Showing posts from October, 2010

Dear Write To Connect students--see you tomorrow, and here are some important details....!

Thanks to everyone who RSVPed for the first day of the first Write To Connect workshop series, October 29 2010.  I know one or two of you can’t begin until November 1 and that is just fine. The class is at the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco from 3-5pm. The address is 649 Mission, cross streets are 2 nd and 3 rd . It is right next door to the Cartoon Art Museum. The closest BART is Montgomery. Go one block south on 2 nd Street to Mission after you come above ground from the Montgomery BART. If you live in SF, you can also take the 2, 3, or  14 bus If you get lost or need any kind of assistance, please call me at 415 867 1124. Please bring whatever tools you need to do some spontaneous informal writing/journaling—pens, paper, laptop, slate and stylus, voice recorder, etc. Bring a journal if you have one.   Only bring what is absolutely necessary for you to write. If you are unable or do not feel comfortable lugging your adaptive tech over, we can work something

Waiting room and hospital poems

Here is an excerpt from the Hospitalogy series, a collection of poems which has been published as a chapbook by my friend David Wolach. David was a performance artist for many years, but when he became seriously ill, he started rethinking his "somatic" practice--somatics meaning 'of the body'. David, at a recent talk in San Francisco, challenged us to consider how our somatics in daily life factors into our writing or can influence our writing process. (I used the prompt to journal about learning to use a white cane this summer.) David wrote poems from the Hospitlaoogy series during his stays in hospitals or during long waits in various clinics. Sometimes, he would ask his room mates to help him work on the poems. --from Hospitalogy Television Incision (Reflections on Drift, Sentence—Burst) University of Washington Hospital, October 2008 Dear Static, I heard you in the next room A double room, An epiself An ikea idea: The cars must have gone to bed Times s

Spoken Word Poet Leah Gardner

I met Leah Gardner in 2004, when I started volunteering for Pushing Limits Radio (KPFA Berkeley). With Adrienne Lauby, Leah was a great introduction to the East Bay disability community and to the world of local radio by and for people with disabilities. Leah and I did shows on emergency preparedness just after Katrina (oddly, we had both been former employees of the Red Cross at separate times and thus, had firsthand knowledge of just how best intentions could become messy). One of our bets adventures was tracking down comedian and little person Tanyalee Davis at an SF hotel and did a special hour on her for PL. Leah has been an adaptive tech trainer at the LightHouse for the Blind for some time and in 2008, she alerted me to an opening there. So, we've gotten to be co-workers once again. Besides being a patient and highly knowledgeable adapt tech trainer, Leah is an exuberant spoken word poet who has competed in many slams. Stay tuned to the Starry Plough's events list, as 

“The reconstruction of a useable past can contribute to the building of an accessible future.”

It was pouring rain in Sam Francisco on Sunday morning and still pouring when K. and I came above ground at the downtown Berkeley station. Somehow, though the Civic Center elevator had been out of service again and we had to troop down grimy Market St. far too early on a Sunday (for me, that is any time before 10am) we made it to the UC Berkeley Alumni House on time. It was warm there and dry and everything smelled of moist eucalyptus and pastries. I parked my motorized scooter behind several electric wheelchairs. The door to the courtyard behind us was open and with the sound of rain in the background, K. and I settled in to the last row as Georgina Kleege began introducing the readers. UCB faculty, San Francisco State University professors and many friends had gathered to read from Paul Longmore’s* writings—and in some cases, to retell his stories and jokes—as a memorial. It was a wonderful event, filled with wisdom and humor and I wished it could have gone on longer. A fe

Collaborating on Waveform.

Denies Leto and I collaborated on a lengthy poem/essay called Waveform this summer. For me, Denise is a wonderful new discovery. We are both waterbabies--she grew up as a San Diego surfer, I am from Florida. We are both Italian and have written many a "spaghetti grandmother" poem.  Not only do we get to talk about chronic pain and the complex logistics that come with disability, the way daily routines get halted and make for a more uncertain writing routine, but we seem to be prone to spasmodic laughter. These episodes occur over the smallest things--over pizza and wine, triggered by sudden tangents and cadence gone awry. The full version of this text will appear in an anthology tentatively titled Post-Ableist. Patrick Durgin is the editor. Denise and I were lucky enough to be "e-troduced" by him via email, nearly a year ago. For the piece below, we exchanged short poems over the course of several months and then braided them together. --from Waveform Cool and th

Petra Kuppers and mythology

The idea to start Write To Connect came from a number of different experiences in recent years--among them, attending Olimpias gatherings with Petra Kuppers. Petra is a professor of women's studies, a performance artist, a poet, and a culture worker in the disability community. Olimpias is a collective of sorts, loosely organized by Petra--in which dance, art and storytelling unfurl during get-togethers which also double as potlucks and "formal" performances. Petra's personal style is that of the myth-maker, the ritualist. To enter one of her workshops is to be drawn into a realm of red cloths and lavender scents or just simple meditation exercises, while following her on an imaginative journey. Here is an excerpt from a paper she wrote for Disability Studies Quarterly . Abstract:  This essay looks for myths in disability culture poetry, and uses this lens, searching for different and welcoming spaces, countries, bodies and songs, to look at two questions: what doe

