Monday, January 30, 2012

Lily's Anniversary

Tomorrow, January 31, is Lily's three year adoption anniversary when we picked her up from the Elmsford Humane Society. We love her!

Poet Mark Doty


Teaching Cops to See

Teaching Cops to See
At New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Amy Herman schools police in the fine art of deductive observation

By Neal Hirschfeld
Photographs by Amy Toensing
Smithsonian magazine, October 2009

article here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vanessa Valliere


Andreas Scholl

Fabulous interview!!

The Bach Hour
Andreas Scholl Sings Ich habe genug
The German countertenor talks with host Brian McCreath about music, life, and Bach, and sings the Cantata No. 82 (translation).
Today at 5pm on Classical New England



I had 11 hours of sleep! I dreamed I was justice of the peace in a wedding but lost a shoe. I was running around looking for it as the ceremony was about to begin. My favorite band was playing: BRAVE COMBO and they had live baby lambs with them too.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

-Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1874)

Julius Lester's Birthday

today. link here.

Mozart's Birthday

link here.

Astor Piazzola Interview


Nin Andrews

I write what I write, guided by intuition. Sometimes I want to emphasize the story in the poem, and other times, vice versa. Sometimes I want to speed up the reader, and other times, slow her down. Sometimes I want to control the reader. But other times, I want the story to be the poem.

-Nin Andrews

Ecomind by Frances Moore Lappé

Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want

By Frances Moore Lappé

read review here.

A Chekhov Bender

Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.
-Anton Chekhov

I promise to be an excellent husband, but give me a wife who, like the moon, will not appear every day in my sky.
-Anton Chekhov

If you are afraid of loneliness, do not marry.
-Anton Chekhov

It's easier to write about Socrates than about a young woman or a cook.
-Anton Chekhov

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.
-Anton Chekhov

No psychologist should pretend to understand what he does not understand... Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand nothing.
-Anton Chekhov

The thirst for powerful sensations takes the upper hand both over fear and over compassion for the grief of others.
-Anton Chekhov

You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.
-Anton Chekhov

The Cherry Orchard

Many years ago I invited a group of friends to have a reading of the Anton Chekhov play The Cherry Orchard in my Providence kitchen. I was pleased when everyone showed up with copies of the play. What we hadn't considered was that all of the translations would be quite different.

Anton Chekhov

Reason and justice tell me there's more love for humanity in electricity and steam than in chastity and vegetarianism.
-Anton Chekhov

When an actor has money he doesn't send letters, he sends telegrams.
-Anton Chekhov

Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.
-Anton Chekhov

Man is what he believes.
-Anton Chekhov

The more refined one is, the more unhappy.
-Anton Chekhov

Money, like vodka, turns a person into an eccentric.
-Anton Chekhov

Not Even A Full Moon

Bill is pulling an all-nighter grading papers, drunks staggering in a group down the street woke me up at 2 AM. Someone just drove into our stone wall leaving behind a smashed headlight and chunks of rubble. The police came and Lily jumped into their arms. A lively night and it's not even a full moon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nin Andrews

poem here.
and here.

Funny, You’re So Sad

from NYT read here.
An old W.C. Fields joke. If you want to make an audience laugh, you dress a man up like an old lady, then kick him down the stairs. If you want to make a comedian laugh, you kick a real old lady down the stairs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Origami Bonsai

Benjamin John Coleman's origami Bonsai books.


If you don't take time for your health,
you will have to take a lot of time for your disease!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012


My husband has a student named Rastiana. Half of her face is melted from a fire. She's a lovely girl who started out very shy but now has a gaggle of girl pals and is enjoying school. I met her when I visited his school and after a few minutes you do not see her scar. I've been thinking about this and scars and what they mean. I was punished for all of the scars on myself and our house as a child. I remember when played baseball in the front yard. My first hit of the ball went straight up and cracked the skylight of my mother's art studio above the garage. She replaced it but was still angry. All of my mistakes were never forgotten. They went on my permanent record. My parents were like bad employers. We always had to look busy or we'd be given a task. So I hid in my basement studio and bedroom until I ran away from home.

Dr. Archie Keigan

Throughout his career, he provided free care to needy patients. There was no need for his patients to fill out lengthy forms to document the need. Keigan knew his patients on a personal level, and he didn’t need paperwork to know when a helping hand was in order.

