Wednesday, February 21, 2024



                                   How long does it take to make a painting? 

This is the question I am asked most often to which there is no straight path to an answer.  

Standing in front of a blank canvas is a beckoning to express...something. Rarely do I know what that is. 

Beginning with unconscious child-like abandon, I pour and scrape, then pause and begin to meander around the surface searching for clues of where to go next. 

Listening and looking,
nonchalantly walking by
then suddenly swiveling,
as if the painting spoke,
and there it will be,
a shape, a line, 
a beckoning
to dive deeper into the surface,
excavating the pentimento
that has been woven within the canvas all along. 


Sunday, January 14, 2024

What Is Your Story?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

 It’s an early Sunday morning in January and the new year is in its 14th day. The temperature outside is   -8 with a windchill of -35, perfect conditions to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and reflect on what kind of person do I want to be.

With the jolt of caffeine, my mind begins an internal dialogue.

List the qualities and make it your life’s purpose to be guided by them. For instance, when you find yourself responding in a way that is not in keeping with your image, stop, breathe, and adjust.  

Rebel thoughts and behaviors should be encouraged, it’s important to let our thoughts and actions roam free on the Plains of Individuality.

Sit quietly and consider these intuitive thoughts as they become your guideposts, soft slips of clay molding your heart into the person you want to be, no longer pulled by the actions of others, no longer an emotional puppet reacting to circumstances.

Reflect on how you are acting now and dive into change. Here is the fertile soil of your growth. At times it will be painful as you expand and crack your existing shell and metamorphosize into the soloist of this symphony we call life.

When someone hurts you and your immediate response is to defend yourself by striking out in kind, mirror your path of being a loving person, then choose forgiveness and let go. I believe this is what Jesus meant when he said, “turn the other cheek”.  Not becoming a weak victim but staying strong and true to your being.

We are the stories we tell ourselves. It is never too early or too late to ask, What kind of person do I want to be?  Avoid the trap of becoming someone you really don’t want to be just to please. Share your ignorance with glee, so you can learn, then share your knowledge with gratitude, so you can teach.

We only have so many heartbeats. Our purpose is to make every beat count. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Girly Girly




When we first brought Mollie home, she weighed a hefty four pounds and fit into my purse. With all the cool non-chalance of being in the perfect bedchamber, she would burrow into my open bag , find a comfortable spot and nap,  as if the purse were made especially for her.

 It’s interesting how a dog projects their sexual orientation. Our first cavalier, Soans, was a handsome, tri-colored construction-truck alpha. Sweet but territorial. We would joke that if he could stand on his front paws, he would spin like a fuzzy lazy susan spraying 360 degrees while proclaiming, “mine, mine, mine”. 

Our second cavalier, Max, a gorgeous chocolate- tri, didn’t have the same level of testosterone, none-the-less, you wouldn’t mistake him as anything but a boy. 

2009, Max was two and a half years old, and we decided to get him a companion, a 12-week-old black and tan, petticoat girl. Mollie literally wiggled with curiosity and love – not for us, but for Max. As soon as she saw him, she made a beeline for his side, as if shouting, Yipeee, one of mine. It took Max a few weeks to return the sentiment.  However, once their bond was threaded, they were braided together for life.



During her teething phase, she gnawed off the tip of a leather belt, chewed one new Birkenstock sandal to shreds and disfigured a diamond earring into an unrecognizable shape while digesting the diamond…no, I did not check her poop, instead I had a jeweler straighten the setting and put in a cubic zirconia. Now I can’t tell, nor do I care, l which earring is real, and which is “fake”. I marveled at her fashion sense.

Over the 13 years she was with us, she became anointed with many nicknames, including Shatze, Mollie moo moo, Princess, and the Dowager Princess when she reached the elegant age of 11. But my favorite was Girly Girl.

She didn’t have a frou frou wardrobe, she was more Golda Meir than Princess Di. She liked to walk about in her naked fur, all shiny black and tan. She loved belly rubs, leash free romps in the park. She loved resting her front paws around our necks and nuzzling us with her throat. Most of all she loved Max.

