Thursday, September 30, 2010

National Breast Cancer Month

October is National Breast Cancer Month. There are many events, fundraisers, special happenings all around. One event is a Blanket Tour for  Diana M. Raab’s new book, "Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey".  Over at The Muffin, WOW! Women On Words has this to say about Diana and her book:
Diana’s latest book reflects her experiences battling breast cancer at age 47 and then multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, when she was 52. The book is part practical advice(she is a nurse, after all) and part inspiration, which takes the form of poems, journal entries, and friendly thoughts. To show readers the effect of healing writing, Diana also includes blank sections and writing prompts so the reader can contribute their own thoughts and writings. Diana describes her daily journal writing as “a daily vitamin-healing, detoxifying and essential for optimal health.”
Each day in October, a different writer has been selected to post something about breasts: cancer, surviving, and other related topics. Click on The Muffin link above to see the month's line-up.

I am honored to be one of the writers in this tour. Check back here on October 16th to read what I have to say; I'm hoping to be able to meet with a friend of mine who has already given me permission to talk about her story. She's been through breast cancer, the BRCA gene testing, and some big decisions as a result of the test; she's an inspiration and one of the shining lights in my life.

Here is one of Diana Raab's poems in her new book:

To My Daughters

by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN

You were the first I thought of
when diagnosed with what
strikes one in eight women.

It was too soon to leave you,
but I thought it a good sign
that none of us were born

under its pestilent zodiac.
I stared at the stars and wished upon
each one that you¹d never wake up

as I did this morning to one real breast
and one fake one; but that the memories
you carry will be only sweet ones,

and then I remembered you had your
early traumas of being born too soon,
and losing a beloved grandpa too young

and then I had this urge to show you
the scars on the same breast
you cuddled as babies, but then wondered

why you¹d want to see my imperfections
and perhaps your destiny.
I caved in and showed you anyway,

hoping you¹d learn to be careful, as
if it really mattered, because your grandpa
used to say when your time¹s up, it¹s up.
May he always watch over you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Razor's Edge: 9/24/10

harvest, appreciation, reflection, preparation

These are some of the attributes of this time of the year: transitioning from the summer and headed toward winter. It is time to gather in the the results of what we've sown. To cleanse the field in preparation for the period ahead. To appreciate all that we've done, what the earth and our communities have given us. To reflect on the changes we have undergone and witnessed and to look around for what we need to do for the times ahead.
Today's theme is transition in the time of harvest.

First, watch the video and listen to this song. It is a pagan music group singing "Harvest Song."

Answer these questions; skip the ones that don't fit for you. There are some photographs at the end which may help give you focus while you write. If you feel pulled in one direction by your answers to a question or thoughts that come up as you write, follow them. The goal for this week is to look at what you've sown, offer gratitude for whatever or whoever has helped you achieve these things, and follow the flow of the story your heart wants to write right now.

Today I am grateful for . . . .
Today I know that I accomplished . . . .
Today I am glad that I . . . .
Today I feel hopeful for . . . .
For today I want to remember . . . .
For tomorrow I want to start . . . .
For my future or the future of those I care about I hope . . . .
I am ...
I know ...
I feel ...
I need ...
I am ...

 Bottom three encaustic paintings are all by Serena Barton (the center painting is the back of an altered book).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Body and The Pen

During a job recently, the client was busy with an independent project and I was reading the September 2010 issue of The Writer. One particular article caught my attention: "An essayist finds her stride" by Jenny Rough. She wrote about learning to skull and her writing. Learning to skull and, as her instructor put it, be in flow with the water. She went on and told about her learning curve with paddling, the seeking and failing and trying again, and the moment when she felt that connection. I leave the article reading to you. Nice parallels. It made me think about my current situation and lessons.

I made some notes to write this post.

A few hours later I arrived at my second job. On my first break I went into my blog reader to see what other people have been posting. That day's post from WOW: Women on Writing, was called Writing is Exhilarating and is about, yes, the challenges and thrills of physical activities and writing - similarities.

I knew that I definitely was going to follow through with this post. 

I have been exploring the connections and interdependent influences of movement, of physical activity, and writing. Really, of creativity in general; but my creative focus is writing, so that is what I write about.

I've done three of the Paddling Poet workshops with Ridgefield Kayak in Ridgefield, WA. These have been amazing and inspiring. Participants who have never written but wanted to and didn't know how, wrote. One person who said she was not a poet but loves to read it started taking notes as instructed and after a few minutes exclaimed, "I wrote a poem!" She was floating in her kayak in the middle of Lake River.

