Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

I Give You Permission . . .

I Give You Permission . . .
by Lisa A Kramer
I give you  permission . . .

to paint the sky green and the clouds purple and the ground blue.

to create something out of mud, water, pen and ink.

"The Long Walk Home" by Heather Henry

to write about love, or hate, life, or work.

to dance to your own inner rhythm or to the music blasting out of your stereo.

to pursue knowledge because you love to learn, and then throw that knowledge in the air to pursue something else.

to leave your house messy as you follow other projects.

to live in the present with only positive thoughts about the future.

to celebrate your family and your life in every way possible.

to cry, yell, scream, and moan, as long as you don't...

The Power of Women's Voices

by Lisa A Kramer

The post I had planned on writing before I was sidetracked by the disaster in Japan speaks louder because of that same incident.

Given the disturbing attempts in the United States toward limiting women's freedom, rights, and basic equality I have been thinking a lot about women's roles in society. I wanted to write about women--specifically women who stood strong and defiant in the face of adversity in order to pursue their dreams, follow their goals, and fight for what is right. I'm not talking necessarily about the women who have been recognized by history, or allowed into history as written by men. I'm talking about the women who quietly left their mark in history...

Fighting Bias

Fighting Bias
by Lisa A Kramer
  The gym creaked with the wandering feet of swimmers, families and friends socializing between races at the weekend-long swim meet.  The air was heavy with the smell of chlorine oozing out of the pores of all the swimmers.  Some wandered with huge smiles after winning their races.  Others moved slowly with aching muscles and fatigue, damp towels draped around their necks or wrapped around their waists.  I was usually one of the latter, feeling the exhaustion of a 100 meter butterfly or a 500-freestyle race.

The multi-colored bathing suits and sweatshirts that represented various teams mingled in a damp rainbow as swimmers took this opportunity to flirt with strangers from other teams.  I was no exception, but being shy and uncomfortable...

Battling Boggarts

Battling Boggarts
by Lisa A Kramer
"The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing." (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 134)

As I lay in bed at 3:30 am trying every trick I could think of to make my mind rest and find some passage into peaceful dreams or--even better-- a dreamless sleep, I found myself wishing that we could confront all fears with a simple flick of the wrist and a spell.

"Riddikulus!" I would yell, and the evil woman who still plagues my life would blow up like a balloon...

The Arts vs. Sports, SMACKDOWN 2011!

by Lisa A Kramer

In this corner, SPORTS!!! Usually well-funded. Beginners welcome, but to actually play you must make the team.

Teaches teamwork,  discipline, commitment. problem solving and precision body work

Student athletes are expected to attend classes regularly. . .

. . . except when they have a game, or are travelling for a game, or have to meet with a scout, or receive a text from the coach in the middle of class or they are sick.

Student athletes are supposed to maintain a C average . . . except when they are star athletes in this instance teachers must bend over backwards to ensure passing grades. In this corner Arts Programming!!!! Generally underfunded. Beginners welcome, and we usually will find something for you to do. Teaches teamwork,  discipline, commitment, problem solving, creative...

When the Stomach Adjusts

by Lisa A Kramer

Just after New Year's I--like so many others--embraced a resolution towards a healthier lifestyle. Mine, however, incorporated technology in new and unexpected ways, as I wrote about here A New Technological Obsession and a New (Healthy) Body?!.

Well, I'm happy to report that it seems to be working. Five pounds lighter after only 11 days seems to indicate a positive trend.  I'm not dieting, as evidenced by the small piece of chocolate cake that I indulged in yesterday. Instead, I am just conscious of what goes into my mouth, how it relates to my overall dietary needs, and how many calories I burn on a given day. I am making more effort to exercise, even if...

Animal Mysteries

by Lisa A Kramer
Meet Lizzy and Jasper, four-legged princess and court jester in our chaotic castle.

The mystery is not why they are languidly lying in our bed, Lizzy content on my side, Jasper curled up on Nathan's. That mystery was solved long ago when the weak-willed king and queen of the castle succumbed to the sweet wiles of princess Lizzy.

Well, actually Lizzy mastered the manipulation of Lisa's guilt. One day, we took her for a ride in a soft-topped Kia convertible on an adventure to meet friends. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm chose to fill the sky. I have the tendency to cringe--who am I kidding--crumble up into a shaking ball of terror when loud thunder hits. Blame that on the kids who threw cherry...

Sublime Synchronicity and My Funny Bone

by Lisa A Kramer
I was all prepared to write a serious post today based off of the following passage from Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen: "During liminal times, we often become aware of synchronicity, a word coined by C.G. Jung to describe coincidences between our inner subjective world and outer events. Synchronicities such as the uncanny and timely appearance of a significant person or opportunity are often choice bringers. Will we respond? And if we do, will it usher in a new phase of our lives?" (8-9) I was prepared to write a reflection on the changes happening in my life, whether or not I am at a place where I can pursue choice, and wondering what synchronicities and messages from the universe...