Food was her Vogue, and she was a non-discerning gourmet.  Her dining etiquette, however, could have used a bit of advice from Emily Post.  Though gentle, she could snap a treat from your hand faster than a magician. When dinner came, she would sit primly waiting, gazing at me with goddess like reverence, razor focused, as I made her bowl of farm to table fare. When ready, she would race to her dining spot with the speed of a Formula 1 race car driver, sitting in nervous anticipation until I served her. And like Houdini, her food would disappear with sensational speed.

The only thing that ever slowed her down was when I put blueberries in her bowl. I watched with amusement as she delicately removed every berry from her food and spit, yes spit it out onto the floor with energetic contempt.

After 13 years, 2 months and 18 days, a heart that beat with wild exuberance, broke, and stopped. Mollie passed away on December 18, 2022.

She was by Max’s side when he died three years earlier.  Today I imagine how happy he was when her spirit ascended and met his on the other side.


I miss her sweet energy, trotting behind with unquestioned loyalty and trust. The cozy cave in my heart keeps expanding. Nestled inside are the four-legged companions who gifted me with their loving presence. How blessed to have been chosen to be stewards of these amazing beings.


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Love In The Park


Weather foul or fair, seven days a week, I take our two Cavaliers to a natural oasis, Katherine Legge Memorial Park (KLM). This multi-use park is one square mile of ancient trees, open spaces, and a cornucopia of smells that my dogs revel in. 

From the first time my two legs and their four set feet on the grass, we felt the magic of this place. Early morning and dusk, the park is open for dogs to explore off leash. It is surrounded by a fence so no fear of running off or into traffic. 

I meet a lot of dogs and their owners, and as we pause to greet one another, invariably we comment about this natural paradise, how fortunate we are to have it and how it is an elixir of youth for our dogs and for us. 

With every deep inhale, I feel the endorphins being blessed upon me by these majestic skyscrapers made of root, wood and leaves. I silently marvel at the invisible world beneath my feet, the intertwined underground fungus of mycelium wrapped around every root braiding together threads to create a miraculous mycorrhizal network. 

 As my dogs scamper around with abandon, I imagine them feeling the same exquisite sense of connectedness and wellbeing. 

Walking along this morning, looking around with grateful amazement, I realized the magic of this park, pure Love. 

KLM is a reservoir of love. Love from people who see their dogs as a part of their family and are devoted to making their lives happy and fulfilled. And the joyous, unconditional love of these dogs, roaming with their packs in total bliss, chasing squirrels they will never catch except in their dreams.

I can't wait to go again, and neither can my four-legged friends. 

Nigel                               Mollie        

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Tender is the Night
acrylic & pastel
 on vintage linen museum wrap canvas

A Brief Description of the First Ab Ex Artists

Outlaws of the art world / beatniks of color / renegades of content / shape shifters of consciousness with oil and turpentine.

An alchemy born in smoke filled studios, composing a brave, nascent language even they, at times, did not understand / questioning value and substance / ultimately liberating the future from the order of realism and dunking us into the lyrical chaos of the unknown.

We would not be able to paint like we do without these early warriors, slashing a path through a foreign territory known as our interiority / giving us permission to seek the arcane in the subconscious / shushing  our selves  and allowing our daemons to speak.

Monday, July 18, 2022

 Piece of Mind

a closet 

full of contradictions

a wardrobe of non-conformity

her piece of mind

When my beloved 80+ year old Aunt confessed she didn't understand my art, I took no offense, nor was I surprised.  Born in the 1930s, she was taught ART was realism. A barn was a barn, not the illusion of the artist's interpretation. 

I explained to my Tante Eva that she didn't need to "understand it" to enjoy the colors, shapes, and composition. She was grateful for that because now she could just allow her eyes to see the poetry and bathe in the emotions it inspired in her. 

It's not the first time someone said they don’t understand abstract art. What they do understand are the colors and composition intrigue them and draw them in. I have a theory this emotional pull comes from our infancy.

When my son and his wife were expecting my now 5-year-old grandson, I bought a book on infant development. Within the first few pages I learned we have rods and cones in our eyes; we see black & white through our rods and color through our cones. When we are born, only the rods are fully developed until we reach the age of six months. 

