Sunday, November 30, 2014

Susan Kirwan, Craft Bike & Skate Shop

Craft Bike & Skate Shop Main Street Woonsocket

Skaters and BMX bikers flock to Craft's shop at 68 S. Main St., where supplies, a repair bench and video games. . .

Susan Kirwan, owner of the recently opened shop, says she intended the space, which provides the only skater and BMX supplies in the area, as a positive alternative. . .

"There are so many wonderful kids," Kirwan said.

Woonsocket Hosts Polar Express

The Blackstone Valley Polar Express Train Ride, which is operated from the historic Woonsocket Train Depot, One Depot Square, whisks guests away on a journey to the "North Pole" to meet Santa on the Providence & Worcester Railroad line. Along the 90-minute train ride, which travels through the towns of Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, Whitinsville and Northbridge, Mass., guests enjoy hot cocoa and a sing-along, and visit with the characters from Allsburg's holiday tale. Article

Jon Frankel's book - GAHA: Babes of the Abyss

GAHA: Babes of the Abyss, by Jon Frankel is now available in paper or electronic form from Amazon.

Daniel Asa Rose: Am I Hurting You, Dear?

Am I Hurting You, Dear?
(A Parable About a Mouse at The New Yorker magazine)
A tug-o-war between ethics and literary celebrity.
New York Observer 11/21/14
Daniel Asa Rose's latest book, Larry's Kidney, is slated to be a film directed by Richard Linklater and starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.

StoryCorps: Tony Gargagliano

Transcript for the Piece Audio version of StoryCorps: Tony Gargagliano

TG: My father was a goat herder in Sicily. When he came to this country he learned how to use a sewing machine and became a tailor. He never approved of me being an artist. He used to say, "Hey! Look at the bum! He's drawing and painting dirty pictures. All the nude women. He's a bum!"

My father, one day, came to visit me and he was 84 at the time. He says, "Oh, you know my third wife, she's a-go to Italy. She's a leave me all lone. And I told her, 'You go alone, you no find me when you come back.'" So I said, "Well you know you can get an annulment, Dad."
And he said, "What's that?"
And I said, "That's when one part of the marriage does not live up to their marriage vows. If your wife disappears in Italy then you have a perfect right. That's not a marriage anymore."
He says "You find-a me an Italian priest."

I found a monsignor who was head of a church and I set a date and took my father. We enter the room and the monsignor greets us. The first thing out of my father's mouth was, "You know father, it's not natural for a man to be without a woman." Because the monsignor, just one look at him and you know he's accepted his celibacy. My father continued telling his story, and he just-a speak-a like-a this. And the monsignor, he would say to me, "well tell your father..." And before I knew it I was translating english into english.
The monsignor said, "Tell your father that the church does not move very quickly."
My father said, "I'm in no hurry."

CC: Did he ever do it?

TG: No she wrote him a love letter, and he sent her the money to come back.

Alzheimer's Poetry Project

By Adam Kampe

Poet Gary Glazner bounded into the New York Memory Center with a dozen roses and an infectious smile. “My love is like a red, red, rose,” he called out to the students, who called back the same line with enthusiasm. It was like he had hit a switch, or turned on the light. Suddenly, the roomful of seniors in varying stages of memory loss came to life.

And it was with this goal that Glazner launched the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2004—to awaken the minds of those suffering from memory loss. The project, supported by the NEA, has held sessions at more than 100 facilities throughout the U.S. and internationally, reaching more than 15,000 people living with Alzheimer’s.

The evidence is becoming more and more clear that Glazner’s been on to something all these years. The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project is now part of a study, spearheaded by Professor Kate de Medeiros at Miami University-Ohio, to measure the impact of the program on people living with memory loss. Poetry, like dance and music, is proving to be yet another art form that moves Alzheimer's patients to become more vocal, more social, and, quite frankly, more alive. This is especially notable given the inefficacy of medication (which can also cause harm); the high rate of caregiver burnout; and the whopping $150 billion spent annually on Alzheimer’s patients through Medicare and Medicaid. The project was also a feature in the 2011 NEA publication The Arts and Human Development.

Needless to say, the arts are an effective, engaging, and economical tool to help not only those with memory loss but also those managing their care.

Art + Healing

At some point in our lives, all of us have felt the healing properties of art, even if in subtle ways. Maybe it’s a certain song or album we listen to when in need of a pick-me-up, or a particular movie we watch that somehow always manages to comfort. Or maybe it’s a book we’ve read that has helped us make sense of the world, and realize that we are not alone.

But these properties, when writ large, are capable of doing far more than cheer us up after a down-and-out day. When used to its maximum potential, art has the power to ease the symptoms of trauma, to change the dynamics of the aging process, and alleviate emotional and physical symptoms of chronic illness.

In this issue, we’ll look at some of the innovative ways that organizations are using art as an instrument of healing. At the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, art therapy is helping service members grapple with the complex issues behind post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. At the nonprofit D-Rev, creative product design is forging solutions for medical issues plaguing third-world countries. AIDS Quilt workshops provide an outlet for grief and mourning, while working toward HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. COSACOSA, based in Philadelphia, uses public art to heal communities fractured by poverty and illness, and in California, EngAGE is challenging the concept of what retirement communities should look like.

As you read through this issue, we hope you’ll see the potential art has to heal, in equal measure, the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Daniel Asa Rose

2006 Prose
Author's Statement

What it means:

- the ability to lean back in my chair, look around, and take in how grand life is
- the chance to dig in - dirt on my teeth, grinning - to my project
- the opportunity to say thank you to the world in general and to my generation in particular

From the memoir The Cossacks of Connecticut

I was living in a WASP town and going to WASP parties – not so much assimilated or acculturated, perhaps, as completely and thoroughly mingled – but at the same time I also had two righteous great uncles named Yudl and Velvl forty miles away on Manhattan's 47th Street. To these gentle souls, worldly diamond dealer brothers of my mother's father from Belgium, we were Connecticut outlaws. They didn't care how many celebrities and professionals we showcased, to them we were rabble-rousers, we were Christmas carolers, we were that most frivolous goyim thing: glitzy. Every so often these great uncles would show up at one of the parties, an anniversary party or a graduation. They didn't drive, it was out of the question, but every so often they took the New Haven Railroad and the expression on their citified faces when they emerged at the Darien station, hot and dusty, said what they thought. They thought: This is the Wild West. They thought they'd taken the stagecoach to Dodge City. The suburban split-levels and cardboard palaces of Darien and Rowayton were Red River Gulch to them. Where were the newspaper hawkers? Where was the local bakery? When they got to the house they stood stiff and somber in their gray flannel pants, fidgeting the diamond pouches in their pockets, and they'd look out at the balloons filling the bathrooms and the heiress barking on the floor and the news anchor giving me a noogie because I'd put tonic in his scotch instead of soda, and they'd think, For this we escaped Hitler's Europe?

Or we'd drive them to a barbecue at the beach – the spiritual heart of our seaside town. We'd pick them up at the station in their pin stripes and ties and they'd sit in the back, leaving the passenger seat empty, as if riding in a cab. It wasn't rudeness – they just didn't know suburban car etiquette, that you fill up the front first. We'd drive to the beach and it would be like out of Tolstoy, the urban dwellers coming by locomotive from St. Petersburg to visit country cousins in their provincial dacha, getting bundled in muffs and wraps to travel miles in a sleigh over snow-covered barrens. We'd plunk them on the sand and they'd look on in horror as we kids played touch football with the hot dog rolls and our parents stood in the water up to their knees, sipping martinis. Disdaining the schmutz beneath their soles, staking their claim to the beach blanket and not venturing off except to make an occasional foray to the snack bar, they'd tramp gingerly across the wasteland in their Old World sandals (barefoot? go naked in front of strangers?!) to order a Sanka and produce blank stares from the high school help who only knew how to process orders for Creamsicles and frozen Milky Ways. An impasse. There at the snack bar the Cossacks would stand staring at the Jews with their shirt tails tucked inside their baggy bathing suits, their black socks pulled halfway up their hairless celery-white calves, and the Jews would stare back at the Cossacks with their necks sunburned leather-red around their dirty T-shirts, and eventually the first camp might loosen up enough to chuck them a Coors, and the second camp might let their hair down enough to sip the Coors, while munching on a roasted shrimp with two fingers only, the other three fingers remaining kosher in the air, figuring that they were already transgressing by finding themselves so deeply among the goyim, a little two-finger transgression wouldn't hurt.


Daniel Asa Rose was born in New York City and graduated from Brown University, where he directed the alternative theater troupe and was awarded an honorary Phi Beta Kappa. Fleeing the stage after winning Best Actor Award at the Abbey Theater in Dublin, he placed his first short story in The New Yorker when he was 27 and won an O. Henry Prize and two PEN Fiction Awards for the other stories in his first collection, Small Family With Rooster. His first novel, Flipping For It, a black comedy about divorce from the man's point of view, was a New York Times New and Noteworthy Paperback.

