These are the entries created by my daughter, Sacha, and I. She designed the concept, did the pencil draft…I inked and colored it, and edited in Photoshop. We submitted to Neil Gaiman‘s FB site “Neverwear”.
One day, while my daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, I decided to risk pulling out a new sketchbook I had special ordered. It had dark paper, and was perfect for adding highlights to. I had only drawn a little in it, and was anxious to try it again, but knowing our daughter's love of art supplies, it meant that if I wasn't sly enough, I might have to share.
A friend posted these prompts on Facebook.. and I realized my answers were more honest than I expected.
I LIKE…relaxing at home, not necessarily “doing something”; cuddling my kid (never too old for that); watching Star Trek series (any); listening to rock and reggae from “the good old days”; learning and sharing something new; Coffee and yummy food; art, music, love and nature.
I DON’T LIKE…feeling fearful, or “sorry for myself”; injustice, toward anyone or anything; artifice and greed; being made to feel “less than”; Succumbing to others’ (or my own) judgments; violence toward animals, children, women, or the environment; senselessly mean people.
I BELIEVE…that humankind will evolve (eventually), but I may not be around to see it; that we will reach Mars, and explore our solar system in the next 100 years (if we evolve); that there is good in most people; that there is another plane of existence, or an “afterlife”; that I CAN make a difference; that we are all light, manifested into forms that we create in order to learn.
I REGRET…That I didn’t spend more time with my Mom before she became ill and passed away; that I listened to my school counselor, and didn’t go to art school in Colorado; that I ever “hurt” anyone; that I didn’t believe in myself more when I was young; that regret is a waste of energy, so I’ll stop now.
I WILL…be a successful teacher someday; that I will go on to do better things for others as well as myself; pay my debts (which are thankfully few); live to see my daughter become whatever she dreams, maybe even be a grandma (I plan to be pretty old by then); stop worrying about being poor, alone, or sick.. and just be.
I AM…unique, smart, creative, and persevering (oh, and a bit wordy).
Hi Everyone! Please feel free to check out my new blog , which will be my “focus blog” from here on out. I have not abandoned this one, however. This blog will remain the repository for my creative, stream -of -consciousness postings! Thanks for your support, as I try to increase my audience, and improve myself as a blogger. Peace!
When I took the summer camp job at “Camp Adventure”, on the far east-side of town (12 miles from my midtown home), I had just been laid off from my teaching position–again–and I wanted to have some kind of income, as I looked for gainful employment beyond two months. It seemed perfect: I could work indoors, out of the heat (100 plus temperatures are average in Arizona for summer), and teach a variety of kids how to use technology creatively in the camp’s on-site lab, with 22 computers and a projector. I could do the job, and in the interim, I could interview for teaching positions for the upcoming school year.
About a week after I accepted the position, following an interview with a school in the district that had just laid me off (I’m a sucker for punishment), I was hired as an ELD teacher. I had already committed to the summer camp job, so I decided to stick it out. Besides–I needed the extra money. I had just purchased a $1,000 car, and I was tired of draining my savings account.
In the first few weeks, it was an adjustment…there were more than 200 kids to rotate weekly, ages 6 to 13, and I had to really tone down the “teacher talk”, because these kids were NOT interested. But they were interested in gaming, so I used that as leverage to get them to try new things on the computer.
Over the summer months, I learned some names, and the kids learned how to create everything from Power Points to online creative art programs, like bomomo.com, and picassohead.com . They also created great stories and art on storytelling sites like Storybird and Little Bird Tales. I researched as many presentation and creative tools as I could find, but was plagued by computer issues, (I couldn’t update accelerators because I was not an administrator), so I had to be resourceful. I found two cool presentation tools online: Buncee, and Prezi. With these, I introduced the campers to a new way to show their work.
And because they weren’t allowed to save anything to the camp hard-drives, I saved their work daily on a single thumb drive…no easy task, as I had to go to each computer and upload their drafts individually.
About halfway through the summer, I was experiencing burn-out. The drive was stressful, and my air-conditioning was useless in my car. The kids were often unruly, and very loud. I struggled to keep my temper, and their interest. I missed the days I could just sleep in, or go on day-trips. I haven’t been on a real vacation in over 3 years! And the last one wasn’t more than 250 miles out-of-town. I hardly saw my daughter since she had become a teenager, and now I never saw her.
In the final weeks of camp, I had a “bring your kid to work day”, so I had her come along. She saw what it was like for me to work in a venue outside of school, and the bonus: she could be on a computer for 6 hours! And, it was a novelty for the campers, who had been curious about my life outside of camp.
As camp drew to a close, and I simultaneously prepared to return to my job as a teacher, I decided two things: The job had been an excellent experience for preparing me to work with a wider age range of kids, with various abilities, and; I think I will take a month off before going right to work in the summer, if I am inclined to take a summer job again.
