Simultaneous Stories

I wake up and somewhere a child falls asleep. I turn on my computer to start writing a blog post, and another blogger starts typing hers.  People dance in one part of the world while people die in another.

I walk outside to answer the call of the moon, and elsewhere others see the same moon as I do, while still more rise to worship the sun.

We all live simultaneous stories.

This movie intrigues me for a number of reasons. One is simply that one of my high school friends contributed to it. But, the idea of simultaneous stories intersects all of my writing lately.

Stories are what connect us and what divide us. As a newborn takes his first breathe in one part of the world, an old woman might breathe her last. Those breathes are connected through time and space.

As a couple consummate their love for one another in an elaborate hotel room or the backseat of a car, another one breaks apart in irretrievable pieces. Those stories connect through symbolism and meaning.

As our government falls apart in the face of greed and stupidity, people all over the country struggle to pay their bills, feed their children, and take their medicine. Those stories are connected by a lack of understanding.

As we live our lives securely here, someone dies brutally there. Sadly, those stories too are connected, because the explanation for them lies in belief systems that cannot meet half way, as well as a greed and a hunger for power that corrupts the stories of all human kind.

In the link between stories, between lives, between souls we touch, lie the stories that we all know, feel, live and breathe. All cultures have common stories, told in different ways. All cultures have their demons, their ghosts, their creation myths, and their justifications of existence. All cultures have their jokes, and their songs, and their fairy tales. All cultures have their stories, and they only differ in details, not in essence.

All cultures have the stories told around campfires or while  snuggled in under the covers of darkness.

These are the stories I want to write. These are the stories I want to share. These are the stories I want to hear.

“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.” —Harold Goddard

Join me, my friends, as we sit by the campfire and share each others stories. Help me, my friends, link those stories together in a glowing web of understanding and hope.

I am the Storyteller, but I am not the only one. Together we tell the stories we all need to hear. Together we create the stories of life.

Together we are The Storyteller.

And if life is a story, then we have the right to choose how that story ends. We can choose our own destruction, or we can recognize the ties that join us and create a story that allows room for us all.

Join me, my friends, as we sit by the campfire to share our stories.

Embracing our Sentimental Inferiority

The "SarcMark" is used to emphasis s...

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Well female blogging buddies, we’ve been put in our place. After all,  Nobel Laureate VS. Naipul claims that “no woman writer could ever be his literary equal.” For more specifics about this story, check out this blog post at NPR.

It’s good to know that, simply by nature of being a woman, I am incapable of achieving literary heights.  It’s comforting to know that I don’t have to express intelligent thoughts or write anything requiring thought of my readers. After all, I am only a woman so I have nothing worthwhile to offer our society.

Would anyone else like to join me in thanking this “wonderful” man for clarifying it all for me? I’m going to rush out and buy his books immediately, so that I can absorb all of his manly wisdom that has put me back in my place.

NOT!

Once More into the Wild

“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Many thanks to Hilary Clark from Pining for Poetry and Prose for pointing that quote out to me today, as today I feel lost in the wilderness, unsure of which direction to choose. But perhaps the direction does not matter. I just need to take a step and forge my way through the underbrush, embracing and learning from whatever comes into my path.

Words fail me today. I cannot interpret the mass of thoughts jumbling around my brain. I cannot describe the heaviness I feel deep inside.

ONCE MORE INTO THE  WILD
A Prose Poem

An image keeps popping into my mind of a dark forest. Here and there, amidst the trees are doors of every shape and size. Some simple, some elegant, some austere, some intimidating. None of them have windows. All of them have locks.

All is stillness and silence.

Far ahead in the distance there is a flutter of filmy cloth. A lavender curtain decorating an open window. The breeze blows through, carrying on it the tinkle of bird song and a laughing stream. I cannot feel the breeze yet, but I know that if I could it would bring elusive scents of beauties unknown. The window is bathed in golden light, with hints of green. A glittering green vine has climbed over the windowsill  reaching tendrils through into the heavy dark forest; but the guardian trees will allow no breach of color and light.

