7/28/2014

Grateful for a special connection








These days on Facebook many people are talking about or making lists of the things the feel grateful for in their days or lives.

Its a nice thing to do and its a nice thing to read. Reading what others value and are grateful for prompts me to feel grateful.

Some things surprise me.

Others I have been grateful for over time but never thought to tell people about.


For instance the glasses I have on in this picture.

I used them at the recent Capital Fringe when I was telling The Hello Girls to distinguish one of the characters.

They are old, vintage - and very special for me.

In 2011 when I was telling Finding Gus for the first times at the Capital Fringe I realized there were several women in the story I needed to distinguish - to separate - and I thought glasses would be perfect to use. Small, easy to carry and change and that began a search. I found the first two pairs I needed but was disappointed because I had really hoped for a pair of "cat-eyed" glasses - and jeweled would be wonderful - and I could not find a pair.

One afternoon, on my birthday actually, Jim said he had a few errands to run and he was gone quite a long time.  He went to the "antiques row" in near-by Kensington - going in and out of quite a number of shops until he found the glasses I am wearing in this picture.  He gave them to me for my birthday. I was so touched that he had pursued the glasses with such determination that he actually found them.  I wore them when telling Finding Gus - and I will be wearing them when I tell Finding Gus in Georgia in August.

When I needed a way to single out three of The Hello Girls - there they were again. As your see, I wore these glasses.  I am so grateful to have them - because I can use them in a story but more - -
I  am so grateful they bring Jim close
and remind me vividly of his kindness, thoughtfulness and caring.

I am a very sentimental person -
objects that have meaning and stories are important to me.
as these glasses are -
especially when they also carry a story and a sense of connection.

Once again I celebrated my birthday during the Capital Fringe
and Jim was with me to bless my new story.










Over-connected?




Thinking of writing.

Computer has gotten between me and the ink pen
and, I miss it.

But - maybe I can have both.

Read an ad the other day for the Live Scribe pen and I am tempted
to buy one.
You write, on special paper, it records and transfers it directly to the computer - so you have both.

Hmmm

Have to admit.
I had one of the Live Scribe pens a few years ago

As always, I was attracted by the new gimmick
But I was a little less techno-savvy then
and I did not really learn how to use it.

Also it was big and I felt like my little hands did
when I first handled the big and awkward fat first grade crayons.

And then there is the temptation to try all the tricks of Evernote.
Use it with the special Moleskin notebooks and the new pixel stylus
so that your handwritten notes are automatically synched to
your computer and all your other devices that have Evernote on them.
Write once on a synched connection and its with you everywhere
on any device you are carrying.

Mind-boggling isn't it?????

How much connecting do I need?

How much do I want?????

All of it - that's what - -


7/27/2014

2014 Capital Fringe Wind-up






Woke up this morning realizing that for the first time in 5 months I do not have a to-do list for the Capital Fringe.  Sorry I have dropped the ball with blogging during that time. I was writing a lot - for sure - primarily marketing on Facebook, Constant Contact and other avenues where you reach people.  I am touching base here this morning to write the wind-up and to reach back to my favorite groove for writing about stories and life.

Almost rolled over in my warm bed first thing thinking I was getting a free pass on lists. But, cAan't really do that yet. Instead of a "to do list" for the Fringe - I have the to-do list for "winding up'' the Capital Fringe. That will keep me busy for a few days - along with plans for "what comes next".

Today the first step is a review  - -

1.  Launched a New story - ideas for The Hello Girls began to percolate nine months ago. When I first heard of them, especially their struggle to gain their "veteran's rights" - which touched on my personal experience in working for the Equal Righits Amendment  - I knew they were my people.  First came reading, research, talking to people and that always tough job of assimilating the information so that I could structure the story from my point of view. And, learning that I also had to study-up on WWI.

2. Support from family and friends - house concerts where people listened and commented, small tellings at home to the prime "family committee".  The "committee" came through on many fronts - from devising marketing strategies, outreach and all the other kinds of back-up you need to launch a new show.

