Monday, November 29, 2010

Oscar Wilde

There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the better.
-Oscar Wilde

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.
-Oscar Wilde

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
-Oscar Wilde

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
-Oscar Wilde

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
-Oscar Wilde

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
-Oscar Wilde

I can resist everything except temptation.
-Oscar Wilde

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
-Oscar Wilde

Winter Apples

I love to go to the orchard and gather abandoned apples in my painting apron and eat them while sitting under the apple tree in the bare sunshine. Lily loves them too.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Family of Gray Cats

I returned to the cemetery on my walk with Lily. Two of the long-haired gray cats were huddled behind the cemetery garage, and a very curious and bold squirrel was watching to see if I was going to put more cat food out. One cat ran away, but I was able to pick up the other one. I tried to put her in my canvas bag as Lily was barking. The cat crawled up my head, jumped down, and ran to the dead tree on the cliff over the road. I grabbed her and clutched her to my chest, determined to rescue her. Lily was fine once we were walking, and the cat was okay but meowing. We walked the mile back to my house. The cat was happy to hang out in the cat carrier in the living room, curled up on a towel and sitting in the sun.

I took Lily back out and looked for the other two cats. Lily sniffed in the storm drain and got her nose bopped by a cat's claw. There was a drop of blood on her cheek among her whiskers. She didn't bark, but the mother cat, hiding in the storm drain, was hissing. I looked and spotted the other cat near a groundhog hole. I reached for her and she ran into the hole. Duh! I knew I wouldn't be able to get them out. The sun was setting, and they were now safe and relatively warm. I poured cat kibble into the groundhog hole and the storm drain. The dish of water was still out. I'll bring more food and check on them again today. I know that squirrel will be waiting.

John O'Donohue

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
-John O'Donohue

Our Light

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
-Marianne Williamson

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black White Blue Gray

My favorite cow Blue is in the maternity barn at Wright's Dairy Farm. She is all white with a specked blue-black neck and black eyeliner and black nostrils. We visited her and noticed she has black eyebrows that look drawn on, just like MFK Fisher's on the back of her book Long Ago in France. All seven of the maternity barn cows were lying down waiting to have their calves.

On our walk with Lily through the cemetery yesterday afternoon we spotted a family of gray long-haired cats huddled in the doorway of the Berard mausoleum. They must have just been dropped off. When we got home I called all of the local cat rescues, but there were no takers. Around 6PM I called Marissa, who manages Countryside Vet Clinic in Wrentham. She met me on my street and we drove through the cemetery slowly. It was dark and cold. In the headlights I saw one of the gray kittens walk over and curl up under a bush. The cat was friendly and sweet and didn't mind being picked up and held. She was shivering. She didn't even mind being placed in my large green cat carrier. I'll bet these cats were apartment cats and had never been outside their whole lives. We did not find any of the others; I hope they're okay. I will look for them today in the daylight. This one is now safe and warm at the vet clinic. Bill calls her Berard.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

John Cage

When I hear what we call music, it seems to me that someone is talking. And talking about his feelings, or about his ideas of relationships. But when I hear traffic, the sound of traffic—here on Sixth Avenue, for instance—I don't have the feeling that anyone is talking. I have the feeling that sound is acting. And I love the activity of sound [...] I don't need sound to talk to me.
-John Cage

It was at Harvard not quite forty years ago that I went into an anechoic [totally silent] chamber not expecting in that silent room to hear two sounds: one high, my nervous system in operation, one low, my blood in circulation. The reason I did not expect to hear those two sounds was that they were set into vibration without any intention on my part. That experience gave my life direction, the exploration of nonintention. No one else was doing that. I would do it for us. I did not know immediately what I was doing, nor, after all these years, have I found out much. I compose music. Yes, but how? I gave up making choices. In their place I put the -asking of questions. The answers come from the mechanism, not the wisdom of the I Ching, the most ancient of all books: tossing three coins six times yielding numbers between 1 and 64.
-John Cage, 1990

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.
-John Cage.

