On Having an Epiphany

With my roommates Sally and Muffett many years ago. Happily, we are still close friends.

With my NYC roommates, Sally and Muffett, many years ago. Happily, we are still close friends.

Thirty years ago, on January 6, 1987, I hopped a plane, left my hometown of Tampa, and moved to New York. I had no job and I’d never met my roommates, but to me the risk was worth it — I wanted to do something exciting. I also wanted my long-distance boyfriend who lived in NYC to marry me and I thought proximity might move things along. Continue reading

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The Power of Storytelling

I love being an artist, even though the creative life can be challenging. The best ideas can take years to materialize (e.g., my book) and financial insecurity can almost wear me out (the sculptor Carol Bove said “Becoming an artist is not a good business plan.”). But the blessings far outweigh the stumbling blocks — especially when it comes to storytelling.

A Year of Amazing Stories

Wise words for the new year

Wise words for the new year

I heard at least a hundred stories this year, either while sharing a stage or conducting workshops with The Moth or for my own clients. The stories and storytellers ran the gamut:

  • a WWII bomber pilot who was forced to crash land on D-Day, losing seven of his men, and finding God in the process
  • a graphic designer who wet her pants in the parking lot just minutes before her first job interview in 30 years
  • a former Leavenworth prison guard who now dedicates his life to keeping youth out of jail
  • a woman, estranged from her older sister, who recounted the last special moment they had together
  • a former Texas little league coach who helped his weakest team member finally get his first hit; years later, he received a note from the player, now entering NYC’s Julliard, thanking him for his encouragement

Again and again, as I helped people craft their stories, I saw what I already know — when we share our stories, we help heal ourselves and our world.

Join Me In the Cause

Hosting an evening of stories = So.Much.Fun.

Hosting an evening of stories So.Much.Fun.

In 2010, I launched I Will Be Good Productions, a fiscally sponsored art project with Fractured Atlas, to raise funds for my one-woman show How to Draw a Nekkid Man. Since then, I’ve expanded my creative platforms to include the stage, the page (still in progress), digital recordings, and workshops. This year, more storytelling opportunities await, including one in the broadcast world —  a podcast is on the horizon!

If you’re looking for a last-minute tax-deductible donation this calendar year, please consider contributing to I Will Be Good Productions. It’s been four years since I’ve launched a targeted fundraising campaign and there are new projects in the pipeline, development costs to recoup, and always more stories to tell.

There are two ways to donate: 1) Online or 2) By check, which must be made payable to Fractured Atlas with I Will Be Good Productions in the memo line. Please mail to Tricia Rose Burt, 1805 Graybar Lane, Nashville, TN 37215 (I’m in Nashville while my husband Eric rides his bike from New Hampshire to South America — as you do.).

Your donation is incredibly helpful and profoundly appreciated. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Wishing you a New Year filled with fabulous stories!

Tricia Rose Burt is a treasure, as a brilliant storyteller and a wise observer of life’s surprising and sometimes unexpected paths to our deepest satisfactions. She speaks from an intimate place where creativity and courage intersect. She’s also hilarious. What a combination. — Charles Kravetz, General Manager, WBUR Boston, the nation’s 5th largest NPR station

I Will Be Good Productions is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of I Will Be Good Productions must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and our tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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Quote of the week for December 29

“All experience is great providing you live through it.” — Alice Neel

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Something’s Wrong When an Amy Grant Album Is Deemed Not Christian Enough

amyalbumAmy Grant, the best-selling contemporary Christian artist of all time, just released her first Christmas album in 20 years. Her new songs speak to both the joy and loneliness of Christmas. Her message is simple — you are loved and you are not alone, important words for everyone to hear in this very broken world. But according to Lifeway, a major distributor of Christian books and music, her album “is not Christian enough” and they are refusing to sell the record.

This Makes My Head Explode

I don’t want to speak for Jesus, but I’m thinking he’s a little confused.  Here are the lyrics to my favorite track on the album, “Melancholy Christmas.”

I post another picture from the quiet of my room

And wonder who’ll like it and wonder what to do

With the rest of tonight and tomorrow night too

Christmas is coming soon, coming soon

Maybe I’ll call up some friends just to see if they’re home

I don’t want to feel lonely, but I’m here alone

And the snow falls down, coming down

Merry Christmas

You could come over, it’s not too late

Don’t worry about presents, I’ve saved you a place

Merry Christmas

Light a few candles and sing Christmas songs

Everybody needs a place to belong

At Christmas, it’s Christmas

If you feel lonely I feel it too

If nobody’s said it I’m wishing you

Merry Christmas

Since Jesus loved the lonely and the forgotten most of all, I’m pretty sure he likes that song — even if his name is never mentioned.

Same Measuring Stick, Different Story

When I got divorced, I found out that there are Bible studies that actually forbid thewoundedhealerdivorced women to lead them. This fact makes me grit my teeth. My divorce brought me into relationship with God, who was with me on the front lines of my suffering. I believe in a God of second chances (and third and fourth, on to infinity). When given the opportunity, I can share stories of hope and God’s grace. But apparently in some circles, I’m not Christian enough, given my sordid past. (Lucky for me, my very insightful rector said, “Sounds like you’re going through a divorce made in heaven.”)

Henri Nouwen, the Dutch Catholic priest and theologian, makes a profound observation in his book The Wounded Healer:

The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.

A Mainstream Message of Love

I need to re-read Martin L. Smith’s  essay about the importance of loving Christians we do not agree with — as he puts it, “those other Christians.” I’m struggling these days, and not just because of Lifeway’s choice about Amy’s album. Some folks calling themselves Christians keep spouting words of judgment and division, often in the name of Jesus. I’ll take an inclusive message of love and hope for all people any day.

So go buy Amy Grant’s new album Tennessee Christmas at Target if you want an actual CD (and you get two bonus tracks) or online at Amazon and iTunes. Then give it to your friends and family that aren’t Christian enough. Unless we’re loving as radically as Christ did, that includes all of us.

Here’s “Melancholy Christmas” to whet your appetite.

Let’s Stay in Touch

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  • Want to receive these blogs in your email inbox? Please register at the top right of this page. While you’re there, you can like my artist’s Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.
  • Spread the word — your voice is invaluable in bringing my work to new audiences.
  • Thanks for your support!
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Quote of the Week for October 31

The fruits of your labors may be reaped two generations from now. Trust, even when you don’t see the results. — Henri Nouwen

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