Friday, January 20, 2017

Code Orange

code orange
A message over a hospital’s public address system warning the staff of
(1) A bomb threat
(2) A radioactive spill
(3) A potentially violent person with mental issues in the hospital; show of force needed
(4) External disaster with mass casualties

Flat Out Falsehoods

So far 82 untrue!
Politico Magazine's article.

Obama Foundation

“Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen.”

—President Barack Obama

What makes a good citizen?
Democracy is all about showing up, diving in, and staying at it. But how? Here at the Obama Foundation, we're just getting started on what good citizenship in the 21st century means.
Your thoughts and ideas will make our Foundation a better, more powerful force for good. We can't wait to hear what you're thinking.

Share your stories with us. Tell us what issues you care about. Let us know what people, organizations, and companies inspire you to be a good citizen.


Art keeps me alive. I've obviously been devastated or heartbroken all my life, since my mother's death. I've had so many challenges throughout my career, however successful people perceive me to be. The only way I've been able to survive the betrayal of lovers, family members, and society is to be able to create as an artist.

RG: What beyond art gives you that kind of drive to keep doing what you do?

M: Wanting to inspire people. Wanting to touch people's hearts to get them to look at life in a different way. To be a part of evolution, because, for me, it's either you're part of creation or you're part of destruction. It's inexplicable; it's like breathing, and I can't imagine not doing it.

- Madonna
Full Interview

Women Knit Pink


Bridges Not Walls


Rachel Marie Stone, Eat with Joy

“Like infants with their mothers, we're helpless before the God who feeds us, cares for us and embraces us with even greater devotion than that of a loving mother with nursing babies. Does a nursing babe have to "be good" to earn that love-to deserve that tender, intimate feeding? No. He has only to open his mouth and be fed.
And so with us.”
― Rachel Marie Stone, Eat with Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food

Rachel Marie Stone

But I don’t want them to build their lives around anger, and resistance fueled solely by fear begets only more fear. Cleareyed vigilance and action, motivated by joyful resistance, is a possibility for all of us.

Rachel Marie Stone is the author of “Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food.”

Thank you, Paul Krugman

What the situation demands are knowledgeable, levelheaded people in positions of authority.

The Pearl

“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography.”
― Federico Fellini

Live Spherically

“You have to live spherically - in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm - and things will come your way.”
― Federico Fellini

Most Important

“No matter what happens, always Keep your childhood innocence. It's the most important thing.”
― Federico Fellini

Language and Vision

“A different language is a different vision of life.”
― Federico Fellini

An Honest One

“I’m a liar, but an honest one. People reproach me for not always telling the same story in the same way. But this happens because I’ve invented the whole tale from the start and it seems boring to me and unkind to other people to repeat myself.”
― Federico Fellini, Fellini On Fellini


“Experience is what you get while looking for something else.”
― Federico Fellini


“Fate is written in the face.”
― Federico Fellini

Cinema Itself

“I even see the cinema itself as a woman, with its alternation of light and darkness, of appearing and disappearing images.”
― Federico Fellini

Don't Tell Me

“Don't tell me what I'm doing; I don't want to know.”
― Federico Fellini

Life Is...

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”
― Federico Fellini

Any Work of Art

“I don’t like the idea of “understanding” a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.”
― Federico Fellini

The Carnival

“Happiness is simply a temporary condition that proceeds unhappiness. Fortunately for us, it works the other way around as well. But it's all a part of the carnival, isn't it?”
― Federico Fellini

More Silence

“If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet...maybe we could understand something.”
― Federico Fellini

Talking About Dreams

“Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams; years can pass in a second and you can hop from one place to another. It’s a language made of image. And in the real cinema, every object and every light means something, as in a dream.”
― Federico Fellini

