Confession of a Recipient

35th and 38th Mayor’s Arts Award

Confession of a Recipient

Last evening I received my second Mayor’s Arts Award. Allow a moment of confession, just to help the editor in me get back to sleep.  You see I woke up at 2 a.m. bothered.  I prepared a speech expecting a five-six minute read time.  Excited to share a bit of WHO I am and WHAT I do. However, twenty minutes prior to the event I was told I would be the first person up, please keep it to a sharp 3 minutes. 

As I type a “Breaking News” alert on BBC Radio announces that Prince Philip, 96, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, is retiring from public service.  Perhaps I should take some pointers from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His speeches were known to be short and to the point. In Canada one time he said, “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.” Short. Sweet.

For completely personal reasons, which this whole website is up for completely personal reasons, I need to post my complete speech.  RED is what was removed to accommodate the schedule.  -SPL

 

Thank you Mayor Linville and the Bellingham Arts Commission for awarding “Bellingham Art Beat” the Mayor’s Arts Award, it is a great honor.

I am the producer of the program. Boosie, the host, couldn’t be here tonight.  She sends her thanks.  She is on assignment on a sandy beach off the coast of Cuba. Poor girl. 

I’d like to also extend a special thank you to the many dedicated listeners to the program and the 60 plus guests who have appeared on “Bellingham Art Beat “over the last two seasons, especially three previous guests who are also receiving awards tonight, Mary Gillilan, Fredrick Dent and Lisa Spicer. A town is only as great as its’ people.  The people of Bellingham are extraordinary!

I’m in the story collecting and sharing business. I particularly love biographies. It is my belief that testimonies have a sort of power.  A person’s story when shared can alert a listener to the possibilities toward their own solution.

I’m mesmerized at the properties of storytelling in general, whether shared around a campfire, read in a book, presented on stage, or projected in IMAX.  Telling a story is human.  Our society has punishments for people who tell false stories with intent to harm. We value words, tales, history and truth, even embellished truth.

Pic capture from the BTV interview played at the ceremony, credit Janet Oakley

Stories are all around us.  In 2010 I went looking for my own story.  After my dissolved 21 year marriage, I moved to Bellingham to be closer to my family.  But that is not where my story starts.

Born in Seattle, and raised in the sleepy and slightly odd truck stop town of Federal Way.  A town that, at the time, had the distinct problem of too many trees and not enough strip malls. 

As I shared in my BTV interview, I discovered television broadcasting and field production in my junior year of high school.  It was my first career love. I worked in field and studio production for about four years, then a decade later I returned to a related field of cable commercial insertion.

Moving to Bellingham I landed a job with the beloved KVOS TV, up there on Ellis.  Since the sale of KVOS in 2012, I have worked at a variety of temporary jobs doing what I can to stay in Bellingham.

When I first moved here I asked my brother what is the best way to learn the town and meet new people, he said “Volunteer.”  I tried volunteering at a few places before I found a perfect fit as a radio producer and host broadcasting on KMRE 102.3 Spark Radio in 2011-2015.  In 2016 I decided to offer a fresh radio program for air at the new station KZAX 94.9 Make.Shift Radio. 

Handmade award cup by local potter Ann Marie Cooper

Producing my radio program reminds me of my television days.  Radio and television are cousins.  This work keeps me connected to the original passion.  I do it for free.  I simply love it, and I will continue to do it until it stops being fun. 

By this summer Bellingham Art Beat will rotate on a total of three stations in the Northwest, online and over the airwaves. 

Often people approach me with an idea for a radio program.  You can see the fever in their eyes!  There are many good ideas out there, but most things “good” take time to make.

People think this is easy to do.  It’s not easy.  It’s [Radio] a craft as much as any art form, and it takes time to learn.  It takes time to research a guest, compile questions that will spur stimulating conversation for the audience.  It takes time to edit the work.  I’m talking, for example, editing 30 minutes of an interview down to ten.  That persons story needs to be represented well.  Their words respected.  Bellingham Art Beat is a half-hour weekly radio show; each show takes at least four hours to produce, so that is about 16-20 hours a month volunteered.

 

If there is one common denominator with the artists I have interviewed over the years it’s perseverance.  They fight for their idea, roll up their sleeves and work to make their business, class, band, play, collaboration, project a reality.

I’d like to close with the reading of a poem that came to me at the right time, and seeded hope in my heart when it was very tender.   And I’d like to read this as a “Thank You” to the guests who have shared their story with me, and allowed me to share it with you, the listeners.

 

The Journey

-Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

-Thank you.

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