In 2002, after siring four boys, he published Hiding Places: A Father and his Sons Retrace Their Family's Escape From the Holocaust, a saga that intermingles a taut current-day search for the hiding places that saved his family in World War II with memories of the author's own hiding places growing up in WASP 1950s Connecticut - a book which earned the New England Booksellers Discovery Award, a coveted place on the BookSense 76 List, and inclusion in Best Jewish Writing 2003.

Currently the editor of the international literary magazine The Reading Room and a book reviewer for New York Magazine, he has served as arts & culture editor of the Forward newspaper, travel columnist for Esquire magazine, humor writer for GQ, essayist for The New York Times Magazine, and food critic for the past 20 pounds.

More information can be found on his website: Read

Happy Birthday Carl Finch

Carl Finch (born November 29, 1951), in Texarkana, Texas.

Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Accordion Founder BRAVE COMBO

Though he considered being an astronomer when he was little and later earned two degrees in art, Carl always wanted to be a musician. He started playing the piano in first or second grade and claims his musical hero was Mrs. Phillips, the pianist at the church he attended when he was a kid. Carl started Brave Combo in 1979 after a stint as a DJ in a country and western club. He has played in a number of other bands, including Rasputin and the Monks, and Pucker.

When asked about his penchant for polka, Carl writes that it is The Ultimate Truth. "It's like fireworks and it's a life-supporting thing," he says in an interview with Noah Adams. Brave Combo's listeners haven't always appreciated polka music, however. "One time we were playing and some people in the audience said 'No more polkas!' and Tim Walsh, our first sax player, said, 'Hey Carl, they're yelling for more polkas!' I hated to tell him the truth," Carl says.

The Voice


I don’t know why teachers are afraid of the experience of the poem . . .


Well, because it would be like passing out drugs in class, I imagine.


Poetry is a high. It is a thrill. If people were taught to read poetry in the right way, they would find it extremely pleasurable.


It’s also an experience of close contact with another mind, another person.


Well, certainly something I would want a reader to have as he experiences my poetry is—a form of intimacy.


Yes. But of course—how can I put this—as a reader, I wouldn’t want to have that intimacy with everybody.


No. You have to like the voice. I mean, you have to like the music you hear.


Toward Poetry

“What poetry have you read that makes you feel that you want to write poetry?” Because usually what draws us toward poetry is the individual voice that we want to hear—the voice of Wordsworth, the voice of Keats, James Merrill, Anthony Hecht, whoever it is. The chances are that a person who doesn’t feel any desire to hear such voices may not turn out to have a very original voice himself.


So you do in a way agree with the academic writers who always seem to imply that the parents of poems are other poems, as opposed to what I’m always wondering, which is why couldn’t the greatest influences on a poet be the people he’s known, or the experiences he’s had every day, rather than the poems he’s read?


Well, it all depends on the poetry you write. Some people may be more influenced by their mothers and less influenced by Robert Frost. It differs with different poets. But by and large, I think poets are more influenced by other poems than they are by what they eat and whom they talk to—because they read other poems deeply, and sometimes they don’t eat dinner deeply or chat with a friend over the telephone deeply. Because poems not only demand patience, they demand a kind of surrender. You must give yourself up to them. Once you’ve done that, and allowed them to enter into your system, of course they’re going to be more influential. This is the real food for a poet: other poems, not meat loaf.


But what about the idea that a poet should be influenced by a wide range of experience, that a poet should explore life and allow it to affect him? Don’t you have any feeling that you should do everything, at least once?


I don’t have to try everything on the menu to know what it is that I like. I can make a reasonable guess as to what I might like, and so that’s what I will order. I don’t go out of my way to experience every possible thing, because that’s dangerous. I want to protect myself. I want not to experience many, many different things, but to experience the things I choose to experience well, and deeply.


Some writers, for example, have tried to enhance their work by writing under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


They interfere. I mean, if I’ve had a couple of drinks, I don’t feel like writing. I feel like having another drink. Or I feel like going to sleep.


Mark Strand

The thing to rejoice in is the fact that one had the good fortune to be born. The odds against being born are astronomical.

-Mark Strand, Paris Review

Psychic Space to Read Poetry

Maybe the New York Times reader just isn’t in the right frame of mind to read poetry.


Well, you can’t expect to jump from The New York Times into John Ashbery or Jorie Graham. Language is put to a different test. And it’s used for different ends. The language of a poem is meant to be meditated on. You clear a psychic space for poetry that’s different from the one you clear for prose. It’s a space in which words loom large. And this cleansed psychic space that readies itself for a poem is really one in which the poem is both read and heard.


But how does a person prepare such a psychic space?


Well, if you spend a lot of time alone, particularly if you’re thinking about your life, or other people’s lives, you’re already used to the space I’m talking about. There are certain painters I know to whom the language of poetry means a great deal. And it may be because these people spend a lot of time in front of canvases, alone, with nobody to talk to, that they’re prepared: they’re ready to take the poem in. Their minds are not full of a lot of noise and clutter and unfulfilled desire. I mean, you have to be willing to read poetry; you have to be willing to meet it halfway—because it won’t go any further than that if it’s any good. A poem has its dignity, after all. I mean, a poem shouldn’t beg you to read it; it’s pathetic, if that’s the case. Some poets fear that they won’t be heard unless they flatter the reader, go ninety percent of the way, do it all for the reader. But that’s pathetic.


Damn! I’m sort of worried that we’re not living in the right world to read what you and the poets you admire are writing.


Well, poetry—at least lyric poetry—tries to lead us to relocate ourselves in the self. But everything we want to do these days is an escape from self. People don’t want to sit home and think. They want to sit home and watch television. Or they want to go out and have fun. And having fun is not usually meditative. It doesn’t have anything to do with reassessing one’s experience and finding out who one is or who the other guy is. It has to do with burning energy. When you go to the movies, you’re overcome with special effects and monstrous goings-on. Things unfold with a rapidity that’s thrilling. You’re not given a second to contemplate the previous scene, to meditate on something that’s just happened—something else takes its place.


It’s strange that we feel we’re escaping into a great variety of pleasures, but in fact so often those apparently various pleasures somehow turn out to have a lot in common.


We seem to want instant gratification. Violent movies give you instant gratification. And drugs give you instant gratification. Sporting events give you instant gratification. Prostitutes give you instant gratification. This is what we seem to like. But that which requires effort, that which reveals itself only in the long term, that which demands some learning, patience, or skill—and reading is a skill—there’s not enough time for that, it seems. We forget that there is a thrill that attends the slower pleasures, pleasures that become increasingly powerful the more time we spend pursuing them.


Mark Strand


When I write my own poems, I read them hundreds of times to myself. But when I read other people’s poems, I will read them dozens of times, sometimes more than dozens of times. I don’t know why this should seem strange. The average churchgoing person who lives in the Bible Belt will have read the same passages in the Bible hundreds of times, and they will have revealed to him more each time.


An actor in a play goes through a similar process, really, and acting could in a sense be seen as a form of reading, I suppose. The actor goes over the text hundreds of times, seeing more and more implications and different possible meanings inside each individual line, and at the same time seeing through the various clichés of interpretation with which he has at first mistakenly overlaid each line.

- Mark Strand, Paris Review

Mark Strand, Paris Review

The Art of Poetry No. 77

Interviewed by Wallace Shawn

Mark Strand was born in 1934 on Prince Edward Island in Canada. His parents were from the United States. His father did many different things—you could call him a businessman—and his mother was at different times a schoolteacher and an archaeologist. When Strand was an infant, the family lived in Halifax, then Montreal. When he was four years old, they moved to Philadelphia. Attending public school there, Strand at first spoke very little English and had a heavy French accent. “Mocked and generally brutalized by my classmates,” Strand learned English fast. But then his father, now working for Pepsi-Cola, took the family to Cuba, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. “I moved around so much, and went to so many different schools, that I never found my own place,” Strand has said. “I really come from nowhere. But I was fortunate in that many of my summers were spent on St. Margaret’s Bay, near Halifax.” During these happy summers, he discovered a landscape “that became internalized,” that became “the one I carried with me wherever I went: the sea, the runty pines along the coast, the big lichen-covered boulders, cold mornings . . .”

Although he wrote a little poetry in high school and read and wrote poetry while attending Antioch College, he entered the Yale School of Art and Architecture intending to become a painter. (When he was nineteen he had worked one summer in Mexico as an assistant to David Siqueiros, helping to create “a kind of art I learned to despise while I was working on it.”) But while studying painting, he became an ardent reader of Wallace Stevens, and somewhat to his surprise found himself taking English courses, writing poetry, and winning the admiration of some of his English professors. In 1960 he was given a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy to study nineteenth-century Italian poetry. Soon after, some of his own poems began to be published in The New Yorker, and he began to feel that he was going to devote his life to poetry. His first book of poems, Sleeping with One Eye Open, was published by the Stone Wall Press in Iowa City in 1964, and in 1968 Harry Ford took his collection Reasons for Moving for Atheneum. Strand says that “I owe my professional career as a poet to Harry Ford.”

