Last night I had the opportunity to see the great Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner perform their poetry performance Flying Words.
It was fantastic. But of course it was, that almost goes without saying.
The room was packed with members of the Deaf community, interpreters, interpreting students, ASL students and their families. It was literally standing room only.
As the program began and Peter and Kenny were introduced my heart leapt to see that the interpreter was one of my former students, now graduated, certified and working as an interpreter at a local college. She was poised and confident and I could not have been more proud.
I looked around the room and saw many of my students, current and former, filling the audience. As I looked at each of them I remembered the laugher and tears I had with each one. Struggles and breakthroughs. Frustrations and insights.
But most of all I could see love. So much love. For each other, for the language, for the community. I am proud of each and everyone of them.
If I am to be remembered for anything let it be for them.
Now. Don’t think that I’m saying I made these interpreters what they are today. I just helped them to find the path and refined the edges.
There is a, possibly apocryphal, story about Michelangelo where someone asked him how he carved an angel from a block of marble and he replied:
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo
I’m not trying to aggrandize myself by saying I am comparable to one of the greatest artist in history. I am simply saying that we talk about him today because he saw the angel and set it free.
I looked at that room full of angels; those who are free and those still finding their wings and I smiled and thought, “if someday, at the end of my time here on this planet, I look back to see what I’ve left in the world for future generations and I see this room full of angels then even when I’m gone I will truly live forever in peace.”
Thank you Peter and Kenny. It was a wonderful show!
Years ago, while I worked for a fledgling ITP at a local community college, I noticed a strange phenomena. Many of the students seemed sad. I mean really sad. A lot and daily.
They didn’t start out this way.
The entering cohorts were almost always happy and excited. But, as each semester passed these bright young student interpreters grew more and more cynical, angry, hypercritical of their own work and resistant to feedback.
They started their homework videos with an apology and ended their homework by saying something like, “ugh, I really struggled with that one,” even when their work was objectively great.
I started calling this the, “pre-apology” and “post-justification.”
I railed against it in my classes.
Now, I will admit, I was young and I was still learning how to mentor students, so for a while I wondered why the profession attracted so many people with such serious depression. Were we all broken people (well, maybe, but that is a Note for another day. Grin)?
Then, one day, I was sitting with a particularly promising student (who went on to become a particularly fantastic interpreter) getting ready to start a one-on-one review of her interpretation of a text and she suddenly burst into tears.
Like I said, I was young and this was a new experience for me and I had no idea what to do. So I did the only thing I could think of…
I shut up and waited.
After a minute or so the student pulled herself together and said, “ok, ok I think I’m ready to be judged now.”
That threw me.
“I’m not judging you,” I stammered, “I’m grading you. There is a difference.”
She smiled through her tears and said, “maybe for you, but just once I would like a teacher to look at my work and say ‘this is really well done’ and then not give me a list of things I did wrong!”
That really threw me.
“Your work is good,” I assured her, “it boarders in excellent, constantly. What makes you feel like we (the instructors) don’t think it is?”
“The only thing all of you ever tell me is this error or that error,” she answered, “it gets to wearing on you, you know? Knowing you never do anything right.”
The problem is I had to admit I didn’t know. I had never been an ITP student like she was. Well, kind of, but not really.
When I was 15-years-old I went to a party and I met a girl who was cute and Deaf. I became an ASL groupie. I followed her around and started to learn to sign so I could date her (I think we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend for most of one day… Looking back I was less of a boyfriend and more of a “puppy” who followed her around and was excited at each new ASL “trick” she taught me). We are each of us very happily married to someone else and so that relationship is long gone, but the ASL stayed (I’m happy to say our friendship has endured though. Hi Heather!).
Through Heather I met several other Deaf kids my own age (shout out to Kimo!) and started to hang out with them. Each of them taught me, not through structured lessons, but through friendship and everyday interactions.
After high-school I went on a two year mission through my church. My calling was specifically to speak ASL. Missionaries serve in pairs and many of my companions were (and still are-shout out to Jason) Deaf. Again, I learned each day, but it happened organically, because I loved each of them and wanted to speak to them.
It was in Indiana that I met, for the first time, a Deaf person who did not care if I understood them or not. This person was not rude or mean-it was just not their job to hold my hand and pat my head.
What had been for me “a really super fun and neat thing to do” was this person’s life and precious culture.
It was… let’s call it an enlightening moment.
I realized that every person who is Deaf I had met thus far had been SOOOOO nice to me and it must have been irritating at times for them to pet the puppy.
