StoryMuse 2018 Annual Report

An overview of StoryMuse LLC's second year of projects, partnerships, and activities.

An overview of StoryMuse LLC's second year of projects, partnerships, and activities.


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S T O R Y M U S E<br />

2 0 1 8 A N N U A L R E P O R T<br />


Issue 2<br />

S T O R Y M U S I N G S<br />

Two years. It's so hard to<br />

believe it's been two years since<br />

<strong>StoryMuse</strong> came to be. This one<br />

has certainly been a whirlwind.<br />

I called Year One an<br />

experiment. I didn't want to feel<br />

bad if it didn't work out.<br />

In the proverbial "sophomore<br />

year," <strong>StoryMuse</strong> grew to a level<br />

of certain sustainability,<br />

developed new partnerships,<br />

and took advisable risks.<br />

I feel so proud of all that was<br />

accomplished.<br />

C O N T E N T S<br />

03 By the Numbers<br />

04 GCDD Storytelling Project<br />

05 Devereux<br />

06 Workshops & Residencies<br />

07 Fun<br />

08 The Big Next

26<br />

Year 2<br />

B Y T H E<br />

N U M B E R S<br />

GCDD Storytelling Project<br />

62 Stories<br />

74,400 Words<br />

Workshops<br />

28 Workshops<br />

330 Participants<br />

Individual Coaching<br />

119 Hours of Coaching<br />

42 Clients/Participants<br />

Keynotes/Panels<br />

4 Speaking Engagements

P A R T N E R S H I P S<br />

Georgia Storytelling Project<br />

commissioned by the<br />

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities<br />

In late 2017, just as I was closing out the first<br />

year, <strong>StoryMuse</strong> landed its first major,<br />

sustaining contract. I've spent all of <strong>2018</strong><br />

traveling the state of Georgia as part of a<br />

team, collecting 75 stories that represent the<br />

experience of individuals living with a<br />

developmental disability. These stories, in<br />

long form of 1000-1800 words and short<br />

form of 500-800 words, accompanied by<br />

6-12 photographs, include constituents<br />

from each of Georgia’s 56 State Senate<br />

Districts. Story packages are being used for<br />

the Georgia Council on Developmental<br />

Disabilities (GCDD) advocacy efforts. This<br />

project helped me increase my<br />

understanding and appreciation of<br />

intersectionality between race, class, and<br />

disability. There are 9000 Georgians on the<br />

waiting list for Medicaid waivers. Many of<br />

the people who need these resources most<br />

are the ones who have the least access.<br />

As primary storyteller on the project, I<br />

collected, wrote, and edited 62 of the 75<br />

stories. Along with the GCDD, project<br />

partners included our admin team,<br />

Resurgens Impact Consulting;<br />

photographers (pictured to the right on our<br />

last day for <strong>2018</strong>), Lynsey Weatherspoon<br />

and Haylee Anne Fucini-Lenkey;<br />

fellow storyteller, Moira Bucciarelli;<br />

project advisor, Beate Sass; and<br />

fiscal sponsor, L'arche Atlanta.<br />

2 0 1 9 S T O R Y T E L L I N G<br />

P R O J E C T & P O D C A S T<br />

I'm truly excited to announce<br />

that in 2019, we will be doing a<br />

new version of the Storytelling<br />

Project, a deeper dive with 25<br />

new stories.<br />

More, we're producing an allnew<br />

podcast, Heard & Seen, to<br />

feature audio from these<br />

interviews. I'm truly looking<br />

forward to the opportunity to<br />

explore themes that have<br />

already bubbled up from this<br />

work, including assistive<br />

technology, service animals,<br />

independent living, and<br />

supported employment.<br />

Please stay tuned!

