My usual author bio begins like this: Tabatha Wood lives in New Zealand and writes weird, dark fiction and uplifting poetry. Despite her obsession with the strange and unusual, she considers herself mostly harmless.
I don’t always write horror. In fact, a lot of what I write isn’t really horror at all, and is just barely skirting the edges of “dark, speculative fiction.” I’ve long since believed that using horror to challenge the black dog in fiction helps keep it from snapping at my heels in real life, but sometimes, when the world really does get too loud and too much, I turn to brighter, nicer and more heartwarming things. The “uplifting poetry” part of my writing self.
In 2019, I ran eight workshops in the Wellington area with my fellow writer friend Stella Peg Carruthers, under the title of Wild Women, Wild Voices. These were part of the Well-Written group which I started in 2017, after moving to New Zealand, to help support and encourage women to write for wellness.
Both intuitive and practical, the Wild Women, Wild Voices workshops addressed a heartfelt need for expression with inspiring activities, creative exercises, and evocative writing prompts. The classes took inspiration from the words of Judy Reeves (who also wrote the original and brilliant Wild Women, Wild Voices book), Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Maya Angelou, Rupi Kaur, Anne Lamott, Sharon Blackie and many, many other wild and empowering women writers. It was a group for writers of every level, and the workshops celebrated the authentic expression and wild voice of every woman.
Those who attended did not even have to identify themselves as a “writer” to be a Wild Woman. The only requirement was a desire to tell their stories honestly and openly, and have a willingness to commit to the group.
One very important part of those workshops was where we asked each attendee to bring in and talk about their “emotional tokens.”
Throughout our lives, we collect and keep physical things that are important to us in ways others might never understand. These items — also known as “emotional tokens” — are often completely worthless in monetary terms, but absolutely priceless to us.
We often find, collect and keep things which we feel connected to on a deeper level. They speak to us in words which we might not even be able to utter but we recognise deep within our souls. A lock of hair from a first-born child. A card from an old friend not seen in many years. A pair of earrings you inherited from your grandma, or feather you found on a walk with a lover. All of these things mean something to you which no one else will ever understand. They are worth more than any amount of money, and they say so much about us. These physical things have powerful, personal memories linked to them. Stories only we can tell.
The Memento Vitae project is an exploration through pictures & prose of how we attach memories to physical items. It is for everyone and anyone to contribute to, irrespective of age or gender. It is a continuation of what we started in the workshops and wish to continue online for everyone to contribute to and enjoy.
I am so very grateful that already so many lovely people have trusted me with their, often extremely personal, stories and have allowed me to share them as part of the project. My hope is that as more people read and share it, it grows and reaches even more readers, spreading stories of love, positivity and happy memories far across the world.
You can read all the current stories at the Memento Vitae page here.
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
Send a maximum of 3 pictures, around 500 words or up to 3 poems focused on a Memento Vitae or Emotional Token which you would like to share via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title MEMENTO VITAE.
Please also include a short bio, headshot (optional) and any links to your own website/blog as appropriate.