Who We Are
Armed with credentials as masters in hands-on teaching and community organizing, WoW! facilitators are above all passionate about nurturing creative storytellers in all our WoW! Sojourns.
Rose Marie Sabangan migrated to New York City from Manila in 1972, but spent early childhood years schooled under the British in North Borneo. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Goddard College (MFA, Creative Writing), Rose launched Writing on Water (WoW), which melds her immigrant-inspired writings (plays, poetry and prose) with experience decades-long on Wall Street. Indulging her passion for travel, cultural exchange and creative self-expression, Rose believes that movement, as in travel, is imperative for growth; stretches our individual experience, out to the wider world; and reconnects us with the planet, nature, ultimately to our selves. Rose is the proud mother of two: a daughter-dancer and a son-musician.
A born and raised Washingtonian, Tristan Beach taught college English across China from 2014 to 2017. Before that, he was a long-time associate editor for The Conium Review. He has been involved with various journals and literary presses since 2010, including Copper Canyon Press, Coffee House Press, Pitkin Review and Clockhouse. His poems and proses appear in Shantih, rawboned, The Writer in the World and Pitkin Review. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and received his BA in English from Saint Martin’s University. He currently teaches creative writing, composition, and ESL at Saint Martin’s and co-founded the Raven Writers group.
Melissa Franic’s life work includes finding ways to connect to heritage and cultural identity through travel and storytelling. She teaches writing courses and workshops in the Chicago area and is always looking for ways to find new members of the writing tribe. Previously, she worked as a journalist for various newspapers, including The West Chicago Press and The Naperville Sun. Melissa is the co-founder of Neologian, a biannual literary journal featuring the work of emerging artists and writers from across the country. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Currently, she lives in Schaumburg, Illinois with her husband and cat.
Zach Zorba Grashin is a screenwriter and director with an MFA from Goddard College, 2014. Born in Alaska, and having lived in three different continents, as well as speaking multiple languages, Zorba’s writing career began in high school when he published a short story about the last day of his brother’s life in Guideposts Magazine. Since then, his scripts and short stories span everything from the gritty reality of domestic abuse to the comedic fumblings of high school kids selling knives door to door. In January 2019, Zorba co-wrote and directed his first feature film, Knifecorp, starring horror movie icon, Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), expected to be released later in the year. He is currently working on his next feature, as well as an historical fiction TV series currently under review by major networks. A passionate teacher, and storyteller, Zorba loves to help people find their voice on the page…and bust a move on the dance floor.
Wendy Guest has a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Sydney, plus she is a certified hatha yoga, yin yoga and meditation instructor. Her passion for exploring the capacity of traditional yoga techniques to stimulate and nurture creativity was the topic of her master’s thesis, and is the motivation for her ongoing work. Wendy’s first book – a curated collection of remembrances of one of Australia’s best loved Prime Ministers – was published in 2016. She began her career as a journalist and worked as a professional writer in media, public relations, politics and online education in both Australia and the United States. Now she vows to spend the rest of her life writing what she wants to write, and delivering creative writing and yoga workshops to help writers explore embodied writing.
Elizabeth Melvin is a fiction writer, poet and educator. She enlightens the masses about literature’s impact on everything from politics to prosthetics. She is co-founder and editor of the 2018 CLMP Firecracker Award Finalist Neologian literary journal where she provides a platform for unique voices in various genres (neologian.org). Elizabeth completed a BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College of Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her work appears in the Neologian, Illinois’s Emerging Writers Anthology, Pitkin Review, and Big Bob’s Fish, Chips, and Poems. She is a literary devotee, mother of two amazing kids, and avid reader.
James Minniear finds that nothing works better for developing and organizing new ideas than taking ridiculously long and aimless walks, whether through the world’s oldest neighborhoods in Athens, Greece or across the Willamette River bridges of Portland, Oregon. He writes primarily for the stage and screen, but any empty piazza in the Mediterranean that inspires some theatre will do. James’s play “In Vino Veritas” was produced in Brooklyn, NY, and his other works have been published in Journey magazine and the Neologian. James received his BA in Drama Studies from Purchase College and MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. He is fortunate to call Maui, Hawaii his home, waking up each morning to the sounds of a waterfall and a fresh stream of words.
To writer Lucas Peters, internationality, the language we use, the cultures we are exposed to, create who we are and the more of this we are influenced by, the more profound our writing and our person becomes. Lucas has explored Morocco, from the date groves of the Sahara to the fishing villages along the Atlantic Coast. He’s dined at Rick’s Café in Casablanca, caught a ride on the “Marrakech Express,” gotten lost in the labyrinthian maze of the Fez medina and followed “The Beats” in Tangier. Lucas speaks French and Arabic, and is the author of Moon Morocco and currently lives in Paris. Find him online at lucasmpeters.com.
Beatrix Gates has published four poetry books, including Lambda finalist In the Open. Desire lines is forthcoming from Artifact Press. Her awards include NEA funding for The Singing Bridge opera with Anna Dembska; Huntington Library’s Jutzi Fellowship; MacDowell Colony and Ucross Fellowships and QUEST University’s Artist-in-Residence. Gates’ essay appears in Jane Cooper: A Radiance of Attention; hybrid work, “For Orlando: Make Beautiful in Maine,” in Scotland’s MAP magazine, www.mapmagazine.co.uk; and the translation with Electa Arenal of Jesús Aguado’s The Poems of Vikram Babu received a Witter Bynner Award. She has taught at Colby, NYU, CCNY, and is on Goddard’s MFA in Creative Writing faculty. As Granite Press founder, she published Grace Paley’s Leaning Forward and the bilingual IXOK AMAR.GO: Central American Women Poets for Peace. She edited The Wild Good: Lesbian Writings & Photographs on Love (Anchor) and collaborated with Ron King on Poetry & Masks for Maine’s Farm/Arts Exchange.
Kavita A. Jindal, prize-winning fiction writer, as well as a poet, essayist and reviewer, has led creative writing workshops in both prose and poetry. She is the author of Raincheck Renewed, published to critical acclaim by Chameleon Press. Her work has appeared in literary journals, anthologies and newspapers around the world and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and European cultural radio stations. She is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani collective and is a Senior Editor at the journal Asia Literary Review. Please feel free to visit Kavita’s work at https://kavitajindal.com.
Rahna Reiko Rizzuto is the author of the just-released novel Shadow Child, as well as the memoir, Hiroshima in the Morning, and her debut novel, Why She Left Us. Her awards and recognitions include the American Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Finalist, U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellow, Asian American Book Award Finalist and the Grub Street National Book Prize, among others. She is also the Associate Editor of The NuyorAsian Anthology: Asian American Writings About New York City. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Salon, CNN.com, The Crab Creek Review, The Huffington Post, Mothers Who Think, Because I Said So, Topography of War, and Alchemy of the Word, among others. She is a Hedgebrook alumna, a mentor and writing coach, the founder of the Pele’s Fire Writing Retreat, and is on the faculty of the Goddard College MFA in Creative Writing program.