Freestyle by Al Letson

Who Will Cry for Angela?

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Who Will Cry for Angela?

“Soft-hearted people can’t work with kids like that.” She’s right. A dear friend of mine said that to me today when I told her this story.
On the first day of summer camp Angie was having problems.

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Deep Breaths

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Deep Breaths

When you have a writer/performer/artist born into your family, or you get married to, or you’re the child of, you don’t sign up for being fodder for their writing: it not something you think about . . . you just want that relationship with them, or in some cases you’re stuck with that relationship. You don’t ask for the world to hear about your ups and downs, your most private and painful moments; but as an artist, that’s what we do.

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Back to the Future

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Back to the Future

Long before I started working on ‟State of the Re:Union‟ (SOTRU), poet Sekou Sundiata told me, “One of the biggest issues in America is the country’s collective amnesia.” Our ability to forget whatever didn’t work in the narrative of these United States.

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A Good Goodbye

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A Good Goodbye

On April 20th 2015, the Peabody Awards committee announced that “State of the Re:Union” won a Peabody for its fourth season. On that same day, “State of the Re:Union” released its final season. The irony of winning such a big award on the same day the last series is released is not lost on me. But irony reeks of bitterness, and instead I choose gratitude. It was a tough decision to end the show, it took me almost half a year to wrap my head around it. It’s taken even longer for me to be able to write about it.

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To Dan

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To Dan

January 20, 2015 at 11:42 a.m.

Today, I learned a good friend of mine passed away. He’d struggled with depression for a long time, and I guess it became too much to bear. He committed suicide yesterday, and his family and friends are devastated. Normally I wouldn’t post this sort of thing here: It’s personal. But mental health is a huge problem that we as a country have yet to deal with. If you are hurting, please, please reach out. I know it’s hard, but reach out. If you know someone who is hurting, as hard as it is, get them help. Please. It’s a matter of life or death.

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The New Truth

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The New Truth

In the wake of 2014, America finds itself on the precipice of change . . . or not. The blood is still fresh, whether it be from the wounds of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice or the police officers in New York City. Make no mistake, there is blood on the leaves. I’ve been reading about and watching all the protests happening across the country, and I keep asking myself, “How did we get here?” But the truth is, we never left.

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A Love Song for My Mother.

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A Love Song for My Mother.

My mom will tell you I never write about her. I’ve got poems, plays and stories about other family members, but nothing like that about her.

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Bravery

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Bravery

One of my favorite conversation starters is to ask people, “What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?” Over the years I’ve gotten some amazing answers, everything from running into a burning building, to saving a Chihuahua from drowning in a large fish tank (it was brave ‘cause he hated that little dog). What I’ve learned is that bravery is an individual thing. It’s a person pushing up against his or her own fear to do something, no matter how big or small. Asking this question of other people has also helped me define my own story of bravery. It helped me understand who I was and what I was willing to do, specifically for the people I love. I was comfortable with that for years. Until recently.

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Notes from the road

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Notes from the road

This year in July, I find myself staring up at the night sky in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I don’t know how it happens, but every year for “State of the Re:Union,” during July or August for the past four years I’ve been in the Southwest, usually outside of Tucson, bordering the Sonoran desert. Something keeps bringing me back.

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