Wednesday, November 4, 2009

True Confessions



Okay, now that this blog is rolling merrily along I think it’s true confession time.

Friends have suggested, encouraged, recommended and strongly encouraged me to start blogging for years.  And I resisted,… obviously for a long time. 

I’ve always wanted Pennywise Arts to be about community.  My vision is for PWA to be a hub where creative women find connection to other creative women and then together they create a network of support, inspiration and friendship.  I think we’ve done that.  Very well in fact. 

Over the years this  amazing group of caring women have supported one another through good times and tragic times, celebrations and heartbreaks, births, deaths, and simple acts of kindness.  I’ve watched shy women come out of their shells and wounded women learn to trust other women again.  I’ve even witnessed women who have never travelled alone in their lives get in a car or on a plane and journey great distance to meet face to face with friends they have only ever known online.  So you see, this community touches my soul on a very deep level. 

And  that is why I’ve resisted blogging.

I never want the focus to be on me.  It’s not about me.  It’s not “my” group.  It’s not the “Suzanne Show”.  I’ve spent a lot of time fretting about how to make this clear to the group. I’ve tried stepping back out of the limelight hoping others would step in.  I’ve tried encouraging, instigating and even begging others to show up and be a part.  But those things don’t seem to work. 

And then my grandma came to visit last week. 

evelyn brady 2009001

Evelyn Brady is just two months shy of being 93 years old.  She is the mother of my father who passed away 9 years ago.  My grandma is an angel, a true and proper lady and I adore her so much.  She is sharp, witty, engaging and fun.  While her body is slow to get her from place to place, she is always willing to go anywhere, anytime especially if there will be a party when she gets there.  I am quite certain that I get my love of people and parties from her.  Ü

Grandma often shares her stories with me, of the people she knows and the lives they have lived.  She belongs to a “Birthday Club” which is a group of neighborhood women that get together for lunch once a month to celebrate the birthdays of other women in their group.  The most amazing thing about her Birthday Club?  They have been doing this without fail since the 1950’s. 

Grandma tells me stories about how the club supported her with love, meals and friendship when my grandpa was hurt in an accident and couldn’t work for a year.  She has shared about how the group cried together when one of the women lost her home. They have been together through over 50 years of births, job promotions, layoffs, divorces and deaths.  And as the time passes by and as the women grow older the group gets smaller and smaller.  Yet they have stayed together and I believe they will until the days of the Birthday Club end only because all of it’s “sisters” have passed away and all that remains are the remnants of stories left behind for their loved ones to tell.

Through her sharing it became clear to me that every successful group, every lasting close knit community has one person somehow silently designated as the  orchestrator, date setter, space creator, time maker and leader.  And that’s when my role in the PWA community crystallized in my mind.  Group activity can’t be corralled or coerced.  It’s something that will ebb and flow and thrive so long as someone is there taking the lead.  As long as someone is orchestrating opportunities, creating the space and setting aside the time the group will flourish and the friendships will bloom. 

I am just a hub of a wheel so big that it’s spokes reach across the globe to countries and friends all over the world.  Just call me the orchestrator.




  1. Thank you Evelyn Brady, you have taught me something I have been struggling with for a long time about groups and groups of women.
    That is so true Suzanne that there needs to be someone at the helm like a ship and a plane and a house, no matter how much or how little that person inputs its the knowing that there is someone at the helm that keeps the wheel turning.
    thank you for your vision and leadership Suzanne

  2. yep!!! That's who we are----through thick and thin, chatter and quiet--a solid bond of community.

  3. Suzanne
    Thank you for sharing your blog post with me. Its good to define what something IS specifically so that misconceptions and uncertainty are swept away. I've always known that you didn't want a "Suzanne Show" and that Pennywise wasn't that but I'm not sure I knew what Pennywise actually was until now. I'm glad that this truth has been revealed and been spoken. I believe this truth will improve the community that is Pennywise by removing that "What is this all really about?" question from the minds of the women that have never experienced a supportive, emotionally and artistically nourishing community. Congratulations on your discovery.
    Love you.


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