Arts and Social Justices
Building Community vs. Finding Leads
This is the question that starts my days a lot lately. Somehow the fantasy of publishing, for me and many others, includes a suddent radical change. A book publishes, people become interested, you get invited on talk shows, people ask you for your autograph, someone wants to take you to lunch, money roles in.
It's all fantasy, really. I learned that when publishing P.O.W.er. The excitement,pride, and energy of seeing my first novel in print, and actually on bookstore shelves, led to a feeling of deflation and emptiness and "now what"?
Actually, I get this feeling after any stage production as well. It's not a feeling of defeat or frustration, it's more like the energy of a slowly deflating balloon. You've poured your energy into this thing, this product, this creation out of your imagination or (in the case of Re-Creating the World) out of years of exploration, practice, and experience. And then, it launches, leaving a melancholy sense of accomplishment and emptiness.
The Gift of Creativity and A Huge Thank You
It's been a long time hasn't it? I've been working on books, thinking about projects, and focusing a little on what I really want out of life. The truth is, that chosing a life that focuses on something so intangible as my belief in the power of creativity and how it can bring people together, is not an easy one. Making a living out of creative projects in the world of late-stage capitalism seems a ridiculous choice. And yet, it's who I am and who I want to be. I am so grateful to the people who have helped me discover this path, and that includes so many different people, I want to celebrate you today!
But first, I am thrilled to announce that Re-Creating the World: The Power and Joy of Collaborative Creativity is now available.
Yes, this book that I have been working on for years, is finally out in the universe. All of the links can be found on here. I hope that you will consider spreading the word, or giving yourself and people you love the gift of creativity!
Living Values in Creative Ways
Where is creativity? It was one of the options that I chose in comparison to other things. For a moment, I thought: Have I been fooling myself all this time? Who am I to write a book about creativity and collaboration, if its not even one of my top values?
Those doubts only sat with me for a few moments, however, as the list of values truly resonated. After reflecting on them for a while, I understood.
For you see, I do value creativity as a tool and as an innate ability (or superpower) that too many of us have forgotten we have. I value collaboration as a crucial aspect of solving problems in the world--if we do not learn how to work together, and recognize that we are all connected, then we become a world full of narcissistic assholes who focus only on money and power for themselves. Our current times reflect the danger of allowing that to happen.
However, creativity and collaboration are not the core of me, rather they are the foundation that supports my core. The things that I truly value. Allow me to explain.
The Clash of Collaborative Creativity and Capitalism
I know, I know . . . crazy or too close to socialism or something like that.
But seriously, I wish that we could simply exchange goods or labor, rather than be ruled by this fictitious thing called money. Money is not real. I mean, yes, there is physical money, and at one point it somehow connected to the weight of precious metals. But, its getting more and more unreal, as things like cryptocurrency and the stock market thrive on the idea that imaginary money builds more money. In some, since money is now mostly associated with plastic cards and apps, some peole don't even know what money looks like.
Money is simply this thing that people (wealthy people in particular) cling too, when it really means nothing.
I admit, I am not an expert when it comes to economics. I don't understand money, and I never will. What I do understand, though, is that in our broken late-capitalist society, money breeds money, and everyone else gets screwed. The exchange of money for true labor (the workers, the artists, the writers, the actors) is never equal to the money exchanged for so-called ownership (the producers, the CEOs, the 1%) of people who don't really understand the work.
Creative Teachers can Change the World
Okay, maybe I'm being a tad dramatic. But one of my favorite high school teachers challenged my social studies class with a creative approach that influenced who I am 40 years later.
What is a living chess tournament? There are different examples of what it could be, like this example of a historical event used to decide who would win the hand of the fair maiden:
To avoid losing them in a duel, the father forbade the encounter. He declared that the two rivals would play a chess game, and human actors representing the pieces would show the moves as they were made. Lionora would take the winner as her husband. The loser would also join the family but marry instead the younger daughter, Oldrada. (Bringing Chess To Life With Human Players In Marostica)
They reenact this event every year. Time for a trip to Italy!
Anyway, the chess tournament I'm talking about is a little different. It involved the merging of historical research, collaboration, and creativity. Little did I know how much of an impact this one event would be on everything I did later in life. I always held this example up as one that shows what can be done when we combine theatre, creativity, collaboration together with a touch of courage.
Asking for Help in a Selfish World: A Rant
5 minutes after I re-launched a campaign to help me publish Re-Creating the World I received the first of many messages to the campaign inbox that was basically--pay me and I will help this campaign succeed. Pay me and I will promote your campaign.