During the sixties Strand formed influential friendships with the poets Richard Howard, Charles Simic, and Charles Wright. Another friend and poet who played an important role in his life was Joseph Brodsky, whom he met in the seventies.

Strand has published eleven books of poetry, a book of sui generis short stories called Mr. and Mrs. Baby, and a disturbing meditation on immortality in the form of a prose poem, The Monument. He is currently teaching at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where this fall he is giving a course on Plato’s Symposium with the philosopher Jonathan Lear. In 1987 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, and in 1990 he was the U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress. He has also translated the poetry of Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade and written monographs on the paintings of William Bailey and Edward Hopper.

Strand says that the elements he requires in order to be able to write are “a place, a desk, a familiar room. I need some of my books there. I need quiet. That’s about it.” Asked if he ever writes in a less tranquil spot, such as on a train, he replies that he does, but usually only prose, because it’s “less embarrassing. Who would understand a man of my age writing reams of poetry on a train, if they looked over my shoulder? I would be perceived as an overly emotional person.”

He writes in longhand and delays typing for as long as possible, he explains, because “when I read a poem in longhand, I’m hearing it. When I read it in typescript, I’m reading it. A poem can appear finished just because of the cleanness of the typescript, and I don’t want it to seem finished before it is. A poem has already been brought into the world to some extent when it’s typed. I feel more like an editor than a poet after that.” Often, after reading what he has typed, he’ll “go back to longhand for a few weeks.”

The interviewer has known Strand as a friend for many years. He unabashedly used the interview as an excuse to ask questions about poetry and the life of the poet, which in many cases he had always wanted to ask. It’s often hard to ask a friend crude or elementary questions about the field of work to which the friend has devoted a lifetime. Nonetheless the interviewer, who writes for the theater but reads quite a bit of poetry without ever being sure that he really understands any of it or knows what it is, although he knows that he loves Strand’s work and always has, plunged ahead with a hardearned simplemindedness.

The interview
took place in a bare, sublet apartment on Greene Street in New York.


One can very well eat lettuce before its heart has been formed; still, the delicate crispness of the heart and its lovely frizz are something altogether different from the leaves. It is the same in the world of the spirit. Being too busy has this result: that an individual very, very rarely is permitted to form a heart; on the other hand, the thinker, the poet, or the religious personality who actually has formed his heart, will never be popular, not because he is difficult, but because it demands quiet and prolonged working with oneself and intimate knowledge of oneself as well as a certain isolation.
- Kierkegaard

David Spell

Without any warning, he jumped on the alligator's back and grabbed its snout with both hands. Very calmly, he asked, “Does anybody have some duct tape?
-David Spell

Gene Pool


Thomas Hart Benton

American Regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton is famous for his eye-catching murals, such as the controversial mural located in the Missouri State Capitol building entitled A Social History of the State of Missouri. This mural, finished in 1936, quickly became a popular stop in the state capitol building, as citizens and legislators alike marveled at Benton’s artistic skills and his daring interpretation of the state’s history. As Mary Scholz Guedon writes, with his primary interest lying in “rural, frontier America, Benton also painted the urban scene and became famous for his representations of modern American life” during the 1920s and 1930s. These fusions of urban and rural iconography, as well as those of historical and fictional events in Missouri’s past continue to draw visitors to see the Benton murals in the Missouri state capitol building every year.

The artist of A Social History of the State of Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton, was born in Neosho, Missouri in 1889, joining a family of lawyers and politicians. Due to the successful political career of his father, M.E. Benton, Thomas Hart Benton spent the majority of his childhood living in Washington, D.C., while his father served as a representative in the United States House of Representatives. During this time, Benton grew to realize that his personal interests did not match those of his family; visual art, rather than politics, appealed to him, so he took lessons at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. At the age of seventeen, after his father’s terms in the House of Representatives were over and the family had returned to Missouri, Benton received his first job in Joplin, Missouri, where he was a cartoonist for the small newspaper The Joplin American. This job was of great importance for Benton, as it was the first time he was allowed to pursue his artistic interests, while it also provided an outlet for his creative expressions.

In 1907, Benton enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago in order to pursue his artistic studies. It was here where Benton learned to paint, a skill that would contribute to the murals he would create later in his life. Although he had only enrolled the year before, Benton dropped out of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1908 to move to France, the place that he believed to be the center of the art world. In France he attended the Academie Julian 1 in Paris, where he learned French and attended classes exploring classic composition, perspective, and anatomy. He also explored many different artistic styles and techniques while at the Academie. Although the Academie Julian appeared to hold more interest for Benton than the Art Institute of Chicago had, shortly after enrolling, he grew frustrated with the methodology of teaching at the academy and dropped out, choosing instead to remain in Paris where he frequented the Louvre to copy famous artworks.

In 1912, Thomas Hart Benton, growing tired of living in Europe, chose to move to New York City, where he remained until 1935, with the exception of his brief entry into the Navy. Between the years of 1918 and 1919, Benton created numerous sketches of draftees in the Navy; it was at this point that he finally realized what he was comfortable creating artistically—scenes of people at their jobs and going about the duties of daily life. These drawings launched his career, allowing him to first display them in small public art galleries around the city of New York. As his art received more attention, slowly but surely, Thomas Hart Benton was gaining more recognition as an artist in the art world.

After the success of his sketches in 1919 and while still living in New York, Benton started his first series of murals, entitled The American Historical Epic. Benton’s interest in pioneer life showed through in the subject matter of these murals. As his fame spread, in 1932 the state of Indiana commissioned him to create a mural to for the Indiana Pavilion at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, entitled The Cultural & Industrial Progress of Indiana. In this mural, one of Benton’s most well-known commissioned pieces, the artist aimed to transfer “his personal politics into public art and thus, he hoped, into the realm of national reform” (Doss 68). With a country deeply suffering during the Great Depression, Benton aspired to relate to the working class, and did so through the subject matter of the mural.

Soon after this commission, Missourians became aware of the rising artist who had been born in their state, and many Missouri citizens wanted their own mural for the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City. The year 1934 began with the planning of the mural that would be created for the capitol. The chosen subject closely mirrored that of Benton’s mural in Indiana and was entitled A Social History of the State of Missouri. Again, Benton utilized rural and urban iconography, as well as historical and fictional scenes in the mural, all of which he hoped that Missourians would be familiar with. Out of this “social conscience, Benton sincerely believed in both the efficacy of New Deal politics and regionalist art to facilitate the sweeping social changes he felt were necessary in Depression America,” and he believed that such ideals behind his art would be most successful in producing change in his home state (Doss 68). The mural was completed in December of 1936, and soon after the completion, Benton ranked it among his best. Although much criticism was received regarding the controversial mural, eventually people grew to like and respect it, and it remains in the House Lounge of the Missouri State Capitol.

Benton continued to create artistic works after the Social History of the State of Missouri, including illustrations for Tom Sawyer and The Grapes of Wrath in 1939 and between 1940-2, respectively. Benton also went on to win prestigious awards, such as being made an honorary member of L’Accademia Fiorentina delle Arti del Disegno in Florence as well as an honorary member of Accademia Senese degli Intronati at Siena in 1949, following a trip to Europe during which Europeans marveled at Benton’s works. He continued to create murals all over the Midwest, including in Joplin and Kansas City for various patrons. At the time of his death on January 19, 1975, at the age of 85, Thomas Hart Benton was working on a mural for the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, entitled The Sources of Country Music. The mural, which was close to being complete, is now in Nashville, Tennessee and remains unsigned.

Regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton is known for his murals, the most famous of which act as social commentaries for the time in which Benton lived and worked. Being exposed to politics throughout his childhood enabled Benton to create works of art that focused upon the working class, representing their needs and desires as a usually underrepresented group of people. Many of the murals he created dealt with subject matter commonly attributed to a Midwest lifestyle, including scenes of farming, allowing the artist to better relate to the people he often painted. Benton enjoyed a long career, with many milestones such as his famous murals, most of which were usually accompanied by turmoil. Thomas Hart Benton continued to work until his death in 1975, and his paintings are still viewed by millions each year in various locations around the nation.

1Established in 1868, Academie Julian was a prestigious private art academy in Paris. Members of the faculty at the institution were renowned for being great artists and were encouraged to pass on their abilities to their students. Many famous artists studied here, from John Singer Sargent to Henri Matisse.

Photo Credit: Missouri Division of State Parks

Bass Clarinet

Whenever I hear the bass clarinet I swoon but the bari sax is my main man. My sax teacher got a bass clarinet after many years and he was so excited he wheeled it around the park in a baby carriage.

Jim Chapin and the KC Moaners

James Chapin is a painter musician singer extraordinaire, songwriter and librarian following his bliss. His wife Colette Fournier is an amazing singer, charismatic performer, and painter. She makes the best French meat pie in Rhode Island.

