Monday, July 30, 2012



HALLELUJAH for SOCIAL MEDIA such as Twitter,, Facebook and Etsy! Hallelujah for being in the world now, a world that provides a network for like-minded SOULS to connect, share, and even support financially each others' endeavors!

PILGRIMS, I ask for your SUPPORT. I have taken on the goal of learning how to MARKET my HALLELUJAH ARTWORK via the INTERNET! Each quarter with the Artist Conference Network (ACN), we declare a 3-month goal, and I have declared  the goal of daily MARKETING through one of the following: Twitter, Facebook (started a Fan page: Hallelujah Truth), Etsy (Hallelujah Truth Schowalter) or my blog, Coffee with Hallelujah. I am a novice at knowing how to sell my work to support my CREATIVE LIFE.

HELP ME by offering TIPS using the social media I listed above. Is it possible to make money in a way that feels mutual and reciprocal of my joyous creative process. Earlier, I had written a blog entry entitled BLOOD FOR ART OR IUOMA, and that is how strongly I feel about a mutuality in the exchange of my ART for a BUYER's MONEY. I could have written an exchange of SOUL for SOUL. That's what I meant.

As part of my daily Coffee with Hallelujah, I want to imagine a way that is possible to support myself as an ARTIST. I am asking the UNIVERSE to join me in my QUEST! I welcome your suggestions, knowledge, experience, technological expertise!

How do I market this book--The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia?

Sunday, July 29, 2012


15 MINUTES OF JOYFULLY CREATING ELABORATED INTO AN ILLUSTRATED BOOK! Being present to myself each morning with my coffee resulted in a wonderful body of work: The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia! Both the hard book copy and the kindle copy are ready for sale, having published it on July 27, 2012! Hallelujah! (photo by Chiboogamoo)

Hallelujah Pilgrims! CREATING for 15 minutes a day over time accumulates a wealth of CREATIVITY! Having COFFEE WITH HALLELUJAH each morning is my time for JOYFULLY drawing, painting, and positively acknowledging that MAGICAL part of MYSELF that resides in the MYSTERY!

DR. RONALD SHAKLEE, MUSICIAN AND WRITER. How fascinating is the world we live in! Although I have never met Professor Ron Shaklee in person, I have collaborated with him to produce The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia!
What happens when you take HALLELUJAH and her morning doses of “coffee” (code word for CREATIVITY) and introduce her to a geography professor, Ron Shaklee, from Youngstown State University who happens to also honor his CREATIVITY by making music and writing fiction? Over time because of our shared concern for the conservation of the natural environment—in this case the Bahamas—we make a book together! Yes, THE MISADVENTURES OF MARIA THE HUTIA!

Today, I want to applaud Professor Shaklee, FELLOW CREATIVE SPIRIT and COLLABORATOR, who this past spring decided to move our collaboration—his story and my 30 images—to so that we could self publish our book! On the last Friday night in the month of July 2012, he and I approved the “proof” copy of the book discussing over Skype (since he lives in Ohio and I live in Georgia). Within minutes, he pushed the button and The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia was officially published on July 27, 2012. HURRAY! HALLELUJAH!
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE! If you want to buy some of my artwork, you can do it by purchasing this book either as a real book or for kindle. 10 percent of the profits go to San Salvador's Living Jewels Foundation.

My message to you DEAR CREATIVE SOULS is this: Give yourself permission to SPEAK THE TRUTH of your SPIRIT, your HEART, your SOUL, whatever you call that AUTHENTICITY that dwells within you. If you practice COFFEE with YOUR HALLELUJAH, you will discover all kinds of things you would have never imagined.

For now, my COFFEE with HALLELUJAH has resulted in the successful publishing of this beautiful book! And much much more in terms of EXPERIENCING the SWEETNESS of a LIFE lived CREATIVELY!

What action will you take today to speak YOUR TRUTH? Soul blog with me at Coffee with Hallelujah!

