NEW FRIDAY VIDEO - Interview with Noa Baum

Interview - Noa Baum from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

Interview with storyteller Noa Baum. Noa, an Israeli who lives in Maryland, travels across the US and internationally telling her program A Land Twice Promsed. She talks about how she developed this popular and important story of a friendship between to women, one an Israeli, the other a Palestinian.
More about Noa at www.noabaum.com

Honeysuckle Time Traveling

the sweet intoxicating perfume
of white honeysuckle blossoms
where the vines climb
around the pond
outside our PA kitchen.

reminds me of the
honeysuckle draped fences
lining the alley cut-through
walking home
from my grandmother's

with one whiff
I straddle two worlds
then and now.

which is real?


Thursday - 3 Beautiful Things

Sunshine, warm and bright
promises a great day
ah, good!

Broke my record yesterday
did not write a daily blog post
you know the feeling
like not having perfect attendance in school
come to think of it.
I never did get one of those special badges.


If I had written yesterday I would have mentioned
  • the good time laughing phone talk I enjoyed with my sister Lynda
  • watching Kinky Boots - a Brit flick that is touching and funny - with a subtle message
  • Skyping an East to West coast business session with Robin. Revving up for the Capital Fringe in July. Need to get the business stuff out of the way so I can focus on the story.
  • Richmond storyteller Slash Coleman will be the June guest teller at Kensington and on the TV SHOW. Will post the interview here. Feels good to have things lining up.


Photograph = lesson

The day in the picture
was a very good day.
8th grade at Piedmont Junior High School,
Charlotte, NC.
This was the get-up we had to wear as part of our
initiation into the Jr. Honor Society.

I had worked hard
so that I could be
the butt of that joke
for a day.

I do that a lot
Work hard
struggle, plot and plan
to get myself into tough spots.

In fact I am quite good
at getting myself into hard places
which require even more work to get myself out of.

I read the other day about the foolishness
of trying to zip yourself into a place you don't fit.
like hammering a square peg into a round hole.

I know when I am doing that hammering
I feel it all over my body

the trick is to recognize the foolishness
before you lift the hammer
and look for another hole
a square hole -
where it will be easy.

Maybe so. Maybe so.


Barber Shop Short-short

Saturday mornings this shop is filled
with men and boys
getting their haircut
and an occasional woman
like me.

I love hearing the town gossip
and the friendly back and forth joshing
among long time friends.

While I waited my turn
with my favorite woman barber
I watched this hair show.

When his turn came
a smallish ten year old boy with a mass of thick black hair
soldiered over to the barber's chair
and announced
in a loud, determined voice
"I want a Mohawk."
After the barber helped him onto a board across the chair arms
he looked toward the boy's father
sitting near-by
"that OK with you?'

The father nodded and the head shaving ritual began.

Afterwards the boy stood by as his father paid the barber
"That's eight dollars."
Then the youngster swaggered a bit as he followed his father onto the street.

"So that's how they do that - " I laughed to Bonnie. "Wonder what his Mom will say?"


Gettysburg Friends of the Library Bookstore and a story

Jim and I rode into Gettysburg for lunch. We lucked into a parking space downtown just in front of the main Library - where we saw this irresistible sign. "We have to go in - for Robin."

You enter the shop from street level. It is small, inviting, and every inch is crammed with books.

The books are well organized and easy to browse.

There were only a few people
which was good - the space will not accommodate a crowd.

I asked the man sitting behind the desk, "may I take pictures." He seemed surprised so I went on, "our daughter is involved with the Friends of the Library Bookshop in Lafayette, CA. She is interested in shops at other libraries." He looked up - then volunteered -
"Lafayette, Ca? Hmmm.
I once lived there - on Moraga Road - when it was all farm lands.
I suppose its all houses now?"

We had stepped into one of those wonderful small world moments!

As we chatted he remembered more images of the years he lived in Lafayette when he was a boy. He was born in Oakland in 1931 - the family lived on Moraga Road during the early 1940s - when it was "farm lands and country."
"Oh, yes, St. Mary's was there and all those hills."