The KC Moaners were born in the wilds of Northern R.I. one cold winter evening sometime in the late 1990's when guitarist Jim Chapin and percussionist Greg Andreozzi met at a bluegrass jam and discovered they had a mutual affinity for jug band music. After a prolonged adolescence that saw the comings and goings several musicians over the years, the band coalesced around a nucleus of Greg, Jim, and Jim's wife Collette Fournier, and eventually included Dave Haller, Kevin Collins and Deck Nieforth, and has been entertaining folks around Southern New England with music that has a solidly authentic feel and a fresh and light-hearted approach that together provide a rollicking good time every time out. Drawing on old-time blues, jazz and folk sources, the band's blend of traditional (fiddle, guitar, banjo, harmonica, mandolin, ukulele) and non-traditional (kazoo, jug, washboard, washtub and more) instrumentation lends a free-wheeling, good time feel that gets toes tapping and hands clapping every time. Recent appearances include Stone Soup Coffee House in Pawtucket, RI, Roots Cultural Center and RISD Museum in Providence, the Stomping Ground in Putnam, CT, and Not Just Another Coffee House in Sharon, MA.

KC Moaners sound like: Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, Mississippi Shieks, Memphis Jug Band, Cannon's Jug Stompers, Even Dozen Jug Band

Henry Gould, Poet, Musician, Librarian

HG Poetics
Henry Gould's poetry & poetics. Write me :

Jon Frankel: The Last Bender

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Al Giordano+Pete Seeger

Life Inside of the Song of History with Pete Seeger
Posted by Al Giordano - February 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm
By Al Giordano

It is said that when you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes.

For a great many people, that was also the case when Pete Seeger died last month.

Almost everybody I know has a Pete Seeger story as compelling as any I could tell. The guy handed out meaningful exchanges like candy. That’s how he rolled.

I confess that I didn’t always love Pete, and was skeptical about him until I got to see and hear him up close. His music was force-fed on me, and others my age, as children. “Go to church on Sunday, eat your vegetables, wash behind your ears, and listen to your Pete Seeger, because it’s good for you!” His most popular recorded tunes were either children’s songs or what, as an emerging adolescent in the seventies, I considered “lite” odes to hippie slogans which had already become over-baked, like “peace,” or “freedom.” Some had been popularized by more saccharine acts (we don’t need to name them, everybody knows who they are).

I figured this Seeger fellow was just a slightly older sixties hippie with a professorial salt-and-pepper beard. Hippies were a dime a dozen back then. Like the police officers and military men they professed to dislike, they sure tended to don the same clothing and hairstyles as each other. They were old news already. Similar to many of my own, younger, generation, I was on the prowl for something more original and authentic.

See, that was the media image of Pete, the aging folksinger with a banjo, washed clean of his radical backstory. The entire population in the 1970s seemed to be suffering a hangover and nobody really wanted to talk about whatever it was that happened the night before. All society was doing the walk of shame. My high school pal Philip Shelley’s father, I had learned, an actor, had been blacklisted during the decades-long nightmare of persecution of communists and their suspected sympathizers. Stories like that were whispered, but not really talked about in any kind of meaningful way. There was still a lot of fear (and a lot of commie-bashing) but I would learn, through Pete and others, that what had preceded it was a hell of a lot worse; a plague upon the land.

Pete Seeger’s music would – like alcohol and cigarettes – prove to be an acquired taste. (Pete, who did not like to drink or smoke, would probably find that funny.) At the age of 17, about a month after I’d been arrested with 1,400 or so others for camping out on the construction site of the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire, I heard that a lot of those folks with whom I’d lived that coming-of-age story were headed to Amherst, Massachusetts, for something called The Towards Tomorrow Fair, a convention and festival dedicated to alternative energy sources and where thinkers – from Buckminster Fuller to Helen Caldicott to Murray Bookchin – would present their ideas. There would also be a concert by Seeger at the 2,000-seat UMass Fine Arts Center.

Pete, at first glance, seemed older than his 58 years, already a grey eminence. And between each song he sang, he told stories. While introducing “Wasn’t That a Time” as the song he tried to play in the halls of Congress in 1955 when subpoenaed before the US House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC), I looked at Connie Hogarth – who had brought some of us youths from New York up to Massachusetts in her station wagon – almost in disbelief. She explained that Pete had been “blacklisted” for refusing to name names at that hearing, and that his music had been banned for the following years on radio and television in the US. And that is probably the moment when I felt like a schmuck for having thought of Seeger as a mere hippie. I let my guard down, and started singing along.

Other stories he told, in the songs and between them, revealed pieces of his already long road saga: singing with Woody Guthrie and others to organize labor unions and strikes in the 1930s, enlisting in the Armed Forces to stop Hitler in the ‘40s (he and a group called The Weavers had a hit single during WWII, titled “Round and Round Hitler’s Grave,” which envisioned a public hanging of the despot), joining with blacks and whites in the Southern Civil Rights desegregation struggles of the ‘50s. I learned that it was a captain of a slave ship who had penned “Amazing Grace” - what I had considered a sappy church song – when in a burst of conscience he had turned the ship around to return the captured to Africa.

Even some of the songs I had considered “lite,” or corny or cloying, like the kid stuff, after some investigation, turned out to be those numbers Pete developed during his blacklisted years (roughly between the 1955 Contempt of Congress violation served upon him and the 1962 appeals court order that reversed it, and then another five years before they let him back on network TV), in which the seemingly innocent lyrics were in fact “code” for more subversive messages. “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a gospel spiritual, wasn’t taken from Bible verses, as I had wrongly presumed. Those were real instructions for escaping black slaves in the 1800s to learn how to read the constellations in the sky in order to head north toward freedom. To decode Pete was to learn the code of the secret history of the United States of America, of those troubling things that “nice” people only whispered about, if at all.

That night at UMass, he sang a song called “Acres of Clams,” based on an old sea shanty by the same title and rewritten by Charlie King, himself arrested at the Seabrook nuke site some weeks prior. The organization that had convened and trained us occupiers (receiving nonviolence training had been a requirement to be able to participate), was the Clamshell Alliance and its members had taken to calling each other “Clams.” Pete was suddenly singing about another chapter of American History, but a very recent one that I had taken part in. That’s when “the switch” went off in my head. I realized that these people who are mentioned in songs because they did something interesting or even heroic were people just like me. Every other story Pete sang about was suddenly in my reach. It was impossible to be cynical or even skeptical at that moment – looking around the hall, seeing all these folks who had risked arrest along with me, singing their hearts out to a song about them – and “getting” it that, holy shit, I’m in the song, and if I keep living my life that way, I’ll never be left outside of the song. That song was where I wanted to live.

That’s a dangerous thought. It led to a whole chain reaction of events and choices I soon made at early forks in the road of life. I left my teenaged punk rock band the day after we had been offered a record contract. I dropped out of university about as quickly as I entered it. I dedicated the next decade of my life to continued ventures of civil disobedience (27 arrests by age 27) and soon graduated to the harder, more meaningful, work of community organizing. I saw our fledgling movement against nuclear plants grow nationally and internationally, stop a new generation of atomic plants in the US, and even win the shut down of the particular nuke I had most organized against. That’s the song, baby, the one that never ends. And we keep working on the next verse of the story.

Three things about Pete surprised me at first, because they ran counter to his media image.

One, unlike so many of the “activists” who attended his concerts, he was unabashedly patriotic about America and what he considered its true ideals.

Two, he was really into winning (also distinct from many of the aforesaid types). He may have shunned other intoxicants, but, whoa, he was definitely hooked on “the buzz.” In his homage to Woody Guthrie, who had died in 1967, “Precious Friend,” he sang, “And when we sing another victory song, precious friend you will be there.” The whole point of it all – the music, the singing, the traveling, the organizing – for Pete, was to triumph. He didn’t sing and participate merely to be able to think of himself as a “good person.” He did it because those were steps toward concrete changes in society, toward the rush of that victory song, the greatest high there is.

Third – and I found this, as a young guitarist, a bit infuriating – was the astounding refinement of his musicianship. That night, on a twelve-string guitar, he played and sang “The Bells of Rhymney,” set to music from a poem by a Welsh miner-turned-poet, Idris Davies, who had lost one of his fingers in the mine. The “folk music revival” of my childhood had an air of “anybody can do it,” and a lot of those who did had only rudimentary musical skills; a very accessible and populist art form, worthy of its name. The sounds Pete got out of that instrument put the day’s revered rock axe-man guitar legends in their respective places, an entire orchestra and rainforest of cacophony put to order, in escalating and, alternately descending, rhythms. Add to that the perfect pitch of a voice that spanned multiple octaves, with the coordination between the vocal chords, lungs and hands on the instrument – “if, if, if, if, IF!” – and then whistling to hit even higher notes.