By that point I was already interpreting on a regular basis and had been for years for friends and mission companions. The situations I had been in probably deserved a ton of feedback but at that time everyone was just happy I had all my fingers and a willing attitude, so they just smiled and gave me the thumbs up.
It was a hard enlightenment. That was also the day I started to study ASL, instead of play with it.
So back to the talented ITP student who felt she did nothing right. I wasn’t sure what to say to her.
I knew I should have something profound and comforting, I had only the beginnings of an understanding of the psychology of being an ITP teacher and almost none of the actual experience of being an student.
Someone once told me you should never try to learn algebra from someone who has never struggled with algebra, because they say things like, “so obviously you…” and it’s NEVER obvious! That’s why you are trying to learn it!
As I sat with this student I realized that, although I had struggled, I had not struggled with the same things with which she was struggling. I had come by my skills little by little over many more years than she was being allotted… and without the chance of a failing grade.
I also realized how often I both literally and figuratively said, “so it’s obvious that…” to students.
That day I stumbled on the concepts of the Error Trap and Feedback Depression.
Interpreting does not happen on the hands, it happens in the head. It is a mental process with a physical product. We can see the product but never the process. That’s why we have interpreting Models, like Cokely’s Sociolinguistic Model or Colonomus’ Integrated Model of Interpreting or even my own Relative Time Model of Processing. These Models help us follow the process of interpreting as it occurs in the locked box of our skulls where we can’t see it.
We take what comes off the hands or out of the mouth (the product) and walk it back through a combination of these interpreting Models in order to identify deviations from the established cognitive steps of the interpreting process (separating them from manifestations that are purely physical deviations from the accepted forms of Sign production) in order to improve the end product (the interpretation).
These Models give us a roadmap to evaluate the product of interpretation in order to determine if it is more successful or less successful, but this only helps if we have a way to discuss the deviations we identify in the product.
We tend to call these deviations “Errors.”
It would be if interpreting was purely a science measurable by a formula (hint: it’s not called the Cokely Sociolinguistic “Formula” of Interpreting).
The reason these measuring tools are called “Models” is that interpreting is equal parts science and art. A dynamic and ever changing process like communication is subject to emotion, creativity, sarcasm, jargon, the introduction of new ideas that must be discussed, evolving Norms and Mores and countless other forces that constantly push and pull and twist the process.
Communication is messy.
It is always messy.
Language is built on words (written, spoken or Signed) organized into accepted structures. Communication is the manipulation of these organized structures with the intent of creating a shared meaning.
Years ago when I was spending a summer at the National Theatre of the Deaf in Chester CT someone asked a senior member of the company, Andy Vasnick, how you evaluate if a person is “fluent” in ASL. I will never forget his answer.
“Fluency,” he said, “is measured in the ability to use a Sign incorrectly on purpose to make a point and everyone knows why you did it and no one feels the need to correct you.”
And there it is.
The meaning one intends is not always found within the accepted structures of language as they exist and so to get the meaning you want you must often deviate from the accepted Norms.
In the strictest sense these deviations are Errors because they exist outside the parameters set as a baseline in the literature.
If the deviation is intentional and accomplished the communicative goal for which it was intended then it may very well be an Error but it is not a mistake.
If it does not accomplish the intended communicative goal it’s a mistake.
If shared understanding occurs by reason of a deviation, but it was produced unintentionally, it is a mistake (yes you read that right. Even if it works it’s wrong if you did it by accident because you can’t replicate it).
So it is possible, and even beneficial for something that is and Error to be the correct choice.
In other words, “you can use a Sign incorrectly on purpose to make a point and everyone knows why you did it and no one feels the need to correct you.”
There is a vast difference between an “Error” and a mistake.
The belief that Errors and mistakes are one and the same is the Error Trap, which leads to Feedback Depression.
A mash-up of real conversations with directors, artistic directors, casting directors and stage managers of theaters and production companies both large and small:
Theatre/Production Company: We have an interesting issue and we’d like your advice.
Uncle Dale: Ok.
T/PC: We just had auditions for [Insert the name of a production, famous or new] and a girl who is hearing-impaired auditioned.
T/PC: Excuse me?
UD: Deaf, not hearing-impaired. You can say Deaf. You should say Deaf. It’s alright, she knows she’s Deaf.
T/PC: Riiight. But I’m trying to be, you know, culturally sensitive.
UD: Then say Deaf.
T/PC: That doesn’t feel comfortable to me.