"I remember one Sunday morning my dad and I rode our bikes into Lafayette. The radio was blaring in the drugstore - - - that's where we heard the news bulletin about Pearl Harbor.
It was December 7, 1941."

Then - "there was a place called Orinda. Do you know it?
They opened a big, new movie theater when we lived there - I suppose its gone."
"No - its still there and working - - care-worn but a wonderful old theater - one of our favorite places when we go out."

He and Jim reminisced about the California they remembered as boys - a rare moment of shared memories - - - in a used bookshop tucked in the basement of the Adams County Library in Gettysburg, PA - - about 2,800 miles away from the West Coast. A gift.

Another bit for a story.


In the Country

The grass is lush and green
freshly mowed
and sweet smelling

Princess Leia loves it here
and runs free
which she cannot do at home
where the electric fence
corrals her.

We have missed most of the tulips
but there are a few
brightening the back door path
with blue periwinkle dotting
the dense green foliage

Self-sufficient plants fare best with us.

And look who came calling
a happy Peter Rabbit
hiding in the tall grass at the edge of the neighbor's field.


PA Evening

Late evening
looking out from the kitchen deck
Bird songs
are the only background music.

NEW FRIDAY VIDEO - Interview with Nick Newlin

Stories in Focus Interview with multi-talented performer and storyteller Nick Newlin. When I first met Nick Newlin he was walking alongside a woman on stilts and keeping colored balls in the air. Today he is also a talented storyteller.

Its not often you get the background scoop on a seasoned itinerant performer like Nick who started out as a juggler at Harvard, honed his craft on the streets of Paris and in Renaissance Fairs across the country and is also a Shakespeare impresario. Hear his story and enjoy his telling of a new personal story.

Find out more about Nick HERE.

The video is posted just as it was aired on Mongtomery Municipal Cable, Channel 16, Montgomery County, Maryland.

Stories in Focus: Nick Newlin from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.


Dilly Dallying

Sun is shining
we are dilly dallying
rather than heading for the highway
and our PA get-a-way.

A sandwich outside
in warm sun
lots of talking
my favorite time with Jim.

Why, would I rush away
from the sweetness
of an ordinary day.

Pennsylvania will wait.


Traveling Art

Mailed my works for the Gallery 10 show at Gallery 25 in
Fresno, CA. Decided to send these three.

They are lightweight for shipping and they will speak to each other on the wall.

Whether fabric or paper,
I like to put bits and pieces of color
together for compositions that satisfy me.

Getting myself together tonight to spend a few days in PA. The quiet at our place there is restful and productive. It will be good to take the time to write and to plan strategies for marketing my show for the Capital Fringe this July.

Jim and I will wander the area and see what's happening.
And, that will be good.



This will convince you the world has changed!

So its comforting to have old-fashioned lilacs blooming at my back door.


Monday - Travel in the Time of the Volcano

Wishing for clear skies - - - -

More about Flights and the Volcano

1. Our son Jim called. "My flight was cancelled. Not going to Russia today afterall." I was glad.

2. My friend Claudia called: " I am not going to Documenta. My 8PM flight tonight to Germany was cancelled." Another staycation caused by the shifting clouds of volcanic ash. She added, "I would rather be at home than worrying about how I am going to get home."

3. On the heels of that - I received a news article from my cousin about the high school musicians from Los Gatos, CA - stranded in Munich - hoping to get home any day. My cousin's daughter is among them. When the band was stranded at the airport they whipped out their instruments and entertained all the folks. A reporter picked up the story which has been featured on German and other EU tv stations.

Sandra sent this Mom's report:

check on my facebook, you'll see my updates of my daughter Marina. She went with the Los Gatos High Band and Color Guard on a trip to Italy. They left on April 8 and were to return on the 16th via Munich. They got to Munich on Friday and from her that they wouldn't be going anywhere! One day turned into two, and now it could be up to a week before they return. Luckily, Lufthansa put them up in a nice hotel, and now their waylayance (I just made that word up) has garnered local (and I think nat'n'l) media attn. Marina is loving Germany and it's turned into two European trips for the price of one! That girl…

Love you and … carry on

Now that's a high school trip to remember. I would love to be there to hear all the stories, wouldn't you?


