Announcement: Fundraiser and Talk

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Active Sol Yoga and Vibrance: Centre for Voice and Movement are pleased to present Benjamin Mathes, one of LA’s most sought-after acting teachers, producer, and cultural innovators.

In today’s dynamic industry, too many artists experience professional stagnation and creative frustration. What does it take to build a career?

Named SAG/AFTRA's Most Popular Presentation of 2018, Benjamin Mathes' comprehensive approach to thriving as a professional actor is changing lives. Based on his top selling book, "You, the Career", this presentation will teach you how to build a foundation for a lasting career that is fulfilling, evolving, and resilient against the whims of the industry.

“You, the Career” is a holistic yet practical approach to the professional life of an actor that will challenge, excite, and ground you in your most valuable asset—you.   

After this presentation, you will have a clear understanding of:

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·      How to align your artistic and professional goals

·      What it takes to build a LIFE LONG career as an actor

·      The Corporate Economy, and how it’s holding you back

·      The 8 voices you need to stop listening to.  *Hint: it’s not what you think!

·      The Creative Economy, and how you can thrive in it

·      The 8 Voices that you should be listening to. *hint: it’s not what you think!

·      3 things you can do every day that that will help you develop a healthy, balanced, and unshakable career for the rest of your life, REGARDLESS of industry changes.


Be sure to bring your questions as there will be time after the talk for discussion.

Cost: Entry is by donation (minimum $3).
All funds are in support of the Atlanta-based choreographer and dancer Gabrielle Gambino. Her piece "Arriving Not Passing" has been selected to be part of Dance Canvas at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

RSVP: Frances Mulinix by e-mailing contact@vibrancecentre.com

Location: Active Sol Yoga, 200 Bennett St NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Praise for the book:

“I will read it again and keep it by me at all times, especially when I'm on set, because it is a constant reminder that we are enough, that we are worthy, that we are not just working a job but collaborating on making an impact together. Loved it!!”

Seth Michaels—Atlanta Based Producer and Actor: Nip/Tuck, CSI, Pele: Birth of a Legend, Eden; Producer: St. Agatha, Give Me More

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“Hands down the best book I’ve read when it comes to reigniting your creative passion, rewriting your outlook, and digging deep into your process as an artist.  It made me think a lot!”

Cody Kearsley—Riverdale, Power Rangers

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In ‘You the career’ Ben Mathes has written a book as accessible as it is important. Its simplicity and wisdom is a marked difference from the ‘How to make it in Hollywood’ books most gurus plug relentlessly. It really should be required reading for any artist starting out, as well as any creative tired or stuck in the same patterns. I wish I’d read this at the start of my career, it would have saved me from a great deal of needless worry and self harm and focused me on the much more important values every artist should have.”

Daniel Sharman--Teen Wolf, The Originals, Fear the Walking Dead, Medici

"A must-read book for actors of all heritages, Benjamin promotes an economy of creativity for the reader, calling for a deep, rich investment in the person and not the persona.”

--Dr. Sharrell D. Luckett, PhD, Professor of Drama & Performance Studies

Director, Black Acting Methods Studio

Director, Weinberger Center for Drama and Playwriting

University of Cincinnati

Now, don’t miss the talk!

Spotlight: Voice and Body

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I am very excited to offer a Spotlight course to finish off the year. Spotlights are brief, experiential sessions with a narrow focus - a great opportunity to sink your teeth in.

Spotlight: Voice and Body
Ignite your voice and body with this fun and rigorous four-week course. Whether experienced or new to Suzuki training and Fitzmaurice Voicework®, participants will build mental discipline and physical versatility, unleashing a voice that is connected, powerful and authentic.

Originating in Japan, Tadashi Suzuki developed this work to build an actors' focus, awaken their inner power, and expand their performance to include their whole body. Suzuki Actor Training was made popular by Anne Bogart's SITI Company in New York. The physicality of such training is counterbalanced in this course with Fitzmaurice Voicework®, bringing freedom and release to the voice and body.

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Registration is now open.

Dates: 
Mondays 11-2 pm (November 19 - December 10)
or 
Wednesdays 7-10 pm (November 21 - December 12)

Cost: $99
25% off for Meisner Intensive students

Location: The Robert Mello Studio

To register, Contact Me


#WritingWednesday Healing with Sarah Gambito

Grace - by Sarah Gambito

You will transcend your ancestor’s suffering

You will pick a blue ball. You will throw it to yourself.

You will be on the other side to receive.

