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All In

Two and a half years ago, I turned to Off The Wall with an all in mindset. That means, a hundred percent of my time and effort is dedicated to it. My resources, my intelligence, my creativity, my family. Everything. All in.

What looks like on a daily basis is something a kin to wearing multiple hats but it feels like just being in the flow of life. My life, so I don’t notice it as much as an outsider does. Like my son.

He comes home periodically from college, the sequestered one who doesn’t live in our world over here, until he rubs elbows for summer break with these artists, the ones sleeping on the couches. The ones taking over rooms. We have discussions about how did we get here, where is this taking us, what is the best next move. And right when we begin to consider it differently, like maybe I need to find funding by using my talents elsewhere – a kid comes into the house and blurts – “I need your help signing up for college, Maura” my son and I exchange a knowing glance, which says, this kid needs our help. And he looks at me and says, “Yeah, no, you gotta do this full time.” Sure, he’d like a fancier house and more security and frankly more food around, but the aid and the need trumps all.

We never know what the day will bring. This last week had me saying yes at 11:30 pm to a request to take Zach to his second drivers test which he had scheduled without needing me (a note I noted as I had failed to help him the last time because my break light was out). This was the morning before we were scheduled to take a van load down to Long Beach for Pow Wow Long Beach, a mural festival. It had him arriving at my house at 7:30 am, and napping on my outdoor patio couch until 10:30, after which I fed him and the other 4 boys in the house. With a full stomach and an added amount of determination, he passed. Then asked us to wait 5 minutes for him to run an errand. Forty-five minutes later we were on the road without him. “Something came up.” As it does with these cats… with no pre-frontal cortex fully fused.

This week also had me meeting with the Neighborhood Council member who put me in her pocket. We traversed the wildlife sanctuary in the valley so I include her needs in our Great Street proposal – due tomorrow.

My daughter, while we were all stuck in traffic heading to Long Beach, was in Oregon having a seizure. Her first and there was nothing I could do but take the phone call, so while looking at Cryptic’s spirals and Jeff Soto’s owl, I’m texting her boyfriend, the family and waiting for updates. She is fine and was pretty quickly, but we were ready, Paulie and I, to exchange roles so I could drive up to her and he would take photos for my client.

Partnership, our partnership is developing and beginning to overlap like that which is crucial it feels for our org to grow. There has been an official mandate from the org, for instance, that I begin to paint. Like, they won’t paint unless and until I start. The impetus being that I need to validate my ability to teach mural making, which I never thought would become my role, because I was happy to outsource that to better beings… but the challenge and intention I feel is to develop me in a way that I didn’t see coming. And so this week I have been stepping into it. Painting, thinking, taking time away from coordination. I am encountering the feeling though of wanting to go big. Go all city, go global. It’s a natural thing to want to expand and be expansive. But I am reminded by Paulie, to just do a good piece and the rest will follow. Collaborating and stretching is the standard here and that is an example of handing over the tools so we can grow. It’s also nice to share the pressure of performance.

It’s good to look fancy together too, as we did at the reception for ACTIVATE where we, the founding ACTIVATERS we honored and acknowledged for our service to LAUSD. We have yet to pull off our project but anticipate it. 200 black and white photos of students from 40 continuation schools, plastered somewhere around LA with the insideout project.

We also approved a cinematographer for our New York Film Academy piece. I immediately fell for this kid, I tend toward pretty as Paulie reminded me. We can’t just go for pretty because I say so. And he is right, so I listened to his concerns and we are monitoring the process to ensure that we get a kick ass piece – a webisode pilot. It’s gonna be cool and hard to do and NYFA is so on-board. So, yay.

Filtering in and out this week were artists who study, artists who don’t and artists who steal. I failed to do a podcast like I said I would and I have no one to confess that to but you, so I will complete that with restored integrity with two in the well this week. By Tuesday.

Let me know if this view is meaningful and interesting to you. My insights are mine alone, but sharing them is intended to connect with other’s lives and needs.

Paint on, peace and please support.