8/18/2014

Launching Forth




It is Monday and I feel like I am standing at the "start gate" waiting for the gunshot to set me off.

Lots to do today to "get it together" for my trip to Atlanta Wednesday.
List is done and I am primed----

Practicing stories, preparing paper work, last minute tasks in the house,
and in the midst of all that -
I have started a new project...

Excited and hopeful.

Love that feeling at the beginning of a new venture --- all the balloons going up before you bump up against the obstacles which have to be overcome --- but that you didn't think of at the start.

That's part of it - isn't it.

Knowing that the rapids are somewhere ahead -

I will deal with those - later - and as they come up.

Right now I am going to revel in the personal excitement of

Launching forth - -

More will be revealed.

8/14/2014

A Surprise Stop-By

Some days are filled with surprises.

Today I am refreshing and practicing the stories I will use in my Flesh on Old Bones workshop next week-end in Georgia.

I use iPod recordings to capture all my stories either in practice or during all the performances. Those recordings become the notes I keep for the record.  I like to learn or practice stories by listening not from a script. So, to prep the workshop I have pulled a group of stories into playlist on my iPod. Works for me - and its convenient because I can take the stories any where. It gives new meaning to multi-tasking.

As I listened to the "Martha Pearl" story today I remembered the exact evening I told this version  of it at the Kensington Book Store. We had a small group that night and at the end of the telling we talked about the story.

First I heard women's voices - Jolene for sure and the other was possibly my friend Cricket - and then I heard the surprise -
Jim's voice. 

I could see him sitting - like he usually did - in the comfortable over-stuffed chair near the check-out counter at the back of the room near the counter with his long legs stretched out in front of him when he chimed in with his comments about the story.

"This is a good story, Ellouise." Then he confirmed his opinion that it was also a good piece to use for teaching because the genealogy sleuthing search is part of the story.

Tears slipped down my cheeks. And - I was smililng.
That's how I use this story and why I will be telling it for the Flesh on Old Bones Workshop next Saturday.

Oh, yes, I remember his voice - but for the past few days my yearning to actually hear his voice has been acute - sharp. I was so glad to hear his voice although I had not expected it.

So grateful he was there that night - and - that he stopped by today

Thank you. Thank you. Steve Jobs.

I definitely love my Apple iPod.

Hope you are also using your iPod to catch moments and memories? 


Musing on the Telephone









OK I admit it. I am one of those people who really enjoys talking on the telephone.

Marketing calls are such an annoyance, especially at meal time. Ofcourse it makes sense to ignore the call but its hard for me to ignore a ringing phone. That ringing is a demand to me - - - it could be something important or special or just fun.

There is no getting away from it. I love the telephone - whether its a wall phone or my cell phone. I love having the ability to connect with someone - especially a special friend.  Or you can connect with someone in unexpected places. Yesterday I called Jim's sister and when she finally answered she sounded a bit different. "Where are you?" "We are on a cruise, Ellouise.  Right now we are on the ship - heading toward Alaska."

Today I appreciate unlimited minutes as one of the great advances from technology.  I remember when you paid top dollar for long distance minutes, especially day time minutes.
There were times when my hand trembled as I opened the monthly phone bill. Jim used to tease me, "We would be rich today if I could get back that phone bill money."

Yesterday my dear friend Betsy - who lives 2 hours away - and I talked for a l o n g time. Using cell phones we don't have to worry about the cost of the call because we each have unlimited minutes. We are going to pay that bill whether we talk or not.

We talked and we laughed, and laughed and laughed.  Our conversation took such a ridiculous turn that laughter rumbled up from deep inside me and echoed through the house.  One of the things I love about talking with her is that we have known each other since Girl Scouts in NC and we can say just anything to each other without turning on our "editors".  Talking with Betsy is often a priceless spirit- healing exchange, especially when we are laughing.

And, with unlimited minutes - - there is no extra charge.

My cousin sent me an email the other day detailing all the changes in the world these days.
I read in the list that people are disconnecting their wall phones. 
It explained the math for why you should
Yeah, it made sense.

True, I hardly use my landline-
but so far I can't do it.

Those digits are part of my history.
That's my number.

If I disconnect I might miss a call - -
Someone else might have my number - -

It has been mine - ours for more than 30 years -

Oh, no  - no, no, no, no no
I have to think about this.



8/12/2014

Here Comes Gus



1905 Clemson Football Team

Gus - my grandfather - sits in the middle of the      front row.

