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.
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.
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, and dive into the original essay series.
“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
“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
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
It was important that this was a safe space. No one was going to change my story.”
—Latrina Lewis storyteller
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.
“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
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
This Motherfield interview series was curated and created by 2021 KPI Fellow Abby Johnson (a senior at Scripps College). We thank audience members and participants for sharing their testimony, the interviewees who appear in these videos for sharing their MF experience (Latrina Lewis, Cindy Trejo, Jennifer Oswald), and to Vicki Brown for the use of her music.