3. Adapting to a new venue at the Fringe and realizing its assets. Used a few props - stool, small rug, and folding table - but kept it simple so that I could handle set-up alone. Kept hand-outs short, sweet and inexpensive.

4. The Hello Girls enjoyed wonderful press - positive reviews  - 5 Star Review (Best of the Fringe) from DC Metro Theatre Arts, positive review in the Washington Post - posted on the internet and in the paper,  DCBroadway World - called it an important story that needs to be seen, Washington City Paper.  I appreciate being in the Fringe for the opportunities for reviews and "coverage" storytelling so seldom receives. This was a great launch for the show.

5. Wonderful audiences - I talked to many before and after the show because they were mostly people I did not know. They told me they came because they were interested in the story, that other fringe goers had recommended it, or that they had seen my work before. And ofcourse, family and a small group of friends. Many with military connections - including one young woman from the Signal Corps. Some teachers and historians. Enough that I confirmed my marketing was reaching the right eyes and ears. Wonderful surprise when an out-of-town storyteller I admire came to hear the show.

6. Had fun. I love the story and enjoy telling it. Six performances in three weeks gave me a chance to adjust and tweak things as I went along. There was an advantage to one week when I told twice back to back, and an advantage the last week with 6 days in between to digest and adjust a couple of things.

I also used those breaks between performances to read, review materials, and seek details that would enrich the story and add to the visual impact through-out.

7. The Hello Girls have a story that I will continue growing and the WWI period has taken hold of my imagination. Being intent on this period of history at the time of the 100 year Anniversary has captured me and I want to learn more and more and more.

8. There are minus-es to a Fringe too, ofcourse. It's costly, especially if you are doing it as a solo-performer. It is a lot of work - making the show, marketing, public relations, looking for help where you need it etc. Every time I "do" a fringe I am grateful to the Washington Women's Art Center where I learned how to put on exhibitions from soup to nuts. Producing a fringe show is a lot the same.

This is the first broad brush on a review of the results of this year's Fringe experience.  I wanted to get a first pass down so that I can use it to learn more about what the benefits are. Being a solo-performer has its advantages and its minus-es. Not having a morning after committee to sit over coffee and talk things over is a minus-es for me. And, when I realize how much Jim added to my development and growth as a teller and performer and how much I miss his being a part of this.



The 2014 Capital Fringe has been a grand experience for me - - and a terrific launch for The Hello Girls.

Happy to say I already have plans a-foot -

First up:

August TBA                    House Concert, Bogart, GA.

September 19, 2014        The Hello Girls  at the Athenaeum, Alexandria, VA   7p.m.   $10

October       Date TBA    Hagerstown, MD


7/08/2014

Helen Reddy Sings I Am Woman


Do you remember this song? I have it ringing in my ears today. Hearing it makes me think of  THE HELLO GIRLS - women who went to war - for our country - and then came home and stood up for their rights.

Seems to me Helen Reddy and The Hello Girls have a message for us today!!!!


7/04/2014

Thinking About - - Stuff

Happy Fourth of July 

THINKING ABOUT:

Stuff.
Even though it is a holiday I will be staying on my list.
Opening of the Hello Girls is next Thursday - that's 7 days from now.
Tick, Tick, Tick - - Tock.








So, if we were together we might be talking about:


1. ISSUES: This would be a rant.
Someone I know and love called this morning from their car saying, " I am on my way to Hobby Lobby and.." I stopped her. "NO". You can't do that." ...... and I realized I meant it. My new hero is Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a woman of conviction who stands up and says what's right.

2. CAPITAL FRINGE: Working hard on my Hello Girls production for the Capital Fringe.  Worrying more about how the sound system will work, set-up and other issues because I am in a new venue.

Very grateful to my all "insider" COACHING COMMITTEE, who came for a run through the other night and had excellent suggestions and comments. So I am definitely singing their praises. Insiders are: Karen Schoettler, Jim and Monica Schoettler, and Juliana Schoettler. Story is in place. Still have a few things to work out with props and staging and all the paper work.

