Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Philip Glass is 75

Today is Philip Glass' birthday.

Philip Glass is an inspirational and inspired musician and his work crosses many genres. He has written operas, numerous film scores, theatrical pieces, and more. He has collaborated with many other well-known musicians; a few of my favorite collaborators are Ravi Shankar, Yoyo Ma, and Kronos Quartet.

His music has accompanied me on many creative pursuits, including silk paintings, pottery making, and his work is often playing when I write. I often drive with his music in my car sound system. I've set up a Philip Glass personal Pandora station.

Today I was driving and listening to NPR - which is where I learned that today is Glass' birthday. They also had an excerpt of an interview Ira Glass (his first cousin once removed) did with him in the late 90s, which you can listen to here. They also provide this link to listen to Movement I from his newest work, Symphony No. 9.

One other thing I learned from the NPR program is that I now have a new name for his style of music. Not that I've ever consciously tried to slot his music into any particular genre category. Anyway - NPR calls him "one of the fathers of minimalist music." That fits; I'll take it. But what I really liked is that his style is also called Pattern Music. I've never heard that style label before - but I am going to look into it. "Pattern music" seems to fit with some other things I like in terms of performance and I want to research it a little more and see where it all fits together. One example is a dance/choreography style (I'm not sure it's called "style" - dance is another area I want to learn more about) which is called scoring; also minimalist yet so effective and leaving so much room for creativity and inspiration. Pattern Music - I like it.

Thank you, Philip Glass, for all of your music.

And below are a few of my favorites, or excerpts from some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Einstein on the Beach Medley (Bed, Knee Play 4)

Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera (1984) - Part 1

Heart Beats / Naqoyqatsi

Ragas In Minor Scale


Monday, January 30, 2012

Checking In

...with myself.

Writing. Is not coming as easily right now.

I can justify it is because I'm busy. Again.

I am writing. Just not as much as I want or when I want.

picture from Utne Reader
Words. Piling up. Words. The flow isn't happening because I don't have the blocks of time.

Interpreting performances. Teaching. Interpreting a play. Working.

Going to appointments because of the work. So I don't hurt, so I can do the work to pay the bills for doing the work. There's something not quite right in that.



The posts here lag. I notice. I notice again.

I did go to a dance performance last Saturday. Just me. A world premiere - a commissioned piece. Some of it was incredible and I was moved and my attention was wholly on the stage. A few times my thoughts wandered and I didn't feel connected. Overall - it was really good. And I was glad I went.

I've been doing more swimming. And more walking. And getting enough sleep.

But very little "veg" time. I need more.

Words. I made the deadline for one story. The other is still incomplete; partly due to technical conflicts, partly - time escaped me this week. I'm hoping to wrap that one up and submit it after work tonight.

Words. Waiting to be written and revised.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Virginia Woolf - Jan. 25th

Virginia Woolf
Born Adeline Virginia Stephens

There are numerous websites and books and articles about Virginia Woolf. Her contribution to literature, to feminism, to the desire for time and space for women writers. I'll let you look that up on your own.

Instead, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to some of the women writers I've written with and been inspired by and received feedback from over the years. And I'm not talking about dead ones, because there are many of them; or the ones I've only read their works but never met ... but I am talking about the ones I've actually met in this life.


For my current proliferation of writing, the accumulation of short stories and the completed memoir/creative nonfiction (now in editing mode), as well as increased confidence and a stronger voice, a big thank you to Ariel Gore. She is one bad ass writer and she is an outstanding instructor, facilitator, with incredible feedback and editing skills. Thank you for the inspirations and prompts and years of being an excellent role model, writer, and friend.

For unconditional support and belief in me as a writer, Bonnie Hearn Hill. Also a great writer with some great series and individual books, as well as years of experience. Thank you for being there, Bonnie, and reconnecting. And for taking the long train ride to Stockton and our unintentional walk through the wild side of town.
As I begin writing this, I realize the list is long, There are some whom I know primarily through their writing, but had an occasion or two to take a workshop with - such as Natalie Goldberg - and to hear them read, as well - such as Judith Barrington.

There are organizers, trainers, and facilitators I've worked with in other capacities. Such as the women at Write Around Portland - Dawn, Beth, Robyn, Sara - some of whom have moved on to other projects or organizations; they were all inspiration to writing in community and opening up the definition of community - giving access to anyone with a desire to write. All excellent role models for becoming a better facilitator and giving feedback. As well as each of them being a skilled writer in her own right.

There are and have been some incredible writers in the Literary Kitchen over the years I've been doing the online writing classes/workshops - and the in-person versions, as well. So many women - and men - in the Kitchen that I can't possibly name them all and know I'd forget some people if I even tried. Some of the other Wayward Writers are local - and we've had face-to-face writing time. Everyone in the Kitchen and the Facebook lounge - awesome. And Inga Muscio who is currently pushing us in new directions in our writing in a special Literary Kitchen "Decerebralization" online class. Thank you.


Just thank you. For being you. For being a writer. For being there with and for other writers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mars Goes Retrograde - thanks, Hazel!