He did a tremendous amount of good for the community, and he never worried about how much money he was going to make. He cared more about the community than he did about monetary gain. That's a quality that has been lost in this country. Keigan was a man whose heart belonged to his patients.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a general practitioner. I've never regretted it. It's been real fun.
-Dr. Archie Keigan

It sounds foolish, but I enjoy it all: helping in surgery, delivering babies, helping sick people. I wouldn't want to do anything else.
-Dr. Archie Keigan

Chinese New Year

Year of the dragon! Read here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dear Occupant


Carmen Herrera

Every painting has been a fight between the painting and me. I tend to win.
-Carmen Herrera

Teachers Wounds and Powers

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

Carmen Herrra

You don't decide to be an artist, art gets inside of you. Before you know it you're painting, before you know it you're an artist. You're so surprised. It's like falling in love.
-Carmen Herrera

Mary Karr

There’s something fascinating about a single voice telling you its life.

They wanted another “Eat, Pray, Make Money.” But the pages were duller than a rubber knife. Writing about spiritual stuff for a secular audience is like doing card tricks on the radio.

I can only compare my early memories with my sister Lecia’s. She’d admit that mine are keener than hers. She’ll say, Oh my God, that’s right, that did happen. She doesn’t remember many details until I write them—which seems, by the way, like a much better way to be. She just moves forward through the world. If I could do it her way, I would. It’s much more functional. Time never passes for me.
It’s scary how my memory became the family memory. My mother, before she died, and my sister both remember events as I rendered them. They’re carved in stone, in a way. That’s a lonely feeling. It’s too much power. I’m sure I misremember a lot.

I remember going to work in business, for instance. At first, wearing a suit and toting a briefcase, I felt promoted to being an actual citizen.

There’s no magic in it. Just one moment at a time, one detail at a time. I’m just asking myself as I go along: What was it like when I came home for Christmas? I remember Daddy came to fetch me at the bus station—a greasy bus station if ever there was one. He passed me a pint bottle of whiskey, which surprised me. If you had asked me whether my father had ever given me whiskey, I’d have said no. But once I revisited that instant, I could see him offer me a bottle across the truck cab. What a strange thing to offer your seventeen-year-old, whiskey. It’s what worked for him. Many memories are dead ends. That’s why I throw away a thousand pages. If you haven’t thrown away a thousand, then you don’t have four hundred that are worth a shit. You have to edit ruthlessly.

INTERVIEWER: When do you write?

KARR: Mostly mornings at home. I made a habit in grad school of getting up at five in the morning to work. When my son was born, in ’86, I had to get up really early, like four. I was teaching six sections of comp at three different schools, and that was the only time I had. For ten years there, I didn’t have time to shave both legs the same day. If I had even an hour, I could work anywhere. I was very unpersnickety. But I usually can’t write big prose while teaching. I can write journalism or lectures. And I’m always scribbling poems.

I always say that a poet loves the world, and the prose writer needs to create an alternative world. Poetry relates more closely to my present experience, and it’s aesthetically harder, because you’re trying to create a form that embodies the content. With prose, you spend so much time evoking a place that it’s emotionally more catastrophic. It’s like someone’s holding the back of your head and putting your nose right in it. When you do prose, you are deep in another element for months or years. I’m sure that private intensity is no different for novelists.

I corresponded with Toby Wolff after This Boy’s Life. Toby nudged me to read Harry Crews’s A Childhood. I also read Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Robert Graves’s Good-bye to All That, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and Nabokov’s Speak, Memory. I read loads of biographies, too—W. J. Bate’s books on Keats and Samuel Johnson. Ian Hamilton on Lowell. Henri Troyat on Chekhov and Tolstoy. The letters of Flannery O’Connor—The Habit of Being.

-Mary Karr quotes from The Paris Review

I Tell My Students

I tell my students the computer is a tool. It doesn't see or drive for you. Use your own eyes and brain and lead the machine. Don't be like that guy who set his RV on cruise control while barrelling down the highway and ran in back and made a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich.


I woke dreaming of Holstein cows with a disappearing disease. They were vanishing in bits and looked like jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Fanny Mendelsshon

Fanny Mendelssohn 1805 – was a German pianist and composer, the sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Man Ray

To me, a painter, if not the most useful, is the least harmful member of our society.

I have been accused of being a joker. But the most successful art to me involves humor.

A creator needs only one enthusiast to justify him.

-Man Ray

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nin Andrews

Loved this.

