reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

ladders. [two artists tuesday]

ladders.PNG

gay pointed to the ladders in the backstage of tpac and said, “see those ladders?  the front silver one on the right is where you are.”

this is true.  we are clumsily perched on that front silver ladder.  there are people scattered about on the other ladders, many of whom are on the top of the tallest orange ladder up against the wall.  our view, on the shortest ladder, affords us the opportunity to look out, to look up and still to be able to easily see the ground.  the view from the highest ladder, extended well up the wall, is a view of vast height, a view without a cluster of other ladders, a view more singular.

it has been our experience as artists that we must explain our livelihood, we must fight for acknowledgement of experience, we must advocate for our own fiscal equality.  our work is not easily measurable, our effort not easily defined.  we bring to every experience all we have learned about what touches the hearts of others, what resonates, what we can do to lift a message, how we can craft a concept, how we can build a program and forge a community, how we can help others see what is inside each of them.  from our rung, we can still see the ground so we know that there are others less fortunate than us and we remember pretty clearly the route up this ladder, each rung a step, each rung a gratitude.

it has also been our experience that, in a world defined by financial success, there are many on those tall extension ladders, firmly grasping the tippy-top, who have lost the story of getting there.  it is my belief that, too often, there are those who, each rung they clamber up, have forgotten what it is like to be on the rung below.  the climb to success foregoes memory, it exempts empathy, it elicits a sense of superiority; it is not kind.  the naysayers poke at those who are on rungs below, prodding them but, alas, with no reality for where those below-climbers are.  assumptions are unfairly made about ability, intelligence, budgetary decisions, effort.

in this world of bills and responsibilities, work and play, absolute joys and deep sorrows, brilliant hopeful sunrises and exhausted sunsets, i wonder about the tippy-top.  i wonder if it is possible to be clinging to that tippy-top and still remember.

as much as that tippy-top sounds like a world without worry, i don’t mind being on the silver ladder in the front.  and every step we step, i want to remember the silver ladder in the front.

i know that each day there might be someone who just may need me to understand, without feigning it, where they are.  to be able to really grasp how they feel, despite not being in their very shoes.  i don’t want to be the person who looks back at them, fear filling their eyes with tears as they tell me they don’t have enough to make it, and condescendingly ask them if they want me to point them to a budget counselor.  instead i want to understand their frustration in poverty, be complicit in their growth – real growth, empathetic in their fear.  i want to hold their hand on the rung they are on and remember what it felt like on that rung.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

bootsbythestage website box.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

in the gray. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

stripes of grey

grey/gray rarely has such a line of demarcation, rarely has distinctive texture such as in this picture beyond our littlehouse yard.  grey is simply gray.  it is the zone of not right/not wrong.  it is the living in-between-ness of doing life this way/that way.  it is the space of not-knowing, asking questions, learning, being vulnerable.  it can be uncomfortable.  but it is necessary.

the most growing i have done has been in the grey zones.  the times when i did not know, the times i made mistakes, the times choices were confusing, the times devastated by life events, the times moving forward meant tiny baby step by baby step, the times i was vulnerable.

last night there was an artist, an author, at TPAC who spoke of vulnerability.  he said that vulnerability leads to gratitude.  it is the path to grace and mercy.  i agree.

i would add we can never know, or even approximate, what someone else is feeling without being unguarded ourselves.  we can never know the unanswered questions, the struggles, the amorphous-ness of life without the grey.  we can never create without the grey – for an artist languishes in grey, if for no other reason than to seek the color within himself.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

sunsetonisland website box

 

 


Leave a comment

ferdinand. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

ferdinand

i distinctly remember my sweet momma talking about FERDINAND THE BULL.  she would refer to him from time to time, a twang on the third syllable slipping into her new york accent.  i am wracking my memory for her other wise words about him.  my guess is that, despite not remembering her exact words, her message isn’t lost on me.

FERDINAND is a book published in 1936, the story of a gentle bull who loved to smell flowers (aka “flowuhs”).  he spent his time sitting under a tree, daydreaming, sniffing flowers.  upon finding himself in the madrid bullfighting ring, he sits calmly in the middle, refusing to take the bait.   the grace of a mashup of “i want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.”  (oriah mountain dreamer) and “when push comes to shove, don’t.” (unknown)  we have much to learn.