UD: Do you say Negro?
UD: Then say Deaf.
T/PC: What? Really?
UD: Yes. Go on to the issue.
T/PC: Well this, um, Deaf? Heh. DEAF girl was, fantastic! Her audition was transformative!
UD: Ok. Waiting for the “issue.”
T/PC: We are not sure what to do.
UD: Cast her?
T/PC: But the character is not written as Deaf. We are not sure how to square casting her with the fact that the script and original story don’t say she is Deaf.
UD: Is there any thing that says she is not Deaf?
UD: Issue resolved. Glad I could help.
(Gave info on finding a good Deaf consultant)
Hi. Uncle Dale here.
It’s been a while since I gave you a skill development tool. This one requires supplies, but it’s worth it.
Listen to the text below:
My class thought so (apparently, I am “mean” even though I let them play with toys… wait for it, I’ll explain).
I will admit the point was to shake them up a little… but in a good way, a kind and loving boot to the brain, tap you lightly with a sledge-hammer kind of way.
Before you decide that you really just don’t like me, let me tell you a secret.
If you understand one term, just one single key word, in this text, you can use that as the anchor to simplify the whole meaning, by seeing how all the pieces attach to that key concept and fit together physically. If you start from that key term, then in your head you can work through the meaning of rest of the text.
In other words, by using space properly and according to its linguistic function in ASL you can, on the fly, connect things you don’t understand to things you do understand and voila! You understand it all.
If! And only if, you understand the key term.
For the text above the term is: “Fields.”
If you understand what the term “Fields” means in the context of this computer program then you can visualize everything that proceeds from the core concept of “Fields.” If you can visualize it, and then put it in its proper space, its meaning will become clear to you as you use the space in the linguistically appropraite manner for ASL.
Let me say that again.
If you use space in the correct way it will help you analyze the meaning of the information you are processing even if it sound too complex to comprehend.
In the case of the text above you just have to see in your head how software programs like this work, as if they existed in and occupied space in the real world. The easiest way to teach yourself to do that involves Arts and Crafts.
And it all starts with the key to understanding your starting place; “Fields.”
“NO, WAIT,” you cry, “I ABSOLUTELY DON’T ‘GOT IT!'”
Ok, calm down. let me back up.
First, relax. I know that showing up at an appointment where they say, “ok, were going to train you on the new accounting software today…” makes you want to yell, “I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ACCOUNTING OR ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS! I SMELL TOAST!” and collapse to the floor.
But before you abandon all hope let me give you some persective.
They did not say, “today we are going to discuss accounting programs,” They said, “today we’re training on the new program.”
That means there is an old program.
That means there is a strong possibility that your Client is already familiar with computerized accounting programs generally because they used the “old program.” At least more familiar than you are. Never underestimate the benefit of a client who knows more about the topic than you do. It covers a multitude of sins.
Second, you know what accounting means so you have the bare minimum of a schema, and that is all you need here.
So let’s get back to “Fields.”
In computer programs “Fields” are places where you put variable values of information in order to complete a sequence.
In other words they are the blank places you type stuff into in order to tell the computer to do something with the words or numbers you typed.
Think of a Google search.
The place on the Google search page you type the words “Does this look infected to you” before you push the “search” button? That is a “Field.”
Once you have typed, “what’s a good place to eat on a second date” or “what is Uncle Dale smoking” into the “Field” and pushed “search” (or I’m Feeling Lucky if you’re a reckless adventurer) the information you typed into the “Field” tells Google to do something; go out to the web and fetch things with words that match this stuff I just typed in this box.
So, how does that possibly help you analyze for meaning?
Although software programs are just ones and zeros, if you, the interpreter, can see the software’s functions in your mind as physical locations, occupying a three-dimensional landscape (think of the movie TRON if that helps), then you can organize all that seemingly complex jumble of data points into usable locations within your own interpreting space.
Once you’ve done that then it’s just a matter of referring to the objects that you have appropriately placed within your signing space to establish what Carol Patrie calls, “relationships” (logical, temporal, and physical).
Relationships show the order of, or connections between, the landmarks you established within the three-dimensional “computer program space” you created. You got this!
You will eventually want to do this in your head. But it is easier to start out by doing in real space.
Ok. So here is a little exercise help you take it out of your head, put it in real space, so you can put it back in your head.