HOME AT LAST! Maria the Hutia's story is everyone's story! She gets lost, separated from her home and the familiar. She is frightened but manages to succeed on her JOURNEY. Maria learns new things, makes unusual friends and then finds her way home! Ron and I have brought the book HOME AT LAST! We hope you will take the book into your home too! Have fun reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


THE PROFESSIONAL LOOK! As a result of using improvisation with these international students enrolled in an intensive English course before beginning their 2-year MBA course at Emory's Goizueta Business School, they willingly respond to a variety of prompts when posing for a class photo! The prompt for this photo was, "Look Professional"!

HALLELUJAH PILGRIMS for playing with our IMAGINATIONS. And IMPROVISATION is absolutely one of the most FUN and IMAGINATIVE ways to playfully teach English in an international classroom of students who want to increase their fluency in this global business language!

How does IMPROVISATION facilitate language learning? GREAT QUESTION! Let me start my explanation at the beginning of this summer's (2012) Advanced Oral Communication's class at the Goizueta Business School on Emory University's campus! I have the students read out loud to one another and sign the following IMPROVISATION contract (c) by Ruth Schowalter and Lesly Fredman:


 I,  ______________________________________________ , 
(your  full complete name)
agree to take communication risks in this class. These risks may challenge me, and the way I am used to speaking and expressing myself. I understand at times I may be uncomfortable in performing some class activities but that “moving” outside of my “comfort zone” helps me grow and gain new exciting ways to communicate.

I also agree to think of ways to use the skills and activities that we are doing in class in my daily life beyond the doors of Emory’s Goizueta Business School.  I acknowledge that in class, we use exaggerated pronunciation, intonation, and gestures in order to practice and acquire a skill, knowing that my “social acuity” adjusts these behaviors once I leave the classroom. I promise I will be aware of the subtle shifts in my behavior and how I change my speech and body language to be appropriate for the situation.

Very importantly, I agree to observe the 7 Rules of Improv as stated below:

  1. I will always say “yes” to my partner, finding multiple words and phrases to express “yes”. 
  2. I will be myself.  I will use the good idea I have and not wait or search for the great idea. 
  3. I will be present to the scene. I will really listen to what my partner says. I will then say and do what I think in response.  
  4. I will accept what my partner gives me. I won’t reject anything. If my partner says something I don’t like, I will find a way to say what I want without refusing what he/she has offered. 
  5. I will take risks when communicating in this class.  I agree to try things and to fail. I understand that making mistakes are okay. In this way, I learn something new. 
  6. I will strive to make my partner look good. It is my goal to appreciate my classmate and make him/her look smart and fluent. 
  7. I will have fun in this class. I know that when I experience positive emotions, I learn and retain what I have learned.

Finally, I promise myself to learn something from this class that will improve the way I speak English and communicate with people in all arenas of the English speaking world whether it be academic, professional, or social.

______________________          ____________________

signature                                                 date

Immediately following the reading and signing of the contract, I engage the students in implementing one of the most delightful IMPROVISATION rules, that one of saying, "YES!" Saying "YES" is one of the most significant IMPROVISATION tools any IMPROV English language student can use. In addition to the positive atmosphere  that a good resounding "YES" produces, it also keeps the conversation going and going and going--a result close to a MIRACLE for a person who longs to have an opportunity to speak in the target language with native speakers!

HIGH STATUS--LOW STATUS.  Examine the body language here! Can you tell who is high status and who is low status? The students choose roles to play from the handout or create one of their own. The character pairing ranged from ones like manager + employee to sun + moon. During the exercise they had to gradually reverse status, so at the end, they would be using opposite body language from the beginning (see another blog entry of mine that mentions status).  
WHO IS HIGH STATUS HERE? Whenever I can, I have the students stand up and speak. I believe that repeated standing up and using the entire body increases confidence and builds skills using the entire body. Notice the students in the background holding onto their papers. I also encourage students to put down their handouts in order to gesture more freely and to make better eye contact. Often students hold onto papers for security.
HAVING FUN! Improvisation enables to students to have fun, a positive emotion that enhances learning. Here the students are playing "status" between a cat and dog! Notice the use of body language! 

As an aside, I might disclose that when the students begin the course with this IMPROVISATION "YES" exercise, they immediately develop the inclination to say "YES" as frequently and as loudly as they can during the rest of our classroom time together! Because they know how affirming it is for everyone! "YES" indeedy!

