Exploring Tomes and Tombs

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energy-saving-lamp-shape-heart-8297227So my purpose for today’s blog is to remind to myself that “energy flows where attention goes,” an adage that I used to motivate myself when I was engrossed in writing my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” Once again, I need reassurance from myself that time spent writing will be worth every minute in personal fulfillment payoff.

There is a person of interest in my family who I have begun researching. The information about my ancestor here-to-fore has been very sketchy and for me, of little interest. Thanks to help from a genealogy librarian, I now have more reason to turn my attentiveness to this person, a blood relative removed by a few generations.

I have been inspired by members of the genealogy club and the genealogy writers group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library to move forward with the knowledge. The tracing of the story will most likely require some intercontinental research. I’ve seen through other people’s genealogy projects how in this  day and age of digital technology, there are fewer obstacles to finding out information originating in other countries than there was decades ago.

If you are interested in genealogy, you might enjoy the PBS Show Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, a Harvard scholar. The purpose of the show is  “to unearth the family histories of influential people helping shape our national identity.” See the website to confirm when it is broadcast in your area.

To sum things up,  I am pursuing an interest that begins with my family roots. The historical value in the family member should not be allowed to smolder and die. To me it’s important and hopefully to others it will also be interesting.

Ultimately I’d like to shed more light on the historical story through my writing if I can do it in a way that will not take the rest of my lifetime!

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Preparing for the Coming

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“Every day is a fresh beginning, every morn is the world made new.” ~ Sarah Chauncey Woolsey

When our son was young, a few weeks before Christmas our neighbors, The Millers, arrived with a gift of a Christmas book or two from the infamous Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont. It was so very appreciated, and it was evident that a great deal of thought was put into the selection annually. It is impossible to say which book was a favorite because they were all so wonderful and some were pop-ups! The books were a gift to me too because it meant that I took time out of Christmas preparations and we spent extra time reading together.

The Legend of Befana was a book that I especially related to as a woman because Belfana spent much time readying for Christmas by sweeping and sweeping and cleaning. Here is more insight into Befana, a character in Tomie de Paola’s beloved Christmas tale.

I echo the words of Befana this time of the year. It’s “Time to Make Christmas!”Christmas sign off image prepare him room

Wishing all of our readers a Very Merry Christmas! All Things Fulfilling will resume sometime between December 28th and the New Year. 

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This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Advancing the Story

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We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.Marni Gillard

Avila and wife MaribelLast week I sat down with author and playright Jorge Avila, a member of We Write Steamboat, to discuss the gigantic leap of success that he has just experienced. To read a short summary of his musical, please go to the blog from last Thursday.

(Photo left: Jorge Avila and his wife Maribel)

Jorge had just returned a week previously to his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado from a very busy six months in California. His live theatre musical, adapted from his book Maricopa Men in Pink had a three day run at the Plaza de la Raza, Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on Mission Road in Los Angeles. Avila was ebullient as he answered the questions I had for him to learn more about his experience. Here is part of our discussion about going from local author to playright in a very short few years:

Sue: Jorge, when was Maricopa Men in Pink published? 

Jorge: In 2010 it was published. A short time afterward I sent it off to a friend who is a stage designer in L.A. to get his opinion. He reviewed it and gave me some feedback about adapting it for a play. I decided that my vision for the work was a live theatre musical production. So I rewrote it exactly 2 years, nine months ago in script format along with song lyrics. Caleb Encompos, a resident who helps with the music program at the Christian Center here in Steamboat, composed the music to accompany the lyrics. I approached the Chief Theatre here in town, but it didn’t seem to be the right venue. So,then we sent it off to three production companies in California. 

Sue:  So, what was the response? 

Jorge: I’d like to say that there have been few  Latino or controversial political musicals that I am aware of other than In the Heights and Hamilton and the Book of Mormon. So I was happy to even get a response and it was positive response from two of them. I chose one of the production companies that I felt best understood my vision. I was offered a small sum of money from the production company, but I took half of that because I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process, so that the final product would be what I envisioned.

So, I began over the next six months going to L.A. one week out of every month. For the next six months, Caleb Encompos and I chose vocalists and actors for the live musical production. Once we heard my lyrics put to music and saw it performed by the actors we had chosen, there were some tweeks that were made before the opening.

Sue: So, tell me about the three night run.

Jorge: The turnout was outstanding compared to what I had anticipated. I was told for an unknown author/playright, typical sales would be 60% of the seats. The first and third nights we had 95% of all tickets sold, and the middle evening 75%. Surprising, considering I read in a New York Times article that out of 318 million Americans, 58 million agreed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s handling of inmates in Tent City Jail in Arizona. Seventy eight million disagreed, and the whole rest of the population knew nothing about the news story.

Sue: How did that feel? To see your musical come before live audience like that?

Jorge: Surreal! I feel flattered and proud but it was very stressful. I even started up a bad habit – smoking. I hadn’t smoked in six years and I ate too much and gained a little weight.

The musical was even mentioned on National TV on Spanish stations. While we were waiting for the production to begin on opening night, I stepped outside and there were 120 people in line to get a ticket – to my show! I couldn’t believe it and I counted every one of them!

