Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Theater as Therapy

Deeply moved on the train this morning, reading a Sun mag story (excerpt) about one Hector Aristizabal. More words w/ this lovely soul here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlXFofXtyic. And some favorite bits from the Sun story:

Sometimes I sit at the computer and type my clients' stories as they dictate them. Then I reflect their stories back to them in a mythical framework so they can see their strengths, so they can see themselves as heroes. I read back what they've written, and I ask them, "Would you watch this movie?" And they say yes, and I say, "That's you! You crossed the Rio Grande when you were seven months pregnant. You didn't know how to swim, and you saw two people drown in front of you, but you kept going. And you got to the desert, and you didn't have water for three days, and you didn't know where you were going, but you kept walking. Isn't that a hero?"

Later, I'll read the story to her kid, who'll say, "My mom did that when she was pregnant with me?"

"Yeah," I'll say. "You were the kid in her belly. You helped her float across the river and make it to the other side."

For me, the American Dream belongs to the people who are crossing the border as we speak. I don't see a lot of people who were born here who still honor the dream. There's so much unhappiness along with all the comforts. The inner wilderness, where we live in anguish because our connections are broken, comes in many forms. For many Americans, maybe it's the isolation chamber of privilege, the emptiness we try to fill by buying things.

--

It would be easy for me to hate [America], but also very useless. Who cares? The entire world hates this place. I'm tired of hating Bush. I have realized there's no point in simply acting in opposition to others. I have to live my own desires instead of just opposing theirs. This is what we all have to do: find our own style of living and working and making love, and do it, I hope, with some beauty and grace.

--

Lefer: You like to say that we need imagination, not fantasy. What's the difference?

Aristizabal: Imagination connects to the deep self, which we can compare to the spirit, the psyche, the unconscious. It is that which moves you, the reason you get up every day. Fantasy connects to the ego. I see most kids today spending their time with fantasy: video games, television--images on a screen that don't connect to anything. When people consume these products that do not connect to life, they consume themselves. When my son does a theater improvisation or is trying to learn his lines and discover a character, he's connected to something. When he's playing Gameboy, he can be absorbed for hours, and all I see afterward is an exhausted child with nothing to give back.

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