Things Become Innocent

“When I felt I was dying, these past few days, things were no longer anthropomorphic. The telephone, which looks like a sort of upturned black snake, was merely a telephone. Every thing was just a thing. The couch, which looked like a big square face drawn by Rubens, with buttons on the cover like wicked little eyes, was just a couch, rather shabby but nothing more. At such a time things don’t matter to you; you don’t bathe everything in your presence, like an amoeba. Things become innocent because you draw away from them; experience becomes virginal, as it was for the first man when he saw the valleys and the plains. You feel you are set in a tidy world: that is a door and it behaves like a door, that is white and behaves like white. What heaven: the symbolism of meanings loses all meaning. You see objects which are comforting because they are quite free. But suddenly you are flung into a new form of suffering because, when you come to miss the meaning of, say, a stool, reality suddenly becomes terrifying. Everything becomes monstrous, unattainable.”
― Federico Fellini, Fellini On Fellini


“Censorship is advertising paid by the government.”
― Federico Fellini

Perception Itself

“Objects and their functions no longer had any significance. All I perceived was perception itself, the hell of forms and figures devoid of human emotion and detached from the reality of my unreal environment. I was an instrument in a virtual world that constantly renewed its own meaningless image in a living world that was itself perceived outside of nature. And since the appearance of things was no longer definitive but limitless, this paradisiacal awareness freed me from the reality external to myself. The fire and the rose, as it were, became one.”
― Federico Fellini

Frederico Fellini

“I don't believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there's one thing that's dangerous for an artist, it's precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it.”
― Federico Fellini

Learn to Love

“We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should learn to love each other so much to live outside of time... detached.”
― Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita: Federico Fellini's Masterpiece

The Cynical Mask

“We can all pretend to be cynical and scheming, but when we’re faced with purity and innocence, the cynical mask drops off.”
― Federico Fellini

Openness and Enthusiasm

“Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that is life, and things will come your way.”
― Federico Fellini

The Only Place

“The only place where you can be a dictator and still be loved is on the movie set.”
― Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini

“Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected.”
― Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita: Federico Fellini's Masterpiece

Georgian Film

“Georgian film is a completely unique phenomenon, vivid, philosophically inspiring, very wise, childlike. There is everything that can make me cry and I ought to say that it (my crying) is not an easy thing.”
― Federico Fellini

Infinite Passion

“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.”
― Federico Fellini

The Realm

“An artist is a provincial who finds himself somewhere between a physical reality and a metaphysical one. It’s this in-between that I’m calling a province, this frontier country between the tangible world and the intangible one. That is the realm of the artist.”
― Federico Fellini

Choose Love

“There is abundant testimony that if we choose love rather than self, we gain immeasurably.”
― Federico Fellini

Cinema Innocence

“Going to the cinema is like returning to the womb; you sit there still and meditative in the darkness, waiting for life to appear on the screen. One should go to the cinema with the innocence of a fetus.”
― Federico Fellini

It's My Way of Telling a Story

“I’m just a storyteller, and the cinema happens to be my medium. I like it because it recreates life in movement, enlarges it, enhances it, distills it. For me, it’s far closer to the miraculous creation of life than, say, a painting or music or even literature. It’s not just an art form; it’s actually a new form of life, with its own rhythms, cadences, perspectives and transparencies. It’s my way of telling a story.”
― Federico Fellini

Fellini on Borges

“Borges is particularly stimulating to a man who works in the cinema, because the unusual thing about his writing is that it is like a dream, extraordinarily farsighted in calling up from the unconscious complete images in which the thing itself, and its meaning, coexist - exactly as happens in a film. And, just as happens in dreams, in Borges the incongruous, the absurd, the contradictory, the arcane and the repetitive, although as powerfully imaginative as ever, are at the same time illumined like the careful details of something larger, something unknown, and are the faultless elements of a cruelly perfect, indifferent mosaic. Even the fact that Borges's work is strangely fragmentary makes me think of a broken dreamlike flow; and the heterogeneous quality of his work - stories, essays, poems - I prefer to see not as the union of the multiple threads in a greedy, impatient talent, but as a mysterious sign of unending change.”
― Federico Fellini


“Ricordati che è un film comico. ['Remember, this a comedy']”
― Federico Fellini


I dreamed my friend Al showed me a gift his friend had made him. It was a 1970's digital clock radio the kind that had numbers on tickets that flop down as time advanced. The whole inside of the radio had been stripped and replaced with a hollowed-out potato that had a small surveillance camera inside of it. "Look at that," Al said, "Brilliant!"

