Operation Care had placed my book Upcycle on their shelves for sale. All sales was to go to the transitional housing program for women and children, which needed costly maintenance. A volunteer who helps man the store sometimes was offended by something in the book, and removed all copies from the reach of customers.
We had a meeting- the director and two staff of Operation Care, and myself, regarding the book, the flyer i made for the benefit event and how we ought proceed.
as you can see i put two poems on the flyer which would serve as the program for the benefit event July 23. i wrote one poem about God, and included a poem which is among just a tiny handful ive written that i believe anyone in the world could identify with, since it is about being eachother- just the same. brother and sisters.
however, not only did the three in the meeting not identify with the poem, it offended them. they were not in this ‘alone together’- they were in this with God. the idea of it just being each other was interpreted as being without a god –
which was not the meaning i had intended. i simply meant we are in this together- whether we go to church, pray, atone, have faith in a God or serve a master, whether we are surgeons or clowns- red, white, or brown…
in addition to this, the director pointed out a crass word on one of the pages of my book- i said, but did you read the essay about this song? because it is the whole point of this book- how i came to be a poet or write songs in the first place.
she said she had only read some parts of the book, and when i asked the table, the others admitted they had not read the book.
this being said, i have art on my blog which is political in nature they did not think their donors would care for, and so they wanted no further association with me as an artist.
truly, they didnt do their due diligence, only at the 11th hour discovering art on my blog that disagrees with their patrons, and so forth. anything i did i had passed along for approval, but at this point they wanted me to put out the flyer as it was- but to make the part that says proceeds go to Operation Care smaller, so as not to emphasize it so much.
and they wanted nothing to do with the book. it was a learning lesson. i learned along the way that the library was going to have yoga lessons until members of the community complained that there must be separation of church and state. so now i knew where to tread, and how lightly. i also learned who my allies are and who i will work with in the future to spread community in this town which seems to be just now burgeoning with culture.
i said you still want me to do the event? you want the money?
they laughed and said of course. the following day i gave the first Upcycle workshop. i felt extra inspired and full of mojo. i began by explaining how i spread Gods love through poetry. and that to reach the widest audience, i leave words like God and Jesus out of my books, because you lose a percent of the audience straight away. when some people see those words, they put a book down.
i reached a few of the women- in our hearts we have the same stories. the same struggles and achievements. the striving for balance. the belief in ourselves. this was all that mattered to me in the first place, when i conceived of this vast project Upcycle.
i didnt try to sell my book at all. i was afraid who i may offend- it says in there- you are a vacuum /and i am a witch /who got carried away by her broom …
some people would take that literally. there are witches, ive been told, who lived right there in the town. and since i would rather move on to my next project here without being cast off – i did not release the album on the day of the benefit event as planned. i sure didnt want anyone offended by my lyrics to think Operation Care stood behind them or me- as an artist.
i am grateful to Operation Care, their many volunteers who gave plenty of time to the Upcycle cause- plenty of work hours for the workshops and benefit event. and plenty of moral support to me, as i struggled to keep my ego and pride out of it and complete what i set out to do as well as i possibly could.
plus, i am grateful to the women i met- in particular Melissa Jesse, Rose Maggard and Sheila Fow- who sat and had tea with me repeatedly, and worked always with such enthusiasm, through the very last minute of the event.. your passions humble me and give me much strength- i was able to have utter faith in you while our shared faiths emboldened each other. xoxoxox