Thursday, October 31, 2013

Brave Combo Dream

We got to sleep at 8PM. Bill's alarm went off at 4AM. I rolled over and had this dream:

I dreamed my favorite band BRAVE COMBO had a gigantic fish on stage, and touring with them. The fish was alive and three inches thick four feet tall on the short side and five to six feet long. They lowered him out the window to breathe fresh air on the forest floor with the leaves but brought him back on stage. We were in the audience swinging on trapeze-like seats and I was afraid my flip flops would fall off.

Allan Gurganus, the Man who Loved Cemeteries

Once, at age 16, I got home 10 minutes past my 11 p.m. curfew; I found myself locked out by one furious Republican father. Where to sleep? Accompanied by a full tender moon I headed for a Pineview mausoleum that’d been broken open years before. I let myself in and, after brushing away dried leaves, after bundling my seersucker jacket as pillow, I slept quite soundly atop a lady’s practiced slab. Bunkmates. Next morning the groundskeeper’s mower woke me. Seeing a youngster in crumpled party clothes emerging yawning from his crypt might’ve mowed a year off that good gardener’s life.


Graveyards, being mortal, require defending, too. A few years back, as I sat in this room with a view of its tombs, I noted a brand-new white Volvo wagon pull along the cemetery’s superb hand-laid stone wall. Out climbed a handsome gent wearing golf togs. Maybe 55, he smacked of early retirement. A white terrier accompanied him and set about exploring, hoping for slow squirrels. I assumed the guy had come to do rubbings from possible forebears’ stones. He’d parked illegally and that seemed fine till he opened his station wagon’s back. As I watched, he strolled along the mossy wall, his lively dog frisky at his heels. The guest chose from among the finer stones resting right atop our wall. With no ceremony, without one guilty side glance, he simply started loading ancient slabs into his very new car. I had a clear view of his license number and typed it into my computer before strolling outdoors.

“Beautiful day,” I said. He nodded but showed himself too busy for weather chatter with some local soul. Then I asked the first question all genteel property owners put to invader-vandals, “Can I help you?”

His car already held six slates so richly heavy his Volvo’s chassis slung what looked a full foot lower. “New patio,” he explained. “These are way better quality than anything you find at Home Depot.” He actually said that. Oh, America. Where have you gone? How much of what is sacred do you seek only at discount?

“You want quality?” I pointed. “Those nice white ones with the writing carved in deep? Some of those are six inches thick. And those bad boys have been here since 1757. Know why? Because nobody like you has ever come along and carried them away. Look, I live right here. I see you doing this. Your license number is already online. Unless you put every stone exactly back where you just found it, you’ll be reading about yourself tomorrow on the front page of the Raleigh paper.”

He gave me a head-to-toe look so full of scald and loathing it spurred me to a last grand blast of civic indignation. I had already turned toward my house when, looking back, I added, “Your mother is ashamed of you! Desecrating colonial graveyards!”

I saw I’d finally scared him. He now considered me the psychopath he was. I’d guessed — based on his class and age — that his mom might’ve been a Daughter of the American Revolution, one newly below ground. I made sure his slow rebuilding in no way weakened our wall. We have not seen him or his charming dog since.

I sure do guard my graves, you see. And — far too soon — they’ll return the favor.


Bouley Co-ed Softball League

Here. They play nightly lighting up my house and bedroom!


An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it.
- Botero

Fernando Botero

I have been obsessed with Botero since I was a child. I used to play with the distorted reflections of the gigantic electric coffee percolator that was beside me at the breakfast table. My step-father showed me the artwork of one of the illustrators he represented: Roy Carruthers. From there I discovered and followed the artwork of Fernando Botero.
Fernando Botero was born the second of three sons to David Botero (1895-1936) and Flora Angulo (1898-1972). David Botero, a salesman who traveled by horseback, died of a heart attack when Fernando was four. His mother worked as a seamstress. An uncle took a major role in his life. Although isolated from art as presented in museums and other cultural institutes, Botero was influenced by the Baroque style of the colonial churches and the city life of Medellín while growing up.

He received his primary education in Antioquia Ateneo and, thanks to a scholarship, he continued his secondary education at the Jesuit College of Bolívar. In 1944, Botero's uncle sent him to a school for matadors for two years. In 1948, Botero at age 16 had his first illustrations published in the Sunday supplement of the El Colombiano, one of the most important newspapers in Medellín. He used the money he was paid to attend high school at the Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia.

Botero is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense, choosing colors, shapes, and proportions based on intuitive aesthetic thinking. Though he spends only one month a year in Colombia, he considers himself the "most Colombian artist living" due to his insulation from the international trends of the art world.

In 2004 Botero exhibited a series of 27 drawings and 23 paintings dealing with the violence in Colombia from the drug cartels. He donated the works to the National Museum of Colombia, where they were first exhibited.

In 2005 Botero gained considerable attention for his Abu Ghraib series, which was exhibited first in Europe. He based the works on reports of United States forces' abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. Beginning with an idea he had on a plane journey, Botero produced more than 85 paintings and 100 drawings in exploring this concept[14] and "painting out the poison". The series was exhibited at two United States locations in 2007, including Washington, DC. Botero said he would not sell any of the works, but would donate them to museums.

In 2006, after having focused exclusively on the Abu Ghraib series for over 14 months, Botero returned to the themes of his early life such as the family and maternity. In his Une Famille Botero represented the Colombian family, a subject often painted in the seventies and eighties. In his Maternity, Botero repeated a composition he already painted in 2003, being able to evoke a sensuous velvety texture that lends it a special appeal and testifies for a personal involvement of the artist. The child in the 2006 drawing has a wound in his right chest as if the Author wanted to identify him with Jesus Christ, thus giving it a religious meaning that was absent in the 2003 artwork.

In 2008 he exhibited the works of his The Circus collection, featuring 20 works in oil and watercolor. In a 2010 interview, Botero said that he was ready for other subjects: "After all this, I always return to the simplest things: still lifes."


David Ortiz

You are known for being a clutch hitter. What are your thoughts when you step up to the plate in a key situation? Carlos Colon, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO

Actually, I get more calm. In those situations, I don't want to get too excited. When you get too excited, you kind of overtry to do too much. I go through the play like I am going to have a hot tea in the morning. I quiet everything down. I try to be as quiet as I can at the plate, but still aggressive.
-David Ortiz

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alberto Giacometti

Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, now part of the Swiss municipality of Stampa, near the Italian border. He was a descendant of Protestant refugees escaping the Italian Inquisition. His father, Giovanni Giacometti, was a painter. Alberto attended the School of Fine Arts in Geneva.

In 1922 he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, an associate of Auguste Rodin. It was there that Giacometti experimented with cubism and surrealism and came to be regarded as one of the leading surrealist sculptors. Among his associates were Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Bror Hjorth and Balthus.

Between 1936 and 1940, Giacometti concentrated his sculpting on the human head, focusing on the sitter's gaze. He preferred models he was close to, his sister and the artist Isabel Rawsthorne (then known as Isabel Delmer). This was followed by a unique artistic phase in which his statues of Isabel became stretched out; her limbs elongated. Obsessed with creating his sculptures exactly as he envisaged through his unique view of reality, he often carved until they were as thin as nails and reduced to the size of a pack of cigarettes, much to his consternation. A friend of his once said that if Giacometti decided to sculpt you, "he would make your head look like the blade of a knife." After his marriage to Annette Arm in 1946 his tiny sculptures became larger, but the larger they grew, the thinner they became. Giacometti said that the final result represented the sensation he felt when he looked at a woman.

Patricia Highsmith

She was seen by some of her contemporaries and acquaintances as misanthropic and cruel. She famously preferred the company of animals to that of people and once said, My imagination functions much better when I don't have to speak to people.

She loved cats. She bred about three hundred snails in her garden at home in Suffolk, England. Highsmith once attended a London cocktail party with a gigantic handbag that contained a head of lettuce and a hundred snails, who she said were her companions for the evening

She was a mean, hard, cruel, unlovable, unloving person, said acquaintance Otto Penzler. I could never penetrate how any human being could be that relentlessly ugly.