Woonsocket Artists for Urban Renewal

We have a few abandoned brick buildings downtown that get great light. I envision an Art Students League or a MudFlap Ceramics Studio here for our beloved city. Artists are the secret to attracting more creative and innovative people to a city. We have a wealth of history and an unbeatable landscape in our little mill town. There's no reason why it can't become the thriving capitol of art in the Northern part of the state. Let's begin envisioning a brighter future together.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Support your Artists!

Think local this holiday season. Support your local artists.

Founded by Artists, For Artists


Founded in 1875 by artists and for artists, the Art Students League of New York has been instrumental in shaping America's legacy in the fine arts. Many renowned artists have honed their skills at the League, which is dedicated to sustaining the great tradition of training artists. Today, more than 2,500 students of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, study at the League each month.

Currently, the League offers more than 130 courses taught by a faculty of approximately 80 artists at its flagship Manhattan location. The League also offers an international residency program as well as workshops and exhibitions at Vytlacil (24 miles north of Manhattan). Throughout the year, students also participate in lectures, seminars and workshops presented by noted figures in the art world.

Just Some of the Prominent Artists Who Have Studied or Taught at the League

Ai Weiwei Will Barnet Louise Bourgeois John H. Twachtman

George Bellows Thomas Hart Benton Lee Bontecou Frank Vincent DuMond

Alexander Calder William Merritt Chase Kenyon Cox Robert Beverly Hale

Thomas Eakins Helen Frankenthaler George Grosz Clark Hulings

Childe Hassam Hans Hofmann Al Hirschfeld Donald Judd

Yasuo Kuniyoshi Roy Lichtenstein Reginald Marsh Frank Mason

Hildreth Meière
Louise Nevelson Georgia O'Keeffe Thomas E. Otterness

Jackson Pollock Richard Pousette-Dart Robert Rauschenberg Frederick Remington

Norman Rockwell James Rosenquist Mark Rothko Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Maruice Sendak Ben Shahn

Nelson Shanks

Cy Twombly

Vaclav Vytlacil

Founded by Artists, For Artists

Established by artists for artists, and continuing to hold to its founding principles, the League is an atelier school in which the language of art is taught and developed through immersion in the practices of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and assemblage. With an emphasis on mastering skills and visual thinking, students engage in the process of making art. The format of ongoing classes allows students to learn at their own pace and from prominent artists who have a range of artistic philosophies and approaches. They also learn from their fellow students, many of whom have years of experience and add to the rich atelier learning environment.

The League offers the finest quality of art education for students at all levels. There are no prerequisites for enrollment or membership. By dedicating its tuition fees and a significant portion of its endowment to underwriting the cost of instruction, the League ensures that all who wish to attend can do so at affordable cost. Continuous courses, workshops, residencies, apprenticeships and exhibition programs are available to help guide each student through their own self-directed course of study.

The main campus in Manhattan, in the center of the world's most culturally vibrant city, is situated in a landmark building that has been the League's home since it was built in 1892.

The League Residency at Vyt

On a pastoral 15-acre estate just north of New York City, The League Residency at Vyt supports working artists by providing intensive focus through an international residency program. Nestled in the historic lower Hudson Valley’s beautiful landscape, Vyt is a meeting place for masters and colleagues around the world. Vyt fosters professional development by offering residents individual space to freely focus on their craft with facilities including north-lit studios, seven private bedrooms, a bronze foundry, metal forge, walk-in kiln and welding shop. Hosting Open Studios, exhibitions and workshops, The League Residency at Vyt is an integral part of the Art Students League of New York’s enduring mission to train great artists. Click here to learn more, or apply to Vyt.

Mudflat Studio

Celebrating our 43rd YearMudflat Studio

Mudflat has offered the metropolitan Boston community a unique opportunity for clay work and play since 1971. Now located in a newly renovated state-of the-art facility, Mudflat follows its mission to promote and expand appreciation of and participation in the ceramic arts. Mudflat offers classes, workshops, outreach programming and events for students of all ages, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Mudflat also provides a mix of studio rentals, which attract and support 34 accomplished clay artists in a dynamic artistic community, centered on a single medium and a shared creative process. Together, the school and studio form a dynamic community centered on a single medium and a shared creative process.

Mudflat offers classes and workshops for students of all ages and abilities. Join us!

Winter Semester:
January 4 – April 11, 2015
Registration begins
Wednesday, December 3

Don't miss the Mudflat
Holiday Open Studio & Pottery Sale
December 5 – 14

Mudflat has a monthly email newsletter with studio news, events, and gallery listings of ceramics shows and exhibits in the Boston area.
Sign up for our Email Newsletter Now
Mudflat is a nonprofit, 501(C)3 organization. Mudflat is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We also receive support from foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Mudflat Pottery School, Inc. is committed to creating a community that is free of any kind of harassment. Mudflat does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, or veteran status.

Mudflat Pottery School, Inc.
81 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02145
phone: 617-628-0589
fax: 617-628-2082

Favorite Teacher

When I was in 9th grade I had a library copy of BE HERE NOW. I remeber reading it lying down on top of my parents bed. My parents had gone away to their country house for the weekend. I was home alone and this book changed my life. It was like the first time I heard the BLUES!!! I remember where I was and what it felt like.
“We're all just walking each other home.”
― Ram Dass

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
― Ram Dass

“We're fascinated by the words--but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
― Ram Dass

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

“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can't have it. The minute you don't want power, you'll have more than you ever dreamed possible.”
― Ram Dass

“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.”
― Ram Dass

“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”
― Ram Dass

“Be here now.”
― Ram Dass, Be Here Now

“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
― Ram Dass

“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.”
― Ram Dass

“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can't see how it is.”
― Ram Dass

“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”
― Ram Dass

“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”
― Ram Dass

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it's in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I'm caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
― Ram Dass

“Let's trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let's lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
― Ram Dass

“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”
― Ram Dass

“The next message you need is always right where you are.”
― Ram Dass

“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can't be organized or regulated. It isn't true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
― Ram Dass

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I'm saying.”
― Ram Dass

“We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.”
― Ram Dass

“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
― Ram Dass

“A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there's work to be done.”
― Ram Dass

“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn't create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”
― Ram Dass

“If you think you're free, there's no escape possible.”
― Ram Dass, Be Here Now

“Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery.”
― Ram Dass

“It's all real and it's all illusory:
that's Awareness!”
― Ram Dass

“I'm not interested in being a "lover." I'm interested in only being love.”
― Ram Dass

“We're here to awaken from the illusion of separateness”
― Ram Dass, How Can I Help? Stories and Reflection on Service

“Learn to watch your drama unfold while at the same time knowing you are more than your drama.”
― Ram Dass

“The game is not about becoming somebody, it's about becoming nobody.”
― Ram Dass

Ram Dass, Teacher

When you know how to listen everybody is the guru.

Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.

The gift you offer another person is just your being.

Once you get to your soul, then every person you look at is a soul.

Lily at the Library

Lily will be the featured guest at the library January 2nd Friday during school vacation week. The kids can come and draw her and read to her.

Samuel Clemens

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it.
- Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens in Florida, Missouri (1835)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ernest Hemingway

That terrible mood of depression of whether it's any good or not is what is known as The Artist's Reward.
- Ernest Hemingway

Mark Twain

We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can 'show off' and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our own untraveled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can't shake off. All our passengers are paying strict attention to this thing, with the end in view which I have mentioned. The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad.

I am 70; 70, and would nestle in the chimney corner, and smoke my pipe, and read my book, and take my rest, wishing you well in all affection, and that when you in your turn shall arrive at pier No. 70 you may step aboard your waiting ship with a reconciled spirit, and lay your course toward the sinking sun with a contented heart.

-Mark Twain

Tiny Rooms

I think I had spent up my available capital for extroversion in college, and I had to be by myself. I intended to take one year, but ended up taking four. At the start I lived in a small cabin in northern Minnesota through fall and winter. I lived by shooting partridge illegally; I wanted to write like Milton. The next year, the summer of 1951, I moved to New York, where I lived for three more years, excessively alone. “Altarwise by owl light in the halfway house,” as Dylan Thomas put it.

I lived in tiny rooms—the better ones had a hot plate—and was determined to write twelve hours a day at least six days a week. And did. To support myself I worked one day a week, as a file clerk or a typist and, for a while, a painter, carrying around my painter’s bag with the coveralls. When one is living what the French call the garret life, it’s surprising how often one meets someone with the odd instinct to help.

-Robert Bly, Paris Review

Robert Bly

Paris Review:

William Carlos Williams was the one who meant the most to me, so I hitchhiked to see him, from Cambridge to Paterson, wearing my chino pants, and I called him from a bar nearby: Could I come to see you?—Sure, come on, kid. So he let me in and said, Sit down over there. Do you write poetry?—Well, yeah, I guess so . . . I suppose. He went about his business, planning his deliveries and typing something. He glanced at me from time to time. After fifteen minutes or so, he said, OK, kid, you can go now. He understood that I just wanted to look at him. I drifted out, floating along the street. It was heavenly.