In order to play along at home you will need the following:
A good sized long table;
Two wire framed office baskets;
Three different colors of string, yarn or tape:
A set of large post-notes;
A set of small post-it notes (at least three different colors); and,
Here is how you play:
Before there was Direct or Private messaging there was text and before that e-mail and before that faxes and before that intra-office mail and before that pneumatic tubes.
Pneumatic tubes? Think of the drive-up window at a bank, or an old movie. You put the stuff in the tube and seal it (papers, money, pens… that kind of thing). Each tube in this case goes not only to a different room in the office, but to the desks of specific people. One set of tubes connects to every desk, another only to select persons.
We could use text or email for the visual but pneumatic tunes are easier to visualize and, let’s be honest, sort of steam punk and fun.
So, pneumatic tubes.
Imagine a room in an office building with the where the pneumatic tubes start.
At one end of the table in front of you place the wire “in/out” baskets, side by side. Using the 3×5 cards and a sharpie (marker) label both baskets “Payroll Fields” and label one Flat Rate and the other Calculated Rate.
At various places on the table place 3×5 with Employee 1, Employee 2, Employee 3… up-to at most Employee 6. It’s easiest if you tape them down.
Now take the different colors of string or tape. Using one color of tape or string for each in/out basket connect each in/out basket to All Employees and using different colors of tape or string connect each in/out basket to Some Employees.
These are the pneumatic tubes. Some things put in the in/out basket will be sent to all the employees and somethings will only be sent to select individual employees.
These baskets are “Fields.” Some of the things you put in the “Fields” will be attached to all employees and some of the things you put in the basket will connect to only some employees.
Using tape make a square on the table around both in/out baskets. Label that square “employee defaults window.”
Ok ready, replay the audio above (For some reason when I imbedded this the captions don’t work-hearing interpreters and CDI’s should do this exercise together until I can post a transcript) and see if what you have on the table helps you follow the narrative more clearly.
Now every detail you need is not here yet. But I have given you the start. For example:
You will eventually need two 3×5 card labeled “maintain employees and sales reps” at the place where all the “pneumatic tube” hook to the in/out baskets.
When you get to the payroll taxes you will need two 3×5 cards, one labeled State Tax and one labeled Federal Tax. Where do these formulae live? In the wire in/out basket market Calculated Rate.
Oh oh we have a problem. What if we subscribe to the Peachtree Tax Update Service? Where does that live? Take a 3×5 card and write Peachtree Tax Update Service and place it… somewhere else. It does not live in the software program-you get it from the Peachtree server. Set the 3×5 card somewhere and then, using your tape or string connect it to the Calculated Rate basket on the opposite side from the “pneumatic tubes” to remind yourself that this is coming in from the outside.
If you get really ambitious you can write Peach-tree Maintained on the tape or make a label for the string coming into the back of the Calculated Rate in/out basket.
Now the text above. Anything you put in the in/out baskets travels along the string or tape (pneumatic tubes) to impact the paychecks of the employees at the other end–some will impact all employees and some will only be sent out to select employees.
If this all seems confusing or too much, that is because you are reading this Note and not actually doing the arts and crafts project.
Do the project.
It will freak you out just a little how much more you understand if you see this all existing in actual physical space.
The use of physical space is a component of ASL grammar, but correctly applied it is also a functional analysis tool.
I make students draw pictures, play with dolls and Fisher-Price Little Town sets and a whole host of other physical exercises so they can visualize Physical, Temporal and Logical Relationships.
If you are just starting out or if you have 25 years under your belt, try coupling your practice with an arts and crafts project like this.
You will be amazed at how much it helps you understand if you are willing to take a minute on playing with dolls or just good old fashioned arts and crafts.
Thank you Timpfest and the Deseret News.
years ago I was interviewed by The Today Show. A very wise attorney told me, “prepare your talking points before you start. Never rely on the interviewer to give them to you.”
“The Media never prints what you mean, only what you say.”
“No matter how much you enjoy the story (article) someone somewhere will be offended by it.”
With those bits of wisdom in mind:
1. My wife is way ahead of you in pointing out that the article is kinda “The Uncle Dale Show!” It makes me laugh that they found the video of my Biggest Liar win and linked it (that is Chip interpreting);
2. They wanted to do an article about the interpreters, I suggested they interview a person who is Deaf for a cultural perspective (love Kristi!! She is fantastic!) and they still quoted me on Deaf culture (the quote is actually something I told the writer as an idea of the kinds of things to ask Kristi! Oh well);
3) That last paragraph? I was specifically discussing storytellers who use colloquial language (Read it again with that caveat in mind); and,
4) It’s a fun article, it won’t change the world but it may make it more fun.