Other friends and acquaintances were less caustic in their criticism, however; Gary Fisketjon, who published her later novels through Knopf, said that she was rough, very difficult... but she was also plainspoken, dryly funny, and great fun to be around.

My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.
― Patricia Highsmith, New Year's Eve, 1947

But there was not a moment when she did not see Carol in her mind, and all she saw, she seemed to see through Carol. That evening, the dark flat streets of New York, the tomorrow of work, the milk bottle dropped and broken in her sink, became unimportant. She flung herself on her bed and drew a line with a pencil on a piece of paper. And another line, carefully, and another. A world was born around her, like a bright forest with a million shimmering leaves.
― Patricia Highsmith, Carol

Then Carol slipped her arm under her neck, and all the length of their bodies touched fitting as if something had prearranged it. Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered.
― Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt

Adopting a Cow

We are happy that you have decided to adopt a Cow. Cow adoption is a wonderful way to provide a Cow a second chance and caring environment. Most pets arrive at shelters because the owner had to move, could no longer afford the pet, had a death in the family, or simply gave up the responsibly of being a care taker for a Cow. Before bringing home a Cow, make sure you have considered the full impact of your decision. Below is a brief overview of the type of needs a Cow might require and what you will need to consider for the life time care of a Cow. First most, understand that no matter what, even if you buy a Cow for sale, or adopt, as a new pet owner it is your responsibility to care for the Cow it’s entire lifespan. Part of that responsibility is taking time to understand the basic needs of a Cow. At the top of that list should be getting know the diet of a Cow. Find out how often and what a Cow needs to eat. Next, what shelter do you need to provide? Get to know what habitat a Cow is accustom to, what temperature will the Cow need to maintain, and what range of temperatures are acceptable for a Cow to survive. It’s usually a good idea to get to know a little more about Cow habits, temperament and relationship with humans before adopting a Cow. For example, can you handle a Cow. What is an indicator if a Cow is being aggressive and senses fear? Some pets will maintain much more happiness as long as they live socially, does a Cow need a companion pet in order to live happily? What exercise does a Cow need regularly? Cow adoption can be an enriching experience, and is a big decision. Whatever pet you adopt will demand certain lifestyle changes, and a financial commitment. Estimating the monthly costs of owning a pet is just as important as making sure you have the time and motivation to feed the Cow when necessary, and provide a safe environment to live.

Artist and Agent


Just Listen


Express the Unspeakable

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to reflect on efforts to address interpersonal violence and remember that many survivors still need services to support reparation and recovery. In particular, child survivors of interpersonal violence are silent in their suffering and often afraid of divulging the secret of their abuse, making them the most vulnerable. Art expression is one way to communicate what is unspoken and unspeakable; art therapy is a developmentally appropriate approach to assisting children in their emotional reparation and in the recovery of what has been stolen from them by abuse and neglect. By providing these children with the chance to express their inner worlds through art, we inevitably offer them the opportunity to release the inner monsters that torment them and ultimately rob them of trust, safety, happiness and a sense of wholeness.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Choosing to Say I Don't

Jack Halberstam, 51, a transgender professor at the University of Southern California, said he viewed marriage as a patriarchal institution that should not be a prerequisite for obtaining health care and deeming children “legitimate.”

“We love each other and have lived together for 30 years,” he said. “Why do we need to get married?”

The filmmaker John Waters once said: “I always thought the privilege of being gay is that we don’t have to get married or go in the Army.”

Not only are some gay couples rejecting marriage, they are also choosing to live apart. Erin McKeown, 36, a singer and songwriter, lives in a cottage in a rural hill town in Massachusetts; her girlfriend of three and a half years, Rachel Rybaczuk, 36, lives 17 miles away in a one-bedroom apartment. They relish the time they spend together, but they also like having their own spaces.

For Ms. McKeown, an integral part of identifying as queer was creating an alternative family, rather than following the well-worn path of pairing off, cohabiting and having children. But as more of her friends do just that, she feels that alternative group dwindling.

Ms. Rybaczuk, for her part, said she was worried that relationships like theirs, deeply committed but not traditional, would be further marginalized, even from other gay people.

People think “that because we don’t want to get married that we’re less invested in each other and less committed,” she said. “And that’s not true.”

The children of divorce may not see marriage as the key to happiness. John Carroll, 23, who is single and lives in the East Village, said that the amount of time and resources his parents spent on divorcing was “obscene.” The last thing he wants to do is go through the same torturous process, he said.

“Any time you mix emotions into that, it’s just a risky venture, emotionally and financially,” he said. Instead, he thinks marriages should be like cellphone contracts, “renewable every two years with an option to upgrade.”


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Peter Cooper on Polka

Every Friday night after work, the miners and their families would come together, eat, drink and play polka music. As my dad always put it, it was his people’s Prozac.

Popovich wound up in the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, Clement will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday and both men will be celebrated Tuesday at the new Polka Pandemonium show.

Popovich Jr. chose Brave Combo to play the show, knowing that his dad would approve: Released on Cleveland International, the band’s 1999 “Polkasonic” album, with unusual songs including “Purple Haze: The Jimi Hendrix Polka,” won a Grammy.

If anybody is unclear of what this music is or what it’s about, they should go and experience it, says Rink, who plays her own polka show Saturday at The Pavilion. The joy that fills the room with our kind of music is unexplainable. It’s the happiest music there is.

It’s true that a good night of polka is accompanied by gleeful and unworldly frivolity. The people’s Prozac, indeed. Look around at a polka show and you’ll see a roomful of smiles. If that room is in Nashville, we can thank Pop and Cowboy for every grin.


Debora Turbeville

An atmospheric fashion photographer ahead of her time. Read

Brave Woman


Robyn Sarah

much softer
than my deserving.

by Robyn Sarah, Nursery, 11:00 p.m. from Questions About the Stars. © Brick Books, 1998.

Denise Levertov

The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.

-Denise Levertov

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jorge Luis Borges

. . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

"On Exactitude in Science" or "On Rigor in Science" (the original Spanish-language title is "Del rigor en la ciencia") is a one-paragraph short story by Jorge Luis Borges, about the map/territory relation, written in the form of a literary forgery.


Friday October 25th

I'm beginning to think that maybe it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them.
― Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

It is very difficult to live among people you love and hold back from offering them advice.
― Anne Tyler

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.
― Anne Tyler

She was good at talking with young people. She seemed to view them as interesting foreigners.
― Anne Tyler, The Amateur Marriage

There is no sound more peaceful than rain on the roof, if you're safe asleep in someone else's house.
― Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

He wished he had inhabited more of his life, used it better, filled it fuller.
― Anne Tyler, The Amateur Marriage

It’s like the grief has been covered over with some kind of blanket. It’s still there, but the sharpest edges are .. muffled, sort of. Then, ever now and then, I lift the corner of the blanket just to check, and .. whoa! Like a knife! I’m not sure that will ever change.
― Anne Tyler, The Beginner's Goodbye

Bravest thing about people is how they go on loving mortal beings after finding out there's such a thing as dying.
― Anne Tyler, The Tin Can Tree

It struck her all at once that dealing with other human beings was an awful lot of work.
― Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups

They were like people who run to meet, holding out their arms, but their aim is wrong; they pass each other and keep running.
― Anne Tyler

I mean you're given all these lessons for the unimportant things--piano-playing, typing. You're given years and years of lessons in how to balance equations, which Lord knows you will never have to do in normal life. But how about parenthood? Or marriage, either, come to think of it. Before you can drive a car you need a state-approved course of instruction, but driving a car is nothing, nothing, compared to living day in and day out with a husband and raising up a new human being.
― Anne Tyler, Breathing Lessons

All I Need is Heat

It's 50 degrees in my kitchen I'm wrapped in blanket wearing my fleece hoodie, standing with Lily next to portable 1970's vintage quartz heater. She is cold too.

I chopped a whole bulb, about 12 cloves of garlic and added it to Price Rite generic (Hellman's) mayonnaise, and ate it on my whole grain sourdough toast.

