With all of the intervening issues surrounding Rocky the Dog and The Mister’s Dad, I’ve failed to tell you all about an important first in my life. During the last weekend in January, I heard my words performed by someone else for the first time in my life. And, yes, it was as out-of-body-experience-esque as you can get.
Let’s start closer to the beginning. My amazingly talented and motivated friend Ms. MM started a feminist performance art collective in Cleveland called Whisper to a Scream. Last year, she was soliciting pieces for the collective’s first show, Microscopes and Megaphones. The requirements were fairly open-ended. So I wrote a piece about the women in my life at the time. Unfortunately, come January, the piece wasn’t able to be staged due to cast restrictions. I wasn’t mad, but I was disappointed.
Then Ms. MM came to me with a different request: give me five of your best blog posts–ones that show a sense of redemption. So I did it. I gave her Sweet Dreams of the Sweet Spot, Baby Think It Over, Nothing Lasts Forever, All I Ever Wanted, and Dancing Queen. And then I thought that, if I were lucky, she’d throw in a few sentences from one.
Much to my surprise, the piece that my work appeared in featured many of my words prominently. Mixed with the words of other writers, it featured my fear of making it to the other side of my depression, my apprehensions about becoming a mother, memories of my Nana and more. At first I heard the words but didn’t process that they were mine, only that they were familiar. Then I started recognizing them as belonging to me–as coming from me in times of great emotional turmoil. And, I’ll admit it, tears came to my eyes.
When I started Drop of Ink, I wanted to give people a similar experience: seeing their words in a new place. For weeks I struggled with a name, themes, ideas, and more. Until finally, I came across this quote by Lord Byron:
But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
‘Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper – even a rag like this – ,
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that’s his.
And the idea solidified itself instantly. Words are but a drop of ink. Spoken words are but drops of sound. We are but drops of humanity. It all fit. Giving others this out-of-body-experience became my mission quickly and I created Drop of Ink to that end. Much like Ms. MM’s Whisper to a Scream, Drop of Ink is about creation, thinking and contemplation. But it’s also an experience for everyone.
Now everyone has the chance to experience what I experienced in two ways.
First, Whisper to a Scream just put out a call for submissions for it’s Mother’s Day show:
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Letters on Motherhood
Performance and Advocacy Event
May 9, 2010
Prosperity Social Club, Cleveland, Ohio
If you could write a letter to anyone about the subject of motherhood or being a mother, who would you write to and what would you say?
Whisper to a Scream, a Cleveland-based feminist performance arts collective, is seeking submissions for an upcoming staged reading event. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Letters on Motherhood will explore all the facets of motherhood through the words of real women. We are seeking letters (they can be anonymous) from women written to real people about motherhood, moms, being childfree, caretakers, grandmothers, children, birth, adoption, childrearing, choice, etc. They don’t have to be serious or sappy, they can be angry or humorous. All we ask is that they’re honest.
We hope that these letters serve as an exercise for women to find a creative outlet for their voices. We want these letters to spur thoughts and give women a public space to express themselves. We want this event to be about community; an event where women can come together to celebrate and reflect on our lives.
A selection of letters will be chosen to be read by local actors on Mother’s Day 2010. At the event, attendees will be encouraged to write real letters to decison-makers about issues that affect women and mothers: birthing rights, reproductive health, sex education, etc.
Questions and/or letters should be emailed to: email@example.com. Please indicate if you want your letter to remain anonymous. We are not limiting the length of letters for the initial submissions. If your letter is selected, we may ask that you edit your letter for length for the performance. If your letter is selected and you would like to read your own work, please indicate that as well. All submissions are due by midnight on March 31, 2010.
Second, Drop of Ink is still accepting submissions for its April 2010 issue on beginnings and endings:
What do we accept? Well, I guess the question should probably be what we don’t accept. Because we’ll accept just about anything, such as:
- Blog posts
- Song lyrics
- Visual art
- Journal Entries
- Potent e-mail conversations
- Short stories
- Written performance pieces
- Things written on napkins in the dead of night (and later translated to the digital form in one way or another)
- Letters, open or otherwise
- And so on… (use your imagination)
This issue’s deadline for submissions is March 1, 2010. All submissions should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For non-visual art and non-photography, please either use the body of the e-mail or a Word document.
So now you, too, have the opportunity to have a surreal out-of-body-esque experience, just like I did. I hope you take advantage of this.
I know I will.
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