During 2013, I began writing my memoir "Shooting Range" based on a life threatening assault I endured that left me plagued with post-traumatic stress disorder. The book tackles mental health, LGBT, social justice, gun violence and disability issues. And I show my benevolence in spite of the harm I endured. “Shooting Range” traces my courageous journey – from traumatized teenager shining in the face of adversity to a thriving creative professional and celebrates my life.
March of 2016, I used an excerpt of "Shooting Range" and applied for the Lambda Literary emerging writers workshop. Distinguished Professor Sarah Schulman selected me and ten other LGBT writers for a one-week intensive immersion course in nonfiction at USC. Schulman said I had a great story and that I was a good storyteller. But my weakness wasn't working hard enough. And that my slogan should be "Just do it"!
As a Lambda literary fellow I had the option to return in 2017 to be a writer in residence. The NADC grant funded Lambda's one week writing residency. I read "Shooting Range" chapter 4 "This Is For Rodney King" based on my life in Altadena, friend Rodney King and the 1992 LA riots, https://youtu.be/mAnplGQKEHU. Upon completion of writing residency, my short story "Fire Hazard" was published in Lambda literary anthology. This made me eligible to apply for marquee opportunities like the NEA creative writing fellowship.
As my writing progressed Schulman offered to help me reach my goals by refining excerpts, obtaining an agent and to get published. Schulman informed me she had no mentors and was invested in modeling mentorship. For over two years, Schulman spent hundreds of hours mentoring me on the writing of my 200-page and 17-chapter memoir "Shooting Range" and provided editorial feedback. After several drafts, she said I had a unique book and a fascinating, moving, provocative read. Schulman also wrote several letters of recommendation on my behalf. And I was granted writing residences at Fire Fly Farms and Hinge @ Springboard for The Arts.
In 2018, Schulman curated First Mondays at Performance Space in New York. I read excerpts of my literature to publishing professionals. Schulman then connected me with a literary agent who read my manuscript, but rejected it. She feels I deserve an agent and is frustrated that her reach isn't long enough. And also hopes someone else with more connections will help get my book representation.
Schulman is a champion of “Shooting Range”. Upon publication of my book Schulman will write the forward and a blurb. She will also host public conversations with me and take other actions that will enhance the publication of my book. Schulman's been both generous, encouraging and a champion of my book. And has imparted some of her 40+ years of publishing and public speaking knowledge to me. Her unwavering support has assisted me in furthering my arts career than I imagined. I'm now a Teaching Artist.
I've thanked Schulman numerous times for creating much needed hope in my life, extending my vision beyond the rainbow, and expressed my love for her. She responded, "while I like and respect you as a person. It is your talent that attracts me the most and I believe in you." As a disabled artist collaborating with Schulman broadened my social circle and reinvigorated my sense of purpose.
Since 2016, Lambda literary Foundation has helped me create a platform. I've interviewed writers for Lambda Literary online journal: Pulitzer prize winner Jeffrey C. Stewart, New York Times best seller Michael Arceneaux (twice), and civil rights activists Darnell Moore and DeRay McKesson. www.lambdaliterary.org/author/nahshon-dion-anderson/. I also served as a juror for the Lambda literary awards twice.
I was recently awarded a generous West Hollywood Transgender Initiative Arts grant. www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/grants-and-opportunities. This Fall, I will host an event in West Hollywood "Honoring Our Transcestors. I'll read my literature and showcase Jody and Kiwi two deceased Trans artists. The event will culminate with a solo dance by a Transwoman.