Harm reduction image; drug users deserve dignity and care.


Wayward Writers Write/Share Zoom Sessions

A group of us are meeting Thursday evenings and writing together. It’s a balm to the soul, a relief in a time of hopelessness. See more about these sessions here! Join us if you are, or ever have been, part of the Literary Kitchen. (Or if you are a friend and can respect the agreements.)

Prompt: Duty calls – eight minutes

Harm reduction image; drug users deserve dignity and care.I have a job that makes people literally want to kill me. They imagine me as a drug dealing enabler. I work in harm reduction. I’m the ED (executive director) of a harm reduction agency in a rural town in northern california. 

What I am coming to know is that every job feels somewhat like war. Is it just every job I’m drawn to? Because honestly, I would rather be in a job bound by duty than one motivated only by money. By survival. 

But the fucked up thing about capitalism is that each job literally is motivated by survival. 

I lived the first number of years outside the system, doing what I “wanted” to make money. Writing and teaching and coaching. But even that became a yoke, even my highest duty became an albatross. 

Capitalism is rotten to the core. 

I like to think that this field, harm reduction, is abolitionist; in even the most idealized world I can imagine, harm reduction still has its place. I am working in a field that is of benefit. And I love the battle parts of it. The activism parts. 

If only money were not the motivation, and time were not the grandmaster. 

I don’t think people were designed to specialize. To do one thing for hours at a time. I think we were designed to hunt and peck, to hunt and gather. 

In the most idealized world I can think of, no one has to work eight hours a day or more in order to survive. And for most, eight hours worth of pay is not ample. So we glamorize “busy.” We make friends with the side-hustle. 

I have been in school for five years, working toward my MSW. I am at the precipice. For the first time in my life, coaching and writing, of course, included, I am about to maybe not need a side-hustle. 

And I’m scared. Duty is my identity. Busy is my ballast. I joke that being an overachiever is my trauma response, only it’s not a joke. We are bound to this hustle, for survival. 


See more about Wayward Writer Write/Share Zoom session sessions here

Person writing.

Wayward Writers Write/Share Zoom Sessions

Wayward Writers is an Ariel Gore related community which writers may join after taking a class with Ariel or in the Literary Kitchen with one of Ariel’s associates. Writers who have close relationships with a Wayward Writer and agree to abide with the spirit of our endeavor are also welcome to join in at the Wayward Writers Write/Share Zoom Sessions. 

Person writing. Wayward Writers Zoom Sessions is a fledgling, community-engaged effort. Started in November of 2020, with permission from Ariel Gore to associate the Wayward Writers name with this group, we acknowledge that we must take care to grow this group with awareness. Wayward Writers Write/Share Zoom Sessions are currently facilitated by Lasara Firefox Allen and Elisa Sinnett on Thursday nights, 5PM Pacific/8PM EST. Other co-hosts/facilitators are encouraged to volunteer. The Sunday Meetup is currently on pause, and volunteers are needed if we are also going to restart the Sunday gatherings.

This is not a writer’s workshop nor a class. We meet as a drop-in quick write supportive write-and-share community. We ask that you write to the prompt, or to what is moving to you in this moment.

  • Confidential space.
    • We meet to get our writing going and for fun and support. 
    • While this can be therapeutic, this is not therapy
    • Unless you have asked for permission first, do not share other people’s work/identities/story
  • Please be kind. 
    • Speak out of your own experience
    • No bigotry
    • No hate speech
  • Have good boundaries – respect good boundaries
    • Because these are short quick writes ranging from 5 – 10 minutes, criticism is generally discouraged unless the author asks for it specifically. 
    • Words of encouragement or saying “what works” in the piece has been our practice
    • Notice time spent giving feedback/words of encouragement, and respect time agreements
  • If something happens that violates community standards or agreements, please communicate with the facilitators

To join, please contact Elisa at elisasinnett@gmail.com and get on the mailing list. Prompts will be shared out at the Zoom Sessions and after.


christmas lights

Wayward Writers’ Zoom
December 17, 2020

christmas lightsUnconfirmed

Her death was unconfirmed, like the weather and sports winners – you never know what you’re going to get. Confirmation is the tragedy because before the confirmation you are allowed hope. 

After years of waiting hope is an albatross. A lodestone that is not good at finding true north. A swansong. Hope is a thing with wings, and blood beating in the ears. Blood pouring on the rocks. Into the water. Blood the color of rust and carnations and firetrucks and cheap fingernail polish – spilled on different mediums it takes on their appearance – here glossy, there speckled with dirt and tiny rocks. 

Confirmation gives a modicum of respite. Even bad news is better than no news at the end of the day. Confirmation leads to closure leads to what amounts to moving on. The days are long and the nights are longer and there is no lack of darkness. Hope is a thing with wings. Sooner or later, it flies away.


This season
is a fabrication
but light in the darkness
never was a bad idea
so we come together
a million little lights 
in darkest nights 

the street that links the apartments
I am splitting my time between
(yes, that’s a longer story)
is lined with christmas lights
and trees decked out with ribbons
and i am reminded of
the awe my little brother used to feel 
all the lights shining

we don’t talk anymore


New Year’s Eve Writings, 2020/2021 – Wayward Writers Zoom


Prompt Two: Things You Can’t Fit in a Basket – Seven Minutes

As the Sufi saying goes the only things that are truly yours are the things you don’t lose in a shipwreck. the things I can’t fit in a basket are sunset and dreams and plans – a million wildflowers in super bloom – the hills are washed crimson, almost like blood poured, silky poppies waving against ochre dirt and a brilliantly blue sky – like the firey orange red and the blues can’t quit coexist at that meter – they fight for dominance, almost ugly in the overwhelm 

the things I can’t fit in this basket are hope and fortitude – these things dwell in my heart and body – the sufi saying echoes – the name of god in my heart beat, clanging against my ribcage like a bird aching for release – each beat an echo of things to come – the future is written in sand – the sand of a million tibetan sand paintings – painstaking and temporary – my flesh disperses in the breeze that blows the sand – these moments of transmutation are a gift 


Prompt Three: A Wish or a Hope – Five Minutes

a wish for the coming year
can feel prosaic
but old times passing
sometimes call for 
a bit of that

the passing of time 
things moving on
I am hopeful
that I will find my way

I am hopeful that 
we will gather 
in these liminal spaces
as we are able
and we will grow 
tree like 
reaching for what light there is

we will grow
and change
and the artifice 
fall away

this is the clarion call 
hearkening to a 
new aeon 

or is it the the same old 
where the apocalypse
another layer 
of doubt?

we live
and grow
and reach for what light there is
reaching for the golden sun
reaching for tomorrow 
reaching for the wildness

uncovered in the 
dark night 
brimming with nightmares
we grow

roots deep in the soil
soul stretched
and yawning
we reach for this
reach for this
new day

I stand on hope
I dream on hope
I grow with hope


Wayward Writers is an Ariel Gore-related community.