Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I've been slow to write in tribute to Mort Satten who, with his wife Dorothy, was my teacher of psychodrama, and dear friend. I haven't seen him in a few years, since he became ill with a recurrence of cancer and retired. I'd stopped attending workshops regularly after completing my director's training, but Mort and Dorothy are among the major forces for good in my personal and professional lives. I first studied with them soon after Kerry's death, and they were among the first in my circle to meet and bless my marriage with Bob. It was Mort who grabbed me after I'd directed my first psychodrama and told me I was a natural at this work, Mort who was a strong force in shaping my personal and professional confidence.

Mort taught me so much, more even about life and keeping it real than about craft - though he taught me plenty about our craft. Mort is the source of one of my favorite mantras "Real is better than perfect." I think I was present the first time he said it, and I clearly remember his grin up in a theater in the mountains north of Taos when he said real had better be sufficient because real is what he could do. Me too Mort. And he did a great job of real, authentic, spontaneous, himself. I know he grew up tough and poor in New York City during the Depression, found his skill and power as a soldier in Europe during World War II, was deeply affected as a Jewish soldier present at the liberation of a concentration camp. He lived so much life, arms open to love and loss alike, changed careers, lived a great love, became patriarch to a blended family and to a community of healers. Mort lived big, lived love, shaped many, includiong me, for good and service. I miss him already and will always be thankful for his influence in my life.

5 comments:

mary j. said...

Victoria, what a wonderful tribute to Mort. I appreciated what I learned about you reading it, too, learning about this great mentor in your life. I am pleased to "meet" the source of your mantra "real is better than perfect" through your memory of him. What an important lesson, and one I know you have also passed on to many (I think of it often, and I have seen Ruth quote it as well, to name a few). His legacy continues to be passed on, positively influencing new lives through the impact he had on you.

Judy said...

What a wonderful tribute to this great man in your life, Victoria. We don't meet them that often so the Mort's of the world are precious indeed. Thanks for sharing him with us. All the people you touch have been touched in some way by Mort as well. Your work has certainly touched me a many ways.

Mary said...

I am so glad you wrote this tribute to Mort. I am happy to get to know this man through your eyes and also to learn tha he is the source of the saying "Real is better than perfect"that I associate with you.

Diane T said...

I enjoyed learning more about this person who has so greatly influenced you. A fine tribute indeed.

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