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“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all,
but the fountainhead of human experience?”
— Rollo May
from The Courage to Create
EXPRESSIVE WRITING CAN HELP YOU…
…build resilience, relieve stress, clarify choices, and unlock original material for personal creative projects. It can help restore a feeling of balance, alter moods, and bring emotional relief.
For more details about how expressive writing can enhance your life with insight, craft, and soul nourishment, or to schedule consultations, workshops, and private writing sessions remotely by appointment, please contact me:
Expressive Arts Specialist
P. O. Box 7695
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
“Despite the issues in the classroom, this is an exciting time for poetry. I really hope that with some easy-to-find resources and a better awareness of how it can be taught, poetry can gain its rightful place as a staple in all our classrooms; as a way to show children how their words, their worlds, their thoughts and their opinions have the power to move souls and thrum hearts.”
—Joseph Coelho, a performance poet, playwright and children’s author – and the Waterstones children’s laureate 2022-24 (Click to open a pdf of the article)…
Joseph Coelho – Poetry can move souls and thrum hearts_ why wouldn’t we teach our children about it – The Guardian, March 16, 2023
The Power of Art in a Political Age
by David Brooks
The New York Times
March 2, 20234
The Power of Art in a Political Age – David Brooks – The New York Times230302
From the article…
“Artists generally don’t set out to improve other people; they just want to create a perfect expression of their experience. But their art has the potential to humanize the beholder. How does it do this? First, beauty impels us to pay a certain kind of attention.”
Clarissa Jakobson’s Baltic Amber in a Chest!
$16.00 & $3.00 for discounted postage…
by Nancy Jo Sales
19 December 2022
In 2022, I decided to get away from screens and read more books. It was wonderful….The answer is yes. You can fix your distracted brain. You can return it to its more receptive, focused state – how you remember it being from before the days of mobile phones. And you can do this by reading…Going back to reading, I feel like myself again. Did I mention I’m also sleeping better, and feel happier too?
Scripts for the Land: Felice Lucero’s Paintings Layer Her Tongue and Terrain
BY Erica DiBenedetto, Kelly Montana
ART IN AMERICA
November 1, 2022 1:05pm
Felice Lucero: Homage to North, 1983, acrylic, colored pencil, stencil lettering, and collage on canvas, 45 by 33 inches.COURTESY NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON, D.C.https://www.artnews.com/art-in-america/features/felice-lucero-paintings-san-felipe-pueblo-1234645017/
December 10, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#339, “Mystery”
THE TRANSCENDENT BRAIN
Humans are evolutionarily drawn to beauty. How do such complex experiences emerge from a collection of atoms and molecules?
By Alan Lightman
Published in The Atlantic
December 5, 2022
November 19, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#336, “Place”
Frequencies is a long-term collaborative project started by Oscar Murillo in 2013, which has seen blank artists’ canvases fixed on the classroom benches of over 400 schools around the world. Students aged between 10 and 16 were invited to freely draw, write and mark the canvases for a period of 6 months, as part of their daily activities. The collected canvases, with the accumulation of both conscious and unconscious marks, form a monumental collection of over 40,000 individual specimens bearing the marks of hundreds of thousands of individual students.
Women’s Qualities is an art project by Ghada Amer…
This garden carves in a number of flowerbeds and in block letters traits (qualities) most often associated with women according to a poll conducted with people from the particular country or region in which the installation is situated. Plants selected for each flowerbed are native to the local area, with a primary focus on their hardiness.
The Women’s Qualities garden was produced three times. In the Sunnylands rendition, the women’s qualities are displayed in seven flowerbeds arranged in a large outdoor circle. The English words reproduced in this version reflect what people from the California Coachella Valley associate with women: Beautiful, Loving, Nurturing, Resilient, Strong, Caring, Determined.
Each of the planters in the word garden is filled with desert and arid-adapted plants.
Loving – Chuparosa (Justicia califomica)
Beautiful – Angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis)
Determined – Blue Elf Aloe (Aloe x. ‘Blue Elf’)
Caring – Dwarf Morning Glory (Evolvulus x. ‘Blue Daze’)
Strong – Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)
Resilient – Golden Barrel (Echinocactus grusonii)
Nurturing – Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)
The plants in the Determined and Resilient planters come from species found in the Sunnylands nine-acre garden.
All flowers in this garden rendition were selected from medicinal plants, and for their different shades of green, and the color of their blooms.
September 13, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#144, “Bee”
A report that the royal beekeeper had informed Queen Elizabeth II’s bees of her death received some mockery, but it has been a tradition for centuries.
When the Queen Died, Someone Had to Tell the Bees – The New York Times220913
May 28, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#311, “Match”
from Lee Bailey’s COUNTRY WEEKENDS – Recipes for Good Food and Easy Living…
Drop Buttermilk Biscuits recipe…
“Of all the biscuits in this book, these are the simplest to prepare because they do not require rolling out and cutting before being baked. After the butter has been cut in, they only need a few quick strokes and they are ready to be dropped onto a cookie sheet.” You can substitute yogurt for the buttermilk if that is convenient. And if you add extra sugar, these make great strawberry shortcake biscuits. Enjoy!