Movement. Being outside with the elements. Or inside with the people. Walking, hiking, crunching through snow, sloshing in puddles, thwacking through the mud, swishing through pines/bamboo/cottonwoods/red-leaf maples - moving with the wind, the sun, the clouds, paddling the river. Inspiration, moving through, flowing. That connection Ms. Rough was seeking and achieved. I have felt it, too.

Right now, though, I'm dealing with the reverse. Last week I made the decision to not do Portland's first half marathon. Yes, I was one of the first to sign up when it became available and I was excited. I thought I'd beat my Seattle half marathon time; I had lots of time to train; I was determined.

It's been a series of small setbacks this year. I bounced back from the ten weeks of "Northwest Crud" as it became known, last winter into spring. I was definitely behind on training and slow to get back into it. But I did get back to a level where I could do the Cascade Lakes Relay - which was awesome, again - and I beat my times for last year, which was a surprise.

I was dealing with a sore back prior to the relay. I did what I needed to do and it was better; and I had a quick recovery after I was done with my legs. But the problem persisted a little; receded; resurfaced.

I've been on the fence about whether to let go of the half marathon goal or push through it. I've been doing massage and chiropractice and ibuprofen and strengthening/rehab stretches. Increase my walking and drop the focus on pace. Decrease my walking and focus on posture.

The pain was primarily coming with walking - after a mile or so. Sometimes an ache, a tightness, would continue afterwards - but the pain went away. Most of the time.

So my journey became a little different that Jenny's - I had to learn to adjust my activities by listening to my body. I had to not let my frustration become hopelessness or depression - which it can. Doing less walking, less moving, can stir those feelings, as well. So I pushed for 6 miles with a friend and I did it! The next week I was hurting more and only did 3 miles. Then I tapered back to 2 miles; which I did, muscles tightened, I stretched them out, finished up without pain. No pain - that was my goal.

With that I decided that it was better to let go of this marathon - half marathon - and listen inward. There will be other opportunities if I want to do it again. Right now I need to take it slow, build it up, and do other things. Swimming is back in my workouts. More stretching.

Right now the situation feels like a teeter-totter, because less activity has probably contributed to a weakened core, which contributes to some of the back pain. So the pain causes decreased activity - and so I go around the circle. The return to the pool will help. And I hope to get back to more walking - but, for now, it's a little at a time. Knowing when to push and when to pull, to walk upright, to swim, to lift weights or not.

Revise the goal. And keep moving. Keep writing. Keep creating. Because the creating happens even when I ache, when my back muscles burn, when I cry because all I could do was walk 2 miles. Sometimes writing involves the same revision of goals: if the story isn't working, put it on hold, try another point of view, kill off a character, work on the memoir.

Movement: of body, of words, in the flow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

politics: the Dream Act

information from Papers, The Movie ...


Tuesday, Sept 21st at 11:30 am:
Press Conference at PSU College of Urban and Public Affairs

WHAT: Hector Lopez is an exemplary student and one of two million undocumented children living in the U.S. today. His deportation two weeks ago emphasizes the need for passage of the DREAM Act, up for a vote in the Senate on Tuesday the 21st, as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. The DREAM Act will provide undocumented youth with a path to citizenship if they attend two years of college or serve two years in the military.

Hector Lopez (by phone from Mexico). Deported student. He graduated from Rex Putnam High School in Portland. He was Student Body President of his high school, nominated for the national Alexander Hamilton leadership award, a DECA national delegate, and a participant in the Oregon Leadership Institute. He was a Little League Coach and logged 600 community service hours. He came to the US at one and a half months old. He has no criminal history. As a High School student he took a class at PSU, has spent two years at Clackamas Community College and had planned to transfer to PSU to get a bachelor's in Marketing.

Portland State University President Wim Wiewel. An advocate for in-state-tuition legislation which would allow undocumented youth to pay in-state (rather than out-of-state or foreign student tuition) in the state where they live. President Wiewel also testified at the County Commission for passage of a DREAM Act Resolution in 2009.

Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen. Chair Cogen brought forward a County Resolution in 2009 to support the DREAM Act after seeing the Portland-produced film, "Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth." The resolution passed unanimously and a similar resolution passed in the Portland City Council, urging Oregon's Congressional delegation to support the DREAM Act.

County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, a supporter and advocate for undocumented students who voted in favor of the Multnomah County Resolution last year in support of the DREAM Act.

Melissa Sarabia. PSU Student working on behalf of her undocumented peers to pass the DREAM Act and MEChA student club leader.

