CDSS "What We Believe" Essay Submissions

Welcome to the CDSS “What We Believe” essay submission page. Your testimonies on the importance of dance, music and song in your life will become the core and foundation of The CDSS Story Project. Read on to learn how to participate in three steps:

THINK about this:

You love to dance. Come rain, sleet or snow you make it to your weekly shape note sing. You plan your year around the Playford Ball. You spend valuable time sweeping the floor, setting up the chairs and closing the hall. Your life is incredibly busy; there are a million choices today for how to spend your time, and you have chosen this. Why?

WRITE about it:

In a short, written statement we want you to tell us why song, music and/or dance are your chosen activities and why are they important to you. What personal value does participating in these activities hold for you?  Tell us YOUR story about how you reached your beliefs.

We have chosen to use the well-known structure of the This I Believe essay. This simple way of structuring an essay has resulted in profoundly moving, and meaningful statements about people's lives and beliefs. We are asking about beliefs, but we are not concerned with any religious form.

The This I Believe writing guidelines say:

  • Be brief: 350-500 words. The shorter length forces you to focus.
  • Name your belief: consider focusing on one core belief rather than writing a list.
  • Be positive: say what you believe, not what you don’t believe.
  • Be personal: write in first person; write as you speak, as simply as possible.

© 2005-2014, This I Believe, Inc.

Please follow these guidelines in writing your essay. See below for inspiration.

SHARE your piece:

What happens once I submit my essay? Together, the essays submitted to this project will create a portrait of our community and illustrate its depth and vibrancy. All essays submitted will be included in a collection on the CDSS website and some featured pieces may appear in the CDSS news and blog.  

Community Engagement: We rely on you to spread the word about these projects beyond this mailing list. While these are individual statements, we also encourage you to engage your local community to participate en masse. Perhaps hold a group writing session, or set up a live reading for people to share their essays with each other once they’re finished.  Think about asking veterans of your community as well newcomers - think how varied and interesting their perspectives will be.

Please tell us how you’re participating in CDSS "What We Believe" so we can tell the world!  

 

OK, I’m ready to submit my essay!

Great! Once you have a polished, final draft of your essay please click here to submit.

Submit My Essay

 

Questions? You may also reach us at this address with any questions, comments or stories about your experience with CDSS What We Believe: community100@cdss.org

Here are some quotes that inspire us:

“In our madly commercialized and mechanized world we have lost our sense of the beautiful. I believe we need beauty in our lives just as much as we need food on our dining room tables. A world where beauty flourishes is a happy world -- a world at peace.” ~ Ben Lucien Burman, writer

“I believe in music: its spirituality, its exaltation, its ecstatic nobility, its humor, its power to penetrate to the basic fineness of every human being.” ~ Henry Cowell, composer

“I am a dancer… I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been a symbol of the performance of living… The instrument through which the dance speaks is also the instrument through which life is lived… the human body.” ~ Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer

“I believe in cultivating hidden talents. I believe we are more than the inhabitants of our cubicles, more than engineers or even parents, husbands and wives. I believe we are transformed and connected by the power and beauty of our creativity.” ~ Mel Rusnov, engineer and pianist, 2006.

“I believe in singing. I believe in singing together… A recent long-term study conducted in Scandinavia sought to discover which activities related to a healthy and happy later life. Three stood out: camping, dancing, and singing… if I were asked to redesign the British education system, I would start by insisting that group singing become a central part of the daily routine.” ~ Brian Eno, musician, 2008.