Tag Archives: storytelling

Personal Story, Birth, and the Real Deal We Call Life

After years of writing my personal narrative, many deep, interwoven conversations, visual journaling, and performance…in less than a week…

I will say his name * meet him in-person * hold him in my arms.

January 23, 2017, on what would have been my mom’s 95th birthday, William called me. He told me how scared he was to leave a voice message asking me to call him. He asked me about his story, how he came to be.

Today I booked a flight to visit William in-person. Next week we will meet for the first time. He’s leaving the hospital after undergoing major surgery Monday evening. William’s cancer has moved from his skin, to his lungs, and now to his brain.

The phone rings and William says, They got it all.

He is hopeful and I am expectant once again.

The thing is, he is real to me now. For years, I have been using the phrase, my surrogate son. What a relief to be able to say his name, William, and know him as a person who loves to watch sports, wants to find work as a sports journalist, hike hundreds of trails.

Over the next few days, I will be gathering some of my journals, photos, and other treasures so that I can share them with William when we visit next week. Poems, memoir writing, research from my doctoral dissertation on surrogacy, performance-storytelling.

The first time we meet

Just making the reservations for my shuttle to the airport and flights was a struggle. Crying at the bank, at the pharmacy while trying to get through to the pharmacy clerk who is holding Michael’s medications post-stoke for ransom! Crying in the art studio while collaborating on a flyer for our fundraiser. I am tripping and almost fell yesterday because I have so much in my head and forgot about my feet. I keep reminding myself to ground. I’m wondering if I should rent a car but I am also concerned that I won’t be as focused as usual while driving the Los Angeles freeways.

Feeling the immediacy of the moment. I am grateful for the real deal, live life to the fullest!

I invite you to check in frequently here and on the Play=Peace blog.

Read the follow-up story Sit Back and Enjoy the Trip

That Day Has Come: Play It Forward + Create With All Your Heart

Has that day come for you?

Are you ready to give birth to the stories inside you?

I wrote in September 2016  ‘Writers on Writing’,

I can feel the electricity sparking off in my body. Tears come easily. I feel the need to walk and use this energy to act. I wonder what my a scan of my brain would show in the moment of writing — likely such a scan would look very different when I’m writing memoir versus not writing.

When I lowered myself to the floor while stretching I went into the fetal position breathing as deeply as I have ever breathed before. I’m anxious. I’ll keep breathing knowing that I can keep writing and be with my anxious self no matter what comes up. What’s the worse thing that could happen? I won’t die if I keep writing. Actually the opposite — I’ll live life to the fullest, I am a writer.

As with all things in my life I playfully write. I bring the same playful attitude to writing that I instill in washing the dishes, riding a carousel, or jumping in mud puddles with my grandchildren.

When I write I play full out. I dig a hole to china and then dig some more…

I write in the company of all the writers who have come before me. I write with all my heart and share with openness and as much generosity as I can muster.

As Isabel Allende says, Write about what should not be forgotten.

Write about what you would rather not know. Write about your fears. Write about what you love. Write about what fills you. Write about betrayal and regret. Write about your shadow. Write about what you don’t want others to know. Yes, write especially about your shadow–what you cannot see and must see to become, to perform your life, to write and share your life stories with heart.

Some journaling prompts to help you play it forward:

I wonder what I would feel like if I wrote about…

Something I have never considered writing about is…

If others knew about ______________ they would not want to…

Writing for me is…

When I create something new I want it to be…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Way to Live: Vulnerability

Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. ~Brene Brown

March 5th

my surrogate son’s 29th birthday. I’m en-couraged….

Photo Credit: Jen Adam

by recent research showing that mothers and their children carry each other’s cells throughout their lives. I haven’t seen my surrogate son since shortly after his birth. News of this research creates a feeling of connection that I can hold onto [alongside so many other birth mothers who haven’t been in touch with their children].

This same news also makes me feel more vulnerable somehow…

I’m pregnant and carrying this news but at the same time am no closer to knowing how he is, what his life has been like over the last 29 years.

Does he know our story and how he came to be?

Medium.Com

I’ll be posting parts of my memoir on medium.com

and continuing to perform and help others create their own Archival Memoir Project.
The Archival Memoir Project is a visionary project that encourages people of all ages to claim what is unique about their personal story – and then share their story with others in a variety of playful and creative ways.

My personal “archival memoir project” includes a written memoir, performances, collection of images, dreams, and letters inspired by the birth of my surrogate son in 1987. A series of dreams and meaningful connections led me to the realization that my memoir was not meant to be a solo performance. Instead, I realized I was being called to tend a play-based, archival memoir project that will help others share their own personal and collective stories to create meaning and purpose in the lives of many individuals and communities. 

My project includes written memoir, images, and performance. Another project might include film, visual art, and music. Yet another might include drawings, puppets and poetry. Another, a scientific research project, dance and coloring books. There are so many ways a life can be told … come and explore and discover YOUR STORY. and its POSTPARTUM [or what you learned as a result of your experience, collecting of treasures, life experience].

Listen on ‘Creativity in Play’ as I share more about the Archival Memoir Project and Active Dreaming.

Archival Memoir Project Performance
So  real, embodied, playful story telling. Archetypal made tangible. You make it clear that getting in touch with, and living from the heart is natural and simple…. though quite hidden, and perhaps scary for most modern people…..  And a sometimes struggle, ….but something which can be taught/discovered and shared together, playfully and creatively. 
 
Here is my bravo…. but the story is ongoing…..I now have a deeper understanding of how playfulness can be a medium of understanding…. for one thing it can help us deal with the “scaries” as it lets us interact with ourselves…. and there are many more.
~Betsy Wetzig, Allentown, PA
Interested in joining an ‘Archival Memoir Project’ Group and create your own AMP? or would you prefer a customized play retreat just-for-you?
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