Anne Galisky. Director of Portland-produced feature-length documentary film, "Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth." The film was released through more than 500 public screenings in 50 states and puts a human face on students like Hector and their advocacy for passage of the DREAM Act.

Additional Participants:
Siovhan Sheridan-Ayala. Immigration attorney for undocumented youth, available for questions specific to Hector's case and the legal challenges facing undocumented youth in the U.S.

WHEN and WHERE: Tuesday, Sept 21st at 11:30 am at PSU College of Urban and Public Affairs at the corner of SW 5th and Mill Streets, Room 304

CONTACTS: Rebecca Shine, "Papers" Producer, 971-506-8683, Site Contact: Scott Gallagher, PSU Director of Communications, 503-725-8789,

thought: Tricycle's Daily Dharma for 9/21/10

Befriend Who You Are

Lovingkindness—maitri—toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

 by Pema Chodron, "We Can Still Be Crazy" (Winter 2002)

Thanks to Tricycle for sending this thought out into the universe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

submissions: Hag Magazine: Eating Well & Aging Badly

From the editor, Ariel Gore:

I'm writing because you may be a bad-ass writer, photographer, or artist who is ready to step into your hag power OR you may know one who is ready...

(As we've learned from Lindsay Lohan and her fabulous nail art, you're never too young or too beautiful to be a hag.)

In any case, the zine tentatively titled Hag Magazine: Eating Well & Aging Badly will launch in 2011. We are seeking quality memoir shorts, reviews, art, comics, personal essays, excerpts, photography, fattening recipes, interviews, a few good hag rants, radical activist morality tales, How-to do things you're too old to do, and anything else your genius mind can imagine in such a magazine.

Contributors are encouraged to interpret the title of the magazine in the broadest possible way and avoid articles like "Why I am a Cool Hag" or--worse yet--"How to Look 30 When You're 50."

A hag can be 15 or 115 years old, and any gender under the sun. A hag is likely proud of how far s/he's come and doesn't need to look or act like a child.

Stories can be set in later life, but they don't have to be (A 20-year-old chain-smoking over-dieter is probably aging pretty badly--we will take her in!)

Please Forward Widely

Deadline: December 1st, 2010

Word limit: 2,000

Hag Magazine
1807 Second St. #32
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Warning

I planned to post something entirely different for today - but here it goes. Check back in tomorrow for what I was originally going to write about today: physical movement and writing.

Today's topic is part rant and part warning for my followers, those whose blogs I follow, and those who may randomly come across this post when searching for a related topic.

It happened again today when I clicked on a link in my reader to go to one of the blogs I follow. The work computer blocked access to the site. The reason? It was determined that the website belongs to the category of "Social Networking." Oh, no. Of course they don't want us on Facebook or MySpace or Twitter while we're working. I get that. But I got this same message last week two times when I tried to connect to a friend's writing blog. My friend's blog is not at all a "social networking" site. She does a weekly "Word of the Day" piece of writing, she sometimes has guest writers; that's all it is: a writer's website.

What I realized when I went to her website later from home is that it was probably blocked because of the big "Follow me on Twitter" link. But it's just a link to Twitter - it is not Twitter. It's not Facebook. It's not "let's be friends and post all kinds of stuff" here : it's a blog with good writing and resources for writers. Grrr.

One isolated incident. I was going to send my friend an FYI but forgot later. (Sorry, C!)

Today at work I clicked on the website of another writer. Not a friend, but a published writer's blog; and I do remember seeing a little Twitter link last time I was there. Which was about two weeks ago from this very same computer at work. And the name of the writer whose whose blog is now being blocked as a site in the category "social networking"? Margaret Atwood - her Year of the Flood blog. 

photo of Decorative Songbird statue,
Blue Bird
from The Carver's Bench,.

Come to think of  it, I'm not sure that it is the Twitter link that is causing the problem. Although that is still a good suspect. It may also be that Wordpress is the culprit. I think I'll see who else I can find with Wordpress and check it out. But I'm guessing it's the Twitter link. I haven't had any problems with Blogger blogs. So far.

This is even more irritating than the time - on my break - that I tried to get to the website of my new favorite bra, to see what other styles they have. It was blocked as belonging to the category of "Offensive Material and Porn."

Big Brother Is Watching.

We have to be careful of the writers and bra manufacturers.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

T:BA:10 - my final performances

I went to a few less performances this year than I have in previous. Not because there weren't more good ones - but because I had limited time (work conflicts) and I didn't want to get over-stressed with running around.

