Today I celebrate the birthday of one of my dearest friends and closest literary companions: Tama J. Kieves. Tama and I both arrived in Denver in June of 1985, though she came from Brooklyn, NY; and I came from Iowa.
Tama and I met about four years later through a third writer, Kay Porterfield. I was taking a fiction writing course through one of the university campuses in downtown Denver, and Kay was my instructor. Kay recognized my writing, knew Tama, and recognized that Tama and I had a lot in common. She suggested we meet. Funny thing, I was so intimidated by Tama because Kay told me Tama is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Eventually, Tama told me she was cowed because I was out of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Eventually, we did meet when Kay convened a writer's group. Tama and I connected. I appreciated--and continue to appreciate--Tama's smarts and humor and beauty on so many levels, her authenticity and her writing.
The writer's group disbanded, but Tama and I remained friends, cultivated our friendship; and shared countless fits of hilarity, as well as streams of salted tears. Tama and I used to schedule what we called "9 to 9" writing days. Tama would show up at 9 on a Friday morning with bagels and cream cheese. I'd brew the coffee. We'd breakfast, write, talk, write, break for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, write some more, walk my dogs, and talk about our books, our lives, write some more, winding down at 9 p.m. This was years ago. We're both still writing.
Tama has led the charge first by self-publishing her book, then getting signed by a major New York publisher, then garnering accolades for her book and going on to use her book as a springboard to other ways to have a voice in the larger debate, a place at the self-help table, and oodles of disciples like myself who have heard her Harvard lawyer wisdom delivered in lines closer to poetry. Tama is fearless: She speaks to huge audiences, at prestigious retreat centers, goes on television, does radio interviews. She has 15,000 names on her electronic mailing list, and pods of people in cities throughout the U.S. She's even branching out internationally, having done appearances in Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.
I consider myself one of Tama's success stories because in addition to writing, Tama works as a career counselor, coach, and speaker. After practicing law for about a year, Tama fled her downtown Denver firm to follow her heart. She inspires others to do the same. She inspired me, and continues to inspire me, with her message of love over fear.
If you're considering a career change--and even if you're not, but you just like a sweet but solid voice of wisdom in the world, check out Tama's website.
CLICK NOW ON LINKS BELOW FOR MORE:
• Tama Kieves' Awakening Artistry website
• Bluestocking Guest Blog Tama contributed titled "Mothering Ourselves"
• Tama Kieves endorses GLASS HALO, the soon-to-be-released first novel by Colleen Smith
• Tama Kieves quoted in The Denver Post's article about authors conducting their own publicity
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAMA: Enjoy the fruit!