Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Doc Watson

Doc's first guitar was a Stella, which he got at age 13. He called it "one of those ten dollar guitars - a pretty good thing to learn on, but hard to fret as a barbed wire fence." (Gary Govert, Carolina Lifestyle, August 1983). At 17, he purchased a Sears Silvertone mail-order guitar with money he earned chopping wood with his brother. A year later, he traded up to a Martin D-28 with money earned by street busking.

Robert Benchley

Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment.
-Robert Benchley

Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that the child cannot do much harm one way or the other.
-Robert Benchley

A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.
-Robert Benchley

Great literature must spring from an upheaval in the author's soul. If that upheaval is not present then it must come from the works of any other author which happens to be handy and easily adapted.
-Robert Benchley

We are constantly being surprised that people did things well before we were born.
-Robert Benchley

We call ourselves a free nation, and yet we let ourselves be told what cabs we can and can't take by a man at a hotel door, simply because he has a drum major's uniform on.
-Robert Benchley

Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?
-Robert Benchley

You might think that after thousands of years of coming up too soon and getting frozen, the crocus family would have had a little sense knocked into it.
-Robert Benchley

Sheri Moskowitz Noga

As our economy struggles to recover and many people learn to live with less, we are offered an opportunity to develop a more normal range of wants and a deeper appreciation of what we have. The insanity of excess has caused many adults to feel unfulfilled as they get caught up in the cycle of working to buy things they don't need, possessions that will not bring true happiness and satisfaction. Many people have bought into the lie that more is better and are raising their children with that same empty notion. teaching your child to be grateful and responsible, you will equip them with the tools to create a meaningful life. It is through our sense of accomplishment and connection with others that our eyes are opened to all the world has to offer. Whether getting a paycheck at the end of a hard week's work, walking through a forest, or sharing a meal with a friend, it is by bring present to ones self and another that life take on meaning.
-Sheri Moskowitz Noga

Audio Moiré Patterns

Woke at 3 am to the sound of banging. It was incorporated into my dreams until I woke up and realized it sounded like someone was sledge-hammering down a door in the neighborhood.

Then, wide awake I kept hearing sirens and when I would turn off the fan there was complete silence. This happens every summer, I hear what I call audio moiré patterns from my fan. Speed two seems to prevent the imagined sirens.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Natalie Goldberg

I've never met a writer who wanted to be anything else. They might bitch about something, they're writing or about their poverty, but they never say they want to quit. They might stop for a few months, but those who have bitten down on the true root do not abandon it, and if they do abandon it they become crazy, drunk, or suicidal.

Writing is elemental. Once you have tasted its essential life, you cannot turn from it without some deep denial and depression. It would be like turning from water. Water is in your blood. You can't go without it.

Sometimes people say to me, "I want to write, but I have five kids, a full-time job, a wife who beats me, a tremendous debt to my parents," and on and on.

I say to them, "There is no excuse. If you want to write, write. This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don't wait. Make the time now, even if it is ten minutes once a week."
-Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind

Monday, May 28, 2012

Potato Salad

This recipe is a 33 year old favorite. It was in a little yellow cookbook that came with my first Presto pressure cooker. I still have my beloved cooker and I still make this potato salad a few times a year. It is good hot, cold, and lukewarm. Double the recipe - you'll want leftovers. This is always a hit at summer picnics too.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1/4 cup vinegar (I like red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup water
1 large onion, chopped
6 large potatoes diced (red potatoes or Yukon gold are my favorites)
Add a few ribs of chopped celery and raisins if you have them handy.

Add ingredients to cooker, mix well, close cover and cook 3-5 minutes with the pressure regulator rocking gently. Cool cooker at once. If you don't have a pressure cooker I'm sure you can bake this in a Dutch oven or cook it on the stove top in a heavy lidded pot. Save the leftover flavorful liquid and keep it mixed in with the potatoes. REFRIGERATE for best taste.

Rollo May

What genuine painters do is to reveal the underlying psychological and spiritual conditions of their relationship to the world; thus in the works of a great painter we have a reflection of the emotional and spiritual condition of human beings in that period of history.
-Rollo May from The Courage to Create

Cheap Travel

Listening to French talk radio.


by Charles Simic
Take a little backache
Melt some snow from the year of your birth
Add the lump in your throat
And the fear of the dark

Instead of oil a pinch of chill
But let it be northern
Instead of parsley
Swear loudly into it

Then stir it with the night
Until its fins and penny-nails
Are blended.
* * *
On what shall we cook it?