Ah Me

Envy is one of the deadly sins isn't it?

When friends told us today about their up-coming trip to Italy in May - Rome, Florence and Venice - I was glad for them - - but so sad we are not going back to Venice on an early plane. Do love that place!

When Jim and I were eating supper at the Mandarin Palace in Chevy Chase, DC I over-heard the woman at the next table speak up, " so what's been happening?"

I am answering - and its like this:

Someone told me today that her partner was stranded in Vienna - airports closed because of the drifting volcanic ash. "She says she feels worried - trapped - because she can't get home." That brought back memories of the two weeks Jim and I were stranded in Provence after 9/11. It is very un-nerving when you can't come home. "Email her several times a day." I advised " I checked in at the internet centers in every town we rode through, hungry for reassurance that we were still connected." If you know anyone who is stuck anywhere right now - email them a hug.

Talk about off-timing - our son is flying to Moscow - yes, Russia - tomorrow for a business meeting. Rats! Fortunately he carries a Blackberry.

We have a sick cat at our house. Bill is old and his heart is failing but the medicines seem to be pepping him up. We can tell he is feeling better because he is once again leaping onto the kitchen counter and prowling his usual haunts. Crossing my fingers his nine lives have not run out.

Read on Facebook that our grandson will soon be a Bronco, Class of 2014. Interpretation: Ah, he has accepted the bid to Santa Clara University for next year! Excellent choice. Congratulations, Jamie.

This has been a party week-end. Yesterday I told our stories at a special birthday party. Today we attended a party to celebrate friends' large milestone because we are part of their story. A circle.

When I was reading a new curious cook-book yesterday I learned that the pig in Tom, Tom the Piper's son - was not a real pig - - it was gingerbread! Did you know that?
I feel so much better.

"what's been happening?" Just stuff! and I am so glad.


Storytelling Afternoon in VA

Stop and mark this day.
I want to remember it.

Jim and I drove to Lake Ridge, VA where I told stories for an exceptional woman's gala 90th birthday party.
More than 100 people came to honor her and listen to my stories.

Friends and family came from across the continental US, Alaska and London. There was a large contingent of fellow residents at the lovely retirement home - - many older than she is.
I talked with one woman who will be 100 years old in June - remarkable - "I know I am blessed." She lives independently,
tells stories, and exudes a genuine joy in her living. "

The honoree has a large and lovely family who arranged the flawlessly run event. It was seamless from start to finish - every "i" dotted and "t" crossed. Surely they model their mother - a self-sufficient Navy wife, writer, and organizer. This woman is a marvelous role model - leading a resident "kitchen band" and publishing a creative new cook-book which she premiered at the party.

I chose to tell a selection of personal stories which reflected some aspects of her life as a wife and mother. Although storytelling was new to most of the audience members - one younger woman said, "I have not heard stories since I was a kid at the library" - they were extremely receptive and their laughter encouraged me on. Afterwards many stopped me: "I loved the stories." "You did a great job." etc. These were nice but one I particularly prize - " You said that you tell your stories hoping they will speak to our experiences. And they did. There was something I could personally relate to in each one of your stories. Thank you for bringing back the memories."

What more could a storyteller hope for?


Friday Video - The Album

The Album from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

I have posted this story before but today it just feels right to me to post it again. Tomorrow I am telling stories in Virginia for a woman's 90th birthday party. I probably won't tell this story - but as I was working on the stories I thought of tomorrow's "birthday girl" and how blessed she is. Her large family has arranged a gala for her - they told me to expect more than 150 guests.

In the early planning the honoree herself interviewed me by phone - along with several others. I felt honored to be the selected storyteller. I am looking forward to meeting her - - and I have planned a surprise for her.

Friday - Chance to Win Free American Air Line Miles and a new tip

Thinking about getting out of town?
Check this out.
Travel-story tips from six storytellers and a chance to win American Air Line Miles.
Fun promo - I enjoyed being a part of it. Loved the Shutter-Fly Book. Easy and fun.

