What Does Penny Dickerson do? “I write.”

I am a writer whose muse is language.

I am an independent journalist, and less often I am [too] a poet.

My indulgence is journalism which includes the necessary quintet of inquisitive “W’s,” but defies traditional, old-school prose.  Journalism can be both lyrical and  poetic; metaphorical and fact-based.  When approached as a responsible journalist, the collective result falls somewhere between a term I’ve coined: “curious creativity.”

In this digital-oriented, content-driven age, it is paramount that journalists inhabit an ability to work fast and furious, but moreover, we must embody  the talent and drive to embrace the  human condition.  These stories – extensions of cool people in extraordinary places – are the hallmark of what drives my freelance efforts.  The fortitude to pitch, the hutzpah to seek broad editorial assignments, and the patience to wait with a willing spirit that respects that each response is part of my journey.  There is no rejection!Temple UniversityLesley Logo

Earning my BA degree in Journalism from Temple University taught me that Information need not be reportage-rote and stagnant to intrigue an audience of millennium-readers who are insatiable for news.

Receiving my MFA degree in Creative Writing, solidified a long-term belief that all poetry need not  “end rhyme”  to narrative emotion that transcends human condition. Creative lyrics, when written well, should invite language to leap, pop, inform, breathe, and live in the lives of readers.

I enjoy writing about people of intrigue and subjects often overlooked or underrepresented.  From human interest  to investigative journalism to the global arts scene, there is a disparity in both reporting and broad opportunities for those most aware of inequity to expand their voice.  I defy odds, overcome obstacles, and surpass barriers to claim opportunity.  Excuses are not an option.

My current residence is  Miami, Florida, but I miss the northeast a great deal. I am in constant, internal debate over my love for the sun and beach versus the varied cultural outlets, infectious pace, and good cheese the northeast offers. I’m specifically talking about the Italian Market in Philadelphia, perusing Harvard Square, and jamming to jazz in Georgetown.

This temporary, southern sojourn happened to “just happen” after spending three years in Winston Salem, North Carolina to whip a wicked disease called cancer.  cancer survivorI am now a survivor forced to face the fact that “my new side of life” requires that I seek  innovative ways to pursue passion.  As a result, I have launched out into the deep and now write full-time because after all, I am a writer.

In 2011, I participated in a Creative Capital Professional Development Workshop. It was instrumental in helping me develop a strategic plan for my writing. I am focused, goal oriented, special project directed and more determined then I ever have been. Colleagues give me alot of sarcastic flack about the latter: “One workshop did all of that?”creative capital

Here’s the thing: nothing or no one can put the fire under your butt and inspire you to just, “do the doggone thing.” It wasn’t just the workshop, it was spending three, intense days with like-minded artists, writing down long and short term goals, participating in positive discourse, and being inspired by accomplished artists who have proven that there is “capital” out there to allow one to seriously pursue art. One must simply be creative, eager, and above all, willing. There is no magic wand (or workshop).

Additionally, I was a journalist selected to attend the Minority Writer’s Seminar sponsored by the National Board of Editorial Writers in April 2011. Again, it was another action-packed weekend of growth and learning and debate and fun. I believe you HAVE to fun to keep your passion from flat-lining. minority writers seminar

The latter writer’s seminar taught me so much about how to temper and express opinion and further develop “voice.” I have since been awarded several fellowships including: New America Media Four Freedoms Fund (2013); Harry Frank Guggenheim (2015); Marguerite Casey Equal Voice (2015). There are more fellowships and global projects that I will pursue to edify my life as a journalist, expand my scope, and financially sustain me while doing the work that I remain passionate about. Noepe time space create.jpg

On the creative side, I’ve ventured into non-fiction and traveled to Martha’s Vineyard (June 2015) to work with a mentor and peers. While it’s a new path, I’m proud that my first essay was published nationally in Solstice Literary Magazine (December 2015).


I’ve been told that I own a “voluminous voice” both literally and figuratively. Indeed, I often have a whole lot to say, and I am constantly looking for new areas to diversify my writing.  Actually,

I just look forward to any viable platform that will allow me to write.


10 comments on “What Does Penny Dickerson do? “I write.”

  1. Praying your wonderful talent will be appreciated by all!


  2. Positive words feed the spirit.
    Thank you for using your gift and sharing it with others.


  3. Came across this article engaged, added to jumptags


  4. I am newer in college and finding a great deal of inspiration in the Langauge Arts Department at FSCJ. Looking forward to sharing with you Professor Dickerson. Your sharing of personal experiences and direct honesty,coupled with a passion for life, will no doubt change my outlook on life and language skills. Thank you for sharing with us this semester.


    • Thank you good student! I look forward to sharing and comparing and watching you grow. I appreciate your willingness to change your outlook and/or at best widen your scope. At FSCJ, unilke post-secondary education, we are the Liberal Arts Department as opposed to Language Arts. I certainly understand the adjustment to new terminology. The most important common denominator is LANGUAGE and in that regard, you are “Spot on.” Professor D.


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