36th Anniversary

Today is my thirty-six year anniversary of running away from my parents' Larchmont NY home the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend 1978. That night I called my friend Jessica Brown who was home from Brown University visiting her parents, and asked her if there was room in the car. I knew she and some others were heading back to Rhode Island that night. I packed my little red backpack with a stack of books (one of which was the poems of Arthur Rimbeau) a few clothes and my toothbrush. Jessica lived on Hope Street in a huge apartment which was the second and third floor of a former rooming house. She shared it with six other Brown University students. I baked bread and washed dishes for the house while looking for jobs and my own apartment. We ate supper every night as a group. I remember having laughing fits during the nightly post-supper tea. I met a bunch of smart wonderful people, some of whom are still close friends. Rhode Island became my home.

Anne Lamott: Give and Give and Give

You are going to have to give and give and give, or there’s no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.

And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again. . . . Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.

— Anne Lamott


33 years ago my sax teacher Gregg Mazel told me it was time to get a new mouthpiece for my sax.

So I asked for one for my birthday/Christmas and my mother screamed,"That's not a gift!"

So it all got put away.

Today I have a box of reeds and I will try to find a rubberhard plastic mouthpiece that I like.

I just had to wait 33 years.

Iguana in the Bathtub

When the temperature dipped below 40, iguanas started falling from the trees. Small, sleek green iguanas; big iguanas as long as four feet from snout to tail, scales cresting gloriously from their heads; orange-and-green iguanas, their muscled, goose-pimpled arms resolving into sharp claws. Iguanas were everywhere: in the bushy areas surrounding canals, on sidewalks, in backyards, lying helpless among the fallen, rotting fruit of mango and orange trees.

The iguanas lay on the ground as if they were dead, a rhapsody of corpses dotting the landscape like musical notation. But they weren’t dead Article

To Laugh or Cry


Harlan Coben

The old man’s gaze drifted over my shoulder. “What’s that like?”
“Excuse me?”
“That’s your novel, right?”
He gestured at the four books on the shelf behind me.
“Right,” I said.
He shook his head in awe. “That’s my dream, man. Seeing my book on a shelf in a bookstore.” He lowered his gaze and met my eye. “So what’s that like?”
I paused, letting the question sink in, but before I could reply, the old man lifted his eyes back to the bookshelf, smiled, and shook his head again. “Lucky,” he said, before turning and walking away.
He didn’t buy a book. He didn’t have to.

- Harlan Coben, NYT source

Harlan Coben is the author of the novels “Tell No One,” “Missing You” and the forthcoming “The Stranger.”

Chie Nishio Photographer

In Ms. Nishio’s photos, a scribe letters a Torah scroll and a baker wields a tray of matzos. A bride-to-be, who will have to cover her hair for reasons of modesty, tries on her first wig. In a ritual called upsherin, a 3-year-old boy receives his first haircut, the sign that he will soon begin his religious education. There are portraits of Chabad women who work as a lawyer, a painter and a magazine editor.

These photographs attest not only to Ms. Nishio’s meticulous skill, which she honed over a half-century, but to the condition of her soul, a capacity for empathy across both literal and metaphorical oceans of difference.

The daughter of a railroad mechanic, Ms. Nishio grew up in a Japan ravaged by World War II. Unable to afford college, she went to work as a self-described “office girl.” Only in the early 1960s, when she was already in her 30s, did she find a two-year trade school for photography. There she fell in love with journalism.

Alex Lemon

when it goes
Black, we will bang our fists
On whatever’s closest to speak
To each other about
The loveliness all over us.

-Alex Lemon

Juno Poem

t of you all dayugday
thoughou all day
ght oall day
tol day
thou of you day

Friday, November 28, 2014


A saunas’ dry heat (which can get as high as 185° F) has profound effects on the body. Skin temperature soars to about 104° F within minutes. The average person will pour out a pint of sweat during a short stint in a sauna. The pulse rate jumps by 30% or more, allowing the heart to nearly double the amount of blood it pumps each minute. Most of the extra blood flow is directed to the skin; in fact, the circulation actually shunts blood away from the internal organs. Blood pressure is unpredictable, rising in some people but falling in others.

“All in all, saunas appear safe for the body, but there is little evidence that they have health benefits above and beyond relaxation and a feeling of well-being,” says Dr. Harvey Simon, editor-in-chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. However, heart patients should check with their doctors before taking a sauna. Studies show them to be safe for people with stable coronary artery disease. “But patients with poorly controlled blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, unstable angina, and advanced heart failure or heart valve disease will probably be advised to stay cool,” says Dr. Simon.

Wikipedia article

Seeds of Contemplation

from Thomas Merton's book, New Seeds of Contemplation

Ultimately the only way I can be myself is to become identified with Him in Whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence. Therefore, there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him, I will find myself, and if I find my true self I will find Him.
- Thomas Merton

...The basic disposition in the spiritual journey is the capacity to accept all reality; God, ourselves, other people, and all creation as they are.
- Fr. Thomas Keating

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
- Fr. Pierre Teihard de Chardin, Jesuit priest and philosopher

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
- Julian of Norwich

If you're going through hell, keep going.
- Winston Churchill

Virginia Mudd

I created this website to accompany my books, Bicycling Home, My Journey to Find God, and Across America on the Yellow Brick Road. It is also a continuation of my own spiritual path, a place for me to share my passion for and fascination with the spiritual journey with you.

I've been consciously on this path of exploration, investigation, discovery, and transformation for over 35 years. After all these years it is still a mystery, which is partly what makes it so compelling, so interesting.

My outer and inner explorations are recounted in part in these two books, which are focused around bicycle adventures. Across America on the Yellow Brick Road tells of a 3,500-mile trip with another woman from California to Washington, D.C. in 1978. Bicycling Home, My Journey to Find God, is centered around a solo bike trip I made from the Bay Area in California to the Grand Tetons of Wyoming in 1984. (And. no, you don't have to even know how to ride a bike to appreciate the journey!) Both books are about my journey to find myself and find God, the most mysterious, arduous, adventurous, rewarding journey of my life.

Along the way I've gained insights that I feel are useful and relevant to many of us who are on the spiritual path as we strive to know ourselves better, to be more connected and loving to each other, the earth, the cosmos and ourselves.

Many of the insights I gained "after the fact," after the terrifying struggle with my food addiction and the suffering of an unworkable love relationship. (How I wished it had been the other way around!) For example, Jungian Marion Woodman says: "...their addiction is their way to truth... in the addiction is the hidden treasure...It is their particular sacred journey, their Tao, their Way." And Robert Johnson says: "The suffering of romance is ultimately no different than the suffering of mysticism and religion."

Both these transformative experiences called me to follow my heart as I sought ways to escape the hell of addiction, and answers to the agony of romantic love. Above all I wanted to satisfy my deepest longing--to find and have union with God.

While my particular spiritual journey turns out to be intimately connected with Christ and Christianity, I consider myself a spiritually independent Christian. There are many paths to our spiritual homes, and many names for God (I'm not out to convert anyone!) and I have been, and continue to be, guided and inspired by the wisdom teachings of many spiritual traditions. My most important teachers are... Thomas Merton, Marion Woodman, M. Scott Peck, Robert Johnson, Paramahansa Yogananda, Ram Dass, Tessa Bielecki, Paul Tillich, Pema Chodron, Fr. Thomas Keating, Neil Douglas-Klotz, Thich Nhat Hanh, Byron Katie, and others, as well as wonderful people who do not make teaching their profession.

I hope you will join me on this continuing, incredible journey.Article

Grist for the Mill

Grist for the Mill
Ram Dass, Stephen Levine
HarperOne 02/14 Paperback $15.99
ISBN: 9780062235916

Ram Dass is the bestselling author of Remember, Be Here Now and Journey of Awakening. Born Richard Alpert, his spiritual search took him from being a Harvard professor of psychology to the Himalayas. In India, he found his guru and was given the name Ram Dass, which means "Servant of God." He returned to the United States and became a meditation and workshop leader. Stephen Levine is the former director of the Hanuman Foundation Dying Project and one of the foremost experts on death and grief in the world. In this revised version of a book originally published in 1976, the authors presents edited transcripts of speeches, lectures, articles, and retreats. Ram Dass begins with an explanation of Namaste:

"In India when we meet and part we often say, 'Namaste,' which means I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you where if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us."

Ram Dass makes it clear at the outset that what he has to say on these pages is "that which is universal to all that lives in the true spirit." We are all beings "going to God" and each one of us has a different path to take. No matter what our vocation or work in life, it is up to us to be the living spirit of Christ or Buddha or Krishna or Tara. But at the same time, the challenge is to avoid being "phony holy" — appearing holier than we are. Ram Dass shares an account of a bad experience with a woman guru where he got his "karmauppance." On the other hand, he reveals the guiding prescription for his life received from Maharaj-ji: his guru: Love, Serve, and Remember.