An open face, in your face, sandwich! Yum! For a solitary worker only.

I had a few of these while my huge mug of hot kale sweet potato pork chop soup was warming up.

My heart is beating faster. I just read this article about the benefits of raw garlic.

They forgot to mention it keeps the vampires away.

Woonsocket's Moonlight in the Lime-Light

How many restaurants have their own marching band? Woonsocket's Moonlight House of Wieners does! And they took to the neighborhood stage parading smartly in their red aprons, black pants, white dress shirts, red baseball caps, and crisp bow ties. Local kids danced, waved and paraded dressed as wieners. Mom carried the banner. We're already planning for next year! This favorite restaurant in the heart of downtown, on Rathbun and Elbow Streets, not far from Bouley Field and Bocce Courts, says childhood joy all over it attracting both first timers and old timers, it's an all ages destination. Go in and say hi to Nagla. She is the star of the house of Moonlight. We love you Woonsocket! It doesn't get any better than this.

What is Aspergillus?


Making a New Language

I am energized, and renewed by going out walking each day with Lily. I am reminded of the big sad beautiful, interesting ever-changing world. A car is an exhausting energy-dissipating costly polluting machine where we travel in our own bubble. The only good part about driving is playing the radio: music and lyrics in motion. I get car-sick on the bus and home-sick for my dog whenever I must leave without her. Today I am wearing my 27 year old amber sunglasses. They make me feel beautiful. They are the right shape for my gigantic featured round face. I remember the day I got them. It was the 80's and I was at the mall. Today I have a migraine. This is mold season. I took the headache and allergy medicine. I am hoping it will work. I've dimmed the lights and pulled the curtains. I hung my laundry in the sun. Behold the clothesline and the clothespin. My two favorite inventions. I should do a clotheslines and signs photo-documentary. EA Marcoux has a great harvest-gold sign baked in the sun over the decades, the brown letters are peeling off in curls, making a new language.

Poets Painters Hypnotists

What is that open window, skylight-atop-the-head that is necessary to cultivate and coax a voice and vision from within? For me it requires patience, diligence, love, vulnerability and attentiveness, and repeat action: be there at the same time each day.

My friend Terry used to make a date with his favorite morning radio show. He had to be in his home-office at his desk by 6AM, to hear the opening theme song, even if he wasn't fully dressed yet. Make it an appointment, a date a routine a habit.

A tango-loving muse? Smooch the muse, listen to your cues.

My elderly neighbor Slim had to have coffee but never at home. He would ritualistically go to Paul's Family Restaurant around the corner next to the butcher shop. He wore his dark green mechanics outfit even though he was long retired. I loved Slim and Lil' and I miss them terribly. Nobody tells you that your friends, neighbors, and family are going to die someday.

'The strangest thing about my wife's return from the dead was how other people reacted.' A few minutes later the voice said: 'I have a couple of handicaps. I may not have mentioned that.'
-Anne Tyler

That voice was the voice of Aaron, her protagonist, and the book that arose from it was her 19th, The Beginner's Goodbye (2012). (from The Writer's Almanac)

James Wolcott

Wisdom is for statues. Humor uncaps our inhibitions, unleashes our energies, seals friendships, patches hurts. Laughing is probably the most alive you can be.
-James Wolcott

from NYT article: the critic as nocturnal D.J. rather than Oxford don

Radio Fado

Last night, while driving home in the dark, I caught a Portuguese radio station. They were playing Fado! It was very cold when I arrived back home even though I had closed all of the windows. The orange sodium-vapor lamp shone brighter than usual through our newly-bare trees. The lit window looked like a stage-set simulating night. I hung our dark blue fleece fabric over the curtain rod making the bedroom a true bat cave. I had the best sleep I've had in weeks!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alicia Beltran

JACKSON, Wis. — Alicia Beltran cried with fear and disbelief when county sheriffs surrounded her home on July 18 and took her in handcuffs to a holding cell.

She was 14 weeks pregnant and thought she had done the right thing when, at a prenatal checkup, she described a pill addiction the previous year and said she had ended it on her own — something later verified by a urine test. But now an apparently skeptical doctor and a social worker accused her of endangering her unborn child because she had refused to accept their order to start on an anti-addiction drug.

Ms. Beltran, 28, was taken in shackles before a family court commissioner who, she says, brushed aside her pleas for a lawyer. To her astonishment, the court had already appointed a legal guardian for the fetus.

Ms. Paltrow’s group has documented hundreds of cases nationally over the last decade in which women were detained, arrested or forced to accept medical procedures in the name of fetal protection, with low-income and minority women affected disproportionately.


I hope the world rallies to support this courageous young woman!

Bob Morris

Face to Face With My Inner Mean Old Man


When it comes to noise, I am, to put it generously, a sensitive neighbor. So when the bloodcurdling screams started emanating from the Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse up the street from my weekend retreat in Bellport, Long Island, several years ago, it irked me. I had just spent the summer battling the teenagers in the house behind me for talking late into the night on a screened-in porch. And now, with summer barely over, I’d be forced to listen to recreational screaming every weekend?

Other neighbors closed their windows and ignored it. I obsessed and ruminated. What kind of world is it, I muttered to myself while walking the dog under the stars (the occasional scream pricking the night) where everyone thinks they have a right to pollute the air with noise? What happened to civility? Community? Neighborly responsibility?

Never mind that the site was a historic theater that needed to monetize Halloween to help keep itself solvent, or that it wasn’t exactly next door. How dare they invade my personal space, I thought, with their vulgar and ghoulish assault?

When I finally bought a ticket and went inside, encouraged by both morbid curiosity and good word of mouth, I was surprised to discover a series of artfully designed and directed tableaux vivants reminiscent of installations by Edward Kienholz, Paul McCarthy, Marina Abramovic and “Sleep No More,” the eerie, immersive downtown theater hit. I emerged scared out of my mind, but also elevated by the virtuosity.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Many haunted houses, guided by highly creative people, are distinguishing themselves these days. And perhaps because ours is a horror-hungry culture looking for interaction, live experiences and high-impact catharsis, the genre is proliferating. Good news for the Halloween obsessed, but not so much for me.

This year, I was chagrined to learn that Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse was starting earlier, in late September. When regular announcements from the theater’s public address system joined the periodic screams, I e-mailed a complaint. Along with a conciliatory response from the owner, who promised to show more neighborly sensitivity, I received an invitation to join the show.

It seemed like a crazy idea. On the other hand, I saw the cathartic opportunity in channeling my frustrations into one long night of screaming at as many people as possible.

To “do exactly as your neighbors do,” Emily Post suggested, “is the only sensible rule.”

In other words, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

And so, with a sense of dread, but also titillation, I made my way past the bales of hay and eerie skull signage on the grounds of the theater, with its historic red barn and ramshackle outbuildings, to the extensive preparation area of the haunted house. In what seemed like perfect typecasting, I was to play a grumpy old man.

Before show time, the place was a hive of convivial efficiency. Sixty enthusiastic actors, all trained to remain in character and directed to choose quieter scare tactics whenever appropriate, chatted happily. I emerged from a session with professional costume and makeup artists looking like my true inner curmudgeon.

The theater’s “haunt director,” a twinkly eyed man who took the safety and artistic integrity of the enterprise seriously, led me through a warren of sets, past an impressive computerized control center, to my spot: the archetypal living room of grandmother’s house, with an open Red Riding Hood basket and a portrait of a wolf on the wall.

The gore was in the next room, in grandmother’s bed. I was just the warm-up act. A friendly actor dressed as a wolf, with the impressive-sounding title of “zone captain,” set me in my place and had me practice my part: I was to pop out from the shadows and yell, “Be quiet!”

I took to it instantly, of course, and banged my cane for emphasis so hard that I broke the top off. Soon enough, groups of people were passing through, many holding on to one another — among them, friends who didn’t recognize me. Many jumped in a gratifying way when I shouted at them. I especially liked scaring the tough-looking guys who were twice my size. And although I didn’t cause anyone to lose control of his bodily functions, I did pretty well for my first time out.