Then, once having established the RULES of IMPROVISATION with the student contract and the first "YES" exercise, students willingly "jump in" to improvisation exercises each day. They have been given a powerful recipe for language learning from the RULES of IMPROVISATION--the permission to do the following:

Take risks
Make mistakes
Have fun

In addition to these RULES of IMPROVISATION creating an environment where students can experiment with expressing themselves and try out "new" ways of speaking the English language, they practice a way of "connecting" positively with others. They get to experience communicating successfully--even when speaking English imperfectly and having breakdowns in understanding! IMPROVISATION exercises create opportunities for language learners to express opinions, play experts, answer questions, experiment with status and to negotiate misunderstandings! Best of all? Students find these engagements with one another stimulating and meaningful!

Let me conclude this blog with the way improvisation exercises in the Advanced Oral Communications class impacted the other class I taught them--giving presentations! 
HAVING FUN GIVING THE TEAM PROJECT PRESENTATION. The intensive language program for this international portion of Emory's MBA class of  2014 concluded with presentations of case analyses that they did in teams. As you can see here, this is TEAM GOOGLE. They decided to wear jackets for two reasons: 1) To remind them to use "professional" English as opposed to "informal" spoken English. 2) To let the jacket serve as an imaginary device allowing them to speak using their "American" persona! Isn't their display of intellectual prowess grand and fun? This kind of easeful fun is the culmination of practicing IMPROVISATION daily.
EXUDING CONFIDENCE AND STYLE. Improvisation activities teaches students how to step into another way of being so that they can succeed in whatever they endeavor--or at least have fun negotiating meaning. This Starbucks Team rocks! Notice they chose to dress in Starbucks colors.

Every language teacher knows that when language is used meaningfully, students have incentive to learn and use it. Three additional  RULES of IMPROVISATION from the student contract above are about creating a positive exchange with another person:

Listen and respond to what another person is saying
Receive what another person gives you conversationally
Make that other person successful

These rules are useful tools for working together in a team! Don't you think! A resounding YES! That's Coffee with Hallelujah! Let me know what you think about using the RULES OF IMPROVISATION in your classroom and life!


  • First of all, I acknowledge the students in the 2014 MBA Goizueta class who made teaching IMPROVISATION ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE a pleasurable, meaningful, and worthwhile experience this summer! And the first IMPROV ESL class that I taught at Georgia Tech's Language Institute and blogged about here: International Watermelon Pirates.

HURRAY! THE LAST CLASS. After the last presentation, I asked the students in Section B (we had two groups) to pose for a series of photos. This photo shows evidence of improvisation work. For the warm-up before presentations, I had had the class do some physical exercises, one of which  you can witness here--the laughing lion exercise from laughter yoga. For this exercise, you open your mouth wide and laugh and you put your hands out like a fierce lion! See the right student in back row. Wow!

  • Then I must certainly acknowledge the 2005 professional conference of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in San Antonio, Texas, where I was first introduced to the idea of using IMPROVISATION in an ESL classroom, and more specifically learned the "YES" exercise. 
  • And many thanks go to my IMPROVISATION teacher Lesly Fredman, who I began taking IMPROVISATION classes from in 2008 and then who I developed an intensive ESL IMPROV course with in the spring of 2012 at the Language Institute of Georgia Tech. 
  • It is from Patricia Ryan Madson's book, Improv Wisdom, that I got sound understanding of the rules of improvisation. 
  • The idea of making a contract came from Julia Cameron's The Artist Way. At the beginning of her book, we all sign a contract to ourself to write every morning (the morning pages) and to give ourselves "an artist's date" once a week. The three different times I did the The Artist's Way, signing the contract deepened my commitment to the process I was endeavoring to be a part of!
  • My acknowledgements wouldn't be complete without mentioning my fellow improver, Alice Teeter, and her poem, "Say Yes," from her book, When It Happens to You. Read it if you are looking for inspiration to say YES. Saying YES really makes a difference! It is FUN, and it takes you deeper into your LIFE (See my blog entry on saying yes!).