After offering a guided meditation, Ram Dass gives some thoughtful answers to very tough questions on interpreting dreams, neurotic habits, the judging mind, opening your heart, sexual desire, and more. The book ends with chapters on dying as an opportunity for awakening, freeing the mind, and God and Beyond. We will leave you with a sample of Ram Dass' spiritual insight:

"The universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out our reactivity, which is our attachment, our clinging, to pain, to pleasure, to fear, to all of it. And as long as there are places that we're vulnerable, the universe will find ways to confront us with them. That's the way the dance is designed. . . . And we get so that we're perfectly willing to do whatever we do — and to do it perfectly. It's like Mahatma Gandhi gets put in jail and they give him a lice-infested uniform and tell him to clean the latrines, and it's a whole mess. And he walks up to the head of the guards and he says, in total truth, 'Thank you.' He's not putting them on or up-levelling them. He's saying, 'There's a teaching here, and I'm getting it; thank you.' What's bizarre is that we get to the point where somebody lays a heavy trip on us and we get caught, and then we see through our catch-ness and we say, 'Thank you.' We may not say it aloud because it's too cute. But we feel 'thank you.' People come up and are violent or angry or write nasty letters or whatever they do to express their frustration or anger or competition, and all I can say is thanks."

A Quiet Room Alone

I think these difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way that so many things that one goes around worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.
-Isak Dinesen

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
-Aldous Huxley

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
-Carl Jung

Great minds have always seen it. That is why man has survived his journey this long. When we fail to wish any longer to be otherwise than what we are, we will have ceased to evolve. Evolution has to be lived forward. I say this as one who has stood above the bones of much that has vanished, and at midnight has examined his own face.
-Loren Eiseley

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you're the easiest person to fool.
-Richard Feynman

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

Segmented Sleep

Quote on Ultrashort Sleep Findings
From "Why We Nap," Claudio Stampi:
(Referring to a study in chapter 12; page 195)

The implications of what emerged from this series of studies are discussed in greater detail, within the broader context of a review on other polyphasic sleep studies, in Chapters 1 and 10. In brief, findings described in this chapter do not appear to contradict the following hypothesis:

Adult humans appear to have a natural ability to adapt to polyphasic sleep schedules.
The 4-hr ultradian cycle of sleep-wake pressure previously described may be an important factor in allowing adaptation to polyphasic patterns.
The sleep-wake system appears to show a high level of flexibility in terms of sleep timing and duration.
Polyphasic sleep may be a feasable, and perhaps the only, strategy allowing remarkable levels of sleep reduction during prolonged quasi-continuous work situations, without unduly compromising performance effectiveness.
This may be analogous to what is observed in a considerable number of mammalian species, particularly in those living in dangerous environments.
Further studies extended to a larger sample of subjects may provide powerful tools for developing sleep-wake schedules for individuals involved in irregular or quasi-continuous work situations.
These findings and hypothesis raise challenging questions concerning what is known about the regulatory mechanisms of sleep function.

Quote on the 4-hr Ultradian Cycle
From "Why We Nap," Claudio Stampi (pg 8):

Under less-structured environments multiple naps do occur throughout the 24 hr, and many subjects exhibit polyphasic sleep similar to that observed in nonhuman species. Such spontaneous naps do not recur randomly throughout the day. Rather, their striking regularity allowed speculation on the existence of an ultradian 4-hr component of the sleep-wake cycle that may be superimposed on the more robust circadian and midafternoon components. In fact, 4-hr cycles in sleep propensity have been found in many studies conducted in unstructured environments (e.g., Nakagawa, 1980; Zulley, 1988). These findings are probably not surprising to investigators familiar with the 4-hr sleep-wake pattern observed in infants. More recently, 4-hr cycles in the expression of SWS have also been found in the frequent daytime naps in a population of narcoleptics (see Chapter 15).

It is worth mentioning that anthropological studies conducted in tribes active at night show that human sleep can be highly polyphasic in certain cultures. Although they have different cultures and ways of life, both the Temiars of Indonesia and the Ibans of Sarawak have similar polyphasic sleep-wake behaviors (Petre-Quadens, 1983).


Amos House is Expanding

The Providence Journal
Eileen Hayes, CEO of Amos House, visits the Friendship Café. Weekly specials include chicken pot pie on Mondays.


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — After more than 36 years, Amos House will be getting a new home. The nonprofit agency will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for a $6-million community center, scheduled to open in December 2015.

“It’s a new building for Amos House’s guests, for all of their needs,” president and CEO Eileen Hayes said Wednesday. Supportive housing will remain separate.

The agency provides support for Rhode Islanders who are hungry, homeless and in crisis, and operates the largest soup kitchen in the state. Since its founding in 1976, Amos House has evolved from grassroots soup kitchen to comprehensive social-services agency.

The four-level, 29,000-square-foot structure on the Amos House’s existing property will include a new soup kitchen with a larger dining hall, classrooms, community rooms, training centers and consolidated staff offices.

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, who were instrumental in securing a federal earmark of $730,500 for the project, and Governor Chafee, will be among the guest speakers on Monday.

The ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on the construction site at 460 Pine St., behind the current Amos House soup kitchen.

“We’re really excited because it [the new building] will allow us to bring our programs that are located offsite into one building,” Hayes said.

“All of our staff will be in one building, all of our programs in one building. We’ll have a nicer environment in the dining hall and more consistent delivery of services for men and women and families who come to us for services.”

She added: “We’ve been trying to raise this money for the past five years, so we’re really excited to be breaking ground.” Construction actually started last month, she said.

“We’re just incredibly grateful to the funders of this project and donors who have made some very generous gifts to our campaign,” Hayes said. “We still have a ways to go. We need another million to build the reserve and furnish the building.”

Amos House owns 14 buildings, 11 of which are used for housing. Eight are at the Friendship-Pine streets location. Staff consolidation will free up more space for housing.

A full-scale carpentry shop and a classroom for the culinary program will replace the existing offsite locations. The literacy program will also move in-house.

The 1983 concrete-block dining hall will be torn down, and the space will be used for parking, Hayes said.

“The dining hall is very cold in the winter, and, in the summer, we can’t air-condition it. It’s not wired for air-conditioning,” Hayes said. With the new building, “clients will no longer have to leave the dining hall and go into an adjacent building for support services.”

The new dining hall will allow 20 percent more people at each meal, and the new building will allow Amos House to accept 30 to 50 percent more students in its culinary, carpentry and entrepreneurial programs.
“When the soup kitchen was built, we served 100 meals a day,” Hayes said. “Typically, on any given day, we serve 500 to 700 meals.”

Buy Local

If Rhode Islanders shifted 10 percent of what they buy from large, out-of-state chain stores to locally owned businesses, it could pump $373 million into the state’s economy, the foundation says.

“I think it’s very important in this day and age, especially with so many people going to the Internet,” she says. “I think it’s important for each and every community, not just for Newport but nationwide, that people support their local companies. We’re unique. We’re special.… That’s what makes a community unique.”


Food Fantasy

In a city with no crimes the police (+ firemen) could be making and baking wine biscotti. Public works department and the highway dept could make a gigantic spinach pie the size of the baseball field...We could use the equipment to mix spinach and roll out the pie dough.

Crop Swap

We need this here!
Neighborly exchanges of goods are nothing new, of course: In the early days of the Plymouth Colony, for instance, the Pilgrims traded English tools, clothing and other items for the Indians’ beaver fur and corn, said Patrick Browne, the executive director of the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Mass.

But today’s trades reflect food trends coursing through the body politic: At the PDX Food Swap in Portland, Ore., for example, participants share homemade vegan nut spreads; kombucha starters; organic strawberry and cabernet sauvignon jams; brined nasturtium flower buds, considered poor man’s capers; rosemary-infused butter; and homemade rhubarb liqueur.


Corduroy Boy

At 3:30 AM I woke from a dream. I was dreaming about a corduroy boy in a phone booth.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Greiving Twins

I met twin girls when walking Lily down Social Street through Dunkin Donuts parking lot. One girl said can I pet your dog. We just lost our black lab. Sure I said. My sister can't touch her because it's too much for her. I said its okay. It's good to cry and let it out. Lily will help you heal.

Nat and Sophie, My Heritage

My Brighton Beach Grandma swam every morning at 7 Am in Sheeps Head Bay on Brighton Beach. Then she'd shower, dress up and take the subway into Manhattan for her job as a hostess in a restaurant. After work she'd meet my Grandfather Nat at his store, United Blower. Grandpa's store on Centre Street on the Bowery, was tiny and next to OTB. He sold fans and engines, located off Canal Street NYC. He let the Bowery bums come in to use the bathroom and he took them out for breakfast.
My first apartment was right around the corner on Mott Street between Grand and Broome. I was 17 and still in High school! I was a cashier at Gillie's 1840 on Bleeker Street. I'd visit Grandpa every day for lunch. I ate an apple and an orange at his big oak teacher's desk in his office under the portrait of his father, my great grandfather. He had the spark he's say pointing to his father, and you do too.