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sparkling City of Woonsocket

This morning on my walk I had to stop and thank the public works guy for his meticulous trash pick up. "Thank you," I said, I know this is your job but I want to thank you because what you are doing makes a difference in my life. I walk everywhere and the city looks gorgeous."
"Thank you. It's about good leadership. It comes from the top," he said.
"I agree, we have a great Mayor. And when the city looks good we all stand up straighter," I said.
"You made my day," he said.
"And you made mine," I said, continuing my downtown walk.

On The Cusp

We are on the cusp of what the World Health Organization calls a “post-antibiotic era.”

Happiness is Making Food

I just took my five pounds of potatoes and made German Potato salad in my Presto pressure cooker and then I mixed up a bucket of coleslaw. I hope to make a lemon peanut soy sauce and hot sauce dressing for cubed chicken, to be eaten with these other foods. When I am insatiably hungry I need to cook in advance of mealtime. This way I know there will be food ready and that it will last for a few days.

Big Blue Swing

Listen to this.

John Kerry

Diplomacy requires creativity, patience and commitment to a steady grind, often away from the spotlight.

Stephen King

"Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around." This Stephen King quote reappraises the relative values of life and art and challenges you to rethink the role of art in your life. And if you're an artist or writer, it means even more: Don't live for the sake of your art; create art for the sake of your life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

National Protests


Alexis K. Manigo

MIAMI — Alexis K. Manigo closes her eyes to sleep and sees images of her mother.

She recalls the doting mom who took her to zoos, aquariums and SeaWorld, and marvels at how fortunate she was to have a parent who loved her unconditionally.

But those memories are now complicated by an extraordinary drama that has played out over the week since Ms. Manigo, 18, found out that she had been spirited away as newborn from a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., that her real name is Kamiyah Mobley, and that the woman she still thinks of as her mother has been charged with abducting her.


You Never Know

I just saw Gertrude Stein driving a silver Saturn though the intersection. Three poodles wearing pink sweaters were barking and jumping in the back seat. I realized who it was after she had already driven by. You just never know who you're going to see.

Brenda Ueland

“In fact that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all their gifts and ability) for others and never anything for themselves. Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns) though always a little perplexedly and half-heartedly and just to be consoling. The poor wives are reminded that that is just why wives are so splendid -- because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them! But inwardly women know that something is wrong. They sense that if you are always doing something for others, like a servant or nurse, and never anything for yourself, you cannot do others any good. You make them physically more comfortable. But you cannot affect them spiritually in any way at all. For to teach, encourage, cheer up, console, amuse, stimulate or advise a husband or children or friends, you have to be something yourself. [...]"If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say; 'Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!' you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”
― Brenda Ueland

Brenda Ueland

“Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express.”
― Brenda Ueland

“The imagination needs moodling,--long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering. ”
― Brenda Ueland

“I learned...that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”
― Brenda Ueland

“The only good teachers for you are those friends who love you, who think you are interesting, or very important, or wonderfully funny; whose attitude is:
"Tell me more. Tell me all you can. I want to understand more about everything you feel and know and all the changes inside and out of you. Let more come out."

And if you have no such friend,--and you want to write,--well, then you must imagine one. ”
― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

“Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his *true* self and not from the self he thinks he *should* be. ”
― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.”
― Brenda Ueland

Brenda Ueland

“No writing is a waste of time – no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good.”
― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Brenda Ueland

“We have come to think that duty should come first. I disagree. Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first – at least, for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, light-hearted and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear and all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom.”
― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Pathological Narcissists

by Neal Allen


Pathological narcissists do not strategize. Ever. They react. The aim is always self-aggrandizement. Always.

Pathological narcissists lack coping strategies. They know how to dominate and win. Compromise and giving in baffle them.

Pathological narcissists are mean as snakes. Having to always dominate equals doubling down on bullying. They have no other strategy.

Pathological narcissists behave simple-mindedly. Always reactive, they don’t think two moves ahead.