P A R T N E R S H I P S<br />

Our Stories, Our Journeys<br />

artist residency at<br />

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health<br />

2 0 1 9 @ D E V E R E U X<br />

In 2019, I return for two more<br />

six-week cycles of programming<br />

at Devereux. January-February<br />

will be with teenage boys in<br />

treatment foster care. There will<br />

be another round following to<br />

be scheduled. I can't tell you<br />

how pleased I am to be working<br />

with this organization. The staff<br />

there are thoughtful and<br />

courageous.<br />

You may remember Trigger Warning, the<br />

first major, independent <strong>StoryMuse</strong><br />

production back in June 2017. Trigger<br />

Warning featured eight storytellers<br />

sharing everyday encounters with trauma<br />

and violence. As a result of that project, I<br />

connected with Dr. Yolanda Graham,<br />

Executive Director of Mental Health<br />

Services at Devereux Advanced<br />

Behavioral Health's Kennesaw, Georgia<br />

facility. Dr. Graham could see the<br />

therapeutic value embedded in the<br />

workshopping, rehearsal, and production<br />

of a storytelling show. Thanks to an<br />

internal grant from the Devereux<br />

Foundation, we have worked in<br />

partnership throughout <strong>2018</strong>. The pilot<br />

project with girls who have been<br />

commercially sexually exploited, also<br />

known as sex trafficking, occurred April-<br />

May of this year. A second six-week cycle<br />

with the same population came in<br />

September-October <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Note: Due to the necessarily private and<br />

sensitive nature of the work, I'm afraid I<br />

can't speak specifically about the girls and<br />

their stories. Just know that it has been<br />

very rewarding work. Here's one line<br />

from a story I can share:<br />

"They say you gotta play the hand you're<br />

dealt. But my deck started with one king, one<br />

queen, and 52 jokers."

Workshops & Residencies<br />

Despite the enormity of the GCDD and Devereux Storytelling Projects, I was able to<br />

continue developing my storytelling curriculum by offering keynotes, workshops,<br />

panel discussions, and short-term residencies all over the region:<br />

Carrie Steele-Pitts Home<br />

January <strong>2018</strong><br />

youth in foster care<br />

Georgia Tech's Center for Teaching & Learning<br />

January <strong>2018</strong><br />

Faculty Retreat<br />

March <strong>2018</strong><br />

Celebrate Teaching Day<br />

Atlanta Legal Aid<br />

April <strong>2018</strong><br />

pro-bono staff training*<br />

(*Thanks to your giving through the December 2017 Indiegogo campaign.)<br />

Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church<br />

May <strong>2018</strong><br />

second residency with clergy & laity<br />

GSU's MWF-Young African Leaders Initiative<br />

June-July <strong>2018</strong><br />

third year residency with young professionals<br />

Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence<br />

September <strong>2018</strong><br />

Using Our Stories for Advocacy<br />

Georgia Tech's Theatre Department<br />

September-October <strong>2018</strong><br />

Devised Theatre Techniques<br />

National Guild for Community Arts Education<br />

November <strong>2018</strong><br />

Storytelling for Impact

Fun Stuff<br />

*Volunteering monthly with Second Helpings Atlanta<br />

*Five years as co-host at North Avenue Lounge<br />

*Alternate ROOTS Late Night Coordinator<br />

*Decatur Book Festival panel<br />

*Officiated a wedding ceremony for dear friends<br />

*Two meditation & writing retreats at Great Tree Zen Temple<br />

*Featured on Atlanta Interfaith Bureau

T H E B I G N E X T<br />

As I enter into the third year of <strong>StoryMuse</strong>, 2019<br />

is shaping up to be a full and fulfilling new<br />

adventure.<br />

On top of returning to the GCDD Storytelling<br />

Project and Devereux, I already have several<br />

other projects underway or in serious<br />

conversation. Of note, I'll be returning to the<br />

Decatur Writers Studio to teach for six weeks,<br />

January-March.<br />

Pending grant funding, I will be working with the<br />

Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency to produce a<br />

two-night storytelling show with their homeless<br />

constituents, board, and staff. This project will<br />

also feature photos and web stories.<br />

There are other irons in the fire, too early to discuss. I hope they work out so that I will<br />

be making pages about them in this publication next year.<br />

The biggest news about the next phase of my career, though, is that I'm currently<br />

developing my first book proposal.<br />

Walks with Grief will be a collection of short essays and stories, reflections on my<br />

personal experiences of grief, what I've learned through my work in the world about<br />

the function of grief, and a discussion of how my walking practice has helped me move<br />

through it all.<br />

Just like I coach people through the process of making a manifesting story, I close my<br />

eyes now and picture holding my first book in my hands in the future. I imagine<br />

sending out the announcement that it's finished and ready for sale. I see myself signing<br />

it, putting it in an envelope, and sending it in the mail to you.<br />

Until then, never forget the proverb:<br />

The shortest distance between two people is a story.

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