On something like a cough
On the morning star about to fade
On the whisker of a black cat
On an oval locket with a picture of Jesus
On the nipple of a sleeping woman

Let's cook it until we raise
That heavy autumnal cloud
From its bowels
Even if it takes a hundred years.
* * *
What do you think it will taste like?

Like barbed wire, like burglar's tools
Like a word you'd rather forget
The way the book tastes to the goaty
Who is chewing and spitting its pages
Also like the ear of a girl you are about to undress
Also like the rim of a smile

In the twentieth century
We arouse the sun's curiosity
By whistling for the soup
To be served.
* * *
What in the world shall we eat it with?

With a shoe that left last night
To baptize itself in the rain
With two eyes that quarrel in the same head
With a finger which is the divining-rod
Searching for its clearest streak
With a hat in which the thoughts
Grind each other into black pepper

We'll dive into the soup
With a grain of salt between our teeth
And won't come up
Until we learn its song.
* * *
And this is what we'll have on the side:

Lust on halfshells with lemon wedges
Mushrooms stuffed with death and almonds
The bread of memory, a black bread
Blood sausages of yes and no

A hiccup in aspic with paprika
Cold wind fried in onions
A roast of darkest thoughts
Young burp with fish ears
Green apples glazed with envy

We'll wash it all down
With the ale brewed from the foam
Gathered at the mouths
Of our old pursuers:
The mad, god-sent bloodhounds

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Julia Butterfly Hill

As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don't try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break. Now is not the time for you to be strong, Julia, or you, too, will break.
-Julia Butterfly Hill

Live the Questions Now

. . . I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
Letters to a Young Poet

Pets for the Elderly

Many seniors I meet are worried about losing their elderly pets. They know they might not be able to care for a new pet, but they want the companionship. I often wonder if there could be a pet service for the elderly that would help with pet care so people would have the comfort of their pets until the end.

Leonard Jacobson

You don't realize that if you stop looking backwards craving the love and acceptance which you didn't receive from your parents, then you might open your eyes to what is available for you now. But you won't let go. If only you could see that looking back into an incomplete and imperfect past, with regret, blame, guilt or resentment is keeping you from the treasures that await you here now. The past has gone. You cannot rectify something that is no longer with you.
-Leonard Jacobson

Bernie Siegel

Today I am amazed at the things our children have done and their wide range of interests. They are all living their lives and not the ones I would have planned for them. But I have learned that their lives are theirs, not mine, and in living their own lives they have given me experiences and an education I would never have had if I’d been fool enough to make them do what I thought they should do.
-Bernie Siegel

In the End

In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?


Owen Flanagan of Duke University, a leading consciousness researcher, writes that "Evidence strongly suggests that humans in all cultures come to cast their own identity in some sort of narrative form. We are inveterate storytellers."
Read here.


I dreamed I had a pink newborn pig and it tripled in size by the afternoon.

Patti Digh

Turns out that girls do play trombone. And tuba. And sousaphone. And they become astronauts and astronomers and run for president and hopefully, one day, they will learn to become great, not just good – but great in their own, private, personal definition of great, not society’s definition of it. Hopefully, one day, the generation that has been told they can do anything, will – not because they feel they need to measure up, or be a role model for their gender, or because that’s the only way they can gain respect, but because they want to, because they simply love the sound of low brass. Hopefully, one day, those who don’t remember the days of Old Math (trombones=boys and flutes=girls) will realize that sometimes change starts with a tuba.
-Patti Digh

My business partner, David, is a theater director and one of the first things he teaches young actors is that you can’t play two intentions on stage at once. You either step into your character’s role and warn Hamlet, or try and get the audience to love you. You can’t perform both of those honestly.
-Patti Digh

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Frida Kahlo

I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
-Frida Kahlo

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.
-Frida Kahlo

They are so damn 'intellectual' and rotten that I can't stand them anymore....I [would] rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those 'artistic' bitches of Paris.
-Frida Kahlo

Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.
-Frida Kahlo

I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows. But now the damned things have learned to swim, and now decency and good behavior weary me.
-Frida Kahlo

