I’m surrounded by such beautiful, creative people, and I just love sort of sharing their stories and their journeys – Solange Knowles
When difficult times find us, it is refreshing to find inspiration in the midst of it. One addition to our daily routine during “social distancing” has been my attendance at the morning convocation of The Northfield School of the Liberal Arts, where my husband serves on faculty.
Since moving to an online platform with the rest of the American school system, this daily school event now resides in my home via Zoom meetings. At first, I simply wanted to show solidarity. But I am finding “ah ha” moments in this space leading to a personal enriching I had not expected.
Morning Convocation at Northfield serves as a gathering point setting the tone for the day. There is the usual roll-call, announcements and reciting of the school values and motto. But then, there are speakers.
In normal times, these are generally done in person, but since the move to zoom, speakers have prepared videos for the students. This has led me to some wonderfully enriching discoveries of creative people who originated here in Wichita, KS.
Each shared candid thoughts of these times, how they are adjusting and what they are doing to maximize this season. From here in Wichita, to Los Angeles and New York, it has been inspiring to hear and share in their stories.
The first zoom convocation guest was Jeanine Hathaway currently Professor emerita at Wichita State University, having taught creative writing and literature there. She was a poetry mentor in Seattle Pacific University’s MFA Program.
Hathaway is the author of the autobiographical novel Motherhouse (1992), the 2001 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize-winning The Self as Constellation (2002), and a chapbook, The Ex-Nun Poems (2011). Her new collection of poetry, Long After Lauds, was recently published by Slant Books. She lives in Wichita, Kansas. Her personalized talk wove the concept of touch through sound, as a way we can stay connected in this times. It is stunning!
David is an actor best known for his role as Detective Ronnie Gardocki on the crime drama The Shield. He has also had recurring roles on The Unit, Party of Five, S.W.A.T., and Silicon Valley. He has guest starred on such shows as Hawthorne, Numb3rs, Lie to Me, Sons of Anarchy, Last Resort, Criminal Minds, and Leverage. Snell also co-starred in the Hallmark TV movie Desolation Canyon.
He attended the University of Kansas as a theatre major working on stage before becoming involved in TV work. Snell is also a voice actor, who has appeared in such short films as P1 and Draw the Pirate. He also had speaking roles in a number of video games including Need for Speed: Undercover and Call of Duty 2 Big Red One.
Jason Bailey is a film critic and editor-at-large for Flavorwire and a contributor to The New York Times and The Playlist. A graduate of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, he is the author of four books. He is currently writing his fifth: Fun City Cinema: New York City and the Movies That Made It.
His byline has appeared at Vulture, Vice, The Atlantic, Slate, Indiewire, Gothamist, Rolling Stone, Uproxx, Pajiba, The Dissolve, Salon, Hyperallergic, and The Village Voice, among others; he also appeared in the CNN documentary miniseries The Movies. He lives in New York with his wife, Rebekah, and their two daughters.
Creative People From Nearby
Jason and David both are graduates of North High, Wichita, KS located a few blocks from Maison Steinbuchel, our home. Although not there at the same time, I wonder what teacher planted these seeds of creativity in these two men?
All three of these wonderfully creative and accomplished folks are products of this fine city. Wichita, is not flashy, but it is cosmopolitan. It is a place that spawns creativity in the arts, sciences and business. It is a seedbed of entrepreneurial-ism.
The Northfield School is a small but mighty community that exists not only to dispense information, but to plant and nurture seeds of knowledge in a multi-dimensional way. Even in this online season, that continues and I am blessed to partake of its bounty.
What unexpected discoveries have you found during this time? Please share in the comments below!