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Green leaves grow around your face.

Hair stands on your body.

You look at old photographs

that say:

The bread is warm!

A child is a blessing!

That’s what I said!

I meant it!

You could say this is a poem.

Like the great halves of the roof

that caved and carved together.

Found us before words

and tender-footing.

Before wrongdoing

and the octaves of blue

above us all.

Sarah Gambito

Associate Professor of English / Director of Creative Writing at Fordham University and co-founder of Kundiman, a non-profit organization serving Asian American writers, Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Delivered (Persea Books) and Matadora (Alice James Books). The Iowa Review, The Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, Field, Quarterly West, Fence, and other journals have featured her poetry.

Resources and Further Reading

Sarah Gambito on Poets.org

Sarah Gambito.com

Create Your Own Whetstone: A Reflection

I was watching a video of incredibly gorgeous choreography by Rubber Legz and James Gregg this morning and reflecting on my students as I prepare for next week. I was struck how much complexity and artistry is present in this video where the components appear very simple: two bodies, a floor, a piece of music. One camera, a fixed viewpoint, simple lighting. The focus is on the bodies, the striking art or simplicity and symmetry. Such work asks us to be more sensitive and receptive.

This week, I have heard a lot of discontent amongst artists stymying their own creativity.

I hear a lot of "If only":

"If only I had more time, more money, more opportunities, more people, more resources. Then I would be able to create and thrive."

The truth is, there is always a reason NOT to create, not to practice, not to be an artist.

  • More time may mean unemployment stress.

  • More money may mean greater work pressure.

  • More opportunities may be linked to exhaustion.

  • More people may mean more conflict and scheduling challenges.

  • More resources may mean greater reliance on things that break down.


We set rules around our creativity, we are suspended, waiting for others to give us permission. Instead, think of training, practicing, creating as priming a pump. It will change your focus and the quality of your energy if you approach an audition glowing with creativity and sharp from running your skills over the whetstone of a project.

Look at what you have around you: the floor, a body, a piece of paper, a smartphone, a bed, a worn sweater, a cup, a song, the air in your lungs, a bit of chalk, the fire inside of you. Define your container, set a timer, get started, stop thinking about it and act. Refine. Repeat. Push against the container. Find a new use for things.

Know that you are enough.


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.


#WritingWednesdays with Ajmer Rode, An Artist in Two Languages

Rode has extended the scope of Punjabi language and given a new turn to Punjabi poetry
— Dr. Attar Singh

Mustard Flowers - Ajmer Rode

If you see an old man sitting alone
at the bus stop and wonder who he is
I can tell you.
He is my father.
He is not waiting for a bus or a friend
nor is he taking a brief rest before
resuming his walk.
He doesn’t intend to shop in the
nearby stores either
he is just sitting there on the bench.
 

Occasionally he smiles and talks.
No one listens.
Nobody is interested.
And he doesn’t seem to care
if someone listens or not.
 

A stream of cars, buses, and people
flows on the road.
A river of images, metaphors, and
similes flows through his head.
When everything stops
at the traffic lights it is midnight
back in his village. Morning starts
when lights turn green.
When someone honks
his neighbor’s dog barks.
 

When a yellow car passes by
a thousand mustard flowers
bloom in his head.

Ajmer Rode

Ajmer Rode

About Ajmer Rode

Born in 1940 in Rode of Punjab, India, Ajmer Rode now lives in Vancouver and writes poetry, prose, drama, and translation in Punjabi and English.

His first work was non-fiction Vishva Di Nuhar (Punjabi University, 1966) on Einstein's Relativity in dialogue form inspired by Plato's Republic. Rode's first book of experimental poetry,  Surti, was influenced by science and philosophical explorations.

Rode’s honours include the Punjab Languages Department’s Best Oversees Punjabi Author award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of British Columbia, and the Anᾱd Foundation’s Anᾱd Kav Sanmᾱn award.

Further Reading

Ajmer Rode.com

Poets.org


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.

10000 Gestures - Non-Consensual Touching and Safety for the Performer and Audience

I was reading “We Need to Talk About Non-Consensual Audience Participation” by Lauren Wingenroth and it ignited some reflection in my own work. If we aren't interrogating and reflecting on our work, we aren't growing as artists. As someone who likes to challenge audiences, it is important to still respect them. This article reminds me of some mistakes from my past.

