thoughts & musings

How the Hard Questions Make for the Best Conversation

Hi there,

This is Fia & to tell you the truth, I didn't expect to write this, but we got so many responses to the last email we sent out about Women Rising that it seemed like a good time...

Thank you to all of you who wrote back. It means a lot to us that you're in this with us & feel comfortable enough to voice your thoughts, cares & concerns… 

Even though we wrote back to each one of you personally, it made sense to make our answers public so you can all read it if you'd like. We think it ends up being not so much about how we do business as how we choose to respond to a world so deeply divided about so many things...

So, let's jump right to it...

Your Concern:

A few of you questioned & even warned us against following the #metoo trend, in our support of women & lack of verbal support of men who may be wrongly accused.

Our Response: 

To be clear as possible on this one, here's where we stand: we believe deeply in the importance of equality & the freedom to use your voice in a way that may be heard & respectfully considered, no matter the circumstances. When even one person feels a fear of speaking her or his truth, it weakens all of us. True strength is never found at the expense of another...

For over 20 years, I taught young artists in the theatre how to use their voice to tell other people’s stories with heart, conviction and clarity. So, after all that time, it makes sense that I developed a well-trained ear. As I move about my day, I hear women of all ages speak in what I'd diagnose as something other than their authentic voices. Too loud, too soft, inarticulate, or pitched too high or low for what, in my field, is called “optimum pitch” – the area most true, efficient & free, based on your own unique physiological structure.

Of course, I hear men squish their voices or press them loudly at listeners, too – but it’s mainly women that catch my ear because it’s more prevalent. Intelligent, mature women who have integrity & something to offer, making themselves smaller than they are because that feels like a solution. 

There is a deep divide in this country and we feel that it’s an invitation to listen with care & an open heart. But empathy without action does not offer any solutions. Actions & words, inaction & silence of each & every one of us creates & defines our culture as well as our contribution to the global community. 

Flying Edna is a place where everyone is welcome. That doesn't always mean we're going to agree. We will not squish our artistic response to what is happening in the world in order to make you feel more comfortable, and we will not ask you to squish your opinions. In this way, we will always welcome a lively & productive conversation. Because, in the end, it's going to take all of us to get to a new place together... 

Your Concern: 

That our last email was taking advantage of a difficult time in this country to simply sell more work. 

Our Response:

I can see how our recent email may have looked as if we were taking advantage of this difficult time to sell something... 

Just for the record, that's never our intention if, or when, we respond to an event with our voices and our art. 

Again, we find it helps to think of it as a conversation. We recognize that what we do, what we offer to the world, is not crucial to existence – it's not food, shelter, water & healthcare. However, we also understand the weight of words, the power of inspiration, & that when you do have a voice that others listen to, it's important to use it. 

For years Brian has been sending out the free Story of the Day & innumerable posts on Instagram to thousands of people who do not regularly purchase any of his work. It's not fair exchange (a good comparison would be like listening to NPR, but never calling in during fundraising) but it's something we think is important all the same. Because it means that his work is available to you when you need it & not just when you have the budget to afford it...

In a way, when you do buy one of his beautiful pieces, or his books, you are directly helping a stranger somewhere in the world (& yes, there are people all over the world who follow his work) to get his words instantly when they most need them. Because we have countless letters from people about how often a story of his has come  when you've lost hope, or been grieving, or dealing with loss & it's made all the difference...

So, the real message in our last email was self-care, finding the talismans in your life that remind you to reach out to others in this time of chaos. There are so many ways to do that: inviting a friend for coffee, or baking chocolate chip cookies for an older neighbor, or telling a story to a wide-eyed child. But we also know that for some, talismans may come in the form of something more tangible - and what's special about the frameable calendars is that Brian took his inspiration for the faces from women around the world. So, it did feel appropriate that IF folks were looking for some inspiration in this chaotic time, this might be a nice reminder. 

That's all. 

No big push, no sale, no manipulation - simply an offer. It seemed a larger mistake to NOT use our voices in this moment.

Again though, I understand how our email might have been read in a different way. I'd ask you to get to know us a bit better - the 3 of us at Flying Edna & our dogs. It's just not our style to take advantage of a tragic event or a chaotic time. But you can count on this, that if we feel something we do may offer some peace, lightness, or encourage acts of kindness, we WILL speak up. 

This said, your concern is a reminder to us that it's our responsibility to present our cyber-presence in a way that is accurate to who we are. 

Yes, that was a lot. So, thank you...

We appreciate your letters & your willingness to have more conversations, not only with us, but with the people around you. So we'd like to offer you a 10% coupon to use between now & the end of October on any card, print, or book here at Flying Edna.

The coupon is really simple. Just type in speakup18 at checkout & our system will automatically take off the 10%,...

Consider it a small thank you for the conversations right now that really matter...

Until next, with love, 
Fia  

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