I am a creative communicator who is passionate about education, all the arts, and especially about storytelling. I use my curiosity and creativity to share information in an inspiring and effective way.
Pia Sieroty Spector is a 3rd generation Californian. At age 18, she abandoned the smoggy Los Angeles sprawl for Northern California, where she studied architectural history at UC Santa Cruz. Pia then ventured to the humid and mysterious south where she studied and traveled abroad for two years, later receiving a Masters in Art History from Emory University. She headed back to L.A. for a two year visit which allowed her to work in her field, marry in her faith and, upon mutual agreement, head back north to make a home, two stellar daughters and a full life in the River City.
25 years later, Pia is a divorced professional, a daughter to parents who gave her the fire in her belly that has gotten her through many a blaze, and she has finally listened to her daughters who shouted, “Live your dreams, Mom.” And indeed she is. A lover of all things delicious: language, food, wine, art, people and landscapes, Pia is a published poet who is now focused on the art of creative nonfiction.
Pia is currently at work on a creative nonfiction based on mother's memories of growing up Catholic in Germany during the occupation and World War II as well as her life as an immigrant to the United States where she raised her children as Jews.
Pia's work has appeared in Soul of the Narrator V, VI, and VII, Cosumnes River Journal, Paper Bag Writers On line Literary Project, Susurrus, a literary journal published by Sacramento City College and in the 2016 Sacramento Voices IV Anthology.
Writing as Transformational Art
Pia facilitates writing groups in the AWA (Amherst Writers and Artists) style. Her groups meet for six week sessions in the evening at a Sacramento location. Pia also holds one day workshops for teen writers and has scheduled a number of one day themed writes through the end of 2016.
Poetry and Prose
"Street." Susurrus Literary Journal, 2015.
"March in the Midtown Yard by the Freeway." Cosumnes River Journal, Spring 2015.
"Eudaimonia." Soul of the Narrator V, October 2014.
"May 2." Soul of the Narrator V, October 2014.
"Survivor." Soul of the Narrator VI, December 2015.
"Apologies and the Like." Susurrus Literary Journal, 2016.
"Sandy and Pat and Seville." Sacramento Voices IV Anthology, 2016
"Street." Sacramento Voices Anthology IV, 2016
"Maraschino Cherries." Soul of the Narrator VII, November,2016
I was 8 when I started writing letters to local politicians and then to Governor Ronald Reagan (who did send one response to let me know that I had some good ideas about how to control pollution). My parents were active in local politics, they had many anti-Vietnam war group meetings at our house, and they encouraged me to speak (and write) my mind. And I have. I’ve always had something to say: I wrote speeches for my 8th grade graduation, my Confirmation at Temple Emanuel, and many religious services in between and since. I wrote and delivered speeches at summer camp and again when I ran for student body offices in high school.
I’ve never been a journal (or diary, as it was called in my youth) writer. I am just not disciplined when it comes to doing the same thing day in and day out. My writing has been sporadic and observational and reactive and academic and never just for me - apparently I need an audience.
I received a few love notes in elementary school which I l have in a cigar box in my nightstand drawer; I remember being more enamored with the written words than with the boys who authored them. Since then I’ve authored my share of love notes, love letters and lots of “love emails.” I’ve also written many letters to my father as we navigated the rough waters of a father-daughter relationship while he divorced 3 times and married for a 4th time.
Oh, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I recently found the love letters my father wrote when he courted my mother from 1958-1960. Dad and Mom worked together at the Union Bank, so some of Dad’s letters to her were observational, such as sharing coworker’s reactions to problems, and some were childlike, as he described how much he loved to hug my mom and what a great cook she was. As their romance continued he was protective, advising her not to spend too much money or have too much fun without him. Some letters are hand written; the typed letters are flawless, no errors or evidence of white-out. He was a dedicated writer, sharing the details of his day, asking about her day and always proclaiming his burning desire for her over and over.
My mother has always been a writer; she uses a nom de plume and hasn’t pursued publication. She is an avid reader and an enthusiastic collector of literature, historical nonfiction, poetry and prose. She says her father was an intellectual and a man of the book, too. My brother, who was a dyslexic child, is a successful journalist and, until recently, the only published writer in our family; as I write this, he remains the only paid writer in the family.
I came to writing as an adult this way: my first week in college, I declared the history of art as my major. I’d thought I’d be a psychology major, but the minute I sat in a dark lecture hall and saw slides of great works of art and architecture, I was hooked. I began writing about said art and the artists themselves and I was making leaps and surmising and researching and I was happy. Additionally my creative writing teacher told me my writing was bad, just plain bad. So, with my creativity firmly shut down, I became an academic. The architectural historian Reyner Banham was my mentor at UC Santa Cruz. I wrote many papers for him, but his comment of “too much Sturm und Drang” served to further bury my creativity. Alas my paper on Gothic architecture had too much “storm and stress.” I had let myself get swept up in the moment; the Sturm und Drang spoke to my lack of self-discipline - as that was a major tenant of that movement - and also described a young Goethe’s period of extraordinary creativity. So, with two strikes against my creative self, I switched gears and put my creativity away for good. I went to graduate school, worked at “real jobs” and then got married. Like many of the women before me, I did exactly what they were saying I should not do - I gave up myself and my interests and my passions and supported my husband’s career. It ended as one would expect.
During my real life sturm und drang of the last five years - property settlement, in-laws dying, parents’ health crisis, job changes, college-age kids traveling a bumpy road, finding love again - I noticed I’d been writing to process my emotions. So I began to scrape away all the layers of self-doubt and listen carefully to the whisper that became a clear, strong and finally loud voice: sign up for Writing as a Healing Art. There I discovered the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) method. The AWA philosophy is a simple one: every person is a writer, and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn, and develop craft. I surprised myself, all the buried creativity came spilling out. I began to write a lot, in journals and on my laptop. I wrote poetry and prose and creative non-fiction and read my poetry in a coffee shop. And the added bonus: I found community, people who nurture and educate and support and tell it like it is with love and respect!
Now I am submitting poems for publication and receiving a few acceptance letters and lots and lots of rejection letters. I’ve volunteered as an assistant facilitator for a Writing as a Healing Art class and I am offering writing groups in the AWA method. I’m advocating for writing ourselves through illness and emotional injury and ecstasy and doubt and joy and life in all the ways it presents itself.
And I believe in synchronicity. And that everything happens for a reason. People have always shown up for me at the right time and brought the right gifts. And huge challenges have delivered equally huge learnings. Life is messy. All my failures are my compost pile and that is what has nurtured my growth and stoked the fire in my belly.
And here’s what Cheryl Strayed shared at the completion of writing her book Wild:
I only knew I no longer had two hearts beating in my chest. I’d pulled one out with my own bare hands. I’d suffered. I’d given it everything I had. I’d stopped being grandiose. I’d lowered myself to the notion that the absolute only thing that mattered was getting that extra beating heart out of my chest. Which meant I had to write my book. My very possibly mediocre book. My very possibly never-going-to-be-published book. My absolutely nowhere-in-league-with-the-writers-I’d-admired-so-much-that-I-practically-memorized-their-sentences book. It was only then, when I humbly surrendered, that I was able to do the work I needed to do.
And now I am surrendering.
Teen Writers Workshop
Offered through The Creative Edge
Beyond Words: Writing as Transformational Practice
Offered through The Creative Edge
Writing with Intention: a thing intended; an aim or plan- this is a write for the New Year
The Goddess Chronicles
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