Blog Hop!

Charlie Nox asked me to join in a Blog Hop which is a way newer blogs can be introduced to and meet new readers. If you followed her links to find yourself here, wel­come! If you read me regularly I’m going to share info about my upcoming projects and then share links to some other writers.

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Now for questions!

What do you write about and why?

I write about what moves me. A lot of things move me (food, cats, comedy, politics), but my posts generally fall into the category of human rights, sexuality, or some form of spirituality. And sometimes recipes, since food is about as much of a human right as anything. I write because I’m moved and writing is a way to express my thoughts and feelings in a way that lasts. I’ve been writing or journaling since I was in high school and I’ve always found it to be a personally fulfilling way to think things through, reach people, and keep a record of things I’ve thought.

My work isn’t polemic. I don’t enjoy writing things just to rile people up or to increase a sense of division between people, and while I know that it might increase my traffic (and it might have added more page views in the past on other sites), I just keep my focus on bringing people and dynamics together or finding a way outside the poles all together. That said, I do take personal stands on things, but to try to see the other side, or opponent, as a human being.

Finally, I hope I’m able to write effectively about my own searching and struggle. I figure if I’m having a hard time making sense of this world, I figure other people are too. I just feel the call to be loud about it.

Where besides this blog do you write?

I’ve written for The Good Men Project, which is a site about masculinity, men, men’s issues and more, The Austin Chronicle Gay Place Blog, where I focused on ally issues in support of the LGBT community, Good Vibes Blog, which is an awesome site for sexual education and also fun and sex stories, and I’ve had a couple of pieces up at Persephone Magazine and elephant journal. Those links can be found here.

Your bio lists a lot of different things you do. Are you an activist, a writer, or a producer?

I’m all over the place aren’t I? I do perform and produce theater and events and that’s something I’ve been doing for years and years both professionally and then after hours. I always wrote, but much of it was personal, and only in the past years have I put a lot of effort into getting my voice out there online and on the page. My events all have a social justice or human rights component to them, even if it isn’t entirely obvious. Human rights are very important to me and so I always find a place for that in the work I do.

I believe in creating space for people to shine, in highlighting where change can occur, in facilitating that change in safe and effective ways and I do that through theater, events, speaking and writing, as well as coaching and consulting with people about their dreams.

In essence, I’m a producer who uses her skills to support human rights and human beings.

Which human rights leaders to do you find inspiring?

There are so many at the moment! I could list the big ones, yes? Desmond Tutu, Ghandi, MLK, Christ, Elie Wiesel and those are absolutely influential in my life.

The Reverend Gene Robinson. Yes, certainly.

Brene Brown. Is she a human rights leader? If you consider that what she does helps people be more human then yes indeed.

Speaking of that, I’ve been a fan of the online radio show On Being, and pretty much everyone I’ve heard speak on that podcast is someone I admire. All of them, whether it’s the nun Joan Chittister, or Karen Armstrong diving into the worlds religions and what that might mean for peace, or Barbara Kingsolver discussing the ethics of eating…Wangari Matthai on planting trees…Parker Palmer on depression…Jean Vanier on living with tenderness and his communities of abled and disabled living together…there are just so many.

I know it might not seem at the surface that vulnerability or discussing the ethics of eating or depression has to do with human rights, but really what I’m looking at and learning is this-becoming human is our task.

Becoming human, becoming humane, finding ways of living in kindness and tenderness, these all honor the body, the mind, and the rights of those individual people who make up communities.

I find great inspiration in everyday leaders, sometimes more so. It’s not an easy task to know you have a call to answer and then to answer it all while just living a daily life. I see human rights work done on PTAs, in meetups on city planning, in churches struggling with how to manage growing homeless who need shelter, in kids arguing about not using the word “retarded.” There are thousands of little lights out there just making good happen in the world, and they do it because it’s the right thing to do.

What things are you most focused on in your work?

Finding ways to connect people even when they feel disconnected. Providing a safe space for people to learn how to sit with cognitive dissonance. Examining the ethics that underly bigger structures-what are the “pillars” that make up a theatrical experience including messaging around politics and ethics, for example. Seeking the pathways towards courage and connection, even if in the littlest ways.

More concretely, I’m a big fan of relational rights. Gay marriage isn’t going to damage my marriage. In fact, it will make mine stronger. Sexuality education isn’t going to harm our youth. In fact, knowing how their bodies work might inspire them to take better care of them. Adults as well might benefit from more accurate information on sexuality and pleasure, yes? I’m a firm believer in equal rights for women, and increasing reproductive rights for men and women.

Because my mind and spirit jump around a lot, it’s hard for me to limit myself around issues of human rights. Because I see the intersections between poverty, race, gender, resources or lack of them, heck, even how cities are laid out and build (architecture and city planning affects a LOT), I often struggle with focus. I try to to center myself around the questions-is it about connection? Is it about producing humanity and creating space for it? If that’s good, the I’ll write about it and work on it, but I tend to focus on women’s, LGBT issues and human sexuality as my home base.

What is your writing process?

My mind jumps around a great deal. I probably grew up with undiagnosed ADD, and I still find that if I get an inspiration for something, I’d better write it down NOW because it might well float away if I don’t. That can make writing challenging because my life doesn’t always support me dropping things and just producing a blog post or article or event plan. I do keep a notebook to write clues in, and having a smart phone is awesome because I can link or save other ideas (other articles that might inspire me) on FB or through email and then come back to them later.

I write in bed or on the couch mostly. I like working from a soft spot, with the cat and a cup of tea. Or a glass of wine, I can admit that 😉

Do you like the experience of performing or writing more? How are they different?

They are very different! I love performing and I have a hard time imagining a life where I don’t get some time onstage. I performed all through high school and college, mostly theater and dance, and then again in Seattle with a wonderful artistic community. That’s where I started producing more and learning from talented directors and producers. After moving to Austin, I had kids and I’ve been very lucky that even with children, I’ve had some time and resources to get to be a part of an amazing community in Austin, the improv community working with The Hideout and Gnap Theater Project. Now of course, I’m focused primarily on Bedpost Confessions, speaking and emceeing events, but I figure there will be some other fun shows in the future!

As for the difference? It’s about energy. Performing creates energy in me that I give back to the show and viewers (though can be draining physically if I’m up late, rehearsing and performing and giving a lot to an audience). Writing is, to be honest, more draining mentally but it feels more sustainable in the long term physically. Both are satisfying and in very different ways.

Any books in the works?

There might be….it’s just in the very beginnings of my mind, so I don’t want to talk too much about it, but I do feel a pull to write about the path I’ve been on, how it’s opened me up, and how it brings together theater, writing, sexuality, producing and spirituality. So…that’s a goal for next year. Stay tuned!

Here are some diverse and talented lady writ­ers whose work you can check out next.

Amy Gentry – free lance writer and amazing feminist
Monique Daviau – brilliance and hilarity you don’t want to mess with. Except you do.
Angeliska Polacheck – witch, poet, painter with words and light

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–Looking for one-on-one coaching on relationships, sexuality, life passages, or need support with personal or career goals? Seeking seeking a facilitator for your group or team to help promote healthy group dynamics and effective communication? Contact me here!

–For more, subscribe to this blog, follow my twitter, connect with me on facebook, and check me out on Pinterest!

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