Sandy Coomer is a poet, artist, and endurance athlete. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and magazines and she is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Continuum (Finishing Line Press), The Presence of Absence (Winner of the Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry), and Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press). A full-length collection, Available Light, will be published by Iris Press in 2019. Sandy’s art has been featured in local art shows and exhibits and has been published in over 40 publications. She is a marathon runner and an Ironman triathlete, having completed a full Ironman and qualified for and raced in the World Championships for the Half Ironman distance.
Sandy has been a writer-in-residence four times at three different facilities and dreamed of starting a writers’ colony in middle Tennessee. In March 2018, that dream became reality when Sandy and her husband, Tim, purchased 65 acres of land in College Grove, TN. The property had once been a bed and breakfast, making it a perfect candidate for a writers’ colony. Since then, Sandy and Tim have worked to build and shape the property into Rockvale Writers’ Colony.
Cognizant of her blessings and the recipient of generosity and kindness from countless other writers, Sandy feels a keen responsibility to give back to the community, particularly to the community of poets and writers. She is a tutor with the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, a past poetry mentor in the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, the founding editor of Rockvale Review, an online poetry journal, and actively participates in the literary scene of middle Tennessee with open-mics and readings. Sandy is a teacher, a dreamer, a seeker, and an explorer. Her favorite word (so much so that she has it tattooed on her left forearm) is “Believe.”
Belief and Fate are the best words to describe how Heather Meek came to become the Assistant Director at Rockvale Writers’ Colony. Raised in Columbus, OH, it was her dream from middle school to move to Nashville and be a songwriter. However, after meeting the token “Country Boy” of her Sparks novel dreams, she decided that a future on Music Row wasn’t exactly in the cards. Instead, she decided that her recently acquired farm-approved ice chopping and wasp killing skills were more in tune with the way she’d like to spend her work week. And if she could have more time to write, even just for fun, well, that would be so much better than sitting in an office answering phone calls all day….But how does one get to do that? she pondered. Eventually the perfect answer would make itself known.
After meeting the Coomers through mutual acquaintances and hearing of their plans for the colony (only 8 minutes from home!), she knew she would have to get involved somehow. And luckily, everyone was on the same page – so she did. While she now spends her days relishing in the opportunity to provide a haven for writers in the countryside she calls home, her presence at the Colony is in fact quite selfish. Meeting writers, hearing their advice, being inspired by their practices and their drive…She feels so grateful to become a part of the flourishing writing community in the MIddle Tennessee area and continues to be inspired by the conversations and influences of those writers she’s been able to meet during their residencies.
Heather is a writer of personal essays, short stories, and the occasional poem – all yet to be published one day. When she needs a little distraction, she goes right out her front door to play with her four little goats, Hank, Chip, Mama and Grey. She also loves hiking the parks of Nashville, spending way too much money on a cup of iced coffee, and acquiring more notebooks than she can fill.