I was going to go to the final The Works performances tonight - despite having to get up early tomorrow. But I decided that I really did need the sleep *and* I went to Mike Daisey's "Notes" and it was intense, moving, inspiring, and it felt like the perfect ending to my T:BA:10 since I couldn't go to anything on Sunday - the true final day.

 So I'll post my notes in reverse order, since I'm already talking about Mike Daisey. I won't give away the punchlines - this is a work in progress. I found it very moving. I believe what he said that this is still very much a work in progress. I love that. There is an intensity, a rawness, and energy that infuses works in progress that is rarely matched in well-worn performance. The hope is that they keep some of it there 
- but there is something about the thing still being formed. And Mike Daisey does that well. This is some material towards his dream of a 24-hour monologue. If anyone can pull that off, he is a top contender. There were some great quotes. "Why should there even be art in the afternoon? Save it for the accountants who need to do their taxes or some shit like that."  "We're [the performers/storytellers, the audience] just intelligent enough to be dangerous."  "Audiences are afraid, so performers don't come out and just say the thing ... you do your best to find that heart and and soul and show it - to bring it out."  "I speak and listen to the ting that you, the audience, become in this space --" "The magic of ritual, of festival - of theater - ... is that we change the space we're in."  "I come to carry the story, not to understand the story."  So many lines. So many stories. So much more in what he said and, again, the perfect final T:BA experience for me. I'll be watching for that 24-hour performance. I'd be willing to be his 24-hour performance go-for helper. Really.

Photo: Sylvio Dittrich
 Friday night I saw a wonderful dance performance. I'd say this was my favorite dance performance of what I saw. I didn't see all of the dance performances - sadly - but this one made me laugh, cry, feel, wonder, be amazed, and be transported. This was John Jasperse Company's Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat Out Lies.  I often can't explain very well what and why I respond to in dance performances. I like them (or not, but most of them I like) and that's it. I feel connections, I feel moved, I feel emotional - I respond. But I don't know much about the technical language of dance technique and movement - it works for me or it doesn't. This one worked. Really well. I was with them throughout the performance and could have watched even more. I was glad I chose this one.

Nature Theater of Oklahoma's
 Romeo and Juliet
Friday I also went to Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Romeo and Juliet. This was a stunning performance in so many ways. I think it's funny and well done even if you don't know how they do it - are not familiar with their process and rehearsal. But knowing that makes it even better. This was great. If it comes to an area near you - see it. I was going to go back for a second helping tonight - but, as I already said, I wanted to leave with Mike Daisey's Notes on my mind, since I'd already seen this one. I love NTO, too.

This was a great T:BA festival. Next year I need to plan more time (and less work) into my schedule. I needed the slower pace this year - and I am confident in the selections I made. I haven't commented on everything - but only hit the highlights.

I am inspired. I am alive. I feel. I have received my creativity infusion for this season and ready to do more.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Razor's Edge for 9/17/10

Today I'm going in a different direction. I would like to start a conversation here about where to put our writing energies. I know we have different goals and projects - but I also am guessing that everyone has been faced with having to make decisions about what to write, when, where. I am also interested in what non-writer creative types have to say on this issue, as well. I know my partner, who is - among other things - a visual artist, has to make decisions about what medium to use, what venues will further her goals as an artist and what will feed her creative fire. I imagine that dancers, musicians, playwrights - anyone who creates - has choices at one time or another.

Let me know.

Let's have a conversation.

My writer friend, Christi Craig, addressed this issue when looking at the feeding and care of her blog. You can read her post at Writing Under Pressure.

My thoughts and questions are below: please post your thoughts as a comment, or email me directly!

Part A: Does anyone have any experience with - or knowledge about, know someone whose done - Bright Hub, or similar online sites? Here are a couple of links for the "seeking writers" and the main

I've seen some of these sites, or searches for writers, before; this one just came up on WOW as searching for writers.

Part B: This is more a theoretical discussion - or the business of writing discussion - about where to put our writerly energies. Related to the above question, yes, but also in general.

Related to these online "hubs" (and there are a bunch of them) - is it worth one's time to write posts?

As a fiction and memoir/creative non-fiction writer (guess I should throw poetry in there, too!), is it worth my time to do some journalistic writing? Or will it be a detraction from the writing I like to do and the projects I have in process?

One "Plus" is that it *might* generate some income. And, certainly, I would like to get some income from my writing. And the paying markets for fiction are highly competitive. Maybe doing what I'm doing (interpreting) is the best route for income generation, rather than doing writing that is fine, but not where my energies are when I write. I like to write stories and memoir and overheard stories (are those memoir or fiction? *grin* - honestly, they become fiction when I write them because I have to fill in the missing details and I often change some of the exact details because I wouldn't want to be labeled as snoopy; or am I just being observant?).