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.
-John Cage

Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?
-John Cage

As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency.
-John Cage

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.
-John Cage

Ideas are one thing and what happens is another.
-John Cage

It is better to make a piece of music than to perform one, better to perform one than to listen to one, better to listen to one than to misuse it as a means of distraction, entertainment, or acquisition of "culture."
-John Cage

It's useless to play lullabies for those who cannot sleep.
-John Cage

The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accord with nature, in her manner of operation.
-John Cage

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.
-John Cage

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.
-John Cage

We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life.
-John Cage

We carry our homes within us which enables us to fly.
-John Cage

We need not destroy the past. It is gone.
-John Cage

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frances Moore Lappé

I've grown certain that the root of all fear is that we've been forced to deny who we are.
-Frances Moore Lappé

My whole mission in life is to help us find the power we lack to create the world we want.
-Frances Moore Lappé

The act of putting into your mouth what the earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the earth.
-Frances Moore Lappé

Hope is not what we find in evidence. It is what we become in action.
-Frances Moore Lappé

Recent science shows that when we observe an action it affects our brains, via "mirror neurons," as if we ourselves were acting. It literally changes us. So, in a basic sense, seeing courage in action can actually makes us braver . . . one person's courage has such unpredictable power.
-Frances Moore Lappé

Loretta LaRoche

This Thanksgiving celebrate the now of chow! Lets take ourselves a little less seriously and lighten up!

-Loretta LaRoche

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peace Happens

Peace happens one meal, one song and one story at a time.


Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
-Abraham Lincoln


I just got Scattershot A memoir of my bipolar family by David Lovelace from library. An amazing book. The author is also a poet.


I've discovered I LOVE generic coffee! Stop and Shop breakfast blend for 2.99 a can, the Tetley Tea equivalent of coffee. Sadly, I can't enjoy tea anymore. For some reason (histamine allergies?) it tumbles my tummy. But I am lovin' simple coffee - no sugar and skim milk so you can taste the coffee. I told Bill it's the kind they make at McDonald's, Burger King, all gas stations, and all the Cub Scout & PTA & AA meetings. What some people call bad boring coffee I love!!! To me it tastes like hot cocoa but better because it's not sugary.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anne Tyler

For me, writing something down was the only road out.
-Anne Tyler

What I hope for from a book - either one that I write or one that I read - is transparency. I want the story to shine through. I don't want to think of the writer.
-Anne Tyler

I've always thought a hotel ought to offer optional small animals. I mean a cat to sleep on your bed at night, or a dog of some kind to act pleased when you come in. You ever notice how a hotel room feels so lifeless?
-Anne Tyler

If I waited till I felt like writing, I'd never write at all.
-Anne Tyler

In real life I avoid all parties altogether, but on paper I can mingle with the best of them.

-Anne Tyler

I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get.
-Anne Tyler

It's true that writing is a solitary occupation, but you would be surprised at how much companionship a group of imaginary characters can offer once you get to know them.
-Anne Tyler

I write because I want more than one life; I insist on a wider selection. It’s greed, plain and simple. When my characters join the circus, I’m joining the circus. Although I’m happily married, I spent a great deal of time mentally living with incompatible husbands.
-Anne Tyler

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love.

-Turkish Proverb

Word Salad

I love this term...word's a psych term.

Word salad is a mixture of random words that, while arranged in phrases that appear to give them meaning, actually carry no significance. A famous example is Noam Chomsky's phrase, "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously". People who suffer from this affliction attempt to communicate their idea, but the random words come out instead. Often, the person is unaware that he or she did not make sense.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Marianne Moore

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.