A Rare Buffalo

I met a medicine man on his way to the bus stop.
I admired his walking stick with dangling feathers and his snake skin and shells necklace. And earrings of shell.
We chatted Tell me about dreams and the pow wow. He told me about the dream catchers...
My art student is in his tribe. Her father is a Chief. I asked him his Indian name. I asked how he was named.
He was told to close his eyes and asked what did he see? Black he replied
Look deeper the Chief said.
I see a white dot, he said.
Look closer, what is the shape?
I see a white buffalo.
Very rare.
Come back in three days and I will have your name.
White River Hawk.
He said he missed his bus but was so happy to do so.
because he loved answering my questions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michelle Alexander

When people have been hurt over and over, and rather than compassion or understanding you’re given lectures about how it’s really all your fault, and that no one needs to make amends, you can lose your mind. We can wind up harming people we care about with words or deeds, people who have done no harm to us.

- Michelle Alexander, NYT Telling My Son About Ferguson.
She is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

P's Dream

I did have a dream I remembered, although a shorty, the other night. I dreamed I was a frog, riding on a train. The door opened, and as soon as I hopped out, I turned into myself. I was with two young men who said we were all going to play baseball, a bunch of friends, waiting in the field outside. And then they said, "But you need your shoes," and we were all looking under a bed for my shoes. I hadn't any shoes on because I'd been a frog and frog don't usually wear shoes. I was afraid I would find my shoes because I can't run, so I can't run around the bases, so I can't play baseball. Actually, I only run if the ball comes toward me, so I can't even be an outfielder. I was so relieved that I woke up before I could find them.

Load an Ostrich Into a Trailer

And other freelance articles for writers

Name a Pet

Increase Horse Sperm Count

Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Horses

Recognize and Treat Dwarfism in Dogs

Identify Spiders in Michigan

Start a Pug Rescue in Sacramento

Treat Feline Constipation in New Jersey

Get a Dog Vaccinated in New York City

Be a Dog Psychiatrist

Load an Ostrich Into a Trailer

Max Ernst

If you open your eyes, and look at the outside world, you can see another way. If you close your eyes and you look into your inner world, and I believe the best to do is to have one eye closed and to look inside, and this is the inner eye, and with your other eye you have it fixed on reality, what is going on in the world. If you can make a kind of a synthesis of these two important worlds, you come to a result which can be considered as a synthesis of objective and subjective life.
- Max Ernst

National Suicide Prevention

If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Bread Jam and Jazz

I'm listening to WICN and lovin' it.

Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald!

(I saw Louis Armstrong perform live in Hello Dolly on Broadway when I was six.)

Beautiful Tears

Bill was assigned this Ted talk to view as part of grad school and shared it with me.
This might make you cry beautiful tears. It is only 10 minutes...but an story for peace.
It IS about LOVE.

When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: "Iranians ... we [heart] you." Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message — and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like "Israel loves Iran," "Iran loves Israel" and even "Palestine loves Israel."


The Peace Factory


PEACE starts with the people, one person at a time. Today it’s easier than ever to connect and reach out to one another. We can talk, we can meet, and we can start a new friendship without even leaving our homes just by the click of a button. One new person, One new connection. Peace is when we see and treat each other as people. All we have to do is talk.

Peace starts from the the people,
one person at a time.

Today it’s easier than ever to connect and reach out to one another.
We can talk, we can meet, and we can start a new friendship without even leaving our homes, by the click of a button.
One new person, One new connection
Peace is when we see each other as people. All we have to do is talk

Make a friend on Facebook with anyone from “the other side”, from “over there” from “the enemy”. Talk to him/her every once in a while, comment on a picture, share a post…the rest will just happen
PEACE, it s easy
PEACE, it s quick
PEACE, it s…viral

They advertise war. We advertize for PEACE

Peace Factory 169 They try to make us afraid.

War is our curse. Fear rules the region.
With fear and war come poverty, racism, and fundamentalism.
Sadly, many Israelis have lost faith in peace, after years of wars and conflict. They are mainly occupied with economic issues.
But peace still needs to be the center of the debate. Peace is the key to most of our problems in Israel and in the region.

The rhetoric needs to change. We need to be talking about making peace with our neighbors, to raise our voices and say: ” Yes, we believe in peace and it has to be the priority of the next government! The times have changed. Our neighbors are not our enemies; they are our partner for peace. Let’s talk to them, let them be our “friends,” let’s hear their voices raised for peace.”

And The Peace Factory will show the way. Because for 1year now, we are hearing those voices coming from the people of the Middle East saying they are ready for peace.

There is a new generation in Israel and in the entire Middle East, and it is up to us to break the circle to prove that there is another path, a better future. Peace.

PeaceFactory166The Peace Factory has been working to show the world that the people of Israel and Iran don’t want war and can be friends. And it is happening. The community is huge now. Those two people are saying together since March, “We are not enemies. We don’t want war. We are not ready to die in your war. We Love each other.”

We want to deliver this message to the Israeli People during the campaign. We need to show them what we are hearing and seeing for nine months now on our Facebook page people from the Middle East saying “we love you” to the Israeli People.

And not just the people of Iran. This message has reached hundreds of thousands of citizens from many other countries: Turkish, Syrians, Lebanese and yes also Palestinians…

We have to show their faces to Israel, to deliver their message of peace, to let them know that the other side is ready for peace, watching them vote, hoping that they vote for peace.

We have to make the Middle East people to believe again in peace, breaking down their fear.

Then the excuse of the “not ready for peace” neighbors will not work anymore.

We have the privilege of living in a democracy.This time, we must ask ourselves: what if the other side is ready for peace? If finally what they want is what we want too: living a peaceful daily life with our families, being able to provide good education for our kids, being able to pay the bills each month, to go to work, to buy food…..

Love Story

TED Speaker
Personal profile

Ronny Edry of Israel created The Peace Factory, an online movement for peace in the Middle East, when he posted a Facebook image that declared "Iranians, we will never bomb your country."
Why you should listen

Ronny Edry is a graphic designer, teacher and father. While he often posted images on Facebook without much fanfare, in March of 2012 one of his images garnered international attention. The image showed him with his daughter, along with the words “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We heart you.” The image became a catalyst for dialogue between the people of two nations on the brink of war -- and started an online movement. Today, The Peace Factory is connecting people throughout the Middle East, giving them a voice and a face.

Edry grew up in Paris, France, and has lived in Israel since 1989. Along with his work on the Peace Factory, he is the owner and founder of Pushpin, a school for art and design in Tel Aviv. He himself graduated with honors from the BezIalel Academy of Art and Design, and he is a staff member teaching visual communication in design academies in Israel. He has received awards for his works as a graphic designer and is also an illustrator and author of graphic novels.
What others say

“It is not possible to dial an Iranian number from an Israeli telephone. It will simply not go through. That lack of communication stems from the government level, where there is no dialogue between the two countries aside from public speeches meant to carry weighty threats of war to each camp. That is why it was so difficult for Ronny Edry, an Israeli graphic designer based in Tel Aviv, to get his message across to the people of Iran.” — CNN

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Catherine Russell, Singer

This woman is amazing. I just heard her on the radio.

Drive Safely, Drive Sober

I have two friends who lost siblings to drunk drivers on Thanksgiving. They are in my thoughts. Drive safely. Drive sober.

Sugar Ray and the Bluetones

I have a crush on Sugar Ray. He is my favorite singer in New England. He's singing on my radio now!
See him live!!

Pill-Box Hat

Make your own from an old

Woody Guthrie

Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.
― Woody Guthrie

I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think that you've not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow.
― Woody Guthrie

If you walk across my camera I will flash the world your story.
― Woody Guthrie

Anyone who uses more than two chords is just showing off.
― Woody Guthrie

Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don't change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.
― Woody Guthrie

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
― Woody Guthrie

The world is filled with people who are no longer needed. And who try to make slaves of all of us. And they have their music and we have ours. Theirs, the wasted songs of a superstitious nightmare. And without their music and ideological miscarriages to compare our songs of freedom to, we'd not have any opposite to compare music with --- and like the drifting wind, hitting against no obstacle, we'd never know its speed, its power....
― Woody Guthrie

I know the police cause you trouble
They cause trouble everywhere
But when you die and go to heaven
You find no policeman there
― Woody Guthrie

All of you cowboys, fight for your land.
― Woody Guthrie

If you want to learn something, just steal it.
― Woody Guthrie

You will never find peace with these fascists
You'll never find friends such as we
So remember that valley of Jarama
And the people that'll set that valley free.
From this valley they say we are going
Do not hasten to bid us adieu
Even though we lost the battle at Jarama
We'll set this valley before we're through.
All this world is like this valley called Jarama
So green and so bright and so fair
No fascists can dwell in our valley
Nor breathe in our new freedoms air.
― Woody Guthrie

Do Re Mi
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see,
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi
― Woody Guthrie

I ain't a Communist necessarily, but I have been in the red all my life.
― Woody Guthrie

Left wing, right wing, chicken wing.
― Woody Guthrie