One "negative" is, as I just said, writing the articles could detract from the other writing. If I'm spending a lot of time generating content for a website that I could use for writing -- where is the balance?

Does that type of writing give me energy to write or steal it? Is there the danger that that type of writing become the same as other jobs and diminish - or, shock, even ruin - my pleasure with writing?

What do you think?

Or, does anyone know of an independent wealth stream I can join that does not involve pyramids, uplines, money orders to foreign countries, or otherwise taking advantage of people? :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

update on the death of acquaintances

It is still disturbing, though somewhat also relieving, that the death of the people I wrote about a couple days ago may not have been a murder-suicide. That has been a puzzle and a difficult to believe scenario since it first was announced on Monday. Unless the husband snapped and became very mentally unstable, anyone who knows them or knew them could see no way he would ever do that. 

Today there were more details released on where the bodies were located in the house and some other information about the case. There are several things that don't quite add up - and the possibility of a double murder exists, though there are some complications to that theory, too. As well as some facts that make it a possibility.

It does not make their deaths any less of a loss if it was an ex-client of one or random murders or another type of revenge/anger - but it would eliminate the shock that one of a very devoted and loving couple, both passivists, both strongly anti-gun, would turn on the other and then on himself.

The authorities still have it tagged as murder-suicide, but they are still investigating and are open to other options, with some evidence that it may have been something else.

Tragedy, still. Yes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

T:BA:10 Tuesday 9/14

Tonight I went to the Gare St. Lazare Players (an Irish drama troupe), The Beckett Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. They took these three writings and turned them into stage performances. The production is billed as 3 hours, but it actually ran 3 hours and 40 minutes. I enjoyed it. Even given its length, it held my attention - and that in spite of being very tired, too.

Conor Lovett did an excellent job of pacing and presentation. His facial expressions and body movements were good and convincing. It was a delight to watch and listen to him. I think that people who are feel like Beckett is "Waiting for Godot" and don't see the point should see this production if you can. I think it makes Beckett accessible and entertaining. And, yes, it's one man on stage, talking, and talking, and talking. And he does it well.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sometimes You Don't Get an Answer

This last weekend we learned that the bodies of two people we know were found in their home on the coast (they had a home in Portland, as well). The story progressed from the first discovery and information release that there were two unidentified bodies found in a house belonging to .... insert the names of the people. These are not people that have been active in our lives for many years - but one of them was very significant for a few years, and our professional lives have overlapped or crossed periodically.

So it was a shock and everyone was certain it was the two of them even though they remained unidentified for a couple of days. Then the ID of the bodies were confirmed as them.

Then yesterday afternoon it was announced that it was apparently a murder-suicide. No note. No known reason. Hints that the wife had cancer and had been ill; but it couldn't be confirmed due to the decomposition of the bodies. The reports say that the husband murdered his wife and then killed himself.

There have been several of this same type of incident around the area for the past few weeks (husband shoots wife, sometimes others, then kills himself). But, having known the husband and the wife in this case, this seems odd. It's a shock. He was not the type of person to have done something like this - especially not with a gun.

But we will never know, most likely.

So, for now, we grieve. We process our shock. And we feel our anger. We let the feelings pass through. These are strong feelings and they bring up other experiences.

For me, it brings back some of the surprise and confusion and, yes, anger, from when my massage therapist - who was also a friend - killed herself several years ago. She had been going through a tough time, took some time off from her practice, got better and went back to work for a number of months. Then, something snapped, and she committed suicide. I had known her for many years and I took it very hard. With her, I knew she was having some mental health issues - but she seemed to be doing well and presented as stabilized.

With this recent situation, neither my partner nor I were any longer close with either of them - but my partner has a good friend who was friends with the wife. Both of the couple worked at the same university where my partner works (which is where my work sometimes took me in peripheral contact with him in the last couple years). But it is still a surprise - there are several factors that just don't add up with the people as we knew them, and according to the people we know who have been friends with them more recently.

What happened? We don't know and may never know. What we do know is that it is a loss to the communities in which they lived and worked and the people who know them. It is a ripple in our energy "field" of existence and our community of the people who have been significant throughout our lives - a loss.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

submissions: NPR's Three Minute Stories

The basics:

Round Five Rules:
Your story must begin with the following line: "Some people swore that the house was haunted."

Plus, your story must end with this line: "Nothing was ever the same again after that."

