Welcome to the first issue of SEE!

Two years ago, I listened quietly as Emily described her idea for a magazine that would explore social issues by spotlighting artists and organizations that try to make a difference. (Emily claims that I ‘gasped and became quite animated,’ and anyone who knows me would find that a more characteristic response. However, my version builds more dramatic tension.)

But, I had trouble sleeping that night (hard to sleep when you’re animated) and I called Emily the following morning and offered to help.

I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Book Arts, along with a substantial number of creative writing credits, but I work as a Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired. I love my work and believe that I have made a positive difference in modest ways, but I miss being engaged in the creative process. I especially miss creative collaboration. Emily’s magazine idea offered a way for me to bring these driving passions together.

The staff and clients at SAAVI (Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired) welcomed us into their lives with open hearts and amazing generosity—even though they weren’t quite sure what we were doing. (And, as a matter of fact, neither were we.) In the spring of 2013, Emily and I realized that we were at risk of brainstorming possibilities for many more months without actually getting started. So, we dove in and trusted we could make it happen.

Thank you to the courageous staff and clients at SAAVI. Thank you to Rembrandt Quiballo and Dave Wright for helping us make this idea a reality through technology.

Thank you Emily for inviting me in to your wonderful idea.

Collaboration, when it works, is magical.

Comments (4)

  1. Emily:
    Nov 24, 2014 at 07:59 PM

    That it is. We invite viewers to comment on anything they've learned from the site and to give suggestions.

  2. Sherry Theobald:
    Nov 27, 2014 at 01:26 AM

    Nice job colleen!

  3. Cindy Weir:
    Apr 30, 2015 at 12:52 AM

    Seeing is believing … or is believing “seeing” – a truly creative act?

    Hello S.E.E. ~ Society ~ Environment ~ Etcetera,

    To see, to investigate or inquire
    To perceive meaning with the mind
    To comprehend, understand
    To think over a given matter, reflect

    Yes these are the kinds of things that zoom around inside my mind day and night! Hi, I’m Cindy, a songwriter here in Phoenix, Arizona.

    About a year ago the universe connected me with Emily Matyas and Colleen Oakes, through a collective of artists known as “The C12 Collective” – I was invited to participate in the group to work on an exhibit on Emotional Intelligence. The experience has been priceless and I’m so excited to continue working with such amazing beings!! There is much more to say on this, but let’s save it for another day and “focus” for the moment on the notion of seeing without “eyesight”. I think about this a great deal and I write about it even more—lyrics like, “Eyes don’t see, Look with the mind” -- “Close my eyes and try to take in the sights” -- “Broken wide open I’m blind, but I feel”, just to name a few. In search of my deepest feelings, I look inside and writing has set me on a wonderful journey within, to investigate, reveal, and sometimes even understand.

    It’s hard work to just feel and believe without seeing, but THAT is creating … and this made me think about SEE and the great work Emily and Colleen are doing with this magazine. It was such an honor to play some original music for the opening reception of the magazine and I loved the videos Colleen and Emily made, “blindfolded”. Visually impaired people are creating everyday, in amazing ways, without limitations. So I thought about this and while rehearsing a song about not knowing, not being able to see, I decided to push my own limits. Performing for me is scary, it makes me nervous to have people “looking” at me and I’ve been doing some work on this. “Fake it till you Make it” doesn’t work for me, my goal is honesty and authenticity-so if I feel like I’m faking, I’m done for! But what if I could go to a place where I was blind to the eyes upon me. That is how I write .. I connect with how I feel .. I close my eyes ... I get still ... and I go inside. Maybe that is the best way to perform . . . BLIND.

    So first try was closing my eyes during, but I cheated...I'd make excuses .. again concerned with the external product, but that is NOT the point ... so I blindfolded myself. Emily and Colleens’ videos inspired me to record my rehearsal – what a huge value! By focusing on the ability to go into a "feeling space" when that sense of “eyesight” is removed ... and connect with the emotion I want to share as opposed to what I might be fearing and feeling, to let that go and be open and OK being "blind" to what is outside of me in order the connect with the emotion of the song, and connect emotionally to the audience what is inside of me?

    Attached is a song about just that and the feeling of fear, uncertainty, destruction, groping for understanding...but ultimately growth, change and moving closer to potential.....

    Here is the link to view the video ( https://youtu.be/YY1AdAN8FN0 ) and listen to the recorded song ( http://www.reverbnation.com/cindyweirsongblossommusic/song/23422075-broken-wide-open-like-a-seed ).

    Many thanks for this opportunity to learn and grow and share!!

    Very sincerely,

    Cindy Weir, Creator ~Song Blossom LLC

  4. Emily Matyas:
    May 21, 2015 at 07:35 PM

    Thank you Cindy, for your insights and inspirations!

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