Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mohandas Gandhi

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
-Mohandas Gandhi

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
-Mohandas Gandhi

A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.
-Mohandas Gandhi

Paula Vogel

In many ways I think that the topics choose me. It's an interesting thing. When I'm talking about balancing acts, I think there's another balancing act for drama right now. And that's the balancing act between entertainment [and] subjects that hurt us, topics that hurt us. I believe that what theater does best is it creates a community. And I think in recent years, because there's a political climate in this country [in which] the arts feel under attack, there's been a tendency to, in essence, escape in our dramas, and to me, entertainment and political subject matter go hand in hand.
-Paula Vogel


I have never been one of those who cares about happiness. Happiness is a strange notion. I am just not made for it. It has never been a goal of mine; I do not think in those terms.
-Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

We comprehend... that nuclear power is a real danger for mankind, that over-crowding of the planet is the greatest danger of all. We have understood that the destruction of the environment is another enormous danger. But I truly believe that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude. It is as serious a defect as being without memory. What have we done to our images? What have we done to our embarrassed landscapes? I have said this before and will repeat it again as long as I am able to talk: if we do not develop adequate images we will die out like dinosaurs.
-Werner Herzog

Your film is like your children. You might want a child with certain qualities, but you are never going to get the exact specification right. The film has a privilege to live its own life and develop its own character. To suppress this is dangerous. It is an approach that works the other way too: sometimes the footage has amazing qualities that you did not expect.
-Werner Herzog

May I propose a Herzog dictum? Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.
-Werner Herzog

It is my firm belief, and I say this as a dictum, that all these tools now at our disposal, these things part of of this explosive evolution of means of communication, mean we are now heading for an era of solitude. Along with this rapid growth of forms of communication at our disposal— be it fax, phone, email, internet or whatever— human solitude will increase in direct proportion.
-Werner Herzog

Albert Camus

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
-Albert Camus

Alice Miller

Religions were obviously created not by people respected in childhood but by adults starved of respect from childhood on and brought up to obey their parents unswervingly.
-Alice Miller

Alice Miller

Most professionals (but certainly not all of them) resist my writing because they are afraid of feeling their repressed rage that was forbidden in their childhood. Unfortunately, only few of them learned in their training that feeling the legitimate rage in adulthood is not at all dangerous, that it is rather healing instead.
-Alice Miller

My answers to readers over the world became so important because they encouraged people to take seriously what they already knew since ever but did not dare to believe. As there are no cultural differences in the way small children are humiliated, people understand my responses EVERYWHERE, in China as well as in Japan, in Brazil, Spain or Russia. The pain is the same, the fear of the parent is the same, and the denial of the truth is the same. And the ones who dare to leave the prison of denial make the same experience; they become rid of their depressions and other symptoms, step by step, as soon as they dare to live with their truth. Every child, even the most mistreated, needs the illusion of being loved. But adults can give up this illusion if they don't want to pay with a depression for it.
-Alice Miller

John Boyne

I think the best thing you can do is to join a creative writing group. You have to be thick skinned and willing to take criticism but the one thing you get is readers. Strangers. And you learn so much from reading other people’s work. I’ve taught some [creative writing courses] and even teaching them I learn from reading student’s work. And keep writing. If you can pull it off it’s a wonderful world to work in.

-John Boyne

Friday, April 29, 2011


Amazing film we caught on PBS last night.

Duke Ellington

Jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.
-Duke Ellington

I never had much interest in the piano until I realized that every time I played, a girl would appear on the piano bench to my left and another to my right.
-Duke Ellington

Denise Levertov

In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.
-Denise Levertov

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I have been so captivated by watching In Treatment. It has inspired my work with my students. I feel like I am involved with something noble and nourishing at the same time. It doesn't get any better than that, does it? I think the kids can feel that I am with them and I am not scared by their strong emotions. I am trying to show them that art-making is an alchemy they can do to find and claim their power.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

Monday, April 25, 2011

James Fenton

The lullaby is the spell whereby the mother attempts to transform herself back from an ogre to a saint.
-James Fenton

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Lily swam out to fetch sticks in Harris Pond today. I am eager to swim with her! On our way home Armand was poking around in his garden. He had trimmed his raspberry bushes and grapevines to prepare for the season. He gave us lovage, garlic grass, dandelion, and sage to eat. For 16 years I have fantasized about making window boxes with herbs or flowers. Maybe this year I will. I love my herb and vegetable garden but I can't bear to be out in the hot summer sun. I should try gardening by moonlight.

