12 Stories of Homecoming: Twanna LaTrice Hill

Editor’s Note: Earlier in June, Lighthouse finally moved into our exciting new home. The 12 Stories of Homecoming is a series of stories written about creatives from all walks of Lighthouse that have made us who we are today. We are endlessly grateful for the support from our community and eager to welcome you home so we can open the doors even further, together.

“December 4, 2018. That’s when my life completely changed for the better.”

Twanna LaTrice Hill had built a life for herself fifteen years ago. She had a home; she was working and volunteering; she had great friends and more. But overnight, in 2006, everything changed. Hill experienced a complete pulmonary collapse, cascading into a series of system failures. Her body seemed to be utterly falling apart.

“I fell into a deep depression after everything changed so suddenly,” shared Hill. “I felt very alone at the time.”

Always a writer, Hill decided after years of rebuilding her body to try her hand at a screenwriting class at The Denver Center. She had also become involved with Phamaly Theatre Company, a creative home for theatre artists with disabilities. During the screenwriting class, her teacher, Michael Catlin, asked if Hill had heard about Lighthouse. She hadn’t.

“I decided to go to Lighthouse’s holiday party on December 4, 2018, and truly, everything changed,” said Hill. “I walked away from that night with the sense that everyone loved Lighthouse. That this was a community I could see myself in and was a way back into my own writing.”

Since that day, Hill has been one of our most involved Lighthousers. She immediately started taking writing classes, joined the newly founded Writing in Color group, and made lasting connections that have blossomed into lifelong friendships.

“Lighthouse gave me back my sense of purpose,” said Hill. “This isn’t hyperbole; Lighthouse truly saved my life.”

Hill is a regular instructor in our Young Writers Program and just finished teaching several summer camps. She also teaches in several of our Community Engagement programs, including Hard Times, and is the Coordinator of Lighthouse’s Writing in Color program.

During the 2019-2021 Book Project cohort, Twanna was honored as a Book Project Fellow. Erika Krouse became Hill’s mentor and gave her the tools and structure she needed to tell her story in a way that felt true.

“Maya Angelou says, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you,’ which is how I’ve felt about my own story,” Hill said. “I originally wrote a manuscript in the Book Project that was a collection of essays about my life experience. But it just wasn’t working.”

Hill shared that after working with Krouse and taking classes specifically geared towards narrative arc and structure, things began to click.

“Erika helped me see that I had to write the story I needed to tell before the story I wanted to ultimately write,” said Hill. “And I just finished rewriting my whole memoir, had an incredible second reader, Lidia Yuknavitch, and I’m now shopping for an agent!”

We are also thrilled to honor Hill as one of our inaugural Lumineers at the Gala this year. She expressed how touched she was by the recognition but that being a member of and volunteering at Lighthouse is honor enough, especially with the people she meets along the way.

“It’s about the community,” said Hill. “There are so many different communities to be a part of, from groups with shared identities to those working on similar genres. We’re all writers and have this baseline to connect around, but we’re all so different. Lighthouse rebukes the myth that writing has to be a lonely venture. Here, you don’t have to be alone. You can find or create a sacred space to grow together with others. We share customs, values, traditions, and aspirations. At Lighthouse, I found my tribe. I have never felt more at home.”

As Lighthouse looks to settle into our new neighborhood and start building more connections with the people and organizations around us, Hill is thrilled for us to become a resource to even more people.

“On any given day, you can change how your story is going to end,” said Hill. “Lighthouse did that for me; I got to write my new ending.”