The following output was transcribed from our audio recording.
Although the transcription is largely accurate, it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
It is posted to aid in understanding the interview but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Mindy Cohn 00:01
Hey everyone, Christian and I once again welcome you back to Monday's with Monday, everybody. Welcome back. Today's episode features a conversation with an author and a philanthropist that also happens to be one of my most wonderful humans that is in my life. Holiday was born and raised in Portland and then move to work and write in New York City. She's a graduate of the famed Iowa's Writers Workshop recipient of a Carl djerassi fiction fellowship. God I hope I pronounced that right. But Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction, and upenn amazon.com short story award, among others, she is lauded. Let me tell you a question. She's taught creative writing at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Iowa and the UCLA writers extension program. She's the author of big cats stories from the Free Press. It's also available as an audio book with a lot of celebrity guest stars. Her fiction has been featured in numerous literary magazine and included in many anthology. Most recently, one of her stories made the current edition of American short fiction and another in the new issue of narrative magazine. And still another about her beloved Haiti can be found in the latest edition of Ploughshares. Holiday has just turned in her newest collection of shorts to her editor, so we are eagerly anticipating its release early next year. In 2009. Holiday and her husband after Rainn Wilson visited Haiti for the first time with the Moana foundation and returned to facilitate a UN Foundation funded program girls united after the earthquake in 2010. That is, she's been committed to serving grassroots educational initiatives in the most remote areas of Haiti ever since. And along with her husband and Dr. Catherine Adams, co founded the nonprofit educational organization lead a Haiti holiday lives with and among her husband rain. Son, Walter, their dogs diamond in Poe rescue pit bulls, pigs Nordion Amy guinea pigs Shogun and lemon donkey chili bean zonkey, Derek and horses Gus knave, Bella and Oberon in Southern California. Quite a menagerie she has graced me with auntie-ship. So I'm very excited to have a conversation with her Christian.
Christian Brescia 02:20
Ladies and gentlemen, is our pleasure to welcome the highly lauded author to the show. Holiday Reinhorn!
Holiday Reinhorn 02:32
Welcome my home.
Mindy Cohn 02:35
I thank you and mine and Christian's.
Holiday Reinhorn 02:40
Three way home. Oh,
Mindy Cohn 02:41
yes. Oh my gosh, I've made a living on a whole new level. I know. Right? Uh, so we start each episode with five random questions out of our fabulous secrets jar. Here we go. do a deep dive. holiday. Oh, what's your guilty pleasure? Oh,
Holiday Reinhorn 03:02
you're gonna ask a fiction writer this? I think it's so so get ready. Like every all your other guests. You know what I mean? Now you're having be shy, retiring, please. My guilty pleasure right now is not reading any contemporary fiction. reading everything has to be at least 100 years old. And I'm reading Beowulf with my son. It's amazing. I read that,
Mindy Cohn 03:28
that it was gnarly. I
yeah. I love it. Yeah. So weird. We were watching the power of myth together like the Joseph Campbell, and getting really doing all this stuff with myth and storytelling right now. And so that's kind of what I'm up to. That's kind of like,
Mindy Cohn 03:49
yeah, that's a really big guilty pleasure.
Holiday Reinhorn 03:51
It's a good gift.
Mindy Cohn 03:53
Yes, you're absolutely correct. Something that none of our guests so far have shared? Right? Um, what's your favorite place to travel to? And why? Hmm,
well, one of the things One of the things about Beowulf is that I'm from Denmark, you know, there's a whole Viking thing and my family, but I really love the northern. Here's the thing with me. I end up going to islands constantly. I end up in an island environment, and I end up on the northwest sector of the island. I do this not on purpose. It just ends up that I gravitate that way maybe like a Starling or something. But Haiti I always dreamed of going to and you know, my life has taken me maybe we'll talk about this. But to the north northwest area of that island, not purposefully amazing. And then like Iceland, yes. ended up in the north. You know, we weren't even supposed to take the camper up there. But we ended up in the northern you know, and like broke the camper and had Didn't get our deposit back. Yes. And then like, New Zealand, we ended up in the north area at this interesting place. So I don't know, I don't know what it is. It's a magnet magnetism or something.
