I didn’t want to go to either event when the time came. I’d temporarily lost my oomph.
The invitation for the first, a writers salon, had come in weeks ago. I’d put it on my calendar and had nearly forgotten it. With my nonproductive busy-ness and all that swirling political craziness, I was hunkered down, sluggish and feeling low.
Saturday came — the day of the salon. I made an organic white bean dip with lemon and garlic and rosemary and got myself dressed, ambivalent still. Then, I coaxed myself out the door.
I was welcomed into a circle of writers and poets I know from various contexts — my tribe. Together we dove into an incredible afternoon. We responded to prompts and plunged into free writes and cultivated surprise and shared our discoveries. We laughed and we cried. We witnessed for each other as we dug deeply into fertile territory, unearthing what wanted to be said. Shards and full blown poems surfaced. Light filled the room.
I left. Full. Inspired. Alive.
When the second invitation came in last week, I registered with a wait-and-see attitude. I was not sure if I’d go, but I reserved a spot nonetheless. Just in case.
An artist friend, Sarah Haskell, would be a presenter at an event called PechaKucha. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word or what it was about. It was a Thursday night and Thursday is a long day for me. The list goes on of my reasons why I probably wouldn’t go.
Thursday came. I wanted to settle in for the evening, but I was curious. I went. I learned. It was wonderful!
For those uninitiated like me, PechaKucha is the Japanese expression meaning chit chat or small talk. It’s pronounced as 4 quick syllables with the accent on each “cha.” Presenters offer 20 slides with 20 seconds to explain/discuss each one. 20 images/20seconds. These events go on all over the world. On this particular Thursday, there were 2 others going on in the US and 2 in Europe.
The presenters included: a bird of prey educator and rehabilitator; a conservation photographer; a digital story teller; an architect; a man who takes kids into nature — hiking and mountain climbing — as a platform for healing and dealing with cancer in their families; a writer; a weaver & community art designer; and more. Every one of them had something to say to me.
There was an overall note of positivity and good will and the full house applauded with enthusiasm. The slides were dazzling. The speakers were enchanting. The totality of the evening was inspirational. And, it was free!
There was so much offered. I’m still processing. And I’m writing. And there’s this art piece at the far corner of my periphery that wants expression.
Two events came into my awareness. I was intrigued but didn’t want to leave the house when each arrived. I said yes to both anyway and came away energized and rejuvenated.
These are dark times for many of us. It’s too easy to curl up and shut down. It’s more important than ever for the writers and artists and innovators to share our gifts. That’s the real work.
The Real Work, by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
NOTE: many thanks to:
Nancy Wheaton Modern and her delicious artist/writer salons in her gracious home
Sarah Haskell for her amazing work and community art projects
3S Artspace for hosting the PechaKucha
and both the active and advisory committees for PechaKucha Portsmouth