I saved my favorite tip to share with you here.
Ofcourse you want to bring back WOW pictures
but also:

Use your digital camera as a sketch-book and note-taker.

I take pictures of the bits, large and small. Capture a menu, a luscious slice of pizza, a store-front, the hotel room bedspread - anything that will help you remember the color of where you have been. I followed a woman across the baggage claim area in the airport after we landed in Shannon Ireland to snap her cute shoes - red with white polka dots. They were not a WOW photo but they are a special note in a story.


Thursday - Three Beautiful Things

Three Beautiful Things:

1. A positive report from Jim's doctor.

2. Stories for Seniors - a good storytelling session. "I really loved your stories."

3. Thinking about the Georgia O'Keefe exhibition at the Phillips Gallery. What an amazing artist! I knew many of the works - some I had never seen before - very impressed by the last works completed in her 90s. They are large, wonderful color and I head the curator tell a group, " by this time she had macular degeneration and could barely see. She guided her assistant's hand to paint her works."


Interview with Storyteller Jane Dorfman

Stories in Focus - Interview with Jane Dorfman from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

Wednesday - Stories in Focus with Nick Newlin

Warm-up photo before taping Stories in Focus this week. Guest Storyteller, Nick Newlin.
Can you tell we are having fun?

Well it just got better and better. A good interview and Nick told a new story, Squeezebox Love.
When I was Director of the Audubon Holiday Fair I hired Nick and his wife Joanne to perform as their popular act Nicolo Whimsey for the benefit pre-view party. They were a smashing success and added a special color and excitement to the event. He talks about his work as a juggler and Renaissance Fair performer during the interview - and also about his new books - The 30 Minute Shakespeare Plays - developed from his work as an artist-in-the-schools with Folger Shakespeare Theater. I reconnected with Nick several years ago at Speakeasydc where he was telling a story and then told with him last July. He is as easy and comfortable with storytelling as he is with his juggling.

Stories in Focus with Nick Newlin will air Wednesdays at 9pm for four weeks beginning tonight on Montgomery County local cable access station, Channel 16. In the near future I will post the program on Vimeo.com

Nick will be telling again in Kensington in July.


Tuesday - Spring, Storytelling and The Second Wave

In the city
flowers blooming along the sidewalks
in a shopping area
are a welcome sight.

Storytelling Told stories for the final session of the Leadership Montgomery - Seniors 2010 Class Program. There was a very easy camaraderie within the group who had been together for more than six months. My session was to demo storytelling and provide tips for telling stories. These people are naturals. They were all articulate and comfortable talking. They enjoyed my stories and I enjoyed their responses and stories. A great time.

My new story - The Second Wave Album, a new blog and the Second Wave Album Facebook Page. Posting pictures and captions that tell a bit of the story. Experimenting with Social Media to let the word out and build an audience.

Bringing out boxes of day-books to go through. Its overwhelming. Where to start?

When I went back to college as a Freshman in 1968 I thought I was going for an education. I had no idea that I had stepped onto a new road - to change my life.

The catalyst - the first- ever Women's Studies course at Dunbarton College, a small Catholic women's school, the last place one would have expected such a life-changer. The instructor was a founder of the first Rape Crisis Center in DC and a member of NOW, (The National Organization for Women).

My art history professor, artist Nancy Cusick invited me to accompany her to the 1972 Corcoran Conference of Women Artists, the first-ever national gathering of women artists. They came from across the country, sharing ideas and images and changing the way I looked at art and thought of myself as an artist.

Timing is always everything. I was a graduate student at American University in Graduate School during the organizing of the Women's Caucus for Art when AU Art History professor Mary Garrard was the second president. I volunteered to be membership secretary and processed a growing membership.

The Washington Women's Art Center was founded in 1972 and by 1974 I had joined it. Through WWAC I became part of the network in DC and nationally. In 1975-76 I was a founder of the Coalition of Women's Arts Organizations and, based in Washington, DC, found myself the lobbyist for the group - testifying before Congressional Committees and advocating for equal rights for women artists to federal agencies.