Kahil Gibran

Verily, the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.
-Kahil Gibran

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
-Khalil Gibran

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?
-Khalil Gibran

Leonard Cohen

lyrics by Leonard Cohen

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in with you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

-Leonard Cohen


The essence of a relationship with a guru is love: The guru is a being who awakens incredible love in us, and then uses our love to awaken us out of the illusion of duality.
Ram Dass, Paths To God

Wislawa Szymborska

I apologize to big questions for small answers.
-Wislawa Szymborska

What Does it Mean?

What does it mean to find truth and compassion in a brainwashed corporate culture? We are sandwiched in a tango between robots and apes. Being conscious and conscientious is hard work and often lonely work.

Robert Penn Warren

Everybody knows a thousand stories, but only one cocklebur catches in your fur and that subject is your question. You live with that question. You may not even know what that question is. It hangs around a long time. I've carried a novel as long as 20 years, and some poems longer than that.
-Robert Penn Warren

Anthony Trollope

Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write. But he should so have trained himself that he shall be able to work continuously during those three hours — so have tutored his mind that it shall not be necessary for him to sit nibbling his pen and gazing at the wall before him, till he shall have found the words with which he wants to express his ideas.
-Anthony Trollope

The habit of reading is the only one I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live.
-Anthony Trollope

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ram Dass

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
-Ram Dass

If you think you're free, there's no escape possible.
-Ram Dass

Your problem is you're... too busy holding onto your unworthiness.
-Ram Dass

We’re here to awaken from the illusion of separateness.
-Ram Dass

The Ego is an exquisite instrument. Enjoy it, use it–just don’t get lost in it.
-Ram Dass

It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.
-Ram Dass

Thomas Merton

Silence is the mother of truth.
-Thomas Merton

Tom Shadyac

So you see the discipline of poetry, you see the science discipline from a biologist perspective, you see it from a quantum physicist perspective, you see it from a historians perspective, and an academic’s perspective, and all those things essentially at their heart, say the same thing, they just do it through different stories!
-Tom Shadyac


I dreamed our band leader friend bought Precious Blood Cemetery and turned it into a Christmas Tree Farm. I saw them planting trees but they were all cut at the base and the holes they dug led to graves. The trees will root they said, taking my little tree and attaching it to a tomb. I was haunted by the 4 foot hole that had been dug. The graves in the next row were all visible.

I also dreamed my house had a broad red-carpeted stairwell that I never used. I went in and found an accordion in pieces with the parts laid out carefully. I wondered if I'd ever reassemble it.


Sometimes silence is more powerful than the actual words that are spoken, and silence something that, say, somebody like Harold Pinter or Beckett in the theater really truly understood, that words sometimes are not more powerful than silence.
-Gabriel Byrne

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gabriel Byrne

I had never been in therapy. I had known a few psychotherapists but never actually took part in the process myself. But I understood that it was about listening, and listening, I think, is one of the most profound compliments that you can pay to another person, to truly listen, and to feel that you're heard is deeply fulfilling in a deep human way.
-Gabriel Byrne

I knew it was about that. The thing was how to make drama out of listening, and so therefore television, because it uses the close-up so frequently, allows you to do that, because by some magic alchemy, if you're thinking something or feeling it, the camera will capture it.
-Gabriel Byrne

. . . listening is a really profound thing to do. I mean, we hear sometimes, but we don't actually really listen, and when we start to listen, it's the beginning of a deeper awareness.
-Gabriel Byrne

The challenge of acting is that you don't hear everything just once. You have to hear it several times because you have to do take after take after take, but to constantly be absorbed and to try to be outside yourself so that you're not aware of listening, because really, truly, profoundly listening is to be unaware of yourself at a deep level.
-Gabriel Byrne

Louise Glück

The fantasy exists that once certain hurdles have been gotten through, this art turns much simpler, that inspiration never falters, and public opinion is always affirmative, and there's no struggle, there's no torment, there's no sense that the thing you've embarked on is a catastrophe.
-Louise Glück

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Karl Lagerfeld

I have always joked about making a perfume that smelled of bread baking or dog breath. I think Lagerfeld's book perfume idea is equally good.

