Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Glorification of Idiocy

 


Our country has been infected by a malignant consciousness that glorifies idiocy. *

Anyone who believes we are winning this pandemic war is living in a delusional, alternative reality.

 Thursday, August 6, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the first atomic bomb dropped on a city, Hiroshima, Japan. One hundred forty thousand** women, children and men were killed in the initial blast.

To date, more than one hundred sixty thousand*** women, children and men have died from Covid 19. The virus has been on our shores for what seems like an interminable seven months with no indication it will burn itself out in the near future.

How many more women, children and men will have to die before we call out this administration out for what it is…an inept, cruel, greedy, dishonest, and corrupt swamp.

I watched Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council, brag about how our economy is bouncing back. For whom is it bouncing back? Tell that to the mother or father who can’t feed their family, waiting in line for donated food. Tell that to the families that fear eviction because they can’t work and don’t have money to pay their rent or mortgage.

I dare Mr. Kudlow, in his expensive pinstriped suit with an equally expensive pocket square, to go into an underserved neighborhood and tell them how great the economy is doing, how their 401K’s are performing beyond expectations.

We pay taxes. Those taxes are supposed to be used to help us lift ourselves up into better lives for our children and our communities. We send, by voting,  men and women to Washington to be our voice. To help create opportunity for everyone, not just their elitist friends and donors. Instead, many of them go to Washington to become rich, raping us financially, burdening generations with the debt of their excess.

Donald Trump bragged he would “drain the swamp”, once elected. He IS the swamp. And he has filled it with ferocious, voracious, rapacious, dangerous, ugly, racist reptiles.

 We have become the 13th Ward in the Hunger Games, our President is a parody of President Coriolanus Snow and Washington is The Capital of Panem.

If we think it can’t happen here, we are wrong.

Beirut, Lebanon was once called the Paris of the Middle East. Today, they are literally in shambles after a shattering explosion destroyed a lot of the city. And because of the corruption and greed of their government officials, they are incapable of helping their people. They don’t have the social and manpower infrastructure in place to mitigate the catastrophe. Instead of planning and putting emergency systems in place, they took the peoples’ money and used it to enrich themselves.

Sound familiar? Where are infrastructure programs, the factory jobs, the middle class jobs, our President promised to get elected?

We cannot stay silent any longer. Let’s not delude ourselves that the United States of America can’t become the next Lebanon or forbid, Syria. 

Our mantra should be, vote, vote, vote this administration out. 

I still have hope. There are a multitude of us who are awakened and see this evil for what it is. There are many wicked smart Americans in powerful positions throughout the country, including Washington, that see this administration as a dangerous, aberrant anomaly. So, let’s help them. Let’s stand up and speak up.

We have the power. We have the light. We can end this nightmare.

*Paraphrase Marianne Williamson and Russell Brand

**Newsweek

***New York Times

 

 

 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

When Did You Know?




The two most important days in a person's life,
the day you are born
and the day you know why.
                         Mark Twain


When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

All my life could be an answer. Yet it wasn't until 2007, at the age of 56, that I began to seriously dedicate my life towards a full-time art practice. 

My circumstance was not unusual, but it was unique to me. That year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After the shock of the diagnosis sunk in another reality exploded into my consciousness, if I was ever going to act on my dream, I had to do it now. 

After thirteen years of reading books about how to paint, watching tutorial videos, attending workshops around the country and becoming part of a community of like-minded people, today, I thrive in the fullness of allowing my quiet, yet very powerful neshama, to speak through my work. 

When do you know when a painting is done?

It's taken time, time for me to trust my instincts, which can only be known by creating bad work as well as good, looking at the work of many, many artists and learning to see beyond the surface of the picture plane, getting feedback from instructors, mentors and other artists and finally hearing my heart tell me so. Simply put, I love the painting so much I want to keep it. 

Luckily, this is when my left-brain steps in and tells me to get real, and I let it go to a collector who loves it enough to want to hang it in their home. At that moment, the seer sees the work through my eyes, and we are in the same space. 

Even though that is a wonderful place to be, I can't stay there. I have to keep going into the studio to make more work. It's what's demanded to keep me firmly tethered to terra firma. I have to do it. When I don't, I feel lost, when I do, I feel calm. And when things are humming along, I feel elated. 

I'm not very good at meditating, thoughts keep drifting in, creating that monkey mind chatter meditation instructors warn you about. 

However, in the studio, I am in the moment, I am focused, and my mind is quiet. This is my meditation practice and I am good at that. 










Thursday, June 4, 2020

This IS Who We Are

Angel of Change


On the morning news, historian and author Jon Meacham, commenting on the brutal and tragic  killing of George Floyd, observed we should stop saying “this is not who we are” and move the conversation closer to the truth by admitting,  “Yes, this IS who we are.” Now we need to decide, “Is this who we want to be?”

The first slave ship arrived on American soil in 1619.  

