art

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What side is this?

Published August 2, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

About a million years ago, back when I was in the middle of my other career, I attended Graduate school for a M.A. in Performing Arts. (I was still young and had hope.)

I wrote a paper in support of my proposal for my final project.  I could not get my graduate committee (The three faculty members who were like some kind of three headed hydra.) to tell me what format my paper needed to take, so I just free formed it.

The paper was subsequently rejected and I was directed to a variety of academic papers written to support modern dance projects. (I, too, was surprised that such a thing existed.) I read the papers and noticed that they were written in the traditional MLA format.

I rewrote  the paper using the format and was commended on the amount of scholarship I had demonstrated.  I wanted to snort with the laughter and direct the Hydra to my undergraduate transcript which stated I was a McFadden Scholar.  I have no idea why people are so shocked and amazed to find out that I do have a fine mind nestled snugly under the crazy.

Anyway, they accepted the paper and approved the project.  After I put  200 plus hours into the project, including written and photographic documentation, the Hydra said they were not going to approve my project because, “We don’t do that here.” They didn’t want to align their Drama department with a public service theatre project that brought together Developmentally Disabled adults and At-Risk youth. Both groups met weekly to design puppets and develop a script that was then performed for school age children throughout the city.

I can’t expect a State University to get behind that. I don’t know how I could be so foolish.

I told them I needed some time to regroup, so after a full blown tantrum conducted at a high speed ride home and face down on the floor at home. I debated and discussed with everyone and finally asked the universe for a sign. (At this point I only lacked a final project to win the race and get my MA) In the meantime, I still had grants to write for my ongoing programs.

One of my friends from the ARC, the organization that worked with my kids in the hood, was a McDonald’s employee. At the time there was a supply grant available through the company, but you needed an employee’s endorsement. I helped my friend, Michael, write the letter and I asked him what he wanted to use for his closing signature. I explained that when I finished an official letter, I signed it, OutReach Director.  I asked him what title he wanted.

He said, “Your Friend.”

It took me a moment to recover and process and when I did, it became clear that this was my sign.  I didn’t want to be on the side of a group of people who would deny credit for hard work because it didn’t jibe with their perception of art.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately because I recently had a similar crisis of conscience when dealing with the problems at my previous job.  I did what I knew was right.

Because when it’s all over, and our current world/political situation indicates it will be soon, I know where I will stand.

Because I’m Michael’s friend.

 

What if?

Published December 27, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

What if one thing you know or knew or forgot you remembered was the one thing that could unravel the fabric of the universe?

It could be something as simple as the perfect combination of RIT dye to transform an ivory fabric a caramel color so luscious you would want to take a bite out of it.  Or it could be the location of a baby ring with an abalone stone setting that somehow fit into the jammed lock of Pandora’s box.  Or it could be the knowledge that Peter Brady cut his foot on a piece of abalone shell because of an ancient Tiki curse on his brother Greg.

It could be anything, anything at all. It could even be something that you don’t actually know for verifiable truth,  but something that you just feel is correct, like the supposition that the reason good film and TV roles are going to people who were trained outside of the US (Andrew Lincoln, Lauran Cohan,Idris Elba, Eammon Walker, just to name a few.) That’s the feeling that US Actors have lost a respect for the craft. The feeling that respect can only be earned through hours of rehearsal and performance; the kind of respect that can only be granted by savoring the art.

What if it’s an actual thing? There is one thing that you own that holds together the entire universe. It could be sitting in your jewelry box or wrapped lightly around a catnip toy.

It might be something that caught your eye when you were looking the other way. It was a sparkle or a slight movement but when you turned your head and didn’t immediately see it you got distracted by something else and forgot to look for it again.

It might be wrapped around the statue of St. Francis along in the elementary school hall of a Catholic school, tethered by a light wisp of cobweb that was explained away by mentioning that St. Francis was such a kind man who so  loved all of God’s creatures that he welcomed even cob spiders.

It could be in the far corner of the back closet with all of the other things you forgot you remembered. It’s there and it may have the power to change the course of history.

What if you found it?