Category Archives: New

ALL ARTISTS ARE ENTREPRENEURS

As part of an all day arts education festival, organized by Dr. Emma Kell, I was honored to give a live presentation titled: ALL ARTISTS ARE ENTREPRENEURS, on Saturday, April 24, 2021. To follow is that presentation, focus for it, and background information.

Thank you, Emma and All – in gratitude.

Aspire Power of the Arts | Connecting Bucks Schools

Silence and Solitude – Life Lessons

I learned to sit, in silence and solitude, at the end of my street, on Narragansett Bay, looking out and way, when I was young and questioned everything.

When the world was too much with me, I went to that place.

As I celebrated more birthdays I went less and less; and, finally, moved away to begin another part of my life.

Recently, I visited that street, again. I walked to the end of the street and looked out. The place I used to sit is no longer there. Nevertheless, I can bring it all back, as if it was the day before yesterday.

It’s come to my attentions that sitting in silence and solitude is, frequently, questioned, invaded and/or under suspicion in this society. Some folks just have to come up to you, say anything, and break that embrace of peace in which you were sitting. I don’t know why.

The long life lessons I learned as a young girl, sitting for hours sometimes, were to feel, with my entire spirit, to listen with an acutely tuned ear to the patterns of life and nature; and, most important, to stay open and be patient. I did not know then (only learned years later), I would come into the writing life and what lessons I already knew about feeling, listening, staying open, and patience.

I still question everything. I still create and/or find places where I can sit, in silence and solitude, and look out and away.

Where and how did you learn your life lessons?

Stay safe. Take care of yourself and each other.

In gratitude,

~ Jessan

photo credit: Jessan Dunn Otis (c) 2021

The World Needs You

The world needs you today.

Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others. Be gentle with all things, great and small. Be gentle with Mother Earth.

In addition, be fierce in your passions.

Those two things – gentle and fierce – may appear a contradiction. They are not.

The world needs your gentle ferocity.

Do what you were meant to do.

Photo credit: Jessan Dunn Otis, Writer

Sunday, April 4, 2021

As the first bird is heard, the half Worm Moon continues to head West, and the sun rises, again, in the East, I celebrate each hand or eye that ever loved me.

There are invisible blessings, if one can hear and see and feel and remember.

In gratitude,

~ Jessan

“Remember this day forever.” DJT, January 6, 2021

“If one does not shine a light on hate, fear, prejudice, bullying, intimidation, abuse, bigotry and all of that ilk, one is culpable for allowing those to continue, as a metastasized cancer.”

Posted and pinned to my Twitter profile on February 13, 2021.

What say you, please?

~ Jessan

To the women who sing – written by Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer

This is dedicated to the women who sing.

This has been a long time coming. I’ve composed and re-composed this piece for years as I would sit, in silence; or, when doing mundane things.

Music has been in my life for as long as I can remember. First, there were lullabys, sung by my mother, Helen Smith Dunn. As I grew, when she sang in church and I was rib-high, her rich contralto vibrated against my ear.

Eventually, I learned to play the violin. After days and years of practice, I became the second violin in the Rhode Island State Youth Orchestra. In addition, I joined the chorus in junior and senior high school. I have my mother’s deep, rich contralto voice. I’m forever grateful for that.

There are many women who sing and I know and love their songs. You may know them, too. These women who sing have voices that rise up, challenge, comfort, give solace, as only the human voice can do. Gracias a la vida.

Then, there are the women who sing because of how they live, how they give of themselves over and over again. They are the neighborhood community leaders, the mothers (even if they have no children of their own), the Aunties, the elders (Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers). They are our friends. These are the women who laugh together, dance together, love together, share together, support each other. I have had and continue to have such profoundly beautiful and strong women in my life. I’m forever grateful for that.

There are the women about whom history refers to as “Anon.” (Anonymous). Often, these women are cited in writings that have come to us through hundreds of years of human history. Their names are forgotten or have been erased. But, what they’re attributed to contributing to our shared human history survives. I’m forever grateful for that.

