“The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie” press & pics

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Emotion Literacy Advocates (ELA) has had many exciting developments since we produced The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie, including a sequence of bookings on sixteen cinema screens,  an award SeattleArts_logo_bwfrom the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in support of a four-month Washington state tour and an in-kind contribution of services from Deluxe in Los Angeles which means we were able to provide 35mm prints to each partnering movie house!

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ELA’s private viewing on cinema screen to test Deluxe print from Los Angeles
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“The Ducks’ & Us Songbook Movie” an official selection at the festival.

According to Still Hope Productions founder John F. Williams, fellow film-maker and festival attendee, The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie was the festival darling inspiring laughter and a large amount of applause.

Let’s hear it for our participating ducks, humans and our contributing artists:

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Timothy Piggee sings the part of “Lou.”
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Teresa Clark sings the part of “Claire.”

 

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Elizabeth Williams portraying “Kate.”
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The Northwest Boychoir and conductor Ben Kromholtz en route to KUOW studios to record for “The Ducks & Us Song.” (“The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie” soundtrack)
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Art Institute of Seattle interns: (left to right) Catherine McConnell, Reese Kindle, Haley Karnes, Nikki Nopens. Our multi-media makers: illustration, animation, video in synch with song!
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A welcomed review for ELA’s collaborative learning tool!
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“The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie” plays in perpetuity for related events at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, one of the largest museums of natural history in the world.

The latest ELA news flash:

The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie can now be found at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Film Archive!

More info can be found right here on this blog about The Academy Archive & ELA’s new relationship along with the newsy flow of events for this musical movie learning tool here.

“The Ducks & Us Song” testimonials

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Did you know that the deceptively simple act of “feeding” the birds actually hurts the birds and their habitat?

“The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie” began as “The Ducks & Us Song,” a musical learning tool with a study guide, integrated into environmental learning programs in Seattle.

To read about the trajectory of this  learning tool project, some, if not all, related events can be found in our ELA News (page 3)!

Here are comments we received from those who engaged with the  pre-animated song:

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feeding and being true to his namesake

What a fascinating project and such a new take on an old issue. I’ve seen all kinds of tactics attempted: flyers, brochures, signs, but never a song! I really appreciate the effort you’ve made on such an awful issue. The song was dead on with so many aspects of the problem…really a great job!

—Michele Goodman
Webbed Foot Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic

(Goodman’s quoted in AP article on duck feeding damage called “angel wing.“)

This is an interesting project that helps get the message out in a different way about why it’s not okay to feed ducks and geese. Most people are not aware of the problems associated with this common activity occurring in many of our parks and other waterfowl use areas.
—Don Kraege, Waterfowl Section Manager, WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

This song reminds me of many songs I listened to and sang as a young child and the fact that I still remember those songs and have fond memories of singing them speaks to the power of singing as a learning tool for young children. I think that the questions are very appropriate and I especially like the attention to the belief systems and personal motivations that are informing each character’s decision.
—Liz Silvestrini, Education Coordinator, Sustainable Seattle

I am really impressed! You call this a song but I think it’s more like a one-act operetta—it’s a whole story that covers a lot of ground. You brought up issues in a way that allows people to make their own decisions.
—Belinda Chin, Education Supervisor, Seattle Parks and Recreation

The Ducks and Us learning tool connects the arts, youth, and ecology in an innovative and exciting way to bring an important message about the devastating affects that ‘people’ food can have on our bird population. It would be great if this awesome song became a ‘standard’ song kids grow up singing…
—Heidi Narte, Senior Gardener, SE District Seattle Parks and Recreation

I listened to the song. How fun and such a smart way to approach the problem.
—Valerie Easton
 (See Easton’s article in Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine, 6/22/08:“Serve meals to the wild things and risk trouble of all kinds.”)

