What is it? Which is it: Art? Commentary? Joke? Warning? Invitation?
It’s not everyday that one gets the privilege of attending the first of something. Especially an explosively popular and successful first.
After six or more years participating in and teaching (on occasion) at the punky, funky, and deliciously grass-roots Boston Skillshare, I pretty much became an acolyte of this unique form of community-based learning. If you’ve met me in person, chances are you’ve heard me proselytize about skillshare’s virtues. Chances are even better that I actually dragged you to one.
I’ll just go ahead and state it: skillshare changed my life.
When I caught wind of Somerville’s inaugural attempt at bringing community-based instruction to the DIY-hungry masses, you know I signed up right away. And by “right away,” I mean if a tornado had touched down at that moment, flinging me and my laptop to the sky, I’d have been no less likely to jab the “register” button.
I sure do love me some:
I mean, how can anyone resist:
(Also, I kind of “won the skillshare.” Thank you, Skillshare organizers!)
Some stories are so good, a person trips over herself trying to tell them. How to begin?
With my mother and her newly acquired electric keyboard? How she surprised me with an affirmative to my inquiry, asked slightly in jest: hey, Ma, want to do Ladies Rock Camp with me this spring?
With the brief essays we wrote for our applications, mining our memories for favorite musicians and artistic influences (me: Stevie Wonder; mom: Yanni.)
With forty-plus women, in support of girls, signed up for a three-day rock and roll bootcamp? With Girls Rock Campaign Boston, bursting on the scene in 2010, educating girls ages eight to seventeen in the ways of music and self-empowerment.
The story, on paper or on screen, holds more than I can give words to. More nerve. More verve. More vulnerabilities. More inspiration. More risk-taking. More generosity. More skill. More dancing. More surprises. More support.
So I’m not going to attempt to tell this tale linear. Here are some impressions. Here are some photos. Here is a challenge for you to sign yourself up (or your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend), and find out. Tell your own story.
However this thing begins, you can be sure it ends with gratitude.
Oh. And a video. Rocking out to Maids of Mayhem!
Recently, I joined Twitter.
It was a deeply-considered decision. After all, an important aspect of whole hearted connectedness, to which I prescribe, is thoughtful engagement with that which you already own. The web platforms where I spend my time and finite energy daily are myriad and, over the years, Twitter had seemed to me a shallow offering. A hummingbird’s game -flitting here and there for sweets, rarely making the kind of contact that leaves an impression. Then, suddenly, I discovered the website’s potential usefulness at work. So I held my nose, and I jumped.
I’ve been merrily sharing, watching the number of my so-named followers creep up. However, it’s strange to put things out there and rarely hear back. Part of me feels, why bother if only ten people have access to the tidbits of news, events, ideas that excite me? But then clicking that “tweet” button is easy. So I do it anyway and chalk it up to “learning” the “culture” of Twitter for the sake of professional and personal growth. For now.
Here are two items I recently “tweeted” that I feel could use a bit more air before they disappear into the drawer forever.
1.) An intern at Boston’s popular and accomplished Food Project blogs about his world-widening experience on the T.
2.) Creating art for the New York Subway with illustrator Sophie Blackall:
This What Is It might be better categorized as a Friday Favorite, because it’s cheating a bit. (Shh!) The internet, turns out, has lots to say about the mysterious cradle bench bolted into place very near the normal benches on Jamaica Pond.
I love my Canon Rebel EOS automatic film camera, but it tends to make me tardy. What with having to use up all the exposures before I can get a roll developed, and having to schlep all the way to CVS (which doesn’t do that great a job), and then with the sometimes coming out funky and off-color -like what happened with my shots from Wake Up the Earth, a parade and festival organized by Spontaneous Celebrations.
If you can forgive the blue tint . . .
This year’s Wake Up the Earth was my first time at the festival full day. I even brought my mom.
It’s the most amazing festival: color and passion and humor and generosity and music and heartfelt dancing and ginger beer. I invited my mother because, as far as I can see, Wake Up the Earth is a big bite of what makes JP, JP.
And who doesn’t love that?