Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Thrills of the Public Library

I love my library. I can get almost any book and keep it for weeks on end, free of charge. It's rather amazing. 

I also love the little unexpected pleasures that come from sharing books with thousands of people all across the huge city of Los Angeles.

A while back, I read The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N by Leo Rosten. As I finished the last page, I felt pleased and satisfied. Not quite ready for the book to be over, I slowly turned the end page and found one last perfect word:
My reaction, exactly.
More recently I was reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Lots of great insight about art making and the obstacles we encounter. A good portion of the book is about what the author calls "Resistance." It describes the self-sabotage that seems a part of most artists' lives. The reader cannot help but instantly recognize instances in their own life where resistance has played a major role in keeping success at bay. Here is a page that really got me thinking and examining the role of resistance in my life.

Let me zoom in and show you what else I found at the bottom of that page:

Apparently, I wasn't the only one examining their life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Storytelling at the Long Beach Playhouse

In July and December, I was lucky enough to be included in a story telling contest at the Long Beach Playhouse (in Long Beach, California). The stories had to be true, something that happened to the teller, and told in less than 6 minutes.

July was my round of semi-finals, in which I placed second, allowing me to continue on to the finals.

My qualifying story was about my mother's final days with brain cancer, and her surprising final words. It was wonderful to tell that story in public and huge thanks for my friend Wendy. She was my coach and made all the difference.

So there I was, riding my scooter to the bus stop ...

For the finals on December 29th, I chose a story as different as I possibly could - a funny story of my adventures one day when I found myself in the role of "the crazy lady" on the city bus. (See what I looked like when I returned home that day from my crazy bus trip.)

. . . I fell hard. On my head . . .

Not sure what I'm talking about here.

What a great experience! But, ah well, I placed 2nd again.
Whatever the outcome, I was proud of myself for pushing to do something new, (as my friend Jason says: for showing up and saying Yes!) that I had serious doubts about several times, on the verge of cancelling my participation at one point. My favorite part of the whole thing, which I would not have wanted to miss for the world, was my husband's beaming, smiling face as I returned to my seat after my tellings.

People commented that I looked comfortable up there on stage, acting out my crazy-lady adventures. I admit, I was nervous, but I realized that standing up in front of my students - acting out my excitement and love of drawing, often spontaneously and helplessly breaking out into song - all those years of teaching had prepared me well.

(Thanks to Pam and Sherry for the photos.)