This year it feels like I have little motivation. I usually can have three or four projects on the go, multiple community groups, family, travel, work… Nope. Not right now. My word of the year, energy, is really a challenge because it means I have to focus on replenishing my energy in a way I haven’t for a long, long time.
Right now it feels like all of my energy begins and ends in one place: Garden@Kimbourne.
Photo cred: Garden@Kimbourne
Almost three years ago, I stumbled across Kimbourne Park United Church and Garden@Kimbourne when a friend from grad school planted a canoe garden in their front yard. I volunteered on and off for a few years–enjoying the excuse to be outside and get some real fresh produce when I had the time–but I heard a much stronger call to get involved this summer. Continue reading
My friend Celeste has been trying to get me into winter sports for almost a year. Last month she finally succeeded in pulling me out with Trakker’s Ski Club to try cross-country skiing.
So now I can say new year ANOTHER new skill.
I woke up that morning nervous, like I was about to give a big presentation or go face a big fear. Even though I have downhill skied multiple times, even overcoming my childhood fears on Mont Tremblant last Christmas, my stomach rocked and rolled. I also worried that I would… get bored. Not actually bored, but that my mind would wander in a dangerous way out there on a trail with no music or TV or books to distract me.
All of this was poppycock. Because cross-country skiing was balm for my soul and energizing for my body. (ENERGY!)
From the moment we left the charter bus at Highlands Nordic, I felt comfortable. I knew I was a beginner from the different way the cross-country skis felt on my feet, from the three times I fell during the lesson (mostly while standing still…), and from the tips and tricks our instructors gave to me during the absolute beginner lesson. Continue reading
New year, new skills. For me, that means KNITTING.
I have wanted to knit for a few years. It started as a whim in 2015 or so, when my mom sent me a care package with art supplies. With the watercolors I wanted lay a ball of sea green yarn and two sets of wooden needles. Maybe I could learn where she had been unable to teach herself.
Utter failure. I spent all day on a rainy Saturday watching a YouTube video that was supposed to teach me how to cast on. No luck–so I threw down the needles and took up the watercolors for the rest of the day.
But the desire to learn this cozy habit kept growing in me. Through watching grad school colleagues knit in feminist performances, receiving handmade outerwear and ornaments from playwriting mentors, and listening to the quiet click of needles during cast meet ups, theatre kept reminding me of this desire.
Oh yeah, and there were ALL THOSE PINK PUSSY HATS from the Women’s Marches.
So when my relatives demanded a Christmas list, I put “knitting lessons” at the top.
Over my Christmas vacation, my best friend introduced me to my new favorite audio experience: Detour.
I’m really into podcasts right now. And when I travel, I like finding out of the way places, booking tours where a local or trained guide can pass on history and funny stories.
Who knew that there was already something out there that combined that best of both worlds?
Detour is an app for self-guided audio tours. So far they are only in a few big cities like New York, London, Tokyo–and for my first experience, San Francisco. Unlike just downloading a sound file, these audio tours are geo-located and synced up so that the words refer to the exact place you are standing.
We took the Cool Gray City tour by Gary Kamiya, as my friend had read Kamiya’s book about walking in SF and loved it. Plus she had taken the tour once before and knew exactly what to expect–so she set up our experience to take full advantage of all of the tour’s tips and tricks.
Starting at the Transamerica building, Cool Gray City winds around 25 blocks of San Francisco through North Beach up to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill to tell the story of 25,000 years of the city’s history. Thinking about wooly mammoths bearing down on me while standing on a crowded block around noon was odd–but I bought it due to the sound design. Continue reading
At the end of 2017, I began writing my “gladly beyond” reviews of theatre for the blog Show Showdown.
I was a little worried about reviewing, since I am an artist writing and producing my own scripts. But when Wendy Caster and I had such a great meeting of the minds, I realized that I missed exercising my other critical writing muscles.
