I met my first Catholic at age seven, my first African American at twelve, my first lesbian at seventeen, and my first Jew at nineteen. I mark these moments by age, each embodying a complex story etched in memory.
I taught vacation Bible School, boxed potato chips for Frito Lay, renovated old houses with at risk high school boys, brought Art-in-the-Park to lower income neighborhoods, was photographer for the Texas State Senators, spun records with Cuban refugees.
My friends started to die of AIDS, I traveled to Mexico, worked on a Kibbutz, hitchhiked across Greece, hung out with second wave feminists, marched on Washington.
Our neighbor Chuck was paraplegic, our friend Barbara had Down’s Syndrome, and my aunt’s best friend Dorothy stuttered severely, my dad signed to the local deaf man.
I am working class pulled-up-by-my-bootstraps middle class professional, made more money at 35 than my father made at retirement. I produced video installation art as it was blossoming into an identifiable category. I have worked with lens-based media and digital technologies for 30 years.
Secretly, I sometimes feel I am the most interesting person I know.
Personal experience is a powerful starting point for recognizing and identifying our membership within or exclusion from cultural categories. Each moment of individual history embodies a complex story and every retelling offers a chance to examine and to reconsider the significance and meaning of lived experience. I base my life’s work on these principles.