Johanna DeBiase is a highly-sensitive empath, life-long creative, Jewitch and ecofeminist. Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, she knew she was destined for a slower pace of life and after 6 years living in Alaska, she moved to New Mexico. Sixteen years later, she remains spellbound by the energy vortex of Taos Mountain. She lives in an off-grid strawbale home with her husband, teenage daughter and collie.
Johanna earned an MFA in Creative Writing in 2005 and is the author of the fabulist novella Mama & the Hungry Hole (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015) and the poetry chapbook, Gestation (Finishing Line Press,2020).
Three decades ago, Johanna discovered yoga and has been practicing devotedly every since. She credits yoga with helping her to heal from early childhood trauma and all the traumas that life graciously throws her way. She became a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200) in 2015 and has been teaching yoga asanas, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) ever since. She also leads yoga nidra, an ancient practice of deep relaxation and loves to create guided narrative journeys to help people reprogram their deep seated psychological imprints (samskaras).
Most recently, she has been trained as a Reiki practitioner and energy worker. Self-sovereignty energy work is an essential part of her spiritual practice and she never skips a day to meditate and channel .
Nature is such an innate part of her life that she often forgets to mention it. Nature. Nature. Nature. She is currently working towards earning her certification as a Nature and Forest Therapy Guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides.
My work explores both feminist and ecological issues resulting from patriarchal western culture. A lifelong feminist, I write about women and their role in society. Women straddle the line between vulnerable and strong. We are smaller, make less money and have less power than men, but we give birth, raise children, and embody beauty and sexual influence. This balance can often be difficult to uphold, and women end up negotiating with reality in various ways, both positive and negative. As a result, my writing is often surreal, focusing on dreams and myths, where we go to work through life’s mysteries. I love the world of metaphor, imagery and the imaginal realm of the psyche.
I also write about nature, though I don’t think this subject is so different from that of women. Nature is the feminine/yin aspect of our world. Women and nature have many parallels in the way they are devalued and revered simultaneously. Organically, humans and the earth are integrated in ways we often forget. As the decimation of our planet continues irresponsibly in full force, I seek to draw out and reveal this interconnectedness in my work.
From my off-grid desert home, I live and write in the liminal space between time and reality. I have one foot in the primitive past and one foot in the present era of internet, social media and cell phones. My work is inspired by my daily walks along the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge National Monument only a short hike from my front door. The world is visible 360 degrees in every direction. I witness the walking rain, distant lightning bolts, rainbows, rising moons and sunsets splayed across the sky. Here the world of nature and art are one and the same, as my life and art are one and the same. In everything, I seek magic, the connection between our societal constructs of reality and the moment-by-moment intervention of the divine in our mundane lives.
Some Publishing Credits
Gestation (Finishing Line Press, 2020)
Queen Mob’s Tea House, May 2016, “Aching Afterthoughts”
Hayden’s Ferry Review- The Dock, February 2016, “One Chance to Breathe“
Atticus Review, January 2016, “When They Came For Us: a video poem“
The Notebook, Winter 2016, “Fever on the Yukon” (creative non-fiction)
Mama & the Hungry Hole (Wordcraft Series of Fabulist Novellas, 2015)
Moving Poems, February 2015, “When They Came For Us: a video poem”
HOWL: UNM Taos, 2015, “A Day in the Life”
Monkeybicycle, October 2014, “Good Deed”
The EEEL, August 2014, “Goody Gum Drop”
Gravel, May 2014, “Anniversary Gift”
Melusine, Spring/Summer 2014 “Song Catcher”
Convergence, Summer 2013, “Petrified Slumber”
Prick of the Spindle, May 2013, "Threadbare: a video poem"
Portland Review, Winter 2013, "Isabel & Stanley"
San Antonio Current, October 2012, “Time Upon Once: Three Tales”
HOWL: UNM Taos, 2012, “Remnants,” “Filtered Light”
Home Tomorrow, Sixth Element Publishing, 2011, “Dead End”
What Forest Fires can Teach us About Right & Wrong, Elephant Journal, May 2022
Why Masks are an Essential Part of My Yoga Practice, Elephant Journal, February 2022
Am I Jew Enough? Questioning my Jewish Identity, Entropy, 2020
The Writing Parent: Finding Balance, Foreword Reviews, March 2016
How and Why to Write Like a Pachyderm, Writer's Digest, December 2015
9 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Writing Residency, Writer's Digest, September 2015
Literary Iceland Lives On in Ancient Sagas and "Poeticians", Foreword Reviews, May 2015
Fabulist Fiction: Literary Meets Weird, Foreword Reviews, March 2015
Only, Not Lonely, Parenting Express,November 2014
Scholarship to Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, CO 2019
Long-listed for the 2018 End of Our World writing contest, aftermath magazine, for the short story “One Chance to Breathe”
Master Writing Workshop with Min Jin Lee, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, June 2018
Writing Resident, The Rensing Center, June 2014
Short-listed for 2014 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award, Snake Nation Press for novella Mama & the Hungry Hole
Scholarship to San Miguel Writers’ Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2014
Runner-up (top 20) for Mainstream/Literary Novel, 2013 SouthWest Writers Annual Contest for novella Mama & the Hungry Hole
Best of Flash Fiction Blog, San Antonio Current, October 2012
Writing Resident and grant recipient, The Vermont Studio Center, April 2012