Tuesday, September 16 – Words Without Borders

Tuesday, September 16 – Words Without Borders

I am pleased to be featured in a reading this Tuesday, September 16th - a Bookend event in the Brooklyn Book Festival.  Hosted by Words Without Borders an organization dedicated to publishing, and promoting works in translation to English readers, I’ll be reading a beautiful short story translated to English taken from their September issue.

History as Territory

History as Territory

I went to a wonderful talk last night organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance on reclaiming feminisms at the grassroots.  The inspirational speaker, Sandra Moran, spoke about planting.  The first part of creating something new is developing an idea, planting a seed.  To do that, you must reclaim what is yours and decide that territory will be where something new can grow.

Free Expression — Free Dimensional

Free Expression — Free Dimensional

I’m using this blog space to make you all aware of a wonderful organization I am on the board of – Free Dimensional. Since 2006, fD has worked with nearly 200 artists and culture workers, from over 35 countries, who are at risk because of their art.  We help find them safe haven in artists residencies, small living grants, and we develop tools for our partners to use in supporting artists in danger.

New Day (Now Rouz), New Waves

New Day (Now Rouz), New Waves

Happy Spring! — Nowrouz Mubarak! For those of you who have been thrashed around by the waves of winter, do not despair! The shore is near. This winter, my experience of being in the world has felt like one of a sea lamprey attached to the fin of some great whale.  Yes, I get food, great soul-enriching sustenance from doing what I was born to do, but the ride is not an easy one.

Longest Night

Longest Night

Tonight, we will pass through the longest night of the year. We will regain a tiny bit of light, with each new day. The end of 2013 seems to have opened a thousand little doors of terror inside me.  This is the first time I am “properly” developing a play.  That means I’m not jumping right into a production process but taking time to write, re-write, show it to others, share my thoughts, and hear the words read aloud. It’s brought me face to face with many of my feelings of inadequacy, superiority, futility, and desperation.  It’s been a long night in the life of this artist.

On Thanksgiving, Giving Up

On Thanksgiving, Giving Up

After co-leading a wonderful weekend workshop looking at the ways we internalize our defeats and let oppressive messages stop us from going after our deepest desires, I am still asking myself “do I have the courage to be happy?” That depends. Do I know what makes me most happy and am I able to see it and feel it clearly? By clearly I mean am I able to see past the layers; the media images of happiness, the broken record of social messages about happiness, the fear that covers any impulse to disbelieve the imposed voices. While the U.S. is meditating on thanks and having (we talk about giving thanks but isn’t it always focused on what we have — a series of things on a checklist — like a Christmas list?)  I’m walking away from the deeply held notion that I need more money to do what I most want.

Circles

Circles

I haven’t written an update for months. I’ve wanted to, but every time I sat down to share a thought, or an observation, I was acutely aware that something was incomplete. And so, I said to myself, why offer a fleeting, shredded little thing when you can gather up your thoughts for something substantial? Little did I know, that the substantial is made from the tattered bits and pieces.

Crafting History

Crafting History

Sometimes I wonder if everything I’ve thought of, everything I’m thinking of, has been thought before.  Often, it’s in bouts of depression and my conclusion is that I’m probably useless and unoriginal.  (Yes, I am being a bit dramatic but that’s me!) These last few months, however, when I reflect on the originality of my being (how embarrassing) I have been grateful for all the thinking that has come before me. Millions of people, doing the best they could, have lived lives and laid the groundwork for me to do what I do.  Being immersed in the world of craft, it is starting to make more and more sense that originality isn’t highly prized.  It’s nice, but it isn’t the point.

Aerial Roots

Aerial Roots

The famous banyan tree in India has aerial roots.  That means small seedlings growing on its branches send down vine-like extensions that upon hitting dirt, take root and anchor the tree.  If left unchecked, a single banyan can expand into a maze-like thicket of its own creation.  A tree intertwined around another tree, creating shadow trees. I’m living in a similar metaphoric spiral right now.  Thoughts shooting straight downward, leading to confusion, leading to pause, leading to insights, leading to growth.