Last Monday, all of us at Sunset Media Wave got a rare treat—we took a well-deserved break from intensely typing away at blog posts to tune into a relaxing seminar led by poet and University of San Francisco senior Ciara “CC” Swan.
As a self-professed queer woman of color, Ciara helped us all do some introspective soul searching about our bodies, gender, and overall conceptions of ourselves through a multitude of exercises that incorporated everything from physical movement, to word associations and freewriting.
Our group first unwound from the day’s tensions by practicing sets of deep breathing and stretching—all of which was done to the pleasant soundtrack of some mellow background music. After we were finished de-stressing, Ciara asked us to come up with stereotypes and conventions pertaining to body, style, and gender norms of male and female. Following about 10 minutes of free thinking, our group came up with descriptions like “florals, casual, comfortable, trendy, colorful, and minimal” to describe our personal fashion senses and words like “skinny, pale, vulnerable, broad-shoulders, and blonde” to depict the things we associate with our physical forms. Once we came up with enough ideas to cover the entire whiteboard, Ciara encouraged each us to choose three of the words we wrote down and apply them to our own experiences and self images.
As the meeting drew to an end, Ciara had us complete one last task—help her with her senior thesis on “Black Hipsters.” The dreadlocked poet asked us to quietly and continuously jot down our feelings on modern hipsterdom––in the form of haikus, essays, poems, etc––to further inspire her ongoing project. Though most of us columnists were at first nervous to share our finished products aloud, Ciara eased us into the process by sharing an example of her own work; an empowering spoken-word piece about hipsters that contained rhythmic undertones similar to those in rap and hip-hop. After overcoming any fears of sharing our pieces with the group, we were treated to a readings of laugh-inducing haikus, compelling free-verse poems, and more by our fellow Wavers.
Though our thought-provoking seminar with Ciara came to a close soon after, the super-rad poet managed to instill in us a greater sense of self and personal creativity within in the short time she visited. Leaving <i>Sunset Media Wave</i> with a handful of fresh inspiration in tow, CC gained not only prospective ideas for her college thesis, but also a bunch of new fans who can’t wait to see where her immense writing talent takes her next.
Want to check out some of Ciara’s amazing work for yourself? Head over to her blog here.
Words by Campbell Gee, images by Michael Falsseto-Mapp