Unchaste Reader Series: Reading My Poetry for the First Time In Over 15 Years

I first discovered my love for writing when I was in grade school. I still don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon poetry, but I know I fell in love immediately and deeply.

I grew up dreaming of becoming a poet. It’s all I really wanted to do as I made my way through high school and college. My high school story isn’t much of a success story outside of the having created the first creative writing club at Richland High School. It is one of my only accomplishments from that period of my life and it still sparks feelings of pride all of these years later.

When I finally went to college, I decided to pursue a degree in psychology. My father had always hoped one of his children would go into the sciences and that was the best I could do. There was a lot I loved about my educational focus, and truthfully psychology and writing go together beautifully. But the pursuit of my degree definitely played a role in leading me away from my true passion.

I ended up attending college twice. The first time I attained my degree in Psychology and helped WSU Vancouver kick off their first Literary and Arts publication Salmon Creek before I left. The second time around I got a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and sat on the editorial board for WSU Pullman’s literary and arts publication Landescapes.

During my college years, I journaled furiously, wrote poem after poem, and even hosted an open mic or two. But shortly after I graduated the second time, I became pregnant with my oldest daughter and my artistic pursuits gave way to the more necessary moneymaking professional ones.

I am lucky. I make a living doing what I love. With all of my heart, I love writing in whatever way I get to do it. I still write poetry, but for the most part, it’s a private affair. It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve read any of my personal work in front of an audience. In fact, I spend most of my time alone in my little attic office plucking away at keys and truly basking in the aloneness of it all. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that deep down I feel a longing.

Recently, I met Jenny Forrester, an amazing woman and writer and the author of her memoir Narrow River, Wide Sky. She is sincerely one of the warmest, kind, and authentic souls I’ve come across in a long time. We had been working with each other over the Internet for a month or two when she reached out and invited me to meet with her in person. We ended up getting together at a coffee shop and talking for hours. The time flew as we shared our personal stories and passion for writing.

During our conversation, Jenny shared that she heads up a regular local women’s literary reading called the Unchaste Readers. It has been around a very long while and hosted many accomplished writers. As Jenny spoke about the readings I felt that old familiar stirring—the need to be part of a creative community and share.

I was extremely honored when Jenny invited to read my work at the next Unchaste Readers event. I’m not going to lie, I felt a little terrified when she asked. I still feel terrified, but it’s an opportunity I know I can’t miss.

I have spent the last weeks since our conversation working on a new piece and completing some old work. I have just seven minutes to read…and I can do that. Right?

So this is it. December 20th (tomorrow night) at 6:45 p.m. at, I will join a small group of truly inspiring and accomplished women writers and I will read three poems.

I will somehow work around my anxiety and nerves and try to summon a little bit of that 20-year-old Annette attitude and see what I can get out.

So this is my formal invitation to you. Check out the Unchaste Readers site, like it on Facebook and come out for a literary adventure tomorrow night.

Unchaste Readers
Hosted by Jenny Forrester
Wednesday, December 20
Literary Arts
925 SW Washinton St.