Tag Archives: writing

Working with Samuel Abel for INCOMING Radio

As a part of our fundraising campaign to support Incoming,  we’ve been asking our veteran writers to say a few words about their work with So Say We All. This week, however, we wanted to hear a little from one of our steadfast volunteers and teaching artists who has worked extensively with these veterans. Today’s entry is from Kym Pappas (who is so much more to us than simply a performance coach) about her work with Samuel Abel (you can hear Sam’s story today on episode 4 of Incoming on KPBS radio at 12:30). Here’s Kym:

A few sentences about working with Sam… or a lesson in showing up and staying present, even when you’re scared.

I agreed to work with Sam before I read his story. I felt honored to be asked to be a part of So Say We All’s latest adventure and any time my schedule allows me to get in the room with people brave enough to speak their truth, I am down. On January 26th, I read Sam’s story… and I almost backed out because I was afraid.

I am an actor, a director, a teaching artist, and sometimes I write things. In my own work, I am all about asking big uncomfortable questions and digging into personal histories in order to get to the emotional core of things. We all need a space to get honest… to get ugly… and I do what I can to create a safe place for people to do that. When I was entrusted with Sam’s story my fear was that I could not make a space safe enough. Here is a man telling us the reality of life during and after war. How do I ask someone who is living with PTSD to dive into the details with me, knowing full well that this could be triggering? What kind of safety is there in that?

Upon meeting Sam (and after initial pleasantries) my only choice was to be as honest with him as I was about to ask him to be with me.

I think it went something like… “I cannot say that I know your experience… I cannot even imagine… but, I was diagnosed with PTSD when I was 12 and I know what it is to live haunted. If at any point this gets to be too much or if I say something stupid, just let me know.”

Once that was on the table we jumped into who we are and where we come from. I was gifted stories about the infamous pool parties with the margarita machine.  Then we dove into the piece at hand. The conversation began with, “Why this story?”… “Why now?”… We talked about splitting the self… We talked about the air, the light, the weight… We created a scale, 1-5, “Where are you now?”

The word “moist” happened. I hate that word. Sam loved that… and he took every opportunity to use it against me. We laughed a lot. Sam has a really great laugh.

Sam and I talked about living; about the things we take for granted… or no longer take for granted. I thanked him for showing up honest, for letting us in… because although this is Sam’s story, there are many men and women… they are our friends and family… who understand this story all too well. Sam and I shared some of the things we carry in this life… we talked about how we hope the sharing helps others feel less alone.

And then he let me take a picture of his hands.

Thank you, Sam.
–Kym Pappas

To support So Say We All in continuing this work with veterans and other groups in our community, and so that we can keep making new episodes of Incoming, please visit our Fundrazr and donate.

Listen for Sam’s story on KPBS today: the episode featuring Samuel Abel and Liam Corley airs on Friday, 6/5, at 12:30pm on 89.5 FM or stream at KPBS.org, wherever you get your podcasts, or as a standalone episode on KPBS’s website.

OUTSPOKEN: LGBTQ Green Room Writer’s Workshop

Come join our LGBTQ Green Room Writer’s Workshop to generate, brainstorm, or work on stories for our spring OUTSPOKEN showcase: “The Mamas and The Papas.” (https://www.facebook.com/events/406630036175869/)

This workshop will be led by Jessica Hilt and Sarah Hultquist.

So Say We All’s free, open, generative creative writing workshop provides writers of all experience levels a kind, supportive, and challenging community in which to meet, write, and better one another. All Greenrooms are structured around a topic (“The Mamas and The Papas” this month) and include periods for discussion, generative free-writing, and opportunities to share aloud.

OUTSPOKEN Green Room
Sunday, March 29th at 6:00 PM
CyberHive
1855 1st Ave #103
San Diego, CA

The Greenroom Writing Workshop

Break out from your everyday schedule and write! Join us for a chunk of time that’s here just for you to create.

Since 2009 So Say We All have hosted Greenroom Writing Workshops: free, open, generative creative writing workshops that provide writers of all experience levels a kind, supportive, and challenging community in which to meet, write, and better one another. All Greenrooms are structured around a topic and include periods for discussion, generative free-writing, and opportunities to share aloud.