VERY GOOD, VERY GOOD, YEAH. A refrain I use in class with students is "Very good. Very good. Yeah." It is something I use to bring activities to an end and get everybody together as we clap our hands together twice and then raise them up in the signing you see above. Thanks to Jean Woodall, the woman who certified me as a Laughing Yoga Leader.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


HALE WOODRUFF, AMERICAN ARTIST 1900-1980 (from Georgia Encyclopedia)
Hallelujah for the INDIVIDUAL! Each and every one of us possesses CREATIVITY and has a STORY that is UNIQUE to tell.  Sometimes an individual comes along who has the capacity to express his/her STORY and SOCIETY'S too! This is the case of American artist HALE WOODRUFF, who lived 80 years from 1900 to 1980, and told less well-known or publicized stories of the U.S. SOCIETY beautifully and dramatically in his 50 years of painting.
UPRISING OR RISING UP? In 1939, Hale Woodruff was commissioned by Talladega College in Alabama to paint murals for its library. What resulted were two trilogies. The first trilogy being comprised of these three events (1) the 1839 mutiny of Africans on the ship Amistad, then (2) the courtroom trial that followed and concluded (3) in favor of the "captured" Africans and gave them the "rights" to return to their country of origin. This image is taken from the first mural that depicted the mutiny. The second trilogy is explained later in this blog.

Hallelujah for MUSEUMS, and specifically for my hometown's HIGH MUSEUM here in Atlanta, Georgia, which  currently has on exhibit six of HALE WOODRUFF's powerful murals depicting an aspect of African-American life I had not previously seen. As a European-American, I often see only images that reflect and re-enforce my own ethnicity. Hence, my great appreciation for PUBLIC SPACES that engage me and my similar neighbors in expanding the realms of our consciousness.

Below, I respond to the High Museum exhibit entitled "Rising Up: Hale Woodruff's Murals at Talladega College."

There are the early works showing how HALE WOODRUFF developed his painterly skills and crafted his story-telling abilities, which included travels to France and Mexico. If I understand correctly, HALE WOODRUFF, even as a young artist, had a social consciousness and painted with those concerns in mind--being a minority in a country that restricted his social and political rights. When he was born in 1900, the United States was segregated, and African Americans couldn't vote despite the Fifteenth Amendment passed in 1870 granting African-American men the right to do so. Many lived in desperate poverty without a chance for quality education that would advance them economically, and there was always the imminent threat of being harmed or lynched. 

DOCUMENTING JIM CROW DISCRIMINATION.  This 1944 painting expresses Hale Woodruff's response to poverty experienced by African Americans in Mississippi.
PICKING COTTON.  Painted in 1936, Hale Woodruff documents a way of life for many African American citizens.
MOREHOUSE COLLEGE. Painted by Hale Woodruff in the early 1940's,  this painting of Morehouse College, an African American Atlanta college established in 1867, two years after the Civil War, speaks of the artist's interest and involvement in and support of higher education for African Americans.
STRANGE FRUIT.  Hale Woodruff documented in his art the violent executions of African Americans that were frighteningly common and frequent in the United States. This 1935 linocut was submitted to a show in New York themed on the lynching of US African American citizens.  (I saw an incredibly painful and disturbing exhibit at the MLK Center on this topic in 2002--Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America). (This image here is an altered portion of the original linocut, by Hallelujah Truth) 
A SENSE OF AFRICAN HERITAGE.  A theme that Hale Woodruff returned to time and time again was imagery from Africa. He was influenced by the "Dean" of the Harlem Renaissance, philosopher Alain Locke (1885-1954), who encouraged African-Americans to look to their country of origin for inspiration and images.

FRENCH INFLUENCED PAINTING. Hale Woodruff studied painting in Paris from 1927 to 1931 and was influenced by Picasso and other modernists painting at that time.
MEXICAN INFLUENCED.  Knowledgable of Diego Rivera's large socio-political murals, Hale Woodruff went to Mexico to learn from him. It is with Rivera, that he developed his art of telling a story in his paintings, and on a very large scale!


