Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just Days Away - Cape Town - my middle

And he replies in draft: In my ideal internship I would be making a difference helping to empower others using the skills of writing and performing. Any internship that can combine these subjects of study (Language Arts, Theater) with an opportunity to work with youth as a teacher or collaborative group leader would be a perfect fit for me. My primary training is as a writer/performer of theater but I have extensive experience as a performance poet and coach.

I see internships as emersion learning, collaboration experiences, participating in something larger than self and potential or practice for making change in the world. It is real life. It is not safe. It is not predictable, maybe even ubiquitous. I come to the process in formation of myself – a person with natural ability for idea making but desire to acquire a greater understanding for idea actualization. I want to learn how to better organize and mobilize myself and others in order to achieve concrete goals. I believe in follow through and have had success in the past but I have never truly pushed the boundaries.

Leaving for Cape Town So. Africa in 3 weeks:

I anticipate that working in South Africa can speak to my sense of immediacy and relevance. I believe I may better understand my countries transition from the 1950s to the 1990 by experiencing Cape Town 20 years after fighting apartheid and censorship. Cultural transformation creates new struggles and maybe the civil strife of Cape Town today will inform my understanding of my own country, the nature of change, power and the potential of cultural diversity. And most of all I want to learn more about the role of storytelling in defining culture that is a distinctive, spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional way of living together with underlying values, traditions and beliefs.I want to get a better understanding between culture and education. I want to explore how cognitive openness to new styles of living, new and different understandings of one’s world, and new instruments of aesthetic and intellectual engagement can open up the possibility of culture being a helpmate of education.

He the best thing ever to come from my middle. I already miss him and anticipate his discovery will serve others as much as himself. Blessed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If I might be disrespectful….

Today I was out-of-order and publicly chastised for thanking two individuals for a courageous vote. It was partly the room and the dynamics. It is not like I was really trying to be rude or intending to be rude. In fact it was totally unintended this rude thing. It was probably more rude to consider my gesture rude. The intention was to respect the efforts of the community of volunteers that worked hard to serve their community but failed to get serious consideration because of agendas. So my actions were declared rude because they disrupted control and a fa├žade of decorum.

If I could have slipped the thank-you note down the aisle I would have considered it…but that was not an option. A smile or wink could not be seen. And the gesture was a public one intentionally.

A few weeks prior teachers and parents actually were disrespectful, but they were not chastised. They were a mob and some behaved as such and most were not informed at all about the process for which they were gathered. How many votes needed or how the agenda works.

But what was rude was 8 years of service and one phone call demanding a public admission of an error I did not make. No this was actually malevolent.

What is worse than rude is lying. And my accuser is certainly confirmed as that.

What is even more significant is that personal attacks from a true fraud were part of the larger dynamic. In the last election I changed my vote for two people who are now serving as Town Councilors. Even with candidates of my choice failing to win I have never felt I voted wrongly. But two people on my local Town Council have shown me what two faces mean and at least next time around I know clearly who will not be getting my vote. And I just may be motivated to share this opinion widely.

Would I have done anything differently tonight - Nope.

ps. I have this thing about pictures being informing. A picture of me at a microphone is pretty uninforming. So I prefer action shots. And I was trying to create action.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Purpose..all in a day's engagement

Today I got to speak with strangers, passionately about principles upon which this country was formed. No matter what the outcome of the vote on Tuesday, I can say today’s 1 on 1 time was well spent.
I was at the parade in town today BUT I was not really there. I had a juggling challenge: To be respectful of those attending to honor the fallen with the opportunity to inform myself and the CB Team more about how the Community Access TV community building project resonates with residents.

The tone was random. Its details: 1 corner, 1 hour, 2 ½ volunteers (The 1/2 a penguin out of habitat.), a few revelations, several affirmations and perfect weather. The opportunity was both twisted with irony and suspended in time. Its true potential yet to be revealed and to be disclosed on Tuesday at the Town Council.

The memory evoked was ironic. In New Haven as LWV President @ 1986 I was host to
CSPAN. CSPAN was new and covering local grassroots elections. Bill Dyson was running for State Representative for his 10th year. This was my 1st experience with cable TV, futuristic technology and local partnering. The LWV was still considered expert in debate format and trusted for its non-partisan approach to community engagement.

