The Unusual Umbrella Society – Creative Writing Workshop

September 3 2023

Friday night was a fun, creative writing workshop with @fidgets.and.fries at @theradicalcat. Thanks to Cady at @facilitate_joy for helping to put this together. It was awesome to share writing space with you, Ian @amethyst_noir of @spoken_views_reno!

I thought I’d be writing a poem, but wrote a wild story instead. I may try to trim the story, turning it into a poem. We’ll see. Thanks for that inspiration, Ian. Here’s the introduction:

The Unusual Umbrella Society

This is not your ordinary umbrella. This umbrella holds secrets and has siblings. These umbrellas live a unique life. The people who use these umbrellas are not your ordinary people. They have been chosen by the umbrellas to be members of the Unusual Umbrella Society. The Umbrella chooses their new person before they are born, arriving to the household where they will be born into, and staying with them. At 10 years of age, the umbrella and their person, journey to the secret home, in a secret location where they live, attend school, and train together. The members serve with their umbrella until the time they can no longer perform Society duties.

There are 7 umbrellas and 7 members of the Unusual Umbrella Society. Each umbrella has a special feature, with each umbrella being a different color. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each umbrella has a different handle which seems to perfectly fit into the hands of their person …. There is much more, but I’m only sharing the introduction for now.


Poetry: The Garden of My Mind

July 4 2023

Last night was so much fun! The poetry workshop before the event was powerful! Thanks to Brennan Defrisco and his lovely partner. For my non-local friends, every July is designated as Artown by Reno. A full month of celebrating local artists. 🎉🎉🎉

Last night’s theme was “in my garden”. Here’s the poem I shared.

The Garden of My Mind

Wildflowers sprouting from every fold and groove
Each wildflower overflowing with ideas

Red Hot

At times the heartache doesn’t want to leave
Clinging to the familiar

The Garden of My Mind

Mysterious, Wild, Confused
Difficult to contain excitement
Loving those dopamine hits
Lit by listening to good music

Working on this
Oh, wait, I need to finish this
Wait, I need to start that
Wait, I need to run that errand
Okay. Working on this again
Crap! What’s that burning smell?
Damn. Forgot I put toast in the toaster. Every freakin’ time!

Saying nasty things to myself
Saying sweet, good things to myself

In the past, never knowing who this person
Named Camilla really is
The Garden of My Mind
The Neurodivergent Mind
The Traumatized Mind
In the present, learning who this person
Named Camilla really is

It’s beautiful
It’s fickle
Blowing with the winds of the present moment

Healing from childhood trauma
Memories of something horrible
Done to her as a young child
Which led to teen and adult trauma
Becoming what was later coined as

Learning at an early age
To dissociate when horrible things
Were happening to the body

A mind now processing
Healing from such horrid happenings.

A mind experiencing freedom
Like never before
Freedom like when she was a teen, a young adult
Minus the drugs and alcohol

A wilding of the mind
Learning how to be kind to herself
Learning how to let the mind
And she, be the shiny, weird, quirky, wild, chaotic
Human she came here to be.

The Garden of My Mind
A magical, colorful, place of sticky ideas
Some wild, some amazing, some nonsensical
Yet always lovely and fragrant.

The heartache becoming
Letting go

It’s never too late to take
A stroll, stay a while, and weed

The garden of our minds.
2023 Camilla Downs