Pathological narcissists don’t like homework. They lack a long-term view.

Pathological narcissists love chaos. They can be the hero.

The rules don’t apply to pathological narcissists. Self-flattery reigns. Ethics and laws lose.

Lacking empathy, pathological narcissists don’t apologize. In effect, they don’t look back.

Pathological narcissists are unpredictable. They think they’re genius mavericks. Not so. They are impulsive and unprincipled.

Pathological narcissists make no mistakes. If something goes south, they create blame blankets. “It’s the lying press!”

A pathological narcissist’s wound doesn’t heal. Anger roils. A cyclone of feeling attacked and seeking revenge spins forever.

To pathological narcissists, anyone who disagrees is an enemy. The response is always the same: contempt and annihilation.

A pathological narcissist doesn’t have a conscience like yours or mine. He lacks a corrective memory. Every thought feels true.

His cabinet will turn over quickly. Pathological narcissists make enemies of friends. He’ll be trapped in his own chaos.

He breaks rules. Not because he’s a businessman, or maverick, or smart. Because he’s a pathological narcissist.

He assumes that others lie as much as he does. Lacking self-reflection, pathological narcissists are projection machines.

He can’t divest his fortune. To him, money equals self-worth. It would be like giving himself away.

Pathological narcissists are the most grandiose. Everything is a blind spot. They have no idea how much they miss.

He’s worldly so he appears normal. He’s not. He doesn’t share our ethics or reality. It’s going to be weird.

Don’t waste time predicting consequences. The one thing you can predict is that it will be weird.

The only way he defines himself: his ratings and his wealth. He idolizes famous and wealthy people. No one else matters.

This isn't a curve, with Truman at one end and Nixon the other. Everyone's narcissistic. Leaders more than others. But Trump is a pathological narcissist. He is crazy. He lives in an alternate reality.

The grandiosity of pathological narcissists is unbounded. They think they have a magic wand.

Pathological narcissists are consistently crazy.

Pathological narcissists don’t mind being crazy in public. They are in their own reality.

Pathological narcissists aren’t, like, really, really, really narcissistic. They're different from you and me. They utterly lack empathy or ethics. They must dominate.

MFK Fisher Quotes

“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“Perhaps this war will make it simpler for us to go back to some of the old ways we knew before we came over to this land and made the Big Money. Perhaps, even, we will remember how to make good bread again.

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...

It does not cost much. It is pleasant: one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with peace, and the house filled with one of the world's sweetest smells. But it takes a lot of time. If you can find that, the rest is easy. And if you cannot rightly find it, make it, for probably there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

“First we eat, then we do everything else.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“When shall we live if not now?”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“I think that when two people are able to weave that kind of invisible thread of understanding and sympathy between each other, that delicate web, they should not risk tearing it. It is too rare, and it lasts too short a time at best....”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

“...for me there is too little of life to spend most of it forcing myself into detachment from it.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

“There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“There are very few men and women, I suspect, who cooked and marketed their way through the past war without losing forever some of the nonchalant extravagance of the Twenties. They will feel, until their final days on earth, a kind of culinary caution: butter, no matter how unlimited, is a precious substance not lightly to be wasted; meats, too, and eggs, and all the far-brought spices of the world, take on a new significance, having once been so rare. And that is good, for there can be no more shameful carelessness than with the food we eat for life itself When we exist without thought or thanksgiving we are not men, but beasts.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

“Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they've lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat - and drink! - with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, Serve It Forth

“I cannot count the good people I know who, to my mind, would be even better if they bent their spirits to the study of their own hungers.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

“A writing cook and a cooking writer must be bold at the desk as well as the stove.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

“Like most humans, I am hungry...our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it...”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me

“All men are hungry. They always have been. They must eat, and when they deny themselves the pleasures of carrying out that need, they are cutting off part of their possible fullness, their natural realization of life, whether they are poor or rich.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

Reach Hearts

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”
― Maya Angelou

How Can I?

