Category Storytelling

Science Fair meets Lenten Practice

This week I performed Emma Darwin for a science fair at Marshall Middle School in Olympia. It was totally impressive! 8th graders designing experiments and reporting the results on three narrow display panels. Among the many delicious investigations,  a young man tested the old wives’ tale that coffee grounds were a good fertilizer. He compared […]

Report from the Rumi Zone

A tale from last week’s Rumi performance: Patrick (my co-presenter, the  musical counter-point to words) and I reach the love poetry section, a bouquet of short pieces. Turning to him I begin, “I would love to kiss you.” A bearded guy in the second row calls out, “We’d love to see it!”  The whole room […]

On Sharing Rumi

“Poems are rough notations for the music we are.” writes the guy who, arguably, wrote more poetry than almost anyone in the history of the world, tens of thousands of lines. Why listen to him? Why have I spent months & hours preparing for tomorrow’s event, where we’ll sit together and join our imaginations with […]

Enticements, Frames, & Melancholy Danes

It’s my new game: telling friends about Hamlet,  Seattle Shakespeare Company‘s next play, and experimenting to see what brightens their eyes: If you think you ever want to see Hamlet in your lifetime, catch this one. Do you know about our $10 rush ticket club? Best deal in town. It’s a great night out.  Dress up. […]

Unexpected Friendships

What happens when you mix an Islamic mystic, a Benedictine convent, and a small town with a large military population? Is it the set-up for a wacky movie? Or a documentary on the clash between tragically limited people. In this case, it’s an experimental leap of faith, as St. Placid Priory opens its doors for […]

Haiku, Nature, and Heart

A white flower-moon, days away from being full. She shines anyway.   During May I was lucky enough to partake of a Haiku retreat. It demands careful observation of nature, translated into plain words with a resonance of the soul. What is taking place? Why should we care?  It’s a different use of language. I can’t climb inside […]

Visit Your Relatives

Originally Posted Saturday, November 07, 2009   One of the oddest venues I play is Lakeview Cemetery. It commands a spectacular view atop Seattle’s Capitol Hill and contains graves of many Seattle pioneers. I give tours periodically in the character of Louisa Boren Denny. She introduces her guests to friends and family, walking through the […]

Emma Speaks!

Originally Posted Sunday, May 10, 2009  After two years, dozens of books, one trip to Down, England, and hours of imagining, Emma Darwin’s Helpful Suggestions for Surviving Life with a Scientist has been birthed. It’s a thirty minute visit with Charles’ wife, as she dishes up tales of rumpus rooms, worm research, and life lived […]

Count Your Blessings & Watch Your Worms

Originally posted April 1, 2008 Lately I’ve been reading the writings of the Darwins: the bearded ferocity of Charles and his lesser-know wife, Emma. We apply his name to to any sharp competition (the most obvious being Athletic Darwinism — a silly phrase), but when it came to his domestic habitat, CD was a pussycat, […]