The debate moderator and my peer (a.k.a. new partner-Junior league leadership) handled things much differently than I would have. We were in a downtown church after several prep meetings. Then lights, camera action AND the satellite dish failed. A few minutes of technical check and we continue the LOCAL debate. It is approaching 9 PM and we are literally closing in on the end of the event. The moderator comments within range of a hot microphone. “I felt like an Oreo cookie middle’. So politically incorrect and so fortunately NOT on National TV, I was relieved. Today @2008 the high tech box had a battery which was inadvertently drained. At the last minute plans for a LIVE feed of the parade to TV and the Internet was short-circuited. Very few knew we failed to attain our objective. Similarly few knew we proved the capability on May 24th. The citizen producers on the other corner were most likely being politically incorrect in a fashion that has been known to remind me of the Oreo incident. And the future was being touched. Many will be changed in the future by what we were attempting to do today.

But that is history and my focus was the near future. I was trying to determine the best step forward into the future for the CB Team.

So what was revealed or affirmed by talking 1 on 1 with random people? Dan came closer to understanding my dedication to project (This is important because as a parent who chooses community involvement over family time it is essential that the child(ren) understands that it is not either or, it is all for them.) Dan apologized that we got a later start than planned. But 100 or 200 signatures is not substantively different. Actually, none of our informing the community 1x1 effort will matter if the vote is otherwise already cast.

Dan charismatically got more than 100 signatures. He represented the ideals and the hope associated with the project. His commitment to democratic ideals and passion for justice were evident. I got about 40 signatures. But 40 out of 42 is good especially in a random interaction. I shared more details about the building, process and history. Dan stats were as good. Few shrugged us away. Fewer still said no if they agreed to be informed. People willing to listen was inspiring.

The basic concepts of the
proposal: do not demolish the building. Use it for a community purpose. Price is not the driving factor from citizen perspective. Preserving history & free speech is good. Partnering is expected. ALL of this resonated with 99% of those approached.

Affirmed: Those aware of the issue based on newpaper coverage did not hesitate to sign a petition. Many wanted to know why the town was not giving us the building? Most wanted to know what the opposition position was? No one felt the building should be demolished IF there was a legitimate community alternative.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Memorial..Community Remembrance

I mostly remember dad in his greens going to march instead of work, the Cuban Missile crisis and almost stories of the korean conflict. But then my generation's war took over and friends did not come home and poet friends brought the power of the Vietnam Memorial on the MALL in DC to life. I had to see it in person. Not many things get such a definitive must do in my heart and mind as I no longer have enough focus to create poems.

While in Boulder City we stopped at several artisan shops. I saw the miniature cast of this memorial and had to find it. It is a powerful reflection and symbol of remembrance for sacrifices. It is the image in this spot.

But in all of the near sobs the strongest gulp is why are we again at war? I focus on the artists responses to find some meaning. And I am please to share my findings with my community this day away from work. A video with permission will play on public access station and pictures.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Siloing by Design

A silo is a place where fodder is preserved and stored to provide nutritious feedstuff for livestock. A silo is also where guided missiles are stored. As such siloing appears to be an apt description of how some communities restrict valuable resources. For example having funding and functionality for Public Education and Government Access TV distinctly restricted versus treated as Community Access resources is siloing. Since some believe the content of community access is ‘food for thought’ and others consider it an ‘ever present danger’ it seemed to me to be a fit usage of the term.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where should I be, where is my mind?

My spiritual mentor would always correspond to me on a transformed scrap of paper. A sample of such a transformation circa 1993 is shown here. I found it difficult to throw away even with its tea stains.

I am at my work table where I access work from home and do community tasks via computer. The presumption is that on occasion I collect my thoughts here via this blog which is concurrently a collection of past and future memories. This process is expressed via a Maxim which is keeping a diary supports personal development.

