How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
I’m not complaining, mind you. I mean right now, every day is full of joy. Every task is a celebration. Every single hour of every day I am over-whelmed by my good fortune, by gratitude that I get to do this work. Even if my learning curve is so steep, its practically a wall.
I’m learning about insurance policies. Trash pickup. Exterior signage and awning installation. The cost of a 5 gallon bucket of paint. (Holy crap!) How long it takes to get someone to call you back with that crucial piece of information that everything else hinges on.
Oh, I bitch a bit. I gripe. But even that is fun, part of the process of creating something you’ve been dreaming of for decades. And it’s amazing to watch this dream spawn others.
John Ferguson’s dream is the Hammer Ensemble. Social justice theatre – original plays developed out of a need or issue in the community. He’ll use techniques he learned as the head of Social Justice Theatre at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta to guide a diverse group of actors and non-actors through the process of asking questions like: how do we learn to talk to each other in this time of division and distrust? It’s theatre that listens as much as it speaks, that doesn’t have answers, but offers the audience a chance to think about intractable problems in new ways. Bullying in high school. How paroled prisoners transition back into society. The challenges and surprises Alzheimer’s caregivers face on a daily basis. Honest, difficult and heart-centered work. We are proud to have the Hammer Ensemble as part of Flying Anvil Theatre. (And by the way, if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing John act – fasten your seatbelts! He’ll play the lead in our family friendly show, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – coming soon.)
Jay Apking has a dream about raising well-balanced, happy and creative kids. His summer camps and acting classes will offer a supportive space for kids to learn acting skills, but also confidence, courage and kindness. Jay brings years of experience with the Bijou Awards and the Great American Child program, as well as deep roots in the community, to our new classroom space. Having someone passionate about working with kids makes all the difference and we are thrilled to welcome Jay to the Flying Anvil space.
I’ve been saying ‘yes’ a lot lately. Yes to people walking in the door wanting a tour. Yes to ideas about how to use this incredible space. Yes to people who want to help move furniture, address envelopes, hammer nails, yes to donations of money and coffee makers and wet/dry vacs and hats and candelabras and donuts. Not just yes, but hell, yes!
I say yes and add, let’s see how it unfolds. Because there are a lot of things I don’t know yet. No idea how often we’ll be able to open up this building to other groups for plays and events and even weddings or what we need to charge to keep the lights on. But we’ll figure it out, one bite, one step at a time. I’m going to just saying yes and keep my mind and heart open.
The work load is intense. My To Do list never gets shorter. From moving five years of paperwork out of plastic tubbies and into filing cabinets to prepping for auditions for The Great American Trailer Park Musical, the sheer volume of work is daunting. But every day we are surprised by unexpected kindness and support from friends and strangers. Every single day. It is humbling and healing and altogether joyful. I simply can’t say thank you enough.
Those words are my mantra, my prayer. Yes. I don’t know. We’ll see. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! They’re all I need right now. (Well, that and a good deal on a dumpster.)
So we are eating that big old chewy elephant with side dishes of joy and gratitude. I imagine there will be some heartburn in our future…how could there not? But I am breathing this moment in – sharing it with John and Jay and Bill Cherry (our board president, who takes out the recycling and puzzles through Quickbooks), the rest of our wonderful board, and you. My brain is fried, my back sore, my heart full.
Tomorrow, we take another bite.