-Marianne Moore

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thich Nhat Hanh

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Henri Nouwen

The man who can articulate the movements of his inner life, who can give names to his varied experiences, need no longer be a victim of himself, but he is able slowly and consistently to remove the obstacles that prevent the spirit from entering.
-Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

Thich Nhat Hanh

Everyday we do things, we are things that have to do with peace. If we are aware of our life..., our way of looking at things, we will know how to make peace right in the moment, we are alive.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos - the trees, the clouds, everything.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace.It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

We must not be attached to a view or a doctrine, even a Buddhist one. . . The Buddha said that if in a certain moment or place you adopt something as the absolute truth, and you attach to that, then you will no longer have any chance to reach the truth.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Even when the truth comes and knocks on your door, and asks you to open the door, you won't recognize it. So you must not be too attached to dogma--to what you believe, and to what you perceive.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

You who are journalists, writers, citizens, you have the right and duty to say to those you have elected that they must practice mindfulness, calm and deep listening, and loving speech. This is a universal thing, taught by all religions.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Claude Monet

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
-Claude Monet

George Carlin

It always seemed to me that the reasons groups came together were superficial. The group didn't feed me and I had nothing to contribute to it. I had a deeper goal, this giant puzzle to work on, which was only going to happen if they left me alone. The aloneness of the stage makes groups irrelevant. Few things dramatize the face-off between loner and group more starkly than the artist before the audience. And there’s no irony here. If this loner can't get the audience to act as a group - laugh together - he’s fucked.
-George Carlin

The worst thing about groups are their values. Traditional values, American values, family values, shared values, OUR values. Just code for white middle-class prejudices and discrimination, justification for greed and hatred. I believe in giving everyone, as I encounter them one at a time, the full value of their dignity and their honor in the world. Whether I’m seen as a celebrity on an elevator or I’m just George the stranger, I open myself to them and I take them in and I give them everything I would want myself in terms of treatment, feeling and consideration. I call that a value.
-George Carlin

I had a left-wing, humanitarian, secular humanist, liberal inclination on the one hand, which implied positions on myriad issues. On the other I had prejudices and angers and hatreds towards various classes of people, none of which included skin color or ethnicity or religion. Well - religion, yes. I used to get angry at blue-collar right-wingers but that passed because I saw that in the end they were just a different sort of victim.
-George Carlin

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dog Mountain

Lily has a boyfriend! He's Jake, the black Labrador. He runs like the wind, like Honey used to, and he loves tennis balls. Jake has an extra long tongue like Gene Simmons. He really slimes up the ball. His master lives nearby. We occasionally run into each other at the Pothier monument in the cemetery and run the dogs. The monument sits on a small hill in the middle of the cemetery. It's our own version of Dog Mountain, in view of the city and the reservoir and the setting sun. I have offered to dog-sit Jake if his owner is ever in a pinch.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Last night my painting "Eggs" sold at the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative Ten by Ten show.

You can view this painting here.

Roland Barthes

Literature is the question minus the answer.

-Roland Barthes

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut

Every successful creative person creates with an audience of one in mind. That's the secret of artistic unity. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
-Kurt Vonnegut

Maxine Hong Kingston

Abraham Lincoln is a 'mother' of our country. He talks about this wonderful woman walking through the battlefields with her beard and shawl. I find that so freeing, that we don't have to be constrained to being just one ethnic group or one gender-- both [Woolf and Williams] make me feel that I can now write as a man, I can write as a black person, as a white person; I don't have to be restricted by time and physicality.
-Maxine Hong Kingston

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prosperity Poverty

Prosperity without freedom is just another form of poverty.
-Barack Obama

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Loathe and Love

I loathe and love all seasons. Life in one eye, death in the other.

