June 18, 2020
A Creative Community Newsletter for Information and Inspiration
Each week we will send news you need to know about the COVID crisis that will help put us on the road to recovery. We will also give you a glimpse of how our creative colleagues from across the state are using their talent to bring us all closer together!

This week, we're focusing on the written word through poetry, and how reading can widen our understanding of the world and other perspectives, even if you're stuck inside!
Are you a gig worker, freelancer, or business owner with questions about unemployment in Washington State? We’ve got answers! Join Washington Filmworks, Whipsmart, Artist Trust and the Washington Employment Security Department for a webinar from 11am-12pm next Thursday, June 25 about unemployment insurance where we answer the most common questions we’ve heard from our statewide creative community. RSVP here ! If you want to “prep” for the webinar, check out our  Unemployment 101  info sheet that gives you all the basic information you need to know.
If you’ve been self-employed or run a small business since before the pandemic and your income has been adversely affected as a result of COVID-19, you still have until June 30 to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. Nearly $130 billion still has yet to be used from the fund! Read out our. new one-sheet for more information.

Has your creative work been impacted by COVID-19? Take the sector-wide Statewide Cultural & Creative Economic Recovery Survey, a joint effort from statewide arts orgs that measures the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts and culture sector. Deadline: June 19.

Next Wednesday's virtual Mixer event from Seattle's Office of Film + Music focuses on g etting back to work safely— discussing proposed reopening strategies and guidelines that are in development across events, film, and music industrie s. Don’t forget to register for the event!

Here 's some great COVID-19 resources for writers writing right now.

June 19, 1895 is the day slavery ended in the United States. Read about the Freedom Day and the historical legacy of Juneteenth here and here .

Still putting off doing your 2019 taxes? Check out this New York Times article that helps gig workers filing their taxes write off home office expenses and more!

Here's the official IRS info document on Business Use of Your Home
for 2019 returns. 

BIPOC folks in the filmmaking game: drop by for Northwest Film Forum's BIPOC Filmmaker Happy Hour Online every week on Tuesdays at 4.

A Challenge to Agency Leaders600 Black industry professionals led by former AAF Seattle Diversity Director, Nathan Young, penned an open letter to agency leaders on June 9th. How will leaders of creative agencies in Seattle respond?
Tacoma Poet Rick Barot on Writing Your Way Through a Pandemic
Poet Rick Barot. Photo Credit: Rachel McCauley
Rick Barot was born in the Philippines and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now a resident of Tacoma, Barot teaches at Pacific Lutheran University. Along with writing three award-winning poetry books , he’s also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Artist Trust.

We asked Barot a few questions about what he’s been reading, his new poetry book, The Galleons , finding creative inspiration amid the isolation of lockdown, and writing from the heart and body.
What poetry have you been reading during lockdown?

In the early spring, when the lockdown was most intense, I read poetry that looked into the properties of grief or interior malaise: Mark Bibbins's 13th Balloon , Victoria Chang's Obit , Carl Phillips's Pale Colors in a Tall Field , and John Gallaher's Brand New Spacesuit

Most recently, however, as I’ve focused on questions of racial equity in our country and in our literature, I’ve shifted to reading prose writers of color who are engaged with questions of American identity and belonging: Marie Mutsuki Mockett's American Harvest , Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings , and Sejal Shah’s This Is One Way to Dance .
Your new book of poetry, The Galleons , was released during the COVID-19 pandemic. How did this impact the release of the book?

I had a pretty robust book tour scheduled, with about a dozen readings all over the country, but just about all of them had to be cancelled. A few ended up happening online, and I was grateful for this. I was especially happy for the reading that I did for Seattle Arts and Lectures in May, which was the official launch for the book. 
Has lockdown influenced your writing process? If so, in what ways?

I’m usually a slow, patient writer. Also, most of the time I’m busy as a teacher, editor, and administrator and don’t have much time to write. Being on lockdown, though, gave me expanses of time and thought that speeded up my usual process. 

In March, as a way of processing the anxiety and uncertainty that I—that everyone—was feeling, I started writing a sequence of short prose poems, using the Notes app on my phone. I ended up writing 30 poems in the sequence, and it’s titled During the Pandemic . The pandemic, then, ended up being a sort of weird gift for me as a writer. On the one hand, I was in a dark place, but on the other—my creativity was on fire. 

What advice would you give to writers who are finding it difficult to write during lockdown?

The first piece of advice is stop thinking of your writing as writing. That is, don’t burden yourself with being artful or meaningful in your writing—just write. I keep a journal, and I write in it daily, and the low-stakes writing that I do in the journal is a profound source of grounding for me. 

The second piece of advice is to write with an awareness of your own body and what it’s going through during the distressing times we’re in. Most of the time we live in our consciousness—in the things we think and desire and worry about. But especially now, with the physical vulnerability that many of us are feeling—because of the pandemic, and because of the socially traumatic moment we are in as we reckon with racial injustice in our country—it's good to be reminded of what it means to live in our bodies, and to write with awareness from the sensations and textures of corporeal being. 
Poetry That Inspires Change
Maya Angelou and Eve Ewing on Video and Radio
Maya Angelou recites And Still I Rise
Maya Angelou recites A Brave and Startling Truth
Words and Poetry from Black Voices
#BlackOutReadingList is inviting everyone to buy two books by Black authors to demonstrate power in the publishing industry. Here is a list of Black-owned bookstores to buy from. 

Creatives Around the World Rise to the Cause
Illustration: @chemaskandal
Pandemic Poetry : Oregon Poets Offer Reflection In Time Of Crisis
Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus

You Clap for Me Now : a Coronavirus poem on racism and immigration in Britain

Poems of Protest, Resistance, and Empowerment —a compilation from The Poetry Foundation 

Washington Filmworks (WF) is the private 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that manages the Motion Picture Competitiveness program as well as a diversity of resources for the creative industries in Washington State. WF's mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington State’s film industry.
 At Whipsmart, we are unapologetic advocates for creative people and businesses. We give creative professionals the tools they need to succeed, by meeting them where they’re at—offering intentionally curated mentorships, job opportunities, and business resources scaled to every stage of their career.