If you read my September post, “Let’s Sip and Chat about This and That,” you know I am someone who prefers listening to music, writing, and photography over watching t.v., especially the news the last few months, but I have tuned in enough to know that COVID numbers are on the rise, in many regions. My state just hit its third highest daily increase since this mess began. This sobering statistic has far-reaching implications for local schools, hospitals, and many other institutions that serve people, and of course for individual lives. This ongoing serious situation has me thinking about how grateful I am for the people in my life who have delivered joy, during this disconnected year. Included in my celebrated circle are the musicians and storytellers who have continued to deliver messages of hope and inspiration. I am featuring two in today’s post. One is an Arizona music legend who has been entertaining crowds for well over thirty-five years with his talent for crafting and telling stories through song and the other is a gifted teacher and writer who is passionate about helping people discover and share their voice through the written word.
Storytelling through Song
I have been enjoying Walt Richardson’s blend of folk, reggae, and rock since I was a teenager and catch him whenever I can in the Phoenix area. Of course, this year, live performances have been replaced with streaming. The beloved musician began entertaining people as a street performer in Tempe, Arizona over thirty-five years ago. He has since shared his music around the world, while continuing to perform, inspire, mentor, and create back home on Arizona soil. His musical talents and accomplishments were recognized by the City of Tempe in the form of a gold plaque in the sidewalk along Mill Avenue – the first musician to receive this honor. In 2014, Walt was inducted into Arizona’s Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. With an entertaining personality that matches his musical and songwriting gifts, Walt has also hosted a variety of open-mic nights and singer/songwriter shows, both locally and nationally. I last saw Walt at the MIM in Phoenix last July, where he was one of three Arizona artists to deliver their unique style of music in an engaging show titled, “Songwriters in the Round” (2nd video below). Walt’s site: http://walterrichardson.com/
Storytelling through Community
I no longer teach HS English, but I still have the pleasure of working with writers and readers alongside award-winning teacher, Sandra Marinella, author of The Story You Need to Tell, within an engaging and talented writing community, that now extends across the country and beyond due to our Zoom lifestyle. Sandra’s book was inspired by a serious health challenge she faced, which she handled bravely and with journaling as an outlet. The difficult situation motivated her to explore the healing power of writing (Narrative Therapy), which she became immersed in. Her book is the product of personal experience, extensive research, the stories of others, and is packed with writing prompts that help readers find and write their stories.
I met Sandra last September at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, where she was leading a writing workshop. I began working with her in February at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where her workshops are offered in the Integrative Medicine and Health Unit. Although Mayo suspended in-person classes, we have been busy teaching online through a variety of organizations and outlets. To learn more about Narrative Therapy, upcoming 2021 online workshops, and her book, check out her website: https://www.storyyoutell.com/
Be well and enjoy your weekend. 😊 Michele