Mindy Cohn 05:13
But tha t is the northwest of a place. And it's usually has a lot of ghost stories in it. It just always ends up this sort of supernatural thing because I've always been obsessed with that. And you spend a lot of time in the northwest of these United States,
as well. I was born in the Pacific. Yes, yeah. So and then my Scottish relatives are from the northwest like, it's, you go so far north and west. It's like next up Reykjavik.
Holiday Reinhorn 05:48
I don't know what it is with that. Okay. Well,
Mindy Cohn 05:50
yeah, it is, though. That's so. Okay. That's kind of fascinating. And bizarre. Yeah. And I love that you identified that. I love it. I want I want to know why, like, I want I want an answer. I so I don't know.
Like, yeah, I wanted to stay tribal. Yeah, yeah. Um, because they're sort of my life is all my family's from all over the place. It's sort of like the Humane Society or like animal control, like every kind of month or whatever in the cage, and we all mixed together and all the Northwest, I don't know what it is.
Mindy Cohn 06:25
Well, I'm grateful. So I don't care how it happened. among your friends. What are you best known for?
Well, usually, I'm supposed to be known for the kind of sarcastic comments, the comments of the friendly dragon. Do you know what I mean? Like, I think I always look like the nice sort of girl from Pacific Northwest and I have this sort of angelic, I'm told, I don't know, that reminds people of their sister, their best friend or something. And then something comes out of my mouth and more like, like that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 07:11
Yeah. I love it too. And I can attest. I can. Okay, certainly, uh, yes, you can Christian. You're exactly the same. Um, if you could have dinner with any three people. Who would they be?
Yeah. Okay. Well, so I would, I would, Isaac Mizrahi. We would be like, miles Lily pass. And no, no, I I absolutely love him. And I'll tell you why.
Mindy Cohn 07:41
I we need to get you guys together. Period. Full stop.
I know, because I heard he likes my zonkey. No, I have.
Mindy Cohn 07:50
No, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Sounds why okay. Carry on?
Yes. Well, so. So one of one of in my many sort of incarnations, I was, you know, an aspiring actor in New York. And I had many, many jobs. And one of them was I worked at a restaurant near the UN. Mm hmm. It was like a seafood restaurant. So during the day, it would be diplomats. And at night, it would be like the Chinese mafia, and the underworld. And it was an incredible experience was like the Star Wars bar at night. And then, you know, tax exempt brunches during the day from Ambassador Egypt, you know, and that was one job. And the other one was working in the fashion on fashion, Av. Yes, bringing lunch sandwiches to all of the studios. So I would go to Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, and I would sudden sell them like $1 cookie. And you know, they mean, and I was broke, broke, broke. And I just wore these big giant lumber boots with my dresses because I had to walk all over with my giant thing. And we were called sandwich hoes. Because we'd show up and they'd be like, what is the sandwich? Oh have today? Mm hmm. And so
Mindy Cohn 09:11
he soups and in the summer and there'd be like just basic sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. Yeah, I can't remember. So
I saw I've sold him many sandwich. Yes. I don't know if Isaac would remember me.
Mindy Cohn 09:22
No idea about it. Okay, hold on that and he said I never forget a face. Meanwhile, you know, we'll get you together for sure. Okay, so Isaac, who you Who?