Being Buddies

The whole idea that cats and dogs are enemies, I don't know where that comes from exactly. It's just that when dogs are in a pack, anything that runs away triggers an instinct to hunt, and they do. But they get over it very quickly with cats and form intense friendships. And it goes both ways. Cats can fall madly in love with a specific dog: sleep with the dog—eat with the dog, cuddle with the dog, walk with the dog. And there's something about that that will never cease to give me joy: to see two members of alien species being buddies. There's something intensely wonderful about that. I like it when we do it, and I like it when they do it.
-Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Daniel Asa Rose

Only in America can you drive all night and change your landscape from lobster village to alligator swamp, skirting great gashes of canyons and riding the ridges of purple mountain majesties with the Beach Boys making sense in every time zone.
-Daniel Asa Rose

Monday, November 08, 2010

Teaching in the Face of Fear

If we want to improve the quality of college teaching, a million workshops on methodology will not be enough. Good teaching does not come from technique. It comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher. If we want to teach well, we must learn more about the human dimensions of our craft-about the inward sources of our teaching, about the claims it makes on our lives, about our relations with our students, about a teacher's wounds and powers.
-Parker J. Palmer

Carlos Castenada

We are going to face infinity, whether we like it or not. Why do it when we are weak, broken, at the moment of dying. Why not when we are strong. Why not now?
-Carlos Castaneda

I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
-Carlos Castaneda

The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.
-Carlos Castaneda

A warrior considers himself already dead, so there is nothing to lose. The worst has already happened to him, therefore he’s clear and calm; judging him by his acts or by his words, one would never suspect that he has witnessed everything.
-Carlos Castaneda

The Locksmith

Once there lived a metalworker, a locksmith, who was unjustly accused of crimes and was sentenced to a deep, dark prison. After he had been there awhile, his wife who loved him very much went to the King and beseeched him that she might at least give him a prayer rug so he could observe his five prostrations every day.

The King considered that a lawful request, so he let the woman bring her husband a prayer rug. The prisoner was thankful to get the rug from his wife, and every day he faithfully did his prostrations on the rug. Much later, the man escaped from prison, and when people asked him how he got out, he explained that after years of doing his prostrations and praying for deliverance from the prison, he began to see what was right in front of his nose.

One day he suddenly saw that his wife had woven into the prayer rug the pattern of the lock that imprisoned him. Once he realized this and understood that all the information he needed to escape was already in his possession, he began to make friends with his guards. He also persuaded the guards that they all would have a better life if they cooperated and escaped the prison together. They agreed since, although they were guards, they realized that they were in prison, too. They also wished to escape, but they had no means to do so. So the locksmith and his guards decided on the following plan: they would bring him pieces of metal, and he would fashion useful items from them to sell in the marketplace. Together they would amass resources for their escape, and from the strongest piece of metal they could acquire, the locksmith would fashion a key.

One night, when everything had been prepared, the locksmith and his guards unlocked the prison and walked out into the cool night where his beloved wife was waiting for him. He left the prayer rug behind so that any other prisoner who was clever enough to read the pattern of the rug could also make his escape. Thus, the locksmith was reunited with his loving wife, his former guards became his friends, and everyone lived in harmony. Love and skillfulness prevailed.

-A traditional Sufi teaching story told by Idries Shah

If You Can See

If you can see, look.
If you can look, observe.

-The Book of Exhortations.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


I am changed by knowing more, and seeing deeper, but the change only happens over time, and is subtle.

Marge Piercy

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.
-Marge Piercy

Natalie Babbitt

I learned three valuable things from observing my husband's and sister's forays into the writer's world: You have to give writing your full attention. You have to like the revision process. And you have to like to be alone. But it was years before I put any of this to good use.

-Natalie Babbitt

I write for children because I am interested in fantasy and the possibilities for experience of all kinds before the time of compromise. I believe that children are far more perceptive and wise than American books give them credit for being.

-Natalie Babbitt

Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.
-Flannery O'Connor

Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.
-Flannery O'Connor

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
-Flannery O'Connor

Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.
-Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Alice Miller

Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery of the truth about the unique history of our childhood.
-Alice Miller

There is one taboo that has withstood all the recent efforts at demystification: the idealization of mother love.
-Alice Miller

Michael Levine

Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.

-Michael Levine

The Courage to Teach

We need the little child to walk up and down the halls of our schools and say, 'The emperor has no clothes.' This isn't education--this may look like education, we may have conned ourselves into thinking this is education--but it isn't, and at some level we all know it.

-Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

Four AM

Poetry is my intermittent lover at 4 am when the words are edible and my mind is hungry.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pierre Delattre

I believe that the divine is in the ordinary, the sacred in the commonplace.
-Pierre Delattre

Marya Hornbacher

I think writers return and return to places, maybe a little obsessively, in their work. I don’t know why they do. I don’t know why some writers are so deeply immersed in place, and keep trying to describe the place they’re in and bring the reader into it with them and show them what it’s like and make them feel the place for themselves. I’m one of these weirdly place-centric writers. It bothers me when I can’t find myself in a place in my work; it makes me feel like I leave the reader floating in midair, unable to see or sense their surroundings, and it makes me very uneasy. So I keep coming back to places. One of them is obviously northern Minnesota, and I’m not sure why; it just absorbs me and I want to take people here. Though I’m not from here originally, I spent long spells of my childhood here, driving north on Highway 10 through cornfields and fields of sugar beet, to visit relatives who were loud and a little scary but fascinating, the same relatives who morphed into characters in my novel—and now they’re doing it again.

People ask me often if the characters in my fiction are me, or my family, or people I know. The answer is no; they are people who have taken on a life of their own, emerging mostly from names that pop into my head, names or features of people familiar to me, but who walk away from their starting point and take on form and substance totally unknown to me until they write themselves down. It’s an eerie process, and I don’t particularly like it; fiction is awfully amorphous and dictates itself according to its own interior logic. Not knowing how it will go until it goes there is a deeply unsettling process, and very uncertain, and it seems like you’re feeling around in the dark for a thing, and you don’t find it till it’s found.
-Marya Hornbacher

Stephen Huneck

I am a hand-carver, I love the texture you can only get by hand.
-Stephen Huneck

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dogs Eyes

Learning about dogs can be practice for learning about ourselves. Some people study horoscopes, I study dog traits. I have loved all of my dogs (although not equally), and over time my insight and capacity for love has evolved. Each dog is a teacher with new lessons. Each dog is unique with special traits and quirks. Learning to honor and respect my dog and learning about her has helped me see the world through her eyes. I try to approach all the people I meet with this stance, and gradually I learn to approach myself this way too. Compassion means "passion with." A dog walk is a good start.

The Inscription

I sent for another copy of my favorite book, Episodes by Pierre Delattre. I have collected many copies over the years and given them to friends. I recently pulled my last copy from my bookshelf and noticed an inscription on the first page: Judy, may we enjoy many magical episodes, at least one more together - Pierre.

Oooh, I am keeping this one.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Humanoid to the Moon

For. . . less than $200 million, along with about $250 million for a rocket - NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston say they can safely send a humanoid robot to the Moon. And they say they could accomplish that in a thousand days.
-NYT November 2, 2010

Monday, November 01, 2010

Go Towards

The other day I saw a white poodle puppy across the street. It was with people but not on a leash. I knew if it saw Lily it would run toward us into the busy street. So I stood for a moment on my high front stairs, obscured by the bushes, knowing the dog hadn't spotted us yet. When the street was clear, I descended the stone stairs and stepped into the road just as the dog darted toward us. In her enthusiasm, Lily flipped the poodle on its back in the middle of the street. The cars saw us and stopped. I walked the unharmed poodle back to its owner, explaining that I had crossed the street toward the dog because I knew the cars wouldn't have been able to see it. The man who owned the dog looked me in the eye and said, "Thank you!" I said, "This happens to me all the time. When I see a dog I go toward it to make sure it doesn't get hit by a car." I feel responsible knowing the dog could get killed crossing the street to meet us. I go toward the disaster to prevent it.

Sandbag Retriever

This morning I took Lily for a run up the hill which warmed me up, we walked towards the sunshine to Cass park baseball field. I chased Lily to keep her running rather than start hunting for goose poop. When I turned around Lily was running with the first base sandbag marker in her mouth! I wish I could have filmed it.

Mahatma Gandhi

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.