Karl Lagerfeld to create fragrance that smells of books

The book-aholic has found the cure for everyone who misses the smell of paper in these digital times: a perfume that smells of books, thanks to a "fatty" olfactory mark.

According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Lagerfeld - who is known for his love of books and says he stocks more than 300,000 of them in his famous personal library - is already working on the fragrance with his publisher of choice, Steidl, which distributes most of the designer's photography books.

FAZ reports that Paper Passion, which will be sold inside a hardcover book with the pages hollowed out to hold the flacon, will be developed with Berlin perfumer Geza Schön, who told the paper that "the fragrance will have a fatty note," probably along the lines of linoleum, and that he was taking his inspiration from the smell of printed and unprinted paper.

For those who can't wait until the perfume comes out, there are several paper-inspired fragrances already on the market, including Demeter's Paperback, Zadig & Voltaire's Tome 1, or Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligons.


Joan Miró

The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later.
-Joan Miró,

For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings.
-Joan Miró

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Paul Theroux

Death is an endless night so awful to contemplate that it can make us love life and value it with such passion that it may be the ultimate cause of all joy and all art.
-Paul Theroux

Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation, and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind.
-Paul Theroux

Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.
-Paul Theroux

I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better.
-Paul Theroux

Gain a modest reputation for being unreliable and you will never be asked to do a thing.
-Paul Theroux

Writing is pretty crummy on the nerves.
-Paul Theroux

Monday, April 18, 2011

Anne Lamott

I love the heady cruelty of spring. The cloud shows in the first weeks of the season are wonderfully adolescent: "I'm happy!" "I'm mad, I'm brooding." "I'm happy -- now I'm going to cry ..." The skies and the weather toy with us, refusing to let us settle back down into the steady sleepy days and nights of winter.
-Anne Lamott


I told her that when you speak up about childhood abuse you may lose your family but you'll gain your life. It's the job of a warrior.

Tell The Truth, and So Make Peace

We tell stories and we listen to stories in order to live. To stay conscious. To connect one with another. To understand consequences. To keep history. To rebuild civilization.
-Maxine Hong Kingston, Veterans of War Veterans of Peace

Blaise Pascal

Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.
(Translation: The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.)
-Blaise Pascal, Pascal's Pensees

We can only know God well when we know our own sin. And those who have known God without knowing their wretchedness have not glorified Him but have glorified themselves.
-Blaise Pascal

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
-Blaise Pascal

If our condition were truly happy, we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy.
-Blaise Pascal

All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
-Blaise Pascal

Man's sensitivity to the little things and insensitivity to the greatest are the signs of a strange disorder.
-Blaise Pascal

Il n'est pas certain que tout soit incertain.
(Translation: It is not certain that everything is uncertain.)
-Blaise Pascal, Pascal's Pensees

When one does not love too much, one does not love enough.
-Blaise Pascal

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?
-Blaise Pascal

Samuel Johnston

True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice.
-Samuel Johnston

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Obi Wan Kenobi

Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?
-Obi Wan Kenobi

Friends Friends Go Away, Come Again Another Day

A friend of mine told me a story about a woman in the California foothills who was a sculptor. When she was working she'd rope off her driveway with a sign, "Friends, friends, go away, come again another day". People who thought it didn't apply to them dropped in anyway, but the sensitive ones who she would have loved to have seen understood she was asking for privacy to do her work, and went away.

This week is school vacation and I am refusing to make plans. I want to enjoy my uninterrupted time. When I want to see people I will step outside where all the neighborhood kids will be playing and the local characters will be enjoying the sun.

Fierce Grace

Last night we watched the film Fierce Grace about Ram Dass by Mickey Lemle. I recommend it.