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter
1+1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat over to 450 degreesF.
Sift together into a bowl the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the butter, cut into 6 pieces and blend with a pastry blender or two knives until butter is the size of peas. Add buttermilk all at once and stir just enough to mix.
Drop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes 1+1/2 dozen biscuits
April 9, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#304, “Money”
“Money can sometimes make fools of important persons, but it may also make important persons of fools.” —Walter Winchell
“When money is plenty, this is a man’s world. When money is scarce, it is a woman’s world. When all else seems to have failed, the woman’s instinct comes in. She gets the job. That is the reason why, in spite of all that happens, we continue to have a world.”—Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1932
BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS … Inkwings Writers’ Reading Recommendations 2022
Linda suggested West With The Night by Beryl Markham. An audacious, self-possessed woman’s memoir including an account of her solo trans-Atlantic flight and the solitude she embraced in 1936.
Lynne recommends Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fanny Flagg. An all-American news anchor who has panic attacks that send her on an identity journey and arrives at some startling discoveries about herself and her world.
Deborah recommends The Dutch House, a novel by Ann Patchett and The Lions of Fifth Avenue, a novel by Fiona Davis
The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland is a 2002 oral history of the small town of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and its people in the wake of the September 11 attacks; Linda from Canada recounted in the writing circle some details about this event.
Andrea recommends Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest by Christina Baldwin. The book shows you how to create a journal for spiritual insight and reflection, and includes lots of writing exercises, sample journal entries, and inspiration.
January 15, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#244, “Ice”
Oona and Gage Brown, Team USA Ice Dancers, filmed in New York City, Bryant Park’s Winter Village ice rink at 6:45 in the morning, skating to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”.
January 8, 2022 – field guide additions to WA#243, “Mending”
5 Small Ways to Reconsider Your Life’s Meaning
In defense of not following your dreams.
by AMANDA DODSON, LCSW
Posted December 28, 2021
It is easy to look back on your life and see loss, failure, and disappointment.
Try measuring your life by different metrics of success.
Learn to regard your life tenderly as the attempt of an imperfect person to make good decisions.
Calligraphers, writers, makers one and all!
Treat yourselves to tasty 1-hour conversations with masters of their craft, and come away refreshed and inspired by scholarship and beauty!
Tim Noad in Conversation (calligraphy) – 7 December 2021
Professor Michelle Brown in Conversation (mediaeval manuscripts) – 16 November 2021
Dr Maria Maclennan in Conversation (jewellery) – 9 November 2021
Gemma Black in Conversation (calligraphy) – 27 October 2021
Peter Halliday in Conversation (calligraphy) – 29 September 2021
Jo Sealy in Conversation (photography) – 24 August 2021
Ilana Belsky in Conversation (diamond cutting) – 12 August 2021
Dr Stella Panayotova in Conversation (manuscripts) – 21 July 2021
Julian Waters in Conversation (calligraphy) – 22 June 2021
Rezia Wahid MBE in Conversation (weaving) – 17 June 2021
Katharina Pieper in Conversation (calligraphy) – 27 May 2021
Sheila Waters in Conversation (calligraphy) – 22 April 2021
Patrick Grant in Conversation (tailoring) – 7 April 2021
Lida Cardozo-Kindersley in Conversation (letter cutting) – 30 March 2021
Tom Perkins in Conversation (calligraphy) – 24 February 2021
#CreativeNetworkCraft with Elena Kanagy-Loux (lace making) – 5 February 2021
Ieuan Rees in Conversation (letter cutting) – 27 January 2021
Kaffe Fassett in Conversation (textiles) – 10 December 2020
Ewan Clayton in Conversation (calligraphy) – 14 October 2020
Celia Pym in Conversation (textiles) – 16 September 2020
Jeanette Sloan in Conversation (knitwear design) – 26 August 2020
Keith Brymer Jones in Conversation (pottery) – 1 July 2020
Jay Blades in Conversation (furniture restoration) – 15 June 2020
Heritage Crafts is the first UK-wide champion for safeguarding intangible heritage craft skills, as recognised by UNESCO Convention for Intangible Heritage (accredited as an NGO under the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention 2003).
December 4, 2021 – field guide additions to WA#238, “Touch”
A beautiful photo montage accompanies Diana Ross singing “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) for which she won a Grammy award in 1970.