“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”
― Maya Angelou


“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”
― Maya Angelou


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”
― Maya Angelou


“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
― Maya Angelou

Nothing to Prove

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
― Maya Angelou


“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
― Maya Angelou

Beauty and Strength

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
- Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― From I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

“I don’t know about lying for novelists. I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth. The fact is they’re using made-up names, made-up people, made-up places, and made-up times, but they’re telling the truth about the human being—what we are capable of, what makes us lose, laugh, weep, fall down, and gnash our teeth and wring our hands and kill each other and love each other.”

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
― From I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”

“We need to remember that we are all created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”

“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.”

maya-angelou-writing“Words are things… Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.”

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

“I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”

“Poetry puts starch in your backbone so you can stand, so you can compose your life.”

“Making a decision to write was a lot like deciding to jump into a frozen lake.”

“When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for wate it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.”

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

— Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

. “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”
- Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”
― Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

“I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
― Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
― Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That's why we paint, that's why we dare to love someone- because we have the impulse to explain who we are. Not just how tall we are, or thin but who we are internally perhaps even spiritually. There's something, which impels us to show our inner-souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.
- Maya Angelou

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


You already have the precious mixture that will make you well.
Use it.
– Rumi


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

Finding the Similarity

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.”
― Meryl Streep

The Power of Empathy

The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.
― Meryl Streep

William Stafford: Poetry is Everywhere


Is poetry a way “to bring strangers together,” as you imply in your poem “Passwords”?


I remember writing that poem. I like to say things like that to see whether they’ll fly. That poem didn’t come out of conviction. It was more like an experiment: how do I feel about this? Well, I think language does bring us together. Fragile and misleading as it is, it’s the best communication we’ve got, and poetry is language at its most intense and potentially fulfilling. Poems do bring people together. And not just the people who come to a workshop. But everybody—they are addicts of poetry without knowing it. Walking down the street, someone comes out of church and says, Oh, Bill, hello, been writing? How come people don’t pay any attention to poetry these days? When they’ve just been in church with hundreds of people reciting the Psalms in responsive readings, singing the songs, responding to the rhymes in the hymns. They are addicted to it. They’re victims of it. And yet they come out and say, How come people aren’t interested in poetry? It’s because they’ve compartmentalized their minds. Maybe it’s our fault that they feel that poems only appear in literary magazines. Poetry is everywhere. Here I am preaching about it. Oh yes, I think it brings people together. When they go to church and they hear, Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, and so on, they’re into poetry.
- William Stafford, Paris Review Interview

William Stafford


Do you have a sense of having accomplished what you set out to do?


No. Not at all. This may sound brutal, but I don’t cherish the poems that are done. I cherish the poems that are coming. I’d sacrifice all the poems of the past for whatever is coming up. It’s not a feeling of either satisfaction, or progress, or defending them. As far as I’m concerned, they’re in the world to make a living for themselves if they can do it. I’m not going to do anything for them.

- William Stafford, Paris Review Interview

William Stafford


I remember a statement of yours about not being interested in master-disciple relationships.


Yes, I have a feeling that art is something you do yourself, and that any time you turn the decisions over to someone else you’re postponing, at best, your own development. The atmosphere of the workshop should be that of trying out one’s own work and accepting the signals from others but not accepting the dictation of others because that is a violation of the spirit of art. Art can’t be done by somebody else, it has got to be done by the artist.

- William Stafford, Paris Review Interview

William Stafford

There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough.
― William Stafford

A Journal

“Keep a journal, and don't assume that your work has to accomplish anything worthy: artists and peace-workers are in it for the long haul, and not to be judged by immediate results.”
― William Stafford, Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War

A Process

“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.”
― William Stafford

They Dance

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music
― William Stafford


“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.”
― William Stafford

William Stafford

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider---
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give---yes or no, or maybe---
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

― William Stafford

William Stafford

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

― William Stafford

William Stafford


It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That's why we wake
and look out - no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

― William Stafford, The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press)

William Stafford

An Afternoon in the Stacks

Closing the book, I find I have left my head
inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open
their beautiful spaces and give a rustling sound,
words adjusting themselves to their meaning.
Long passages open at successive pages. An echo,
continuous from the title onward, hums
behind me. From in here the world looms,
a jungle redeemed by these linked sentences
carved out when an author traveled and a reader
kept the way open. When this book ends
I will pull it inside-out like a sock
and throw it back in the library. But the rumor
of it will haunt all that follows in my life.
A candleflame in Tibet leans when I move.