There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.
-A.J. Muste

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
-Albert Einstein

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
-St. Francis of Assisi

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Charlie Chaplin

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
-Charlie Chaplin

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ellen Hopkins

I write books for young adults because I truly connect with them on some very deep level. They are our hope, our future, and inspiring them to be the best they can be is very important to me.
-Ellen Hopkins

Taking no chances means wasting your dreams.
-Ellen Hopkins, Crank

Mother Theresa

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
-Mother Teresa

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
-Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-Mother Teresa

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
-Mother Teresa

Peace begins with a smile...
-Mother Teresa

I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much.
-Mother Teresa

I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' rather he will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?'
-Mother Teresa

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
-Mother Teresa

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
-Mother Teresa

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
-Mother Teresa

It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
-Mother Teresa

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
-Mother Teresa

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
-Mother Teresa

Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.
-Mother Teresa

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.
-Mother Teresa

May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
-Mother Theresa

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

E. E. Cummings

I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach 10000 stars how not to dance.
-E. E. Cummings

Ernest Hemmingway

When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first.
-Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway may go down in the history books as a hard-drinking, big-fishing, Nobel-Prize-winning writer, but he was also a productivity guru. Throughout his career he often gave advice to young writers and openly talked about his work habits and writing style. Even if you aren’t a writer Hemingway’s tips and tricks can help you increase your productivity.

1. Don’t Waste Words and Be Clear: Hemingway is famous for getting to the point and killing unneeded adjectives. When he was challenged to write a six word story, he wrote “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” Clearly, he knew how to be economical with his words. If you want to get things done you need to exercise the same verbal restraint. Meetings, email exchanges, and conversations often spill into the late afternoon because people employ too many words. Keeping it short, simple, and clear will save time, cut down on confusion, and get everyone back to work.

2. Make a Schedule: Everyday Hemingway would wake up daily at 7am and try to write between 500 to a 1,000 words. The rest of his day he devoted to a combination of fishing, hunting, and drinking. Give yourself a schedule. As Jeanette Winterson, another writer, says, “Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.” Routines and schedules give leaders the ability to be creative and consistent.

3. Quit While You’re Ahead: Hemingway said “The best way [to write] is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.” If you do one task well and you know what to do next, it might help to pause and tackle it the next day. Getting something done every day will increase your confidence and keep momentum going.

4. Keep Your Mouth Shut: According to Hemingway it is bad form for a writer to talk about his work. He said discussing writing takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Don’t discuss your project or new idea until you are certain it is clear and well thought out. Talking about a new proposal or plan too soon can give your competition time to coalesce against your idea. Productivity will suffer if you spend more time talking about your idea instead of committing to it and making it better.

5. Don’t Give Up: Hemingway once told F. Scott Fitzgerald, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” You need to be able to be critical of the work that you do complete. Not everything you do will be perfect. Increased productivity will help you make a lot of progress, but you need to approach it with a critical eye. Don’t get frustrated and give up because you feel you are doing a bad job. Keep producing and moving forward. Eventually you will do one thing very well.

6. Work Standing Up: Hemingway wrote standing up because of a minor leg injury he got in World War I. However, he isn’t alone. Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, and Donald Rumsfeld, among other popular figures chose to stand up while they work. Standing while working can increase productivity by fighting fatigue, napping, and distraction. According to the New York Times, it can also help you lose weight.

7. Lastly, Hemingway said, “Never mistake motion for action”: Leaders have to remember that productivity is about action and getting things done–not running around in circles.

-from The Bachrach Blog

Kate Morgenroth

Favorite Writing Quotes selected by Kate Morgenroth

"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." —Thomas Mann

"Fiction is a little like handwriting. It comes out to be you no matter what you do." —John Updike

A bookseller reported to Publishers Weekly a most unusual complaint from a buyer: "A customer returned The Witches by Roald Dahl because it had witches in it."

"In the writing the good things will come." —James Joyce

"My subjective experience [of writing] is that each day is some fresh hell"—Dorothy Parker

"I don't believe the writer should know too much where he's going. If he does, he runs into old man blueprint." —James Thurber

"Write your own name a hundred time and you will be bored; seven hundred times and you will be exasperated; seven thousand times, and your brains will be reeling in your head. Then you realize that you have only written one—tenth of a new novel, and you will be lucky to escape the madhouse.

