Sometimes the sacrifices of seeking a better life feel like a catch-22. Just ask “Norma,” the protagonist of Michelle Suzann Myers’ piece, who gives up everything for a better life in California. We were treated to a special performance by Nita Duarte Lambert on February 24 at the San Jose Museum of Art:
Muchísimas gracias to the lovely Nita for this moving reading, to Michelle for sharing her work for us, to Ryan Alpers for filming and to Branden Frederick for taking photos.
Could death be a new terrain? In “Norma,” Michelle Suzann Myers explores the journey one woman makes to create a new life for her family while mourning the loss of her own mother. We were compelled by Michelle’s moving piece and look forward to performing it this Sunday, February 24, at the San Jose Museum of Art.
Born and raised in San Jose, California, whilst it was still the Valley of the Heart’s Delight, and once more a proud resident, Michelle Suzann Myers supports her meandering writing journey as a bilingual psychotherapist in private practice. Myers holds degrees from the University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University. After graduating with sociology and English writing degrees from USF, Myers headed to Dallas, Texas as a legal aide for refugees with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She then escaped to Sao Paulo, Brazil for four years, volunteering in support of women and girls. Myers was fortunate enough to learn of social justice, human rights, and mysticism in her early spiritual formation, and still has hope for the loving transformation of this world.
Her story “Communion on the Road” was published in the anthology, Sanctuary (DarkHouse Books, 2018). She agreed to answer a few questions for us in advance of the show.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
My writing teacher, Lita Kurth, and the wild, witchy, wise women of my Friday morning writing group inspired me to submit my work to Play on Words. Participating in the last performance at Cafe Stritch gave me a new lease on life–just thrilling!
Which writers have inspired you?
Laura Nichols, Ph.D., Kristin Heyer, Ph.D., Mary Oliver, Anne Lamott, Rumi, Hafiz, Barbara Kingsolver, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Given the current political climate, today seems like a good day to share Michael Weiland’s dynamite performance of “Pence” by Michelle Myers:
Big thanks to Michael for loaning us his voice on April 11 at our New Horizons show at Cafe Stritch. You can catch him in Los Altos Stage Company’s “Pippin” through June 24.
And while we’re at it, now is a good time to remind folks of all political persuasions to consider donating to Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), an organization that is helping families being forcibly separated at the U.S./Mexico border. There is nothing humane about taking children from their families, regardless of nationality.
The most interesting and surprising work can arise when a writer responds to a prompt. When we read Michelle Suzanne Myers’ short piece, “Pence,” we were amazed by how many reactions we had in just a few paragraphs. Regardless of your politics, sometimes the juxtaposition of empathy and revulsion, curiosity and disgust, can make for the most thought-provoking work. We look forward to performing Michelle’s hilarious piece tomorrow at Play On Words: New Horizons.
Born in San Jose, whilst it was still the Valley of the Heart’s Delight, and once more a current proud resident, Michelle supports her meandering writing journey as a bilingual psychotherapist in private practice. She holds degrees from the University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University. After graduating with a sociology degree from USF, Michelle headed to Dallas, Texas to do legal aide work with refugees as a Jesuit Volunteer. She then escaped the U.S. to Sao Paulo, Brazil for four years where volunteering in support of women and girls. Michelle was fortunate enough to learn about social justice, human rights, and mysticism in her early spiritual formation, and she still has hope for the loving transformation of this world. Like her paternal grandfather, she loves birds and walking the hills. Unlike her grandfather, she loves salsa and Afro-Brazilian music, movement, and dance. Michelle credits the wise, wild women of her Friday morning writing group with giving her the courage to reveal her writing to the public.
Her piece “Communion on the Road” will be published in summer 2018 in Sanctuary, an anthology published by Darkhouse Booksof Niles, California.
Michelle shared some of her thoughts with us in advance of tomorrow’s show.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
My wonderful writing professor, poet Lita Kurth encouraged me to submit this piece. Also, I felt compelled to submit it as I believe we all must promote the idea that love indeed overcomes hatred.
Which writers or performers inspire you?
Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Oliver, theologian Dr. Kristin Heyer, Ph.D, and sociologist Dr. Laura Nichols, Ph.D, Eduardo Galeano, Joyce Rupp, Rainer Maria Rilke, Natalie Goldberg, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teresa of Avila, Rumi, Hafiz, and Anne Lamott.
Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, edited by Jane Hirshfield.