Art begins with relationship

Last November I traveled to Auckland to attend the 2018 Pacific Heritage Arts Fono. What a privilege it was to learn from master artists! So many lessons. I’ve been unpacking those lessons ever since.

The word I kept returning to was relationship. Pacific cultures are community centered, unlike our individualistically driven American culture. Creating art can be so vulnerable, sometimes it’s easier to create from a vacuum, insulated from others.

There was unquestionable value in learning tangible skills from the master artists. But for me, even more valuable was the time spent listening, hearing the stories of others, their struggles and triumphs.

melodie sitting on a bed holding school binders

Finding My Teaching Voice

Why I decided to document my second semester as an adjunct professor at a community college.

3 Tips For When Traveling Sucks

Traveling is like regular life – you have good days and bad. The catch is that a low-level bad day when you’re on the road can escalate into a rotten day because of all the extra factors in play.

These 3 tips are my favorite for shaking a funky day when you’re far from home.

Hikianalia in San Diego

I got the chance to watch the welcoming of Hikianalia, a traditional Polynesian va’a (canoe) when she arrived in San Diego.

This was meant to be a different kind of video but I had an experience. It was magic; I could have stayed on Hikianalia for hours. 🙂 Have you ever had an experience like that? I’d love to hear about in the comments!

heartbeat of pifa

The Heartbeat of PIFA – Pacific Islander Festival San Diego

The power of PIFA San Diego is in the cultural villages! Experiencing the peoples of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia at one massive festival has made a positive impact on my own life. It can do the same for yours – come join us next year!

48 hours in Mendocino county

There’s a particular beauty to the rugged coastline of northern California. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sandy Southern California beaches, but a chilly wind (even in the dead of the July) whipping at your face as you stand on the edge of a tree lined cliff while the pacific ocean swirls violently around the craggy rocks below? It stirs something wild inside you.

It’s exhilarating. I love California a little more with each visit to the north. In fact, I think I need to make this annual July trip because it’s such a nice break from the triple digit heat at home.

super bloom & sunrise

Got up before dawn to catch the end of the super bloom earlier this week. We watched the sun rise over Lake Henshaw and wandered through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The crowds were streaming east by the time we left to pick up a treat from Mom’s Pies in Julian and head home.

In honor of the best person I know

I wrote this piece on June 29. Nine days later, mom had a stroke. She is doing great — amazing, actually. I mention it here as a historical footnote of sorts. The timing of the original writing was…uncanny. Suffice it to say that we are all extra grateful to be celebrating our mom this year!

Today is a special day in the Turori family.

Today we celebrate the birth of the woman who is the glue that holds us together.

If you’ve ever thought of me (or any of my siblings) as a kind or responsible or just decent human, you can thank my mom.

turori-women02

To honor the best person I know, here are five of the best life lessons I have learned from her.

Visual processing

People process difficult situations in different ways. I am mostly a visual processor. When I don’t have words, I photograph. What I can’t verbalize, I write.

I could tell you about spending hours in a bustling Emergency Room, and how unsettling it is to walk off an elevator into a perfectly silent, dimly lit, empty neurology lobby after so much noise. At midnight, no less.

Or, I could show you.

Vanquish your fear, take the risk

Last night I wrote this on my personal Facebook page:

For years I circled my Cook Islands inheritance with trepidation. I was afraid I’d be told I didn’t belong. I let the fear that I’d never measure up hold me back. Maintaining the status quo was easier and less risky than immersion.

I am no longer afraid.

Don’t let the fear of not belonging keep you from something important. Dive in. You’ll be glad you did.

Spirit of Tivaevae: The Documentary is the story of Pacific women and the traditional art they love to practice. It’s also the story of finding a place in world where you thought you didn’t belong.

Will you join us? Together, we’ll tell this story to the world. Details here: bit.ly/tivaevaefilm

A few days ago I did an email interview and the reporter asked if I had made any self-discoveries in the process of developing the doco.

She may have gotten more than she bargained for on that one because three paragraphs later I had to force myself to stop writing and move on to another question.

Making this film has challenged me to my core.