And yet you haven't experienced the full of it. Your own name can at least be written down mechanically. You need have no ideas. You can work like a sweated laborer doing piece—work in a factory. But the novelist has to write down different names, nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, reeling across the page. They have to make sense." —T.H. White

"I gave up the idea of trying to show how smart I am. Now I want the language to be transparent, for people to totally forget they're even reading a book." — Dark

Paganini's formula for creativity: "Toil—Solitude—Prayer."

Elmore Leonard was once asked how he managed to keep the action in his books moving so quickly. He said, "I leave out the parts that people skip."

"To write is to sit in judgment on oneself." —Henrik Ibsen

Steve Martin on his novel: "I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."

Jonathan Miles

It took me a year and a half to write Dear American Airlines. I think you have to be in love with your characters, but Bennie is not a character you love. You just need to sit in a room, glue your butt to the chair, and type.
-Jonathan Miles

Barbara Kingsolver

The best research gets your fingers dusty and your shoes dirty, especially because a novel is made of details. I had to know what a place smelled like, what it sounded like. ... There's no substitute for that. I've been steeped in evidence-based truth.
-Barbara Kingsolver

What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do, is re-engage people with their own humanity. Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.
-Barbara Kingsolver

Eudora Welty

My tendency is to believe that all experience is an enrichment instead of an impoverishment.
-Eudora Welty

Leonard Cohen

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
-Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Andy Goldsworthy

I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it's not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn't walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying.
-Andy Goldsworthy

One of the beauties of art is that it reflects an artist's entire life. What I've learned over the past 30 years is really beginning to inform what I make. I hope that process continues until I die.
-Andy Goldsworthy

Charles Fishman

We're very touchy about reusing waste water and I think we need to sort of think differently about that. All the water on earth has been through a dinosaur kidney. Every bottle of Evian you drink from is Tyrannosaurus Rex pee. All the water on earth has been here for 4.5 billion years. It's all toilet-to-tap at some level.
-Charles Fishman

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mark Strand

You don't choose to become something like a poet. You write and you write, and the years go by, and you are a poet.
-Mark Strand

Poetry is about slowing down. You sit and you read something, you read it again, and it reveals a little bit more, and things come to light you never could have predicted.
-Mark Strand

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brave Moon

Brave Moon is amazing. She sings, writes, paints, draws, and dances. Today she read The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories aloud to me during our reading session. I was thinking that next I must show her Edward Gorey and Shel Silverstein and Saul Steinberg. She read me about eight of her poems and I suggested she make a book. She loved the idea and printed out a bunch of the poems on paper. She has about 50 stashed away that she has written over the past year! She found a black binder for her loose-leaf pages. She is totally self motivated and smart. I am just her guide. She is on the healing road. I asked her if she wants to make cover art for the book Yes, she said, Japanese style. When I told her she'd need a head shot for her bio, she unclipped her hair and fluffed it to show me the Anime look she wants for her portrait. She decided to dedicate the book to the girls who can't speak out. She hopes this will help them with their healing. Amen.

Lazy Suppers

My local butcher makes his own sausages each week, and each week I stop in and buy another dozen to try. He has even offered to let me make my own. He makes chicken, turkey, pork, sometimes with spices, cheese, spinach, roasted red peppers, fennel.

I am a lazy cook. Many suppers are made by simmering pre-soaked beans and sausages in a crock pot all day. By suppertime I might add steamed brown rice and kale, and we have a fabulous meal awaiting us.

Brave Moon Sings or The Wound is a Window

I told her we all want to love our parents, it's built in like nursing kittens finding their mother's milk, like a plant on the windowsill growing toward the sun. I told her we all have a magnificent gift, it is so magnificent that we want to give it to our parents, and our parents sometimes want to steal it, but it's never okay it's not even possible. I told her the gift is for her. I told her how much work it will take to regain her gift, she will bloody her knuckles and freeze her toes but it will be worth it. I told her she is a courageous warrior telling her story and singing her songs, her gift will free others struggling to be free.

Dinner Theater

We placed our round dinner table at the picture window
to catch the light and the best view of the house
directly across the street,
three levels of shallow porches
above Rosie's Variety.
Tonight a woman comes out from a middle door,
her hair raven and straight,
her red turtle-neck brighter than a fire engine,
breasts overflowing her bra
as she leans her pale arms over the porch railing
and examines the intersection from above -
four red octagonal stop signs on the street below -
and suddenly she turns and yells through the open window
to someone inside who yells back.
She exits the stage, slamming the wooden door behind her,
rattling its nine panes of glass.
My husband and I look at each other over our finished bowls of beans
and simultaneously say "Dinner Theater."

