Kimi Eisele has danced in car parks, in the gravel of a dried-up river and on stage.
Not just a dancer, she explained in her lecture for the Living Writers Series on Sept. 10, she is also a writer and an activist.
“I wanted to figure out how to engage the word and the world,” Eisele said. “I had a burning desire to know what makes us put the pen to the page.”
She shared four guidelines that she believed every writer should know.
The first guideline was to show up. Eisele had an interest in writing while enrolled as a graduate geography and regional development student at the University of Arizona. In 1997, Eisele ‘showed up’ as a writer by being able to integrate her interest in writing with her current field of study, geography, by founding “You Are Here,” a journal dedicated to the creative expressions of space.
“I was knocking on the door of ‘I am a writer,’” Eisele said. “It was a bit painful at first, but eventually I did become a writer.”
As part of her graduate studies in Tucson, Eisele traveled to the towns at the edge of the US-Mexican border every weekend, bringing cameras to children and giving them the opportunity to record their landscape.
Her second guideline was to pay attention. During a three-year stint as a teacher of dance and creative writing in eastern Arizona, Eisele had four of her students dance in a field of Swiss chard. The purpose was to make students think about where their food came from, and their relationship with it. She wanted to inspire the same attentiveness that she tried to attain in herself.
Her third guideline was to tell the truth. In 2006 Eisele codirected “Re:Configurations”, an evening-length performance dedicated to LGBT partnerships and relationships. It featured the participation of 10 members of the community, with same-sex dance duets by professional dancers. Eisele said that the performance was partially a response to Proposition 107, an initiative in Arizona in 2006 to limit the benefits of domestic partners.
Her fourth guideline was to be open to the outcome. A back injury forced Eisele to come to terms with the fact that artistic expressions are not set in stone.
“If you have a constraint, it forces you to be creative in other ways,” Eisele said.
A nine-month stint of immobility inspired her to take up paper art as a new expansion to her artistic repertoire.
Eisele is in the process of writing “The Lightest Object in the Universe,” a novel about relationships in the midst of economic and social collapse.
More information on Kimi Eisele can be found on her website kimieisele.com. The Living Writers series continues on Sept. 18.