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The rest of this interview on All Things Fulfilling will be posted the week after Christmas. Do return because we will be talking about Avila’s rewards in terms of personal fulfillment which were a result of his determination, persistance and his belief that what he had was fitting for a quality live musical production that still has great potential for future audiences. We will be sharing more about his special award from the City of Los Angeles also!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

Putting Back the Balance

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life like a bike

I love this image because it reminds me of a simple life – when tragedies such as what we just saw occur in Paris did not happen. A time when people were more caring toward their fellow man, had moral standards and pride that people worked hard toward achieving. Being a good, law-abiding citizen was something to be proud of.

Internationally things are a mess, and the only thing we can do as individuals is strive to do the right things in our own little worlds – in our families and in our neighborhoods and communities.

There is truth in the quotation “in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Physical activity is good for a healthy mind, body and spirit. But, moving constantly due to unnecessary holiday frenzy, climbing the corporate ladder or wanting to have it all and wanting it NOW can lead to burn out, stress and imbalance. Results or goal driven people have a difficult time recognizing when they are teetering, ready to crash, until its too late.

have a cuppaIt’s important to take time out for ourselves and our families. When you’ve been on a roll, it is even more difficult to lay down the law with yourself and call it day.

So, my writing today is sort and sweet. I’m going to pretend what retirement looks like for a just a few minutes, with help from this article.

Do return tomorrow on Film Friday. I will be posting some information about a  just released movie that you and your family might enjoy watching together. You may remember this story of hope as one of the most compelling news stories of 2010. I remember sitting in front of the television in rapt attention as the events of this day in history unfolded.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Lessons of Heart & Soul and the EVVY award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Exploration Leads to Discovery

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“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

I walked into Exclusive Collections, an art gallery on Main Street in Breckenridge, Colorado expecting to see the usual – local photography, paintings of mountain landscapes, silver jewelry, pottery and the like. Wrong!

Very exclusive art decorated the walls, including these images which you will recognize immediately. Only 30 very select galleries across the country are given permission to handle this art. I’d like to thank Jon Peroutka, Assistant Gallery Director for allowing me to take photos for All Things Fulfilling and also for sharing his vast knowledge of the artists.seuss 1

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Among Dr. Seuss art were works from other seldom seen artists, whose work is so highly regarded due to the privileged art collectors who desire their work.  Daniel Merriam a master surrealist whom I was familiar with from Chalk Farm Gallery in Santa Fe, sculpture artist Angela Mia De La Vega, Daniel Ryan, and Ascenio are all represented by this Breckenridge Gallery. Tuan, a sculpture artist whose work is in the permanent collection of the White House was also among them. If you are not acquainted with these artists, take a look at their websites and their C.V’s. Very impressive!

This winter larger shows of Dr. Seuss art and sculpture artist Angela Mia De La Vega will be exhibited. Keep your eye on Exclusive Collections website for the exact dates.

Just as inspiring are the philanthropic interests of Exclusive Collections who also have other galleries in five other cities – Las Vegas (Caesar’s Palace), Laguna Beach, California, San Diego and Beverly Hills.

I ended my lovely day in “Breck” with a delicious burger at Blue Stag Saloon. I was taken by surprise when the waiter appeared with the bill inside the covers of a paperback book, published in the 1970s. A creative presentation and a perfect ending to a great day trip.

As you can see from yesterday’s pictures, snow has already arrived in the upper elevations of Colorado!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,  Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

Architecture in “Breck”

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Color in certain places has the great value of  making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic.” ~ Antoni Gaudi

That having been said, I’d like to extend the tour today of BreckCreate, a mountain community in Colorado where the arts is alive. Such is life in many towns in this State where creativity is much appreciated.

In the center of historic downtown, the Blue River Restoration Project is very visible. It is right outside the door of the Breckenridge Welcome Center. This article describes the project. Here are a few pictures.

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At the River Walk Project – right outside the Breckenridge Visitors Center.

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You can get the picture from a few of the historical homes that are now retail establishments or restaurants what “Breck” is like. Fun to stroll the streets and take in the structures. Coming from a family of builders, that is what fulfills me when I visit a new place.

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architect4While I was on my day trip to Breckenridge I came across some surprise things that related to books and publishing. Come back tomorrow and I will tell you all about it.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Sue Batton Leonard.

A Window into Breck

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“Art is the window into one’s soul.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

After yesterday’s blog, you baby boomers are probably thinking Breck refers to the old school shampoo we used when we were our teens in the 1960s. Remember using that? I thought if I used it, I’d look just like the “Breck Girl.”

No, for the next few days I will be blogging about a one day road trip I took to Breckenridge, Colorado, often referred to as “Breck.”  I found all kinds of fulfilling things to write about including a creative arts organization called BreckCreate. There is so much to tell, it can not be covered in just one blog posting.

The Breckenridge Arts District is a series of historic buildings located on an acre of land right up the hill from Main Street. It has become  an epicenter of creativity offering art classes, workshops, performance arts, exhibits and special artist-in-residence visits. I’d like to share some pictures with you of the district:

 

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Below: The Barney Ford Museum is also in the arts district. Barney Ford was a local entrepreneur who escaped slavery and became a man of extreme prosperity. For more information.

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A clan of visiting Aztec’s danced a spirit dance historically significant to their culture and the celebration of life the day I visited the town. Read more about the performance.

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indians 4 Art, culture, history and architecture holds a prominent place in the community of Breckenridge, Colorado. The scenic backdrop to the town, as it is in many Colorado communities, is stunning!

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I have more to share with you about BreckCreate.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.