Unorthodox and Unhinged

Tales of a Manic Christian

U&U Coming to a Stage Near U: April 25, 2015, SPEAKEASYDC

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speakeasydc

SPEAKEASYDC, Amy Saidman, Executive Director

 

I am a woman with a storied past. I tell stories here weekly  — stories most unorthodox and unhinged. Ghost stories, bedtime stories, bible stories, camp fire stories, family stories, horror stories, funny stories, glory stories, and true stories of a bipolar and sometimes balanced life. I tell the truth, the God’s honest truth and nothing but the truth one story at a time.

This is story #41.

There is no better way to tell the truth than to tell a story.

And this woman is a devoted disciple of Jesus, the Story Teller. Whether you believe in Jesus or not really doesn’t’ matter. What matters is that Jesus was a hell of a storyteller. Seductively simple, Jesus’ arresting parables engage the head and disarm the heart. Folks who have never cracked open a bible in their lives immediately recognize the story of the Good Samaritan or the tale of the Prodigal Son.

No better way to tell the truth than to tell a story.

The Bible is really just a book of family stories. Some confusing, some comforting, some terrifying, some edifying, some mortifying, some glorifying, some death defying, some life giving, some poignant, some tragic, some miraculous, some crazy, some healing. Some might even say saving stories.

No better way to tell the truth than to tell a story.

So that is what I do for a living. I tell stories. I climb into the pulpit from time to time not to preach but to tell stories. The Gospel story is not meant to lie lifeless on the page. With a little help the words need to be made flesh. Made flesh in sight and sound, in touch and taste and smell. Yes what does this story smell like? And what does it really mean?

No better way to tell the truth than to tell a story.

Last summer after the 8:00 am Sunday service, shaking hands at the door, a young woman named Katie Kelly spoke to me. “You are a really good story teller. Have you ever done storytelling?” “Only in the pulpit” I told her. “But I write stories. I am bipolar and I have a blog called Unorthodox & Unhinged about mental health and faith.” “I am active with NAMI” she told me “and on the board of SPEAKEASYDC” she told me. “The director, Amy Saidman and I have been talking for some time about doing a show about mental health. Would you like to meet her?”

“OMG! YES!.” I said.

Amy Saidman and I met in September. And we agreed — stories like mine need to be told far and wide. They need to be told live and on stage with a real audience up close and personal. A stage for people seldom seen. A venue for voices rarely heard. True stories truly making a difference. So let’s make this happen.

OMG! SPEAKEASYDC is working with little old me. But not just me. I tell crazy stories so others like me can too.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults – approximately 61.5 million Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 20 per cent of youth ages 13 -18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year and approximately 13 per cent for ages 8 -13. Despite the profound impact that mental illness has on so many individuals, families, and communities it remains misunderstood and taboo.

This is about me. This is about you. This is about us. All of God’s children have a story to tell.

So coming to a stage near you, at Emmanuel on High, Alexandria, Virginia at 8:00 pm, on Saturday, April 25, 2015, U&U is proud to present:

Unhinged: True Tales of Living with Mental Illness

A unique, fresh, first person program, and out of the closet approach to mental health advocacy, produced in collaboration with SPEAKEASYDC, called “the gold standard in storytelling” by the Washington Post.

SPEAKEASYDC is renowned for creating spaces in which diverse perspectives are expressed and heard through the art of contemporary autobiographical storytelling. Unhinged will feature eight masterly crafted true stories on the theme of living with a mental illness, loving someone with a mental illness, or working in the field.

The storytellers will come from a wide variety of backgrounds, situations and settings. The program will be recorded by SPEAKEASYDC and made widely available for mental health advocacy and education.

The performance is free to the public and is made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Friends of the Alexandria City Mental Health Center, Virginia Theological Seminary, The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, NAMI, and Emmanuel on High Episcopal Church.

And it’s not too late! You can be a sponsor too. We are more than two thirds of the way to reach our funding goal of $3000 which supports five weeks of training sessions for the storytellers, promotion, staging, and professional reproduction of the DVD.

And I would be very grateful indeed — if you would consider a tax deductible gift to SPEAKEASYDC in support of Unhinged: True Tales of Living with Mental Illness. em>A little help can go a long way.

I have a birthday coming up. A big birthday coming up and it ends in a zero! So can I challenge you, my friends, to contribute $6, $16, $60, dare I say even $600? The more we raise, the more these stories can be heard. The more these stories can be heard, the more people we can reach. The more people we can reach, the more difference we can truly make — to educate, elucidate, illuminate, and advocate on behalf of the many who live with mental illness.

There are two ways to give: Click on https://tinygive.com/organizations/speakeasydc or you can Tweet “I’m giving $__ to @speakeasydc to support Unhinged: True Tales of Living w/Mental Illness 4/25 #tinygive.” Tinygive.com will contact you for details. People can give the same amount by retweeting too!

There is no better way to tell the truth than to tell a story.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

JoaniSign

Author: celticjlp

Episcopal priest, 23 years. 14 years, balanced and bipolar. "Associate for Liturgy & Hilarity" at Emmanuel on High, Alexandria, VA. Bibliomaniac desk jockey and docent at Library of Congress. Washington DC born and bred. Half marathoner and avid pedestrian. Friend to many and mother of four. Blogger, Storyteller & Mental Health Evangelist.

2 thoughts on “U&U Coming to a Stage Near U: April 25, 2015, SPEAKEASYDC

  1. I made a small donation. I so wish I could see your show in person. I lived in Alexandria many years ago. I am an active member of NAMI in Colorado. I love the honesty and humor you share in your blogs! Best wishes as you prepare for this performance!

    Like

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