Ahead of her workshop with us on October 19th, we shine the Veteran Artist Spotlight on writer & artist, Laura Joyce-Hubbard!

Laura Joyce-Hubbard’s writing appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, The Iowa Review, The Sewanee Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. Recent awards include winner of The Iowa Review’s 2022 veteran writing award, winner of the 2021 Ned Stuckey-French Nonfiction Contest at Southeast Review, and runner-up of the 2021 Poetry Contest at The Sewanee Review. Her nonfiction was selected as “Notable” in Best American Essays 2022. She has nationally exhibited her award-winning photography and papermaking. Laura served in the US Air Force for twenty years and was among the first tier of women to pilot the C-130. She is a fiction editor for TriQuarterly and lives in Illinois with her family, where she currently serves as the inaugural Highland Park Poet Laureate.

CBAW: “What would you like people to know about your military service?”

Laura Joyce-Hubbard: “I tend to write about what I’m interested in sharing about my military service. From spinning in a centrifuge during pilot training and flying the C-130 (with only a urinal), to the harder topics like serving as my friend’s Escort Officer after her death in a plane crash. I’ve written about deploying––enduring both loss and the ache of long-distance separation with my partner. I’ve also written about flying certain missions (like delivering comic books to a war zone) and how those experiences have impacted me.”

CBAW: “What is your choice of medium, and why?”

LJH: “I write nonfiction and poetry, but I’m also a papermaker and photographer. I find balance when I incorporate a visual art practice alongside writing. The art of papermaking is very physical—pulling sheets of paper on your feet all day, lifting heavy posts of wet paper, cranking the hydraulic press—it’s a perfect antidote to the sedentary nature of writing. In both papermaking and photography, I can finish a project by the end of the day. And by project, I mean a single piece of paper or a single image. In writing, finishing an essay or a poem can take years of revising. I’m a quick first-drafter, but I’m painfully slow at revision. Papermaking and photography feed my need for creating something tangible that doesn’t take months or years.

My visual practice also informs my writing practice. This past summer, I took a collage workshop at Tin House with Aisha Sabatini Sloan and studied the work of friend and artist, Adjoa Jackson Burrowes. Using techniques from the visual arts helps to unlock aspects of writing like how to structure essays or poems. But I also make paper by hand as an antidote to the fast-paced, all-digital-all-the-time world we have to live and navigate in. Nothing is more pleasurable to me than creating a beautiful sheet of paper, then writing a note or a poem on it to send to a friend. I often don’t feel satisfied at the end of the day in my writing, but editing a photograph or retrieving a piece of paper from the restraint dryer always gives me pleasure. I’m in pursuit of that artistic pleasure.”

CBAW: “How has art-making or creative writing impacted you as a person?”

LJH: “Positively––it brings me joy, and more importantly, it brings me into an ever-evolving community of artists and new friends.”

CBAW: “What do you hope someone gets from viewing or reading your work?”

LJH: “I write on themes of loss, self-acceptance, and reckoning with my life experiences—from the military to motherhood. I hope a reader might find common ground. Or if not, perhaps they will gain some insights into my life––a life built upon the love of flight borne from military service––and in doing so, will reflect on their own experiences.”

We are so grateful to Laura for taking the time to discuss her background and work with us! We hope you all enjoyed learning about her and are ready for her virtual workshop for CBAW & Strathmore, How to Takeoff—Borrowing from Flight to Write Flash. Coming up on Thursday, October 19th at 7 PM EDT. Learn more and register for this free workshop in the area below. She also has an in-person reading/open-mic coming up on October 14th and an in-person workshop on Photography and Poetry on October 28th. If you are located in the area around Highland Park, Illinois check them both out. Details and registration at the links above. Sounds like a lot of fun to us!

How To Takeoff—Borrowing From Flight To Write Flash with Laura Joyce-Hubbard

How To Takeoff—Borrowing From Flight To Write Flash
Thursday, October 19th at 7 PM EDT

The blank page is like a long stretch of runway before us. But how do we get going? And after liftoff, where do we go from there? Borrowing from the process and mindset of a pilot approaching a flight, we will look at a variety of flash pieces to chart our own writing-flight-plans for a single essay or story. We’ll engage our writerly brains with tools from aviation—approaching this generative writing session with the three critical phases of flight in mind: takeoff, cruise, and landing. After reading and discussing several flash pieces, we’ll borrow tools from flight to generate our own flash “takeoffs.” Whether new to writing or experienced in the craft, you’ll leave this workshop with a pilot “kitbag” of literary craft tools —and a new way to think about your writing plans and goals.