`penny’s parade journal, April 15th:
We just finished a BIG puppet and parade building workshop at Blackbird Arts this weekend, with two great days of children, youth and families continuing to transform cardboard and recycled what-nots into masks, costumes and no-motors-needed floats for our parade.
When I came home to eat supper and greet my delicious friend ‘sleep’ I pretty much wandered through both of those final-end of day tasks in a fog. Yesterday’s question returns—the getting over it one—-and I realize that one of my strategies in finding energy to “begin-again’ year-after-year, is to recognize the edge, which is sometimes immersed in a fog and stop action.
Which is what I did. After eight good solid hours of wonderful sleep, I woke up and took a look at what was creeping into my rested consciousness. Surprise! It was a list! Or at least the need to make a list. And this one being a leadership list, as in: write out the necessary tasks and various jobs in BIG letters and post it on the wall amidst all the parade-making. The make-a-list message and my role/task as the list-maker was reinforced when I read this quote right off the bat this morning: “Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”
This leadership thing is tricky and it’s not ANYTHING like the first prestigious kind-of idea we may have or the stereotype of that title—especially not in a community-group-shared-space-bring-in-the creative-tinkerers and GO kind of way. Right off the bat, my good intentions of organizing walk-in-group puppet projects was thwarted when my full attention was cheerfully re-directed by going through the storyboard with two of our special parade marshals. Soon after, a mass of wonderful and excited, creative kids and their families arrived and then the nice news lady with a camera.
Anyways, I guess what I’m needing to revisit and write about this morning before I begin-again, is that even though my well-planned list and framework for the work-day yesterday was pretty much completely re-arranged by the hands-on tasks, needs and events that popped up as soon as I walked through the doors—I’m about to write out another BIG list for today—and I may even go so far as writing a list out for the week….with the reality that it’s just not that easy to get in front of it sometimes.
Okay—first on the list is GRATITUDE:
It’s remarkable and somewhat daunting what happens when a parade build is in full swing. I know this and I also forget about it when I’m immersed in the process—which for me is a pleasing necessary and nourishing place to be. I was reminded of the remarkable daunt when George and I finished the early in the day telling of the parade storyboard to two of our parade marshalls who came to choose their section. Their reaction was a combination of “wows” and “all of this by parade-day???”
So my first on the list gratefulness mention is for the power of art–of making–doing–being a part of a creative process. It’s one of the biggest WOW’s ever. I believe that we are all such creative creatures, and we DO have the creative-fuel that we need and our community to turn the tides on many of the difficulties we face. Re-creating a healthy way to live on this planet is happening and necessary shift in the paradigm that is parading before us.
I’m so very grateful for my longtime friendship with George Meyer and our paired-shared devotion to all of the above. He’s not only a puppet-partner, but also one of my best friends and a brother-from-another-mother. George is giving my family AND my community a HUGE gift by visiting us, and, being here in Traverse City helping create and build this parade.
Thirdly, Melissa and her family at Blackbird Arts have been incredible partners with Little Artshram this year, not only providing the space—but then allowing for this found object, organic blooming of the creative process to really–really happen. She gets it, and therefore we get to really–really do our stuff, as in Wah-la—-build a parade! We are feeling deeply grateful and respectfully appreciated.
Likewise, and with as much deep gratefulness and respect I want to share the growing list of 250 folks and businesses that are coming aboard our parade-train as sponsors and partners along with Blackbird Arts: Chelsea Taylor, Anne Drake, Kristin Anton—devoted artists, teachers and a fantastic part of our parade crew, hands-on volunteers Sharon and Kerry, TC Sings! The Good Work Collective, The Great Lakes Children’s Museum, Scrap TC, NMC Student Life Organization, Oryana Natural Foods Market, O’k Puppet Theater and The Pretty Good Players, Mayor and Mrs. Michael Estes, Jack and Susan Seaman, several anonymous donors….and there will be more!
Gracias, gracias, gracias.