I hope the leaving is joyful, and I hope never to return.
-Frida Kahlo

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.
-Frida Kahlo

They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.
-Frida Kahlo

The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become 'somebody,' and frankly, I don't have the least ambition to become anybody.
-Frida Kahlo

Feet, why do I need them if I have wings to fly?
-Frida Kahlo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Project VOICE

Project VOICE

Martin Weiss

As a long-distance truck driver, I grew weary and sad at seeing at least one dead animal on the side of the road for each of the hundreds of thousands of miles I traveled. So when I saw a dog in the grassy median between the sides of the interstate, I decided on the spur of the moment to try to prevent another dead dog on the road. I didn't know whether it was a dog or a coyote, whether it would run away, attack, or accept my help. She was skinny and covered with ticks, trying to eat grasshoppers. But she was gentle and allowed me to use my belt as a leash, so I put her in my pickup and took her home. We picked ticks off her for days. She has become an instructive and devoted companion who watches over me day and night. All my dogs are shelter dogs or abandoned strays and all have something to teach me. The main thing I've learned is how I became a better person because I resolved to care for them no matter what. That spur-of-the-moment decision has enriched me beyond any expectations.
-Martin Weiss, Mexico, MO -Comment to NYT article What-If and What-Is: The Role of Speculation in Science

Inhale and Exhale

There are teachers who say you must read every classic before you touch the pen, and art teachers who say study all great works of painting and sculpture before you dare to lift the brush or chisel, but what if we are filled to bursting and on the verge of dying from our own toxic waste? I do not agree with this approach of having to "earn the right" or beg for permission to be creative. I think that some of us need to empty our buckets of mud and sludge first before filling them with fresh water. Develop your hunger into a healthy appetite. Take in, but you may need to unload for a decade or two before you get there.

Vanessa Valliere


Nin Andrews

More fabulous poems!

Heat Panic

I am panicked over the hot weather and bright sun. I wear my black baseball cap and sunglasses when I hang my laundry outside. I have muslin curtains over every window to counter the glare bouncing off of neighborhood rooftops. I have my fan on to blot out the noise while ventilating my toes. I am too introverted for summer.

I am baking five loaves of sourdough. The oven heat rises and dries out the humid air.

I walked Lily to the pond this morning so she could swim and I could watch. On the way home she enjoyed toweling off by flopping down and rubbing her back on a grassy lawn.

The best sunscreen is my house. Nothing gets though the roof.


I dreamed I was napping in a snow bank in Vermont. When I woke it had melted around me just enough to create walls of snow. I couldn't get out. I saw a couple coming towards me. They were carrying sodas with straws, and they were arguing. I wanted to hide, fearing they would involve me. I finally escaped into a Quick Mart, and when I came out the snow had been plowed. Near where I had napped there was a dead girl draped in the bare branches of a tree, apparently a casualty of the plowing. Two detectives with black Labradors were in the parking lot investigating.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gun Dog

I feel like a gun dog who is now working as a seeing eye dog. When I hear a loud bang I forget which life I'm in and look for the falling duck.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Juan Felipe Herrera

Maybe I'm just a calm dude who likes to be alone in a little room in the middle of nowhere with my dog, putting words on paper and talking to myself.
-Juan Felipe Herrera

Read the article about this new poet laureate of California.

See Outside

See outside the box?
What box?

Proud Mother

I am the proud mother of baby spinach.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Banana Fish

The other night I dreamed Bill had a countertop-full of half a dozen goldfish bowls all hooked up to receive air and filtering through plastic tubing. There were a variety of tropical fish swimming in them. He and his brother Bob were discussing the subtle tastes of the best cargo-shipped bananas.

Nin Andrews

Nin Andrews poems!

Jon Frankel


Deer Bones

This morning I handed Bill deer bones in a fig box to take to the biology teacher at his school. I had been passing them on my dog walk for two years, watching them decay and bleach.


My problem is I always want morning to continue into afternoon.

For the Love of Geometry

An imagined table setting: triangular slices of pie on elliptical plates at a round table with striped dinner napkins folded into rectangles and polka-dotted teacups.