Who else? Oh, Patti Smith. Oh, Patti Smith, for sure. And you know, I don't want to be stalkery but normally I would, you know, have my hair and braids and I have her sweatshirt and yeah, I'm just I'm so inspired by her as an artist, you know, coming from I mean, obviously but just doing so many different things and cross pollinating and You know, her activism and her voice and her fiction and her poetry and her music. And you know, all of that. When I was in drama school, I did the play that she originally performed in with Sam Shepard that was written for her. Mm hmm. And cowboy male. Yes. And, and so I've just been a long term, long term, you know, admirer of her. And most recently, she said, I love the work that I did. Most between, you know, age 57. And now and yes, that, of course, you know, Irene. Yeah. Yeah. The ability to be constantly, utterly fascinated with the world and be reinventing and looking at new lenses on this
Mindy Cohn 10:47
part of it as a creative like, plug yourself into it. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah. So just like the way she sees when April so far, it would be a good table. Um, I was got to go to Davos. This last, yes, for the pandemic. And I got to sleep in the Arctic base camp with a lot of the different climate scientists. And we all were in, you know, sleeping bags, and our, you know, outfits. And we would go, you know, during the day to things, but we couldn't take a shower in the hotel wouldn't let us inside, because we were, you know, demonstrating essentially, right, right. So all of the sort of politicians and things would come up and hear about climate change. And we would show them the ice cores, you know, that show the co2 and the levels and things. And so we were Miss
Mindy Cohn 11:41
holiday, remind me you are with Greenpeace, or do I have that wrong?
No, we were with this group called Arctic base camp. They're actually a nonprofit. Yeah. And, and they're made up of like a, quote, cohort of climate scientists led by this incredible woman named Gail Whiteman, who I would want at my table. So that's where where I was going with this is that she is this kind of preeminent voice for realistic practical ways of, you know, speaking to power received speaking science to power about, you know, long, long term change, regarding you know, how to save our planet began. And the fact that like, what's happening in the Arctic is not just staying in the Arctic, it's coming, you know, as we're seeing in front of our face. So yeah, that's, that would be a great conversation. I'd like the three of those people.
Mindy Cohn 12:34
I would like to serve you dinner, so I could just stand and listen, I kind of want to be the catering team. I'm struck. So maybe you just answered this last question. I don't know. I'm presuming I shan't um, holiday. What scares you?
I just, you know, for me.
I love Georgia O'Keeffe. Because I love that. She said, I've been terrified every minute of my life, but it never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do. So I can get scared. I get scared a lot. You know, right now I'm scared of the lack of empathy in the world. And I'm scared of that. Because I feel like everything's a spiritual fire drill right now. And like, the maturity of the human race is what we're looking at, you know, and it scares me. It scares me like people that won't wear a mask. Like, just this idea that we only care about our own thing we want to do and our own immediate gratification is like, what is the purpose and the meaning of life? You know? And I think that would be that everyone has a role to play, right? Yeah, bringing civilization forward. And the mask no mask is like Dr. Seuss with the sneetches. Right. The scar and
Mindy Cohn 14:03
such, it's such a, it's so we're asked to do so little, most of us are really not called to really anything too challenging at this juncture, you know, and so that also is a bafflement. To me. It's like, it's not it's not difficult. It shouldn't be a hard thing to do. Yeah. And with you, I mean,
I feel like when that's gone, it starts to deplete very quickly. Do you know what I mean? I know that what's happening? So like, we've got the pandemic, and then all of the horrible, like, racial violence and everything just starts. It's always been there, right? You know, the whole lack of empathy, all of the spiritual issues that human beings have always been there, but when this crisis comes, it just all starts compounding into indoors. So you know, I really feel like Like the the Beekman boys, you know, when they were talking about your neighbor? Yeah,
like, just right now.
We, we absolutely. Can everyone just do that? Yeah, you know what I mean?
Mindy Cohn 15:11
That's also really what resonates with me off of what you're saying is that whole adage that I'm hearing lately, which is you don't have to be black to be outraged. I feel like you don't have to have had covid to wear a mask. You don't have to do like, we all should be feeling collectively, all of this debating things, but things that scare us are things that we don't understand. Even if you have to listen for a while. Listening is an action taken from an actor, right? So like, even if all you do is listen, it's it's for propulsion. So yeah,
yeah. But I do believe I want to be scared. I mean, because I think then you learn that's how you're humbled. Like, why does this scare me? Let me investigate it. And ultimately, it's what drives my creativity. Because it's like, what scares me, I get scared about things, characters get scared about things. And I put them in fiction, there's, there's a real jumping off point in terms of fear and urgency. That began all in all my stories.
Mindy Cohn 16:16
So let me let me ask you, um, I, I love this question. And I hate this question. And I still ask it and start every conversation with it a little bit, which is, what is your creative process as you define it, and if you don't identify with creative process, just the trajectory of or what inspires you to start? Or just, I'd like you to just share with us how you define it. And what's yours, sir?