Paul Theroux

Tourists don't know where they've been; travelers don't know where they're going.
-Paul Theroux

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Lowell Jaeger

An Awakening

by Lowell Jaeger

It’s quiet as death. Till a renegade wolf in the dark
scents his prey. Dances under starlight and howls
a quarter mile away. Chills the forest
a blacker black. You blink. Listen. Stare.
The pulse of your empty house skips a beat.
In the barn, the horses nicker and kick.

The mare is ready to foal. She’s sick
with fear, panting, soaked in sweat.
So you lace your boots and snipe out there
toward the yawning ache of the hungriest
need in you to face whatever prowls
with cleft foot, claws, or Satan’s bark.

Just beyond the fence line you find the track.
Yours are acres the wild wants back.

-Lowell Jaeger, South Dakota Review 2008

Letter To My Daughter

Let's Tell the truth to the people. When people ask "How are you," have the nerve to answer truthfully. You must know however, that people will start avoiding you because they too have knees that pain them and heads which hurt and don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way, if people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for what truly afflicts you.
-Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Maya Angelou

We may act sophisticated and wordly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find a home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.
-Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

The Lanyard

by Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

-Billy Collins

Friday, April 08, 2011


[Elephants are] the animal equivalent of a human, like the dolphins and the whales, and on the same level of intelligence, memory, caring. They’re better than us, because they don’t get corrupted with money. So they’ve got all the good points of humans, like the care, the family relationship, the compassion. Elephants will even help other species in trouble. You just have to stand back and marvel at what absolutely wonderfully intelligent and sophisticated animals they are.

They like playing with their keepers, sitting on them, and showing off for them, and making the men laugh. They’re quite extroverts. They love the audience.

The mud bath. When we open our doors to the public, and they come for just that one hour, and they love showing off in front of the visitors, and causing laughter, and spraying them with mud, and walking up and down. And then charging the kids as though they’re going to---and then, when everyone screams and runs away, they love that. You can literally see them smiling. And then they lie down in front of the children, just to show that they are playing. But they like the reaction of the people, and particularly laughter. They seem to know when humans are happy.
-Dame Daphne Sheldrick

Maxine Hong Kingston

A good strong imagination doesn't go off into some wild fantasy of nowhere. It goes to the truth. It also tells a lot about the talk story tradition, thousands of years of people who passed on history, genealogy, skills by speaking it. And they managed to take this across the ocean and to give it to me.
-Maxine Hong Kingston

I want to figure out a way for those heroes not to use the means of the gun. We know lots of ways of solving, bringing peace with guns and with stockpiles of weapons. And those means we've figured out. I think it's the task of the writer, the thinker, the visionary to find more means, like the ones that Martin Luther King and Ghandi figured out. They were such pioneers, and yet they only figured out a few.
-Maxine Hong Kingston

Thursday, April 07, 2011

In Treatment

I am awe-struck by this fabulously acted and well written fictional mini-series called In Treatment. Check it out. Woonsocket Harris Public Library owns it.

Jacqueline Berger

Why I'm Here

by Jacqueline Berger

Because my mother was on a date
with a man in the band, and my father,
thinking she was alone, asked her to dance.
And because, years earlier, my father
dug a foxhole but his buddy
sick with the flu, asked him for it, so he dug
another for himself. In the night
the first hole was shelled.
I'm here because my mother was twenty-seven
and in the '50s that was old to still be single.
And because my father wouldn't work on weapons,
though he was an atomic engineer.
My mother, having gone to Berkeley, liked that.
My father liked that she didn't eat like a bird
when he took her to the best restaurant in L.A.
The rest of the reasons are long gone.
One decides to get dressed, go out, though she'd rather
stay home, but no, melancholy must be battled through,
so the skirt, the cinched belt, the shoes, and a life is changed.
I'm here because Jews were hated
so my grandparents left their villages,
came to America, married one who could cook,
one whose brother had a business,
married longing and disappointment
and secured in this way the future.