Including these lines, your story must be 600 words or less. One entry per person. Your deadline is 11:59 p.m., EDT, on Sept. 26.

Three-Minute Fiction Round Five Official Rules
For more details, click on over to the NPR website.

The judge is Michael Cunningham.

T:BA:10 my day two

My second day of attendance (Saturday 9/11) I missed the Wooster Group due to something else I had to do. Believe me, I'd rather go to an interactive art film about war rooms and pinhole peeping than do what I was doing. But I had to.

I did make it to Dayna Hanson's "Gloria's Cause." A rock musical, dance, performance about the American Revolution. I liked it. It was loud sometimes and fast and much happening at times. And parts of it I'm not sure I totally "got" but I liked it. A lot. I felt moved most of the time and in sync with it. I admired their skill and creativity and it worked well for the most part. They did say this is still being workshopped - and that showed in a few places but it didn't detract from what they were doing it. I recommend it if you're in town and want to go.

The second thing I saw was Maria Hassabi's "SoloShow" - which was amazing. The movement, the study, the control. It could be called dance and was dance - but also a performance piece - definitely not "dance" in what most people think of in that category. The show had already started when the audience entered and we were a part of the experience.

Unfortunately, I had to go to work after that. Which means I missed one of my favorites - and one of the festival favorites - Ten Tiny Dances. Hopefully I will be able to catch one of the local performances - although it will be different (though amazing and awesome) performers. It's a great concept and a great experience. I love "Ten Tiny" as it's often called.

Then today (my day three) I opted out of a noon time chat in favor of a 3-mile walk. I'm still trying to rehab my back for walking and it's slow going. Little by little I will get back to where I was. The chats have been hit and miss in my experience. Sometimes they have been almost totally unrelated to the description and my expectations or desires from those descriptions. So I skipped today's chat. Tomorrow I will go to the chat about Beckett. Yes, I will be there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

T:BA:10 my first day

PICA's T:BA:10 officially started Thursday night. I was planning to go to the opening night at The Works (the late night and visual art venue), but was tired and not wanting to deal with large crowds. We have a friend of my partner staying with us and we decided to go out for dinner and I chose that instead of TBA. Which put me to bed earlier and I got an excellent night of sleep.

So last night I started my annual performance arts festival attendance. I've also vowed to not overwhelm myself this year! This is art, creativity, theater (which includes research for my profession), and I can miss some things. I have to work as the festival plays out its 10 days, so some things are nixed already. I did rearrange my schedule to be able to see the most important to me performances - except one tonight. I made an error and scheduled work at the same time as one of my favorites, Ten Tiny Dances; I thought it was a different night. Since the event's founder is local, I will have an opportunity to see the event, though not some of the performers. Such is life - choices and sometimes there simply is not enough time.

But back to my first event late night last night.

A film and music collaboration. Again I've found that many of the art films don't reach me. I can't even comment on my assessment or review of quality. Again, the film was too repetitive, too loud, I felt disonnected from the content and like I was being deliberately held at bay. I didn't get it. And I tried. Was it good? I don't know - not to me. But the videographer is a legend, experienced, has won awards. The musician is acclaimed, as well. Two men anpt computers on opposite sides of the stage with a giant screen upstage between them. Color, sounds, electronic, manipulated, distracted. Where's the enagement, to nuance, the ??

I'll keep trying - but it left me empty.

Conversely. My first event was Mike Daisey's "The Agoncy and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." Amazing. Daisey is a monologue performer with political overtones. There is nothing "undertone" about him. He is funny, loud, serious, and a self-proclaimed geek. A lover of everything Apple. And he has a message. An important and loud message. Well written, well performed. Worth attending if you're local. He'll be doing this one again tomorrow and Monday. Next week he'll be trying out some ideas for new material.

I'll update throughout the festival. Right now I'm waiting for the start of "gloria's cause."
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, September 10, 2010

Razor's Edge for 9/10/10

This week my theme is creativity in community, creating in community.

I know that tomorrow there will be many posts on US blogs around the internet about September 11th, 2001 - what we've come to simply call "9/11" and most everyone who was here knows what that means, even though this is the 9th "9/11" since that time. I am absolutely not belittling the impact that had on the people living in the United States nor the families and friends and co-workers impacted by the event. Absolutely not. It was huge. My partner's brother and his wife were both pilots for United at that time; both of them in the air at that time. He was doing transcontinental flights and his home-base airport (whatever they call that) was the one where the planes were identified as having left from. Hours later we learned that his wife was doing west coast flights and was grounded and silenced for several hours. She was grounded without knowing why - only that something was very wrong. I don't remember how long it was before we heard from him, who was silenced in another country, waiting, wondering. We were lucky, I know; some people were not.