Can you imagine seeing everything in black & white and one your 6-month birthday, you wake up and Holy Cow it's a kaleidoscope of magic! Consider the impact all those dancing colors have on your newly percolating mind. 

Whether it happens gradually or all at once, I think on a deeply subliminal level, we are trying to get back to that miraculous moment when we opened our eyes and saw the first rainbow spectrums of color. 

Such a momentous experience would lay deeply in the core of our development, which is why I imagine, so many people tell me, whether they understand the art or not, one of the first things that draws them in is the COLOR.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


Secrets are powerful aphrodisiacs; mysterious, alluring and potentially dangerous depending on the secret and with whom you share it. 

When someone shares a secret, they give you a potent power, trusting you are the trustworthy friend they believe you are. 

Sharing a secret is relinquishing a burden, a bidding of sorts, asking someone to share the weight of whatever it is that is haunting you. 

Growing up in a Catholic home, I witnessed another kind of secret. A mass said in an arcane language and an advocation of confession. 

As you enter the confessional you are transported to a dimly lit closet size room where you kneel on a cantilevered piece of wood that has been wrapped in velvet and once settled in piety, a small, screened window quietly slides open to reveal your absolver, a stand-in god. 

You whisper your sins into the profile of a man earnestly leaning in towards the breath of your words with the sacred knowledge that what you confess will be held like executive privilege, never to be pried from his mind nor lips. He passes down his judgement through a series of penances and you rise with your soul once again bleached clean - if your conscious stays mute. 

Our secrets are witnesses to the unwritten pages between our lives.


Some are frivolous / some are hurtful / some are damning / some should be revealed / some will be bound in our ashes, forever silent.  



Saturday, June 12, 2021

Hush Hush

 As an artist I am always searching for my spiritually covert language, the closed conversation between my soul and the Divine.

A sacred braid, we weave around and within each other, a linguistic hide and seek, building a wordless language through color, shape and structure. 

The seeker becomes the sought.

And like an arcane chameleon / me and my Maker / we evolve, we mutate, we grow.

It is impossible to be immutable. Until the final molecule of oxygen escapes from my lips back into the Universe, where I will slowly dissolve, fading to stardust. 

A rainbow / a glimmer / a sudden burst of brilliance.

Hush Hush

Tuesday, April 13, 2021




I marvel at the stamina and resilience of my body, my feet and my legs.  They have been faithfully carrying my increasing height and weight until my mid-twenties where I balanced upon my set point on six and half shoe size feet.

A joyous toast to you marvelous feet and marvelous legs, torso upright, arms swinging to music only I can hear, hands creating, well-shaped shoulders supporting neck and the regent, the head. 

Time to travel inward where the unseen land of miracles performs night and day to a full house, without pause. The exquisitely extraordinary ballet of life; stomach, the uncontested conductor, sending signals through the dynamic vagus nerve to the brain which then orchestrates everyone into positions of optimum production, pumping red glory, all keeping the miracle of me alive!

I fill the corrugated-consciousness, complex maze of my mind with libraries of gratitude / happiness / health / kindness / patience / generosity. A symphony of electrical adjectives that shimmies my heart into gladness.

I feed you / food for thought / food for health / food for pleasure / formal exercise / sexual exercise / dancing / lifting / stretching / breathing / touching / feeling / on soaring wings of abundance / all critical for the river of blood to flow freely in an infinite loop of nourishment / a marvel beyond words / an ecstasy beyond landed experience.

I am the embodiment of stardust streaming / I am the embodiment of stardust dreaming. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Breaking Rules

 Diffusion 5

There are no rules…go against the rules or ignore the rules. Helen Frankenthaler

The above could have easily been expressed by Frankenthaler’s contemporary, Joan Mitchell. With a major difference in linguistic delivery. Mitchell would have simply said, “Fuck the rules.”

 Known for her contempt of any ideology that would straight jacket her sensibilities and freedom to live and paint on her own terms, she did not allow society to dictate her way of moving through this life.

