D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

War Photographer: Liz Anderson

Liz is someone who is truly living an unorthodox life, and she makes it look quite fun. Dancer, thinker, killer ukulele-player: this girl is the whole package. Today I'm so excited for her words (couldn't we all use a little more poetry in our lives?) and I'm inspired again by the privilege of being a witness to the stories inside.  Making Space

i want people

to share

their stories

to find

their voices

to sing

what they love

shout

what they need

share

what they've lived

so we remember

we are not alone.

 

some people find ways to do this

on their own

their story burns inside them

and bursts free

 

but more often

i find

that people stay silent

they think

i'm not talented

important

beautiful

enough

 

they think no one

cares

enough to listen.

 

and listening

to someone's life

over a cuppa

is an honor

 

finding ways

to tell their stories

again

is an privilege.

 

but best

fiercest joy

is helping people discover

how to share their own stories

making space

for them to realize

other people want to hear too

revealing they do

in fact

have something to say

 

maybe their older brother

told them they couldn't sing

they believed that all these years

their first grade teacher told them

honey, the sky isn't red, that's wrong

maybe they never had a first grade teacher to begin with

maybe something in the past

buried

silenced them.

 

but if a space is

available

a nudge

to try

an encouragement

to explore

a partner

to experiment with

(is that a bud i see?

then i try to get out of the way

the hardest part)

 

let's write a song together for your ukulele

with those four chords you know

what should it be about? spring? squirrels? both? excellent.

here's how easy it is to make a blog post

of course you should try making a dinosaur out of cardboard

 

hand the kids the camera and watch

their delight as their friends magically appear

teach them how that button works

ask why that photo's their favorite

blow up their best pictures to hang

in the cafe down the road

step back and watch their faces light up

 

witnessing revelation

revolution

happen in other people

discovering

a piece of themselves

they didn't know existed

they didn't dream was

possible

 

provide a platform to broadcast from

set them loose

and learn to see through their eyes

see what their story has to say about

how we are not alone.

 

From Liz: this past October we had a songwriting workshop for our girl's holiday club. We taught them to play through four chords of a pop chorus they knew, the girls wrote verses and a rap bridge to go with it, and we gave a teeny tiny concert.  Here are some lyrics from girls ages 11-14:

You go to work so early in the morning on the tube

Your misery, I hear no breath, no words of life in you

Are you afraid to break a laugh, would that be breaking all the rules?

So come on, come on

 

In the community everyone should be caring and kind

So they won’t end up lonely – that’s the problem in my mind

It’s not right when you’re upset or bad or rude, you should be kind

So come on, come on

 

There’s no point of you wasting your time

Dealing with drugs and dealing with crime

You think all this stuff is gonna make it right

But hey, it just makes a bigger fight

 

It’s wrong, it affects other people

All this rubbish, why you wanna do it for?

You’re walking down the streets, what do you see?

You gotta open up your eyes, well what’s it gonna be?

 

 

 

ImageLiz Digitale Anderson wants to know what makes you feel most fiercely alive (tell her @lizdances). Her two current life philosophies are "If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance" and "I could be wrong." But she's pretty sure she's not wrong about your ability to sing and/or dance, and if you were willing to flail around and experiment for five minutes together we could find out. She's married to a ninja photographer named Peter (who wrote earlier for the series here) and they live in London and blog about it here (www.fiercelyalive.com/blog).

For more posts in the War Photographer series, click here

Powered by Squarespace. Background image by Kmayfield