“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch.
You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
~ maya angelou
When I think of some of my favorite and most influential paintings, experiences, books, films and words ~ what came to mind yesterday as I watched ~ through Facebook, live feeds and friends’ posts ~ and everything visual and verbal that was swirling around in our virtual world, I was ultimately thinking how we can take something so powerful like the act of gathering together and marching in unison around the world ~ into the future, through different local calls to actions. I thought of my very first time seeing a specific Gauguin painting as a teenager; and from time to time it has come up in my teaching, through the way I think through different career paths and passions, different memories and recollections of a past self, that I then take forward into the present that can in many ways affect change in the future. Whether it’s through sculpting fabrics into beautiful collections and transforming how we feel about our bodies (through what we put on them and in them), how we connect in and through the world we live in (salon dinners/the art of gatherin), or how we can make a change in peoples’ lives at a larger level ~ through local non-profits focused focused on woman and girls ~ there are so many places, spaces and organizations through which we can act and have a very big and real effect. The key is to find your passion, and live your voice through your actions. Below are the first 100 or so images that I saw this morning going through my Facebook feed, in the news and a few other images that popped up, all juxtaposed with some beautiful quotes, and visions of an America of the mind ~ an America that wants to be itself again ~ and lastly, a few books, organizations and a “to do” list that is in many ways a start of an answer to ~ “WHAT’S NEXT?”… If we know and feel and are impassioned by the WHY, the next step is WHAT and HOW ~ so onward we go, and one of the great moments (for me) in listening to Obama’s farewell speech is his emphasis on listening and dialogue with (let’s call it) “the Other(s)” or those outside of the bubble, however we want to define the bubble we may live in/socialize in ~ meaning not just between those we know who might have the same views and perspective as us ~ but more specifically and more importantly in many ways, with those who don’t… it’s these conversations and encounters that matter just as much, and can help open eyes and change minds….
a little moment from Obama’s farewell speech ~
“…None of this is easy. For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.
This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible…” ~ President Barack Obama, January 10, 2017
“where do we come from? what are we? where are we going?” ~ gauguin
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ anais nin
“We own ourselves. we’re masters of our own fate. we control our own destiny.” ` lotso
“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want.
That’s why they don’t get what they want.”
“power is not given to you. you have to take it.” ~ beyonce
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats,
so you can know who you are, what you can rise from,
how you can still come out of it.”
~ maya angelou
“When God created man and woman, he was thinking,
‘Who shall I give the power to, to give birth to the next human being?’
And God chose woman.
And this is the big evidence that women are powerful.”
~ malala yousafzai
“I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on.
Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive.
One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”
~ eleanor roosevelt
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint –
and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love
and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” ~ oprah winfrey
“Remember, the Constitution doesn’t begin with, ‘I, the president.’ It begins with, ‘We, the people.'” – Gloria Steinem
“we need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives.” ~ hillary clinton
“Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in.
And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down,
get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.”
~ hillary clinton
“What you do makes a difference,
and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
~ jane goodall
“Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)…
…Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)…
“We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages.” ~ angela davis
… O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe…
…Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today…
…O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again…
…Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!…
…Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!”
~ Langston Hughes
“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” ~ ralph nader
“the most effective way to do it is to do it.” ~ amelia earhart
“Change your life today.
Don’t gamble on the future,
act now, without delay.”
~ simone de beauvoir
10 things to read and do (out of many!) / in no particular order ~
1. 10 actions / 100 days ~ Women’s March on Washington
2. Read Ralph Nader’s 2016 Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
3. Read Becky Bond and Zack Exley’s Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything
4. Buy your daughter, or a favorite girl in your life ~ Caroline Paul and Wendy Mcnaughton’s Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure OR support a local, very cool on-line retail space powered by girls ~ girl designers, girl voices, girl visions ~ Epic Sky….
5. Read, for yourself ~ Twyla Tharp’s 2006 The Creative Habit and her 2009 The Collaborative Habit and re/watch if you haven’t ever seen ~ the opening to NEWSROOM on America being great (or not)….it’s a very powerful moment…
8. (Re)watch one of my/your favorite girl/women power films ~ Ridley Scott’s 1991 Thelma and Louise, George Cukor’s 1939 The Women, Marielle Heller’s Diary of a Teenage Girl, Ida Lupino’s The Trouble with Angels, Ngozi Onwurah’s The Body Beautiful, Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, Sally Potter’s Orlando, Vera Chytilova’s Daisies, Jane Campion’s Sweetie, Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, Pixar/Pete Doctor’s Inside Out, Howard Deutch’s 1986 Pretty in Pink, Haifaa al-Mansour’s 2012 Wadjda. And while you’re at it read Laura Mulvey’s 1975 Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema and B. Ruby Rich’s 1998 Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement. Support an amazing local documentary that’s in post-production ~ Sheri Shuster’s beautiful and poignant Still I Rise…When I watch film, and understand the power of voice through a film, it always inspires me to make something, do something, create something…(after being so excited for the 8 Oscar nominations that Barry Jenkins got yesterday ~ let’s think strategically how more women directors and women/girls’ stories can be hear and get the same recognition…)
9. Go to a film or book festival and connect with friends ~ old and new: in the Bay area, we have Litquake, Bay Area Book Festival, National Novel Writing Month, and Oakland Book Festival and of course my favorite film festival is Telluride Film Festival which I have gone to on and off for 17 years and the very new Prince Edward Island Film, Food and Idea Festival which launches this July 2017, and is a true “call to action” type festival with a very focused selection of spotlight films (around different types of social change/impact), featured talks and salon dinners that I am helping with. And locally, it’s the 60th anniversary of the San Francisco International Film Festival April 24th~ May 8th… Pick up a new magazine or quarterly ~ like Lapham’s Quarterly or Boston Review Magazine or Zoetrope’s All-Story ~ and think of the many ways of storytelling, and start telling your own.
10. Host a salon dinner of your own ~ filled with your favorite friends and colleagues and inspirations. And remember to go outside of your comfort zone and invite people into your home or studio that will add to the discourse, maybe from a totally different perspective. Make it simple and beautiful and thematic around whatever it is you’re interested in knowing more about, connecting with others (about an already existing cause), and maybe even starting something new ~ an organization, group, club (email me if you want 7 easy steps on how to do this).
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.”
~ maya angelou