conspireblog

Our work. Our mission. Our voices.

Hope v. Reality

whitney-houston

Just a few weeks before the news lit up with stories of Whitney Houston’s life and death, I had read in a letter from someone that an acquaintance of ours had died of a heroin overdose. While my mind instantly pulled out the “ that can’t be, someone just saw him a few days/weeks/months ago” denial speech. I knew logically that it wasn’t far fetched. No surprise here. He is not the first, and unfortunately unlikely to be the last. I can think of at least four funerals off the top of my head that I have been to which were celebrating lives that were taken way too soon, and in some way drug related. While I have never heard of an incident of someone overdosing on methamphetamine, I do know people who have gotten shot because of someone using it. Sleep deprivation and chemical cocktails make for unhappy endings. … Continue reading

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March Inside Out Workshop Canceled

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Our March workshop this Saturday the 17th has been canceled. Nothing to worry about – we’ll be back and ready to play on April 21st. Michelle and Kat have come to the startling realization that they are just two women (as opposed to fourteen, like they thought), and they are currently organizing and planning so they can charge through the rest of the year with energy and enthusiasm. We hope to see everyone again in April!    

Love and Money

Money in a Heart

Another holiday season has come and gone. This year I had the chance to notice something, and not for the first time. I see how we attach our own value to money, belongings and gifts both on the receiving and giving ends. It was easier to see and call out as ridiculous in my roommate, of course but that made me look in the mirror and reevaluate. My roommate was raised by parents who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose religion requires that they not celebrate Birthdays, Christmas, etc. So my friend never had the Christmas experience that so many of us grew up with and does not observe those practices as an adult. She admittedly tries to make up for what she feels she missed out on. She buys an outrageous amount of presents for her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews etc. Her sister does the same thing. She has gone … Continue reading

Thoughts on “Ladies be careful!”

Tips on Sexual Assault Prevention

Robyn Ross, friend of Conspire Theatre, freelance writer and general awesome lady, wrote a Facebook post commenting on the fact that if so many people were telling women to be careful, use the buddy system, etc. in the wake of the recent murders in Austin, couldn’t men check in with each other to make sure that they weren’t going to commit violent acts? She started some heated debates and followed up with these thoughts: Wow, clearly this struck a nerve. I have seen cautionary fliers all over Central Austin, and I’m immensely grateful to those who are putting them out and reminding people to take basic personal safety precautions. What bothers me, and perhaps what bothers you, is how the vast majority of messages about preventing violence against women are addressed to women. I’ve never seen a flier on a lamppost cautioning men to control themselves. The very idea is … Continue reading

Stephanie Harvey

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This past Monday, Stephanie Harvey’s body was found in a dumpster around N. Lamar and Rundberg. My supervisor at the Travis County jail emailed volunteers to let us know that a woman who’d been involved in our program had been killed; she wanted us to know who it was before we heard it from the media. My Facebook has been inundated with friends mourning the death of Esme Barrera these last couple of days and it has been horrible and heartbreaking to read about. I did not know Esme but wish I had – she seems like the kind of smart, caring woman who I would admire. I did not know Stephanie either – maybe she didn’t come to my class or only came once or twice – but I think I would have admired her as well. The women I meet in my class have endured such hardships and … Continue reading

Sexual Abuse and Trauma

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Trigger Warning – this post discusses childhood sexual abuse and rape. Conspire alum Lauren Johnson continues her series on incarceration, addiction, criminal justice and life in general. Recently I had the opportunity to tag along with Kat to an “Inner View” with KOOP personality Abigail Mahnke. Kat did a fabulous job talking about her craft, (pun intended) and I thought going in that I was prepared for the usual questions that I am asked about Conspire. For the most part that was true although there was a small section that I stumbled around in and couldn’t think clearly enough to articulate what I would have wanted to say. All of that said, Abigail asked me an unexpected question that I didn’t stumble with. I do, however, think that it is a question that I would like to explore a little more here. We were discussing how many of the women … Continue reading

Guest Artist of the Year

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This past Saturday, we awarded Lauren Johnson the 2011 Conspire Theatre Guest Artist of the Year Award for her outstanding contributions to the Conspire Theatre blog. We have been so excited to have Lauren bring her writing, voice and experiences to the website and we’re really proud to have her as part of the team. When Lauren first approached me about volunteering for Conspire, it took me a little while to think about what she could do. Then I remembered how much she enjoyed writing in class and that at some point, she had been working on a novel. With everything else that I do, it can be hard to stay on top of the blog, so I decided to offer the position of guest blogger to Lauren. She accepted and I thought, “Great – I’ll get a few posts and get to keep in touch with her.” Several months … Continue reading

Inside Out Workshop THIS Saturday, 10 – noon

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It’s that time again! Come to Servant Church at Asbury United Methodist Church this Saturday from 10 am – noon for our last community workshop of the year.  1605 E. 38 1/2 Street – at the corner of 38th 1/2 and Cherrywood. Free breakfast and child care, plus we’ll be exploring gifts – what do we have to offer ourselves and others this holiday season and throughout the rest of year? How can we take care of other people while still respecting our own needs? We would love to see you! Email conspiretheatre@gmail.com or call 512-222-6798 if you have any questions. -Kat Craft

Nothing more than feelings

Conspire alum Lauren Johnson continues her series on incarceration, recovery and life in general. At one point during my addiction I became aware that I don’t like to feel emotions that are unpleasant. Nothing surprising about that I guess. I mean who really does? I was aware that doing meth, in combination with my crossword and scratch off bingo lottery tickets, was a way for me to avoid feeling those things. I vividly remember a summer after a very difficult break up. For months shortly after I woke up in the morning (I did usually sleep, just not more than a few hours), I would start a book of crossword puzzles that I would finish later that day. Some people were amazed at this. I simply told them what I had figured out – that if I am solving a crossword puzzle, it is almost impossible to think about anything … Continue reading

Visions

Lauren Johnson, Conspire alum, continues her series on incarceration, recovery and life in general Oprah Winfrey spoke of a vision board. The idea behind that vision board is that if you can imagine something specific then you are open to receive the possibility and opportunity as it comes your way. You can recognize it when it comes. She gave the example of buying a car. Once you buy a car, then every where you go, you begin to see that kind of car. It isn’t because that model became really popular after you purchased it, it is because now you recognize it when you see it. It is a concept that I can see play out in my life constantly. Visualization and planning can bring us closer to where and who we want to be. In only a few short weeks we will be ringing in a new year. This … Continue reading