Sunday, February 28, 2010

Razor's Edge: late!

I knew there was a chance I would miss a deadline. But I didn't think it would come this early.

I did.

I hit the wall of busy-ness on Thursday and am still clawing my way out of that hole.

Not an excuse.

Just saying.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010 Artist Dinner Series

What fun! Dinner, wine, and conversations about art with artists.

From Linda Austin, one of the founders:

Linda Austin and Tahni Holt are pleased to announce our Dinner Series
fundraiser. Each dinner will host two Portland performers, artists or writers in
discussion with each other and the dinner guests. There will be one dinner each
month, with the first one kicking off on Feb. 27th. We do this for our love for
communal eating, a desire for more discourse that touches upon performance as an
art among other arts, and a curiosity about other people’s processes: what &
how & why they make what they make and do what they do.
This is an amazing line-up of artists/performers/musicians/choreographers:

Get your reservations (and the secret location of your dinner) by emailing

February 27: Angelle Hebert + Angela Fair •
March 20: Linda Austin + Kristan Kennedy
April 24: Tahni Holt + Ethan Rose •
May 22: Cydney Wilkes + Lisa Radon
June 26: David Eckard + Linda K. Johnson •
July 24: Tiffany Lee Brown + Joshua Berger

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

tonight: Ariel Gore is reading

Ariel Gore will be reading from her new book tonight at Broadway

Tuesday, February 23rd - 7 pm


1714 NE Broadway, Portland

I'll be at work so have to miss her.

(Thank you, miss polly, for the reminder!)

The only thing better than reading her book is to hear her read it herself. Wish I could be there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

happy is as happy does

...or something like that...

There is a resurgence in the quest for happiness. But not the silly, giddy, just smile and all will be well kind of happiness. Not the doped up/medication induced zombie wife false happiness of the mythical suburban housewife stereotypes.

No. This is a search for the happiness that comes as a part of everyday life. The happiness that occurs in tandem with life, in tandem with the struggles and the sun and the clouds and the traffic and the kids/cats/dogs/partners/work. And so on.

Revisiting the idea of happiness was first sparked by Ariel Gore's newest book, Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness. She does an excellent job of looking at, obviously, women and happiness - across a span of time and sharing academic and literary resources, as well as results of her own research and focus group, all mixed in with her own experiences. It's a nice journey through the field of women's happiness from the 70's to the present - insightful and honest with good feminist analysis of how others have tried to tell us what happiness is. And they haven't always been right.

So - back to what I was saying.

Ariel's book has sparked several conversations and blog posts around this topic. Emi Ha started a new blog (or re-titled her previous one) and gave it a new focus: Are You Happy Now? She has been writing about Bluebird for a few weeks - well, including it in the posts, along with two other related books she has been reading.

This conversation and reading about happiness has got me thinking about it, too. I'm definitely a skeptic of the "all you have to do is think it and it will be so" mode of improving one's life. "Smile and the world smiles with you" seems like a set-up and "fake it til you make it" may have its uses, but it's also a set-up for major sad feelings at least if it doesn't go the way you think or the thing you're faking turns out to not really be You. Practical and appropriate uses of that - yes; and it's been over used and sometimes people miss the action that has to happen concurrently or as a result of the thinking well.

From Bluebird, I decided I'd start trying to notice the positive, too. It doesn't negate that not everything is perfect or exactly what I think I want - but it would help me start paying attention equally to what is working or when I feel good. Notice it and do it more.

The first line on today's post at "Are You Happy Now?" is:

It's amazing to me how so something seemingly small and insignificant can
make a person so happy.

(feel free to hop on over to her blog to see what the small, insignificant happiness-inducing thing is!)
Yesterday I had one of those seemingly insignificant events that made me very happy. The big Q finally sent a repair man (yes it was a man - and there were two of them) to the house to take care of the intermittent internet connection issues we've been dealing with since October. I won't go down the road of frustration it's taken because... tada ... The issue was finally repaired (yes, it could have been solved back in October - letitgoletitgo). And while I logged on and connected to my email to retrieve student videos - it all worked. I didn't get bumped off, booted out, slowed down. I was able to finally complete grading of the mid-term videos. And I felt happy.