Martian Meteorites in Morocco

About one of the Martian meteorites that fell in Morocco last year.
Bill says, Mars is throwing rocks at us!


I dreamed I made a birthday quiche for a friend. Popping out of the surface were two hands holding a camera made of carved bread to look like a photographer was taking pictures.

When I woke I heard the hum of a firetruck engine outside my window. The red lights were flashing the curtains and buildings pink but no sirens. I stood at the window and watched eight firemen carry a young woman away on a stretcher.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Woonsocket's Finest Cobbler!

Pierannunzi Shoe Rebuilding
(the coolest place!)
534 Elm St, Woonsocket, RI (401)767-2948

Hours: Mon, Tue, Fri, 8:30am - 2pm; Thu, 8:30am - 5pm; Sat, 8:30am - noon; Wed, Sun, closed.

Pierannunzi Shoe Rebuilding is a small mom and pop shop that was originally established in 1902 by Carmillo Pierannunzi. It was subsequently handed down to his son, Carmello Jr., who in 1947 hired Norman Decelles. In 1993, Norman took over as the shop's new owner and although he is now retired, he still opens his shop five days a week. After more than 100 years at his initial location on Court Street, Norman moved to Elm Street due to the schedule demolition of the old building. Pierannunzi's repairs shoes and handbags - mainly leather - and offers shoe shines while you wait. The equipment is kept in fine working condition, and Norman can still give the best shine in town. He states that as long as he still feels good (he is now 71 years old), he will continue to open the shop. He began shining shoes when he was just 13 years old; "It's something I've done all my life... I love my work." When he goes, he states, the name will go with him.
-Woonsocket Patch

I often feel like a horse in need of a farrier, I walk so many miles with my dog. Normand has built my Dansko clogs four times over fifteen years! He's a genius with repairs and he loves Lily.

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread

The use of leavening in a cake is first recorded in a recipe for gingerbread from Amelia Simmons's American Cookery, published in Hartford in 1796; I guess you could say it is the original great American cake. Early-19th-century cookbooks included as many recipes for this as contemporary cookbooks do for chocolate cake. This recipe, from Claudia Fleming, pastry chef at New York City's Gramercy Tavern, is superlative—wonderfully moist and spicy.


* 1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
* 1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 tablespoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* Pinch of ground cardamom
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* Confectioners sugar for dusting
* a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Cooks' notes:
- This recipe was tested with Grandma's brand green-label molasses.
- Like the chocolate decadence cake, the gingerbread is better if made a day ahead. It will keep 3 days, covered, at room temperature.

-Gourmet Magazine

Sharp Skates!

Lemay's is a great place to have your skates sharpened. It's like a museum and shrine to the history of skating in Woonsocket. It's almost more fun to go to Lemay's than to go skating! They have photos on the wall of all of the local players. They also have an amazing collection of antique skates. I was told that whenever ice hockey star Brian Boucher is home to see his parents he zips over for a Lemay's sharpening.

Lemay's Skate Sharpening
206 Saint Barnabe St, Woonsocket, RI
(401) 769-1095

Hours: Mon - Thu, 10am - 8pm; Fri, Sat, 10am - 7pm; Sun, 10am - 5pm

The FREE Ice Skating Rink at River Island Park opened January 7th. The hours of operation are 12:30 pm to 9:00 pm, 7 days per week.

How Often Should Figure Skating Blades Be Sharpened?

In general, figure skates need sharpening after about forty hours of ice skating. Figure skaters can determine that their blades need sharpening when the blades start to slide sideways too easily.

Sadly all of the free skate loans are on dull skates. We need to find local businesses to sponsor the sharpening of the park skates so the kids can have a rewarding skating experience.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

George Bernard Shaw

A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.
-George Bernard Shaw

Ann Cameron

The Zen Buddhists have a saying: "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him." Their point is that you don't find your freedom or your enlightenment by imitating someone else; and when you're tempted to do so, you lose your discovery of your own path, your own unique way of being, which finally is the one thing of value that's worth living for. Similarly as a writer, don't bother about the supposed virtues of writers who bore you--and if you meet Shakespeare on the road, kill him!

-Ann Cameron

George Bernard Shaw

A day's work is a day's work, neither more nor less, and the man who does it needs a day's sustenance, a night's repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman.
-George Bernard Shaw

Maya Angelou

One of the problems we have as writers is we don't take ourselves seriously while writing; being serious is setting aside a time and saying if it comes, good; if it doesn't come, good, I'll just sit here.