When we create performances that include direct audience participation, it is important to ensure we are safe and the audience is safe. I have used a lot of participation in some of my performances and have had to manage unexpected (inappropriate) audience behaviour that endangered me. It is also important to ensure audience members are able to opt in or out. We might not know that an audience member has a physical injury or would really prefer not to have a sweaty, scantily-clad performer climb all over them (find the person who does).

I admit I have not always done it right.

I had at least one situation where I had to grab onto an audience member (by chance, someone I knew) in order to save myself from injury. Luckily I did not hurt her, and I apologized afterward. I also produced a showcase where one performer was not clear on what they would be doing on stage and the front row had a bit of an upsetting experience. That taught me to require more information when working with other performers as I could have prepared the audience prior. It was well and good for me to give the performer autonomy but it came at the price of the audience's experience and safety.

When we ask audiences to wake up from their daily sleep-walking lives, to enter into relationship with us and our art, we have to understand how autonomy becomes part of that exchange.

When we include nudity, direct interaction, violence, etcetera, it is important that we know why these elements are called for in the show, how they are earned, and how we ensure the safety of performers and attendees alike. Being shocking for the sake of being shocking is one-dimensional at best, risk for the right reasons brings huge rewards.

theaters should be spaces where people of all physical abilities and backgrounds can feel safe and respected.

It’s also a question of why choreographers use audience interaction. What purpose is it serving, and how is it deepening the work? Just like artists might consider whether using violence or nudity is truly necessary and earned, content that puts audiences at physical risk shouldn’t be included casually. It especially shouldn’t be used as a gimmick.

This doesn’t mean audiences shouldn’t be challenged or uncomfortable
— “We Need to Talk About Non-Consensual Audience Participation” by Lauren Wingenroth, Dance Magazine

Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.


#WritingWednesdays with Richard Blanco: Calling all Americans Together

One Today - Richard Blanco

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello / shalom,
buon giorno / howdy / namaste / or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

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One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together

(Written for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration
January 21, 2013)

Richard Blanco

“made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States,” Richard Blanco was born in Madrid and immigrated to the United States, his family exiles from Cuba. Blanco is a civil engineer, writer, and poet. His collections of poetry include City of a Hundred Fires (1998), winner of the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize; Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005), winner of the PEN/American Beyond Margins Award; Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012), winner of the Thom Gunn Award, the Maine Literary Award, and the Paterson Prize; the inaugural poem One Today (2013); Boston Strong (2013); and How to Love a Country (coming in 2019).

When Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, he became the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and openly gay poet with that honour.

Sources and Further Reading

For All of Us, One Today: Richard Blanco in Conversation

RichardBlanco.com

PoetryFoundation.com on Richard Blanco


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.


A Star is Born - Thoughts on a Physically Painful Voice

I was reading this article today about how Bradley Cooper created the voice for his character in A Star is Born and I feel upset.

Please, please don't read stuff like this and think this is how voice training is done. Please don't read stuff like this and try to emulate anything described.

Some takeaways:

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1. Pain is a message. Pain when vocalizing is a major message!

If your voice hurts or you are losing your voice, that is a sign that there are some training and vocal health strategies you need to enact. When using vocal technique and support, you should be able to speak for hours, perform for days without strain or pain. And yes, you can come back from strain, polyps, etc.

2. Are you training? Who is on your team?

Anyone who uses their voice for a living should have vocal training and a personal practice. Your voice is the result of a bunch of muscles working together in coordination. You wouldn't compete in a triathlon or in the NFL without prior training, regular practice, and having a warm-up and cool-down on days when you need to be "on."

3. Training Matters

A vocal coach that isn't teaching clients how to speak without strain (and hasn't taught a client that your oesophagus is where the food goes, not the voice) scares me. I don't know this one, they aren't interviewed, and I'm certainly not here to criticise their approach. It seems Cooper missed something - or the interviewer did- which then promotes misperceptions to readers.

4. Good technique increases your options

You can create a voice for your character that is lower, higher, and otherwise different from your optimum voice. Your voice must be supported by your body, not ripping your vocal folds - and not "physically painful to create".


If you watch A Star Is Born (or watch the preview), keep in mind how painful Cooper's chosen voice is - and that there are other choices available to you. Suffering and intentionally creating injury is needless - even for us masochists.


Takeaways:

Have a regular vocal practice. Get a voice teacher as part of your team. I want you to reflect now on who constitutes your team to support your profession and what practices you have daily, weekly, monthly, and annually to keep you growing and going.

Your industry is difficult enough. Longevity matters.


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.