Sure. So, you know, I,
to me, the writer's life is so well summed up by this one story of Lorrie Moore, where she's like, in order to be a writer, you have to fail at everything else, you know, it's like, yeah, it's just kind of, like, I have done a million things, and none of them really stuck. And I don't think failure like, you know, the failure, just learned, just like, found myself through it, you know, just and tried and kept trying and filled my sort of Mary Poppins grab bag with more and more experience, you know, and I'm so writing in Spain, they called last servitude. And it's just like, a life that you you, it's like a marriage, you know, whatever your writing apparatus is, whatever nourishes it, it changes over time, it might be sexy, during a certain years, it might be hard, it might, you know, changes. It's a long term commitment. And so I feel like that really sustains me. Because over time, I just watch the different things that I get fascinated by change. And, and, but a few things stay the same. And one is that I always have to travel, like, go to a new place. And that might mean down the street. It's not, it's not like I have to go, you know, completely halfway around the world. But being in a new place, being in a new millio just make sentences, going to an art museum in that place, going to botanical garden and seeing the weird things that grow and pretending I lived somewhere else, because it's really being a kid as I was in a military family. My dad was in the army. So we were stationed overseas, we were in like Thailand, and Guam, and during the Vietnam War, and I just, like was on my own a lot, you know, because I didn't really get along in a military school. I can surprise you very much. But, um, so I did spend a lot of time in magic land, you know, and just going, you know, when we lived in Japan, we were on a base that was very far north because they were spying across the strait to Vladivostok, you know, and it was a CIA kind of thing. And they invited us there. Because we just were so white. And so from Oregon, because back then we didn't have Kurt Cobain. Like no one knew where Oregon was.
Yeah, the latte, right.
Mindy Cohn 19:28
Oh, that's funny and like, so fascinating, because it really is talking about snapshot of a different time.
Yeah, we were the dorks of the United States. I mean, really, Pacific Northwest. It was just really lumber and
Mindy Cohn 19:44
you were also on the west side of Japan too, right.
Yeah. Right. We were in Hokkaido. And of course, there were Sapporo Sapporo.
Mindy Cohn 19:54
Yes. I mean, how so crazy yeah. On what is what is currently Inspiring you right now, like when you sit down and write and you are I will have to say, quite disciplined about that. Not rigorously to, to the, to the exclusion of anything else that's going on in your life on in your life currently, but you're very disciplined. So what it currently are you inspired by when you're sitting down and read and writing?
Okay, well, I have to be disciplined because it takes me so long to do that. Because I have to pick the thing, you know, I have so many things that I just have to decide. And I have, and then I have to do it. So I, right now I'm working on a story that involves characters that are from Bali. So they're from LA and Bali. And so I'm, I'm, I'm reading a lot about Balinese spirituality. So I'm reading this book, called sec alumnus gulla, meaning seen and unseen. So the Balinese believe and I'm yet don't want to reduce it here, because I'm reading it in a book. And it's incredible. But they believe that the scene in the unseen world are all happening simultaneously. Yeah, everything has this double meaning and it's great. So I'm working on that right now. My story, the characters that are when someone dies, you're sort of awaiting their spirit to return. Yes. So and their spirit can return in the form of an animal or anything. So it involves this family that's lost the patriarch, and they're sort of waiting for him to return there from Los Angeles.
Mindy Cohn 21:45
yeah, I get tinkly. And it just, I mean, I mean, you really do your your work, I find obviously is so grounding and relatable, but also just, you know, you wonder like, Where did she come up with this? Like, it's so and not magical, but it does just out of the ethers, which is, to me amazing fiction, right? I mean, it takes you somewhere. You want to go somewhere. Um, yeah. So what are you obsessed with right now? Is there anything that I know you have your pulled so many different directions between lead a which we'll talk about your work? Your family, obviously, the animal Menagerie.