In the end. I needed a little fun right now. Hope it makes you smile too.
The new school year begins and I get to teach one of my favorite courses this semester (I know I say that a lot, and every time I say it, it is true!), ASL to Spoken English or as I like to call it “Spoken Hearing.”
This is the first in what is meant to be a two-part course of study. The second being “Visual Linguistic Analysis.”
Now, I say meant to be because ideally you should take ASL to Spoken English (Hearing) first and then Visual Linguistic Analysis. But you can take either as a stand alone class because each focuses on different skill sets.
Many of my students will tell you if you take them both, in the expected order, you can learn to interpret from ASL to Spoken English and make it pretty and work with the confidence that the Deaf community should, but rarely does, expect!
Think about it. How many members of the Deaf community expect an interpreter with whom they have never worked to have the skills to understand ASL let alone interpret it into English at a level they can trust; I mean trust at a level where they just feel free to say what they want without constantly checking on the interpreter?
That is my goal for students who graduate from the program I oversee; to be known for their strong ASL analysis skills. If a Client knows their interpreter came from my program I want them to immediately feel free to express themselves in a way that is natural, not in a way they hope the interpreter understands.
But, as the title of my future memoir says, I digress.
If you want to learn to work from ASL to Spoken English your first hurdle is to be comfortable speaking in your own first language, getting used to the sound of your own voice.
My students will tell you I rarely use the term spoken English in class. I say “Spoken Hearing,” as in, “say that in hearing.” Because the only place “proper English” exists is in texts books about English.
Step one: get over the sound of your own voice, in hearing.
Stand up and say concepts, ideas, and words that are not your own, out loud, in front of other people.
Think of the movie “inception.” Your brain will rebel against saying words or concepts out loud that do not originate from within your brain. Specifically when phrased in first person. It will totally fight you!
So, we start with poetry. Long form poetry. Yes, I mean we read long form poetry out loud.
I know. You are out there saying, “POETRY? Not a fan!” And that, it turns out, is the reason it works so well as a teaching tool. Your brain must deal with familiar words in an unfamiliar format.
Moreover, I believe this world can be divided into people who love poetry and people who don’t know who Robert Service is.
Here. Enjoy this (I’m not kidding, I’ll wait…)
Here is what I need you to do. Read it out loud and don’t be constrained by the rules you learned in school. Read it like you were telling a story. A story of someone who agreed to take on a job that they did not think through, and how they did the job… but not exactly in the way Bill hired them to do it.
Find the meaning. Find the story, not just the words that the story is built from. Most important? GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.
Get it out of your mouth in front of another person. Get over the sound of your own voice!
Step Two: GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!
If you want to learn how to work from ASL to “Hearing” the step after poetry is to work with something dynamic. Something that vanishes (because the words on the page are always there any time you look). So we move on to cartoons.
Old black and white Betty Boop cartoons work fantastically well for this.
Have someone put their back to the screen, turn the sound off and, using full sentences, describe this:
Remember you cannot say things like “the dog walked over to the table…” because, which dog? What table?
If you give too little detail it makes no sense. Too much detail? You lose the thread of the story.
Say what you see. Even if what you see is impossible (how did you handle the fire truck going around a corner?).
Most important? GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.
Step Three: we move on to silent movies. Dealing with implied and sometimes stated dialogue. How do you handle conversations? How do you keep participants separate?
“WAIT! WAIT UNCLE DALE!” I hear you saying, “what about ASL? We are three assignments in to this semester and you have not even touched on ASL!”
Nope. You still have a couple more steps before we get there.
These are the skills you need to master before we clutter up your head with the process of interpreting from one language to another.
Think about it this way. If you can’t clearly and with full sentences describe what happens when Pudgy the Dog runs into the burning building how would you possibly do it if we laid the mental process of interpreting on top of it?
Build the foundational skills first, get over the sound of your voice, GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, in complete sentences, then move on.
Wax on/Wax off.
Paint the fence.
Sand the floor.
…[The British] have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
George Bernard Shaw in The Canterville Ghost
Anyone who has studied the culture and languages of people who are Deaf from these two great nations will agree, truer words may never have been written!
(The quote by Shaw is more commonly stated:
Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language.
I have heard it attributed to many different people including Winston Churchill and pioneering reporter Mallory Browne. The quote by Shaw appears to be the earliest reference and at least two other persons to whom the quote has been attributed in turn attribute it back to Shaw.)