It is a momentous occasion that Hale Woodruff's six murals are on exhibit at the High Museum and that they will go on a nation-wide tour after leaving our Atlanta museum. It is the first time for these paintings to leave the walls of the Savery Library on the campus of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama, where they have hung since their commission in 1939, the centennial of the mutiny on the Amistad.

IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC VIEWING  ART FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES: To heal from the horrors that have occurred in the past, I believe we need to keep talking. Visual art provides us with a way to have a dialogue about past and present injustices. I am uncomfortable with any act of violence. This painting really disturbs me, yet I understand how important it is to all of us to see it publicly. For this image to have found a vastly wider and diverse audience outside its home in the library of a small college in Alabama is profound! As a white-skinned person, I have had the good fortune to be able to explore the importance of Hale Woodruff's exhibit, "Rising Up," with a black-skinned friend, Spencer Moon, who has also blogged about his response to these paintings.
JUSTICE FOR AFRICANS IN THE UNITED STATES IN 1839! This second painting in the Amistad trilogy shows the courtroom where the mutineers were put on trial.The Africans who had mutinied on the Amistad justly won their freedom since the importation of slaves into the United States had been prohibited since 1808. Just think the Civil War was fought between 1861-1865, some 20 years later!  
RETURNING TO AFRICA. The third image, which completes the Amistad trilogy, shows the Africans, having victoriously proven their freedom, leaving the United States  on a ship and returning to their native country. 
The second trilogy of Hale Woodruff's murals are just as powerful and beautiful as the Amistad paintings and expressed on a similar triumphant note. They depict the advancement of African Americans towards freedom--the underground railroad, going to college, and building the Savery Library, which is on the campus of Talladega College and where these murals have been housed since 1939.

FREEDOM THROUGH THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. This portion of the first painting in the second trilogy of Hale Woodruff's paintings on exhibit at the High Museum, evokes two emotions: hope and fear. Hope for those African Americans getting support to escape to free states (foreground) and fear for those being hunted down by dogs (background left).
HOW MUCH DOES AN EDUCATION COST?  In this image, Hale Woodruff depicts African Americans paying for college tuition by any means that they had, including agricultural products. Look at the size and complexity of this colorful mural ( I am providing scale)! All of the murals are the same proportion as this one). After the murals were taken down from the walls of Savery Library and before they were exhibited at the High Museum, they were restored to their original brightness from more than 70 years ago. Photo by Chiboogamoo
FROM PHYSICAL FREEDOM TO INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM! As educator, I delighted in this third painting in the second trilogy.  To think of students wanting to learn so much they construct the building that houses the very  knowledge they want to consume! I appreciate the thematic journey Hale Woodruff takes me through by the time I conclude my 6-painting journey with him.  As a viewer, I went from the African's mutiny on the Amistad, the courtroom where justice prevailed for them, to the escape to freedom for enslaved African Americans to their freedom to get a higher education--from physical freedom to intellectual freedom!
NATIVE FORMS. This image is at Clark Atlanta University, where Hale Woodruff was an instructor for 15 years. It is one of six 11-foot panels that he painted on the theme "Art of the Negro." This image was taken from Georgia's PBA site.

Once again, I proclaim HALLELUJAH for TRUTH! Hallelujah for the artists and story tellers in our communities. Hallelujah for Hale Woodruff and the work he created and gave to the world! Hallelujah for the High Museum who restored and exhibited this work!

Hale Woodruff's work has challenged me to understand my relationship to JUSTICE and RACE. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." We have to transcend the barriers established by any kind of difference whether it be race, nationality, religion, culture, gender, age, etc.... We are ALL HUMAN BEINGS. We have the responsibility to help one another and to strive for FREEDOM for everyone.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Sincere thanks to Spencer Moon, author, educator and film-maker, who spent close to an hour skyping with me to discuss my responses to the High Museum's exhibit of Hale Woodruff's Talladega murals. He referred to a quote from a recent New York Times that said in the Southeastern part of the United States, repercussions of the Civil War are still being felt. He ought to know! We Southerners are still working out and struggling with issues of black and white. Coincidentally, I had just read Spencer's memoir, Reel Talk, in which he mentions Hale Woodruff and his murals on page 2! In fact, Spencer was born in Talladega, Alabama, but grew up in Detroit and then spent almost 30 years in San Francisco before returning to the South, where in now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. I appreciate his passion to discuss meaningful issues and how he helps me go deeper into my own understanding.