So I am here but I just drove some distance. Driving is now a rare occurrence given I have one eye tracking left. This makes the passenger more aware of my vulnerability than myself. Dad was my passenger today. We arrived late to the
commitment to heaven ceremony (which requires either faith or imagination) held by the family of Rosalie Catherine Cook (his sister, my aunt and mentor). Gathered were unfamiliar faces that were connected through Rosalie. The gathering was small and polite. Charlie broke the ceremonial sounds with a how do you do to the person to his right. This fella married into the family via the youngest daughter of Bill, niece to Charlie and Rosalie. Yes there were cousins in the room. People who once participated in games of tag, kick-the-can, hide & seek all cousins from the occasional family picnic of decades ago.

Rosalie had been a beacon of family connected-ness in a older sister fashion while she lived in CT. That changed more than several years ago. Family distances were not bridged – hearing impairment and other aging issues taking the reigns of daily life when she retired to Florida. The rest of us entered lives after teen years. Her recent return home was brief. It allowed for one visit which included the expected squeeze of the hand…the ‘good to see you my dear' whisper in the ear, the 'what can I feed you discourse. Odd disconnected memories of Rice Pudding made me bring her some. She just smiled. Maybe it should have been Tapioca. (The absence of cigarettes was very pronounced. She had been the embodiment of
the meaning of Virginia Slims for me even as the cancer sticks poured from the pack of Camels or Marlboro.)

But the mind has no focus as the heart tries to reflect: cousins, pieces of art and some craft pull me in several directions. I do not turn on the radio in near fear of more connections that I cannot trace.

My sister has Dad now. They were part of the procession to the burial site along with another aunt and cousins. I returned to my table with a promise to myself to visit here before attending to the external loci of control. Upon returning, I did walk myself and the dog first because it is at this too that I fail daily.

Back to the main event: Dad did not recognize his daughter. She resides on the other ocean’s side. Many years have passed. Today as most days she embodies confidence. She was simply and smartly dressed with color accents. I immediately considered how “Rosalie would have just loved how she looks”. I did the basic black attire. it fit and the random thought for what stylish colorful item in my closet would Rosalie like, passed into nothing she would like would fit today – so the 'do not go there’ voices in my head won and I wondered in thought too much more pressing tasks at hand feeling I would be lucky to be dressed and on time. Not lucky.

Rosalie. You grace every room in my home. There is no more to write.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the Landscape_degrees of separation

Separation can be an act or a state of being. Yesterday in Biosphere2 I quietly marveled at the how the states of environmental change had nearly no transition and that a range of some 20 degrees in temperature supported different life zones. This was science and something I very much hoped others were fascinated enough by to continue exploring.
I realized that very few things about science were made exciting to me as a child and I did not grow interested in things that had practical application. I often regret this.

[A strong memory is that Mr. Afragola, my HS Science Teacher, was fascinated by insects and held a belief that the would inherit the earth. With 300,000 species of beetles and the crazy ant story from the biosphere yesterday --- it is more understandable – his fascination and belief.

The crazy ant story should go here. It does not travel in straight lines. It took over the insect word of Biosphere2. It was a native. It was a subplot. ]

Respite is to be my goal as I have had non-stop task overload for employer and community for 5,500 days. In this attempt I find myself with working in my sleep. It appears very difficult to refocus on different self-fulfilling leisurely activities. The undone tasks surface in sleep. They are the minor ‘nice to have’ tasks that I do not seem to have time for that seem to being saying – you have time now – do me now. I have attempted to address the community related nighttime reminders with daily e-mail correspondence. In 8 days I will know if the interruption of my vacation was as important as it seemed.

This morning I made a connection in thought between the scrubby landscape of my Arizona vacation and my sense of less than well-being. The blackish brown mountain is set far off (and I would not choose it as a view) and the dusty stretch in immediate and constant travel view is full of prickly growth. Some cactus looms tall (with my years or more of uninterrupted growth), some are flowering and nearly all are fortified with thorns. It is a dustbowl with scattered, but connected, activity. I cannot put words to the relationship of what my eyes see, my head connected but somehow I feel this is a representation of my intellect and imagination.

It is time to move along so I will close here. I have a vacation wait for me to engage in it and the driver is preparing for my departure…