-Maya Angelou

John Hersey

To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone — just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over.

-John Hersey

Anais Nin

There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I try to do.

-Anais Nin

Sinclair Lewis

It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.

-Sinclair Lewis

Philip Pullman

Don't listen to any advice, that's what I'd say. Write only what you want to write. Please yourself. YOU are the genius, they're not. Especially don't listen to people (such as publishers) who think that you need to write what readers say they want. Readers don't always know what they want. I don't know what I want to read until I go into a bookshop and look around at the books other people have written, and the books I enjoy reading most are books I would never in a million years have thought of myself. So the only thing you need to do is forget about pleasing other people, and aim to please yourself alone. That way, you'll have a chance of writing something that other people WILL want to read, because it'll take them by surprise. It's also much more fun writing to please yourself.

-Philip Pullman

Jose Saramago

If you don't write your books, nobody else will do it for you. No one else has lived your life.

-Jose Saramago

Jorge Luis Borges

Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.

-Jorge Luis Borges

Henry James

The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting. That general responsibility rests upon it, but it is the only one I can think of. The ways in which it is at liberty to accomplish this result (of interesting us) strike me as innumerable and such as can only suffer from being marked out, or fenced in, by prescription. They are as various as the temperament of man, and they are successful in proportion as they reveal a particular mind, different from others. A novel is in its broadest definition a personal impression of life; that, to begin with, constitutes its value, which is greater or less according to the intensity of the impression. But there will be no intensity at all, and therefore no value, unless there is freedom to feel and say. The tracing of a line to be followed, of a tone to be taken, of a form to be filled out, is a limitation of that freedom and a suppression of the very thing that we are most curious about.

It is equally excellent and inconclusive to say that one must write from experience... What kind of experience is intended, and where does it begin and end? Experience is never limited and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web, of the finest silken threads, suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue. It is the very atmosphere of the mind; and when the mind is imaginative much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius-it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it converts the very pulses of the air into revelations.

The young lady living in a village has only to be a damsel upon whom nothing is lost to make it quite unfair (as it seems to me) to declare to her that she shall have nothing to say about the military. Greater miracles have been seen than that, imagination assisting, she should speak the truth about some of these gentlemen. I remember an English novelist, a woman of genius, telling me that she was much commended for the impression she had managed to give in one of her tales of the nature and way of life of the French Protestant youth. She had been asked where she learned so much about this recondite being, she had been congratulated on her peculiar opportunities. These opportunities consisted in her having once, in Paris, as she ascended a staircase, passed an open door where, in the household of a pastor, some of the young Protestants were seated at table round a finished meal. The glimpse made a picture; it lasted only a moment, but that moment was experience.

Catching the very note and trick, the strange irregular rhythm of life, that is the attempt whose strenuous force keeps Fiction upon her feet. In proportion as in what she offers us we see life without rearrangement do we feel that we are touching the truth; in proportion as we see it with rearrangement do we feel that we are being put off with a substitute, a compromise and convention.

It appears to me that no one can ever have made a seriously artistic attempt without becoming conscious of an immense increase-a kind of revelation-of freedom. One perceives, in that case--by the light of a heavenly ray--that the province of art is all life, all feeling, all observation, all vision. ... it is all experience.
-Henry James, The Art of Fiction (1884)

George Orwell

...One can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.
-George Orwell

Mark Twain

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.
-Mark Twain

Anton Chekhov

These people were born in my head and not out of ocean spray, or preconceived ideas, nor out of "intellectuality," and not by sheer accident. They are the result of observation and the study of life.
-Anton Chekhov

Patricia Highsmith

Every failure teaches something. You should have the feeling every experienced writer has, that there are more ideas where that one came from, more strength where the first strength came from, and that you are inexhaustible as long as you are alive. This requires an optimistic turn of mind to say the least, and if you don't have it by nature, it has to be created artificially. You have to talk yourself into it sometimes.
-Patricia Highsmith

Carson McCullers

The writer by nature of his profession is a dreamer and a conscious dreamer. He must imagine, and imagination takes humility, love, and great courage. How can you create a character without love and the struggle that goes with love?
-Carson McCullers

Ann Cameron

Writer Ann Cameron's advice for writers. Here.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012


I had six boys, first graders at 5th Ave school in Woonsocket's Fairmount neighborhood Wednesday for an art session. When I showed up the first thing they asked me was, "Are you a witch?"
I said "Why do you ask?"
They all shouted in unison "Your hair!!!"
My hair is wild: brown with speckled spirals of silver.