As I rove and contact the public at Carkeek, Magnuson, Golden Gardens, and Meadowbrook Ponds, I encounter Chases and Claires all the time. The Ducks & Us is sensitive to people needs and emotional ties to nature and clearly addresses the sensitivities of behavior change for urban humans.
—Brian Gay, Naturalist, Seattle Parks and Recreation

“Saving the World Solo” commentary

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Ms. Sackett’s second of three books of rhythmic prose, a humorous, poignant memoir, a pithy, earnest vision for the future

Author Puts Emotions in Motion
Have you ever had a feeling you couldn’t put into words — some roiling emotion begging for expression? Has fear ever kept you silent? You might be interested to hear from Pamela Sackett, the Seattle author, playwright and artist who will be reading from her new memoir, “Saving the World Solo” at The Elliott Bay Book Co.

Sackett is involved with a group called Emotion Literacy Advocates, using her words in compelling fashion — to entertain and teach about the essential role language plays in relationship to feelings and behavior in schools, on stages and beyond.
—Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2004

Excerpt from Saving the World Solo book introduction

…as a lover of language, I was awed by (Pamela’s) ability to manipulate and revel in words—to play with their multilayered meanings and their rhythm, to make them completely her own tools to express precise perceptions and nuanced tones of feeling. But beyond the word-dance, it was the content of the pieces that held me transfixed: Pamela Sackett was expressing the meta-mental and emotional process of the Strong Idealist who is burdened with a legacy of personal self-doubt and fear, living in a world that is structured at so many levels to foster and maintain that self-doubt and fear…

…Pamela demonstrated great vulnerability and sincere bravery as she wove pieces of her life story around her conviction to reach for personal and planetary emotional health, in the midst of navigating her own deep wounds, and ours. I wondered how many other people in the audience felt like she was telling their stories out loud, articulating their own idealism and self-limitation.

I know I did. Having dedicated my life to “accountability,” at all levels, working as a professional activist and as a personal activist, examining and rooting out my own patterns of limitation that interfere with my ability to be my strongest, most liberated self, Pamela’s words were like a mirror reflecting my own greatest hopes and darkest secrets.

It became immediately clear to me that Pamela’s richly textured work was just that—her work, her calling, her reason for being on this earth. To use language to bear witness to where we are locked up as a society and as individuals, and to do so by using herself as the primary specimen under the microscope. In doing so, she gives us several gifts.

First, the gift of naming and shaping our greatest potential: the freedom to be emotionally authentic.

Second, the gift of exposing the greatest obstacle to that freedom: our fear of vulnerability in being emotionally authentic, and the lengths we will go, because of that fear, to avoid our own authenticity and freedom.

Finally, she shows us a path to our greatest potential: to examine the fear and learn the forms it takes; to then listen to the still voice inside that is already authentic and free; and to amplify that voice by sharing it…


—Dana Gold continues to work with the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and served as director of the Center on Corporations, Law & Society at Seattle University School of Law

Pamela uses everyday language in a vital and innovative way…high quality stuff, redefining the human.
—Rich Reha, gallery owner

I had the privilege of hearing Pamela’s performance and enjoyed it enormously. She displays subtle humor effectively with an originality that made her message most meaningful. I confidently recommend this program.
—Bob Wilson, former Rotary District Governor

Pamela is a gifted stream of consciousness writer—a creative catalyst replete with screaming clarity!
—Joanne Wright, board advisor, Women Business Owners

I attended this event because I thought/hoped Pamela would have a paradigm-breaking use of words … she did. She is amazing, touching, honest, funny, but yet beyond and deeper than my own words are saying here … timing, voice, deep, funny both ‘ha-ha’ and deeply real … I could listen and be awakened by her for hours, days…
—Jordana P. Smith, Portland, Oregon

 For book excerpts, testimonials & info.

“Speak of the Ghost” testimonials

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FOR THE LOVE OF FEELINGS…

Speak of the Ghost: In the Name of Emotion Literacy is a series of seventy-eight finely detailed narrative poems and a comprehensive introduction. The book’s primary intent is to support individuals moving through family of origin issues by providing witness, prompts for stages of the journey, insight and encouragement.

A work of creative non-fiction, the book also serves group facilitators working in therapeutic and educational settings.