All of my reviews on Show Showdown are my opinion, my point of view. I salute all artists who are working, making art, and presenting it to the word. Hopefully my views will help new audiences and theatre buffs find new gems in the Toronto theatre scene.
I have five reviews up so far, including my top 10 shows of 2017.
Check it out and tell me what shows I should review next!
After the success of crowdfunding my cheer-up list last year, I decided that freezing up on my #oneword2018 wasn’t a reason to panic.
It was another opportunity to ask for help.
Here are the responses I received. Can you tell which one I picked?
I spent the first half of 2017 emptying my tank entirely for the people around me, whether they deserved it or not. And then I spent the last portion of the year recovering and annoyed that it was taking so long.
Now in these first few days of 2018, I have my energy back. I am so grateful that it didn’t take that long in the grand scheme of things. The struggle is not over, but I’m hoping I have learned my lesson: not everyone and not every project is worth the effort. I have amazing bounds of energy, but not endless amounts.
My word this year reminds me to treasure my energy. To use it when I have a full tank, monitor when and how much I give out at a time, and step back to refuel when I feel the last dregs beginning to seep away.
For my word of the year 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017–check out those links!
What’s your One Word 2018?
The summer before I left for graduate school I kept track of everything I read. I’m not sure if I started it because I worked in a library or because I wanted to keep track of plays I read, but it gave me a great record of that time.
In a year where everything else felt out of my control, one way to increase my serenity was in picking the next book I read.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
Posted in Life, Reviews
Tagged 2017, book review, books, books of the year, comic book, graphic novel, reading, reading recommendation, review, science fiction
If you had asked me what would be healing after wrapping a two and a half year big project it would NOT be producing not one but two theatre events.
Instead I find myself at the helm of two small productions. Surprisingly, it is healing.
Nativity Play at Kimbourne Park United Church
All are welcome to attend and participate!
Kimbourne Park United Church at 10:15 am on December 10th
No experience necessary–just come and see what interactive Nativity story we can tell together.
I have wanted to do a play in a church for a long time. And just as I was starting to gather ideas for a proposal, my church invited me to revamp the usual “Paper Bag Pageant.”
After working on professional immersive theatre this summer, it’s a nice change of pace to focus on creating community, participatory theatre for the small congregation at Kimbourne Park.
Though I’m at the helm, I’m finding ways to include everyone in making arts and crafts costumes, recruiting youth group members and Sunday School teachers to give their input. I’ve rediscovered so much wisdom by pulling out the Bible to go over the stories as they were originally written and realized how much I have learned by hearing the Nativity in Texas, Tennessee, Toronto.
After coming off a collaboration gone very sour, these cooperative efforts are refreshing my soul and renewing my hope. In a year filled with unexpected changes, the Nativity Play is reminding me that God shows up in unexpected places with salvation that does not look the way I thought it would. Like with a baby boy in a manger.
And three days later, I am producing my company’s Talent Show.
Posted in Life
Tagged Christianity, Christmas, Christmas pageant, community, day job, Kimbourne Park United Church, mental health, Nativity, play, producing, sales, talent show, theatre, Toronto
Are you one of the bajillion people who has asked, “How did Edinburgh go?” Or one of the many that still don’t understand what Transmission is?
Come hear me speak about it next Sunday September 24th at 10:15 am, 200 Woverleigh Blvd.
Yes, 200 Woverleigh Blvd is a church, Kimbourne Park United Church. Technically my talk is the sermon for next week. How cool is that???
All are welcome. If you don’t normally feel comfortable in a church space, I am inviting you in this week. Let me know and I’ll make sure you have the space to experience as much or as little of the church part as you wish.
We have coffee and what-nots (read: snacks) afterwards and I can also show you the community garden Garden@Kimbourne, which is where I’ve been getting the amazingly cool veggies that went into this monster.
See you there!
Posted in Life, Theatre Writing
Tagged church, community, edinburgh, edinburgh festival fringe, garden, Kimbourne Park United Church, september, sermon, theatre, transmission