Archive for » October, 2010 «


Warrior Woman Stacey

You know how sometimes you meet people and instantly think, “Oh, I want to be like you when I grow up” whether or not they are actually older than you? Well, my friend Stacey Spain is one of those for me. She has been since I met her some ten years ago. She has one of those electric smiles that seem to start in her face and go all the way to her toes. She has a big personality to go with a big brain and hugs with her whole being.

Stacey was one of my warrior women at Burning Man. She was one of my tethers during the Temple burn. It was her leg I clung to when I cried.

After we all got back and decompressed (and got clean!), she sent me a piece of writing, and it knocked the wind out of me. It is her POV of what I wrote about last time (though she wrote hers first). I have always loved her writing, even though she doesn’t do nearly enough of it. So I asked if I could post it on my blog. Then I asked her to write a little intro. Then I was so embarrassed by the complimentary nature of her intro I didn’t post it. Since I am trying really hard to get past the voices in my head that tell me I suck, I am finally trying to post it. Because it’s too pretty not to take flight.


I’m supposed to be writing an introduction for a another bit of writing I did – but I can’t yet because I’m not done writing about Cindie – forgive me, indulge me – let me say these words and then I’ll give you the three sentence mouthful you need to set the scene for our small playa adventure.

Maybe I only need a handful of friends – but these few are the ones I can say all the words to, they can hear it all without blinking.  Cindie Geddes, when I met her, was completely engaged in working with kids helping them find their voices in writing.  She was a quiet, soft and strong presence for these young women and honestly I wished I was one of them.  She is a contradiction: shy and blunt, whip smart and so soft hearted … it took me a while to unravel her a bit – she gave me a present, said:  “You’ll make a hugger out of me yet!”  I expect that bravery from her, I expect her to be healing and growing and finding her fullness.  I see her as complete because I know the arc of her journey.

When I speak of my girlhood I have to take care for the listeners – I know it is difficult to hear and understand my particular truth.  But Cindie, also a survivor (stupid word – is there a word beginning with triumphant embracer of the gifts of her life?). Cindie has heard my story and we can even laugh at it, them, us, being who we are now.  She is also blessed with her J man and boy people, her Jason and Joe, who I know are bedrock for her growth.  When someone you see as strong allows themselves to be vulnerable it can be healing for all who witness it – I was a witness and am grateful.

Ok – so I write plays, the words I put down on paper are usually meant to be said aloud.  I am a performance artist and have five one-woman shows in my bag of tricks.  I have worked professionally in the theater and completed my education with a bunch of initials behind my name.  That gave me time to only do the thing I love, so I am grateful.  Now I have an amazing 24-year-old son, a sweet 6-year-old daughter and a busy happy full life, counting the dog and the goldfish.  I also act and direct locally and am lucky enough to get to teach theater along with my full-time job as an arts administrator.  Sometimes I forget to write (you know, for years) and then someone nudges me to get going again.  Cindie did it to me – this is her fault.  Thank you, Cindie – now I have to go write about the rest of my handful of friends.  But her – she is my bird woman, and I love to see her fly.

What Remains on the Ground

(by Stacey Spain)

Quiet reverence broken by drunken yells rolling back to silence.  Holding small bird hand on one side and beloved strong moving hand on the other – but the connection is felt to others – the echo of a younger self one handspan away.  This temple burns low to the ground connected to us through alkali dust. She is in flux, in flamed and sends embers to wet our dry eyes.  Dust spins toward us with collected memory rising, taking away thoughts, devotions, intentions on a column toward stars – this the best night cathedral.  The flames lick us, embers tease and bite but no harm floating over heads … sweet male voice from behind: “Goggle ups folks, protect your eyes.”  And we do, protect our eyes as they witness this burning that marks a new year.  Then she is down, hurrying toward the ground to embrace it with her ember and ash arms. People rush forward to dance there in the heat, the circle shrinking fast but by the sound I know our job is to stay here.  This sound, for me makes it possible to release, this sobbing eases my throat around a hard spot, and I cry.  Our bird woman is left on the ground as they rush around her toward their joy.  I rise and stand over her – no one will disturb this moment, no one will hurt her here and now.  We are a triangle around her – maiden, mother and crone.  We make the river of people move like water around us by our grounded presence and she has the space to breathe, to cry, to heal.  Standing four feet away that sweet man in dusty clothes hovers, not too close, to see we can do this, to witness this rebirth, to be a guardian in this night.  And after, laughter and breathing with a chorus of Stand by Me.  I will – stand by her — and them, to witness and grow together on the ground.

How lucky am I?!

Cindie Geddes

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