Wednesday, August 26, 2009


You've heard of Jesus Camp. And Posse Comitatus. And that ghost town article in The National Geographic. But do you know the newest news, here in North Dakota?

If you answered, "Shhhhhhhhh!" -- then give yourself a point!

A don't-miss opportunity is coming soon to central North Dakota -- a theatrical event like you've never experienced before. Guaranteed: You will love it! Here's what you need to know...

A very original play called, "Shhhhhhhhh!"

Written and performed by "The Group That Opened the Box" --
a group of truth-telling teens in the heart of North Dakota

Saturday, September 12, 2009, at 7:30 PM

Sidney J. Lee Auditorium, Bismarck State College, 1500 Edwards Ave.

FREE. Donations gratefully accepted.

Directors: Dr. Kathy Blohm & Karen Van Fossan

Special Features:
* Larger-than-life photo montage by Kristi Rasmussen
* Original scenes by Karen Van Fossan & Kathy Blohm
* You can stick around after the show for a chance to appear in a film.

What “Shhhhhhhhh!” is All About:
Life, longing, and love in the heart of North Dakota

North Dakota Women's Network, Cinema 100 Film Society, Dakota West Arts Council, BSC Theatre Department, Chambers & Blohm Psychological Services, and Dragon Jane Theater Company

You'll'll'll renew your hope for humanity. If you have any questions, you can email or call 701-258-6667.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Train Sweet Train

© 2009 Karen Van Fossan

Finally, I counted. I had to. Twenty-seven here. Eighteen there.

This summer, I spent nearly 100 hours on the train. I'm not bragging, not complaining. But, as much as I long to tell you about the places where I went, rather than how I got there, all I can hear in my head is that cross-country train.

Years ago, I used to get a couple of seats to myself. When gas prices hovered at $1 or so a gallon, when airlines kept their financial woes to themselves, when "green" was a word no self-respecting CEO would say -- the train was my little secret.

But now, I've entered R.E.M. sleep with so many random strangers, I've lost count.

This summer, as I traveled the country, I contemplated the meaning of life, and language, and the train. I realized that the passenger train is almost entirely lacking in cliches.

We've got the high road, the fast lane, who's in the driver's seat; we talk about "paving the way."

But how about Amtrak cliches?

Here's my first try...

1) When the trip is just beginning, and your heart is full of adventure --
Train sweet train.

2) When you find yourself leg-to-leg with a dude who has Restless Leg Syndrome --
Fuel efficiency loves company.

3) When you miss your bathtub so much, you wish you'd brought a picture --
Cleanliness is next to impossible.

4) When you start to wonder how many times the family across the aisle can watch that same, freaking, boring DVD --
Good boundaries make good neighbors.

5) When you're startled awake by a chorus of frogs...or bears...or who-knows-what? --
If you can't stand the snoring, get out of the train.

6) When the nighttime lights keep streaking by --
All that glitters is not easily blocked by your eyelids.

7) When you can't help but question the Self and notions of private property --
Home is where that little-tag-placed-above-your-seat is.

8) When your seatmate wakes up chatty --
Bloom where you and your random seatmate are planted.

9) When a person has to be neighborly, even on the train --
'Tis more blessed to give up your window seat to a married Amish couple, than to receive.

10) When the engineer cranks the emergency brakes --
You can lead a train to the mountains, but you can't make it climb (unless a couple of freight engines come to haul it).

So, the next time you're on the train, save me a seat. Because...

A friend in the train is worth two in the bush.

Words to live by.