Creative Living in Corona Isolation: SOS#5 May 14, 2020

Thursdays are always exhausting-good exhausting: A virtual guitar lesson at 11 with Jonathan, my amazing teacher for almost 20 years. Then there’s time for walking and listening to music and audio books- lately I’m obsessed with NY Times essays on Modern Love. But the excitement builds until 4PM when I can open a Zoom session and prep with our Hudson Valley Writing Project’s facilitator team for our weekly community forum where we invite writing project community and interested educators, writers and pre-service teachers to join us for an 1 hour and 15 minutes of writing to prompts and sharing in breakout groups.

In fact, if you’re reading this now and you’d like to join us, let me know.  We begin officially at 4:30 and finish by 5:45.

For the month of April we focused on poetry- perfect timing given that it was National Poetry Month. This month we are moving to the power of music as inspiration for writing. In fact I’ll be leading the group with the music video below.

Yes, today will be exciting.  We usually average 35-40+ HVWP teachers and visitors many  are now regulars. What is really exciting though is the preparation. We meet for a few minutes right after the session with interested participants to reflect and chat and consider next steps for the following week.  Monday we meet together to plan for the Thursday session with a small group that can join us. We map out a plan and a small group returns the next day for tightening. As the agenda is crafted it’s open to the team to return and revise. By Thursday we have a plan that has been created and crafted with care.

I’m so excited and proud to still be working with this organization.  My 20 year anniversary with the HVWP to be celebrated this July.  WOW!

Border Reflections : SOS#5 May 6, 2020

This is my latest creation.  It’s been driving me crazy and I’ve been feeling guilty that it was finished sooner but I do need to procrastinate for a period between documentary pieces and I did have one to finish before this one. So… that one is done and this one is now up on You Tube and on my FB page and doing very well.

Almost two years ago my life shifted a bit… moving into a chapter of giving back, feeling deep gratitude.  I am here to showcase the amazing work of others as they work to make the lives of the needy better.  So I’ve been to Cambodia, to Thailand, to our Texas/Mexican border twice and I was on my way to Tanzania in June, but I might have to reconsider for 2021.

This piece is a bit longer than many.  So much is said about the short attention span of video watchers and while I do try to be as precise as I can be, I let the story direct me,  just the way authors talk about the length of their books.

My story was complicated…

When I first visited Melba and her husband in Brownsville, Texas, they were dealing with  200+ asylum seekers stuck at the border on the Mexican side.   It was eyeopening and I got to spend quality time with the major participants of the team each with a different perspective.  I had music played and sung by Melba’s husband David… and I had a deadline provided by Melba… presentations to make for volunteers and contributions.  I want home and I had a two week window to get it done and I did. I work best with a deadline.

But for my second visit, exploring a very different situation with 2,500 asylum seekers now being kept in the refugee camp with very few able to wait out their court dates with family on the US side.  I wanted to tell that story, of how different everything was…

I went home distracted.  I had another trip scheduled in just 3 weeks for Guatemala so I had to leave the border 2 piece and focus on destination yoga on Lake Atitla and I came home just before the corona isolation with UTI and some of digestion issues but it was not the virus… It took time to get myself back to normal and I did.

I was feeling so guilty that this piece was not getting done and out and would be outdated with the new scene at the border camp.  But with Melba’s help, with a Zoom session she provided the necessary updates…

#SOL19 27/31: A Love of Revision

I used to HATE rereading anything I had to write in school all through public school and college, actually.  Yes, there were isolated pieces that caught me and I worked at them but generally, my entire writing process was complete drudgery.  I loved school… all of it. I loved reading, discussing, thinking, socializing..teachers…everything about school, well not math too often… but I was a school Geek with no interest in being an English teacher… I was all about Social Studies… but the essay for anyone  was a walk on hot coals… and there was no personal writing-.. Wait- we did write editorials in 8th grade SS and some of my college English classes were isolated gems when I did care about my writing, but nope… not till I was 40 and wrote a piece about the worst teacher I ever had… that story was part of my oral history and I loved spilling it out onto a page so it could go public…I worked hard to capture that moment and then share it… with my writing group at Bard College and then for our celebratory evening… That was my beginning when I became a writer and wrote for myself…

and 30 years later I sit with my computer and create one version after the next…

Who could believe that I now relish the process of revision when I create a video…

Some of you might remember  this piece that I posted early in March, knowing that I’d be back to it and  it’s not totally done right now, but the missing pieces will arrive when my collaborator, Kim White comes  back down from his trek in the Himalayas. Yes, the Himalaya Mountains 🙂

I worked hours yesterday, happy hours, tightening, moving video clips and photos around, adding a voice over that Kim created for another piece and  I think works here as well… and now there’s a new piece up on You Tube, unlisted because we are still waiting to make it easier to donate to Road to a Better Life when Kim gets the official approval and we can launch the website… but for now… here’s a new version… less than 3 minutes now…

What do you think?  Notice any changes???  I love being in this process and to think where I came from….



"writing is the painting of the voice" -Voltaire-

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