I know that it is over a week since I last posted. It is testament to how busy I have been with the Personal Magic book… well, busy anyway.

Last week was a wonder-filled week. So much came to bloom (or at least to bud) that has been slowly brooding in the hopper. (How many of these old cliches can I mangle?!)

It was a week of ‘culcha’ (to lapse into dialect of the mother tongue – Australian…) On Monday, two bold and beautiful ten year old girls auditioned for a spot in the Cordes Lakes Days talent show. As they were the only ones under the age of forty-five with the gumption to call for a time, arrive and then blow my socks off, they will be featured as Cordes Lakes Talent. (No contest, just them with the two adults who also came out of the wood-work and will be featured.)

I was honored and delighted to sit in the dismal, institutionalized looking hall and be energetically entertained by the blonde Caucasian and dark Hawaiian pair, dancing their way through an intricate, self-choreographed rap piece. Gorgeous! And to high five them,  breathless, grinning and with that stunned ‘we did it’ look, made me as happy as I have been in ages.

Tuesday night we went into Prescott and had a completely different arts experience. The Hopi artist Filmer Yoimasa Kewanyama was showing some of his paintings and speaking about the spiritual symbolism inherent in his work. Held at Quixote’s Garage – a remarkable venue in itself offering daily safe haven to the homeless – I was mesmerized. The stories of the art, the journey of this man and then the place itself, a tiny art gallery of sorts, run by a tall, thin woman with huge kind eyes, were redolent with the power to transform.

Art that comes from the heart has meaning. It gives passage and also offers escape. The art is also in the creation of safe place, respect given to all, and the coming together of people from widely different walks of life to sit in old, mismatched chairs, in a converted garage and receive a little of the wisdom from a culture steeped in ancient understandings which is embedded in their art.

On Wednesday I offered the first of what will be four introductory workshops to Veterans at the new Oasis Center  (through the VA) in Prescott. Five bold veterans let me guide them through the beginning  exercises of my unique, and perhaps confusing, Performing Wellness ™ writing process, trusting that simply writing, writing to the odd instructions would pay off. It did.  They shared powerful pieces of poetry, and then another piece of writing, startlingly and perfectly decorated with crayon right onto the page, all to much amazed and delighted laughter.

Thursday we were back in Prescott (my car can take itself there now and knows where the speed traps are) for an evening of new monologues, hosted by Tomorrow’s Theatre Tonight, a brainwave made reality by the passion and hard work of two playwright women, Micki Shelton and Charissa Menefee. TTT opened its 5th year this past Thursday and will meet each 3rd Thursday until next May, when they take a summer break. It is an opportunity for writers to hear their work and receive the input of an audience in an informal setting.

This night, three intrepid writers put out four monologues to a small, enthusiastic and again, diverse crowd, convened in the cafeteria at Prescott College. Each monologue was read by an actress who embraced the words and the stories with all that they could bring. The power of theatre, when the creation of one artist (the playwright) meets the creation of another (the actress) to double the impact of the story cannot be understated.

I was honored to give a monologue I had written to one actress and then in turn read one she had written. The rewards of open, supportive giving and sharing through the performing arts multiply. In July Tiffany produced the incredibly successful Dirty Laundry women’s playwright festival, and that Thursday she sat on a chair and read a stunning monologue by a very first time playwright. As theatre artists we learn to risk what we create, to trust others with it, and to celebrate each step of courage and gift in the creation.

Friday I was back with the Veterans and this time we did an introductory acting workshop. If there is something I enjoy more than facilitating writing it is watching people step into their greater selves through the acting process! As the terrible cloak of self-consciousness gives way to the joy of play, so bodies, voices and imaginations free up to become closer and closer to the great truth of realized potential.

Of course, no-one knows that but they know they are laughing and making eye contact with each other. And the vet who habitually stood with his hands behind his back in that odd military ‘at ease’ stance found he was able to bring them around in a pleading motion to his acting partner during the little mini-scene at the end of the two hours. Freedom indeed!

Saturday night we were closer to home when we drove the 3 miles to Arcosanti, joined a work co-hort on her little deck overlooking the outdoor theatre, and were transported by the amazing Phoenix based Fushicho Daiko Drummers. The body-vibrating energy of the drums, beauty of  movement, all fluid discipline and each focused with meaning, of voice and body, mind and imagination. The transforming power of art again. Six people (four of them women) with their drums led a diverse audience on the wings of an ancient Japanese form into a journey that was personal and communal, out on a mesa in Arizona.

Sunday we culminated the entire week with another trip into Prescott and this time we were entertained, educated, amazed and proud to wander almost as tourists through the vast parade that was Prescott’s Best Fest, a pre-AZ Centennial Party offered by the city of Prescott.

We began the Elks Opera House as Gail, (whose monologue a I had read and who had read mine on Thursday), ala Florence ala Zaza, welcomed us to the oldest theatre in AZ. We wandered through the art booths, meeting again with two of the artists we had first met at Quixote’s Garage on Tuesday.

Across the corner of the square in the Native Village, dance performances from a number of tribes, were ringed by beautifully made models of their native homes and booths of handmade treasures. A measure of stillness hovered where the wisdom of the older artisans combined with the clay and stories.

I ate blackened catfish and hushpuppies, admired the entrepreneurship of one Johnny Hotshot at the Western Village and witnessed the sobering, heartfelt performance by the Buffalo Soldiers in the Military Zone.

Leaving the world of downtown Prescott which was really many worlds, we wandered through a final performance by the Mexican group Ballet Folklorico La Palomo on the way to our car, parked four hours earlier. I was sunburned, delighted, and once again, humming with the magic of the artistic endeavor.

The variety to which the magic can be applied – to supply a vessel, make a point, unravel a mystery, or simply to entertain – is breathtaking. And when we embrace the magic that is Creativity it can all happen and sometimes for more than one application from the one creation.

In the midst of all that I received notification that an essay I had written was one of seven selected by the WEconference (women’s  empowerment) to be held in Irvine, CA  on October 1. The first time my writing won me anything, outside of its own inherent joy. Titled The Stories Women Tell, it traced my beginnings with storytelling and the role of that form of the arts to create community and ultimately to come to name our own personal magic. (I will post it in full here after the conference but you can go here to read it now if you wish.)

And the book? Well, we have a cover coming along that will be ready next week; it is undergoing a subtle name change (Personal Magic: Conscious Empowerment through Creativity and Spirit); and my daughter is working on little pen and ink illustrations. It is not forgotten.

The week that was, offered me a vibrant reminder of just what this thing is called creativity in all its forms, for so many, at so many levels, for more purposes than we can begin to list. The spiritual dimension is a thread through all the work, either articulated or a silent current by which it moves through us.

So the magic for me this last week was not just personal magic but the magic of the community of artists, in all their specifics, and years of experience or newness to a process, who are all around. I urge you to go out and create! It is totally worth it. It will float your boat, let loose the angels and carry you over the rainbow! (to mess with a few more metaphors!) Just have fun…

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