Jennifer Hill is a multidisciplinary artist — a poet, playwright, arts educator, and performer who loves exploring all the real and imagined connections between writing and movement. And we’re thrilled she’s sharing her love of words and play — and maybe wordplay? — with us at HippoCamp in her pre-conference workshop, “Alive Inside: Every Body Has a Story.”
We asked her a few questions about her upcoming involvement in HippoCamp. (Note: Jennifer also calls Lancaster County home, so pay attention to her travel tips!)
HM: Without sharing any spoilers, what can attendees expect from your workshop?
JH: Attendees can expect a relaxed and positive atmosphere to explore the places where movement and writing connect. I will not be spotlighting anyone for dance solos; that’s not what this is about. We’ll create simple movement though group work and will follow any ideas that arise from that exploration in reflection and writing. The body is incredible in how it stores emotion, character, and even whole stories in muscle memory. My goal in this session is to introduce people to what is possible, to see what surfaces in gesture and movement and body language — and to write the stories that are waiting inside of us.
Who would benefit the most from your session or workshop?
Anyone with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to be open to a different approach to writing creative nonfiction. All levels of curiosity welcome! The dubious, the shy, the wildly enthusiastic.
Literary citizenship is so important today, and by being part of our conference, you’re contributing to the CNF community — why is sharing with others important to you?
Sharing with others what I have learned that has benefited me is important because it spreads the seeds of creative expression. Art connects us. Stories connect us. I always hope when I share with others that someone will have an ah-ha moment, and create something beautiful that will be shared. Ideas can’t live in the safe space of the mind forever. You must do. Create! Sharing with others has the promise of growing that original idea exponentially.
Taking off your presenter hat, what are you hoping to learn as an attendee at HippoCamp?
I’m interested in the hybrid forms session taught by Lara Lillibridge on Saturday. I think what I learn there will resonate with what I do in building shows and writing poetry, which is already a sort of genre blending. I also think the session Vicki Mayk is teaching looks like it maybe/possibly/could help me to fill in some blanks. Or open new ones! Either way, I’m intrigued. I will leave Hippocamp learning much, I’m sure.
Lancaster is an amazing city – since you’re from the area what suggestions do you have for those who haven’t been here yet?
St John’s cemetery on Orange St. is a quiet respite from the city and a place to connect with local history. The library, just around the corner on Duke, is a favorite place too. Mr. Suit for music and Winding Way Bookstore, both on Chestnut, are also a couple of my haunts. Musser Park on Lime St. Check out all the pianos throughout the city from the Music For Everyone program, “Keys to the City”, and play them all!
What was a recent and memorable work of creative nonfiction you read – whether a book or shorter piece? (And what did you love about it?)
“My Childhood” by Maxim Gorky for the resplendent and sad descriptions of the characters from his childhood. “Movement Matters” by Katy Bowman for the breezy, blog like style essays that made me think about how making simple changes in my everyday habits could increase my productivity and improve my overall health. I type this as I eat peanut butter crackers and sit in my chair … not moving much. Time to get moving!
Jennifer, thank you for sharing with us! We can’t wait to see you at HippoCamp.