Cow Magnets

Yesterday Bill was given cow magnets. We never heard of them or about hardware disease. Fascinating.

Dagmar Frinta

The world is quite magical and wonderful.
-Dagmar Frinta

Carolyn Dowdy

Life is an adventure, life is a gift.

I think play is important

-Carolyn Dowdy

Leonora Carrington

I didn't have time to be anyone's muse… I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.
Leonora Carrington

Greek Feet

Went to the museum and saw the Greek marble feet and wondered which museum got the body.

Morning Dreams

I dreamed I was shoveling garbage out of a yard and I heard meowing I saw a black cat and pet it and then another. They were suddenly the size of greyhounds covering me. I was petting them. Some were black and some were white. There were about six and I wanted to adopt them all. I looked on the nearby road and there were two buggy-style cars drag-racing driving so fast and sideways, burning rubber. I watched while one tumbled but the driver lived.

I was hearing the story about a deceased friends final days when he had one leg and sat by the window.

I was staring at bread baking in a cast iron loaf pan on the fire in an 18 c hearth belonging to my parents. The loaf pan had a cast iron lid.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lights On, Lights Off

For some reason I always turn off lights when I enter a room and I find myself turning them on as I leave. Mostly I feel I don't need light so I turn them off to save electricity. When I have a smashing headache it lessens the pain to have dim light or total darkness but then I don't want to leave the house dark for my husband or dog or cat. They need the light to get around so I turn the lights back on as I am leaving.

Glass Mug

I bought a curved clear glass tea mug for a dollar at Job Lot as consolation while waiting to get paid from a client. I love this mug because when I fill it with cold tea it is cloudy until the tea heats up and then becomes clear. Then I add milk and it forms clouds and I drink it and then the glass is cloudy from use. Then I wash it and it's clear again. So much entertainment from a simple tea mug.

True Story of Bread

Yesterday morning we were out of bread! I started a two loaf sourdough batch that was so simple:
I used six to seven cups of medium grind whole wheat flour, one tablespoon of kosher salt, and three cups of water and a cup of my sourdough starter. I mixed everything in a bowl with a wooden spoon, covered it with a wooden cutting board, and set it in the boiler room on top of the huge metal boiler box, out of reach of the cat. By nightfall it had risen and had become glutinous. I brought it upstairs to my kitchen and punched it down and mixed it with my hands pulling it out of the bowl in one swoop like a magician's white rabbit trick and divided it in two. I shaped it placing it in two standard greased loaf pans. I then set it to rise in the ice cold kitchen overnight covered with a dish towel. I baked it this morning in a preheated 450 F oven temp for 35-40 minutes. The loaves were done when they sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two Dreams

I was getting a haircut and I had thick black cables coming out of the back of my head. I thought they'll need to use heavy duty wire cutters.

I was a mermaid swimming horizontally through the air flapping my huge tail fin. I explained to my step-brother that that this was due to my strong stomach muscles.


Many people don't realize blogging is a medium of publishing and publishing is a form of performance. Granted we are not typesetting anymore but the world wide web is a speed of light international stage. The writing reflects back on the writer. BEWARE! Confessing to affairs, crimes, using names, starting fights etc, will come back to bite you. Don't say anything you wouldn't say on stage! Find a trusted friend and editor to have a look before you hit "publish."

Monday, January 09, 2012


I love January. The ground is frozen, the sun is shining, and the holidays are behind us.
January is named after Janus (Ianuarius), the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) – January is the door to the year.

Historical names for January include its original Roman designation, Ianuarius, the Saxon term Wulf-monath (meaning wolf month) and Charlemagne's designation Wintarmanoth (winter / cold month).


Disney English

Today I saw an ad for teaching "Disney English" in China. To me that says it all.

'Tis the Gift to be Simple

Many famous writers, politicians, and others have commented over the centuries on the importance of writing clearly and briefly.
Reposted from here.

Hard writing makes easy reading.
-An old adage

Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words.

