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Self-Expression as Survival

December 10, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Stream on YouTube

The writer Gregory Orr believes, “Poetry is about survival first of all. Survival of the individual self, survival of the emotional life.” It is my belief and experience that Orr’s statement applies to most creative pursuits, including various modalities of art and self-expression that have helped me move through and beyond the traumatic events of my early life. Our own creativity has the unique gift of helping us process the unrelenting amount of information we’re exposed to, including the overwhelming, painful, and traumatic memories that can threaten to undo us. “Self-Expression as Survival” de-emphasizes the importance of identifying as an artist, and instead focuses on the many ways creativity can combat the reality that trauma often renders us voiceless. It is not hyperbole to say that my exploration of photography, watercolor, performance art, sculpture, and, most importantly, writing memoir, saved my life. I learned to create order from chaos, make meaning from the mess, and transform something big and boundaryless into a work of art I could hold in my hands. To share our suffering in some way—trading off playing the role of artist and observer—is an important way forward.


December 10, 2023
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


9001 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
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Gabe Montesanti
Gabe Montesanti (she/they) is the author of BRACE FOR IMPACT: A MEMOIR, which is about skating with Arch Rival Roller Derby, the second-best derby team in the world, and the way in which the physicality of the sport reflected and refracted her dysfunctional childhood. Her next project is a memoir about her immersion into the world of contemporary drag, from audience member to winning the title of Mx. Pride STL. Her traditional and visual essays, which she creates using line drawings and watercolors, can be found on her website, gabemontesanti.com, and her Instagram, @GabeMontesantiAuthor.


The Ethical Band
This Platform will feature music from The Ethical Band, the house band at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, composed of and led by members who are musicians of all kinds, ages, and skill levels! Whether you are a trained player, beginner, or just want to shake a tambourine, The Ethical Band is a great way to both dip your toes into performing and become more involved in our Humanist community.