The window beckons but I don’t see a clear path to get there. I fear the doors that lead to places forbidden because someone could come crashing through to bar my way. I fear the leafless trees that reach their crooked hands toward me, threatening to trap me in a merciless grasp.

And yet I move one foot forward. The window beckons.

A Journey into the Wilderness

[Submitted to Poetry Potluck Week 36--Sketches, Images, and Impressions]

I am Woman, Hear Me Write

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 random age line come from? What does age have to do with being an “emerging playwright?”

While I commend any opportunities given to support female artists, playwrights, authors, musicians in a world which still undermines the value of a female voice, I’m suddenly acutely aware that many of these awards are limited by age as well. Of course I want to support youth as they enter their fields, but I also value the voices of age. How many people change fields, or only discover their desire to write or create at a later age? Some don’t find their voice until they’ve lived, and that voice can be truly powerful.

Can’t you be a new voice, and be over 32 years old?

I am a woman. I am trying to become a writer. I am in the middle of a career change (or at least a career adjustment)  which is not easy for anyone at any time of life. But, it seems my worst crime will be that I am over 40.

Yes folks, I’ve passed over the dreaded age line which allows me to be an up-and-comer and have landed squarely in the middle of a has-been. Funny thing though, I still feel like I have a lot to offer.

So, kudos to the Wasserstein committee for recognizing the error of their ways. But now I’d like to see the development of a grant program that would help women writers of all ages. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

What is Racism? I Simply Don’t Understand

 

August Wilson Side Door Mural On The Iroquois ...

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I was all excited to teach my theatre appreciation class. I had chosen a play for the class to read as an example of how a playwright will use his/her own experiences as well as historical and social contexts to write a play. I chose the Tony Award-nominated Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson. I gave them some background on August Wilson, his inspirations for the play, and some historical facts about the time period. I thought that was all good.

We re reading it out loud, and we come to the n-word. I apologized in advance, acknowledging the word, but reminding them of the historical context. A black student (the class is only 6 people, two blacks, one Hispanic) stopped our reading and said, “I’m uncomfortable reading this. You could have chosen a different play knowing there were black students in the class.” (Note, the older black woman was not in class today). I was shocked. I apologized and stopped the reading, asking them to read it at home. I explained my reasons behind the choice, but it didn’t matter.

I didn’t say this to him, but I kept thinking, “You are objecting to a play by a prominent black playwright about the black experience because it contains the n-word?”

Am I supposed to pick plays only written by dead white men then? I can’t do that.

Was my choice a racist choice? I did choose the play with those students in mind, because I believe that its important to see that plays aren’t just written by white men. I always chose culturally diverse plays. Is that choice racist because I am choosing things outside my own culture? If that is true, then should I only choose plays written by white, Jewish women? It’s possible to do that, but my options become very limited.

Please help me understand.

Fairy Dust and Starshine: Necessities of Life

 

A fairy offering wishes, illustration by John ...

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That’s it! I’ve figured out what one of the major problems is with this world. Too many people have stopped believing in fairies. By this I mean the more general belief in a magical world that is not dictated by our rules of science. We have lost the sense of wonder that comes when you see the twinkling of fireflies on a warm summer night. Yes, I know that there is a scientific explanation for those fireflies (something to do with mating); but isn’t there power in imagining the fireflies are gatherings of stars fallen from the sky? Our world suffers as people focus only on science and logic, and forget fairy dust and starshine.

Now, I’m not saying that we should all live in a fantasy land or ignore the valuable scientific understanding of the universe. I am arguing that welcoming a sense of wonder, and the possibility of events occurring beyond explanations, allows us to feel another important thing–and that is hope. This does not mean we have to believe in a specific god or a specific religion, but it does mean that we should try to believe in possibilities. Once we let those possibilities go, the world becomes routine and mundane. Who really wants to live in a world like that?

So, all fairies and pixies, unicorns and rainbows, ghosts and goblins, star dust and music you are welcome in my home. All of you who want to join me in world full of potential . . . you are very welcome.