Happy that I could get where I needed to go online and get some grading done.

Then, today, I had a long job. But a job with some down time. And during that down time I was able to plan out observations for the student interns I'm teaching. Again - happy. Some forced down time and I accomplished something.

And on out to my car after the job and it was sunny. My car was warm from sitting in the sun and the mid-50 degree temperature felt good. Driving with my window rolled down and the heat off and the cool-warm air coming in through the vents. Sun on my face, my neck, my arms. And I was smiling. Not fake smiling or it's sunny I should smile. But a smile of wanting to get outside and walk and walk and explore and know there are many possibilities.

I see it's supposed to start raining again on Tuesday; typical for this region for this time of year. And I will try to carry the sun inside me and the body memory of being happy and smiling because I felt good, knowing when I was going to observe the students and knowing I can now connect to the internet and sail smoothly on the fiber optic ocean.

And I have a new label in my blog list: happiness.
ps: one more bit of happiness. The online ariel gore writing workshop/class started yesterday. And I did my first quick write. Wow - I'm soaring from that. I have been "too busy to write." I think the correct phrase is that I have been too busy because I'm not writing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

music performance 2/27: Heart and Hammer

...from Julianna Waters, of Heart and Hammer...
Hi Everybody!

Next Saturday, we'll be playing a rare full concert at Artichoke Music's Backgate Theater with the whole band, including the Kerry Williams on Mando, Carl Smith's percussion and Jeff Woodcock on bass. If you haven't been there before, you're in for a real treat. It's an incredible listening venue and we'd love to see you there. Barry and I have both been writing up a storm this past year and have lots of new material. If you haven't heard us before, go to our website at:

Have a listen. I've included a flyer below. For all of you that know us and have supported us so graciously over the years, one more request: pass this notice, or one of your own, on. We'd really like to fill the room, support Artichoke and have a great time. AND, we have a few surprises up our sleeves ... smile.

Now for a little (more) shameless self promotion: Two of my songs are being played on-line at Women of Substance Radio. You can listen at:

Please forgive me if you receive this twice... I really need to go through the mailing list and do a little housekeeping. If you haven't received anything from us before, I've included you from another mailing list just to connect up with you and say, hey, here's a bit of what Julianna and Barry have been up to.

Anywhooo, that's it for now. Well, almost... I want to put out a plug for Artichoke. They provide not only one of the best listening venues in the Northwest, but enormous community service by providing classes, song circles and all kinds of musical opportunities for adults and children. They have a top notch teaching staff and, as far as I can see, nearly daily musical events. I think the economy has been hard on our little hub, so, if you're looking for lessons, or instruments or just good music, try making Artichoke your first stop.

Thanks so much!

Julianna Waters and Barry Crannell
Heart and Hammer
If you are or will be in the Portland, Oregon, area next week, I hope you spend some time with Heart and Hammer at Artichoke music. They are talented musicians and a pleasure to listen to.

And, local or not, click on over to listen to Julianna's songs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Razor's Edge: 2/19/10

Earlier this week I went to the staff copy machine at the community college where I'm adjunct faculty. It's mid-term time and I needed to run off the scripts of the source texts for the students' mid-term interpretations for feedback and congruency.

In the efforts to go green and decrease the amount of trees we kill every term, the college staff and faculty all do our best to reduce our paper usage and to recycle the extra pages and ink-smeared errors. There is an ever growing stack of these unwanted or unneeded pages - handy for notetaking or test scratch paper or whatever other use a one-sided piece of paper can be put to.

As the machine did its magic and pushed out the two-sided scripts, I leaned against the cupboard on which the stack sat. Right there on top was a Lynda Barry cartoon on the left half of the paper and some questions for an in-class assignment on the right half. I have no idea what class this was for and it doesn't really matter.

I am a Lynda Barry fan - so it would have probably caught my eye, anyway. But the picture of the giant 'don't know' octopus enveloping the writer, and her beginning of "that strange floating feeling" and I knew I had to find a use for that scrapped piece of insight.