Anne Finger

On Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of speaking to Anne Finger on he telephone. We'd only met very briefly, several years ago, when she performed at a disability studies symposium at UC Berkeley. Then, last week, Herb Levine at Independent Living Center San Francisco told me that Anne taught a writing class at ILRC many years ago--just as I am looking forward to doing next week with Write To Connect. So I sent Anne a message on Facebook, wondering if she would be willing to chat with me, just a bit, about her writing workshop experience at ILRC. And then, just as I was pulling Sunday biscuits out of the oven (October is big biscuit phase in these parts), the phone on the kitchen counter buzzed. It was Anne! Facebook is so simple and magical sometimes. Here is a passage from one of Anne's memoirs. I love the way she situates herself in history, so that national events also makeup the body in question--her body. Those cycles of my childhood: a round of fall birthdays

Fabled Asp Reading at SFPL

On Thursday night, I went to Writing Our Mind, Speaking Our Word, Telling Our Stories at the San Francisco Public Library. This was a reading by several members of Fabled Asp—a collective dedicated to telling and archiving stories of disabled lesbians. From their website:        D isabled lesbians have accomplished an impressive amount in the span of 40  years.  They spearheaded activism about issues of disability in the women’s community. They were founders of major disability organizations and were at the forefront of activism around federal access legislation. The event was one in a series held at the library as part of the Fabled Asp anniversary exhibit.  You can view memorabilia, handmade objects, video and texts on the 6 th floor through November. [Caption: This image is a silhouette of three women—one in a wheelchair, another using a cane and holding on to the back of the chair and a third with her guide dog, holding on to the shoulder of the woman with the cane. The im

Weekend with friends, coffee, pie and different kinds of writing for life

On Saturday, I had coffee with a friend who is going through a drug rehabilitation program in San Francisco . We used to lie on my bed, listen to Scissor Sisters and make collages together. He would cut out lines of text from magazines and weave them into his collages. I have not seen him in almost three years and until he contacted me a few weeks ago and set up our coffee date, I thought it was very possible that he was no longer alive. Part of his rehab process involves making lists—a practice of writing that moves him to new and internal places, away from drug use and toward better strategies for his mental health. He explained to me that I was on his list of resentments, and from his anger and hurt, he mined another list of people he wanted to make amends with. So, there we were on Saturday afternoon. He told me that he is now working on writing a milestone speech, after six months of being sober, to give to the 80 residents who live in at his treatment program. He is working o

Disability History Week in California schools begins soon

Write To Connect was inspired, in part, by the momentum of the Disability History Week  Campaign. Please read the letter below and pass it on. It was sent by my friend Christina Mills, director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. * * * From Christina Mills; Greetings, Disability History Week has recently been passed by the  California  legislature!  We encourage you to help support the implementation of Disability History Week by passing the flyer on to your friends and family, posting the flyer in your office, around your school, or on your website. You can also support Disability History Week by acknowledging it in your local community during the second week of October. We want to thank you again for your support and point out that Disability History Week would not have been passed if it weren’t for the passionate youth organizers of the Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled & Proud project who worked so tirelessly on it this past year. Below you wi

First Write To Connect Workshop in the Disability Community Begins October 29!

I am very excited to say that the first Write To Connect workshop series will begin at at the Independent Living Resource Center in downtown San Francisco on October 29th, 2010! Workshops are once a week—10/29, 11/5, 11/12/11/19 from 3 – 5pm. RSVP by October 10th! People with disabilities who are interested in all types of writing are encouraged to join. The focus is on journaling (in different accessible modes), but we will also explore creative writing (novels, poems), practical writing (resumes, personal statements) and social writing (blogs, Facebook). Cost is $20 - $30 per two hour session. No one turned away for lack of funds. ILRC SF is in lovely downtown San Francisco. It s wheelchair accessible, scent-free and very close to BART. Contact me to find out more. Questions about access? Want to just chat and get to know more about me or explore the idea of life writing? Call or email! Email: Cell phone: 415 867 1124 Blog:

2010 Access Day at the de Young Museum

Yesterday, I went to the  Access Advisor's Open House and Disability Arts Festival  at the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park. This annual event, organized by Tish Brown, features disability culture presentations and accessible tours (This includes tactile tours for blind visitors and ample time and space for visitors with mobility impairments to get up close to exhibitions which aresometimes obscured by the large crowds that flock to the museum every day). Access day has an art-making/open studios room where disabled artists work on pieces live and in-person. [Image is of a woman weaving at a loom and an interactive weaving statue. The statue is a replica of the Eiffel Tower with baskets of fabric that passersby can pick up and weave into the frame.] I first found out about Access day at the de Young a few years ago when I was involved with producing radio shows for Pushing Limits (KPFA). I had the honor of recording almost 200 artist statements for the the Art Slam audio t

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