One of the first things on my to-do list when I started working with Kate was to make a space on the Birds and Muses website to celebrate her writers’ work. I was immediately struck by the generosity of this gesture.
Since then, I’ve had Kate’s eyes on my own work for our first mentorship conference (easily the best perk I’ve ever gotten with a job!) and experienced the intensity and dedication of her mentorship firsthand. It felt like I’d transplanted the seedling of my short story from a crack in the sidewalk into a lush greenhouse: my writing was getting the perfect amount of nourishment, water, light, and gentle pruning that it needed to blossom.
Watching Kate’s interactions with her clients and with each other is just as nourishing. Some of the writers who attended the Mendocino retreat with Kate made a point of rendezvousing the next month at AWP in Portland; half of the writers in Mendocino were already having a reunion, following up on their retreat with Kate in Point Reyes the year before. Some of Kate’s writers have formed groups to check in regularly on writing progress; this year’s Bookgardan writers are finding ways to connect through the year in person even though only two of them live in the same state. To witness writers working together, building community, and lifting each other up—it’s an antidote to whatever envy or anxiety the outside world can breed. And it comes from an atmosphere of deep, unequivocal generosity. Kate wholeheartedly supports her writers, doing everything she can to amplify their words and share them with the world.
I’m happy to be a part of building the newest section of the Birds and Muses platform: a space to showcase Kate’s clients, past and present, and to offer a window into their work. Please peruse, investigate, and explore. Follow these writers on social media, check out their websites, wonder at their projects. And if you’re a Birds and Muses writer, help us to celebrate your accomplishments—we’d love to hear about your victories of all kinds: finished drafts, publications, residencies, and awards.
Wesley Olivia Cohen, Assistant Muse at Birds & Muses, is now enjoying the waning days of six months of residency in London. Her short story “The Boy Band” can be found at Joyland Magazine.