This evening will give you a chance to test out some ideas for your next VAMP piece or your next great literary work.

September VAMP Showcase: Wild Kingdom

After literally years of being asked, threatened, and begged to do a show about animals, behold. September stories are about the cute little bags of murder we call our cats, the dogs we’re never quite sure are all there, and all the other animals that have made our brief little lives on this planet so much weirder.

Featuring:
Lauren Marie Fleming
Leon Dekelbaum
Jen Stiff
Jessica Ripper
Becca Schuh
Ali Ernst
Andrew C. Rempt

September VAMP Showcase: Wild Kingdom
Sept 25th, 2014
8:30pm – 10:30pm
Whistle Stop Bar (21+)
2236 Fern St. (30th& Juniper)
San Diego, CA 92104

August VAMP Showcase: Neighborhood Watch

Submission deadline: August 3rd. Submit at http://www.sosayweallonline.com.

Open as always to unforeseen interpretations on a theme, August features stories about the Neighborhood Watch, whether its literal tales about the self-appointed protectors of the block, run-ins with wannabe cops, experiences with or as the Outsider that disrupts “normalcy,” or any other take on the take. Send in a story. We’ll be keeping our eye on you.

August VAMP Showcase: Neighborhood Watch
Aug 28th, 2014
8:30pm – 10:30pm
Whistle Stop Bar (21+)
2236 Fern St. (30th& Juniper)
San Diego, CA 92104

The Family You Choose – an LGBT VAMP Showcase extravagaynza

So Say We All’s annual LGBT storytelling showcase returns at the White Box Live Arts Theater in the NTC Arts & Culture District. This year we’re talking about, “The Family You Choose,” stories about the people, places, and things that caught us at that pivotal moment following departure from the nice warm closet, into the brisk air of a brave new gay world.

Featuring:

– Brian Joyner
– Henry Aaronson
– Leon Decklebaum
– Dylan Yates
– Patrick Mayuyu
– Philo Mbong
– Aries Hines
– JD Burke

Tickets are available for $10 in advance and $15 at the door (cash or charge). To Purchase Tickets click here.

The Family You Choose – an LGBT VAMP Showcase extravagaynza
White Box Live Arts Theater
2650 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106
July 26th, 2014 at 8pm

VAMP Does Friday Night Liberty!

The spectacular monthly happening that transforms the decommissioned Naval Training Center into a bustling cornucopia of arts exhibitions (think of it as a mini-World’s Fair but without the wanton deaths of construction workers due to unsafe labor practices), and So Say We All has been invited to stage The VAMP Showcase as a featured event!

VAMP Does Friday Night Liberty!
Barracks 17
2710 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106
Friday, June 6th 2014
7pm – 9pm
Free like liberty!

Greenroom Writers Workshop @ SDPL: “Too Good To Be True”

GreenRoom

We all want to believe that we’ve found something perfect, but usually we neglect to read the fine print. Let’s talk and write about those times when reality has shown us how delusional we really are.

This GreenRoom Writing Workshop will be a primer to help generate ideas for our September VAMP showcase “Trouble in Paradise”.

GreenRoom Writing Workshop: Too Good To Be True
Led by Rory Kelly
August 13, 2013 6:30 pm
Malcolm X Library
5148 Market St
San Diego, CA 92114
Free!
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GreenRoom Writing Workshop: Scapegoats

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We all know (or have been) that poor schmuck who takes the blame and puts up with the harassment for no other reason then the crowd says he has to. Let’s talk and write about those times when one person has to be the fall guy.

(Optional viewing: this GreenRoom was partially inspired by the amazing documentary “Catching Hell”, part of ESPN’s “30 For 30″ series. It’s on Netflix, runs about an hour, and is awesome.)

This GreenRoom Writing Workshop will be a primer to help generate ideas for our October VAMP showcase “Mob Rules”.

GreenRoom Writing Workshop: Scapegoats
Led by Rory Kelly
September 10, 2013 6:30 pm
Malcolm X Library
5148 Market St
San Diego, CA 92114
Free!
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