I’ve, often, dropped to my knees as I came to learn and understand how women have survived – actually survived and endured – for eons. Women have been raped, killed, beaten, mutilated, emotionally abused, spiritually tortured, denigrated (publicly and privately), referred to as sluts, whores, pussies, dykes, mother fuckers and more. What we do to each other out of fear and hate and bullying.

Finally, to all the women who believe you have no voice – you do. Your empowerment is the fact that you are a woman. Through you, through me comes the next generation. What’s more powerful than that?

To all the girls who are becoming women, do not be afraid. Explore. Challenge. Think. Create. Don’t take “No, you can’t.” as a satisfactory response to anything. Listen to your heart. Find and follow your path. I’ll tell you, right now, it won’t be easy. Life isn’t, always, easy. But, you have one life to live – live it.

*Dedicated in Gratitude, Love and Memory to my mother, Helen Smith Dunn (1912-1980); and to my sisters – Barbara Dunn Blossom, Tacy Dunn San Antonio and Genevieve Dunn (1955-2013).

Wednesday Prayer ~ June 3, 2020 ~ by Jessan Dunn Otis, Writer

“Begin each day with gratitude – for your life, for the sun, for the rain, for your breath.

Begin each day with love – for your life, for the sun, for the rain, for your breath, for yourself, for each other.” @JessanDunnOtis 6.3.2020 (c)

Fear and hope in the time of a global pandemic

In these times of profound uncertainty, there’s an undercurrent of two parallel emotions.

The first emotion is fear: fear of catching and dying from COVID19; fear of not working; fear of homeschooling your children; fear of increased domestic violence; fear of sliding into suicide; and more.

The second emotion is hope: hope that you’re doing all you need to do not to succumb to the coronavirus; hope that your spouse, relative, friend, or acquaintance will survive this virus; hope that, when a vaccine is found, you’ll still have a job to go back to; hope that this tragic, global pandemic nightmare will end sooner rather than later.

Fears are stories we tell ourselves. Hope lives in the heart. Which one do you nurture?

Please, stay safe. Carry on.

~ Jessan

Open Letter/4/

Preamble to The Constitution for the United States of America

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Dear Reader,

Prior to the last election, I was appalled and dumbfounded by the individual who rose up and, eventually, became the candidate. Subsequently, this individual assumed the role of the 45th President of the United States.

I was (and continue to be) appalled and dumbfounded because he appealed to the basest of human emotions – fear, greed, prejudice, hate, bullying, and immoral economics.

He juiced his base over and over again with these tactics. He still does.

He threw out red herrings to distract and detract. He still does. It works.

He continues to take no responsibility for what his words and policies provoke. He’s opened Pandora’s Box of biliousness, throwing our country into a time of toxic leadership, that permeates each crack and crevice of living. It’s as if the blindness of party loyalty and party line continues to support the putrid stench his administration has released.

Is this our “perfect Union”? There is very little, if any, “domestic Tranquility” these days; and, it’s becoming less so as I write.

The “Blessings of Liberty” are for all the people, not a few. “We the People…” means everyone – regardless of party, religion, color, sex and/or sexual orientation, national origin, and/or race.

This is my last “Open Letter” regarding this administration. I thought “Open Letter /3/” was it. However, the abominations have become so atrocious and heinous that I’m compelled to write one last time. I do not condone, nor can I sit silent and allow this administration’s activities to continue without speaking up again.

I have one request, Dear Reader, and that is that before you cast your ballot in 2020, you step away from all the noise, find a quiet place and go deep into your conscience. No matter what side you’re on, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you deeply, honestly and truly believe that the current administration has earned another four (4) years in office?
  • Are their values your values?
  • Is this an administration that holds true to the spirit of
    the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America?
  • Imagine what America could be with another four (4) years under this administration?

As you think about these questions, consider whether your responses are rooted in morality or economics.

Sincerely,

Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer
Labor Day, 2019