Women Who Inspire Me ‐ The Amish Project
Sometimes one of the best ways to be more productive is to take a break. Not just a coffee break, but a real get up and go kind of break. The best way to insure you’ll actually take that kind of break is to make a date with yourself. Julia Cameron calls it an artist’s date. In fact scheduling a weekly artist’s date is a requirement in her book the Artist’s Way.
After letting my copy of the Artist’s Way gather dust for almost 10 years, I finally began my journey on April 9, 2013. I’m currently on week 5 and I’ll admit the whole idea of making an artist’s date with myself each week was edgy for me. Didn’t that mean I was calling myself an artist in the first place? Even edgier…
Well after last Sunday, I owe Julia a big “Thank You”. If it hadn’t been for my artist’s date, I would have missed the inspiring one act play The Amish Project. Hosted by American Stage in St. Petersburg, Florida.
For the entire 70 minutes, I was captivated. Author Jessica Dickey and actor Katherine Michelle Tanner are the two amazing women responsible for the production.
Dickey ‐ deeply moved by the October 2, 2006 shooting at the Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pa ‐ wrote the play to honor the victims of that horrific act. Because the Amish are such private people, Dickey gained all the facts she could from the limited information provided by the news. The very private Amish community’s memorable press release was not your average American news story. “We forgive the perpetrator”.
Negotiating the boundaries between fact and fiction, Dickey used her creative license to birth seven unforgettable characters.
Katherine Michelle Tanner gives soulful breath to each one of them. In typical blue Amish dress and bonnet, Tanner single handedly plays all 7 characters. With barely a breath between changes, Tanner dons the expression, voice, and persona of:
Anna – 14 year old Amish girl
Carol Stuckey – 31 year old wife of the shooter
Velda – 6 year old Amish girl
Bill North – 50 year old college profession of Amish culture
Americana – 16 year old pregnant Hispanic girl
Eddie Stuckey – shooter
Sherry ‐ 53 year old local English woman
With exquisite grace and sensitivity, Tanner brings the Amish story to life. Leaving a true legacy of the Nickel Mines shooting.
Art has a way of giving new meaning to what would otherwise be ordinary. The shooting at Nickel Mines is no longer another random killing, another forgotten news story. It’s now an imprint on my heart, a stirring in my soul, providing a
whole new meaning to the word forgiveness.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to be more productive is to get out of your own way. Next time you’re feeling stuck, make a date with yourself. Get out of your element. Get inspired. After expanding your boundaries, you’ll be capable of returning to your work and your life. More focused, more open, more aware of the world around you. Remember the beauty is in the details…