Sheila K. Collins Website



April 2014  

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My March travel schedule must surely have earned this Warrior Mother the title "Road Warrior." The month began with a trip to Florida for a few days of vacation, followed by an invigorating time teaching and consulting in Atlanta, including serving on a televised panel on grief, and a Performing the Book event at a community for active seniors. After a few days back home, I hit the airways again to Oakland CA. the home office for InterPlay. I joined local and regional leaders in beginning to plan for Interplay's 25th anniversary celebration this fall.


The March newsletter has morphed into April with my apologies to people who keep track of such things. My article this month tells of a larger book promotion event I did in CA - collaborating with two other She Writes Press authors, Judith Newton and Linda Joy Myers. We Performed Three Books at Books Inc. Alameda, a fabulous independent bookstore, hosted by event coordinator Jerry Thompson, with the help of members of Oakland's InterPlay troupe, Wing It Performance Ensemble. And yes, I'm still willing to bring Performing the Book to your region of the country.


Wishing you a pleasant spring,



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'Performing 3 Books' about Mothers
'Performing 3 Books' about Mothers




The Anatomy of Ecstasy
Sunday March 23, 2014
When my then five-year old nephew, Adam, who was an only child discovered that he had four cousins he said, "I feel so big. I'm bigger than a Giant!"Preparing to return from Atlanta after spending time with a group of amazing women and...


Friday March 14, 2014

Walking on the beach this morning on the Florida shore of the Gulf of Mexico my husband and I agreed that we're both water people. For more than twenty years we'd walked the beach on Padre Island, three seasons of the year. Before that, in spring times...



The Real Men 
Are Standing Up 

Thursday March 6, 2014

My best friend and I were sitting at her kitchen table having coffee. The TV news was probably on in the background because Rose never wanted to be too far away from events in the larger world. It was 1977 and the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution, which guaranteed women equality of rights under the law, was still lacking the three states necessary for its ratification... 



Embodied Connections 

Sunday February 9, 2014

Growing up as a dancer the body was, and still is, my first language. I often sense or "know" things before I can explain them to myself or anyone else. This has caused me some difficulties since I, like you, grew up in a culture where the top priority or measurement of intelligence was Mental Intelligence (IQ)... 




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Performing Three Books 


After my book, "Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss and Rituals that Heal" came out last fall, I looked for a form to celebrate and share it. I wondered, might there be a way to perform the book? I envisioned reading snippets

Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss and Rituals That Heal---Book Trailer
Warrior Mother 
Book Trailer

from the book as authors do at formal readings, and then, fellow improvisational InterPlayers responding to what the readings inspired in them. Since I used the singing, dancing, story-telling tools of InterPlay to make it through the tough stuff I write about and to help me in the actual process of writing the book, this seemed especially appropriate.


My publicist encouraged the idea as a great way to differentiate myself from the millions of other authors who have published books this year. I tested the form with friends in my hometown of Pittsburgh, and in August, in Edinburgh Scotland with InterPlayers from the US and Europe, there to perform at the Fringe Festival. Since then when I travel for family events Publisher at She Writes Press or to teach InterPlay I've been arranging Performing the Book events in those cities. Brooke Warner, the publisher of She Writes Press attended one of these events in Oakland CA. She suggested I connect with two other She Writes authors who live in the Bay Area and whose books were published the same year as mine. This led to my question, what would happen if we performed three books?


After last Saturday night at Books, Inc. in Alameda CA. hosted by Jerry Thompson, (who must be the most creative book events professional in the entire industry) I have the answer. In a program to celebrate Women's History Month and with the help of members of the InterPlay Wing It Performance Ensemble, our books came alive. Jerry, who had read all three books, introduced the evening with a poem, "Someday A Mother will Sing," which he wrote a few minutes before show time.


Linda Joy Myers read haunting excerpts from her book, "Don't Call Me Mother," as she met and said goodbye to her mother frequently at train stations. Members of the improv troupe responded with their own movements and stories on the theme of "Mother." 


Judith Newton read about her sense of deep connection between food, love, and a sense of home from "Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen," while musician Soyinka Rahim followed with a Yum, Yum chant. I read from the preface of "Warrior Mother" which included how others reacted to my losing two children and spending so much time writing about it. Soyinka and InterPlay co-founder Cynthia Winton-Henry told a side-by-side story of their experiences accompanying their own mothers through illness and death.


After each author read a second excerpt, and the improv company responded to each, the authors took questions, signed books, and visited with audience members and one another. The authors and improv artists all agreed the event was great fun and a vivid showcase for their work. 


Everyone was grateful to Jerry and the Books Inc staff for providing such a hospitable setting for this creative exploration. Here is Jerry's poem that he gave us permission to share.


Someday A Mother will Sing...

By Jerry Thompson 2014/ Alameda


Some Where

In the way we say good bye

Is the way we stretch the sky



Move hips and lips and tones

Across blues mixing pain with food and laughter


Some How

In this night

we will join in voice

And perhaps through a tear

Or a left turn onto red scarf or red sauce

In the recipe for healing.


Some day

In the warmth of surrender our poetry will become memoir

Or a song

Or a new friend in the dance and performance of this amazing life we have been given by

our mothers.

Sheila K. Collins, PhD 

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