I realize this may sound hypocritical, because I am fundraisng for something. I'm basically saying, pay me so I can achieve my dream and get this book published.
We Are Not Our Labels
Books, Words, Information, Power
It tells the story of a young women living in a despotic culture where women are not allowed to read or write, and their required purpose is to marry young and make babies. However, Andra BetScriviner has other ideas when she discovers she has the ability to write things into reality, and that many women have unique abilities.
Her friends, including supportive men and people of diverse backgrounds come together to change society.
The leader of this country called New North (which in my mind was New England) was a horrible, greedy, ambitious man who believed he was the eye of god and had divine right to rule.
In 2016, I felt like I should apologize to the world. Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of the book and its empowering message, but we had entered into a reality that sounded a little too familiar.
I know, my words did not make this reality happen.
Political or Passionate
So yes, I was a senator, but why was that the only accolade that I recieved? I never thought of myself as political. Heck, I barely thought I made a difference back then, or that anyone even knew me. (I can't remember exactly, but I think I might have won the senate seat because nobody else ran for the office. So" responsible, interested in helping the school. teacher's pet, outspoken . . ." those terms applied, but political?)
Many years have passed since then. 37 to be exact. And we all know that politics have become ugly. Many people who are comfortable in their privilege, avoid political discussions like the plague (although interestingly enough, many of those same people do not take steps to avoid Covid19).
Now, perhaps I understand why I was labelled as political. In a country (the US) where there are more and more divisive politics every day, I can see why I might be labelled political. However, I have no desire to rule, or become a member of a political system so broken that it seems impossible to fix. Kudos to those who step into the fray and try to make change from the inside.
Still, I rebuff the label "political" in exchange for the word
A Song so Beautiful . . .: Creativity and Power
Somedays I doubt.
We all do.
Somedays I doubt that my truth is true. I doubt that creative power can change the world.
This doubt is born out of the frustration, anger, and toxicity spouted so often by mainstream media, or political pundits, in order to get clicks. Because anger, drama, and pain sell more than beauty, hope, and love.
A Journey Into Memory and Story through Hadestown.
Tears welled in my eyes. My breath caught in my throat at the perfection of every moment. I was enraptured by the story unrolling in front of me, and the music that filled the theatre. I journeyed with Eurydice and Orpheus into a land where memories can be destroyed, love does not always win, and power can destroy even our climate . . . but still there is ALWAYS hope.
Recreating the Economy
I have also been thinking a lot about dreams and goals.
The problem is, that it sometimes feels like you can't have one without the other, and unfortunately we live in a world where the money often comes first. I want to change that so much. Dreams and goals should not only be available to those who can afford them.
I took a scary (for me) leap yesterday , and launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds to publish my book RE-CREATING THE WORLD: THE POWER OF COLLABORATIVE CREATIVITY.
Why was it scary? Because its hard for me to ask for help, especially in the form of money. I struggle with feelings of failure when I realize that I am not financially secure. I sometimes fall into that gremlin-filled wormhole that tells me I haven't been
doing enough . . . working hard enough . . . creating a platform big enough. . . . being enough enough.
International Women's Day: Why All Women Should Be Celebrated
"It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political." (United Nations)
I think it's wonderful to celebrate women on this day. I love seeing all the posts about women who have done amazing things. Women who have broken the glass ceiling. Women who are fighting for social and environmental justice every single day. The stories are inspirational and filled with hope.
But there is also something missing. We need to celebrate the women whose voices have been silenced.
Reintroduction, Letting Go, and Creating Anew
Welcome to my newly redesigned website! Whether you are new here or have been following me for a while, please consider signing up for my mailing list (located on the side bar) as transitioning from one platform to another made me lose a few things. It's totally my fault because sometimes technology makes me want to pound my head into my desk or send my computer flying. But that's not important now.
Letting GoWelcome to a new beginning, where I let go of 13 years of old blogs, to focus on what I am becoming, rather than what I was. Of course, I've saved some of them. I've kept my favorite or most popular posts. I've kept all of the posts by other authors in serious like #Celebrating our Unique Powers, and posts that focus on #Creativity, #Writing, #ArtsAndSocialJustice. I am letting go of the rants, many political posts, and some other random pieces. I am proud of all I have written, but I realize that looking forward, writing forward, and creating forward is what I choose to focus on.
Letting go is freeing somehow. As I sort through old posts, I discover things that have shifted, and questions that have changed. I recognized areas of passion that grew stronger over the years. I said farewell to those that no longer serve me. I feel ready, now to conquer new projects, build new connections, discover new collaborations, and write new books.