Hazel Dixon-Cooper always has some great write-ups about retrogrades. And other things astrological. But I do notice that I tend to catch her retrograde pieces most often.

Here is a snippet of  the whole article. It's worth clicking on over to read the in-depth analysis of this period we're entering.

When any planet goes retrograde, the energy of that planet is turned inward. You get a chance to re-think, re-evaluate, and revise. With Mars, this retrograde energy gives you a chance to get in touch with your deepest desires. Add Virgo’s focus on discrimination, self-analysis, and ability to blend body and spirit, and you get a rare opportunity to make serious changes for the better.

Mars is the planet of action, and about the least introspective planet in the zodiac. Mars is aggressive, passionate, and direct. During retrograde, this wild energy is internalized. You might feel nervous, irritable (Virgo), or a little paranoid. If you’re someone who .....

You can read the piece in it's entirety at Hazel Dixon-Cooper's Astrology for You.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Theater & Storytelling as Catalysts for Change

An email from Mike Daisey ....

Hello All,

I can't tell you how excited I am to send this email to you.

First, if you haven't heard, during this break in the run at the Public we spent a month collaborating with Ira Glass and THIS AMERICAN LIFE to adapt THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS for the radio.

It aired the weekend of January 6th in a special episode of THIS AMERICAN LIFE where the only story was our excerpt of the monologue adapted for the radio, followed by a discussion featuring TAL doing extensive fact checking, interviews with Chinese labor activists, and a debate between myself and Nicholas Kristoff.

You can listen to the show here:


Apple was asked to be on the show or to respond in any way. They refused.

In its first week the episode was the most downloaded in THIS AMERICAN LIFE's history. The internet exploded, and the story went everywhere—I received over a thousand emails in just a few days; the response was overwhelming.

That same week news broke that hundreds of Foxconn workers had a stand-off that lasted two days, where they were all threatening mass suicide by throwing themselves off the roof of the plant over their working conditions.


This is at Foxconn, a company which Apple's own 2011 Supplier Responsibility Report said was completely up to code, and which Apple applauded for their efforts. This is the company about which Steve Jobs said the employees enjoyed a virtual paradise of movie theaters, swimming pools, and luxury.

A week after our show was broadcast, Apple made an abrupt announcement. After years of stonewalling and silence, they released the full list of their suppliers, and agreed to outside, independent monitoring of working conditions in the factories they use. It is not everything, but it is a small step down the right road.


Many news outlets are crediting THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS for being a large factor in Apple's decision. I've received a number of emails from Apple employees who have told me they believe that hearing this story on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, a program many Apple employees listen to with their families and their children, created "a morale situation" that finally compelled Apple to begin to do the right thing.

I would like to thank everyone who has heard this story and then told it on to the next person. In theater we sometimes doubt that we can effect change—I think we all doubt it, sometimes. The truth is that telling stories, person to person, is the best way we have ever had of connecting to the human—and whatever this show may or may not have achieved, it has come out of the conversations happening night after night after night.

Thank you,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The not so accidental writer

I thought I was still on the fence about doing the overlapping online writing workshops : Inga Muscio and Ariel Gore simultaneously? Could I really do it.

Did I want to? Easy A: yes! Would I have the time? Unknown. And the money? I could make it work.

I debated whether I would be setting myself up for failure. For overload or overwhelm.

I thought I'd say no.

Then I received the email to all of the Wayward Writers that I was on the list for the next section. Time to pay up (my words, not Ariel's) and I remembered that I had said I'd do it, I thought.

So I did.

Inga's workshop/class started two weeks ago and Ariel's starts this Saturday.

And Monday I interpret live, unscripted storytelling. And next Thursday I interpret "The North Plan" at Portland Center Stage (see the show if you're local - it's funny, it's revolutionary, it's a good night's escape. Then I'll shift my prep focus to Vagina Monologues - which we're interpreting on 2/11 at Portland Community College.

And I'm teaching.

And doing my other interpreting.

And two writing workshops.

This is going to be fun. And I'm serious.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


There is a lot of other information out there on what is happening.
This particular link is Google's petition.
There are others. This is just the one that caught my attention today.
The other tagline I've seen which I like is
Keep the Internet Free

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quote: If You're Serious About Writing

photo from The Memoir Writing Club
"I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling. I became a writer the way other people become monks or nuns. I made a vow to writing, very young. I became Bride-of-Writing. I was writing’s most devotional handmaiden. I built my entire life around writing. I didn’t know how else to do this. I didn’t know anyone who had ever become a writer. I had no, as they say, connections. I had no clues. I just began."
~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Thank you, Jessica Morrell, for sharing this quote on The Writing Life Too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mini Writing Conference in Portland, Oregon

A Mini Writing Conference

January 28, 2012

At last, a practical one-day conference crammed with just the information that you need to propel your writing career to the next level and muscle your way to submission. We’ll cover everything from creating potent sentences and writing irresistible query letters that capture attention, to writing killer openers and making a living in a media-saturated world.

