Tag Archives: iran

New Day (Now Rouz), New Waves

19 Mar

Happy Spring! — Nowrouz Mubarak!

For those of you who have been thrashed around by the waves of winter, do not despair! The shore is near.

Spring Shoots

This winter, my experience of being in the world has felt like one of a sea lamprey attached to the fin of some great whale.  Yes, I get food, great soul-enriching sustenance from doing what I was born to do, but the ride is not an easy one.

I have been dragged down to the unmoving depths of the ocean where the pressure felt like my skull would cave in.  From this a single seed emerged! I completely rewrote my latest play, Tree of Seeds.

The reading in London, this past December, brought with it the opportunity connect with theater community outside of NYC, and to hear the words come alive.  It also submerged me into the world of this story and forced me to rework it furiously.

The postcard for my play

The postcard for Tree of Seeds

Small bubbles of air are rising up from that place and the latest version will have a staged reading at Queens College on May 15th.  Rewrites are still coming but the form will be brand new!

Come see it. (Literary agents and producing theaters wanted!)
Alternatively, I was being slapped and flapped about on the surface of the sea.

Just when the Afghan radio drama (One Village, A Thousand Voices)  I helped create for the U.S. Institute for Peace was getting a little international notice, it was also scrambling for funding and put on hold. We’re back now, temporarily.  OVATV HeaderChallenges appeared and plans evaporated.

The one thing I could figure out to do in this time was to be around other writers, artists, and social change-makers. In fact, it was a great contradiction to the chaos around me to have a few places to safely land and be myself. I joined a wonderful memoir and autobiographical fiction writing workshop at the Asian American Writer’s Workshop which has inspired me to write some short stories, which might end up as a novel!

I’ve found that writers and artists need to create spaces for themselves (duh!). For me, it isn’t about networking or getting in the right circles but about having a place for my work to grow within a thoughtful and creative community.

Day 1-3 (29a)

C’mon guys, let’s get together.

Moving away from a competition-based paradigm, working for financial confirmation of my work’s value, to one of camaraderie and closeness confirms the old adage, “another world is possible”.

In fact, the ladder climbing aspect of the work doesn’t even feel as important because my vision isn’t focused on riding a wave of popularity but on the expansive possibilities in building relationships and dreaming with other human beings.

It is not the rumbling ocean but the shore ahead.

This spring, may the waves of chaos bring you in sight of your own safe place, whose fertile terrain you already have the map for.

Love,
Kayhandokht (My full given name. It means daughter of the universe.)

Longest Night

21 Dec
posted by Farvartish

posted by Farvartish

 

 

 

Tonight, we will pass through the longest night of the year.

We will regain a tiny bit of light, with each new day.

 

 

The end of 2013 seems to have opened a thousand little doors of terror inside me.  This is the first time I am “properly” developing a play.  That means I’m not jumping right into a production process but taking time to write, re-write, show it to others, share my thoughts, and hear the words read aloud. It’s brought me face to face with many of my feelings of inadequacy, superiority, futility, and desperation.  It’s been a long night in the life of this artist.

(What corner of your life needs a tiny bit of light?  Where are those dry, cracked places that can be softened by the heat, smoothed over by warm touch?)

Tree of Seeds by Stedroy Cleghorne

Tree of Seeds image by Stedroy Cleghorne

 

I’ve just returned from London where I was able to attend one of the two readings my play was offered.

Hearing the words read aloud brought clarity to what isn’t working and offered me a sharp view into what needs to change.  Sharp and pointy and slightly painful, but that’s my own inner critic.  The world outside my head offered ripe fruit and juicy seeds to chew on.  It reminds of the thoughts in my previous post about how people, human beings, are the most sustainable and valuable resource we have.

Sharing my misshapen, oozing, little work-in-progress has been a magical window into kindness and consideration.  People across the globe are offering their soft hands, their light touch, to guide this piece along.  Friends and family rallied to help me get to London.  The cast and crew in London offered their talent, their time, and their best thinking  to help  move the work forward.  I returned home with over 60 pieces of paper, audience feedback forms, that give me strength and energy and new thoughts!  And, there are a few theater companies waiting for the new script.

In Central and West Asia, people celebrate Shab-e-Yalda (solstice) by staying up all night together, eating red and orange and yellow foods, especially pomegranate.  They make wishes and recite the poetry of Hafez to each other.  You are supposed to open to any page in a book of his poems and read the first thing you see.  That excerpt is meant to offer some guidance, some insight to you.  Here’s what I turned to today:

“…And the hundred graceful movements
Your body now makes each time
The wind, children and love come near.”
― حافظThe Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

Thank you to everyone who helped me to move along with grace this past year. In the darkness, your hands, your voice, propelled me forward.

The warm wind blows up the edges on the thin grey shroud.  You can reach up and pull it down now.

It’s time.

Happy Shab-e-Yalda, Happy Solstice.

 

Give me your Red …

16 Mar

“I give you my Yellow … Give me your Red!”
“I give you my Yellow … Give me your Red!”

Tonight, I was shouting this out loud as I jumped, back and forth, over a bonfire. It is Chahar Shanbe Suri – the Wednesday before Persian New Year – and jumping over the fire is an important part of the celebrations. You are speaking to the fire; having an exchange, and as you vocalize those words you remember that connection to Mother earth. We are on the earth and of the earth.

Norooz (New Year) means New Day in Farsi and is celebrated throughout West, Central and South Asia. It’s a pre-Islamic holiday started by Zoroastrians somewhere between 1200 – 550 B.C.E.

Norooz is the return of the light – warmth, growth, newness; the spring.

On Chahar Shanbe Suri it’s time to revive our inner light. Symbolically we are shedding our fears, we are melting away the rigidity that has set in, we are softening our judgment of ourselves and others. … “I give you my Yellow!”

The red of the fire is re-igniting our vitality our enthusiasm for life. We are firing up those places that may have dimmed or gotten smothered by the daily grind. The red is not just a life raft, it is a motor boat! … “You give me your Red!”

Coming out of the winter, I am re-invigorating my Theater of the Oppressed work. This weekend I’m am presenting at the Left Forum , next weekend I’m leading a workshop, and I’m planning a series of workshops in Atlanta and Detroit in the coming months. Read about all my events either in my previous post, or HERE.

Where are you holding onto fear? Do you have a buried hope? Today is the day! Dig it out, set it on fire, and shoot off into the stratosphere!

Norooz Mubarak! Happy New Year!

~ Kayhan