3 Resolutions, 2 Predictions and 1 Gift: 2010 gives way to 2011

I’ve been mulling over the writing of a New Year’s post since about 3 p.m. December 31 as I weighed the pros and cons staying awake to see in 2011. Rolling it round and round in my mind like a piece of hard Christmas toffee …

“Really, what self-absorbed dweeb would assume that anyone other than his mother (maybe) would care one iota about his predictions and resolutions.”

Well, dear reader this has never stopped me before – after all this is a blog – and now you will have something to hold me to for the remainder of the year. I welcome your scrutiny.

I’ll start with my resolutions:

  1. I will take more road trips in 2011. The freedom, adventure and sense of pioneering that come with hitting the open road compares with nothing in my daily life. I love it. There’s nothing like chasing the horizon down a flat prairie highway with a coffee in the cup holder and a good audio book on the sound system. There is plenty of time for reflection, hours of talk with your travel companion and innumerable vistas to be photographed.  A sleepover at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Louis Penfield House in Cleveland Ohio tops my list for 2011.
  2. I will seek out and patronize more local, independent businesses. I admire anyone who has the guts to start and run a successful local business. We are easily enchanted by the success stories of the lucky few who start businesses on a shoestring and end up with making billions, but less so by the many local business owners who through their hard work and risk-taking help build a thriving local economy. The Waterloo Region edition of the Modern Urban Guide will be my starting point.
  3. I will end 2011 a fitter person than I started the year. There’s not much to say here expect TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME; so, I aim to get away from the screen and do some things that nourish the soul and burn some calories. I’m starting with the spin class Good Life Fitness at Market Square, so I’ll be ready to ride my bike when the good weather arrives. Wish me luck!

Now for the tricky stuff – predictions:

  1. By the end of 2011, I will have bought at least one e-book from a local independent book seller. This is as much a wish as it is a predication. I’m not advocating the end to books. Portable, easy to read and no batteries required, what more can you ask for. The problem is there are just too many of them! I own stacks and stacks of books and I have sold, given away and thrown out stacks and stacks of books. I don’t want to buy my books online; I want to preserve the experience of going to the book store. I would be perfectly happy to walk my Kobo to the store and plug in. Sure this sounds a bit wonky and “inefficient”, but I refer you to my third resolution re: screen time.
  2. By the end of 2011, we will have become as sick of the word “empathy” as we are of such irritants as “teachable moment” and “viral”. So beware and hope we don’t mess up yet another useful word.

2010 was a pivotal year for me, filled great challenge and change. I cannot let it slip away without acknowledging how the gift of friendship has sustained me throughout the year.

Thank you to my dear friends – old and new. I wish you and everyone the very best in 2011 and beyond.

The Secret World of the Rehearsal Hall

Being invited into the secret world of the rehearsal hall fills me with a sense of great privilege and responsibility. It’s a place where artists are laid bare, exposed and vulnerable. You become part of a living, breathing organism in which your mere presence – each breath, each blink of the eye, even the twitch of a finger – add to the collective performance. Once you have experienced this you realize the important role of audience in theatre.

Last Friday I was invited into the rehearsal of “Seasons of Immigration” at the Multicultural Theatre Space studio in Kitchener. The troupe was rehearsing the 5th anniversary remount of the show in preparation for a three city tour.

Seasons is an original physical theatre piece that weaves dance, movement and text together with a recorded and live music soundtrack. Directed by MT Space Artist Director, Majdi Bou-Matar it is based on the personal stories of immigrants as they carve out a new life in Canada.

Five years ago I made the still photos for the original production and happened to have a copy of the original recorded soundtrack. I’ve combined them in this multimedia story to capture the narrative of Season of Immigration.

The show starts its tour at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener, Ontario with performances April 6 and 7, 8 p.m. It then moves to the St. John’s Imperial Theatre in St. John’s New Brunswick, April 9; The Playhouse in Fredericton New Brunswick, April 10 and wraps up at Galt Collegiate Institute on April 15.