I tell a story about him: Finding Gus.We lost him in our family and when I found him - he was a folk hero to his family of origin in SC.

Right now I am working on that story - to bring him back next week in Georgia
where
I will be
                                                                              telling
                                                                              his
                                                                         
                                                                              story.

                                                                              Welcome back Gus.

There is a hero in every story - do you know your heroes?

8/11/2014

VIDEO - Not Right for New York City


With the focus on preparing for the Fringe the past few months some things have slipped by. Today when I was reviewing my stories to prepare for a storytelling trip to Georgia next week
I came across a new story that I have not posted.

I remember it all so vividly - and funny how in retrospect you can see the lessons you received from what happened in the past.

For instance - now I don't dictate what a hair dresser does - I let it happen, sometimes to my sheer delight.
and,
Rather than being embarrassed by my bee-hive hairdo and by the young girl who thought it was sophisticated- I am grateful for the stepping through the Red Door of the Elizabeth Arden Beauty Salon for the first time and having Renee sprinkle magic dust on my hair - - which fulfilled a much younger girl's wish!

And, grateful for Jim - - - who always saw me through a loving filter.





8/09/2014

Snapshots and Stories

August is a time of remembering for me and my family.
Jim was buried in Arlington National Cemetery August 1, 2012.

Last year I told this story about that day.

Today - maybe I would tell it differently.  - that comes with the passage of days, weeks, months and years.

Why? you may wonder - Why tell the story? Why record it?

Because I remember  - - - telling the story helps me to accept it - - maybe others have ways they also remember to accept.









8/04/2014

In Flanders Fields

 August 4, 1914

 100 years ago today World War One began for the British.
It was the bloodiest of battles.

Red Poppies became a symbol of Remembrance for those
who died in the War.

The Poem "In Flanders Fields", was written by a Canadian doctor and
poet from the battlefield.

















In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.
                             John McCrae

Re-vamping lists

Sculpture at BWI Airport

Sometimes I feel like these birds - headed out but going nowhere.

Already 4 days into August and I have not "hit the deck running" quite like I thought I would. Oh, I have been on my feet and doing stuff all right - but the first things I had on the list - are still on the list. I have to make a new list - - and prioritize better - - 

You see, my problem is that I am a very lucky woman - and - new things crop up. Glittery diamonds that turn my head and draw me away from the things I thought or said I would do  ----

Being a solo-performer I work mostly at home for myself.  
I think up the tasks, 
schedule them, 
and see that I complete them. 

Often I am hard to work for.

So I use lists to keep me on track of me.

But lately they aren't working as well as they used to.
 
Maybe the answer is  - - change the way I make lists.

Lists things that I think
  I must do,
  I will do
  I should do
  I want to do

Right there - 
maybe that is part of the answer

the way I wrote that should be shuffled - - 
For today - 
  1.   things I want to do
  2.   things I must do
  3.   things I should do
  4.   things I will do
 
Come to think of it -

Well its worth a try.





7/31/2014

End of the Month Review







July always brings another birthday.
And for the past five years its also arrived in the middle of the Capital Fringe - so it just slips by.


Apart from noting the milestone - its has been a very busy month - primarily with all that goes into the Fringe and the performances  - - but that has been bracketed with a lot of "life" too.

Early in July my friend Kay visited and we talked and talked about shared memories of our long friendship and caught up on where we are today. We met in 1954 when we both entered the First Year Class at the Johns Hopkins Hospital
School of Nursing in Baltimore.

Kay and I both married medical students. Dropped out nursing school to welcome our first sons and we lived around the corner from each other. We have remained close since then.  Jim and Bob have both died recently. We always have lots to talk about when we get together.

Spending three days in Baltimore was great. We were walking in our younger footsteps.  Collecting memories. For me those bits of memory are like the bits of paper I use to when I am making a collage.  They bring me back - close and in touch with the me that was the young girl who when away to Baltimore, fell in love and began a new life. Not the life I thought it would be as a nurse, true, but another life I am very grateful for.

Most of July was concentrated on my performance at the Capital Fringe. It was a lot of work that came together and felt good. At the close of a six show run I feel satisfied and proud of the accomplishment - -

Now I am winding down the Fringe. There is always close-down work after a major project. Thank yous, accounts, and just storing things way. Also planning ahead to keep the story alive. Where to...

Working as a solo performer keeps me on a slowly moving track - - circling not really ending.