It's again, which obsession, but
I'm gonna, I'll just give you the so by bullet points. I am I am finishing my my book. Yes. So it's a collection of short stories. So that's what the obsession is right now. And I have three more to go. So there's this one, and I'm reading about Bali. And the other one is, you know, I used to play the flute.
Mindy Cohn 22:55
I didn't know that.
Yeah. As it as a kid. And I was never that attracted to it, except I, my best friend also played the flute. And we just like to be able to go practice, you know, in the 70s, public school room where they had like, the pottery kiln and people's bikinis, you know, it was the 70s. You know, we just go and kind of practice our flutes, and I never really committed to it. But I have been really into taking it up again, because some characters in the story of mine are dealing with the flute and so doing some research on flutes. And now flutes are insane. They're really interesting. Like, wow, the oldest instrument. The original flute was made out of a human shinbone like the throat of a vulture. The elbow of a of a swans wing. I mean, it's really poetic. It's amazing.
Mindy Cohn 23:54
No kidding. And it's in excites us Now, obviously. Because of yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, yeah. Yeah. Sort of popularized. Currently. Yeah. Yeah. We invigorated the flute, shall we say? Exactly. Yeah.
So that is also inspiring. So yeah, yeah, that's what I'm doing. And finishing the book. And then, you know, it's, it's interesting. What also is obsessing me right now is I study I study kung fu and she Gong. And so I'm been practicing that for a few years with a kung fu master. Yes, his name and give them a little rap. Yes, Steven Lee is his name. Yeah. And he actually studied with the teacher of Bruce Lee, you know, and there's a long you know, kind of trajectory, but his teacher from China, the Grandmaster, Grandmaster, Bing, who lives in central China on Wu Tang mountain, which supposedly is where Tai Chi was invented back in the ancient times. He's been Doing zoom classes.
Mindy Cohn 25:02
Oh, being zoom, being zoom, that's what
I'm doing zoom. And I'm learning things. So everything that you do sort of softly and she Gong has this martial application. So it all seems very fluid and everything like this. And so you we learned this new move this kind of move. I came and I can't show you on zoom, but you kind of crouch and you're going like this. He's like this is called dragon pulls the pearls up from the sea. I was like, Oh, what is that? And he's like, well, you can tear to people's testicles off.
Go bang. I love it.
Yeah, friendly. Dragon friendly dragon.
Mindy Cohn 25:48
Oh my gosh. that's currently obsessed. Yeah, yeah. Obsessed. Okay.
And like, you know, this is you poke your eyes out, you know, right, hold the hair off. Yeah, just Oh, I love it. Fascinating. I
Mindy Cohn 26:01
love it. I'm gonna take a minute to give you guys both a little breather and mentioned something else. We know that you're pretty passionate about but we want to make sure that our listeners know as well. So forgive me. I'm going to read a little bit because it's fairly informative. And I want to make sure I get all this right. So Mindy, and I decided that today's episode of Monday as of Monday is going to be sponsored by the nonprofit leader, Haiti. The leader and idea in Haitian Creole is an organization that uses the arts, psychosocial support and education to rebuild resiliency and empower at risk adolescent girls, and marginalized youth in rural Haiti who have been denied education, founded by Holliday, Rainn Wilson, her husband and Dr. Catherine Adams. mead aims to contribute to creating a world where girls have equal access to quality education, a sense of their own voices, and the eight gifts that give them the empowerment to use and achieve their educational goals support one another and contribute positively to the betterment of their local and global communities. We they also provide counseling, health, education, and skill building that aid their students with transition from adolescence to adulthood. Something very important we all know, lead a trains and employs locals within the Haitian communities. It serves and collaborates with grassroots organizations and schools to meet local needs and foster community support. Operating during this challenging time we ask our listeners to consider like we have to contributing and making a donation to this organization at Lea de haiti.org. That's Li d h i ti dot o RG. And I will put links to that on the show notes of Mondays at Monday comm for this episode. So if you're interested in learning more about lead a there will be information there more information for you to connect with holiday herself, see more for projects, her books and other things. But most importantly, particularly right now make a contribution if you can, it goes a long way.
Oh, thank you so much.
