Monday, November 28, 2011

Forbidden Voices Staged Reading

On October 15th Christina and I presented a staged reading of an excerpt of our performance piece, Forbidden Voices.  It was for the “Breaking Down Doors” event – a benefit for Jasmine Asian Women’s Giving Circle.  The performance also included Genki Spark a fantastic Asian women’s taiko drumming troupe.  

From our perspective the performance went well.  The audience was receptive and kind and we were “on.”  After the performance there was an open discussion about the play and the issues addressed.  It was a wonderful opportunity for us to focus on the performance piece and begin to get the word out about the work we are doing.  

We invite anyone who was present to comment on our performance and their experience.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Here We Go! The Debut of "Forbidden Voices"

We are thrilled to announce the debut of an excerpt of our play "Forbidden Voices:" a part of the "Breaking Silences Project: Asian American Women Speak out on Mental Illness."  It is a heartbreaking, funny and tender performance piece about the loss of young adulthood and the cultural stigma of depression and suicide.  

Our performance (which is a staged reading) is part of a fundraiser, "Breaking Down Doors" for the Jasmine Giving Circle. The fundraiser is Saturday, October 15, 2:00 to 4:00 at the Harvard-Epworth Church, 1555 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA. 

Please join us for a thought provoking and energetic afternoon as we share the program with Genki Spark, an all women Taiko Drumming group. Food will be served.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Where to Start?

Recently, I sat down to try to write my piece for the Breaking Silences Project.  I have a lot of ideas but I was not sure where to start.  So, I started by just doing a freewrite for ten minutes on things I may want to write about.   (In a freewrite you write without stopping for a period of time, without paying attention to the formalities or grammar.  It is a stream of consciousness brainstorm of ideas and thoughts.)  Through the freewrite I realized that although I had an “idea”  of a topic for my writing, I really didn’t know on what I wanted to focus.

Then I remembered my own words as a writing teacher – start with the specific and concrete.  Use your senses and describe fully an incident or event, because through it is through the specifics that we understand and relate to another’s experience.  When I say I was depressed as an adolescent what does that really mean?    

Describing how I used to sit in the dark, at my mother’s large desk and watch the snow fall when I was twelve years old, thinking that I could walk out into the wintery night and freeze to death, describes my suicidal feelings better than saying I was suicidal at twelve.  

Tip #1: Use freewriting as a tool to generate ideas.
Tip #2: Start with the concrete and specific
Tip #3:  Show not tell.  Give details not generalities.  Let the reader make sense of what you are saying.  Describe your unhappiness – don’t just say you were unhappy.  Use your senses.  What did you hear, smell, hear, see, and feel? 
Tip #4:  Don’t worry about essay structure or grammar in the first draft.  You can revise and edit later.
Tip #5:  Use your language.  Tell your story in your words.  Don’t worry about sounding intelligent or educated or polished.  You have your own voice – try not to censor it.

Remember too that if you want writing support for this project, you can always contact Christina or me and we will be glad to talk with you, respond to drafts, or meet (if possible geographically).