This country has always been controlled by white men, writing a segment of ugly history. Forcing slavery for free labor, nearly eradicating the indigenous Indians to steal the land they lived on and honored as belonging to no one, but the Land itself and consistently writing women out of history.  

Even benign white men follow blindly down this historical path of inequity.

A few years ago, I read Art & Physics, a fascinating, well researched book by acclaimed author, Leonard Shlain. The book was inspired by his twelve-year-old daughter whom he had taken to see an exhibit of modern art at the MOMA in New York City. When she asked him what the paintings meant, he didn’t have an answer. Being a curious fellow, he began researching our attraction to non-representational art and ended up writing a book about artists and how they have foreshadowed the discoveries of scientists, beginning with the Age of Enlightenment.

It wasn’t until I was almost finished with this 480-page book, that I realized he had not mentioned one woman: not one woman artist, not one woman scientist. As a dedicated researcher, that he only focused on men was almost breathtaking. And the irony, it was his daughter’s question that set him down the path. His book received many praised reviews, no one noticed that women were not even a part of the story.   

I was born in Wiesbaden, Germany 69 years ago. We immigrated to the United States when I was nine. I don’t remember being taught any in-depth American history about slavery. It was pretty much glossed over; it happened, the Civil War fixed it, now we are all equal. Only we are not.

Women did not get the right to vote nationally until 1920. And today, 100 years! later, we still have not elected a woman President or Vice-President.

The Civil Rights Amendment was passed in 1964 and yet, this establishment continues to be tightly held in the clenched fists of old white men. It is an untenable stranglehold.

I don’t have the answers, and I don’t like what I see. It puzzles me, it scares me, it shames me and it hurts my heart.

But I believe we are becoming more awakened. As reprehensible as our current President is, we should thank him, for he has unmasked the ugly side of America; out of the dark will come the light.

We should honor Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and all those who were killed before them, as they have become Angels of Change.

 I think Jon Meacham’s honest assessment and question are a lighthouse of hope and enlightenment; to paraphrase Mr. Meacham, this is who we are, now we need to decide, who do we want to become?


Friday, April 24, 2020

Adjectives; The Emotional Branch Of Our Vocabulary

If Purple Were A Dream
Analog collage on paper

For whatever reason, my muse likes to lure me awake between 2 am and 4 am to drop interesting thoughts into the midst of my sleep.

She cannot be willed back to silence; I have learned –
I snatch the pen and steno pad off the nightstand, 
quietly retreat to our bathroom, 
shut the door and in the dim light, take dictation.

Today began with a short poem and then she dangled this gem:
              Adjectives, the emotional branch of our vocabulary.

Before I go any further, this disclaimer; I am not a linguistic marvel nor a professor of the English language. So, please, those of you who read this and are - hold your wagging Shakespearean tongues, your erudite comments, your red pencil corrections and simply enjoy this alphabet locomotion of a ride.

As an example of the critical revue adjectives play on the stage of writing, imagine reading this poem without the modifier, softly.
             
Three Forty-One
             
              Waking momentarily
              I sink into the quiet -
              an oasis of stillness.
             
              Softly,
              I drift back into sleep.

This six-letter word among words carries the poem into an imaginary place of down feathers, marshmallows, chubby baby cheeks, delicate fluff, gentle gazes, a whisper of a kiss. One word paints a kaleidoscope of romantic images.

You gotta admit, our language would be pretty dull without them.

















Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Currency Of Compassion



The Unfolding
23 x 37
acrylic on canvas


I have found these days and hours of quiet time, a time for introspection, reflection and lots of cooking. Scouring cookbooks to plan clever ways to use up supplies in the pantry since going to the grocery store feels more and more like entering a hazmat zone. Gloves, masks, physical distancing, all important and yet so foreign.

I'm even baking. This latest inspiration was one of necessity. We had some bananas that were over ripe; pre-pandemic time, I would have thrown them out. Now I feel it's almost sacrilegious to waste any food, especially when I hear of so many being food insecure and going to bed hungry.

In this country, success and trade hinges on currency, the kind printed by the Treasury. Yet, we have within ourselves a much more potent currency, a currency that resides in our hearts: 
  • the currency of compassion
  • of kindness
  • of hope
  • of gratitude
  • of fellowship
  • of stewardship
  • of love
We can learn, enrich each other and ourselves by spending our universal currency. We can use to live bigger, better lives and help others live with hope, promise and dignity. 

We see examples being played out on the television. People inspiring and cheering each other on. People coming together in spirit; singing, clapping, cheering from their windows for the heroes that enter places not for the feint of heart. 

This pandemic is forcing us to see and become more aware of the inequalities that plague our country. We have the opportunity to make big, radical changes. 

Imagine, an unseen, non-living, microbe has stopped the engines of commerce around the globe. 
Boom! 
The Earth is healing herself. Skies are clearing. The air is ridding itself of polluted particles and the peaks of Mount Everest are being seen 125 miles away in India. These are miracles even five months ago we could not imagine. Doesn't that tell us something?

There is a voice that does not speak. Listen.
Rainer Marie Rilke