People keep coming to my door and telling me, “I don’t know what to say.” That is because there are no words. There is only love. It is only you that we needed. We needed you, and here you are.
I cannot express how completely my family and I have felt your love. Emails, texts, cards, calls, flowers, visits and food (so much food). Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So many people have shared with me their own stories of grief. I could never have anticipated how deeply comforting it is to hear these stories and to realize the teller is still breathing in and out, getting out of bed, going to work and the store each day. It will be possible to do the mundane and everyday tasks of life, I know that because others who have walked where I am walking are doing it. They told me their stories and so I know it’s possible.
I know I am just at the door of grieving and that it will sneak up on me in months and years ahead and take me out at the knees when I least expect it. But I also know I have a community around me ready to raise me up when I stumble.
I promise I will return this blog to the purpose for which it was intended, but you may have noticed I write when I am sad or angry or confused or happy or… you get it.
I wrote the following letter a couple of days after my son died and I have been asked to share it here. At the time I was sitting in the darkness and just felt compelled to write. After I sent it to Mr. Miranda’s Facebook page I wondered why I did it. Looking back I remember an episode of M*A*S*H where Dr. Sidney Freedman is writing letters to Sigmund Freud to help himself to understand his own feelings.
I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m a writer and a sometime actor. I don’t write to Dr. Freud. It appears I write to Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Dear Mr. Miranda,
I find myself writing to you in this strange public forum because it is the only place I can imagine right now to reach out to you. I could not find an address to send a letter or email.
I have no actual expectation that you will ever read these words, but, gratitude, like forgiveness, is much more for the giver than the receiver. Even if this never reaches you it is still vital for me to say it.
My 13-year-old daughter is a fan of your work, specifically Hamilton, to a point that can only be adequately described as “with the love and obsession possessed by a 13-year-old girl for a piece of art that speaks to her soul.” Thus I have had the opportunity to not only see your masterwork live when it toured through Salt Lake City, but before and after that inspiring performance to hear the soundtrack on an almost daily loop playing in my home and car.
I therefore became a fan as well.
I am compelled now to write you, to thank you for all your work, but specifically for the song It’s Quiet Uptown. That song has played, not in my home or car, but in my head since Tuesday of this week when my eldest son took his own life.
This was not an act which followed a long struggle with depression or crippling mental illness. It happened in a moment when all the ingredients for such a terrible event were present: anger, an argument and a gun. In a moment that he could not take back he let those three elements take him away from his wife, family, brothers, sister and his mother and I.
I was not there when it happened but that does not prevent me from screaming into the past and begging him to stop and breathe and think for just one more moment. That breath and thought will never happen and all I am left with when the screaming grief and tears of his mother and siblings and I fade, is quiet. Quiet in desperate search of peace.
Though it is quiet outside, in my mind I still beg to hold him. I beg to trade his life for mine. But I am left in the end with quiet-where I try to push away the unimaginable. Where I try to live with the unimaginable.
I am searching Mr. Miranda. Next to me is my wife, we are together walking through the unimaginable.
My gratitude to you is for giving me the words, your words, the ones you gave to Alexander Hamilton and to Eliza Hamilton, that you unknowingly gave to my wife and I as well. Those same words you gave to all who are pushing through the unimaginable.
Now I must find my quiet place, my uptown, where I can do the unimaginable and find that grace too powerful to name.
I know it’s there. Because you told a tale that is rooted in truth. Somewhere there is peace. Somewhere there is grace. But right now it seems unimaginable.
I know it is not impossible. I feel the grace of eternity fighting to find a place in my heart. The faith I learned in church from my childhood tells me there is a place of peace beyond this, though I can’t see it now.
The lyrics that, I can tell you, were whispered into your heart by a loving father in heaven, speak to so many people, too many people, who must find a quiet place to look into the void and learn to live with the unimaginable.
Thank you for listening to that still small voice Mr. Miranda. Thank you for following where that voice inside led you. Thank you for giving those words to all of us pushing through the unimaginable. I know it can’t just be me that needs them.
I felt such a great need to tell you that, to express my thanks knowing that you may never hear it. That you may not know I wrote this does not matter when it comes to gratitude. Gratitude must be expressed.
Our great love to you,
Dale H Boam and family
(Thank you for reading this. I’ll get back to the whole interpreting thing now.)
Dear Interpreter in the Audience,
It is obvious my processing time is longer than your comfort zone.
Thank you for yelling your support.
The Interpreter in the Chair (you know, the one holding the microphone).