Notes from the Motherfield LIVE is a storytelling platform for radical mothers committed to telling complicated truths. The process cultivates a space for deep listening, and the event happens LIVE online every few months. Notes is also a movement of alumni storytelling coaches and dedicated individuals who share their experiences in an asset-focused environment, building communities of care through the power of story.
Inspired by Joy Harjo‘s concept of the Motherfield, a place where difficult things happen, both sacred and profane. The project has evolved from the online series of personal essays by writers who mother to the community-based practice of LIVE storytelling. Both have created spaces for healing, beauty, truth-telling and celebration.
Sign up for our newsletter to be alerted about upcoming shows and screenings of past events. In the meantime, check out the storytelling archive on the KPI YouTube channel. See our FAQ page to get a closer look at participating in Notes from the Motherfield. Read the original essay series.
Photo: left to right, back row Anna McCallister Nichols, Jen Nowicki Clark, Milta Ortiz, Debi Chess, Tina Howard, Gabriella Cázares-Kelly; middle row Adiba Nelson, Lisa Bowden; front: Charlie Buck, Molly Burke.
“If you are a mother, or came from a mother, check this out.”
—Desiree Gonzales audience member
“Brave, beautiful moms . . . raw, unedited stories.”—Jennifer Oswald audience member
“Motherfield means strength, vulnerability and sisterhood. Seeing the community support and participate in a moving activity is life affirming, not to mention good for the soul.”—Estella Gonzales, audience member
“It was a moment of sharing. Not only sharing my story but sharing my guilt, pain, anger, sadness, hopelessness, desire to do better/be better. Of sharing the burden I carry every single day.”—Tenecia Phillips, storyteller
“This is really powerful.”—Latrina Lewis storyteller
“I am not the only one going through things. You feel seen, connected to this community, a part of something bigger than yourself.”—Jennifer Oswald audience member
“I attended my first Motherfield two years ago, shortly after ending a relationship with both of my parents. I left with a part of my heart forever healed.”—Desiree Gonzales audience member
“I would not and could not have participated without the support, training, gentle nudging and safe place created by the strong, dedicated, talented and skilled cadre of women ensemble. Trust, authenticity, dedication, and mutual kindness enabled such a life-changing experience for me.”—Rameen Ahmed storyteller
“The Motherfield is a community of nurturers and survivors. They are warm, imperfect, empathetic, and strong. Their stories are about surviving, living, and loving.”—Estella Gonzales, audience member
Storytelling alumnae together with the KPI team carry the project forward to build communities of care through coaching, knowledge sharing, co-curation (tending and taking care of each crew), ASL interpretation, video documentation, event coordination. Practice sessions, workshopping, and one-on-one coaching provides support for tellers to develop whatever particular story they want to present; to help them voice their own encounters in the Motherfield: the wild beauty, the thorny conundrum that doesn’t let go, the double-edged liberatory decisions, the stunning grace, judgements, or gritty grief.
“It was important that this was a safe space. No one was going to change my story.”—Latrina Lewis storyteller
“It’s a very energizing, healing and empowering thing to go through, and to go through with a group of people that are all attuned to what you’re saying, at all points in the process.”—Rameen Ahmed storyteller
“As women we are so disembodied. I have just as much right to be a scholar as I do to be a mother. Bringing those two identities together and not apologizing for it. That’s a little bit new to me: fully embracing who I am.”—Cindy Trejo storyteller
“Motherfield provides a communal experience that creates its own empathetic energy that’s with you for days. We need Motherfield for our souls’ sake.”—Estella Gonzales audience member
“It was a space, a release, a moment of being seen that I didn’t even know I needed until it happened.”—Tenecia Phillips storyteller
“It’s a very supportive group of women and I think the only reason I did agree to do it because I knew that there were enough folx that coach you, and help you tell your story. I knew that I was in good hands, that I would get support. Not only was it just a safe place to tell your story, but the feedback and the mentoring was really amazing.”—Rameen Ahmed storyteller
Why storytelling is important.
“Stories remind us to be humane. With social support we can get through almost anything. You can’t get social support without making yourself vulnerable. You make yourself vulnerable through stories.”—Cindy Trejo storyteller
“We don’t have that much support for women as mothers, no matter what type. We just don’t. There’s such a big need for that. There’s not a lot of places where people share. There’s no one right way or wrong way, which is really important for other people to hear I think.”—Rameen Ahmed storyteller
“Thank you Kore Press Institute for beautifully curating these events, holding space for mamas to share the stories that need sharing.”—Desiree Gonzales audience member