Category Archives: Lessons

Fire Up. Delay. Breath. Respond.

In the past year of GAN-e-meed, of producing multiple projects, balancing spinning plates and juggling people and connections, this has been my most important lesson:

If the message via email or phone makes me angry.




Write the angry response.




Re-write the angry response.




Re-write the angry response as a conservative “thank you for the information but here’s where you suck.”




Re-write the conservative thank you as a polite “thank you for helping me see this new option or opportunity; I’ll do better next time.”


It places no one at blame.  It acknowledges that an exchange of information has occurred.  It keeps me from ruminating for the next three days.

And it’s kinder.

growing up: my ten year college reunion

this weekend marked ten years out of college.

i returned to Brandeis with trepidation.

i planned on spending most of my time visiting with two current friends and two old friends.

the two current friends are lovely, intelligent, beautiful women who have become close to me since graduation and the birth of my child.

the two old friends are my most favorite roommates.  Sazz and i were placed together as freshman and were only parted for one year while i studied abroad. Fuzz and i were in the same orientation group and somehow managed to drift into friendship. by the time we were seniors, the three of us were bunking with three others.  and the six of us were golden. bizarre but golden.

a couple who showered together and squeezed into each others tiny twin size beds for shared sleep.

a gay man who made me laugh so hard i cried and who shared philosophical conversations with the boys in the dorm that went far over my meager understanding of philosophy.

my roomie of old, who taught me how to live a social life, love all things glittery, and painted my nails for the first time in my life.

my buddy from oh canada who could zed with the best of them and showed me that to change the world can be as easy as opening your mouth and talking to a stranger. in my eyes, he is fearless.

senior year. a year of parties, drama (on and off stage), impatience, and love.  i remember it most fondly of my three years at Brandeis because of my dear roomies…and the hope of moving beyond the walls of campus.

college and i were not the best of friends.  i remember very little from books which is not surprising since i wasn’t always in class nor cared enough to study much.  this is what happens when an overachiever ends up in courses far too easy to be truly venerated or far too boring to be loved.  but i made it through. with honors, no less.

and now it’s ten years later.

i spent a tiring day schlepping my child around campus to show her off to the masses.

i spent an evening dancing with my two favs, arms swinging wide, hair flying, sweat dripping. i danced like i haven’t danced in years. i remembered what is was to dance with people i love.

and then we walked.

and then we talked.

it was grande.

and now, i guess, i can call myself a grown-up.

To Do Good Stuff

Mama: Okay, I’ll sit with you for three songs and then I’ll run downstairs and get my computer and sit in the big chair and work while you fall asleep.

Avi: What work?

Mama: I’m designing a postcard for my theatre company and I have to finish it tonight.

Avi: You go to the theatre?

Mama: Yes, I own a theatre company.  We don’t have a building yet, but we are a company.  I’m the boss.

She giggles and I smile.

Mama: Is that funny?

Avi: Yes.  She giggles some more.

Mama: But you know what we do? We hire women and girls.  We help them become better theatre artists, and stronger leaders, and change the world.

Avi: And Do Good Stuff.

Mama: Yes, And Do Good Stuff.  Just like….do you remember who’s birthday it is today?

She points to herself and smiles slyly.

Mama: Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was a great man who changed the world.

Avi: Why do we say it’s his birthday?

Mama: Because he was a great man.  He worked very hard to help all people be treated well, no matter what color skin they have.  And we want to remember him so we always celebrate his birthday.

Avi:  And he was born this day?

Mama: Yes.

May we all remember this birth that changed the world, honor the women and men who continue and broaden his work, and honor the births of new movers and shakers.


IRL vs. Web 2.0

My business life consists of two polar opposites.

A – Driving hither and yon to talk over tea with theatre artists of all types.  Today I met with a Stage Manager after first meeting with a couple of administrators.  Sunday, I met with a playwright.

B – Composing my life, eco-events, and theatrical processes in approximately 140 characters, witty copy, and interesting comments.


B – Web 2.0

A – This is all new to me.  I am inherently shy.  I lead well, but only when no one else steps up to the line.  Striking out into the world means speaking eloquently, being myself, pausing, breathing, relaxing, honoring, and meeting some pretty damn fine people that I otherwise would have passed on by.

B – This is all new to me.  I write.  Now I get to stretch my writing skills.  Now I have to read a gazillion blogs and tweets and articles to keep up.  Not to mention the how-to books.  I know a lot people, but I don’t know what they look like.

I think I like IRL better.  But it is only through Web 2.0 that I have been able to fully begin to explore what it means to be actively engaged in meeting people and creating sustainable mutually beneficial relationships. Because reading others ideas, writing my own thoughts concisely, representing an idea in an image, this has been part of the process of finding me so that I might step out my door and seek others.

But, this leads to much deeper questions: with all the marvels of web 2.0 do we do what I have done?  Use what we’ve learned to step out into the world?  Or do we use it as an excuse to step away from people we face in order to tweet to the people we follow?  Can the two worlds really be married?

In a sense, I feel like many communities in the U.S. are facing what the theatre faced with the advent of film: A new medium that can either snuff the real or make it stronger.  I vote for it making us stronger, which is why I’ll keep racking up the mileage and coffee shop bills to talk face-to-face with all the very cool people out there.