Creative Collaboration: And The Waltz Goes On

The inspiration for this month is a waltz. Written by Sir Anthony Hopkins it was conducted by Andre Rieu and has quickly become one of my go to YouTube videos. The piece is at times melancholic and joyful all at the same time. 

For my submission (the only one) this month I thought I would try my hand at writing a very short story where the song is an invisible character. Written on my porch as the sun set (mood, it’s all about the mood) I tried to match each section of the story with one section of the composition.
Continue reading “Creative Collaboration: And The Waltz Goes On”

Creative Collaboration: Green

For March (we are running about a month behind in the posting) the creative collaboration team was inspired by this instagram from DixonBaxi, a creative company out of London (and the Baxi in the name is my cousin). I was struck by the the way the green and black took up space within the image creating shapes within shapes as they connected together. This month collaborators pulled together some poetry, another healthy dish for you to make, and a color study. Check them out below.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCf45OkJ1Ec/?taken-by=dixonbaxi
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WordPower

Words have power. Fact. We live in an age where anyone can say anything and be believed. An age where fact checking is only reliable if it aligns with your beliefs. Words. Have. Power.

But power to what? To sway, to innovate, to encourage, to bring hope – and in their absence limit important forms of expression necessary for real communication. A few weeks ago two events brought these thoughts to the surface. And while both cases are based in fiction there are real world implications.

Anthony Doerr and Me
Meeting Anthony Doerr.

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The Heart of the River (I wrote a book!)

 

HotR_FINAL_COVER
You can purchase The Heart of the River on CreateSpace or Amazon.com.

In every story that you read,
a heroine or hero fills a need
and the day is saved—not with luck,
but with courage, heart, and a bit of pluck.

The story of The Heart of the River begins with a family announcement. A little over three years ago I learned I was going to become an aunt for the first time. Excited by just the idea of her existence I put pen to paper and after a few months had a first draft of what would turn out to be a little girl’s journey of discovery.

In the intervening years I’ve learned a lot about book production and what started out as a means to bring joy to now two little girls has ended up to be a true labor of love. Continue reading “The Heart of the River (I wrote a book!)”

Ten Ham Commandments

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While in the process of trying to pull together a reflective piece on Hamilton as public history, my friend Sarah H. had a dream where she saw me rewriting the lyrics to “Ten Duel Commandments.”

Challenge accepted.

What follows is the first of three completely different posts on the musical. You should be aware I wrote “Ten Ham Commandments” on a five-hour bus ride between DC and Newark, and in doing so I now have a reinforced appreciation for Lin Manuel Miranda’s skills. Seven was ridiculously hard to re-write (internal rhymes!), and refers to a response Miranda gave during his recent interview at the National Museum of American History about what he wanted his own legacy to be. You can listen and read the original lyrics here – with annotations. Thanks to Sarah H. for helping me edit. In the end this parody is really about how much Hamilton connects with a more inclusive view of the past. Continue reading “Ten Ham Commandments”

Lightbulbs

I love the lightbulbs strung across the patio. Yellow against a deepening blue.

Feet. Stepping. Twirling. Is this what getting older feels like? A sense that even in the moment time is speeding up.

Or maybe I should just blame the jet lag. Continue reading “Lightbulbs”

Not A Raisin in the Sun

elephant“We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”
William Shakespeare
The Tempest

At the end of each year I get hit with a double dose of nostalgia and romanticism. I feel regret at the time I wasted from the year before but believe in the opportunity of the many days left ahead. So this year when I sent out my holiday/new year cards I asked my friends, co-workers, and loved ones for their dreams for the coming year.

But what are dreams? They are wishes and hopes. They are goals and tasks for a better life. For others it is a broadening of skills and minds.

Dreams are a search for something more, something different. They are an acknowledgement of change. Often though dreams cannot be bound by a single year, and need to be broken up into pieces.

Sometimes dreams are for others. They are a hope for strength, for well-being, and a wish for them to have peace of mind.

My dreams aren’t simple. In my first post of the year I laid out some resolutions: to become more focused, take control, and to define success for myself. My dreams are linked to these resolutions. I hope to control the uncontrollable while also letting fate take its course.

tardisIn clearer terms. I want to know I’ll always be happy. Satisfied. Able to withstand change, loss, and uncertainty. I want to be able to accept love or disaster when they arrive at my doorstep. I want to know how the story ends. I want to be brave. So really, I want a TARDIS of my very own.

Having said that there is one clear point I need to make. Continue reading “Not A Raisin in the Sun”

Nobody Knows Where They Might End Up

(Nobody Knows)

It’s tough to keep a show going after ten years. Scripts start getting creative. Having a helicopter land on someone’s head becomes normal (Oh ER, when are you going to end up on Netflix?), and you lose sight of who the characters are amidst the drama.

I started watching Grey’s Anatomy in the middle of season 3 and vowed to stop watching last year when Sandra Oh’s Cristina Yang departed.

Best. Laid. Plans. When the show premiered again this fall I was back, ready to hear of the happenings at Grey-Sloane Memorial Hospital including, spoiler alert, the introduction of yet another sister for Mer.

But this is not a post about Grey’s Anatomy. This is a post about diversity and storytelling from Shonda Rhimes the creator/writer of Grey’s, Private Practice, Scandal, and the executive producer of the new How to Get Away with Murder. Two weeks ago she gave an interview for the Smithsonian Associates at the National Museum of Natural History, and I thought what she had to say about diversity and storytelling was worth repeating.
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Away, Writer’s Block, Away

It’s not a great feeling. A self-instituted pressure combined with a tingling in my fingers as they rest on a keyboard waiting for words to come. My head feels full, as if perched on a cliff expecting something to push it over the edge. And then there are all the ideas jumbling, tumbling, and pushing me around.

Writer’s block is a pain in my ass.

Moorish Castle in Sintra, Portugal

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Culturally Appropriate or Cultural Appropriation? A Few Thoughts

This story was origionally posted on the Indian American Story the blog for the Smithsonian’s Indian-American Heritage Project.

In early April, pop star Selena Gomez incited media buzz when she appeared in public wearing a bindi. She is not the first celebrity to wear something Indian, but I have to ask:

Should I feel offended that someone has chosen to appropriate a piece of Indian cultural identity for entertainment? Or is it another sign of how elements of my heritage have trickled into the American subconscious? If she “meant well,” is it OK? Or is it never OK for someone who is not Indian to wear such a symbol without preserving its meaning? And, at what point does something go from being culturally appropriate to cultural appropriation?

Let’s consider three scenarios.

Scenario 1: So You Think You Can Dance contestants perform a Bollywood-style dance number. The performance includes elements of hip-hop and classical Indian styles.

Scenario 2: Selena Gomez hires a composer to add tabla and sitar to a song to give it a strong beat. She attends performances wearing Indian clothing, and composes a video that includes elements of Indian dancing. Continue reading “Culturally Appropriate or Cultural Appropriation? A Few Thoughts”