Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Remember Who You Are...

I had a great conversation with my Kanai relative, Jack Gladstone, the other night. Whenever we talk, it's about the words we use in our work as artists. I admire Jack's work as a poet/lyricist/singer. And he's a great storyteller.

I shared with him about how difficult it has been for me to write lately because I've been in a slump. So, how do I overcome that? Hmmm...

Jack helped with some insight. He talked about acceptance and told me that I need to accept that Yvonne has passed. And, that once I've accepted that, then I can began the process of making connections to her life and writing about her in the lyrical form, through organic metaphor.

To a poet, like me, words are magical. In these suggestions he gave me, something took root in my brain cells and began to flourish. Organic metaphor...

All of this, takes me back to 2007 when I wrote the poem View from the Holy Fire Place for my Uncle Ralph "Rocky" Preston and read it at his wake. After the reading, I was approached by Sheila Rocha, founder of “The Indigenous Collective of Theater and the Arts" (TICOTA), a non-profit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska. Sheila and I sat outside by the fire for some time that evening and talked about the scarcity of Native Women poets in the Midwest. During our conversation she spoke about her upcoming production called "Sacred Sites: Honoring Native Lands" and she invited me to submit my poem View from the Holy Fire Place.

In this poem, I wrote about the Holy Fire Place, which is a sacred site on the Omaha Indian Reservation where the Omaha people went for their vision quests. Throughout the years when I was living on the Omaha Reservation, I continually went there seeking solace and usually came away with a calmer frame of mind.

The Sacred Sites: Honoring Native Lands production was performed in February of 2008 at the Rose Theatre. I traveled from Minneapolis to Omaha to attend one of the performances, which were quite beautiful and involved many Native dancers, singers, and actors.

I think it's every artist's dream to have their work performed in a production such as this. When it was time for the scene, which featured my poem, it was performed by Richard Borea, one of my Omaha relatives. I was so touched and felt my spirit lifted.

Richard and I talked afterwards. He told me how excited he was to be a part of this production and how he really appreciated my poem because he knew about the Holy Fire Place and understood the feeling behind it. Then he shared with me his Omaha name, Yellow Horse. I just looked at him in surprise for a moment, then I burst out "that was my father's name, too! This was meant to be!" We were like kids, jumping up and down, crying.

We are all connected and by writing about these connections, well that involves a unified experience or Organic Metaphor, which we experience in our tribal circles or as "All My Relations!"

So it leads to this present time for me. A time for healing. And, once again, I can revisit the Holy Fire Place in my spirit, and continue my healing through acceptance.

"As you are making all these connections, remember who you are!" said my cousin, Jack.

Words are like magic..

Thanks, Jack!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Never Give Up!

Never give up! A message I received over the weekend in sweat. Just in time to help me stay focused on my path. Lots coming up for me and my kids over the next few months. Ceremonies, ceremonies, and then more ceremonies!

It is so good to see things stabilize for my children in school. I think I can actually take a deep breath here and say thank you to the Above! WibthahoN! My kids are happy!

So much going through my mind, voices, or words more like, that I am trying to capture on the written page! It could be that I just drank too much coffee from Starbucks! Got coffee nerves now! Ha, ha!

Been putting a lot of prayers out there for friends and relatives. Especially for the women who have been so supportive of me all these years. It's hard to see them become ill. They don't deserve this when they have such beautiful hearts and work so hard! My thoughts are with them today, too.

Today is also the birthday of my relative, Yvonne Ortiz. She made her journey to the spirit world in November. Since her passing, something in me changed. An understanding came, as a mother. Yvonne had twin baby girls last spring and she was also battling cancer. She loved her babies more than anything. Her mother, Felicia, made a request of me to write a poem about Yvonne. This, too, has been on my mind. I wish to honor her in a good way through the gift of words...

But it is hard...

Because every time, I think about writing for her, I cry. So I wind up praying instead.

Yvonne's determination to have her babies in spite of what was happening in her body is what has struck me most. She was so strong and believed in her prayers, life, and love.

I am in awe of her determination. And that has changed me. So those words I heard this past weekend, reinforce that change.

I love you, Yvonne!