And so, here, below, is a copy of Lynda Barry's drawing. And, below that, is this week's Razor's Edge. Yes, they are related.

cartoon by the incomparable Lynda Barry
awesome writer and artist (and instructor, though I've never directly taken a class from her)


First: take three minutes and will yourself to forget what you know. Forget it. Find that quiet place where you don't know and it's okay that you don't know. Let it go.

Second: what are your two questions? The two things that, when asked, will hook you in and wrap you up in knots as you search for the answer, or as Lynda Barry put it: "hold you hostage." Write them on a piece of paper and then (a) flush it down the toilet, or (b) thrown it the garbage can, or (c) burn it with a piece of your favorite incense, or (d) even better: tear it into strips and toss it into your recycling - the place from where this prompt was born!

Third: listen to this song, Time Flies, written by Julianna Waters, of Heart and HAMMER.

Fourth: imagine your own version of the "don't know" octopus. Let its arms envelope you and hold you safe in the space of not knowing. Pick up the pen or crayon or ball of clay or move and ... create ... Follow your body and put thoughts down on paper, or put up marks on the canvas on the wall, or walk tall on your toes, or crawl on the floor like the fuzzy caterpillar you saw last spring on the budding tree - create in whatever way feels right in that moment.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On the Fitness Side: an expo

Dragon Boat training has started up again (the first week of January). The Cascade Lakes Relay team is meeting monthly with clinics and talking about our plans - at least a few of us are going to do the Shamrock Run on March 14th. The Grand Canyon group keeps getting our snowshoe trips cancelled because it's too icy or now too warm (predicted 60 for this weekend) and not enough snow - so some of us will go hiking instead.

As we regroup during the winter months and stretch and begin again our trainings - the expos start coming up, with or without events. I saw this one on the OregonLive RunOregon blog. Looks like fun if you're going to be in the Portland, OR area and want to check out some product and go for a walk/run with a group.

Me? I'll be out in the Gorge, hiking!
The Racecenter Event Expo is coming this Saturday, Feb. 20th at the NE Foot Traffic! What can you expect at this great annual tradition?

  • Discounts to some of the area's top events

  • Raffle for sweet prizes, free shoes, free race discounts and more!

  • HUGE, free group run/walk starting at 9am

  • FREE Lompoc Beer while it lasts!

  • FREE hotdogs and snacks

  • Discounts on store products ranging from 10% off for some of our most popular models to 70% off for discontinued models.

  • Special offer on all regular priced shoes:
    .......Buy one get the second 25% off!!! (one per customer, same size).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Annual Rock Creek Symposia on the Creative Process

...from Portland Community College...

This week a series of three symposia over three consecutive days brings together working artists from various disciplines—poets, novelists and visual artists-- to discuss their creative process. The three symposia follow the evolution of a work of art by posing questions such as how do artists begin a work of art? How do they develop it? What happens when they run into problems? When do they know a work of art is finished?

Wednesday February 17, 10 am RC TLC (3/102) “In the Beginning”
Q: What is the origin of a work of art and how do you get started?
Answers from: poet Peter Sears, novelist Stevan Allred, novelist Joanna Rose

Thursday February 18, 10am RC TLC (3/102) “In the Middle”
Q: How do you develop a work of art through doubts and unexpected turns ?
Answers from: fiction writer John Zackel, painter Christopher Knight, novelist Stevan Allred

Friday February 19, 10am RC TLC (3/102) “The End”
Q: When is it over and how do you know?
Answers from: painter Christopher Knight, sculptor Ben Buswell, novelist Joanna Rose

moderated by Mark Andres and Alison Apotheker

These symposia are free and open to the public. The series is funded by a generous grant from ASPCC.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What do I Deserve? Razor's Edge response

Razor's Edge response from 2/12/10

The spoken word artist talks about what women deserve. I am a woman. What do I deserve?

If I woke up in the morning and I said to anyone who would listen that, today, I am going to play hookie. What would happen? Do I deserve a day of, as Emi Ha said, loafing?