Mindy Cohn 27:48
Yeah, we think you'd be a sponsor?
No, I didn't think underwriter and nonprofit. I love it. It's wonderful.
Mindy Cohn 27:59
So I know that you know a huge part of your personage from a very early age is always about giving back and being a part of the community mean the meaning the world community, but, um, how did you find your way to Haiti and deciding to actually that with all the other organizations out there a piece went missing to form lead a?
Yeah, well, this is always this is interesting, because this, I think it just goes back to like all the women in my family. So all of the women in my family were school teachers, like pioneer school teachers, so like my great aunt, taught literacy in the lumber camps, you know, and my other aunt was worked with the Spanish Basque community in Southern Oregon. Lots of my maternal grandmother started a, the first school for differently abled kids in Portland, Oregon, which was called the Perry center, and so different, you know, kids that were on the spectrum had different learning issues. So there was always this sense of, we're learning as much as we can, you know, and we want to share what we love, which is learning and in my family, it always ended up to be writing or language. My grandmother was a Latin scholar, and she used to ride around on the train and like, recite Marcus Aurelius, you know, in this in Oregon on the train, why no character is I know, um, and so and they would travel, you know, they traveled all around. My aunt Ruth was like, 411, you know, and she went all around the world by herself. And so it was always sort of to find what was it You know, you'd find something you were passionate about and be of service. So I always wanted to, in addition to write, I wanted to teach creative writing, because it was just natural to me. And I loved the workshop environment. And it's just a part of my process to always have creative writing workshops happening at the same time I'm writing. So after my son was born, and my husband got a job on television, and there was a little more resources. There were lots of opportunities to be of service, right, like writing in what do you want to do? And we didn't know. So we, we were invited to go visit some schools in Haiti, with this organization called them. Yeah, yeah. And they make lots of they support local programs that are started in the community, are run by the community and empower the community to make the decisions for within the context. So they fund all sorts of programs all over the world, you know, supporting young, these various educational initiatives. So we visited their schools, and my husband and I were completely, we were like, let's, I want to commit to this. And I ended up speaking to a lot of the, because I spoke French, my high school did not have art. So I was always sort of starving, if you will, for creative writing, or theater, or just anything, right? So, um, so I started a lot of language. So I took Russian and German and French and I, it was a it was a language, magnet, right? And so where I could I spoke French and Creole mixed with the girls. And I was started asking, do you have the arts here? And they were like, No, no, we don't have the arts. But I'd like to be a singer, you know. And she started talking about her dreams and things. Yeah, I noticed everyone getting very excited. And
the teacher came over and said, What did she just say to you? And I said, Well, she said she wanted to be a singer. It's like, well, she's never spoken before. We didn't know she talked, we thought she was you know, mute. And it just something went off in me. When I was like, what could you know, I don't know what it would be yet what I come back and and tell, you know, Listen, my oral histories 30, whatever. Then the earthquake happens, right? Yeah. Many of the places where we were were destroyed. And a number of people were homeless. But yet the school where we visited because it had been built in the community and was run by the community and not by outside aid. Yes. Or the very weak, you know, Ministry of Education, which was compromised, yes, a field hospital and a maternity ward. And it just kept functioning right and kept going to school. So we kept I kept in touch with the people at the school. And they, they sent me this email that they had received about a un funded program that was seeking artists, creative writers, painters, to come to do a two week workshop with women and girls, ages 12 to 30 in a tent camp in Port au Prince, and this was the one that had been supported by Sean Penn. Yeah. And 70,000 people were living on a golf course. And in these in these, you know, tarp tents during the rainy season, and they said, you know, come down, you can sleep in a tent and teach creative writing. And of course, I was like, wow, you mean don't? Aren't there other things probably that are more important than
Mindy Cohn 34:04
Not really. I mean, really?
Right. Right. Not really.
So I'm like, I got on the phone right away. And I'm like, Can I come? You know, are there spots available? They're like, yep.