So - my contribution to the 9/11/01 blog posts is to look at who we as a nation really are. We are members of the whole planet. We have residents from all over the globe and what we do impacts people all over the planet, as we are impacted by what others do. We are not isolated. There are borders and yet.... We all breathe the same air and, yes, some places it is dirtier or cleaner or bluer or thinner than others. But this is one planet and we share it.

For now, just for today if you must, try to feel that connection, that shared space. And create from it.

Watch this fun, inspiring, video. Pick one of the places where Matt goes. Write a story about being there; about meeting the people; about dancing in the street/building/temple/arena; about what happens next. Or, because 9/11/01 was an important day in changing how we think about ourselves in the world, feel free to write about that, too. But I would like to challenge you to write about being somewhere else, dancing, with strangers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

reading: Alltopia antholozine release

From Lara Messersmith-Glavin, the founder of Alltopia:

...join us for a reading from the latest issue of Alltopia Antholozine, FLORA. Come hear amazing local writers share a handful of stories from the vegetable kingdom at our favorite vegan cafe! New and back issues will be available for purchase, along with delicious, conscientiously crafted beers, teas, and snacks. Kids are welcome, local publishing is very cool, and readings make for a creative hot date.  
When: Sunday, September 12th at 5 pm (the reading will be short and sweet!)

Where: The Red & Black Café, 400 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR

Bring your friends!

See you there,

PS - In case you've forgotten, Alltopia is a Portland-based nonfiction journal that provides new writers and visual artists with opportunities for publication, peer review, and public performance. Like to write or have stories to tell? Come and check us out.

I'm unable to attend due to a previous commitment. But I do have a piece being published, "Aplets and Cotlets: Getting Gammy's Goat." I always enjoy going to the openings and like to read my writing for a friendly audience - but I have to sit this one out. There will only be six or seven authors reading this time, so it will be a short evening - but worth your time. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

submission opportunity: "cellpoems"

Yes, that's right. Poetry via text.

Last month I submitted some poems to Sage Cohen at Writing the Life Poetic for her upcoming iPhone app, which will feature an iPoem a day for one year. (She has extended the deadline to November 1st if you missed the earlier deadline. Click here for more information!)

We have zines and other publications that are available only online. We have print magazines that have some content that is exclusively for online members.

And now, we have poetry via text! It was bound to happen, right? Cellpoems sends out a poem via text, twice a week, to subscribers. They do accept submissions from writers, so click on over to cellpoems to see what they want and how they want it, and maybe you can join the ranks of cyber-poets.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Razor's Edge for 9/3/10

Below are three videos: one place video and two performance videos. Watch each video separately. When you've viewed them all, imagine the two performance groups meeting at that place. Write about what brings them there. What are the circumstances of their meeting? Was it accidental or were they searching each other out? What happens?

And if that doesn't resonate with you, try this: Watch the videos. Put yourself in one of the situations. You have just completed a (1, 3, 7)-mile hike and are returning to where you started. You take a long drink from your water bottle and when you look up, one of these groups is approaching you.

Write for 7 minutes.


performances by tEEth

Paddling Poet continues

We had a beautiful night on Lake River in Ridgefield, WA, Thursday night. There were four of us in our kayaks, paddling, drifting, being present, and taking in all that nature offered to us. The water was calm, the wind very mild, the temperature just right.

After a short while, we came upon a blue heron standing in the water. Feeding. We've learned from Gail, our guide, that if we don't look directly at the heron, we can get closer. We also didn't want to disturb the great bird's feeding time, so we drifted. Closer and closer, looking without looking, anticipating. We did not want to mess up her chances at catching the fish nor scare her away. Well, maybe not "scare" her, but force her to throw up her wings in disgust at our rudeness and fly away to a quieter place to feed.

Later we saw what was probably a family or clan of beavers. Swimming toward us, then away, then diving deep and leaving behind a couple of nice big branches with tasty leaves. Did they forget their dinner or was it reinforcements for their home?

We took notes as we floated near the railroad ties bridge into the wildlife refuge. We wrote poetry. Then after returning to the boathouse and climbing out of the kayaks (still not my most graceful maneuver - but I do get out without falling in) - after which we sat along the dock and shared what we wrote, listened, offered encouragement and said what was strong in our writing.

A lovely night.

