Sunday, June 2, 2013

Meanwhile...six months later, a post.

Robert, with ice on his knee and staff by his side.
It has been a very long six months and I am happy to say that I have loads of good news to share! Here is some personal and organizational news all in a jumbleFirst, our new massmouth, inc. board of directors helped us launch an Annual Appeal which raised nearly $3,000. This helped us meet the challenge of Mass Humanities our main funder. They had asked us to raise over ten thousand dollars more than we had raised last year to be able to run the StoriesLive® high school project for a 3rd year.  In order to demonstrate that our organization is worth supporting ( they loved the program) and that we had the infrastructure to be able to go on after our last $10,000 grant we had to really put the pedal to the metal. Our appeal was timely and really appealed to the Three Apples Storytelling Festival which was dissolving and as a nonprofit had to bestow it's remaining assets on some other nonprofit. Susan Harris, the treasurer and 'keeper of the flame' chose us and we received our first $5,000 outright gift on Dec 31st, 2012.

During the holidays my husband and I locked knees while dancing and I tore the meniscus of his right knee. This was just before we would leave to see our eldest daughter graduate from her PhD. program at Durham University in the UK.  So proud! She is a scholar, a gentlewoman and now, a Doctor of Philosophy. Despite hurting him so badly that he needed a wheel- chair for part of our travels, he managed to forgive me and recover enough to use a cane and have some fun in Merry Olde England. It was a lovely and brief trip. The man is an animal. I would still be on crutches but Robert heals quickly. And credits PT with his near complete recovery.

We both returned from our 5 whirlwind days in the UK to a load of
work. At massmouth we had sold out shows and the teaching of over 1,200 high school students in 9 weeks to pull together. Then it started to snow - a lot! And while it was snowing and everyone was home during the main blizzard in February and our schedule for StoriesLive® was taking a pounding from the weather... both massmouth and my personal bank cards were "skimmed"  and $2,500 was taken from our accounts before we realized what was happening. Think of this kind of theft is the gift that "keeps on giving." The disorganization and disruption of your daily life goes on for quite long time. I still get bills or cancellation notices from accounts that bill every every quarter, 6 months or yearly and were connected to those two cards. We are so thankful that the bank give us back the money that was stolen. Phew! We would've been in deep deep trouble without it!

We managed to complete a hugely busy season IV of story slams, sell out the Coolidge Corner Theater for a third year in a row and raise over $5,000 for the StoriesLive® program which, in its 3rd year, taught over 2,000 high school students to tell their stories. 

It was a near thing since the terrorist attack on April 15th made it hard for live events  that week - ours was on April 17th yet we filled the theater. But the high school regional slam was at the Boston Library and all of Boylston Street was closed, including the Library right up until a three days before the high school event. Luckily enough of the students still came and even though it was half the number expected the nearly 30 who performed were enough to make it an event to remember.

This spring I managed to remember to complete a syllabus for a course proposal in storytelling at Tufts University, my alma mater. I was delighted to learn last week that the course will accepted and will be listed and if enough students enroll, I will be teaching EXP-0003-F: Performance Art, Podcasts, and Slams: Storytelling in Theory and Practice to undergraduates at Tuft's Ex-College on Tues nights this fall.

This summer I will again be telling stories all over the city, three public sites a day, for Read Boston in late July and early August.  And in early July,  I will be leading a storytelling workshop for activists as part of the Camp Commons Week - Building Community Resilience at the World Fellowship Center in Albany, New Hampshire and the week will end with my new friends Mary Hannon and Chuck Collins leading a story slam, using the knowledge they have gained from massmouth story slams. This makes me very happy. Our inclusive, spread the joy,  each-one-teach-one is working and there are more  and more places where storytelling is known and respected.

One more bit of good news, this June I am being honored with a Creative Leadership Award at Puppet Showplace Theatre and will write about that in my next blog.

But the best news of all is that I finally have the time to write some of it down! Enjoy your summer!

No comments: