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Friday, January 17, 2014

Obey the Muse

Give yourself credit
for each step you take toward
your passionate goals

Right now I am in the process of creating a film about “Little Girl Blue,” my one-woman show in which I portray 17 characters.  Filmmaking is a new venture for me. I am transferring my skills to get to another perspective of my work. By venturing into film, “Little Girl Blue” will no longer be sequestered on the static page. She’s no longer limited to the live stage. The film speaks to another realm that allows the work to be shared across broader audiences. For me, making the film is a leap of faith. Faith in the story I’m sharing. Faith in my ability to learn and create in new genres as I continue on my quest as an artist.

The film shows excerpts from the show. It also includes interview segments where I explain why I was compelled to take on this enterprise in the first place. The play covers the gamut of the awful violations and violence a woman endures, starting in her childhood. But in the end, she survives. "Little Girl Blue" rises above her circumstances to become victorious, triumphant.

The inspiration for “Little Girl Blue” came from my book of poetry, “Color in Motion,” which features a foreword by the drumming legend Max Roach.  As I conducted book signings and readings when the book was released, I had this strong urge to do “something more” with my poetry.  This “something more” started coming to me in my dreams.  In my dreams, I saw myself on stage performing, but I didn’t know what I was saying. I saw colors, characters. Over time, the characters began to speak to me. They came to life and I wrote down what they were saying. Little Girl Blue emerged. The Wise Woman emerged. Maria emerged. And then came the Professional Woman, the Lonely Woman, the Wounded Woman, and finally, the Triumphant Woman.

When the production finally found its format, each character was given a monologue and a poem.  For a long time, the emotions connected to my dreams were strong, searing and poignant. But the actions were vague. Sometimes my dreams were like watching a movie with the sound turned down real low, a movie that alternated between slow motion and fast motion. I really had to concentrate to try to capture what was going on.

Yet in my waking moments, somehow I knew intuitively that I wanted this work to be about healing and redemption on several levels, about the possibilities of a person becoming whole even if they’ve been terribly broken. No matter what the inciting incidents were: child abuse, incest, sexual abuse, domestic violence, infectious diseases, family secrets, shame, poverty. I wanted to use my poetry and monologues to get beyond all of this, to pierce the heart of the matter. I found I had this huge desire to find joy, to find love, to claim peace and fulfillment.

Clearly, I never could have predicted when I first started out that “Little Girl Blue” would take on a life of her own and capture my passions years after the first production. But I continue to follow the muse and pay attention to my dreams, my passions. I feel a sense of victory with each little step I take. 

As I write this, my hope is that you too are going after your passions. And for all of the work and sweat you put into making your passionate dreams and desires come true, I hope you savor the moments along the way. And please, make sure you:
Give yourself credit
for each step you take toward
your passionate goals.
Asante Sana. Peace and Blessings Always

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