Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is this really necessary?

I spent the afternoon wandering through Asheville’s L.O.F.T. (Lost Objects Found Treasures) store on Merrimon Ave. I was trying to find a gift for a colleague in my office. I wasted the majority of my 45 minutes entertaining myself at the thought of our accountant’s reaction to a check request and receipt for a book entitled “Poopendous!” or “Thoughts from the Commode.” Nothing sings professional praises like an office adornment that says “You’re the mac to my cheese and the gee to my whiz.” Not finding anything deeply moving, I headed to the cards and came across one that said something along the lines of "All of the great artists, inventors, athletes, revolutionaries and poets didn't start out that way." I really like that idea, and it's stuck with me like poo to a shoe for the rest of the evening. Now, I sit here hyperventilating (you think I'm kidding) over my website for WinnersWords and I hear myself asking, "Is this really necessary?" Why on earth am I focusing on the widgets and pattywacks of my website, neither of which I fully care to understand, when all I want to be doing is writing? If I could have a moment with all of the inventors, athletes and  writers that were lumped into greatness, I would like to ask them: how can you tell what is necessary and what is superfluous when you are carving out your own path? 

I'll let you mull that one over for awhile, or pass it along to any of the Greats you may be rubbing elbows with in your inner... or peripheral circles (no judgment). Have them forward their epiphanies to Rachel@winnerswords.com. Thanks. To take it down a philosophical notch, I found myself asking this same question of necessity shortly after leaving the LOFT. Upon entering the parking garage, I came across this sign:

I want to know who the hell needed this picture in order to survive the treacherous turn from the entry of the parking garage into the stairwell. In case you can’t see, this is a right turn. If you do not turn right, you could potentially fall off of a small sidewalk cliff. The scaffolding, however, might save you from the deadly four-foot tumble. But in case you didn’t see the neon orange scaffolding, or the no more walkway part, some thoughtful Samaritan with no regard for natural selection has illuminated the proper turn into the stairwell with a laminated sign. Oh great, affluent and world-dominating American society, is this really necessary? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I am from

This week my organization hosted its annual Convening, for which all of our grant recipients and funders come together to dance a bit of Salsa, learn a bit about board development and fundraising, and hang out for a couple of days. Within the theme of story-telling, we invited this amazing internationally renowned slam poet to join us for one of the sessions Kane Smego asked us to write an I am From poem; I really enjoyed the process, and would like to share my result with you.

I am from roller blades carrying hopes and laughter along the smooth path where the palm trees meet the bay.

I am from a lawn of daily newspapers covered in hot dew and nightfall gatherings to discuss matters of great importance like the boundaries for flashlight tag.

I am from the cracks and pops of sunflower seed shells – a father-daughter’s Morse code for “all is well”
I am from courage. I am from twenty years of fear twisted into panty hose and neck ties choking the aspirations of my parents.

I am from three meals a day – Dad ate shoulds for breakfast and Mom stir-fried cant’s into frozen bags of broccoli until they were so full but not satisfied they nearly vomited up our own dreams and once it all comes out they can never go back in.

I am from a climb – a leap from sea-level and a falling upwards, caught by the mountains and cradled in a valley of courage and fresh air. 

Kane has made his mark on the world by empowering youth to share their stories (check out Sacrificial Poets). What a badass!!! Take a listen if you have a minute - his "Superhero" piece was especially moving in the context of our Latino organization convening. It's hard to hear the words, but try hard because the way he paints images with his words is absolutely captivating.