Speak of the Ghost fan letter excerpt

Hello Ms. Sackett…your name was entirely new to me…when I sampled some paragraphs from your book, I was quickly struck by the directness of expression, the clarity of detail and tone, the sense that you are reporting on real defeats, struggles and victories; the complementarity of inside and outside, of personal and social; the sharp challenges, the shocks of recognizing accustomed and perverted priorities; the both visceral and conceptual responses; the voices of self, selves, and self-alienation; the radical changes of recovery, the sweetness of healing and self-integration; and other content and characteristics I am still struggling to name. Most important, the conviction that they all are fruits of a hard-won knowledge and integrity.

Such an integrity is part of my goal also.

I was stunned. The book quickly became necessary (one of my conditions of purchase), and it captivated me for several hours…

…I look forward to learning more about your methods of using language as a tool for recovery. And even without understanding your methods, your work is encouraging. Hurrah! Thanks…
—Anonymous

Reader Comments

Take a look at Pamela’s book and you will find everyone on trial, caught and transformed. I loved those poems.
—Arnold Mindell, Ph.D. author of The Leader as Martial Artist

Pamela’s words and feelings are mine. She went into that place in me where they had been hidden for so long and gave permission for them to finally come out. Her work is a gift to me because it gives so much permission and validation.
—Bayla Greenspoon, early childhood educator, teacher on 
anti-bias, multicultural issues

This book is a primer for the reality of emotion, makes it tangible. Reaches the part of me that sees without my eyes—-my whole being—-every cell of my body has eyes when Pamela speaks.
—Taylor Danard, M.A. Psychotherapist

It’s loaded!
—Marjorie Cogan, recovering stage manager

…tapped my losses from childhood forgotten, that men don’t talk about in our culture…tapped somewhere in me, untied a knot in me long buried.
—Barry Schiess, landscape artist

Her collection of poems and writings contain strong emotion, clear insight and models ways for each reader to emulate as we fight clear of the hurts of the past.
—Earl Rice, Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, Seattle

Your words went directly to my emotional body. As I listened to you, I heard the truth of my own story, uttered with such passion and wit. My body literally tingled. I felt shivers as the wave of realization rippled through me. Thank you for putting words to my experiences. I feel more deeply empowered to utter my own story now.
—Elliott Bay Book Company reading audience member

What an absolute pleasure. Your language drew me in, made me ponder. I thank you for that. Several of your pieces are meant for several of my clients, and me, and my husband!
—Seattle Counselors Association member

Having also been born into a family where emotional repression was the key to survival, I was quite moved by many of your pieces. I was also very heartened by the commonalty of experience and the hope, willingness and insistence on active change towards emotion literacy. As a researcher in domestic violence and as a survivor, I wholeheartedly recognize and acknowledge the need, and thank you for your courage.
—Mary Kernic, epidemiologist in training

Your book has been an unspeakable asset to both myself and my best friend who is in the midst of recovery…
—Seattle University psychology student

It helped me to re-establish the importance of my writing and among many other things, being a witness to children.
—Anonymous

LOOKING BACK…

Like every offspring, Speak of the Ghost came with its own set of gifts and demands. Mere minutes after an east coast truck delivered the finished book to my door, I received a call from Kevin Krycka, Seattle University’s (then) graduate psychology program director letting me know he elected to put the book on a required reading list and integrate my live, dramatic presentations into three psychology curricula.

Placing such a personal work into such a public format heightened my sense of risk and fear of scrutiny, punctuating the essence of why I needed to write the book in the first place–to retrieve my own sense of authority and to exercise my ability to stand by it, no matter how this work might be publicly perceived.

Engaging in that struggle through the writing and delivering of Ghost influenced my direction, personally, as an artist, forever, and seeded the founding of Emotion Literacy Advocates.


I am grateful to all those who let me know they appreciate the chance I continue to take, years hence, with comparatively microscopic hesitation.
—Pamela Sackett 

Learn more about “Speak of the Ghost” here.