On the last day, the camp prepared for a day of fun outdoor activities. It promised to be a hot, and very long day. My duty was to monitor the jumping castles, a job I was not entirely looking forward to. For 3 hours, I had to keep kids from breaking each others’ bones, while sweating in the camp ‘s outdoor covered gymnasium. I made it as lighthearted as I could, and the kids got to see another side of their tech-camp counselor. But the real surprise was that I got to see another side of the campers.
At the camp “finale”, the campers and some parents had gathered to see kids perform music and choreographed dances. I came down from the deserted lab to watch, after cleaning up and shutting down the computers for the final time. The highlights were the performance of the “Rain Song” by all the campers—they clapped in a multi-layered chorus to produce the sound of a desert rainstorm. It was pretty impressive (and somewhat prophetic). Then each camper group performed dances, from folk to funk, and I found myself feeling proud of them. I even got a bit choked up!
As the last group prepared to do their dance, a huge monsoon storm moved in, and the covered outdoor gym was assaulted with pounding rain. Lightning and thunder drowned out the sound-system. The camp director called an end to camp for the day, and parents, relatives and kids made a mass and rapid exodus…I found myself running through the pouring rain, laughing with the kids.
As some took a short cut through the tech camp, I displayed their work on the lab projector. We said hurried good-byes, and I gave a few hugs. The camp director gave me a gift certificate, and thanked me for my work. We walked back toward the office, wading through a foot of water outside the tech lab. As I punched out and headed for my car in a light drizzle, I gave the camp a last look, and said my goodbyes. The storm had scrubbed the desert clean, and the air was fresh with scent of wet creosote and drenched asphalt. As I headed out to the crowded and flooded city streets, I thought: “Farewell, my summer camp job…it’s been an adventure.”
Artist’s Critique-Frida Kahlo’s “The Wounded Deer”
Frida Kahlo, born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán on July 6, 1907 (she listed her DOB as 1910, originally to show her birth as coinciding with Mexico‘s revolution as a modern society). She is best known for her portraiture and surrealist style of art, and her connection and marriage to Diego Rivera, the famous artist and muralist of Mexico, who was 20 years her senior.
At the age of 18 years, she was critically injured in a bus accident, which damaged her spine, and left her unable to bear children. This fateful accident, her subsequent surgeries and recovery, combined with her marriage to Diego, as well as her connection to her Mexican/AmerIndian roots, informed her work throughout her short and tumultuous life. She said of her life and art: “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” Upon her death in 1954 at the age of 47, her final diary entry read: “I hope the end is joyful – and I hope never to return – Frida”.
In this painting titled “The Little Deer” or “The Wounded Deer”, Frida responds to her failed back surgery in New York in 1946, which she had hoped would bring an end to her pain from the spinal injury she had suffered with since her accident at age 18. It is an oil on masonite painting, done in the surrealist style she has become known for, depicting a deer mortally wounded in a forest of claustrophobic and sickly looking trees. Lightning streaks the sky in the distance, further lending a disturbing mood to the image. Her visage superimposed on the wounded deer stares out at the viewer, seemingly in indifference and resignation, an expression she seems to wear in most of her portraits. And yet, one senses her pain and desperation, the trapped feeling, as she runs through the dark and foreboding forest. Though pierced by many arrows, she hovers above a branch with living green leaves…perhaps suggesting her hopes for a better life, or maybe the loss of that hope.
I chose Frida Kahlo, and this piece in particular, because both have had a great impact on me as an artist. Although I cannot directly relate to the type of pain depicted in her art, I can relate to her as an artist, and a woman. The pain she experienced, her loves and losses, have not been part of my experience, but I can relate to some of what she must have gone through. Her love of nature, her desire to connect to her cultural roots, her experiences as an artist and a woman, are all aspects of her life and art that have influenced my own. Trees have been a repeating theme in much of my own work as well, and her dream-like approach to imagery in her art is one I can relate to. As one of my influences, I count Frida Kahlo to be one of the best.
Frida Kahlo Fans-Online, http://www.fridakahlofans.com/index.html
Frida Kahlo Website-Online, http://www.fridakahlo.com/
I just wanted to share this wonderful young woman’s speech…you may have already heard or seen parts of it, perhaps all of it. I’ve heard the speech now three times, and each time its power grows in my heart. As an educator, I feel strongly that her message be heard, not just on the UN floor, but in all sectors of society, throughout the world. As a writer, I cannot follow her act, or add anything to her already eloquent words…her speech says it all. At the age of 16 years, she is a powerful speaker…the likes I have not heard or seen since Martin Luther King, Jr. Many may not agree with me on that, but I will tell you (and mark my words)…Malala Yousafzai is and will be a force to be reckoned with and a great leader in the years to come.
Peace to all my readers, Ronni
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