At the end of an improvisation jam guided by Joe Goode during Velocity’s Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation 2017, Joe offered a writing prompt to participants.

“Share an experience you had that opened your eyes.”

Here are some of the responses:

1. I was interviewing a girl from Rwanda as a class assignment. After I asked about her personal history and the history of her country, I took the conversation toward what she was surprised by when she first came to America. She answered by saying there were a lot of expectations that ended up as realities, but that one thing stood out. She said she didn’t expect to see a homeless person. -Anonymous

2. I was driving my old station wagon to LA to visit a friend down from San Francisco and my car broke down in the grapevine (this hill about an hour out of LA). I pulled into the only mechanic at this stop. He was Middle Eastern, dirty and looked mean. I thought, “Fuck. He’s going to rip me off.” While he looked at my car I was on the phone, audibly to him, calling the car dealership in LA so he knew I wasn’t a fool. But I think worse than my words was the way I looked at him. The dealership wanted $3,000. He said he’d do it for $700. Ashamed, I waited in his office. On the wall I saw photo after photo and cards from families and people with mostly cheap cars like mine who thanked him. -Anonymous

3. I showed up in a new country and realized I didn’t speak the language. I’d been speaking the language for eight years or more, but when i arrived in that country I asked everyone to speak slowly and still cried over my inability to comprehend them. I was a visitor. I thought of immigrants. People who wanted to stay there or who wanted to stay in my home country or who had no choice. Exhausted every single day from trying to talk to the grocery store clerk. My eyes were opened to my own language privilege, to my own lack of knowledge, to the ease of my life even as I hated how difficult my feelings were right then. I went to the grocery store again and again and again. -Anonymous

4. Maybe in ten years or so my eyes will wither like grapes do when they become raisins. My eye doctor says I have almost no optic nerve. If what remains also fades away, then I will be blind. -Anonymous

5. Dying. He died. It was just as much this as the before and the after. Ascension. Heat rises. His life force, visibly rising the way heat may look rising off the pavement on a hot day. This, more than heat, was a life. We watched. And waited. And clinked our glasses. -Anonymous

6. In summertime, we would whisper things. Whisper in the grass, grass-stained denim shorts of our childhood. Childhood at the lake, lake side wonderment, wonderment for the heartstrings, strings that dangle and lull in the winds of dawn, dawn of dewdrops, drops of our love, love for the love for the world for the love. -Anonymous


SFDI Angie hauser

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