Tag Archives: Seattle

Sneak Peak at Tibetan Nuns’ Stories

New, beautiful photos on TNP’s site! (photo property of Tibetan Nuns Project)

The Tibetan Nuns Project, the organization with which I used to volunteer and which inspired this project, has recently updated their website.  It looks wonderful – so much more sleek, beautiful, and personal.

Also, there is a page featuring some of the stories I read when I conducted my research in Seattle!  These are the very bios I encountered in 2010 that spurred my idea for RVP.  Take a moment to look through them – these are the women who will be featured in Restored Voice (except that their narratives will be much longer, and their photography will be present as well).

You will see immediately why I find these women so inspiring:


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I’ve Got Media! Photography Shared, Kickstarter Imminent!

Good news for the Restored Voice Project: I have access to some lovely portraits and images of the Tibetan women of Dharamsala.  This means the Kickstarter will launch sooner than expected: September 30th!

An example of Wonderlane’s work, and also of the strength and cheer of these women

Wonderlane, A.K.A. Photographer Libre, has taken beautiful, evocative shots all around the world – including many from Seattle… it all seems to lead back to that place! – and has an extensive collection of Tibetan nuns at Dolma Ling nunnery.  I’m always thrilled to discover their smiling faces, and in this case, I really needed some help. January rapidly approaches, and the Kickstarter needs to launch.  However ready I may be, I know that I need images of these awe-inspiring ladies to really make this project tangible.  But I’ve never been to Dharamsala to take my own media. Photographer Libre – aptly named – is happy to share her photos with me for the informational Kickstarter video, so that I can show the nuns themselves. A video just of me would not be as powerful, because this isn’t really my book. It’s theirs. And I hope to feature photography in the book.

I would like to take this moment to thank Wonderlane publicly.  Her work is already exquisite, but it’s made all the more beautiful by her willingness to share and help other artists realize their goals – and, specifically with RVP, to help a project that seeks to share, empower, and spread the word to the world.  Kudos, Wonderlane!  All of you should definitely check out her site: here is it again.  I think a copy of the finished book will magically appear in her mailbox someday…

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More Inspired Than Ever

I read about two hundred stories in Seattle.  Many of the nuns had similar sentiments and experiences, which my limited consciousness can only keep separate with notes present.  So throughout my day, their words swirl inside me in a newly knit literary vascular system, blending together into one beautiful, tragic, pumping, vital story, a second pulse to my own.  I’m saturated.  I must pass them on.

Visiting TNP’s new office in the International District was hugely satisfying.  It felt so good to be back in the sea air and greenery of that place, and the TNP office itself has relocated to my favorite part of Seattle.  They’re in a beautiful historic building right across from the endlessly wondrous and slightly frightening Iwajimaya Village, with twelve-foot tall windows that overlook SeaTac and Beacon Hill.  Seagulls warble right outside, riding thermals high above the industrial part of the city.  In case it isn’t obvious, I love Seattle and was thrilled to see her wet, hilly, beet-eating self again (beets… everywhere).  I even got to spend time with Susanne Peterson, the unendingly energetic and vivacious woman who repeatedly calls herself a dork while whacking around the the office’s macs.  Susanne ran TNP when I volunteered in ‘10, and she was the first to give me the go-ahead for this project (I believe her exact words were, “Do it.”).  The whole thing made me wish, and not for the first time, that Seattle were just across the Mississippi instead of the entirety of the American West.  Our country is way too big.

I’ve been thinking about the nuns while I try (and try and try) to write at home, to brainstorm more, and to plan my journey from cafes filled to the brim with St. Louis-style hipsters (they’re actually very nice) and espresso.  It’s one thing to try to transport myself to Dharamshala and to the nuns’ vivid, smiling faces with my imagination.  It is quite another thing to be surrounded by beautiful, almost tangible images of the women themselves.  TNP Seattle’s office’s high ceilings leave plenty of wall space for the collection of prints from Jeff Davis’ trip to the nunneries, as well as shots that the nuns themselves have taken for the fundraiser-aimed TNP calendars.  I cannot express how wonderful these calendars are.  And to think that these women – women who, historically, have been intentionally kept illiterate in Tibet – took these photos on digital cameras, to support themselves!

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