It's good to treasure the gift, but good
to see that it wasn't really meant for you.
The feeling that it couldn't have been otherwise
is just a feeling. My family
around the patio table in July.
I've taken over the barbequing
that used to be my father's job, ask him
how many coals, though I know how many.
We've been gathering here for years,
so I believe we will go on forever.
It's right to praise the random,
the tiny god of probability that brought us here,
to praise not meaning, but feeling, the still-warm
sky at dusk, the light that lingers and the night
that when it comes is gentle.

-Jacqueline Berger, The Gift That Arrives Broken

Donald Barthelme

The principle of collage is the central principle of all art in the 20th century.
-Donald Barthelme

Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, rather because it wishes to be art.
-Donald Barthelme

Writing is a process of dealing with not-knowing, a forcing of what and how.
-Donald Barthelme

We have all heard novelists testify to the fact that beginning a new book, they are utterly baffled as to how to proceed, what should be written and how it might be written, even though they've done a dozen. At best there is a slender intuition, not much greater than an itch. The not-knowing is not simple, because it's hedged about with prohibitions, roads that may not be taken. The more serious the artist, the more problems he takes into account, the more considerations limit his possible initiatives.
-Donald Barthelme

Mr. Barthelme described New York City in the same terms as his own work, ''as a collage, as opposed to a tribal village in which all the huts are the same hut, duplicated. The point of collage is that things are stuck together to create a new reality.
-Donald Barthelme, NYT

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Thomas Hobbes

There is no such thing as perpetual tranquility of mind while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense.
-Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)

Arthur Rimbaud

Write and tell me when I will be carried aboard the ship.
-Arthur Rimbaud's last words

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Wyatt Townley


by Wyatt Townley

It's only the body
It's only a hip joint
It's just a bulging disc
It's only weather
It's only your heart
It's a shoulder who needs it
This happens all the time
It's very common
It's unusual
For people your age
For people your age
You're in great shape
Remarkable shape
It's nothing you did
The main thing is
It's temporary
It's only a doll
In a house that's burning

-Wyatt Townley, from The Afterlives of Trees Woodley Press, 2011

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Cat Therapy

While she was drawing a picture of her cat, the girl in my class told me stories about him. "He's a Maine coon cat. We got him from Craig's List. He was given away by two gay women because one of them discovered that she was allergic. His eyelids were operated on because they were too long. And both ears had surgery from blood bubbles in the veins, and now one ear flops down."

She and her mother had agreed that the only good thing the mother's boyfriend ever did was give them a lift to get the cat. She said her own eyelids were too small, you can tell they don't fully close when she is sleeping. Then she told me that one of her ears was torn off during her birth and had to be repaired by a plastic surgeon. I told her she had a lot in common with her cat. She hadn't thought of that, but liked the idea that she and her cat were both survivors.

Psychic Snakes

One day walking along East School Street I found a weensy rubber toy snake on the sidewalk and picked it up. It was about an inch long, red, curved into a classic S shape. The next day I found another one just like it in the same place, but green. I took it home to join its mate on the black glass shelf in the bathroom with all the other toys I find.

Recently I noticed one of the two snakes was gone. How I noticed with all the stuff everywhere is beyond me. I looked around with no luck, and figured the cat knocked it into the sink or onto the floor. Perhaps I'd vacuumed it up. It was no big deal, but, annoyed by my obsessiveness, I couldn't help looking a few more times. The next day, walking Lily past that same spot on East School Street, I found a brown weensy rubber snake on the sidewalk. Laughing, I picked it up and carried it home. When I walked in the door, there on the rug in front of me was the missing snake. Now I have three.

Philip K. Howard

Teachers must be free to be spontaneous, and to deal with each student as a unique individual.
-Philip K. Howard

Al Giordano

Truth is, authentic revolution never ends.
-Al Giordano

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Fool

In the Tarot, The Fool is all about trust and letting go. It is considered to be a place of advanced spiritual growth. The Fool enhances courage, risk-taking, and the creative expression needed to open up new areas in your life. The Fool is always whole, healthy and without fear. He is the spirit of who we are, the spirit expressed and experienced as wonder, awe, curiosity and anticipation. We never know what's in the future, but like the Fool, we must blindly go forward. He teaches a lesson about making right choices.