Review of 2012 - Preview 2013

Here is a quick look at 2012 as I pack it away and move on. Sorry it sounds so much like a job review - but the year has been so complicated emotionally this is probably the only way for me to tackle this task. I want to let everyone know although I had the breath knocked out me I am standing on my feet and working.

When Jim died March 6 my world was shattered. We were married 56 years and the world without him still often feels empty. I am extremely fortunate to have a loving family and good friends who have stepped in to help me back to my feet. I am emensely grateful and hope to "pay forward" all the kindnesses shown to me.

 Jim thought storytelling would be grace and a life perserver for me - he was right. I was back telling stories by the end of March thanks to Jessica Piscitelli Robinson and Better Said Than Done.

Mid-July I was on stage for five shows of my one-woman show Pushing Boundaries at the DC Capital Fringe.
August 1 was Jim's burial at Arlington National Cemetary - where the ritual was powerful and healing. Since then I visit Arlington every Wednesday - and it probably will not surprise any one that my new program at the Fringe July 2013 centers on Arlington - blending history and personal story

In October I attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN with a warm group of friends. It was an emotionally difficult trip but hearing the stories and reconnecting with folks was worth it. Particularly seeing the fabulous Jeanne Robertson in person. She was everything I expected - actually more.

While I adapted to this very different life I kept up a storytelling calendar which included telling stories for the VASA Olio in Lorton, VA, and the Showcase produced by Voices in the Glen in Bethesda; kept up the weekly TV tapings of Stories in Focus and occasionaly tapings of Stories in Focus with guests. As well as producing the monthly Tales in the Village at Friendship Heights Village Community Center.

Two special events: An evening for me was telling stories for a House Concert in Manassas, VA with my friend WVA storyteller Susanna Holstein. And being a guest on the Fairfax VA cable tv show, "Out of the Past", with my long-time friend Lee Shephard.

 In October my sister Kathy, who lives in Georgia,  came for a visit. We made a sentimental journey to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where Jim and I met and lived for the first couple years of our marriage. Kathy came and stayed with us a month in the first summer so we shared memories of the place and time.

My daughter Karen and I spent Thanksgiving with my sister Lynda and her husband Henry in North Carolina. It was a lovely time - and, surprise, surprise - I returned with a new story, Avon, about Henry's mother, which he gave me permission to tell.

Ended the year with a very special trip with our family to California - where we visited Jim's family and celebrated Christmas. Then home in time to be here for December 30th - our 57th wedding anniversary. All I can say about this year is that "Firsts" are tough challenges -- with a bit of comfort in the fact that the "firsts" are done. By New Year's I was pretty worn out with firsts - Now as I enter 2013 - there is one more First ahead - the anniversary of Jim's death March 6.

There are some challenges on my storytelling calendar I am really looking forward to - especially a bit of travel own south which includes Stone Soup Storytelling Festival, April 19 and 2013  in Woodruff, SC and taking "Finding Gus" to Anderson, SC April 21 - for those who may not know - that's taking Gus back to his boyhood home area.

Next week-end I am starting off the year with our annual private workshop with storyteller Donald Davis - now that's kicking things off on a high note!

Happy New Year to Everyone.

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