Friday, December 3, 2010

Not On My Watch: The enemy who saved the world

Voices Education Project is about story and tell stories is what I do. It is the story that lends us our humanity. Here is a Playback story for Voices and a thank you for my life to Mr. Petrov...
Read the Story at Voices Education Playback Series:  "Not on My Watch: The Man Who Saved the World

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visual poetry: A New Video

I have discovered a new artistic medium- visual poetry.
This is the new video I produced for Voices Education Project which was a collaborative work with another artist. Enjoy and share!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Way With Words

In 2009 I wrote a case study for George Washington University's School of Business Womens' Studies Program. The case was accepted and I became a founding case author for the "Hot Mamas" program at GWU.

GWU's Women's Business School Program includes "Hot Mamas" and "Cool Daddy's" who are authors and mentors for business students. Their goal is to build the largest case study library in the world and they are well on their way.

They invited me back this year and asked for a new case study and I was pleased to author a new case and to announce the inauguration of the Voices Education Project "Words and Violence" Curriculum that is now available for free at Voices Education Project to schools. That curriculum was a project for the last year and remains a work in progress.

The case study for George Washington University:

"A Way With Words" is available online at:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Barbara's Award Winning Story...

Tickle Monster Therapy won the first place Curtis Brown award for short story in 2008. It now inspires nurses as a front page feature at Scrubs Magazine...

Read Maddie's story at Scrubs Magazine

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bullying Begins with Words

"Where do they get these ideas?"

October is Anti-Bullying Month and I've heard some version of that question repeated over and over in different environments. Adults are shocked and shaken when they find out the magnitude of bullying that takes place in schools, on civic campuses, and in cyberspace. The latest trend is suicide by bullying. A number of young people have taken their own lives because this form of terrorism is so unbearable.

We just lost another youth to suicide here. The person was bullied in school and in her social life and she took her own life because she was discovering herself and her sexuality and found her budding affections were for the same gender. She was called “fag” and teased and “outed” by peers.

This scenario has repeated itself all over the United States and has prompted many professionals, teachers, legal analysts and leaders to develop materials for youth to combat bullying. The materials are coming from reputable sources like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Voices Education Project and accompany a new movement called “It Gets Better” which gives youth a forum and hope that life is better after high school. It is designed to let kids hang on while being battered with words.

Of course the communities are aghast at this trend. Neighborhoods are shocked. Schools and educators and clergy are outraged by this behavior of children terrorizing other children. They are concerned about the predator mentality and cruelty exhibited by youth. They wonder how youth can have developed this aggression and cruelty at such a young age? They are confounded, dumbfounded and are at a loss to understand it. Shock and outrage accompany the trauma and drama of it and prevent a real examination of this trend toward human indifference and lack of empathy for others.

Something really important is being missed in this movement...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Essence is In the EYE of the beholder

Art that is memorable and gets your attention is usually speaking the language of "soul." Soul Speak is a real language and its lexicon is semiotic.

Unforgettable art, not always from the vaults of the masters, employs the semiotics of archetypal images and cross cultural phenomena. Themes that are universal find their way into the stunning works that are then interpreted personally sometimes without the realization that there is a subliminal message and that it just may be universal.

Art is in the eye of the beholder, or is it? Maybe it's the eye of the cosmos- for what is man but a reflection of God or God's way of looking back on itself? The cosmic mirror. Soulspeak art can and often does shatter convention. Its purpose is to awaken, or better yet to startle awake.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

She whispers a silver light on the meadow where the mist rises as I stop and listen intently to the silence. Really listen. Really silent. My feet seem to glide or lightly dance along the dirt road as I wind my way around the garden toward my hermitage ‘Holy Angels.’ I need them. The darkness is friendly and I inhale big gulps of it. The moon is a harsh mistress. She follows, a stealth presence: always there, always silent, always palpable, always Present. She hails to my heart and I turn my back as I choose to ignore her.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Case Notes GWU Women's Studies: When I Am A Grownup I Will Do Something

Case Study: George Washington University Women’s Studies Business Program
Title: When I Am a Grownup I Will Do Something
B. Kaufmann Founding Case Author

When I Am a Grownup I Will Do Something

“She shuddered and pulled the comforter up to her chin where it felt like a little barrier from harm. An illusion, of course, but comforting. Even in winter the drapes stayed open and the lights off. How she loved the night sky. And she found the darkness friendly. The harsh reality of the daylight didn’t lend itself well to dreaming. It seemed important to dream, to wonder at the world, at nature, to gaze at the stars and remember that someone, another child perhaps somewhere in the world, was at this very moment also imagining the future. Was he too, imagining a world of peace? Was she also dreaming of a place where all the humans get along?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raising Voices

Voices Education Project is on a simple mission: to lift up humanity and make the world a better place. They do that via the arts, humanities and social sciences using education, by teaching empathy, with communication that nurtures understandings for positive change between and among peoples of the world. Voices aims to transform how we manage conflict on this planet. They shine a light where more light is needed. And they do it with culture and elegance.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A New Violence and WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction)

An Introduction to the Arsenal:
Yes, I have met the enemy and I can assure you he is us. I wrote about it in the book Looking Back: History through the eyes of those who lived it. I have seen weapons of mass destruction stockpiled for human doom. I have walked through a secret location with a military escort in a place in Siberia where a decommissioning facility was being built, a place that I could never find again and had better not. I have sat in the corner of a restaurant in Russia with an American Commander holding a laptop connected to God-knows-where while he sorted through its data to find some things that had recently been declassified so he could show me; there were some things he couldn't show me. The large shells that held chemical weapons were about my size; the smaller ones that would turn the Super Bowl into a morgue, were about the size of wine bottles. I have stood in assemblies holding two wine bottles and wearing a gas mask in order to make a point.

But now I have identified another kind of violence and even more scary weapon of mass destruction. It was revealed while doing some new research. My advice: be afraid; be very afraid for this weapon is a heat seeking predator. Why is it so dangerous? Because it is 'friendly fire'; it's constructed so as to do the most damage in short bursts; it isn't aimed at an enemy but at one of our own. It's a stealth weapon that can come out of nowhere and take away your life. Yes it could happen to you in your fifteen minutes of fame and your six degrees of separation. What is it?

A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...