What would happen if - for just one day - I was not responsible? If I said: this is My Day and I claim it as my own and I will be there for me, first. What would happen?

Sometimes I know I act as if I can hold up the world all by myself. Or at least this corner of the world where I dwell and work and love and don't sleep enough. I think that I can keep going and maybe I should just paint myself pink and attach a puffy bunny tail and carry around a big majorette's drum - just like the energizer bunny.

Only the bunny does run out. Sometime, s/he will. I know it. I know it keeps going and going and going. But one day. It will. Stop.

I don't want to stop.

But maybe I need to rest.

My body is telling me now that I need. To. Rest.

I have a little irritating rash that my body. Can't handle. It's stress induced. I've been told. And my adrenals are running on high although they are still following a circadian rhythm, which is good. I've been told. Or they're kind of stuck or vacuum locked - like my car the one day we had a few hours of snow and ice and I was stuck in traffic for 5 hours going about 5 to 10 MPH and then my car wouldn't get out of low gear. Except my adrenals are in the fight or flight mode. Still. Too much cortisol.

I don't want to get stuck in low gear.

So what do I deserve? What is it I need?

Sleep. Down time. Rest.

The supplements to help my body heal the rash make me tired. I was warned. Tired and a little cold- or flu-like. But not sick. Though the feelings are very similar.

Rest. "You may have to slow down to get over this," my Naturopath warned. And she may be right.


What a beautiful four letter word.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

upcoming workshops


Poetry, Perception and Play with Dawn
6 Wednesday Evenings, March 10 - April 14
Time: 6:30-9:00pm
Location: NE Portland

Wednesday Morning Writing Practice with Dawn
8 Sessions, March 24-May 12
Time: 10:00am-12:30pm
Location: SE Portland, Sellwood

Tuesday Morning Writing Practice with Dawn
8 Sessions, March 30-May 18
Time: 10:00am-12:30pm
Location: SE Portland

Wednesday Evening Writing Practice with Rhea
8 Sessions, April 7 - May 26
Time: 7:00pm-9:30pm
Location: SE Portland

Sacred Story Writing with Dawn
6 Wednesday Evenings, April 21 - May 26
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Multnomah Village

One-Day Events

Inner Fire: Spring Equinox
a writing and spirit workshop with Rhea
Saturday, March 20
Time: 1:00-5:00pm
Location: TBA

Embracing Change: Transforming Fear into Power
an astrology & Sacred Story Workshop
with Emily & Dawn
Saturday, March 27
Time: 10:00am-2:30pm
Location: Multnomah Village

Writing our Stories of Motherhood
with Traci Schatz & Dawn Thompson
Saturday, April 17
Time: 10am-12:30pm
Location: SE Portland, Sellwood

Friday, February 12, 2010

Razor's Edge #4: 2/12/10

For this week's prompts, something just a little different.

Below are two videos. Start the blue (music) video first: Hip Hop Violin. When the music begins, press play on the pink (spoken word) video: What Women Deserve.

Turn up the volume on the pink video a little higher than the blue video, so that you can hear her over the music.

When the poet is done, you can choose to stop the music or let it play out the additional 3 or so minutes. Read the prompt underneath the videos - and write... or draw / paint/ dance / sculpt...


The one thing I must tell you, is ...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Razor's Edge #3

Today's inspiration is from the Twyla Tharp book, The Creative Habit, which I've was able to read a little bit more of on the plane to Dallas today. I'm reading the section on preparation for creativity and establishing a creative habit. There are so many good nuggets in this book, I feel content to read a little bit, grab a bite of inspiration and go explore. Then return later when I can.

I posted the specific content yesterday, which led to today's topic. There is much more about it in the book, but that sentence is the one which really sticks with me.

Today's topic is

Take a couple minutes to center yourself, breathe, relax. Closing your eyes is optional - only do it if it helps you enter the place where you are and be present with what you are about to create.