On a break, I talked to the diffident teenage Red Riding Hood working alongside me, who confessed: “I love scaring people. It’s so satisfying, isn’t it?”

Yes, but disconcerting, too. Don’t we have more than enough people using scare tactics in far too many ways these days?

As I kept up my assaults, always choosing to yell rather than using the more subtle (and potentially effective) approach of speaking softly, I began to think about my need to overpower and control. Is it really the best way to handle relationships with neighbors and other people who have opposing points of view? Or would a more tolerant approach yield a greater sense of community and, as a side benefit, a less hoarse voice?

Several hours later I emerged, in need of a throat lozenge. I was happily exhausted, but also a little ashamed, ready to return my cane and take off my mean-old-man face.

“Are you less grumpy now?” asked the producer of the event as I left. I told him yes, I hoped so. Then I walked home under a half-full (rather than half-empty) moon, if not at peace then at least not irked, and attuned more to the crickets than to the screams in the night.

Lisa Parkin

Best Opening Lines in Young Adult Books
Compiled by Lisa Parkin


You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand.
– Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.
– The Fault in Our Stars

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
– Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone

Here’s everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either is. Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, and a lot of kings named Louis.
– Anna and the French Kiss

I’ve been shot. And, as it turns out, a bullet wound is even more uncomfortable than I had imagined.
– Destroy Me

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
– The Hobbit

There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.
– Divergent

The basement hallways in King’s College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime. At night they were like a grave.
– The Madman’s Daughter

Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.
– The Raven Boys

I wake up. Immediately I have to figure out who I am.
– Every Day

The hours were bad. The tips were worse, and the majority of my co-workers definitely left something to be desired, but c’est la vie, que sera sera, insert foreign language cliche of your choice here.
– The Naturals

The early morning sky was the color of cat vomit. Of course, Tally thought, you’d have to feed your cat only salmon-flavored cat food for a while, to get the pinks right.
– Uglies

I remember being born. In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rich symphony of indigestion.
– Seraphina

It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since scientists perfected a cure.
– Delirium

The Moon is a D

The Moon is a D!

Bromberg + Josephson

Loved this article


Ms. Josephson, who was born in New York City, added, Who knew lemons really grew on trees?

In Chicago, snow globes will freeze, so I put vodka in there, thank you very much.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

David Byrne's Journal

He is brilliant!!

Jon Frankel

by Jon Frankel

I did love you once
and every leaf
shook with your breath.

Between us lay
delicious heresy,
a bed of incest.

We two entwined
broke over continents
inside a wave of fire.

Burnt clear away,
the world was gone
and the wave was spent.

It was that fall
that made me man;
a slow penitence.

Now it does not shadow;
every leaf is free
of your breath.

The open breezes
of autumn shake
gold to the ground.

And in certain tides
the streetlights fray
into flowers and coronas.

-Jon Frankel

Elevator Tales

by Garrison Keillor

On an elevator, I stand and watch the numerals over the door as they light up or I examine the footwear of other passengers. If the elevator license is posted, I read that, and try to estimate how close we are to the posted weight limit. If we are packed in tight, I imagine what it would be like to spend the next few hours together.

An elevator is a delicate mechanism, a box on a string. Some of them are ancient, and they clank, and you wonder, "If it plunged twenty stories to the basement, would I stand a better chance of survival if I jumped up in the air just before it hit bottom?" This makes sense, doesn't it?

Elevators don't come with guarantees entitled "Our Pledge To You, The Passenger". Some come with telephones for emergency use, not a reassuring thought to those of us with extensive telephone experience. Chances are good you could dialing the emergency number and get a guy who says, "Stuck where? Where's that? I donno. You betta talk to Benny about that. He ain't here now. I'll have him call you. What's your number?" Yes, chances of that are pretty good, I would say.

Oftentimes, riding elderly elevators grinding and whining up the mineshafts of New York, I have asked myself, "Is it perhaps more common than one might think that in this city an elevator stops without warning between floors and hangs there for two or three or six or ten hours while the occupants sit like rats in a coffee can and try to keep panic at bay?" Yes, probably it is. New York journalists have more to do than record small disasters --- "6 Passengers Sweat Profusely for 2 Hrs. in Trapped Elevator; "I Was Afraid This Might Happen," Says Man, 51 --- and so, yes, probably it happens all the time.

For the trappee, it would not be a small disaster though. It would be big, perhaps the sort that makes a guy quit his job and move to Vermont and raise purebred goats and dip candles for a living.

The elevator suddenly lurches, stops, the lights go out, there is a faint odor of burning electronics, and each one of us thinks, "I am not here and this is not happening to me." But we are here --- me, the messenger, the ladies in tweed suits, the three hairy brutes with the briefcases, the sensitive guy in sneakers, the girl with the big rhinestone hair clip, and the mouth breather behind me. It is pitch-black. Someone says, "Everybody just stay calm," in a weird little voice. Oh boy. We perspire, we start to smell bad. You hope your entrapment will be an experience in which strangers are brought together in a powerful reaffirmation of their common humanity, a Reader's Digest story, but wasn't there an article in the paper a couple weeks ago that said one out of eight Americans is mentally unbalanced? Assuming all of these folks are Americans, which one is going to snap?

I stand quietly in the dark and retrace those fateful steps that led me to take this exact elevator --- why didn't I duck into the coffeeshop as I was just about to do and grab a buttered bagel? I was going to but then I thought, "Nope, I'm two minutes late for the meeting," so I dashed for this elevator and now I am huddled here with eight panicky people listening to acetylene torches cutting through steel beams a few inches away, and when the rescuers finally tear a hole in the door with crowbars and we crawl to safety, dusty and smelling like old camels, do you think they'll write out a slip for me, saying, "Please excuse Mr. Keillor for being tardy, he was trapped in an elevator." No, I'll have to tell everyone myself, and though they say, "Oh, that must have been terrible for you," secretly they don't believe me. "By the way," they say, "we decided at the meeting that you're not the right guy. We decided to go with Dave instead."

And in a couple months, when I sell my apartment, shave my head, move to Salt Lake City and embrace Scientology, my friends will never connect all that to the terrible stress of the elevator experience. They will say, "Well, men his age do that sometimes." In the city of New York, you go out the door in the morning, you take your life in your hands. You may not get off an elevator the same person you got on as. Choose your elevator wisely. If it feels unsteady, get right off and wait for the next one.

How I Write by Garrison Keillor

From The London Times December 4, 1999

I write every day except when I'm sick or my wife insists that we are on vacation. I like to write early in the morning, and if I wake up at 5am or even 4am, it is with a sense of gratitude for the extra hours of pure quiet. I make a pot of coffee, boot up my laptop, sit anywhere in the house that seems promising and launch forth.

A good night's sleep is a great tonic for the brain; a problem that baffled me yesterday afternoon now works itself out quite elegantly. When the baby wakes, I change her and bring her downstairs to play and then I resume work.

By late morning, most of that 5am ebullience has dissipated and one starts to plod. A sensible person would stop there, but I have deadlines and I grind forward. I write on the laptop and print out a draft; then I pencil in corrections and type them into the computer. It is crucial to put the work in typescript, read it word for word and patch it with a pencil: computer writing tends to be flabby and tone-deaf otherwise. I have a little room up in the garret where I can work, and often do, but I enjoy writing in proximity to the household, and if everyone is in the kitchen, I like to perch in the dining room.

Of course, my desk in the garret is a welter of flotsam and jetsam. I can write almost anywhere - in airport terminals and then on the plane, compressed into 14D, hoping the gentleman in 13D doesn't lean back and break my kneecaps. I don't do research, as such. In the comedy field, you only need a few facts to get you started, and sometimes it helps if they're wrong. I've wanted to be a writer since I was a boy, though it seemed an unlikely outcome since I showed no real talent. But I persevered and eventually found my own row to hoe. Ignorance of other writers' work keeps me from discouragement and I am less well-read than the average bus driver.
-Garrison Keillor

A Quiet Trip to the Ozone Hole


Juitper + Sirius in Predawn Sky


I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is nothing wrong with enjoying one's self simply, like a boy.
-Leo Tolstoy, In response to criticism for learning to ride a bicycle at age 67.