Mindy Cohn 34:19
So I through this, I met the, who is now our executive director. Her name is Dr. Katherine Adams. And she's a writer herself and also an educational psychologist, a trauma specialist, you know, she has a lot of different degrees in working with populations under stress, you know, and, and how to create pedagogy and support. And so she's worked in a lot of really extreme environments like in Jordan and Lebanon and and she's an incredible human being and so I met her and she led the delegation of us. So it was myself, okay, and a photographer for the New York Times and a painter. And then my husband heard about it. And he came along as an actor. And for two weeks we did we taught in this 20 by 20. tent.
You know, Christianity in one corner, right in an improv
Mindy Cohn 35:21
yeah, yeah, all mixed together, and everyone rotated around. And what we saw over that period was just this incredible transformation. So everyone came in, and they had been, you know, lost everyone or everything. And women just started creating community. So immediately was like, we'd show up and then at other girls would be doing the exercises outside the tent, and then the boys would be like, Hey, what's going on with those girls? I want to do that, too. So then everybody would do it. And it lasted for a year and a half after we left, you know, everyone started to get re homed back in so it sort of came apart. But five years later, we met we had a reunion with these women, and they all had been like this taught us. You know, this reminded us who we were, this showed us, you know, the power that was within us it was that we needed we've wound
Mindy Cohn 36:20
in preaching the arts are necessary. Absolutely. And vital.
Yes, yeah. So you know, cut to me, who taught at many universities and had fellowships and I love teaching at the university. But what I mostly love is watching what the arts do in communities where there is not access to the many resources, right? So over right now, my work in Haiti is working on zoom, with our staff, doing creative writing workshops, and professional development and and then they are keeping in touch with all the girls. Amazing, nice. So we have 14 different village communities, all of the facilitators live in the community itself. And then it's an incredible thing we found out, you know, bit by bit, what it means to really have an educational initiative, because I think it's a lot more complicated than house.
Mindy Cohn 37:22
If you guys know what obstacles you would face, I'm not gonna say you wouldn't have done it. But, you know, sometimes ignorance is bliss when you start something like that. Yeah. I mean, it's just, it's just, and dealing with the government, plural that you've had to deal with and the regimes that you've had to deal with. It's a it's gnarly, I don't know, have a better word than that.
Mindy, it was punk rock is basically
Mindy Cohn 37:48
like, what do I need? Name? Yeah, I think it still is sometimes, depending on how it how the government is going on in the civil unrest down there. It's very volatile.
Yeah, well, what's what's sort of interesting is, you know, when I first came into the country, and I saw the women doing everything, right, they were in the fields and, you know, carrying the water and all of it. It was like, well, empowering these women in the community is going to have this just unforeseen impact. Yeah. And now, you know, we there's, like 60 scholarship students, five women that started out at like age 15, that did not even have a second grade equivalency, or qualified to go to university, like, just, you know, being able to work with all the different obstacles, because it's really the whole picture. And yeah, engaging the family, engaging the community, like all the moms came and said, We want to learn how to read. We want to come to the workshops, and now the daughters teach them mom's incredible, you know, grandmother's And anyway, but if you look at nonprofits, a lot of especially international nonprofit, yeah, they're employing men from within the country. They're not like 100 we have 99% women, you know, it's pretty exciting. And I just learned so much every day from their incredible ideas and resilience, and
Mindy Cohn 39:24
it's pretty amazing. Oh, what tools do you use to keep the writer creative passion, the person that you are with the also the strong woman who has responsibilities and real balancing act? Yeah, a few problems to take care of like that stuff. Yeah, just a few. By the way, one of holidays greatest gifts that she's ever given me. Well, I don't think she gave me I think I took it and she said, Okay. Is my auntie hood of all those animals. Yeah, I don't even think I asked permission. I just said I am no
You, I can't even remember now a time when you were not there. And so you're not going anywhere?