Talking has always been my strong suit - once I was told I should list taking on my resume - but I thing the lobbying was the true start of my career as a storyteller.

The CWAO experience as a lobbyist and grassroots organizer led to my job on the staff of the National League of Women Voters as ERA Campaign Director,1979 - 1982, the last three years of the campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. They hired me to represent the League with the other women's organizations, tend to the State Leagues and raise money for ERA.

Artists have ideas - we see things in new ways. It turned out that I came up with a new idea for the ERA campaign and for the League. I proposed and organized the National Business Council for ERA which brought the campaign support from Fortune 500 CEOs. Raised money and provided a professional umbrella under which The Ad Women of New York, could work with the ERA campaign.

It was a perfect combination - the League of Women Voters and Business. Our organizing co-chair, actress and business woman Polly Bergen was not just a name on the letter-head she was hands-on. We developed stategies around her being present and she came. I happily held her purse so she could wow them. ERA Board Chair Madeleine Appel and Lois Harrison were wonderful team members. And BPW ERA legend Mariwyn Heath was my mentor and supporter in the business effort. She told me at the end of the campaign - " I consider you one of my successes. I thought it was a dumb idea and did not believe that you could pull it off - - but I never said a word to discourage you." It was a good management lesson and I have never forgotten it.

Women did amazing things during that campaign. It was a dynamic volunteer grass roots effort, and inexperienced women learned their jobs by doing them.
Women cared about the issues and taught themselves the skills they needed to lobby effectively.

The loss of the ERA was heart-breaking for the supporters.

That's an outline. There are a lot of stories there. What to tell?


Monday - Harry Potter and hours of good listening

Another great find at the Friends of the Library Corner Bookshop in Lafayette, CA.

Robin arrived bearing wonderful gifts. She brought me a full set of the audio tapes of the Harry Potter books, read by Englishman, Jim Dale. Isn't it lucky that I still have my Walkman, an audio tape player in the car and a tape deck on the sound system in the studio. I am ready for hours of great listening.

"I wasn't sure I would get them through security on the plane - but no problems."

Giving these to me freed space in her carry-on for her prizes at the Wheaton Library Book Shop.


Sunday - Wheaton Library Used Bookstore, Chaucer, and 3 Guys

Our family loves libraries and bookstores and when you can have the two together in a library-used book store - well its a double winner.

Since the 1960s the Montgomery County Public Library system has been known for its Wheaton used book store. Our son Jim and his family regularly browse the 5000 square feet of bulging shelves and come home with brown grocery bags filled with books. Its just plain hard not to.

Robin is an active volunteer with the Friends of the Library Bookstore in her town of Lafayette, CA.- where she uses her professional savvy on marketing and social media to build a market for their used book store. This is the marketing-blog she writes for them.

So you can see I was not surprised when she suggested an outing to check out the Wheaton Library Bookstore. Our son Jim jumped at the chance to go with her and they took Scottie and Danny with them.

I gave Danny $3 and asked him to see if they had a copy of The Canterbury Tales in poetry.
They came back with these three gems - a good version of the Tales, a book of critical essays and a wonderful Chaucer biography that I am already dipping into. Fine. Good on the period, his life and his works. A good afternoon of browsing - fun for all. And a story - Robin wrote about the Wheaton Bookshop on her blog. Check it out.

Jim, Scottie and Danny.


Saturday - Revisiting the Gump Days

Is it already Saturday and Robin and the boys will leave tomorrow.
Its been a fast week. Nothing exciting. Just wonderful having them around.

Robin has spent a lot of time coaching me on social media and fine-tuning my knowledge and skills with Facebook.
It is a good thing I love technology because it can be confusing but I like the challenges and am enjoying what I am learning.

I see real possibilities for this new project, The Second Wave American Album. (also see blog side bar). Its a short take on the history of those exciting days in the 1970s. Robin laughs, "Mom, You're like Forrest Gump - you were at all the big events."

Not to mention that working with the materials is a really great prep for the July Capital Fringe where I will be presenting Pushing Boundaries - the story drawn from those years.