― William Stafford, The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems

Monday, January 16, 2017

Words Matter

LOUDER TOGETHER Writers Resist and unite.

Anne Lamott: Grace Bats Last

When people we can't live without die, everyone likes to quote John Donne, "Death be not proud." Yeah yeah yeah, thank you for sharing. My father died of brain cancer when he was seven years younger than I am now. He was my closest person. I did not love it. My best friend died years ago, leaving behind an 18 month old daughter. She was my closest person. I did not love it, or agree to it, and just barely survived it.

My darling friend Ann Brebner passed away early Friday. (You were so incredibly generous to donate to the fund for her home-care. Your generosity has given me such huge abiding hope in Goodness and miracles. We were down to almost no money. She accidentally spent her life creating and directing plays, loving us crazily, laughing and listening to music, giving to charity, instead of investing.)

Maybe this passing seems less death-y, as she was 93. But believe me, she had done the dying part, the closing-up-shop part, the leaving-us part, just like everyone has to do. It's death 101 for everyone here on the incarnational side of things: we do it with no owner's manual (Death for Dummies?) , and at the end, alone. If I were God's West Coast representative, I would have a different system in place, i.e. less mysterioso Ouija board enigma. More grok-able My grandson stood nearby her at church as she sometimes painstakingly got out of our car. He always called her Ann Brevner, one word. "Hi, Annbrevner!" I told him Friday night that she had passed, and his mouth dropped open. "AnnBREVNER died?" he asked. Then, "I wonder what that's like? Dying?"

So I thought I would tell you what I know, because this thing, this aspect of reality, this weird scary aspect of life, can just wreck everything if you don't figure out at some point that it is what makes life so profound, meaningful, rich, complex, wild. If you try to outrun this existential truth, with manic achievement and people-pleasing and exotic distractions, it begins to argue a wasted life. Everyone we love--and I am just going to add, in a whisper, even our children and nieces and nephews--will die. They will no longer be here, on this side of eternity. We Christians see death as just being a fairly significant change of address, but still, our most cherished people will no longer be here, to have and to hold, or reach by phone.

This can kind of ruin everything. When my son was little, he asked if we would die at the exact same moment. When I said, No, probably not, he wept, and then said, "If I had known that, I wouldn't have agreed to be born."

Do you want to have instant meaning and incentive and almost heartbreaking appreciation in your life? Live, starting now--as if you have three months left. At some point, this will true. Tick tock.

But won't death be scary? Annbrevner's wasn't. Just weird. Her death, like every passing I have witnessed, was beautiful, gentle, sometimes hard and confusing, and completely doable. At some point, for almost everyone, it is like being in labor. Especially if, like me, dilated 7 centimeters after 24 hours of labor, you realized you didn't like children. But in both cases, birth and death, something beautiful is coming. Ram Dass said death would be like FINALLY getting to take off the too-small shoes we had been wearing our entire lives. Think of that. Getting to rub those sore arches and wiggle those baby toes, after all these year feeling cramped, like Chinese foot bound women, tiptoeing to minimize the pain.

But back to my grandson's question, of what dying will be like, and why, I don't think you need to be afraid:

So many people will surround you, your dearest family and friends, both the quick and the death--Ann's father, who died fifty years ago was with her; her son who died last year was with her. And we were with her, encouraging and allowing her to be real, to share her deepest thoughts and and fears about what was happening to her, and how annoying life (and we) could be. The most important you can do if someone is dying? Show up; listen; nod.

And maybe even more important, we shared with each other our worries, memories, sorrow, impatience, and anxiety about the process, how much more, and much sooner, we could have done this or that. We showed up, we listened to each other, we told others how much we hated everything, and how much we loved each other, we listened some more, we nodded, and put the kettle on for tea.