Living a Creative Life

by Lisa A Kramer
Image via Wikipedia

"Putting our voice out into the world isn't for others, not really--it is only for ourselves, ultimately. If it touches someone else, if it changes their life or angers or buoys them, that's not yours to own. Yours is to write, to paint, and to keep on doing that, saying what you long to say."  (Digh 9)

I stumbled upon the book Creative is a Verb: If You're Alive You're Creative by Patti Digh ( and couldn't resist buying it.

Well, I could resist, but the short debate of my inner gremlins and critics  went something like this:

Cost-crunching gremlin, "You don't need this book. You shouldn't spend the money, at least not on yourself. You don't...

The History of My Life in Books

by Lisa A Kramer
Image via Wikipedia

Some friends and I recently signed up for a website dedicated to books. It was our chance to share our passion for reading, and to create a virtual book group for more reading and discussion.

This could be a good or bad thing. Good, because I will be able to have interesting discussions about books and discover new books to read. Bad, because I can already feel the pull of another technological addiction that will distract me from accomplishing other tasks.

However, I have begun my lists of books read, or books I hope to read. I have watched in amazement as my friends’ lists leap into the thousands. I know that I too have...

Show Don't Tell, From Page to Stage Version

by Lisa A Kramer
Each of my young students has a magic invisible box.  I gave it to them a couple of classes ago, after they did excellent jobs at whatever the activity of the day was.

These boxes can grow or shrink to hold anything imaginable in them. They come when called, or can be stored in a pocket. When they are opened, each student can pull out their dreams or their nightmares, things to make us laugh or things to make us squirm in disgust. There are no rules except that they are supposed to show the rest of the group what is in the box so that the group can guess.

One student made her box grow significantly and then dove in to...

I am Woman, Hear Me Write

by Lisa A Kramer
Did you hear that?

The clamor of hundreds of theater practitioners standing up and roaring when it was announced that no recipient would receive the $25,000 Wendy Wasserstein prize given to emerging female dramatists.

Why not? Everyone demanded. How can you silence women like that? You cannot say that, out of 19 candidates, there was one worthy of support? That is unbelievable!

The battle waged over a weekend, and in the end came victory. The plays are going to be reevaluated and a prize will be awarded.

In the aftermath of this, I have been thinking about what the prize means. To be eligible for the Wasserstein prize, a female playwright must be under 32 years old. What does that mean? Where did that...

Loving Language: Reflections on Dylan Thomas, 19

by Lisa A Kramer

Last night I went to a one-show called Dylan Thomas, 19. As expected I was washed away in  a torrent of language that brought with it the eerie echoes of wind blowing over the ocean and the earthen clump of humans plodding their way through life.

The performance was elegant and challenging.  I will not claim I understood every word, but I think that is impossible unless you've read his work several times before watching and hearing. But that is what is so amazing about Dylan Thomas. His use of language takes twists and turns so that meaning becomes malleable, while at the same time he creates word pictures so beautiful and yet grounded in...

The Culture of Bullying

by Lisa A Kramer



The word echoes through the air these days.  Every day you hear a new story or of a new death. For me, recently, each day brings a new awareness about the  pervasiveness of this issue.

I want to do something about it.

This week I conducted a workshop at a nearby high school on Performance Art. While Performance Art is not exactly my favorite type of theater, I think it is an interesting thing to introduce to high school students as it provides them an outlet to explore issues using art, theater, music, and other things to express themselves. I introduce the techniques by using a piece of literature or poetry (for this workshop I used...

The Persistent Power of Perfectionism

by Lisa A Kramer
A nebulous form with multiple eyes,  many arms,  a thousand voices, and a powerful brain holds the ultimate power of destruction by persistently introducing self-doubt into my brain.

Why does it have many eyes? So that it can see into every possible venue where I might feel insecure. It can look at everything I'm doing and catch the tiniest error, even ones nobody else can see. It sees all so it can pounce early.

Why does it have many arms? It can catch and hold me wherever I am. If I fight back, it grips me harder. If I sneak away, one of its long arms can stretch and grab ahold. It can seduce me to, with the comfort of a hug, if it...

Leaving a Mark

Leaving a Mark
by Lisa A Kramer
Sometimes I notice that someone has looked at an old post of mine, and I check to see what it was, only to discover something I don't like or need to fix. So this is just  an update of one of those.  I've been thinking about what it means to leave a mark in this world. I don't mean becoming notorious, but leaving an indelible mark about your presence.  Do we all pass through life as a mere blip in someone else's radar? What does it take to be remembered when you are no longer around. I'm not necessarily referring to death, but when life has taken you somewhere else in its typical crazy way.

I admit it, I want to leave...