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
-John Howard

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
-H.G. Wells

Albert Einstein bicycle quote. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
-Albert Einstein, letter to his son Eduard, 1930

I thought of that while riding my bicycle.
-Einstein, in reference to the Theory of Relativity

Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.
-Bill Nye the Science Guy

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.
-Helen Keller, 1880–1968

Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a spin on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed. The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulse dance and my heart sing.
-Helen Keller

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
-Susan B. Anthony 1896

The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. -Susan B. Anthony 1896

The bicycle will accomplish more for women's sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged.
-Author unknown, from Demerarest’s Family Magazine. 1895

I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world, upon whose spinning wheel we must all learn to ride, or fall into the sluice-ways of oblivion and despair. That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely what had gained me a measure of success in life -- it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task, and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed. And so I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.
-Frances E. Willard, How I Learned To Ride The Bicycle. 1895

I finally concluded that all failure was from a wobbling will rather than a wobbling wheel.
-Frances E. Willard

The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.
-Ann Strong, Minneapolis Tribune, 1895.

To bicycle, or not to bicycle: that is not a question.
-Author unknown

Bicycles are a girl's best friend.
-Author unknown

You should ride a bicycle for twenty minutes every day, unless you're too busy; then you should ride for an hour.
-Author unknown

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him a bicycle.
-Author unknown

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
-John Howard

If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles.
-Carl Sagan

Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.
-George Bernard Shaw

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
-Charles M. Schulz

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
-Ernest Hemingway

The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off.
-William G. Golding, Nobel Laureate, author of "The lord of the flies."

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.
-H.G. Wells

After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.
-H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance

Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.
-Bob Weir, Grateful Dead

As a kid I had a dream - I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed.
-John Lennon

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain -- at least in a poor country like Russia -- and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires.
-Leon Trotsky

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
-Elizabeth West

World Sleep Survey


Jury Duty or The Woman who Fell to Earth

I got up at 2:30 AM, so I had time to read and write, then I packed my black book bag, lunch pail, and small Thermos-mug of coffee. I threw on a dress and headed out at 6:30 to catch the 7:05 AM bus. My shower and Lily walk would have to wait. I was running late! Just as I was a block from home, I remembered that I had forgotten my blue paper: the jury summons. I ran back breathless and slightly panicked, I will go to jail for being late! Luckily I found it in my dog-walking bag. The local bus will make me late! so I ran and ran, down the streets I usually walk with Lily, past the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, police station and YMCA. I made it to the bus stop and nobody was there. The streets were dark and empty and I am not used to being without Lily. Two big scary guys stared walking right towards me when a bus pulled in and parked. The red digital sign at the head of the bus read not in service. I felt better knowing someone else was here. Then the 54 Providence bus arrived, the bus driver looked familiar. Have I met her on my Lily walks? Probably! She told me the express bus was only 2 dollars with special RIPTA deal - a free return trip. I told her I had jury duty. She told me she has had it twice! One of the elderly passengers sitting up front took me under his wing and told me about his history of being a juror. I was glad to listen. Then he got off. The bus had automatic digital red repeating readouts of today's date and there were robotic announcements at every stop. I tried not to look at the LED lights, to avoid a headache. Lots of people, all with amazing faces got on and most of them were gazing at hand held devices as I gazed at them. Ladies had manicured fingernails and perfume. I had to look away to ward off the nausea of the computer screen scrolling motion. I had to take my emergency inhaler to breathe. I looked out the window feeling like I was traveling inside an elephant. The sun rose with my spirits. We arrived in Providence. The air was damp and the shadows were long. The sun was lighting up the river. I climbed the Providence Superior Courthouse steps and went inside. The entry way had a huge shiny marble-floor. The guard loved my vintage black lunchbox, and fed it through the scanner along with my heavy black book bag. Then I walked through and the bleeper went off. Is it my teeth? I asked? Your shoes! He said laughing. There was beautiful gold painted metalwork at the vintage elevators. They were exposed like the old Bloomingdale's elevators in NYC department store. The staircases had brass banisters. I went up in the elevator, past the frosted glass and wooden gold-leaf hallway doors. I was one of the first few to arrive. I was juror 14. The jury waiting room was stuffy with a drop ceiling. There were two booming televisions one in each room along with drugstore paperbacks. There was a a lunch room that had a soda machine, stacks of ladies magazines and a puzzle of the grand canyon. The overhead florescent lights were oppressive as a box store. I spotted an unplugged industrial fan. One man was at a lunchroom table reading the Providence Journal. I asked him if he minded if I turned off the TV volume and turned on the fan. No problem, he said. I wished I could dim the lights. Then the two room filled up with almost 200 people and we all had to file up the narrow marble stair case. I was last person to enter the huge courtroom. It had filled up. I was told by the jolly Irishman to sit in the front row. The room was nice and cool. I turned around and looked at all of the faces. The building was the same vintage and architect as the college building next door at RISD. A sheriff in black police uniform said Hear ye, hear ye and made a few announcements. He was not very theatrical. Does he have to say that every day? Where's his powdered wig? Then we heard the judge speak. She was very casual with frizzy brownish blond hair. She wore a black robe. Was she younger than me, or just wiser? There was a court stenographer with no chin, taking notes on a stenotype machine. We had to watch a RI made movie about jury duty on a huge old TV narrated by a local news anchor whose voice is extremely grating. The TV was very loud but it seemed to be a pep talk that answered all of our questions. I looked up at the ceiling to admire the beautiful woodwork. I could see my old RISD studio window from the court room window. On the way out I ran into a fellow artist from the Foundry Studio days and we chatted up a storm and ended up having lunch together at the restaurant next door at the break. Then they asked jurors who are being compensated by their employers to please volunteer to come back tomorrow and sent the rest of us home at 3:45. Once outside I heard a very tall black man in the courtyard saying to a woman with dark hair, They kept me for 60 hours with no heat in a little room.
I was eager to get home to Lily. I was exhausted. The bus home stopped at every office park and shopping mall. The Providence and Lincoln trees were much more muted yellows and browns than in Woonsocket. As we neared Providence Street I was ready to get out and walk home but I waited until we got to the beginning spot which was now the end spot, under the two billboards, next to the railroad bridge behind Chan's. I walked past the library, happy to be back in the neighborhood. I felt freed and relieved after a day in captivity especially knowing I didn't have to go back. Lily had missed me as much as I had missed her and I missed my life! There was a mountain of yellow maple tree leaves in my driveway they had all fallen today.

K.A. Leddy

Article: Ducking Grief
Tentatively, I learned to duck and to weave my way through life. If I was in the grocery store and saw a neighbor or someone from my children’s school in the cereal aisle, I would rush down another aisle. Then, if I saw the person again two aisles over, I would head for the deli section. If I was clearly cornered, with no possible retreat, I would bend and pick up whatever item was close at hand, perhaps a can of green beans, and appear to be engrossed in its label. I did my best to make myself unapproachable. If that didn’t work I sometimes abandoned my cart mid-aisle and darted for my car. My husband would have to do the food shopping that week.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Le Guin + Coleridge

Success is somebody else's failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty. No, I do not wish you success. I don't even want to talk about it. I want to talk about failure.

Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you're weak where you thought yourself strong. You'll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself — as I know you already have — in dark places, alone, and afraid.

What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.

- Ursula Le Guin, A Left-Handed Commencement Address, Mills College 1983

I could inform the dullest author how he might write an interesting book — let him relate the events of his own Life with honesty, not disguising the feelings that accompanied them.

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roosevelt + Holmes

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause, who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

-Teddy Roosevelt

Many people die with their music still inside them.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Jason Blum

I remember thinking, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ I have to make movies that people see.
-Jason Blum


Hunter's Moon and Orionid Meteor Shower

The full moon dipped into Earth's outer shadow Oct. 18, producing a shallow lunar eclipse that could be seen by keen sky-watchers across the globe.