We let each other complain and not know what we were doing. We tried to remember what we DID know: that the great cosmic Something had always been there before. That the Divine It had brought us and our beloved ones through ghastly loss, disappointment, and failure, against all odds. That crying and grieving heal us, cleanse us, baptize us, moisturize us, water the seeds hidden deep in the ground at our feet.

Our pastor came to anoint her the day before she died, not knowing if Ann's home-going was an hour or a month away. Hospice was on hand to help with the pain. (If you know your person is dying, call Hospice. Once Hospice is on board, almost everything will sort itself out, I promise you--everything. Secret of life.

Every single person I have loved and lost had us around--their most beloved--and had Hospice, had the richest most astonishing love and sense of safety at the end. They had peace, like a river. Even if their death was sudden, Grace always bats last. They got to take off the tight shoes. They got their Get Out of Jail Free card.

And after they died, stopped breathing and grew cold, we were there, to tend to their bodies in the holy sacrament of bathing and dressing them. Don't rush any of this. Stay with the body so you can see that it no longer holds them, their life, spirit, soul, breath: now eternity does. Choose the perfect socks for those feet that carried them through their astonishing, hard, weird, precious lives.

Death? Be as proud as you want: bore me later, because Love is sovereign here. Life never ends. Joy comes in the morning. Glory hallelujah. And let it be so.
- Anne Lamott

Books: Obama's Secret to Survival


President Obama

I think that what one of the jobs of political leaders going forward is, is to tell a better story about what binds us together as a people. And America is unique in having to stitch together all these disparate elements — we’re not one race, we’re not one tribe, folks didn’t all arrive here at the same time.

What holds us together is an idea, and it’s a story about who we are and what’s important to us. And I want to make sure that we continue that.

- President Barack Obama


Thank you, Paul Krugman

Congress will be much more likely to stand up to a rogue, would-be authoritarian executive if its members realize that they will face a political price if they act as his enablers.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Redemptive Power of Love

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from "Loving Your Enemies")”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.


“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Content of their Character

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

As Brothers

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Infinite Hope

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

True Education

“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

In the Darkness

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

So Low

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.


“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

A Testament of Hope

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Injustice Anywhere

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

At Peace

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

A Soul

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Ultimate Measure

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.


“Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

Martin Luther King Jr.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Henry David Thoreau

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

Each Season

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden


“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden


“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
― Henry David Thoreau


“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Henry David Thoreau

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Rabih Alameddine

“One reason we desire explanations is that they separate us and make us feel safe.”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

By Leaving

“By remaining constrained in one's environment or country or family, one has little chance of being other than the original prescription. By leaving, one gains a perspective, a distance of both space and time, which is essential for writing about family or home, in any case.”
― Rabih Alameddine, I, The Divine: A Novel in First Chapters


“I slipped into art to escape life. I sneaked off into literature.”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Live for Art

“I thought every person should live for art, not just me, and furthermore, why would I want to be normal? Why would I want to be stupid like everyone else?”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman


“I was a lonely boy. I spent all my time reading books and watching the world. [some] tried to draw me out at first, but their hearts weren't in it. And after all, they had enough troubles of their own.”
― Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati

Rabih Alameddine

“There is none more conformist than one who flaunts his individuality.”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Let the Wall Crumble

“When I read a book, I try my best, not always successfully, to let the wall crumble just a bit, the barricade that separates me from the book. I try to be involved.
I am Raskalnikov. I am K. I am Humbert and Lolita.
I am you.
If you read these pages and think I'm the way I am because I lived through a civil war, you can't feel my pain. If you believe you're not like me because one woman, and only one, Hannah, chose to be my friend, then you're unable to empathize.”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Rabih Alameddine

“Beirut is the Elizabeth Taylor of cities: insane, beautiful, falling apart, aging, and forever drama laden. She'll also marry any infatuated suitor who promises to make her life more comfortable, no matter how inappropriate he is.”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Disregarding the Chaos

“I wonder if being sane means disregarding the chaos that is life, pretending only an infinitesimal segment of it is reality.”
― Rabih Alameddine, Koolaids: The Art of War