People think I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.
-Matthew Arnold, 1898

To simplify complications is the first essential of success.
-George Earle Buckle

I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.
-Truman Capote

His Majesty the King requires that the Royal Chancellery in all written documents endeavor to write in clear, plain Swedish.
-King Charles XII of Sweden, commanding his troops in Eastern Europe, 1713

[Writing is] largely a matter of application and hard work, or writing and rewriting endlessly until you are satisfied that you have said what you want to say as clearly and simply as possible. For me that usually means many, many revisions.
-Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring

Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.
Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words when short are best of all.
-Winston Churchill

When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.

Words in prose ought to express the intended meaning; if they attract attention to themselves, it is a fault; in the very best styles you read page after page without noticing the medium.
Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are, the more necessary it is to be plain.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
-Leonardo da Vinci

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.
-Albert Einstein

The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words.
-George Eliot

You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish.
-Wilson Follett

Any one who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.
-H.W. Fowler

The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you can't understand them.
The best sentence? The shortest.
-Anatole France

Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

The most important lesson in the writing trade is that any manuscript is improved if you cut away the fat.
-Robert Heinlein

The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
-Hans Hofmann

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
-Thomas Jefferson

Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.
A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who instead of aiming a single stone at an object takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit.
-Samuel Johnson

Words, like glasses, obscure everything they do not make clear.
Before using a fine word, make a place for it.
-Joseph Joubert

Use familiar words—words that your readers will understand, and not words they will have to look up. No advice is more elementary, and no advice is more difficult to accept. When we feel an impulse to use a marvelously exotic word, let us lie down until the impulse goes away.
-James J. Kilpatrick

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
-C.S. Lewis

Many a poem is marred by a superfluous word.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The secret of play-writing can be given in two maxims: stick to the point, and, whenever you can, cut.
-W. Somerset Maugham

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
-Charles Mingus

Good Prose should be transparent—like a window pane.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
-George Orwell

The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter.
-Blaise Pascal

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.
-William Penn

Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
-Alexander Pope

The shorter and the plainer the better.
-Beatrix Potter

One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand.

I love words but I don't like strange ones. You don't understand them and they don't understand you. Old words is like old friends, you know 'em the minute you see 'em.
-Will Rogers

It behooves us to avoid archaisms. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
-William Safire

Men of few words are the best men.
-William Shakespeare

The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.
-George Bernard Shaw

If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams—the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
-Robert Southey

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subject only in outline, but that every word tell.
-William Strunk and E. B. White

The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity.
-Robert Stuberg

Anybody can have ideas—the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
I never write "metropolis" for seven cents when I can write "city" and get paid the same.
As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out.
-Mark Twain

No compulsion in the world is stronger than the urge to edit someone else's document.
-H. G. Wells

Use the smallest word that does the job.
-E.B. White

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
-William Butler Yeats

Be grateful for every word you can cut.
Writing improves in direct ratio to the things we can keep out of it that shouldn't be there.
-William Zinsser

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink.
-John Ray, naturalist

Saturn from the Sofa

I am happy to be the armchair traveler visiting Saturn from the sofa.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

John Cheever

I am feasting on The Journals of John Cheever.

Harlan Howard

Harlan Howard was once asked what makes a great country song.

"Three chords and the truth."

from Honky Tonk by Henry Horenstein

Honky Tonk

Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981
by photographer Henry Horenstein

More Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is after all the greatest art to limit and isolate oneself.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I call architecture frozen music.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is worth more than this day.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are Scented Products Toxic?

Articles here.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Edward Hicks

I had no idea one of my favorite Edward Hicks paintings lived 37 minutes away from meat the Worcester Art Museum. I visited it this week and was surprised and overjoyed.

The Invisible Fence

This collection of deceptively simple stories by renowned Rumi translator and Sufi Nevit Ergin has the ability to remove reader's complacent sense of self and identity and to expand their ordinary awareness of reality in every possible direction. In these stories the primrose path we travel suddenly turns into a trickster's hall of mirrors where we learn that we are not children of Adam and Eve so much as children of our perceptions.
-review of Tales of a Modern Sufi: The Invisible Fence of Reality and Other Stories by Nevit O. Ergin, Coleman Barks

Erin McKeown

People need to talk about music in some way – besides whether you like it or not. But I’ve always thought that you should categorise music on how it makes you feel. If you imagine you could walk into a record store and see a section called ‘break up’. Or ‘sunny day.’ ‘Car ride.’ ‘Your mom just died’. You know what I mean?