October's full moon, traditionally known as the Hunter's Moon, lost just a bit of silvery luster last night as part of its southern limb gradually dimmed. The celestial phenomenon occurs when the moon passes only through the Earth's faint outer shadow, called the penumbra.

While the eclipse, the last of 2013, was very subtle, the moon itself was striking. It reached 100 percent fullness at around 7:40 p.m. EDT.

The name Hunter's Moon reputedly comes from those who used the light to their advantage, according to Science@NASA. “Hunters tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead,” writes NASA’s Tony Phillips. “You can picture them: Silent figures padding through the forest, the moon overhead, pale as a corpse, its cold light betraying the creatures of the wood.”

This weekend is also prime time for the Orionid meteor shower, which flares up every October when Earth passes through the stream of cosmic grit left behind by Halley's Comet. The best views are expected between midnight and dawn on Sunday and Monday.


Breathing is our Birthright!

In high school when I complained that I couldn't breathe, I was told by the family doctor to take Valium, that I was anxious, and it was all in my mind. Instead, I ran away from home. I feel things deeply before they are severe. I run towards health.

Autumn is an intense asthma season. There is nothing more frightening to me than the suffocation I feel from not being able to breathe deeply. It is like having quicksand filling up in my lungs, threatening to drown me. I carry my emergency inhaler in my bra. When I first open it I write the date on it with a Sharpie permanent marker. I try not to be shy about using it, and to remind myself that doing so is not a sign of weakness.

Breathing is our birthright! I swim, dance, walk, play horn, to keep my lungs strong. I open the window and turn on the fan when doing the wash or the dishes to vent the detergent fumes.

Help reduce emissions (from the American Lung Association):

Walk, bike or carpool. Combine trips. Use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains or other alternatives to driving your car.

Fill up your gas tank after dark. Gasoline emissions evaporate as you fill up your gas tank. These emissions contribute to the formation of ozone, a component of smog.
Fill up after dark to keep the sun from turning those gases into air pollution.

Don't burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution (soot) in many parts of the country.If you must use a fireplace or stove for heat, convert wood-stoves to natural gas, which produces far fewer emissions.

Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered.
Two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices. They can pollute the air even more than cars.

Mr. Hinds

But he was also aware that his line [of work] was not to everyone’s taste. As was widely reported in the British press on Mr. Hinds’s death, he had told his next-door neighbor for 20 years that he was a hairdresser.


Robert Pinsky

My first experience of art, or the joy in making art, was playing the horn at some high-school dance or bar mitzvah or wedding, looking at a roomful of people moving their bodies around in time to what I was doing [...] The fact that it was my breath making a party out of things was miraculous to me, a physical pleasure.

His parents wanted him to be an optician like his father, but he chose to go to college, the first person in his family to do so. At Rutgers, he took a class on poetry his freshman year, and he was amazed by "Sailing to Byzantium" by W.B. Yeats. He said: "It was the speed with which he covered the ground. Wow: 'artifice of eternity'!'' Pinsky typed up "Sailing to Byzantium" and hung it on his dorm room wall, and decided to become a poet himself.

I think that if an audience for any art is having a good time, they are willing to suspend the need for comprehension for a while — that's part of the pleasure. [...] And if it doesn't sound good, it is boring even if we understand it. That's the trouble with a lot of boring art: you understand the stupid cop show, or the tedious sitcom gag, too soon and too completely. Same for the stupid middlebrow poem.
-Robert Pinsky, Writer's Almanac

Yeats wrote in a draft script for a 1931 BBC broadcast:

I am trying to write about the state of my soul, for it is right for an old man to make his soul, and some of my thoughts about that subject I have put into a poem called 'Sailing to Byzantium'. When Irishmen were illuminating the Book of Kells, and making the jeweled croziers in the National Museum, Byzantium was the centre of European civilization and the source of its spiritual philosophy, so I symbolize the search for the spiritual life by a journey to that city.

Sailing to Byzantium by W.B. Yeats

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon‐falls, the mackerel‐crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing‐masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Anonymous Generosity

This is an example of goodness gone viral but interesting that it is relatively anonymous with protection from your tank (car).


Nico Muhly

Opera is a life decision, Mr. Muhly said. It’s not something you casually happen into. It wasn’t something that I always wanted to do; it wasn’t like when I was a kid I was hoping, ‘Someday.’ Composers are making very large statements with operas. They bear a huge weight. So I’m lucky that the Met approached me. You can’t be, like, shopping a thing around.


Easily Distracted

I think I get up early because I am so easily distracted. When my husband and I are having a conversation, and he decides to cross the room to get a spoon. I forget what I am saying.

Morning is quiet and fresh intuitive energy and courage. The inner filters and critics are still asleep.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mining our Dreams

From the American Indian ritual of the vision quest to the Muslim prayer and dream-incubation practice of istikhara, there have been cultural traditions of enhancing people’s awareness of their dreams and deriving insights from them. Modern researchers can learn from such practices and combine them with today’s technologies, using new tools to fulfill an ancient pursuit.

-Kelly Bulkeley, former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, is the author of “Dreaming in the World’s Religions: A Comparative History.”



Lately the best reward is writing at three AM when my psyche has a sky light in it.

Permission to Live and Change

I found a few great articles in Scientific American today:


I think that life is just too sweet to be bitter. Once I was able to change my focus, desperation led to inspiration. I made so many changes, and I thought: This is an awesome life. I mean, honestly, I don’t think anyone has a better life than me. How can you live with the knowledge of cancer? I might not ever be able to get rid of it, but I can’t let that ruin my life.... I think: Just go for it. Life is a terminal condition. We’re all going to die. Cancer patients just have more information, but we all, in some ways, wait for permission to live.
-Kris Carr

8 and 10

Yesterday I was thinking if I had a daughter I'd name her Tennessee after Tennessee Williams and people would call her 10. Bill has said if he ever had a son he'd name him Octave, after the piano and people would call him 8.

Chain of Fools

While we were at the table and ate soup,
Sammy surreptitiously ate my bread in the pantry
sick the next day, he secretly pooped on box of cd's
Lily suddenly knocked over Bill's keyboard stand
which in turn knocked over my saxophone
she tried to get at this detectable delectable morsel
to eat it.
Luckily, no harm done!

Immersed and Engaged

Last night we picked raspberries and fallen pears from the neighborhood. When we got home I steamed up the sliced pears and we ate them with raspberries and home-sauteed salted green plantains.

I write down my dreams and early morning thoughts in the shower while drinking coffee. Yes, the pad gets wet but it's worth it.

My antennae works best underwater. I even have an umbrella-maker as an ancestor.

As a kid I made my own paper dolls. I drew them and cut them out and played with them just like Barbie dolls. They were emotionally and sexually charged pieces of paper. Maybe an early love of the theater and inventive simplicity was hatching.

Learn everything you can about symbolism, and then forget it all when interpreting your dreams.
- Carl Jung

Learn everything about music, art, theater, poetry, and cooking and for get it while you are engaged with it.

Loved This


Martin Amis

You can write beautifully about children without having had any; you simply apply to the surrogate mother of the imagination.
-Martin Amis

Detective Hector Nieves

Our job is to listen — to sit there and listen.
-Detective Hector Nieves

Costume Magic

Before pantyhose came along my mother wore garters. I was vaguely horrified and fascinated watching her get dressed, attaching the hardware on her thighs, like a trapeze artist circus-performer. She was preparing for a night on the town.

Her closet was a row of her millions of brown and black and beige shoes and her still- wrapped dry cleaned dresses, hanging next to my step-father's suits. He had about four pairs of brown and black leather lace-up shoes. They hid their color TV in this huge closet. A Sony Trinitron on wheels.

After a night in the city with my step father, she seemed happy and smelled good when she came in to kiss me goodnight. She wore Ma Griffe perfume which as a kid I always read as My Giraffe. Funny because we always wanted to be long-necked but my nephew is the only one blessed with one.