The Red Clay Ramblers

I Crept Into the Crypt and Cried
-The Red Clay Ramblers

Crab Grass

Yesterday evening while walking down my street I ran into my pal John. He pulled over in a royal blue car wearing a royal blue jacket. We had a catch-up chat. Then Lily pulled me ten feet into Oak Hill Cemetery. I was reluctant, but she needed to pee after waiting so patiently. Suddenly the cemetery caretaker drove in behind me, honking the horn of her vintage BMW. I jumped through my skin and turned around with my hand on my chest over my racing heart, expecting an apology. Her wire-rimmed rectangular half glasses were crooked, sliding down her nose. Lily had done her little dance - the dance that dogs do after they pee to scatter the scent molecules. The caretaker looked over her glasses in the direction of the grass and scolded me, saying "Now somebody's going to have to fix that!" "Really?" I said, sincerely. I went over to the spot to examine the damage and there were no deep scrapes, holes, or craters. Nothing in fact to differentiate Lily's dance spot from the abundance of weedy crab grass. I looked up and said "No need, we won't be back." Now I know why they call it crab grass.

Dorothy Parker

The House Beautiful is The Play Lousy.
-Dorothy Parker

Monday, May 21, 2012

Marcel Proust

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
-Marcel Proust


When you're self employed it helps to have a uniform. You can get in the mood and your community thinks you're legit. When taking the dog out your neighbors won't stop you for a long chat because they assume you're on your way to work, which is true but not the way they think. Recently I found a teal scrubs top in my closet with embroidery over pocket: EUKANUBA VETERINARY DIETS. I have no idea where it came from. Perhaps Lillian gave it to me. She would drop off four to six plastic bags of clothes for us to sort through. We'd donate whatever we didn't keep. Good ol' Lil, we're still wearing her clothes! I also have an old A&P shirt that my husband found in the rag bag at the piano shop he worked at years ago, and a white chefs jacket I like to wear in the winter. I plan to continue building my uniform collection.

Anne Lamott

Good Reads INTERVIEW: Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you have a routine or something you do every day?

AL: Right now I have prepublication jitters, mental illness, and distraction. My grandson is here three days a week, so I have that as an excuse. I have four weekdays now when I'm working. I literally do the same thing every day. I believe that discipline and self-love are the total secrets to freedom. I sit down at the same time every day because I don't want it to be an issue. I'm like a teenager. If you give me a chance to negotiate around sitting down at 9 a.m. and beginning the piece, I'm going to be like a 15-year-old. I may have a reason why that doesn't really make sense and why you're trying to bum my trip.

My dad taught me that to be a writer is a decision and a habit. It's not anything lofty, and it doesn't have that much to do with inspiration. You have to develop the habit of being a certain way with yourself. You do it at the debt of honor. I've written 13 books now. It's not really important that I write a lot more books, but I do it as a debt of honor. I got one of the five golden tickets to be a writer, and I take that seriously. I don't love my own work at all, but I love my own self. I love that I've been given the chance to capture the stories that come through me.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Three Dog Day

This morning two small dogs were running loose, trailing their leashes. I heard yelling. I walked Lily towards the dogs and away from the street into Bouley Field knowing Lily would attract them. The dogs ended up running and playing with Lily and I fell in love with them. One was a Shih Tzu named Sophie and the other a Chihuahua Min-Pin blend named Baby. Sophie kept flopping down on her belly with her back legs straight out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit Historian, author and activist
will accept an honorary degree at RISD Commencement.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of 13 books, a historian and an activist. Rebecca Solnit writes about art, politics, community, landscapes, ecology, memory and the environment, among other interests. Her work traces thematic junctions in art and cultural history, showing how people work to maintain a sense of connection to place and each other in an often anonymous, fragmented and fast-paced modern world.

Solnit’s latest book, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (2010), visually charts the diverse cultural geography and history of San Francisco through 22 complex maps. Among her other better known works are: A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster (2010), A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2006), Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (2005) and Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2001).

Solnit won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her book River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2004). She has also earned a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award, is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and writes for the political site

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Harvesting basil leaves and onion blossoms for my sandwich!

