem: 27 Bones

27 Bones from Johanna DeBiase on Vimeo.

Yoga For Writing: a podcast for miserable writers

Because aren’t all writers just a little bit miserable? Otherwise, we have to work hard not to be. I have some ideas of my own why this is, as well as some ideas about how not to be a miserable writer. This is not about the craft of writing or how to do yoga, it’s about how to use the philosophies of yoga to inspire and enliven your writing life or at least to be a little less miserable.

I’ve had this idea for a while to combine my two passions, writing and yoga. I plan to post a weekly episode.

You can find them on iTunes.
Or at the website here.
I’d love to hear what you think (but only if you think it’s awesome) Thanks for checking it out!

The Inaugural Taos Writers Conference

I am teaching an all-day intensive workshop at the inaugural, upcoming Taos Writers Conference. It’s called New Fiction for the Digital Age. With the onset of the internet and social media, narratives have taken on several new forms that break apart previous ideas of what a story should be. I will read examples and demonstrate through generative writing exercises ways in which we can experiment with traditional writing forms for the internet or print.

You can register here by March 1st: www.taoswritersconference.org

Literary Paris: Bookshops, Cafes and Cemeteries

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Before I traveled to Paris, I wondered what it was about the city of lights that so intrigued authors and stimulated so much writing for hundreds of years.  But after visiting, the mystery eluded me no longer. Paris is romantic. And I don’t mean it’s a great place to inspire love affairs and spark old flames, though it is. I mean romantic in the most prevailing way—mystical, exciting, exotic, fantastical. One can lose themselves in the narrow cobble-stoned side streets, the medieval architecture, the multitude of cafes and museums, the sparkling Eiffel Tower and the lights reflected on the flowing Seine. In Paris, there is endless inspiration.

This summer, for our 10th anniversary, my husband and I decided to take our first trip alone in eight years to Paris, the dreamiest place we could think of. Since we are both writers, I wanted to try to experience Paris the way ex-pat writers did back in the day. Of course, there were also a million other things we wanted to do. I realized that the best plan was to spend the morning writing in cafes and give our afternoons over to tourism. Continue Reading →

Short Story in Queen Mob’s Tea House

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A relatively new online literary journal on the scene, Queen Mob’s Tea House is fun, creative and progressive. I feel hipper (is that a word?) just being associated with them. The story they published, Aching Afterthoughts, has been through several incarnations to get to where it is. I think it is my most feminist piece of short fiction yet. It doesn’t hide behind metaphor. It’s a bit more in your face than I am accustomed to. In this way, I feel a bit more vulnerable putting it out there. I’m grateful to Queen Mob’s for supporting this work.

Review of Mama & the Hungry Hole

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“Mama & the Hungry Hole is the kind of New Gothic psychodrama that Shirley Jackson or young Ian McEwan or Patrick McGrath might have written. Its naturalism shades by degrees unpredictably into weirdness, and then back again, making you feel that the narrative territory under your feet is always unstable.”

Did he just compare me to Shirley Jackson? Gush.

Soooo, this review is from last year and I completely missed it, but it’s so lovely and sweet that I had to share it anyway. Now, I must search for other reviews I missed…

Check it out here at Locus Online as Paul di Filippo advocates for the novella.

Review of Mama & the Hungry Hole

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“Elise, Nana and Juanita are all strong women who I felt very connected to… I found the end to be moving and dramatic pulling together the many threads explored.”

Kate over at Proto Libro, a dedicated book reviewer who specializes in debut novels, took the time to add her thoughts about Mama & the Hungry Hole. Check it out here.