Ma Griffe by Carven is a Chypre Floral fragrance for women. Ma Griffe was launched in 1946. The nose behind this fragrance is Jean Carles. Top notes are aldehydes, gardenia, green notes, asafoetida, clary sage and lemon; middle notes are iris, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose; base notes are labdanum, sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, benzoin, oakmoss, vetiver and styrax.

3:00 AM Thoughts on Theater

Woke up thinking about the theater and costume.
We're actors — we're the opposite of people!
― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Love art in yourself, and not yourself in art.
― Constantin Stanislavski, My Life In Art

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.
― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Act well your part; there all the honour lies.
― Alexander Pope, Pope: An Essay on Man

Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Music blows lyrics up very quickly, and suddenly they become more than art. They become pompous and they become self-conscious ... I firmly believe that lyrics have to breathe and give the audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on. Particularly in the theater, where you not only have the music, but you've got costume, story, acting, orchestra. There's a lot to take in.
― Stephen Sondheim

People see so many movies that when they finally see one not so bad as the others, they think it's great. an Academy Award means that you don't stink quite as much as your cousin.
― Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems

The stage is a magic circle where only the most real things happen, a neutral territory outside the jurisdiction of Fate where stars may be crossed with impunity. A truer and more real place does not exist in all the universe.
― P.S. Baber, Cassie Draws the Universe

Humans had built a world inside the world, which reflected it in pretty much the same way as a drop of water reflected the landscape. And yet ... and yet ...

Inside this little world they had taken pains to put all the things you might think they would want to escape from — hatred, fear, tyranny, and so forth. Death was intrigued. They thought they wanted to be taken out of themselves, and every art humans dreamt up took them further in. He was fascinated.
― Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

Theatres are curious places, magician's trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramtic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd are routine occurences on and off the stage. Murders, mayhem, politcal intrigue, lucrative business, secret assignations, and of course, dinner.
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

The Director's Role: You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm. When something does go wrong, however, your awareness that something is awry--and your clinical intervention to correct it--can determine whether the child will thrive or suffer, live or die.
― Frank Hauser, Notes on Directing: 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director's Chair

I want to burn with the spirit of the times. I want all servants of the stage to recognize their lofty destiny. I am disturbed at my comrades' failure to rise above narrow caste interests which are alien to the interests of society at large. Yes, the theatre can play an enormous part in the transformation of the whole of existence.
― Vsevolod Meyerhold

Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That's such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats —
But no longer a terror to mice or to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in his time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club
(which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree —
He has acted with Irving, he's acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls,
Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
― T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

I found him perhaps the least terrifying man I've ever met in the theater—because at first glance I could see through him and he could see through me, and he knew that I knew that he knew. Look, love, I've been bullied all my life by bigger experts than Larry Olivier, I can assure you, and he's just got to get in line.
― Peter O'Toole

I AM the current curator of the black trunk and the stories it holds within.
― Hope Barrett, Discovering Oscar

The theatre is certainly a place for learning about the brevity of human glory: oh all those wonderful glittering absolutely vanished pantomime! Now I shall abjure magic and become a hermit : put myself in a situation where I can honestly say that I have nothing else to do but to learn to be good.
― Iris Murdoch

Friday, October 18, 2013

Harvest Moon and Penumbra Eclipse

Tonight: Harvest Moon and Penumbra Eclipse. What are your plans?

Beach Music

Grandma Sophie adjusted the volume with her big arched thumb, tuning the small black transistor radio to the elevator music station placing it next to her ear as she leaned back on her pink and yellow vinyl beach chair. She had juicy earlobes that drooped from years of wearing heavy earrings. She was oiled-up head-to-toe with Johnson's baby oil, mahogany and freckled in the sun. Her skin was smooth and she was soothing. She wore a white one-piece bathing suit with a little skirt flap. She had great shapely muscular legs. Her feet had bunions. We were on Brighton Beach opposite her apartment. I listened to ocean waves, voices, seagulls, Grandma's radio and the knish man shouting GET YOUR HOT POTATO KNISHES HERE. You want one bubbeleh, she asked. I loved potato knishes. Yes, thank you grandma! She took out a dollar bill and I jumped up to buy a huge hot flat potato knish. The ultimate beach food.


I was belly down on a gurney. A nurse had me look out the window. This will be like a huge mosquito bite, look for the little red cars below, I picked out the weensy cars 23 stories below and she vaccinated me in the ass. Then I got wheeled down the gloomy green-tiled hallways.

A metal mask resembling a colander was placed on my face by a turquoise-masked surgeon, covering my nose and mouth. A horrible smell! My mother waved goodbye smiling Her toothy smile, a red-lipsticked mask. She was walking backwards disappearing into a million dots. I was five and had to have my tonsils out. I was operated on in the adult ward of a NYC Hospital. After my surgery there was no ice-cream as promised but there were two mean angry old fat nurses who scrubbed me down with rough white wash-cloths. At the hospital my mother slept in the bed next to mine. We stayed together in the adult ward.

At age three-and-a-half I had surgery in the adult women's GYN ward. It was Christmas. When I woke from the anesthesia I told my mother "A boy was here to talk to me."
"That was the doctor!" my mother laughed. I woke up exhausted with my groin covered in red-orange Mercurochrome. Later, I had to pee in a bucket. The next day my biological father, a giant at six-foot-four was brought in to accompany me down the hall to the bathroom to pee in a bathtub. I had five steps for every stride of his. I had no idea this was a war between my parents. I was their sock-monkey.

I was six and it was summer. I was having an appendectomy at Rye Hospital. My mother decorated the head and foot of my metal hospital bed with red purple and orange crepe-paper flowers that she constructed and attached with pipe-cleaners. Then she sprayed them with perfume. She decided I would become close friends with two black girls on the ward who were in wheelchairs. She photographed us together and put the pictures in the family photo album. Then she gave me a present: a kids book about a girl in the hospital with an appendectomy. I was there for a week and I couldn't stand up straight or laugh when I had to walk up and down the halls with a nurse holding my arm. I felt 110 years old that week. The day I got home my mother entered me into the swim test at Pengilly Day Camp. I had to swim all the way from the shallow end to the deep end of the pool. I did so with a great deal of struggle while my fellow campers were cheering for me. Afterward I was in agony crying clutching the tall chain-link fence around the pool, begging my mother to take me home. My mother was furious, she ignored me and walked away.


kib·itz (kbts)
intr.v. kib·itzed, kib·itz·ing, kib·itz·es Informal
1. To look on and offer unwanted, usually meddlesome advice to others.
2. To chat; converse.
[Yiddish kibitsen, from German kiebitzen, from Kiebitz, pewit, kibitzer, from Middle High German gbitz, pewit, of imitative origin.]
kibitz·er n.

Webster + Ether

From Writer's Almanac a few days ago . . .
It's the birthday of Noah Webster (books by this author), born in Hartford, Connecticut (1758). When he was 43 years old, he began writing the first American dictionary, which he put together because he wanted Americans to have a national identity that wasn't based on the language and ideas of England. And the problem wasn't just that Americans were looking to England for their language; it was that they could barely communicate with each other because regional dialects differed so drastically.

So in 1783, he published the first part of his three-part A Grammatical Institute, of the English Language; the first section was eventually retitled The American Spelling Book, but usually called by the nickname "Blue-Backed Speller." The Blue-Backed Speller taught American children the rules of spelling, and it simplified words — it was Webster who took the letter "u" out of English words like colour and honour; he took a "g" out of waggon, a "k" off the end of musick, and switched the order of the "r" and "e" in theatre and centre.

In 1801, he started compiling his dictionary. Part of what he accomplished, much like his textbook, was standardizing spelling. He introduced American words, some of them derived from Native American languages: skunk, squash, wigwam, hickory, opossum, lengthy; and presidential, Congress, and caucus, which were not relevant in England's monarchy.

On this day in 1846, the first successful demonstration of ether anesthesia took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dentist William Morton administered ether to a patient with a tumor on his neck, and the famous surgeon John Collins Warren amputated the tumor without the patient feeling any pain.