City Sounds

Sometimes I dread the beautiful days in the city because our neighborhood is throbbing with booming car stereos. But perhaps it is better than the suburban sounds of industriousness - lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and weed whackers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nin Andrews

More paintings and poems! Click here.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Bonnie Raitt

I don't think there's ever been any music quite like what we came up with.
-Bonnie Raitt

I think my fans will follow me into our combined old age. Real musicians and real fans stay together for a long, long time.
-Bonnie Raitt

I would rather feel things in extreme than not at all.
-Bonnie Raitt

I'm certain that it was an incredible gift for me to not only be friends with some of the greatest blues people who've ever lived, but to learn how they played, how they sang, how they lived their lives, ran their marriages, and talked to their kids.
-Bonnie Raitt

I've watched my peers get better with age and hoped that would happen with me.
-Bonnie Raitt

Religion is for people who are scared to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there.
-Bonnie Raitt

Sometimes I'm more true when I'm up onstage than I'm able to be in my regular life. It's not as exciting to be at home, but I've got to learn how to make that work, and then I will be an ordinary woman.
-Bonnie Raitt

The consolidation of the music business has made it difficult to encourage styles like the blues, all of which deserve to be celebrated as part of our most treasured national resources.
-Bonnie Raitt

There were so many great music and political scenes going on in the late '60s in Cambridge. The ratio of guys to girls at Harvard was four to one, so all of those things were playing in my mind.
-Bonnie Raitt

There's nothing like living a long time to create a depth and soulfulness in your music.
-Bonnie Raitt

Mark Twain

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it.
-Mark Twain

Monday, May 14, 2012

Elephant Toys

Asian elephants living at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, MA, found a selection of large toys waiting for them when they were released into their outside habitat on Friday, April 20. The elephants were quick to explore the curious objects made of metal, rubbers tires, and wood, which were designed by MassArt students as a way to provide enrichment activities for the mammals. The toys were constructed at MassArt during the spring semsters course Toys for Elephants under the guidance of Professors Laura Brown '93 (BFA Sculpture) and Rick Brown. Prior to developing the toys, the students visited the zoo in order to interact with the elephants and to learn about their behavior. The Boston Globe covered the project and a wonderful video of the elephants playing with the toys has been posted on Youtube.
-MassArt Alumni Association

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Robert Koch

The day will come when man will have to fight noise as inexorably as cholera and the plague.
—Nobel Prize–winning bacteriologist Robert Koch, 1905

Acoustic Ecologist

Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist. He says that silence is an endangered species. He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a "solar-powered jukebox." Quiet is a "think tank of the soul." We take in the world through his ears.
-On Being, Sunday Morning Public Radio show


Ice Cold

Yesterday we went to the public access peninsula at Killingly Pond in Killingly CT. Lily and I swam. It was ICE COLD.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Italo Calvino

Fantasy is like jam. . . . You have to spread it on a solid piece of bread. If not, it remains a shapeless thing . . . out of which you can’t make anything.

—Italo Calvino

Artistic Risks

As working artists we have a moral obligation to take artistic risks!

I heard this on public radio this morning. I completely agree. I am searching for who said it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Lesser Depression

Some people have been referring to this as the Great Recession, but Paul Krugman has been calling it the Lesser Depression.

Maurice Sendak

He spends his days pondering his heroes: Mozart, Keats, Blake, Melville and Dickinson. He admires and yearns for their ability to be private, the ability to be alone, the ability to follow some spiritual course not written down by anybody.

Last year Mr. Sendak told Emma Brockes, a reporter for The Guardian, who asked him about electronic books: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.

Some of Mr. Sendak’s relatives died in the Holocaust, and from an early age he was acquainted with death. I cry a lot because I miss people, he once said. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more.

Mr. Sendak, like Max, was the king of all wild things. It’s impossible not to miss him already.

-NYT, quoting Maurice Sendak

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Nin Andrews


Contemplate the Scenery

I love to walk through the city and long-distance swim across ponds so I can contemplate the scenery, but I appreciate those who run. I think with a bit of education we can conquer the obesity epidemic.

Paul Krugman


Bruno Bettelheim

The basic anxiety of the child is desertion.
-Bruno Bettelheim

Not only is our love for our children sometimes tinged with annoyance, discouragement, and disappointment, the same is true for the love our children feel for us.
-Bruno Bettelheim

Play reaches the habits most needed for intellectual growth.
-Bruno Bettelheim

Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.
-Bruno Bettelheim

Raising children is a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science.
-Bruno Bettelheim

The fear of failure is so great, it is no wonder that the desire to do right by one's children has led to a whole library of books offering advice on how to raise them.
-Bruno Bettelheim

Maurice Sendak


Monday, May 07, 2012


Sherlock is a British television series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. It was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Matthew W. Sanford

My life has taught me that there is a wealth of strength within us, there is nothing we cannot handle. Life presents it's purpose and beauty in all sorts of ways. The trick is to stay open to one's strength, to not deny or strive to prove it, but rather to simply have it.