When you're ready, look at the set of prompts - or just pick one - and let them guide you to your creation. As a suggestion, read the character sketch, start the music video (it is really lovely; I'm going to see if Music Millenium has the cd in stock when I get home), and look at the picture.

Listen to what bubbles up to the surface for you.

Create: write, draw, dance, cook, plant a garden. Follow where your heart takes you.

character sketch:
He walks tall in his Levi's 501 jeans, the straight-legged pants loose around his calves. The brick red t-shirt is loosely tucked in , except for just above his left back pocket, where the end hangs out and I can see a piece of his white undershirt. One leg seems to lag half a second behind the other, but the little hiccup in his step. The ends of his blond hair peaks out from underneath the straw hat that is held on by a strap running underneath his chin. He hooks his thumb in his right rear pocket, staring at the road ahead.

music: (Antoine Dufour & Tommy Gauthier - "Solitude" from Still Strings)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

a thought from "The Creative Habit"

"Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity. Self-reliance is a happy by-product." Twyla Tharp in "The Creative Habit"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Prolific Blogger Award

Today Christi Craig, at Writing Under Pressure, gave me the Prolific Blogger Award. Christi is an enthusiastic blogger and a talented writer - thank you!

It's hard to believe that I am entering the third year of this blog; and that I still don't have my website up to where I had originally envisioned it. But it's all good. I have been able to maintain my blog and it has been a wonderful experience and given me a reason to keep writing.
Sometimes when I feel like my creativity is tapped out and I could never string two sentences together to send out into the world, I remember this blog. I've had to lighten up on myself a bit - to not feel bad when I don't post daily as I originally thought I would.

My stated goal when I started was three times a week. And I secretly hoped I would be able to do it daily. But I'm not there yet. And I have kept up with the three times a week minimum. I'm still evolving what I'm doing with it - and still dream of getting my website up in full working order - and I am keeping it going.

Thank you, again, Christi. For your website and this award.

Click on over to Advance Booking, to see the rules of this award, which includes
Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
So - here is my list of seven prolific bloggers! (A girl's gotta be conventional and follow the rules sometimes!)

1. Serena Barton / Art of Your Life
An artist, counselor, educator. She posts news of upcoming workshops and classes, found objects to inspire, helpful hints, updates - including pictures - of beautiful artwork from her new studio and from her students.

2. Sven Bonnichsen / the Scarlet Letters
This one should be for both Gretchin and Sven of Scarlet Star Studios; but I listed Sven since most of the posts have been his recently. But they both have earned the award for prolific blogger and prolific creative artists and writers and arts advocates.

3. Mead Hunter / BLOGORRHEA
Writing, theater, creativity, editing. Life! In his own words: "[blaw-guh-ree-uh] –noun: 1. pathologically incoherent, repetitious blogging. 2. incessant or compulsive holding forth on-line. 3. wearisome volubility aimed at an unsuspecting virtual readership."

4. Shell / A Cabin in the Woods: One Mama and Her Pursuit of a Writing Life
A brave woman, admirable writer, awesome mother, whom I met at a writing workshop in beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico. One helluva human being who is writing about "Creating the Life I Dream About."

5. Lois Leveen / macaronimaniac
Writer, performer, creative human whom I had the pleasure of sharing a writing workshop with a couple of summers ago.

6. Kelly Johnson / Run Oregon
There are a few other contributors to this blog; but most of it is from Kelly. No, I am not a runner (as readers of my blog know); but I am a walker and many of the events she writes about include walking portions. She provides tips and tricks and shares stories of events. It is inspirational and funny and she does an excellent job of keeping us up on what's happening with running/walking events.

7. Ariel Gore / Ariel Gore
Ariel is, well, Ariel. She was my inspiration (teacher) to jump back into writing and a force (mentor, workshop facilitator) that keeps me going, even when I wonder why I'm writing again. She is insightful, witty, open, and one of the most excellent editors I've ever had give feedback and suggestions on my writing. She is an excellent teacher/facilitator and a presence this world needs. Her writing is honest and real and complex, whether it's fiction, memoir, journalism, or psychology (like her just released book on women and Happiness).