Mindy Cohn 40:08
No, not in their lives. But Mmm hmm. What do you do? What are the tools that you are at your disposal as an artist to keep
your creativity viable? Just I know when I'm the most creative, and that is from 1030 until three. And so if I'm doing anything other than either writing or staring at the wall and looking at cool things to draw or make, then I don't feel good in my skin. And it's not like I, I love what Isaac Misra II was saying about like, it's not about enjoyment, like I do, you know, I'm with my animals, and they give me incredible enjoyment and stuff like that. But my creative time is, it's there's a lot of friction, there's a lot of, I need to kind of be able to feel everything, I don't get to just because I have to be able to go with people that are doing really questionable things. And, you know, I'm trying to make I'm living with problem, you know, yeah, yes. And, you know, one problem is opening up a greater, more complicated problem, and a lot of cases or something, you know, so. So I do that. And in order to maintain that, I also run away from home, once a month, I go, I go somewhere for three or four days, and then I don't have to shower and I don't have to be responsible. And so I have a lot of support. And, you know, my family and, and my son's a little older now and stuff like that. But
Mindy Cohn 41:46
I mean, you're all you're all creatives in that household of yours. So I think there's an a level of understanding, level understanding of that, whatever that means to each of you guys, right? Mm hmm.
Yeah, it's interesting, because my son is all about, you know, music, music is his thing and math. And Chinese, like, I couldn't get on to this link, because he just switched all my language into Chinese. So I'm trying my Instagram. Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 42:15
Yeah. I mean, I need to come up with a better word than amazing. Because really, it's, it's, I'm awestruck by Walter a little bit, I gotta say. Yeah, he's on firing.
He so so he needs kind of his music rhyme. And he's writing his music and, and then, you know, rain is doing his thing. And, and so I just, I like to go away and just be feral. Yeah.
You know? Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 42:49
Yeah. So, in an ideal world, which we are in, because I've just, I just make it so. Um, what? What has been, I don't even want to say an obtainable, what's your, what's the dream? What's a dream that you can share with us? A future? If I could have anything it would be in regard to your writing your career, your whatever, your percentage?
Yeah, I would just like more time. I mean, I would just like, I love like, I wish days were like, 80 hours long. You know what I mean? And I don't mean that, like, so busy or whatever. I just love feeling as much of the day as I can, you know what I mean? And
honestly, I am, I'm at a point now where I would say, what's the next? What's the next thing because I, I'm really in it in a I've never been in such a place where I'm so able to create in the way that I want to. I'm much I'm feeling more I would say that my first book was more like monologues with benefits. Like what voice in first person and this book is gonna it takes a lot more layers. And it's, there's a lot more kind of working with almost creative nonfiction in a sense and my own life bleeding in and they're just more strange detours and things. So my next project I'd really like to write actually creative, creative nonfiction about my family, and my life. Yes. So I'm kind of getting to that because every day that we've been in quarantine, I've actually been going through my grandfather's archive, because I have this whole trunk of stuff like letters and I'm finding out all this stuff about my people that I'd had no idea.
Mindy Cohn 44:56
Wow, I love it. Well, you know I am I am eagerly anticipating hitting any and all writings. I can't wait to just take the biggest slice I truly I I'm so excited. I I just think you are such a talent, and more importantly one of the just dearest people in my life. Well, thank you we did sit at the Grand Canyon together. We did. We did like a first pass of the world, you know, we've done some things, but there's much more to do. And I will be by your side or hanging on your coattails whichever one needs to
listen, can I put I'll put up on your website, some places to get stories in the next couple months, because there's three different things coming out. So
Mindy Cohn 45:42
I hope I've covered them in the intro, but if I have Oh, definitely hook those up in the show notes. Yeah, I'm holiday. Thank you so much for this insanely fantastic Monday with Mindy episode.
Oh, thank you. I know, this is the
right thing to do. Chris, nice
Mindy Cohn 45:58
to meet you. Thank you very much for joining us. We're looking forward to sharing it with our audience. As we mentioned earlier in the show, go to Monday's mini com there'll be lots of information about holiday on there, as well as the charity that we mentioned the books that she's working on now, her past books and some other work that she's gonna be contributing to. So go to the website, check it out, get in touch, stay in touch, follow her on Instagram, all that good stuff. And once again, we want to say thank you for joining us. We appreciate your time. And until next time.
It was a pleasure to sponsor you.
Mindy Cohn 46:29
Yes. Ladies and gentlemen. Holiday Ryan horn.