Elyse Shugrue on Ashley Waterman

ae Water.  A transparent fluid.  Waterman.  Pens.  Ashley Margaret Waterman.  A writer. – Elyse Shugrue Waterman is a lover of pens, words, type, and gluten-free baking.  When you are excited about something her eyes get really wide and she is genuinely interested in anything you have to say.  Like myself, she is a lover of facts, of formulas, of the summation of all parts in not only her world but your world too.  As a baker, she must be a lover of numbers and equations, too.  She is also a down-right lovely person with a hell of a perspective on writing and life.  She also teaches writing.  Go to her.  She is worth finding. Ashley Margaret Waterman is anything but a transparent fluid.  She may be a hairy bag of water, like we all are, but she is one of the bags of water that has a purpose.  She is always smiling, thinking, discovering, writing, teaching, and loving.  She is positive in her stance, in her walks, and in her food.  When Waterman commits to something, she will not stop until it’s done.  Her focus is like an icicle, continually building, sharpening, deathly at times, but always beautiful. Beautiful in her light and in her shadows.  Beautiful in the impending doom of the fall.  Beautiful in her determination to hang on to a goal for as long as fruition.  No wonder the lady of our church, the great poetess, Anne Waldman, trusts her as an assistant each summer at Naropa’s Summer Writing Program (SWP). I first met Ms. Waterman at said SWP in 2012.  We shared a workshop, of sorts, with the poet, Bob Holman and other bodies.  I say “of sorts” because we would all simply talk for hours and then our homework assignment from Bob was to “write something.”  Most of the time he showed us how to use a microphone and how never to pop your p’s.  Or we wrote Ted Berrigan 10 line love poems.  He told us to never leave the stage in a hurry.  He told us to always thank our audience and allow silence for the poem to end.  Waterman does all of these things.  When Waterman stepped up to the mic that first day, she was a natural.  She delivered her piece about Sylvia Plath like she possessed a sliver of Plath.  When she stands on the stage she demands your attention, she delivers her poems, announcements, grocery lists, and recipes with a purpose.  Rarely does she do anything on accident. The following summer we worked together as the Student Activity Coordinators.  We did things like host readings and panels; it was effortless working with Waterman.  She has a knack for understanding what you need when you need it and for encouraging new perspectives.  She’s a bit of a magician, in that respect.  In the way you can sit in silence while your lover waits in the next room. She is made of the good things.  Like water.  Like home.  Her current project, “Collecting the Memories of (home)” is about home, however one may define that.  Waterman states: Define the movement and courage it takes to relocate.   In definition, find home. Though not a Colorado native, she calls Boulder home.  She had/has the courage to relocate.  In Colorado, she does things like hand-makes books out of food boxes.  She does things like grade essays. She blogs at Type & Cakes about her gluten-free baking, her numerous creative recipes, and her cravings and desires for love. It is in our everyday that we can define home, again and again. Ashley is also a fantastic friend.  She is selfless and caring.  She is a good listener.  She is funny.  She is smart.  She is stylish and can somehow pull off any shade of lipstick.  She makes up whatever you lack. She really does.  I’d call her one of my best friends, but we’re not in junior high anymore, where the word “home” meant a place. Someday, Waterman would like to open a small café where she bakes gluten-free goodies and names them after poets.  Like an Elizabeth Barret Brownie or a Shugga Cookie. If anyone can do it, Waterman can and will. Ashley Margaret Waterman is one of the features at this month’s Bouldering Poets (Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 7PM, 303 Vodka, Boulder). Do the right thing.


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