 To find a new way of thinking, seeing, doing, you must be able to break the chain of acceptable behavior. Some posit you must know the rules before you can break them. Logical and yet, sometimes the rules are so entrenched into the psyche of the collective, that once you know them you almost fear to break them.

 The most dogmatic rules are fed to us, in tiny spoonfuls, by our earliest teachings from our parents and then our schools. Upbringing and religion provide tightly bound traditions that offer safety and succor if you stay between the boundaries of “acceptable” behavior. Dare go outside these social boxes and you risk being cast out and ostracized.

 After watching the horrendous, slow motion murder of George Floyd on national media, reminiscent of the blood sport spectacles in an ancient Rome arena, difficult to watch, yet just as hard to look away, many Americans and citizens around the world, woke up to the horror of acceptable discrimination and racism. Over the course of days, weeks, and months, a lava hot, slow-moving realization; prejudice was intrinsic to our behavior.

 Yet, I argue, not in our hearts. We are not born with prejudice; we are taught to be prejudiced through the language and the actions of our parents and other early influences. Then as we grow, these false beliefs shape our view of the world and we begin to mirror the micro society we are part of – our tribe.

 These behaviors are so subconsciously embedded in our psyche, that even when we meet “the other” it is difficult to see beyond the color of their skin. On the surface we behave with a certain decorum, but just beneath the veneer of civility, there are the whispers coming from the lips of our reptilian brain that bind us to those early influences.

 Similar to Morgana’s spell on Merlin, which kept him locked in the dark caverns of his ego, it takes tectonic events to break these familial and societal chains for the scales of discrimination to fall from our eyes and crack open our hearts. Suddenly these childhood rules shatter as we awake from the bardo and are reborn to see all people as people, and realize all religions are from the same tree; diverse branches lifting their arms towards the magnificence of the Universe.

Like fabled Humpty Dumpty, once cracked and shattered, the rules can never be put back together again.

 There is no glue that will erase the cracks of knowing, the wizard is revealed as a paper tiger. We are now free to “fuck the rules”. Humanity wins. We win.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

What Is The Story?

 There is something I have been struggling with for years, why must an artist, to be taken “seriously”, produce a recognizable body of work? Recognizable in the manner when people see your art in a gallery, in print, on social media, they immediately attribute it to you.

Gallerists, other artists, and colleagues advise consistency as a way to brand you as the artist. 

When I look at the body of work I have made over the past fourteen years, at the beginning, I was all over the place. A result of taking a lot of workshops and copying the style of the instructor. Quite normal, I am told.

Once I realized I had to go beyond the instructors and their techniques to develop my own style (and frankly, I don’t want my work to look like another artists), I still found that I took pleasure in the experimentation phase of painting. What if is a part of my internal dialogue. Over the past few years, I have been working in a more disciplined manner, and can see a consistency of my hand on the canvas.

Then in the late fall of 2018 I re-discovered my love of collage and began developing a series that has no resemblance to my paintings or mixed media work.


The Black-Tie Affair

Analog Collage
22.5 x 14 inches

 While musing on this one early morning, it struck me; I am a writer as well as a painter. My collages are an extension of my writing, a form of visual storytelling told in paper images instead of words.

 What lights me up about collage is the ability to create fantasies, dual realities, puzzles for the mind.  

 What is the story of The Black-Tie Affair? Is it about loss? Mystery? Regret? Or simply a man’s remembrance of an exquisite moment in his life?

I am not here to tell you the ending. I am here to show you the beginning. The rest is up to you.


My Awareness is a Silhouette Floating in the Background

acrylic painting on Birch board
12 x 12 inches

My painting are also a form of visual storytelling told with pigment and paint. Here I strive to create worlds of calm, beauty and elegance. An oasis for the mind where you can lose yourself for a while, tuck the troubles of the world away and just dream.

My purpose as a non-objective painter is to create a visual landscape from the inside-out. The painting is my story and your story simultaneously. My version, your version, the true version.