On a related topic of ART, STORY TELLING and RACE, read the blog I wrote about Daniel Boyd, an Australian Aboriginal artist, transforming stories told in art of the British colonists who invaded Australia: 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


AT THE DOOR OF PLAY (Art by Hallelujah)
Dear PILGRIMS, I am thinking about PLAYFULNESS as a practice for BEING. On Saturday night, July 7th, 2012, my Chiboogamoo and I witnessed a masterful musician PLAY on the stage at Balzer Theatre in Atlanta.

Klimchak, both a composer and performer, moved on the stage from instrument to instrument in a way that one might stroll in the park, find a flower and smell it, and then toss a rock in the pond to see it skip along the surface. This Atlanta artist has made it his goal to relax on PLAY and BE PRESENT to his CREATIVITY.

Observe Klimchak in this video I took of him performing his water-themed composition.

After the performance, I commented on my fascination with his ease and comfort on the stage and how that aspect of his work entertained me as much as the music he CREATED. Klimchak smiled and quickly affirmed that being relaxed and PLAYFUL on the stage was something he had strived for!

Yes PILGRIMS, I am smiling at the thought of WORKING AT PLAY! Yes, let's play today and again tomorrow in speaking the language of our SOULS. I recognized something about my own creative process as I watched Klimchak pick up an instrument, play it, put it down, and move to the next instrument. At one point, he excused himself from the stage to wash his hands, so he could make guacamole for the after-performance party. He returned to use chopping knives as  percussion instruments! LOVELY! PLAYFUL!

I, too, strive to PLAYFULLY create, leaning into my HEART. Listening, I take dictation with my pen and craft images that inevitably surprise me, speak to me, and move me forward or stir my BEING.

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! PILGRIMS, how will you PLAY today? Share your play with me by soul blogging! 

INVERTED HALLELUJAH AT THE DOOR OF PLAY. Playing is sometimes a butterfly that I chase. I run to the door and pause at the threshold. The butterfly goes through, but I stop. I am present to my creative process...and I repeat the words: Not Good. Not Bad. Just Is. This drawing was the focus of my play two mornings in a row. I struggled with the bird, my pen moving awkwardly, creating lines I was not intending. What is a pilgrim to do? I continue to walk the path of mystery. Always aiming to play, some times EFFORTING, and essentially BEING ME!

Sunday, July 8, 2012



Why do you stay inside, when the door is so wide open? --Rumi

A DOOR FOR US. (All art by Hallelujah Truth)

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

From Essential Rumi

Hallellujah for doorways, for crossing thresholds and uttering prayers of gratitude for passages--for BEING in one's life! 

Mark Nepo writes in The Book of Awakening, " I find I must not suppress my full nature, or my life doesn't emerge." He urges us to open up as we tend the stories of our lives. If we want to experience the MYSTERY, we need to BE OPEN! For me, I visualize Mark Nepo's "open" as a door--a useful metaphor to understand transitions from one state of BEING to another.


How wonderful that we go through doors every day many times! For now, each time I cross a threshold, I practice BEING OPEN. BEING PRESENT. I figure that day by day, week by week, and month by month, that I will know more about the MYSTERY OF BEING OPEN.

YES! To walk through the door PILGRIMS, we don't have to be perfect or leave everything behind. Instead, snakelike, I can shed a skin and slither through! Or jump, crawl, dance...whatever way I move, I move towards BEING more AWAKE to MYSELF. May the same be for you!

HALLELUJAH! A DOOR FOR US! Join me and we shall go through the door, leaving what we can behind!

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: I lovingly acknowledge Edna Shipp for the inspiration that her "Door" series provided me in the drawing of one of my very own doors. Thank you Miss Shipp for the mystery in your door images! (Visit her blog (Shipp on Art) to see what I mean!)