Producing a show is heavy with paper work from emails, to marketing, to programs and all the other things that you hand out and send out. Free-lancers do it all themselves - and it is busy work for weeks. I look back and am ever grateful for my work as a free-lance artist putting on shows, my jobs that required PR and promotion work, and the time I worked in fundraising. Made me a multi-tasker who knows how to do a menu of jobs.

3. FAMILY: Barbecue with family and friends tomorrow. Good food and catching up.

4. ANIMALS: Grateful the storms seem to be holding off right now. Our dog and cat really hate the thunder and lightning and stay very close while that is going on.

5. NEW TOY: Last night I downloaded Jacqueline Winspear's new WWI novel, "The Care and Management of Lies" on my Kindle  - - and to try something new I also downloaded the audio version and the Audible APP.  I AM LOVING THIS!!!! Someone reading to me from my iPhone or my iPad!!! Will love it even more when I figure out how to download free books from the Public Library!!!

I may have to wait on that for a training session with my sister Kathy in Georgia when I am down there in August teaching a workshop and telling FINDING GUS my 2011 Cap Fringe show - thankfully the Watkinsville Library will be doing all the paperwork on that one.

6. And Jim  - - -

7/03/2014

A WWI Wife's Story

There is always a back-story for a new story.

As you hear from me all the time, my head is in the days of World War One because I am preparing my new show, The Hello Girls, for the DC Capital Fringe. However my interest in WWI actually started accidentally 20 years ago when I bought a box of old letters at the Dilworth Book Store in my home town, Charlotte, NC.

 One of those letters was from Grace Hotchkiss, young wife of an Oregon Captain who had been stationed at Camp Greene, a training base outside of Charlotte. I have used Grace's letter as part of my stories about letters since I bought it.

I have wondered about her. I also have some letters from her husband written from over-seas - but its Grace's letter that haunted me. Last year when I was invited to tell stories at the Hagood Mill Storyelling Festival in South Carolina I chose to fly into Charlotte first and spend some time at the Carolina Room of the Public Library. Although Grace was not on mind as part of my search when I mentioned her to a very helpful librarian she found some unexpected information about Grace - we have a totally unexpected connection. Often on Stories in Time I tape stories which talk about developing stories. So I taped this new story of Grace's letter.

6/28/2014

Thinking about World War One - 100 Yrs Ago


Today is the day the Great War began in Europe 100 years ago.

For a year I have been working on a new story to tell - THE HELLO GIRLS, so my head has been turned toward that period of time for months.  I have wondered why I have never heard much about WWI  before. Or did I just not pay attention beyond the high school read of Hemingway's Farewell to Arms.

Then a handful of years ago along came Missouri storyteller Mary Garrett who introduced me to author Jacqueline Winspear. Since Mary, an avid reader, a veritable gobbler of books, recommends great reads, I dove into Maisie Dobbs, the first novel in Winspear's series about a World War One battlefield nurse - a survivor. As long as Winspear continues to write about Maisie I will be right there with her book in my hand. Through Maisie Jacqueline Winspear brings the GREAT WAR, the times, and the human costs of war to life.

If you want to walk the battlefields of France and open yourself to understanding the lasting aftermaths and pain of WWI for Great Britain read Winspear's essay: Skylarks Above No Man's Land as I did this morning.

My grandmother's younger brother, Walter, died and is buried in France.
Only his mother ever visited his grave in  San Mihiel Cemetery overseas.
As does happen in families, by the time I was born 18 years later there was no mention of him. I have found out some things through research but there is no one left to tell me about Walter - the boy he was or the man he became.




Twenty years ago I bought a box of cast off papers and discovered a letter written by a young WWI wife yearning for her husband in France but that was about as far as I went. Until I accidentally learned that she and her husband are buried two blocks from my husband (and me eventually) in Arlington National Cemetery.

Maybe Grace Hotchkiss, the young woman of the letter, led me to The Hello Girls.





Maybe you have read the poems of British poet Rupert Brooke.

In her essay Winspear quotes these famous lines from his poem, The Soldier.

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England.
 
 
Just wondering, 
Is that why today the military "leaves no one behind."