Rabih Alameddine

“I believe one has to escape oneself to discover oneself.”
― Rabih Alameddine, I, The Divine: A Novel in First Chapters

Stories We Tell Ourselves

“What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.”
― Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati

A Piping-Hot Tale

“By nature, a storyteller is a plagiarist. Everything one comes across--each incident, book, novel, life episode, story, person, news clip--is a coffee bean that will be crushed, ground up, mixed with a touch of cardamom, sometimes a tiny pinch of salt, boiled thrice with sugar, and served as a piping-hot tale.”
― Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati

Rabih Alameddine

“I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books.”
― Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Paul Hawken

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.”
― Paul Hawken

“The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn't make sense to be hopeful.”
― Paul Hawken

“The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.”
― Paul Hawken

“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy.”
― Paul Hawken

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”
― Paul Hawken

“Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would become religious overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night, and we watch television.”
― Paul Hawken

Cyclothymia Defined

Mayo Clinic

Mike Bernofsky

I use the gym as a stress reliever and therapy. Whether I am having a good or bad day, I can go to the gym and just focus on myself, almost go into a meditative state while I clear my head and relieve stress. I also have a weekly yoga practice that is a great way to relieve stress, clear my mind and learn about the limitations and capabilities of my body.
- Mike Bernofsky

Paul Hawken and Project Drawdown

The Mission:

Project Drawdown is facilitating a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, policy makers, business leaders and activists to assemble and present the best available information on climate solutions in order to describe their beneficial financial, social and environmental impact over the next thirty years.

The Vision:

Drawdown creates a realistic, optimistic and empowering view of our climate future. There are three paths to drawdown: reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere through efficiency and resource productivity; replace existing energy sources with low carbon renewable energy; and bio-sequester carbon dioxide through innovative farming, grazing and reforestation practices.

Scientists have done an extraordinary job determining the impacts of what will happen if we don’t act to mitigate climate change. Now is the time to measure and calculate how we are responding so that we can amplify that response.

The climate “debate” today is similar to a decade ago. On one hand, the science is robust and unequivocal. Those who grasp the science are increasingly concerned by forecasts. The alarm bells have activated a dedicated core of organizations and activists. On the other hand, because of disinformation, polls show that fewer people are interested in climate science than ten years ago. The majority of Americans are confused or unsure of what to do. Thoughts about climate change understandably provoke feelings of fear, loss and threat. In order to mobilize larger portions of the population into constructive action and voting, this needs to change. Showing the diverse and beneficial implications of climate-focused solutions is key to reversing apathy.

To date, the full range and impact of climate solutions have not been explained in a way that bridges the divide between urgency and agency. Thus the aspirations of people who want to enact meaningful solutions remain largely untapped. Dr. Leon Clark, one of the lead authors of the IPCC 5th Assessment on solutions, wrote, "We have the technologies, but we really have no sense of what it would take to deploy them at scale." Together, let’s figure it out.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jon Mooallem

“I was relieved not to find yet another crabby and wounded ex-environmentalist, and I asked her how she was managing to live in a world that she found so discouraging. The answer wasn't reassuring. She told me about the Taoists in ancient China. "They looked around and saw they were facing the same situation, a world that was disintegrating around them. And they realized the best thing to do is do as little as possible. Don't feed any new energy into a system that's falling apart, because you don't know what that energy will wind up being spit back as." Rather than try to change society, it's better to retreat.”
― Jon Mooallem, Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America

Marya Hornbacher

“Eating disorders are addictions. You become addicted to a number of their effects. The two most basic and important: the pure adrenaline that kicks in when you're starving—you're high as a kite, sleepless, full of a frenetic, unstable energy—and the heightened intensity of experience that eating disorders initially induce. At first, everything tastes and smells intense, tactile experience is intense, your own drive and energy themselves are intense and focused. Your sense of power is very, very intense. You are not aware, however, that you are quickly becoming addicted.”
― Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia


“The anoretic operates under the astounding illusion that she can escape the flesh, and, by association, the realm of emotions.”
― Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia