Thursday, August 21, 2008

WHA-WHAT!! We won - Stamp Lab won this year's ArtSpark Theatre Festival competition. Phew.

It was quite a journey. We were given a work of visual art and a music composition from two artists, and were given 12 weeks to write, produce and direct a new play/performance. After the first performance and talk back, we were given two weeks to completely change the play and do it again.

I learned a ton. And then, last night, we won! We couldn't have done it without the love and support of our community, without the amazing staff at HBMG Foundation, without the volunteers who showed up and helped us pull it all off. And without love, which is really the foundation for it all.


From L to R, back to front: Wura-Natasha Ogunji, me (Ana-Maurine Lara), Cheryl Coward, Sean Medley, Melissa Recalde, Mr. Wesley, Ashleigh N Stone, Florinda Bryant.

Check out our website: Stamplab.org to learn more. We're planning for some more stuff down the road.

Peace.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ego.

In psychoanalysis - Freudian - the instinctual or subconscious constitutes the "id"; the organised part of the psyche that reacts to the outside world is the "ego," and the critical and moralizing part - the thought police - is the "super-ego."

In the dictionary, ego also means: the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought. It also refers to egotism or conceit The ego is connected to our self-esteem and self-image, our feelings. In philosophy, the ego is the part of ourselves that is -a posteriori - aware of and knowledgeable about experiences.

When someone tells us something truthful we don't want to hear, most often our egos are getting bruised. It is up to us to determine how we handle truth. And to learn how to distinguish truth-telling from manipulation.

And then there is the ego that is based on a false sense of self-importance, on conceit, self-centeredness and selfishness. This particular kind of egotism, or ego, is so deeply entrenched in so many parts and pieces of our society and social structures, and yet I always find that I'm surprised by its appearance.

In my adult life, I've learned some key things about power, authority and ego.

1) Ego, and egotistical behavior, is often a result of self-doubt, self-loathing, insecurity and a history of trauma.
2) When people operate out of a place of ego, they're not able to see anything outside of themselves, and therefore are unavailable for constructive change, collaboration, etc.
3) True power is about how we walk day-to-day and treat the people around us. Kindness and love are two of our greatest personal powers.
4) People who are self-confident and self-loving, as well as clear about their desire to succeed and to walk with other successful people, generally work without egotistical behavior and are able and willing to listen to others, to take responsibility for their actions, to compromise on decisions without comprising their integrity and to learn from their mistakes.
5) English has many powerful words. But I think there are two specific phrases that can change the course of things in seconds: "I don't know." and "I'm sorry."
6) Egotistical behavior often leads to abuses of power in positions of authority.
7) The most visionary and radical uses of authority are often in the service of love for other people motivated by a deep belief in humanity and in self-love.

On the last point in particular, I am always inspired when I see this in the world around me. My favorite artists all work with the specificity of self-love, a deep humanity and love for a beautiful world. Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ugh - so here I am. It's August 4th. I haven't been on This Road in ages. At best, as sporadic as the rains have been this summer here in Austin. I can't say it's for any other reason than time and loss of it. I've been busy. It's been good. I've been gardening *yay* and also working on a play with the ArtSpark Theatre Festival. The first run was this past Saturday. It's called HUSH, and the team is called Stamp Lab. Check out our website and blog. It's pretty.

And, I've had my head in theatre for 10 weeks now! I had no idea it consumed so much time. Writing a novel is time consuming, but it's all on my time - not requiring collaboration and scheduling with others. I just choose a time, pick a seat in a quiet place in the world and write. Same with poetry - in fact, poetry is all about that dream state thing. Not so with theatre. No. Theatre is all about real time.

So, only two weeks left in the Festival. And then, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. Oh yes - I know - go to my other writing. Of course!

I decided to take some classes at the Institute of American Indian Arts, too. Online courses. I'm really excited about that. One class - how cool is this - is all about storytelling through iconography. Oh the not so inner nerd is happy.

Penz is past it's halfway mark - if you can believe that! That means we're closer to the end of the year than the beginning. And, I know, I know - August is the 8th month after all - but still, I feel like I just started with my Penz. Really. It feels that way. I'm onto whole other ideas right now. It's just wow.

And speaking of other years, other ideas...I'm very excited for what 2009 is going to bring in terms of performance work. I'll be announcing some stuff later this year. I can hardly sit on it. But I will, for now. I need to know about the world before I say anything.

Peace.