Time: 8:30-5:30

Cost: $99 Includes Continental breakfast, catered lunch, workshops and keynote address by author Christina Katz.

Location: Tabor Space, 5441 S.E. Belmont, Portland, OR

Keynote by Christina Katz The Prosperous Writer: Tips For Navigating The Gig Economy

Workshops: One Strong Sentence After Another, Monica Drake; Killer Openers, Jessica Morrell; Anatomy of a Scene, Jessica Morrell; Paring it Down to the Truth, Emily Whitman; What Editors Want, Adam O’Connor Rodriguez.

Panel/Q & A: Risk It To Get Published with Christina Katz, Jessica Morrell, and Adam O’Connor Rodriguez

Click on through to Jessical Morrell's website for all the conference schedule and details, as well as registration information.

Unfortunately, I just scheduled some work that day so I won't be there. Drats. I would if I could!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Decerebralization - The Timing Couldn't Be Better

The online writing workshop with Inga Muscio, through Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen, is about to begin. I'm excited to try something new. I will continue with Ariel and it will be lovely. And this timing is perfect for me to take on the challenge that will be Inga's assignments. I just wrote my introduction to the online classroom and will paste it below, rather than starting from scratch. It's taken me quite a while to get my introduction to say what I want it to say.

I will be continuing with the regular Lit Star Training - but was ready for a bit of "shaking up." And what better time than now, when other things have been altered. When I've reached a place in my personal growth of trying to be more subjective (and it is still "trying" at this point; sometimes I still grapple with what that even means - it is so far removed from how I grew up).

Here is the introduction to A Study in Decerebralization with Inga Muscio from the class announcement:
"Thinking is nice. I think we can all agree that thinking is an important part of writing. To write from your heart, however, a lot of the thinking business has to be set aside. How to achieve this when everything we have learned about writing involves thinking? This thinking business also eventually gives you false expectations that you and your writing can probably never live up to.
For everyone who can churn out reportage, no problemo, but struggles with just letting go and belting out some genius from your heart and soul, for everyone with a mean-spirited bitch of an inner editor, for everyone with a so many truckloads of memories that you constantly set aside until they gridlock the byways of your heart, our Study in Decerebralization if for you. "

And my class intro:
I'm Dot and a regular in the regular Kitchen. And I just completed my first two-week intensive with Ariel. And in November completed writing my 4th consecutive NaNoWriMo 50k+ in 30 days. Meaning - I like challenges.

So I look at Inga's questions and as I paste them in here to respond to in a logical way I think: THAT. That is why I'm here.

I'm attracted to this class because I live in my head a lot and "decerebralization" resonated.

There are things in my life pulling me into my body, pulling me to live from the inside outward instead of being constrained by others' expectations or limitations or shoulds. A recent health issue challenged me to be more aware of my physical presence and simultaneously take more cerebral action in terms of test results, treatment options, monitoring certain foods and so on. So "decerebralizing" is what I need right now, what I want, as I practice living more subjectively.     

I've been writing a lot - in spurts between interpreting plays or between regular interpreting jobs or after grading students' work and visits with practitioners. But when I look at my writing - when I look at Ariel's intensive and I look at NaNoWriMo - I have to admit that I write more and I write better when I write more frequently.

So, in an effort to write more often, which to me means taking time away from available freelance and part-time job working hours, I need to shake things up a bit. Reprioritize. Stop overthinking and write more. Let go. Belt it out, yes. Stop trying so hard to do the right thing or be nice or worry if it's enough/good enough/worthy of being read/blahblahblah. Write it. Yes.

That's my goal - to keep writing, write more, and try something new. I love Inga's books and there is a different energy from how I write and I want to try it.

One pasted-in question I will leave, as I need to respond directly *grin.* Are you a practical, logical thinking person [YES] who feels {deeply - I wouldn't say "deeply" exactly} challenged [oh, yeah, mostly positive, edgy challenge] by this class, or is it easy for you to throw caution to the wind [nope - almost never - but I want to be that person] and break free from social barriers [uh, no - not totally, though a little, sometimes *ahem*]?

...oh, and to have delirious fun writing ... I liked that in the description of the class and it was the second hook, right after "decerebralization"...

Grand Canyon 2010; photo JD Sampson

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another "Best Of..." : Websites With Tools

This was posted on another writer's website. Some useful websites which are not just for writers. And, no, I haven't been through all of "The 101 Most Useful Websites" - but I've glanced at a few.

Here is a sampling from the list:

15.  joliprint.com – reformats news articles and blog content as a newspaper.
17.  e.ggtimer.com – a simple online timer for your daily needs.
72.  sxc.hu – download stock images absolutely free.
78.  sumopaint.com – an excellent layer-based online image editor.
79.  snopes.com – find if that email offer you received is real or just another scam.
100. otixo.com – easily manage your online files on Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.

A few tools to kick of the new year right. And if you have some other favorites you don't see on the list, feel free to share them here.

Hope 2012 is off to a great start for everyone!