Category Archives: events

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival – Come see!

It may be after Labor Day and you may not be wearing your white shoes anymore come on, people!, but Mother Nature’s still squeaking out some glorious warm days in the Pacific Northwest.

We took advantage and headed to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (an easy, 1 1/2 hour drive from Bainbridge Island) on one of those days.port townsend, waThe place was packed, three boats thick, on the docks.

You may not know this cuz no one listens to me around here! but the Hubs used to be a liveaboard on his own 65′ wooden boat (motorized) in Alaska, so it was with great trepidation I made this outing with him.
wooden boatAnything could happen, right?

He could get smitten with another bloodsucking, bank-draining, time-hoarding, soul-crushing wooden boat. He could talk so long with boat owners I’d need IV fluids and a stretcher. He could get fascinated with the tool demonstrations of metal cutting wood and then cutting it over again, and again. and probably again and we’d never leave!

While the Hubs talked to the boat people, the Kid and I went aboard boats. Some had the living situation all figured out.wooden boat master suiteWe saw several built-in bathtubs this ALMOST changes everything.wooden boat bathtubMood lighting, anyone?

We did eat pretty well.paella manAnd took in some fantastic views.bow view wooden boatEvery boat should have a hammock, don’t you think?wooden boat hammockAre you, or have you ever been, a boat person?PT wooden boat festival

Story Slam: A Chat with a Storyteller

field's end story slamLast week we held another Island Story Slam, presented by Field’s End at Treehouse Cafe on Bainbridge Island. It was our third, and once again drew a standing-room-only crowd.

Every one has such a good time at these, watching and participating (yes, I told a story!), that I felt it was worth a discussion. So I interviewed Kate Walton, a repeat storyteller who’s placed first and second at our last two story slams.

Here’s our conversation with Kate:

story slam storyteller1. Had you ever been to a story slam before? What do you think people like so much about these slams?

I hadn’t been to a Story Slam before coming across the first one you held, purely by chance. My husband and I were at The Treehouse for dinner and we heard all this laughing, so we went in, stood at the back, and caught the tail end. I was hooked right away. I think what draws people, and what certainly drew me, is the immediacy of it. Most of us spend a lot of time in front of screens these days; there’s something wonderful about having a real, live person up there telling a story without notes. It has a rawness, and a “now-ness,” that is completely refreshing.

2. You’ve placed 2nd in the last two story slams. Do you have any tips for someone thinking about storytelling? Were you nervous? How did you prepare?

I was petrified, both times. My only real advice is this: do it anyway. It’s so much fun, and the crowd could not be kinder. You won’t regret it.

I prepared by talking to myself in the car. (Yep, I was that crazy person in the ferry line.) I timed myself, and I do think that’s important. When you’re on the stage, five minutes goes by in a flash, so it’s key to work out what you can and can’t cover in that amount of time. Also, the first time I was a storyteller, it happens that I had an upper endoscopy on the morning of the competition. But I wouldn’t actually recommend that–it’s totally unhelpful.

3. What do you think makes a good story for a story slam competition?

I think it helps to have some structure: a real beginning, middle, and end. I don’t think it matters as much whether a story is funny, serious, suspenseful, or something else entirely. Anything can work well, as long as it’s engaging, and I think that’s achieved mainly through a sense of movement, i.e. having some sort of narrative arc.

4. We’ve noticed several repeat storytellers at our events. What is it that storytellers have that makes them get up there (again and again)?

To listen as intently as the Story Slam audience listens is an act of great generosity. I think any of us who have taken the stage have felt the power of that, and it’s hard not to want more of it.

5. Did you feel different about yourself or see the world differently after going up there the first time?

It is no exaggeration to say that, after a Story Slam, the world feels a little kinder, and a little better. You have survived something terrifying, and it was actually fun. And you’ve heard all these stories, often about times that were difficult in some way, and you see that people have come through them. They have quite literally lived to tell the tale–and the tales are often heartwarming and very funny.

Now that I’ve told my story up there, too, I totally agree, Kate! Thanks for your answers!

So who’s ready to be a story slam storyteller?

Art in Life in Art: Rapture, Blister, Burn @ACT Theatre

ACT Theatre Seattle

Rapture, Blister, Burn

The Hubs and I scored an actual date night recently and went to see “Rapture, Blister, Burn” by Gina Gionfreddo at the ACT Theatre in Seattle.

I felt a bit nervous that the show’s feminist angle on a story of two old friends, one a stay-at-home mom and the other a successful professional, might not be too engaging for him, but I shouldn’t have worried. He actually enjoyed it. The play’s really funny, and the cast did a great job hitting the right notes.

As a fledgling playwright, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. The show was crisp and hilarious, but also had heart while reflecting on the question of major life choices.

Watching plays now inspires me in so many ways, from characters highlighted, using sound effects, down to oh, look! big trap doors for set changes! Maybe I could have a “big” play with lots of locations on a small stage. Hmmmm…

So, thanks, Gina, for your art which we saw in real life and now informs my art (if I can be so bold as to call it that)!

There’s something about live theater, isn’t there? What is that?

“I See France,” a 10 minute play by Wendy Wallace

Ahem! Sharing time, everybody!

For your viewing pleasure, this is the staged reading of my play, “I See France,” from last August’s Island Theatre 10 Minute Play Festival (and winner: Best Adult Play will wonders never cease).

Bronsyn, Ruth and Marybeth play the main panties (Brava!!). Take 9 minutes and watch. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Squirming in Uncertainty

Through the doors of perception Down the corridors of uncertainty Into the room of self doubt Opens the window of opportunity.
– Unknown

Corridors of uncertainty” – I just discovered this quote, which ironically is a sports reference to that area near the goalkeeper where players have the “Are you gonna get this?” “I said I got this” “I thought you had it!” moments.

[After 20+ years in Texas, I’m pretty done with sports, but I won’t begrudge them excellent imagery.]

See, I’ve been saying “yes” and “why not and tough shit, I’m doing it ” to things lately.

And that has led me down this corridor of uncertainty, where it’s dimly lit and there’s stuff in the corners you can’t tell if it’s alive, half-dead or just wrappers and old popsicle sticks and dustbunnies oh, not piranhas after all!.

And where mostly you don’t know how things are going to go.

And you might possibly have an audience, also wondering what the hell is this? how things are going to go.

It all flies in the face of my longstanding get-your-ducks-in-a-row philosophy. A philosophy I have found reliable and yet ultimately, after many years, boring as hell.

It has led me to post this graphic again, which I can’t seem to get enough of:

I’m feeling like I’m on the far, far, far right edge of that circle on someone else’s computer screen.

Even though I might tremble inside hearing bells and whistles warn me like I’m about to get impaled by a rhino, there’s a tiny voice whispering, these things will not kill you.

Humiliate me, embarrass me, make me hibernate in my room for a couple of decades, possibly.

On the flip side, I’m not bored!

And maybe that “window of opportunity” will eventually let in a fresh breeze. Although I find it currently painted shut and unavailable for my scared ass to squirm out of at the moment…

Let’s hope Zig was right —

Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you. ~Zig Ziglar

Have you ventured outside your comfort zone lately?