And we agreed to add another session - which will dovetail onto Ridgefield Kayak's Birdfest paddle. The migratory birds will be passing through and departing; they offer special paddles at that time. We decided we'd do a semi-impromtu paddling poet for those who want to participate. And those on the paddle who just want to listen or just paddle out of earshot are welcome to do so.

The added session in conjunction with Ridgefield's Birdfest will be on Friday, October 8th, from 4-6pm. As with the first three, reservations are required. They are especially required for this paddle, which will fill up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

authors in conversation



Margaret Atwood & Ursula K. Le Guin

Together In Conversation
Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

Margaret Atwood is the acclaimed author of over 30 books, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and The Year of the Flood. The Washington Post calls her “Canada’s greatest living novelist.”

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of Oregon’s preeminent writers. She is the author of over 40 books and is revered by readers and critics in almost every genre, including science fiction, fantasy, poetry, children’s books and literary criticism.

There are some other great writers in this series - but this one really caught my attention. This series generally sells out - so, if you're local or will be in town, get the tickets while you can. I suspect this season will sell quickly.

catching up

This is a time of high activity. Not all work - but not all fun; intense.

Today the pace caught up with me in the form of missing my chiropractic appointment because I mis-remembered the time. And I really wanted that appointment today. We rescheduled and there is no giant, serious thing going on that will limit my ability to work or play (well, not much) - but it would have been really nice to have seen her today. Now I have to wait another week; and I'll be fine.

But missing appointments is not something I normally or frequently do. I'm generally very good about keeping track of where I need to be and when; sometimes I misjudge the traffic or get bogged down in a project and am a little late, but I get there. Noticing when I start running a little late too often is a sign that my life is out of balance. Missing an appointment, for me, is a sign that I'm slipping into the over-coping mode and need to evaluate my schedules and activities.

That would be now.

And in that looking at things, I also see that I have fallen behind on working on the novel. I am writing pretty regularly right now. I'm back in the Wayward Writers group and loving it. I write at least two pieces a week and give and get feedback; it's wonderful! But it's not the novel (but some of these short pieces will be developed into sections of the memoir). For the novel, what I need now is time. Blocks of time. I've done notes and research and charting - now I need chunks of time to work on revision/editing. I'm going to look at what I have in October and plan to spend some time on that before NaNoWriMo-November; I'll do some in September, too - but I'm not sure how many blocks of time I can fit in around PICA's T:BA:10 and a short trip.

I also have two friends who have had some serious medical situations in the last couple of weeks. One was a planned, major surgery - a member of the dragon boat team and everyone pulled together to set up daily meals delivery for her and her daughter; amazing group of women! The other one is an acute and unexpected illness that has had her nearly immobile and hospitalized for a couple weeks; and she has just moved to a rehabilitation facility for about six weeks. Another member of the team and, again, the members have been great about visits and phone calls and really being there for her, too. These two situations have really emphasized the value of friends and community and having people who care. I feel so blessed to have these women in my lives.

It's also important for me to note that not everything I have going on is negative or bad stress. Last week I got to interpret for ZZ Top and this Friday I will interpret for Lynyrd Skynyrd. I like interpreting concerts. They are a lot of work to prepare for - but fun. It's fun to play with languages (the translation from English to ASL) and to make it match the performers. And the audience members I'm interpreting for really like these bands, I know what their language needs are, and they like my style. Last week they had an awesome time, they said - they left smiling and happy -- and isn't that the goal?

So - one more concert, then I will get a couple weeks off of that type of preparation. Next week my work is light and the TBA festival begins. The TBA festival is theater, writing, drama, performance, dance, film, music - all stuffed into 10 days of creativity. I will be an audience member - and a creative observer.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

workshop reminder: final Paddling Poet

*Final kayak and writing workshop is Thursday 9/2*

Dot has teamed up with Ridgefield Kayak to offer creativity workshops on the water.

A two-hour guided paddle on Lake River with the intent
to be in flow with the water, the wildlife,
letting nature be our guide and our muse.

Join us as we share poetry and inspiration,
being present as our creativity blooms.
Writing and note-taking time will be included.

Ridgefield Kayak in Ridgefield, WA
visit their website for directions

We meet at 6 PM, the paddle begins at 6:30; we will stop for writing time along the river and return about 9.

Cost: $55 each session, which includes kayak rental, paddle, guide, and PFD.

Pre-registration is required by contacting Ridgefield Kayak at (360) 727-3120 or (503) 319-1146 and paying the $35 paddling fee. The balance of $20 is due at the time of the workshop, payable to Dot Hearn.

photograph c. Ridgefield Kayak