Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Meet Elizabeth

Five Questions With: Elizabeth Finlayson
Founding Board Member
ETD Collaborater since 2005

1. What is your role with Erasing the Distance?

Currently, I am the board Treasurer and the Immediate Past President. I have been on the board since its inception and have also contributed a piece to one of the shows.

2. What you are not working with Erasing the Distance, what might you be doing?

I wear many hats in my life outside of ETD: I am a fundraiser for Women Employed, a fantastic organization that improves the economic status of women. I am a playwright and have been working on a full-length play about the creation of the first transcontinental railroad. And finally, I am a wife, sister, daughter, and friend. I am so appreciative of the love that surrounds me.

3. Can you share with us a favorite ETD moment?

In rehearsal for the first performance of the first show that ETD put on -- before it was even ETD -- a very compelling actress performed the story of a woman whose father had committed suicide. She really connected with the piece and the tears that streamed down her face as she described what she hoped her father felt in his last moments were echoed in my own tears.

4. What do you think is a pressing mental health need in your community?

The two worlds I see in my own community are reflective of two worlds I see in my neighborhood. I think that in most affluent communities there are undercurrents of mental illness that don't see the light. The most pernicious one, I think, is dysthymia, or chronic low-level depression. This can undermine a person's life without them really being aware that they are experiencing a problem.

The other one I see is alcoholism and drug addiction. There is a lovely group of men who congregate at the bus shelter near my house with shopping carts full of plastic bags and provisions. They are a friendly, jovial group. Early in the day, though, I sometimes see them slowed with alcohol, looking glassy-eyed, and walking very slowly through a haze. I assume that there are several underlying issues that have brought these men to this bus stop, but I wish that our society took better care of these people. I fervently hope on the nights that I don't see them, that they have found a bed at one of the shelters in the city.

5. Can you tell us your favorite way to de-stress?

My favorite ways to de-stress include silent meditation and taking a candlelit bath with a favorite album playing.

Thank you for sharing with us, Elizabeth! And thank you for reading.
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  1. My favorite part about the 5 questions is asking people about an ETD memory. As the Exec. Artistic Director and Founder, my heart is full of so many memories. It is SO wonderful to hear and know that the people who make up our organizational family have their own memories, some of which I have never heard until now, and that they carry those memories close to their own hearts. Thanks for asking the questions Oriana and Jessica. I'm grateful.

  2. Thanks for you comment, Brighid. I'm enjoying the responses as well. Its really neat how the organization has touched people in so many ways, and I'm grateful to you for making that possible!