award-winning documentarian: radio + music + photography
Today, June 30th, marks one year since the DELVE Kickstarter Campaign was completed - an amazing year it has been! After reaching the $15,000 goal, I distinctly remember closing my computer, going outside for a walk in the sweet air, and lifting my arms up to the sun, tears streaming down my face with gratitude for the chance to dream and have the dream actually come to life. When I came home, this was drawn on the sidewalk outside of my front porch from my close neighborhood friend, Lauren, and her daughter, Jo.
After releasing the album in February, I came to realize that no institution or set of rules would pioneer my way forward. The old systems of the music business are dying off and being replaced by human instinct, creative, authentic process, and faith to know when to turn at the right time, without force. As my dear friend, Rony Reingold, recently said, "you've been living in the radical pause", pulling back to listen to what is ready to emerge.
To move forward I will go back 10 years to then come around full circle.
In 2004, I became pregnant with my son and all of a sudden started to see pregnant women everywhere. To make sense of the experience taking over my life, I began to gather audio tape of mothers sharing their stories and then asked Tania Ketenjian if she wanted to co-produce a project with me. That tape turned into BIRTH, the public radio documentary about practices and perceptions of birth in the US. It was distributed nationwide by Public Radio International in 2006. It aired as an hourlong radio special and then was over. Poof. Gone, without a tactile connection to the people listening. This conundrum made it clear to us that we wanted to make more of an impact on the ground, person-to-person. As a result, Tania and I created THE BIRTH TOUR, a nationwide community event intended to catalyze intimate conversations about birth and simultaneously stimulate a support network for new mothers.
THE BIRTH TOUR was designed to incorporate excerpts from the documentary along with questions for attendees to discuss in small and large groups. The event grew from six initial cities where Tania and I travelled with my little boy, to requests from all over the US. In response to the demand, we created a document that guided people to self-organize THE BIRTH TOUR in over 75 cities and towns nationwide between 2006-2009. The work was sponsored by Organic Valley, Motherlove Herbal Company, gDiapers, Mothering Magazine and The Institute of Noetic Sciences. At the time, we didn't realize our endeavor was unsustainable, both in infrastructure and in business model, without both of us at full steam ahead.
Then, in 2009, I became pregnant with my daughter and went underground just after the launch of BORN, a follow up public radio documentary about the postpartum experience in the US. Everything in my work life had to be put on hold to handle the incredibly intense demands required of me in my own pregnancy and postpartum family life. I was overwhelmed and unable to keep it all together with juggling two kids and a career. When my daughter was 6 months old, she stopped napping and was up, literally, 6-10 times a night for 2 years. She rocked my world and everything I thought I knew about motherhood was challenged. I had been immersed in thinking about and commenting on birth, yet the coming of my daughter brought me to my knees with humility and compassion for what it takes to show up to this unbelievable feat.
DELVE was born out of being stripped down to the raw grit and grace that was my experience of those early motherhood years. The letting go of my professional identity was a bitter pill to swallow and yet, somehow, my instincts told me I was on the right path even though the unknown terrified me at the time.
Now that my kids are 9 and 5, and DELVE has been born, I am considering possibilities to refine my vision for THE BIRTH TOUR and potentially create THE DELVE TOUR (with Tania's good wishes), a nationwide event focused on the potential for personal and social transformation through motherhood. I am exploring how to shape the event design by integrating DELVE songs plus new ones, along with probing facilitated questions to stimulate story-sharing, community, creativity, and social change. In addition, I am considering sustainable business models with sponsors and partners and a strong infrastructure made to last.