 The End


Friday, January 29, 2021

A Puppy and His Unique Taste Buds Leads the Author on a Thoughtful Journey

Our puppy, Nigel, discovered a weird and to a human, disgusting appetizer, wild goose poop. Before I could stop him, he had ingested several green droppings, which he discovered on our mid-day walk past the man-made pond in our neighborhood.

The next day, at exactly 2:48 am, he barked me awake from a very warm and cozy sleep, with an urgent, I have to go out..NOW.

 We have councils of wild geese that land in droves by the pond, where they graze and bath as if visiting a posh spa. Before lifting off to warmer climates, they create a landmine of a mess and a tempting buffet for the neighborhood dogs.

I don’t fault the geese or the dogs, they both have a stake in the land. As do the coyotes and foxes that can prey on the smaller dogs, if they are not tethered to their two-legged companions.

 We too, have a stake in the land. But our vision is stilted and narrow minded. We see the land as a tool to further our ambitions. We believe the land is here for us, for our taking, to do as we please.

 The American Indians thought the white invaders devil-crazy when they approached them to “buy their land”.

 The land belongs to no man. The land belongs to the land. It would be as crazy as offering to buy the sky; above, below, it’s all free to be.

 Only it’s not. Look where we are. We have lost our relationship with the land, smothered her with concrete, burdened her with buildings, some Babylon tower tall, stripped her bare and clothed her with tracts of housing, shopping malls, airports, cities and roads. Molten tar and soul crushing concrete to shape and map sinewy highways across this land and lands throughout.

Our eyes yearn for those pristine areas of majesty and our ears cry for their holy silence. When we see a photo, we are stunned by her beauty and wish to be transported, not to tame but to be held in her thrall, to honor, witness, and explore her wild wilderness.

So, when I see a coyote, or a fox, or a hawk flying high in the sky, I feel blessed to witness their wildness and I feel a measure of sadness as we continue to encroach on their stake in the land and force them into smaller and smaller spaces of survival. And I always make sure I know exactly where my four-legged companion is.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Did We Arrive Knowing?



As soon as we look at something, we change it, minute-micro changes. We color the object or environment with our subconscious and conscious perceptions. We bring our history, our bias, our opinion and create a new narrative, adding another layer to the story.

We are all storytellers, richly manifesting our version of reality into beingness. We walk into a space and we change it. Our unique energy pulses and sparks the space with another level of truth.

As a collective we play a symphony, a quiet concerto, a murmur of subtle differences. Our cones and rods filter the lens of our visual and non-verbal information, reinterpreting it into our own making.

When did we first learn this skill? Did we arrive knowing?


Thursday, October 8, 2020

All The Time In The World

Holding Time

 This time is dystopian; not imagined but real. It is riddled with uneven emotions like slow drips coming out of a faucet to an aqua torrent from Niagara Falls.

I feel as if I have all the time in the world and yet I have no time. The days slip by like warm taffy. Projects and goals have wavy boundaries. I move through the day in a hyper alert daze. This pandemic, poetically labeled, Covid 19, has restricted and liberated simultaneously.

I am more socially isolated allowing me the freedom to roam the inner corridors of my imagination. This multi-verse virus has created an unusual dichotomy; the surrealistic cave I find myself wrapped in has veiled my time in a shroud of lethargy and energy, coursing in tandem through me.

I plan, I plot, I stand still - and wonder, what will the world be like when we collectively awaken from this Kafkaesque dream?

These two poems were written one month apart, similar emotions, yet an increasing dread of *something wicked this way comes:

Pandemic Time l

The days run into each other

like children on a playground - 

pressed together like p b & j.

What day is it? I wonder.

I test myself.

I think it’s Wednesday.

Are you sure?

I think so.

I doubt.

I look at my phone for confirmation.


The days run into each other

like children on a playground -






Pandemic Time ll

These times move me

to moments of intense clarity.

I pull myself into this moment,

this now.


Staying in this present

keeps the wolves of fear at bay -

as they lurk

at the outer edges

of my invisible eyes.


They wake me at night

pounding on the door

of my heart.


I lurch into awareness –

and repeat this mantra,




as I slow the internal thunder.

The hammer becomes the feather.


*Ray Bradbury

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


***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.
              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. 
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