In Their Own Words

Samara and Gwen

My work at OAEC:

My work at OAEC is to collaborate with the other office staff to manage the day-to-day life of the organization as we interact with visitors and guests, support all of our programs in their work, and strive to maintain an organized and efficient administrative core. My job can be both interactive and variable, while also being very detail oriented and routinized. What I appreciate most about this work is the way it combines and balances both social and solitary types of work.

My background:

I grew up in Sonoma County and never quite managed to get away. I have lived all over the county, but rural Sebastopol and Occidental feel most like home. I studied art history at the Santa Rosa Junior College and received my B.A. in English from Sonoma State University. I had been an intern at the Center and worked there in various capacities before I was invited to become a staff member.

The best advice I ever received was:

When trying to make a choice—if you ask yourself a pressing and important question, and your entire body does not say “YES” in a powerful, physical way, then the answer is “NO.”

My passions:

Language—proper and improper usage.

Poetry—both reading and writing—is the way I understand the world, and writing is my attempt to create beauty and gratitude out of fear and grief.

And I am pretty fond of taking care of people and things. I like to support others, have an eye always on the details, and keep the life of the day-to-day running smooth and easy.

The happiest I’ve ever been:

I am currently the happiest I have ever been. There are two reasons for this: one, because I generally don’t look back to the past for better times; and two, because my life is at this moment blessed on so many levels, and most of all in love and partnership.

How I regenerate:

Late night dancing. Writing poetry. Hugging the people I love. Organizing desks, closets, cupboards, drawers, and email inboxes.

My favorite resiliency resource:

A book: Poetry as Survival by Gregory Orr. Because poetry can feed and mend the heart. And resiliency of heart is where all other forms of resilience begin.