Liz is someone who is truly living an unorthodox life, and she makes it look quite fun. Dancer, thinker, killer ukulele-player: this girl is the whole package. Today I’m so excited for her words (couldn’t we all use a little more poetry in our lives?) and I’m inspired again by the privilege of being a witness to the stories inside.
i want people
what they love
what they need
what they’ve lived
so we remember
we are not alone.
some people find ways to do this
on their own
their story burns inside them
and bursts free
but more often
that people stay silent
i’m not talented
they think no one
enough to listen.
to someone’s life
over a cuppa
is an honor
to tell their stories
is an privilege.
is helping people discover
how to share their own stories
for them to realize
other people want to hear too
revealing they do
have something to say
maybe their older brother
told them they couldn’t sing
they believed that all these years
their first grade teacher told them
honey, the sky isn’t red, that’s wrong
maybe they never had a first grade teacher to begin with
maybe something in the past
but if a space is
to experiment with
(is that a bud i see?
then i try to get out of the way
the hardest part)
let’s write a song together for your ukulele
with those four chords you know
what should it be about? spring? squirrels? both? excellent.
here’s how easy it is to make a blog post
of course you should try making a dinosaur out of cardboard
hand the kids the camera and watch
their delight as their friends magically appear
teach them how that button works
ask why that photo’s their favorite
blow up their best pictures to hang
in the cafe down the road
step back and watch their faces light up
happen in other people
a piece of themselves
they didn’t know existed
they didn’t dream was
provide a platform to broadcast from
set them loose
and learn to see through their eyes
see what their story has to say about
how we are not alone.
From Liz: this past October we had a songwriting workshop for our girl’s holiday club. We taught them to play through four chords of a pop chorus they knew, the girls wrote verses and a rap bridge to go with it, and we gave a teeny tiny concert. Here are some lyrics from girls ages 11-14:
You go to work so early in the morning on the tube
Your misery, I hear no breath, no words of life in you
Are you afraid to break a laugh, would that be breaking all the rules?
So come on, come on
In the community everyone should be caring and kind
So they won’t end up lonely – that’s the problem in my mind
It’s not right when you’re upset or bad or rude, you should be kind
So come on, come on
There’s no point of you wasting your time
Dealing with drugs and dealing with crime
You think all this stuff is gonna make it right
But hey, it just makes a bigger fight
It’s wrong, it affects other people
All this rubbish, why you wanna do it for?
You’re walking down the streets, what do you see?
You gotta open up your eyes, well what’s it gonna be?
Liz Digitale Anderson wants to know what makes you feel most fiercely alive (tell her @lizdances). Her two current life philosophies are “If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance” and “I could be wrong.” But she’s pretty sure she’s not wrong about your ability to sing and/or dance, and if you were willing to flail around and experiment for five minutes together we could find out. She’s married to a ninja photographer named Peter (who wrote earlier for the series here) and they live in London and blog about it here (www.fiercelyalive.com/blog).
For more posts in the War Photographer series, click here.