Eight Years Ago – Listening to American Voices

Today, eight years ago, I was just across the threshold into a giant project. A listening project. Only 16 days earlier, on New Year’s Eve, I’d decided to take time off from work so I could drive around the country with a flip camera to record the voices of  everyday Americans. I would start the day after the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States – Barack Obama. I would… Read More

Listening for a Change

Here’s a way things are working in the U.S.  On January 21, 2009 I got in my car and drove south – then east – then north – then west.  A rough rectangle of American highways.  10,000+ miles.  I drove to listen to what people had to say.  My question:  What do you mean when you say the word change? In the process, my purpose led to my own enormous gain.  That… Read More

Calm Vigilance

There’s something to be said for scanning the environment – for reading the room – for casing the joint. I’ve just spent four days in the Northern Rockies with my husband.  Attending literary events, sitting in restaurants and coffee shops, walking spring green trails, and hiking to a high mountain lake – one laid down tens of thousands of years ago by an already slow-moving glacier. On the hike, we carried bear… Read More

Portland Boil Alert – Noticing what Works

I just got a phone call from a woman I don’t know.  It was my second time to hear her voice.  The first time was yesterday afternoon when she called everyone in Portland, Oregon to tell us we needed to boil our drinking water.  E Coli had been found in the drinking supply.  We needed to be careful and via ‘reverse 911’ the officials of our city were letting us know. So,… Read More

Listening as Leadership

In our polarized society, we need a starting place for rediscovering each other. I believe that we all share the essential things: love of family, courage in adversity, sustaining faith, hope for the future. Living stories [are] told from the inside out.  Windows into the hearts and minds of people.  David Hughes Duke I just got off the phone with a man in Georgia.  He contacted me because we both have this… Read More

On the Cusp of 2014 – Change and What Endures

Soon the calendar will shift for another roll through dates, through seasons and all the moments we have no way of knowing from here.  Each of us lives in our own contagion of this following that.  The unavoidable change that is living itself can sometimes feel unnerving — or at least the anticipation of it, the impossibility I already mentioned of knowing completely any change before it happens. I’ve been writing this… Read More

On Coming Full Circle

On a walk through Laurelhurst Park, I run into … well, first the bouncy affectionate force field of a German Shepherd named Roman and then the woman at the other end of his substantial chain leash, my friend Raquel. “Hi!” we both call out at the same time, finally able to identify one another across the giddy animation of 75 pounds of smiling, jumping, licking canine.  “Roman!”  Raquel’s voice is stern as… Read More

“Good Job, Dad” — Change 4 Years Later

“The first step is faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” Barack Obama Sasha Obama hugged her dad after he took the Presidential Oath of Office yesterday.  “Good job, Dad,” she said.  “I did it,” her father responded. Then today, President Obama stood before… Read More

Things that Fall from the Sky

“If you have time to stop for a minute, I’ve got something to show you back at the bus,” my new friend Peter says.  “Something that fell from the sky.” “Is it bigger than a breadbox?” I ask. His blue eyes spark as his usually stone-still face lifts with the hint of a smile. “Yep,” he says, “bigger than a breadbox.” We are sitting across from one another in a red vinyl… Read More

Listening Made Easy — Re-release of 100Voices Podcasts

So, every day this week, the initial seven episodes of 100VOICES via Podcast will be released — all starting right now!! Just go HERE for Chapter 1 – Voices from the Northwest.   Then come back tomorrow and I’ll add Chapter 2, then 3 on Tuesday and so on through the whole week.  By Sunday we’ll be onto the first launch of Chapter 8 followed the next three Sundays with 9, 10 and the super… Read More