But - mking choices or setting priorities has never been my strong suit. I want to try it all - - do it all. And, I still can, within reason - but sometimes its hard to see when and where - before I say YES. Sooooooooooo. I am working on that.

Ah, me - another hill to climb; another lesson to learn.

Documenting my Gump Days - now moves to the head of the list.

And then - - - these boxes of papers and stuff can move on - hopefully to an Archives where someone can come someday to sift through my papers and write a "foot-note" to the history.

And it will have been worth my saving them - - instead of taking them to the Dump.


Thursday - Introducing the Second Wave American Album


Several things collided that prompted me to get started sifting through the archives I have stored in the basement - and to do something with the stuff.

So - I have initiated a Second Wave American Album page on Facebook hoping to also catch stories from other people who were involved in the 1970s women's movement. It is set up for everyone to post, add pictures and comment.

The years between 1970 to 1982, the year the Equal Rights Amendment failed, were challenging and exciting. For me they follow two tracts - the arts and women artists and the ERA -
because I was involved on both tracts - although there was much overlap in people and purpose.

What happened to get me started on this?
  • A CA college student called and asked to interview me about the Coalition of Women's Art Organizations. She hoped I would have files and pictures to lay before her - you know sort of like the Smithsonian. But I could not. They were all gathering dust in boxes scattered on shelves in my studio. When she came to Washington I gave her a few posters and an outline that covered what she was interested in, added some suggestions and sent her on her way ---- after a couple of very pleasant hours of talk.
  • Epiphany - This request and interview - and the fact that she could not find the information she needed at the Smithsonian, the Museum of Women in the Arts or anywhere else was an epiphany for me. Like a pack rat I have kept it all. Now I feel a responsbility to myself and all the women I knew and worked with to organize what I have and give it to an Archive that will make it available. I have the story - and its not just mine. We were a large grass roots effort. - True I have memorabilia from the now-famous but mostly from the every-women, like me, who pushed things along
  • Most importantly, my daughter Robin is here visiting. Robin is a Social - Media specialist - a guru. First of all, she is interested in the history - which she lived as part of her childhood. So, she is teaching me how to use Facebook and Twitter to organize this stuff in a way that it is accessible to others with a way for you to comment, add your stories and your pictures. We are going through papers, photographing slides, gathering the material for the album - hoping to identify people in the photos and add your stories to this album - to make a richer quilt.
  • You may wonder why I want to do it this way - as an internet album. Since the 1970s Albums have been a part of my body of art work from personal albums to albums in which groups of women participated i.e. Women Yes, ( a large collage quilt with an accompanying notebook of letters from women across the country), The American Album, (a collection of nine fabric covered notebooks containing original arts works from 325 women of 32 States which I took to the UN Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985. This last is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Women in the Arts.) The Second Wave American Album is conceived as a digital album with an internet presence so that women everywhere can participate.
P.S. -- If you are wondering what exactly I did in the 1970s and early 1980s relating to the women's movement, you'll find some of the details on my public Linkedin Profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/ellouiseschoettler


Wednesday -


we are puzzle people
Jim brought box puzzles
into the family
years ago

jigsaw puzzles
are a favorite for whiling away the time
when teens are
beached on a strange shore . . .
fish out of familiar waters.

three so far this visit

Many generations sitting
around the table
intently cooperating
sometimes talking
often not
on a common goal
sharing pride
when the picture is made.

puzzles are good.
mental gymnastics

Beats sitting togethering staring at a box of moving pictures
watching other brains at work.



Three Beautiful Things
  • A house filled with grand kids
  • Watching an exciting basketball championship with boys who play the game and love it.
Noticing the blessings in our lives.


Easter Monday

Open windows

wake to sweet bird songs
breathe in
the sour odor
of newly mulched flower beds
ah- - -
good earth.

Easter Monday



Easter Sunday

The Price was paid
A new day.



Alison stopped by to see her cousins from the
West on her way back to Washington and Lee College in Williambsurg.
Nice reunion.
left to right - Danny, Jim. Jamie, Ellouise, Alison, Scotty (in front).



Hard news.

The world is cock-eyed.

A brave friend is sick again.
Not fair. Not fair.


I hate cancer.