“Booing Death” testimonials

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Photos by Jeff Rogers

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In Booing Death, Pamela manages to find tender humor in this subject that is too often not even spoken about. It creates an opening that I find very refreshing. As a drama therapist and teacher of emerging therapists I have utilized several essays and poems from Booing Death to help students focus on the various issues included in grief. We have found that her way of ‘getting in the corners’ of those issues inspires embodied activities that are central to our healing art.
—Bobbi Kidder, MA, RDT/BCT 

In reading your book, Booing Death, I am reminded of my husband’s passing over eight years ago. When he died, I received at least twenty-five books about grief. They were either delivered to me at my door or mailed. Also there were recommended readings via phone or email. All from our dear friends. Yet, not a one spoke to me. I admit I didn’t feel an urge to pick one up. I am positive that if I’d received Booing Death eight years ago, I would have been curious,
drawn to open it.

I have found it necessary to consciously stop, put your writings aside, and be still. This is so I can have a moment to relish each experience you describe, each intimate poetic brilliancy you have willingly shared, with me—yes, your work is so very personal—and in part, a replica of my own story. I read your riveting awarenesses over and over, Ms. Sackett, for when I do, it appears as if I am reading a profound page all anew.

With gratitude beyond words, thank you.
—Rebecca Love, M.A.

… beautiful, gut wrenching and comforting all put together!
—Julie Daniels, actress, writer, M.F.A.

I keep reading Booing Death...an absolute postmodern classic!
—David Wilson, writer

—Pre-publication reader comments

An uncompromising work of absolute emotional authenticity.

It’s not a self-help book (thank goodness); it doesn’t offer solutions (what solutions are there?), but after reading it I felt neither depressed nor fearful. I felt uplifted in a quiet way; I’d been made more aware of connections to other people.

This book is incredible, a salve and a bridge, takes me places I need to go!

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Post-performance book-signing
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Q & A @ Elliott Bay

Fall semester of 2013, Christina Roux, language arts teacher at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, decided to make Booing Death her honors credit “Book Seminar” course selection. Nineteen students finished the course which included the purchase and reading of the book, attending one of Pamela’s author events in Seattle, journaling, responding to the study guide for Booing Death and discussing the material together in the class that Pamela was invited to visit.

Here are a few student comments about Booing Death:

I decided to sign up for (the course) because (death) is a topic that is not very common in literature, especially when discussed so candidly and up front… and because of the death of my mom’s parents. It really affected our family and I was interested to hear other points of view on death.

…death is never really talked about in a relatable way but in Booing Death it was very understandable.

[I chose Booing Death] because I have had a family member pass away and I was curious how other people dealt with the same pain…because I have an interest in short stories and poems. I like to write them so I figured this would be a great opportunity to learn.

I found the cover of the book intriguing and I wanted to learn what it meant…I lost a friend last June and thought this book might give me more insight to the idea of death…so cleverly written…so relatable…this poem put all my thoughts into writing and made it easier to organize my ideas about this…the book really helped me…”Half Green” moved me quite a bit.

I didn’t really think much of this line when I first saw it but I re-read the poem…made me wonder why I didn’t get that clarity in my own life.

I found the poems “Encore”, “Fixed” and “What If” really opened up my emotions and made me realize what exactly I was feeling and thinking about after a grieving loss.

Before I thought death was a very strict and dangerous topic to talk about…I then realized because I was afraid of thinking about death is part of the reason why I feel that death is such a hard thing to overcome.

[“Where The Sun Won’t Shine”] was particularly significant to me because it made me think about life more than death.

…words described exactly how I have felt before…at the time, I was at a loss of words to explain but the author surely wraps up the right words to form a very well-said sentence…the author yet again explains how I (and she) feel perfectly…summed it up for me…evocative of my own life…led me to think in a new way about death, loss, grief and emotions/feelings…gave me a more peaceful image…gave me a different perspective.

…opened doors for me to understand grief…made me understand death on a deeper level…

No one in my life has died but I have experienced friends disappearing out of my life…

…each stanza was so different and so beautiful… (reference to “Almighty Cul-De-Sac”)

—student names withheld

Learn more about “Booing Death” here.