If nothing else, my life has taught me one thing: The mind and body that I have are the only mind and body that I have. They deserve my attention. And when I give it, I receive so much more in return. Learning to fall gracefully through one's mind-body relationship is not a submission. One learns to fall gracefully in order to roll.

There is still so much to realize. My experience tells me that the silence within us can be experienced energetically as a nourishing sap. When this happens, consciousness changes shape. For example, I have never seen anyone truly become more aware of his or her body without becoming more compassionate. A mental state like tolerance can deepen into a three-dimensional state of true patience. Nonviolence can become more than a moral principle, it can become an integrated state of consciousness that includes the body. And, of course, for good or for bad, the silence within us also contains the opportunity for choice.

Silence is the word I use to describe the empty presence we experience within our experience — between our thoughts, between each other, between ourselves and the world. We feel the silence when we daydream, when we appreciate the beauty of a sunset, or when the love of our life truly walks away. It is an inward sense, often experienced as a longing or an ache. It is a feeling of emptiness and fullness at the same time. The silence is the aspect of our consciousness that makes us feel slightly heavy. It is the source of the feeling of loss, but also of a sense of awe.

As I wake up to the horror of traumatically induced body memories, I am forced to feel death — not the end of my life, but the death of my life as a walking person. I absorbed death as I watched that young boy having screws twisted into his skull. The silence within which I found refuge was a level of dying.

In principle, my experience is not that uncommon, only more extreme. We all experience different levels of dying throughout our lives — the process of living guarantees it. As each day passes, especially in our later years, we become increasingly aware of our own mortality. If we can see death as more than black and white, as more than on and off, there are many versions of realized death short of physically dying. The death of a loved one sets so much in motion: grief, a sense of loss, tears, anger, a transcendent sense of love, an appreciation of the present moment, a desire to die, and on and on.

Then there are also the quiet deaths. How about the day you realized you weren't going to be an astronaut or the queen of Sheba? Feel the silent distance between yourself and how you felt as a child, between yourself and those feelings of wonder and splendor and trust. Feel your mature fondness for who you once were, and your current need to protect innocence wherever you might find it. The silence that surrounds the loss of innocence is a most serious death, and yet it is necessary for the onset of maturity.

What about the day we began working not for ourselves, but rather with the hope that our kids might have a better life? Or the day we realized that, on the whole, adult life is deeply repetitive? As our lives roll into the ordinary, when our ideals sputter and dissipate, as we wash the dishes after yet another meal, we are integrating death; a little part of us is dying so that another part can live.

-Matthew Sanford Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence

Friday, May 04, 2012

Hypnotic Wind Map

view here


In 4th grade I wanted to be an actress and Broadway show dancer. In fifth grade I wanted to be a cartographer because we had to memorize and draw an outline map of the USA. While studying and drawing, I had trippy transcendental experiences.

Hypnotic Wind Map

view here

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Musical Housework

My pal Yolande told me when she was a girl her mother said Play the piano for me while I clean the house! Her sister got so mad because she had to clean the house while Yolanda played piano.

My pal Tina told me her mom would blast Reggae music and she and her siblings would all have a party dancing around, having a lot of fun while cleaning the house.

Institute for Mummies


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Scream


Notable Pencil Users

Thomas Edison had his pencils specially made by Eagle Pencil. Each pencil was three inches long, was thicker than standard pencils and had softer graphite than was normally available.
Vladimir Nabokov rewrote everything he had ever published, usually several times, by pencil.
John Steinbeck was an obsessive pencil user and is said to have used as many as 60 a day. His novel East of Eden took more than 300 pencils to write.
Vincent van Gogh only used Faber pencils as they were "superior to Carpenters pencils, a capital black and most agreeable".
Johnny Carson regularly played with pencils at his Tonight Show desk. These pencils were specially made with erasers at both ends in order to avoid on set accidents.
Roald Dahl only used pencils with yellow casing to write his books. He had 6 sharpened pencils ready at the beginning of each day and only when all 6 pencils became unusable did he resharpen them.

My Joke

A sax player on the road is called sax trafficking.