FERDINAND was performed by the Washington Island Music Fest this past week and was among my favorite moments of this two week music festival at TPAC.   it was sweet on many levels, read aloud, depicted on violin, slides of the original illustrations on screen.

and my momma, in my mind’s eye, reminding me to be like FERDINAND.  a bull, by definition fully expected to want to fight, presumed to fight, just like all the other bulls – and yet, brave enough to be different, to sniff the flowers, to turn away from participating in dissension or violence, to be at peace being true to oneself.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

doggadeck website box.jpg


Leave a comment

slow. slow. [two artists tuesday]

deer in woods copy.PNG

slow. slow.  when we drove home the other day, we realized how very slowly we were moving here on island.  the comparison began the instant we were on the mainland.  we hadn’t driven over 40mph for a couple weeks; suddenly we could feel the push, the frenzy to get somewhere, fast, faster.  it’s pervasive, that frenetic energy, and the closer we got to milwaukee, the more we could feel it.  our heartbeats raced as cars darted in and out of lanes, as horns beeped and drivers gestured impatiently.  no one noticed each other.  they just drove, destination their only intention.

slow. slow.  we walked home the other night.  after porch-sitting and having a short meeting, we ambled down the middle of the road.  no one was coming; no one passed us.  the interruption in quiet would have alerted us to any oncoming car.  we shared the woods around us with a deer, who was still, watching us for signs if we were going to approach.  our pause on the road and our slow movements convinced the deer to not run, but to stay and just be still.  to watch.  an eagle flew above us.  looking up, there was a moment we recognized that this eagle saw us.   the deer, the eagle, noticed us.  we were in the world together in those moments.  no intention but to breathe the same air.

slow. slow.  we are learning, slowly, about this community.  connecting the dots, discerning the culture, perceiving the nuances.  we are studying this place that is our job – a performing arts center with 250 seats on a tiny island you can only get to by ferry.  a step away-away.  a place in which we want to elevate artistry and growth.  we move slowly, thoughtfully.  our intention, our work, the maturing of this place that has been germinated and cared for.  a rich garden, a rich forest of verdant adolescence, waiting to flourish.  slow.  slow.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

feet on the street WI website box

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

life. dust laughing. [merely-a-thought monday]

humorous thing called life.jpg

every time you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of poking fun at you, pulling the rug from underneath you, making you re-evaluate, maybe roll your eyes, maybe cry out and push back, maybe giggle in abandon.

the island players performed a short at TPAC from spoon river anthology (e. l. masters), a collection of epitaphs spoken as monologues by the deceased residents of the fictional town called spoon river.  it is gripping.  a not-so-subtle reminder of our brief time on this earth and the absolute into-thin-air-ness of our lives.  perspective-arranging, yes, as you listen to the tales of each person, ephemeral, transitory, all fleeting moments in a deep milky way of vast time.

one of the characters, a finely and properly dressed older woman, brags of renting a house in paris, entertaining the elite, dining at fine restaurants, taking the cure at baden-baden, a spa town in germany’s black forest.  she returns to her hometown of spoon river, only to realize that no one really cares about where she dined or what she ate or who she entertained or if she took the cure at baden-baden.  a sobering moment for her and, if you let it in, another one of those lessons.  the kind where you realize that what you do and what you have is – not – who you are.

instead, the dust of us will later snicker, laugh, out and out guffaw at how invested we all were in the things of life that didn’t really count, the things that will disappear into the outer atmosphere of the universe, never to be retrieved.  instead, we should chuckle now, realizing that indeed the best-laid plans are only that.  plans.  that doesn’t make them life.  life has its own ideas.  perhaps we should just remember that, cut ourselves a bit of slack and recognize how funny it really is that each of us, formed of zillions of random cells, somehow ended up here, right here, right now.  for this time.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

bootsbythestage website box.jpg


Leave a comment

and then they were gone. [two artists tuesday]

bayfly invasion

we drove to the post office, a tiny building about two miles from the ferry dock. when we got there, there were – what seemed like – a million bugs clinging to the side of the building. so. many. of. them.

because it’s what we do, we took pictures of them. and then inquired around about what they were. “may flies”, “bay flies” – apparently they go by different names. and they come in different sizes. but one thing is for certain. they come in mass. the tiny version invaded the island earlier in june. and now, all of a sudden, this bigger variety was here.

bayfly

they were literally everywhere. tenaciously holding onto the post office, gripping the metal sheeting of TPAC; buildings seemed to be their preferred lodging. they looked like strange dragonflies. they were kind of beautiful, this mass of insects, together.

and then they were gone.

and now we can just look at the photographs we took of these little creatures, wonder where they went and be perplexed about them.

i’m curious – if some day – some other being in the universe will be looking at photograph albums, scrapbooks, shutterfly books, envelopes of pictures, old yellowed newspapers – with pictures of people, all shapes and sizes and colors, en masse and alone – and think, “i wonder what they are. where did they go? how perplexing.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

wideopenmouths website box