Sereena Hoso is a fearless young reporter at the age of 12. She's a sixth grader at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach and needed an "elder" to interview for a time-honored tradition at her school. I got the call as her granny lives in Los Angeles and wasn't readily available for the interview and the project. We are now best friends, and if I truly ever need a biographer, she'll be my choice.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Smart, funny, articulate and beautiful, we had several in person sessions as well as a few on the telephone and via email. The culmination project was in the school's gym. I had expected an intimate, lunch hour event with several of her classmates as they shared information they had learned about their interviewee.
I was shocked to enter the gym, along with about 600 other people (parents, kids, teachers and those who were the topic of the biographies) amidst long tables decorated with flowers and walls filled with posters filled with photographs and other memorabilia about our lives.
Each student gave a quick overview of their interviewee, thanked their parents for their support and then asked us each to rise to be acknowledged. I later learned that they held this luncheon four times to allow every sixth grader the chance to be "on stage." It was an astonishing feat of coordination, timing and what must have been exhausting work on the part of the staff at Thurston.
Her lovely mother, younger sister and two adorable younger brothers, missed her speech. She was one of the first and her mom was trying to find parking which was a formidable task that day.
The questions were fairly typical for a biographer: "What was your childhood like?," "How was school different from now," "What were some of the most important moments that changed your life?"
It was a memorable experience for me as I shared stories about what had influenced major decisions in my life, how I had made career and lifestyle changes, the challenges of being a student, a mother, then a teacher and principal, and ultimately making a major career change at 40.
We discovered that we both loved dance, theatre, literature, the arts and writing. I hope to know her more as she grows up and pursues her dreams.
In her own words: "Sereena Mahmoud Mohammed Hoso was born in Long Beach, California on February 19, 2003. The spark that made Sereena love writing is she had the passion to make her stories shine. Her future plans or goals are to get into a great college and her doctors degree. When she was in 4th grade, she got an award of the class peacemaker (AKA The Dove). Sereena is an amazing author...and she is very happy about what she is doing."
Wouldn't you just love to interview her?
at May 21, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
IS IT ONLY A PAPER MOON?
Artists over the age of 55 are now referred to as “Seasoned Citizens” at the Senior Center in Laguna Beach. I can’t help but think of being brined, marinated or dipped in egg, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese! Each spring the center hosts a 55+ show featuring the work of senior-now seasoned- artists. This year’s theme was “Is it Only a Paper Moon?” requesting works made of /or on paper. The results were fascinating.
I’ve done enough watercolors, collages and mixed media pieces to wallpaper my 1500 ft apartment so decided to try something new. Well, not really new…but somewhat. I borrowed a friend’s dress form and whipped up a gown from items purchased at Michael’s craft store…or my cupboard.
I also enlisted the skills and kinetic energy of my “baby” brother, James/Shamus Koch (subject of the documentary also found on this website). Shamus ( he’s referring to his Celtic roots and yearnings) had been welding rebar mini trees and took on the challenge of a life-sized tree that would hold paper moons with prayers/affirmations and wishes on the branches. Voila…his creation became the centerpiece of the show. Along with a lovely welded/glass topped table (that sold immediately) set of astroturf. He hand colored and cut out the moons during a TV basketball game. What a guy!
The ukulele kings and one queen appeared to play songs from the 20s, 30s and 40s…and a show was born. The new Art Director of Gallery Q, Mary Ann Schierholt, is still recovering from what happens during these Gallery Q receptions, but she’s in the groove and keeping her sense of humor as the artists complain about where their work is hung, come in and drop off work or take it off the wall when she’s not there, and dealing with the Laguna folks who come primarily to drink free wine and munch their way through the buffet treats!
The art is a fascinating mix and never fails to bring forth critical comments such as, “What is that supposed to be?” or “How the hell did he/she do that?” or “They want how much for that piece?” Most of the comments are complimentary and kind…and the artists whose egos and creative self worth are on the line, seem excited and pleased to see their work in a beautiful public space. None of us are going to end up in the Getty…but we’re happy to be at the Gallery Q.
Curious about the wishes, prayers and dreams that appeared on the paper moons? Here’s a sampling:
- Most wishes were for peace, health and the well being of everyone…or children…or oneself! Many comments about spending more time with family, especially grandchildren.
- Many wishes focused on “being in the present,” staying tuned to one’s creativity, creating dreams and then releasing them
- Hope that the children of Laguna might be safe, have a home and a “full tummy.”
- Then there were those who had specific wishes:
I need a car
I hope I score tonight
I hope I win the lottery!
Pizza pie with extra sauce
Rain, passive income, guidance to my true love, be a ballerina, beating M__in ping pong!!! (note: these were NOT all from the same person).
My advice to the moon wishers comes from an old Russian proverb: “Pray to God…then row to shore.”
at May 18, 2015
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