Although nitrous oxide, termed "laughing gas," was less effective than scientists hoped, there was a general consensus that using gases during surgery was the way of the future. Meanwhile, nitrous oxide and another gas called diethyl ether were proving successful in a much different realm: entertainment. Lecturers traveled around the countryside, administering laughing gas or diethyl ether to crowds; and college students began throwing what they called "ether frolics," basically just parties where everyone got high on ether. Both these substances were completely legal.

Jimmy Greene

. . . one problem we have in our culture is that if something is difficult, we don’t talk about it.
-Jimmy Greene

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Diane Postoian

When I play with preschool children, I lose myself in their world of pretend. I do not manipulate the ‘playing field’ by telling them what to say and how to play. Instead, I listen and watch carefully to help further their thought process and creative expression. Unknowingly, we, as adults, are so quick to bring children into the real world, when in fact, we should be entering a child’s world. There you will find a very real world of pretend, a short lived, magical place where absolutely anything can happen if adults have the strength and love to go there.
-Diane Postoian

Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd, a graphic designer, his book “Go” is a design guide for children.
After 27 years of designing book covers for Knopf, Chip Kidd, the noted graphic artist, novelist and interpreter of superheroes in books like “Batman: Death by Design,” is passing on his wisdom to children. “Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design” came out this week from Workman Publishing. In 150 highly legible and humorous pages, it manages to teach the principles of form, content, color, type and even a bit of history. Article By JULIE LASKY

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eugene O'Neill

Keep on writing, no matter what! That's the most important thing. As long as you have a job on hand that absorbs all your mental energy, you haven't much worry to spare over other things. It serves as a suit of armor.
- Eugene O'Neill


As a daughter of Madison Ave advertising parents, I was really struck by the Subaru radio ads when they first came out. Love, it's what makes a Subaru. A few weeks later it was changed to Love, it's what makes a Subaru a Subaru. Which is not nearly as elegant, daring, or gutsy.

Courage is what makes a good ad.

Vanishing Signs

I love signs. We have a plethora of hideously badly designed ones in our area and I love them all the more. You'll notice samples from 4 different typefaces on the big green highway signs on route 99. They also mix up upper and lower case. Apparently the state of Rhode Island ran out of type when they got to Northern RI.

I miss the Stadum Theater sign when it was non digital. I would always bump into the guy with the ladder and a his long extension pole for putting up the letters.

I love this slideshow in NYT today.

Oscar Wilde

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Heartache of an Immigrant Family


Susan Linn

Marketing Drowns Out Innovation

Susan Linn is director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and author of “The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World.”

Creativity — our ability to invent, conjure, envision, think divergently, and change the status quo — is essential to a thriving democracy and is rooted in children’s creative play. Yet as a society, we seem to do just about everything we can to prevent even very young children from playing. Over-scheduling, lack of access to green space and early emphasis on rote learning are a few of the barriers we’ve constructed. Another primary culprit is today’s unprecedented convergence of unfettered commercialism and ubiquitous screen media.

A commercialized, screen-saturated culture deprives children of what’s essential to creativity: time, space and silence. Children constantly bombarded with stimulation are so busy reacting that they never learn how to generate. Instantaneous access to an endless array of videos, television, apps and games may stave off boredom. But those stretches of having “nothing to do” are exactly what foster the creative intersection of children’s inner world and their immediate surroundings.

The current crush of licensed toys also deters creativity, especially those that sing, dance and talk at the press of a button. Children play less creatively with media-linked toys, which arrive with predetermined names, voices, personalities and scripts. Try making Elmo or Dora into anyone but themselves. Kids also play less creatively with kits — construction sets or packaged art projects designed to achieve one specific end result. The toys that nurture creativity suggest possibilities, but don’t insist on who or what they are and how they must be used. They just lie there, waiting to be transformed.

The childhood experience of initiating transformation, and finding the inner resources of flexibility and stamina to bring it to fruition, is the foundation of life-long creativity. Amid the glitter and noise of screen-based commercialism, we need to actively carve out commercial-free, screen-free time and space for children.
Susan Linn, NYT

Cecilia Conrad

Creativity flourishes at the intersections of traditional disciplines, but traditional means of assessment often marginalize individuals working to define new and unique fields of endeavor. From the high-stakes tests in K-12, to the academic tenure clock, to the economy’s focus on short-term return on investments, American society’s reward structures tend to discourage unconventional thinking and limit risk-taking.

And yet, creativity thrives in an environment where individuals have the freedom to devote time and effort to ideas and projects that may not have an immediate payoff – projects like John Dabiri’s analysis of the aerodynamics of schools of fish, to inform the optimal placement of wind turbines. Creativity requires giving self-directed original thinkers space for the missteps and dead ends that are often prerequisites for groundbreaking work.
-Cecilia Conrad

Idris Mootee

Creativity is not just about “aha” moments or interesting ways to look at things. Creativity is about putting empathy to work. Creativity is not about perfection. Creativity is a means to solve complicated problems.
-Idris Mootee is the author of Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can't Teach You at Business or Design School.

Richard Florida

Creativity is disruptive; schools and organizations are regimented, standardized and stultifying.
-Richard Florida

Debra Ollivier

France and the United States have been feeding off of one another since the French Revolution, and the French woman has been an icon ever since Joan of Arc marched into battle in chic, form-fitting armor (or so popular renditions would have us believe). Even Eugène Delacroix’s famous Marianne storming the Bastille is both the nation’s calling card and a paragon of the true French woman: accessorized, political, passionate and topless.

If you push past the cream puffery about French fashion, food and flair, you touch on an essential element here that’s hard-wired into the French cultural DNA. The writer Michèle Fitoussi hit the nail on the head when she said that her compatriots “have a keen sense of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure.” In other words, the French still exalt the senses and prefer having a life over making a living – and lucky for them, their infrastructure of social benefits lets everyone do just that. Any threat to this infrastructure (which includes affordable health care and up to six weeks of paid vacation for everyone, irrespective of rank) sends millions to the streets with the same fury as Marianne, because these social benefits that support quality of life (and a sexy one, at that) are considered basic human rights, not luxuries.

Unlike the French, we Americans have a keen sense of the immediacy of the future and the brevity of pleasure, with a dollop of guilt and a Puritan undertow in the mix. If we read countless books about the French and flock to France, it's often in the hope of shedding that cultural baggage and living out the sensual attributes evoked in that proverbial “Je ne sais quoi.” But short of a revolution in this country (and who’s got time for that?) the differences between us and the French run deep. They're woven into the socio-cultural fabric of both countries that shapes us from birth.

Thus, no matter how distasteful it might be to see a “MacDo” under the Louvre or Jenny Craig in Paris, France will always maintain its distinct character.
Loved this NYT article.

Virginia Satir

Virginia Satir (26 June 1916 – 10 September 1988) was an American author and psychotherapist, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her work with family reconstruction. She is widely regarded as the "Mother of Family Therapy" Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.

She is also known for creating the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, a psychological model developed through clinical studies. Change management and organizational gurus of the 1990s and 2000s embrace this model to define how change impacts organizations.

Virginia Satir was born 26 June 1916 in Neillsville, Wisconsin, the eldest of five children born to Oscar Alfred Reinnard Pagenkopf and Minnie Happe Pagenkopf. When she was five years old, Satir suffered from appendicitis. Her mother, a devout Christian Scientist, refused to take her to a doctor. By the time Satir's father decided to overrule his wife, the young girl's appendix had ruptured. Doctors were able to save her life, but Satir was forced to stay in the hospital for several months.

A curious child, Satir taught herself to read by age three, and by nine had read all of the books in the library of her small one-room school. When she was five, Satir decided that she would grow up to be "a children's detective on parents." She later explained that "I didn't quite know what I would look for, but I realized a lot went on in families that didn't meet the eye."

In 1929, her mother insisted that the family move from their farm to Milwaukee so that Satir could attend high school. Satir's high school years coincided with the Great Depression, and to help her family she took a part-time job and also attended as many courses as she could so that she could graduate early. In 1932, she received her high school diploma and promptly enrolled in Milwaukee State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.) To pay for her education she worked part-time for the Works Projects Administration and for Gimbels Department Store and further supplemented her income by babysitting.