#WritingWednesdays with José Olivarez: "people are overrated. give me avocados."

now i’m bologna - José Olivarez

my parents were born from a car. they climbed out
& kissed the car on its cheek. my grandmother.
to be a first generation person. 23 and Me reports
i am descendant of pistons & drive trains. 33%
irrigation tools. you are what you do. my first job
was in a lunch meat factory. now i’m bologna.
it’s not so bad being a person. the front seat of a car
is more comfortable than the trunk. when they were babies
my parents dreamt of being Lamborghinis. not
people. you are what your children grow up to do.
if i put my parents’ names on papers, what happens?
the answer is no comment. the answer is quién sabe.
the answer is yo no sé, pero no es abogado.
people are overrated. give me avocados.

I Walk Into Every Room and Yell Where the Mexicans At - José Olivarez

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i know we exist because of what we make. my dad works at a steel mill. he worked at a steel mill my whole life. at the party, the liberal white woman tells me she voted for hillary & wishes bernie won the nomination. i stare in the mirror if i get too lonely. thirsty to see myself i once walked into the lake until i almost drowned. the white woman at the party who might be liberal but might have voted for trump smiles when she tells me how lucky i am. how many automotive components do you think my dad has made. you might drive a car that goes and stops because of something my dad makes. when i watch the news i hear my name, but never see my face. every other commercial is for taco bell. all my people fold into a $2 crunchwrap supreme. the white woman means lucky to be here and not mexico. my dad sings por tu maldito amor & i’m sure he sings to america. y yo caí en tu trampa ilusionado. the white woman at the party who may or may not have voted for trump tells me she doesn’t meet too many mexicans in this part of new york city. my mouth makes an oh, but i don’t make a sound. a waiter pushes his brown self through the kitchen door carrying hors d’oeuvres. a song escapes through the swinging door. selena sings pero ay como me duele & the good white woman waits for me to thank her.

About José Olivarez

The son of Mexican immigrants, José Olivarez is the author of the book of poems, Citizen Illegal (Haymarket Books, 2018). He is co-editing the forthcoming anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo. Co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods and a recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Poets House, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, & the Conversation Literary Festival. He lives in Chicago.  He leads writing workshops and diversity trainings, teaches, and creates curriculum for you writers in Chicago, IL. 

Further Reading

José Olivarez.com

Poets.org


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.

#WritingWednesday - Resilience with Ada Limón

I have been reflecting quite a bit about resiliency. A thought that I am sitting with is that resiliency requires one to face their mortality, their fallibility, in order to cope with each difficulty encountered. I even struggle to come up with the right words regarding how one deals with difficulties. Some are survived, some are confronted, some are passed through. Resilience looks different depending on the person, their resources, and situation. Sometimes resilience is trying to maintain stasis - or finding a new reality.

A cycling accident four weeks ago started me on this line of thought. A subarachnoid hemorrhage and fractures of my temporal bone and clavicle and a lot can change at once. After my head hit the pavement, I spent 45 minutes with my eyes open and talking, but I have no memory of doing so. Suddenly, my brain came back online, my husband was over me, talking to me and checking my bones for fractures, I was sobbing. Had I not been wearing a helmet, I would be dead. As things go, my healing has been remarkably quick, but this experience put me in touch with my frailty and fallibility 

We can imagine the way we will behave when things go wrong. We can wonder how our loved ones will react. I can honestly say I know the answer to those questions. Such an experience brought out surprising moments of kindness and understanding in others. Learning to slow down, heal, and accept others' generosity has been my lesson - and I have failed quite a few times. Initially, I was in shock. I had to give my nervous system a while to calm down. I also tried to skip the healing process and go right to rehabilitation, but bones heal on their own terms. 

I have neither patience nor grace naturally, I have to practice them, and it has been a challenge not being able to charge my way through these challenges. Survival doesn't always mean developing empathy. In fact, sometimes it makes a person more rigid and judgemental ("I survived X and I still fulfilled my commitments. What is your excuse?")

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I went to Point Roberts to visit my Godfather and his wife. They are telling me how in the face of an aging population and limited resources, the community bands together to care for each other. Humans evolved because they grew together not in spite of it. Sometimes having to band together means we can come out better. As a defiantly independent person, asking for help doesn't come easily 

In a way, we are all heliographs. What we reflect at others can be our choice, and sends a powerful message to others.

 

Instructions on Not Giving Up - Ada Limón

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More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

How to Triumph Like a Girl - Ada Limón

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I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to lift my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.

 

Further Reading

Ada Limón on Poets.org


Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, writing, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship toyour mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.