3 improvs: pilgrimage, kickstarter win, poetry practice

Paris to the Pyrenees cover

We are constantly knocked out by the wonderful endeavors our readers are involved in, committed to, CREATED out of nothing, improvised. Here are a few from the past week:

David Downie and Alison Harris set out from their home in Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees, the French portion of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. David wrote about the journey and Alison photographed it in Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James.

David was interviewed by NPR. When asked what he found, out came this fab nugget:

I talked to a monk in a monastery … and I asked him, ‘You see tens of thousands of people coming through here; is there one thing that unites us all that we all have in common, whether we’re atheists or believers?’ And he said, ‘Yes, actually there is. Anyone who does this pilgrimage — or any pilgrimage — is driven by an irresistible urge to do it, and they don’t know where it comes from. And sometimes they figure it out while they’re walking, or afterward, or never.’ And, you know, the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. I set out with a zillion questions in my head, and I didn’t come back with a lot of answers; I came back with more questions. But I really do think that the question is the answer.

In a recent email, Alison wrote:   “…the walk and photos were a glorious act of improvisation….putting one foot in front of another.” She made a slide show about the adventure, and of the daunting process of honing thousands of photos into a book: serious improvisation, for sure. You can scroll through the many wonderful moments. (Video link here).

Meanwhile, our intrepid part-time support staff Dese’Rae L. Stage not only exceeded her Kickstarter goal for her suicide awareness website Live Through This, but has been interviewed by David Crary of the Associated Press for Suicide Survivors Help to Shape Prevention Efforts,  a piece about suicide attempt survivors and how they can be quite the resource when it comes to suicide prevention.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Huffington Post Live contacted Dese’Rae to pose a question to Mariel Hemingway (Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter) re her film, “Running from Crazy,” about her family’s history with mental illness and suicide. “My question and her answer run from about 16:25-18:30 Mariel Hemingway’s ‘Running from Crazy.’“.  And she met up with Sahar Sarshar to film a segment for ZirZameen, a Persian and English series about underground artists and activists. Go Dese’Rae!!!!!!

In response to Susan Dworski’s post Windowsill Still-Lives: Mindfulness Practice in Action, artist Jeanne McMenemy of Calligraphica sent a couple of versions of William Stafford’s poem YES that she had “written out”.

I’ll probably continue to write out that poem from time to time… it still grabs me every time I read it.

We realized that actually writing out a poem is a way of experiencing it more deeply.

 Yes poem_Jeanne McMenemy

We are knocked out!

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