Carla Woody has been mentoring people toward conscious living for more than twenty years. In 1999 she established Kenosis LLC to serve human potential and support the vision: “One tribe, one world.” In 2007, she founded Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to help preserve indigenous wisdom ways. Carla is the author of Portals to the Vision Serpent, Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness. She also writes articles related to personal growth, natural healing and advocacy of Native traditions, and is a fine artist. She makes her home near Prescott, Arizona.
Christine: How long have you been a writer?
Carla: I’ve been writing off and on since childhood. The first story I can remember writing was called The Empty-Treed Forest. Looking back, this was an environmental piece somewhat strange for a seven-year-old to produce. As a teenager I wrote bad protest poetry, and then set creative writing aside for a long time in favor of the academic reports and theses necessary to acquire degrees. In the early 1990s I picked up the pen again to start writing articles and books in earnest.
Christine: What types of writing do you do?
Carla: The themes have to do with spiritual evolution, natural healing, indigenous cultures, and advocacy related to Native wisdom traditions in danger of decimation. I cover these subjects in journal and magazine articles, as well as narrative nonfiction and fiction books.
Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?
Carla: I view my books and articles as vehicles for my lifework, a way folks can be introduced or as an adjunct to my programs. For more than twenty years I’ve been mentoring people toward conscious living. In 1999 I founded Kenosis LLC to support human potential through travel journeys working with Native spiritual leaders and healers in Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and the USA, and mentoring programs integrating Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and sacred world traditions. Then in 2007 I established Kenosis Spirit Keepers, its 501(c)3 nonprofit extension, to help preserve indigenous lifeways through various projects.
Christine: What is your writing experience?
Carla: I have a passion for expression. That’s why I find it so important to, as much as possible, integrate some form of it into my everyday life and live through deeply held values. There were too many years I didn’t do that and felt cut off, which—of course—is how I came to do the work I do with others. In particular, writing and artwork are how I work things out internally and keep the creative juices flowing.
Christine: What have you published recently?
Carla: Portals to the Vision Serpent was just released on June 17, 2013. It’s a coming-of-age novel—a Hero’s Journey—that takes the reader into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world as a young man searches for his lineage and missing father. Interwoven are the struggles of indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and tragedies that often come from misunderstandings. It’s basically a book about spiritual healing. Readers are likely to see themselves in various ways, the same as reported to me from readers of my nonfiction books Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage (2004) and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness (2000).
My article The Last Spirit Keeper was published in Sacred Fire Magazine in November 2012, Issue 16, about the last Lacandón Maya elder in the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico still maintaining his traditions against great pressure. My article Acts of Creation was just accepted by Stone Voices, a spiritually oriented, literary arts journal, no date on publication yet.
Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?
Carla: I’m definitely a morning person and have a ritual that sets my day. I usually get up before dawn, feed the cats, have a cup of coffee, and meditate for 20-30 minutes. I’ve been doing it, in that order, for nearly thirty years. Then I start writing if I have a project, or other work. Several years ago I put Joseph Campbell’s writing practice in place: at least three hours a day. It became automatic, and often the time extends itself without me noticing.
Christine: What interests you about writing fiction?
Carla: I’m most interested in teaching stories. The reader learns or resolves something themselves through identifying with different characters, in the course of being entertained. As the writer, the same is true for me. The process is magical to me. It’s like a movie unfolds in front of me, and I just write it down. It’s particularly surprising when a new character appears to take me somewhere I hadn’t imagined.
Christine: How do you come up with an idea for a new novel?
Carla: The ideas present themselves. It may be something I want to explore myself, or a point I want to get across. Right now I’ve got two different ideas vying for my attention, both well developed. I’m not yet sure which one will win out to focus on first. It would be great to be able to split myself in two!
Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?
Carla: I’ve published articles through professional journals and magazines since the early 1990s. When it came to my books, I specifically chose to self-publish through Kenosis Press, my own small press, for these important reasons: 1) they never go out of print; 2) the publishing process is truncated; 3) I have control over the content. Since my books are vehicles for my work, I continue to feel this is important.
Christine: Where can we find your books and websites?
Carla: Find Portals to the Vision Serpent, Standing Stark, and Calling Our Spirits Home on Amazon, or order through local bookstores.
Please note that I donate 10% of profits from book sales to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the 501(c)3 nonprofit I founded to help us with our projects to preserve Native traditions.
You’re invited to visit Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers to learn more about offerings and sign up for free material and the Kenosis Inspirations ezine. Follow my blog The Lifepath Dialogues.
Christine: Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Your work and your books sound so interesting. Best of luck with your articles and books.