I learnt a long time ago that when you’re going on stage what you’re doing is you’re making a show. And why would I make a show wearing what I’ve worn all day? People want to see a heightened reality of yourself. And dressing up is part of that. I have a rule for myself and for people in my band - no jeans on stage. I don’t believe in that.

-Erin McKeown

John Lunn

Fascinating interview with composer John Lunn.
Go here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Hans Lohse

I just read EarthSong an autobiography in poems by Hans Lohse
A fabulous book.

You can order it here.

ISBN#: 13: 978-1461031642.

Worcester Art Museum

Worcester art museum is a gem! It's like a cozy version of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Some of my favorite paintings are there!


Reposted from Fred Lynch's blog
Picture This.

It seems to me that today if the artist wishes to be serious... he must once more sink himself in solitude.
-Edgar Degas

Art starts alone – and convinces society later.
-Douglas Davis

When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer - say, traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.
-Wolfgang Mozart

The artist must actively cultivate that state which most people avoid: the state of being alone.
-James Baldwin

I am aware of connectiveness, it is impossible to be isolated completely, but my interest is in solely finding my own way. I don't mind being miles away from everybody else.
-Eva Hesse

I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.
-Albert Einstein

The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.
-Thomas Edison

Great decisions in the realm of thought and momentous discoveries and solutions of problems are only possible to an individual working in solitude.
-Sigmund Freud

Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.
-Joseph Roux

One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.
-Carl Sandburg

Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself.
-Thomas Browne

If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself.
-Leonardo da Vinci

Alone, and without any reference to his neighbours, without any interference, the artist can fashion a beautiful thing; and if he does not do it solely for his own pleasure, he is not an artist at all.
-Oscar Wilde

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.
-Rollo May

The things one experiences alone with oneself are very much stronger and purer.
-Eugene Delecroix

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.
-Samuel Johnson

My work is always better when I am alone and follow my own impressions.
-Claude Monet

A career is born in public - talent in privacy.
-Marilyn Monroe

Isolation can lead to uniqueness, but uniqueness also walks the halls of mental institutions.
-Winston Seeney

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Pearl's Dream

Darling daughter Pearl, told me that the other night, everyone was running around, looting and stealing things and when she answered her ringing phone, it was a jug of hard, alcoholic apple cider. But it was me calling early to wake her for school. Hello?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Classical New England

Classical music with radio host Cathy Fuller 2-7PM

Louis Braille

Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals — and communication is the way this can be brought about.
-Louis Braille


I dreamed my poet pal Steve was publishing a new version of my favorite children's book The Night Kitchen and the dough airplane in the original book was depicted as landing on the moon.


From Yiddish קוועטשן (kvetshn), from German Quetsche (“crusher, presser”), from quetschen (“crush, press”).

kvetch (plural kvetches)

Person who endlessly whines or complains.
Person who finds fault with anything.



Escribitionist - a term for a person who keeps a diary or journal via electronic means, and in particular, publishes their entries on the World Wide Web.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Marge Piercy

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

-Marge Piercy

Günter Grass

What is your daily schedule when you work?

When I’m working on the first version, I write between five and seven pages a day. For the third version, three pages a day. It’s very slow.

You do this in the morning or in the afternoon or at night?

Never, never at night. I don’t believe in writing at night because it comes too easily. When I read it in the morning it’s not good. I need daylight to begin. Between nine and ten o’clock I have a long breakfast with reading and music. After breakfast I work, and then take a break for coffee in the afternoon. I start again and finish at seven o’clock in the evening.

-Günter Grass

Kenneth Patchen

Think enough and you won't know anything.
-Kenneth Patchen

Gustave Flaubert

I can imagine nothing in the world preferable to a nice, well-heated room, with the books one loves and the leisure one wants.
-Gustave Flaubert

Chinese Proverb

To talk much and arrive nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish.
-Chinese proverb

Monday, January 02, 2012

Isaac Asimov

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
-Isaac Asimov

He was born in Petrovichi, Russia, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old. He grew up in Brooklyn, where his family ran a candy store. He wrote or edited more than 500 books, many of them works of popular science, and he was one of the major science fiction authors of the 20th century.

-Writer's Almanac

Winter Bicycling

I am still getting around on my three speed Wizard of Oz bike.
Read this.


I just sold my recent painting titled Snake Charmer. You can view it here.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Steve Sanfield

the years pass–
our bodies
our dreams

entering the new year
remembering those
no longer here

-Steve Sanfield