Americans, It’s Time to Get Comfortable With Platonic Touch
Guest essay by Anna Broadway
The New York Times, May 22, 2021
An exhibition on multisensory experiences of reading
October 23, 2021 – field guide additions to WA#232, “Paper”
Monmouth County Historical Society presents
“Beneath the Floorboards: Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall”
Opening October 23rd
137 Kings Hwy
Middletown, NJ 07748
Dressing Day: The Psychology Behind the Who, What, and Wear of Reproduction Clothing
October 2, 2021 – field guide additions to WA#229, “Quilt”
Here is a link to a YT video that shows many, many close-ups of the extraordinary details, and tells a little history about Galla Grotto’s art quilt. Enjoy!
September 25, 2021 – field guide additions to WA#228, “Name”
PAINTING WITH WORDS
A master series of lectures with Donald Jackson sponsored by the Society for Calligraphy guild in Los Angeles…
From Royal Scrolls to the Saint John’s Bible to “Have I had my breakfast yet?” Master Calligrapher Donald Jackson shares lessons and insights from a lifetime of working in letters. He is the official scribe and calligrapher to the Crown Office of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Donald is also the author of The Story of Writing and The Calligrapher’s Art.
September 11, 2021 – field guide additions to WA#226, “Shoe”
Shoes on the Danube Promenade
Shoes on the Danube Promenade is a haunting tribute to a horrific time in history, created by film director Can Togay and the sculptor, Gyula Pauer. Installed along the bank of the Danube River in Budapest, the monument consists of 60 pairs of 1940s-style shoes, true to life in size and detail, sculpted out of iron.
This memorial is simple yet chilling, depicting the shoes left behind by the thousands of Jews who were murdered by the Arrow Cross. The style of footwear — a man’s work boot; a business man’s loafer; a woman’s pair of heels; even the tiny shoes of a child — were chosen specifically to illustrate how no one, regardless of age, gender, or occupation was spared. Placed in a casual fashion, as if the people just stepped out of them, these little statues are a grim reminder of the souls who once occupied them – yet they also create a beautiful place of reflection and reverence.
At three points along the memorial are cast iron signs with the following text in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew: “To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005.”
View of a large pile of victims’ shoes piled up outsidepiled up outside barracks in the Dachau concentration camp. Photograph Number 75004, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
July 17, 2021 – field guide additions to “Butterfly”
June 19, 2021 – field guide additions to “Berry”
Blueberry Muffins recipe
King Arthur Baking Company
June 12, 2021 – field guide additions to “Circle”
The Circle Game
Venus orbits the Sun 13 times for every 8 Earth orbits. If the relative positions of Earth and Venus are tracked over an 8 year period, this is the resulting pattern. Shared on FB July 16, 2013
Sound Made Visible
“Music, as sensed by humans is a delicate tracery of audible frequencies that harmonise with each other and generally please our emotions. What is not commonly known, but is clearly demonstrated in these videos, is that music has the seemingly magical power to create form from formlessness. MusicMadeVisible is still under development but an exciting future lies ahead when all music can be described to the visual realm, with the aid of the CymaScope instrument. This new technology is likely to be of great assistance to profoundly deaf people and those with other life challenges.”
June 5, 2021 – field guide additions to “Cheese”
“It’s easy to lump in cheese with cake, bread, and other waistline offenders. Not so fast, though: Although some dairy products might pack on pounds, many cheeses are actually good for you in moderation, as part of a balanced diet…Cheese can help you stay slim…Cheese may help prevent cancer…It’s the best comfort food….”
May 29, 2021 – field guide additions to “Button”
Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for performance poetry. We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form. Button produces and distributes poetry media, including: video from local and national events, chapbooks, collaborative audio recordings, scholarship and criticism, and many other products.
May 22, 2021 – field guide additions to “Puzzle”
The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections
Founded in 1967 in New York City by a group of early museum technologists eager to explore how computers could change their work and that of museums, The Museum Computer Network, as it was called back then – now referred to as simply “MCN” – offers a space for a vibrant community of museum professionals to connect, share effective practices, and advance the thinking around emerging technologies in museums.
Portals for research and discovery, virtual tours and online exhibits, e-learning opportunities, online collections, digital archives and libraries, and other resources!
May 1, 2021 – field guide additions to “River”
Wolves will travel to drink from a river. But could the presence of wolves lead a river to change its behavior?
April 3, 2021 – field guide additions to “Grace”
THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE
by Wislawa Szymborska
It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened sooner. Later.
It happened not to you.
You survived because you were the first.
You survived because you were the last.
Because you were alone. Because of people.
Because you turned left. Because you turned right.
Because rain fell. Because a shadow fell.
Because sunny weather prevailed.
Luckily, there was a wood.
Luckily there were no trees.
Luckily there was a rail, a hook, a beam, a brake,
a frame, a bend, a millimeter, a second.
Luckily a straw was floating on the surface.
Thanks to, because, and yet, in spite of.
What would have happened had not a hand, a foot,
by a step, a hairsbreadth
by sheer coincidence.
So you’re here? Straight from a moment still ajar?
The net had one eyehole, and you got through it?
There’s no end to my wonder, my silence.
how fast your heart beats in me.”
Translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
The Medieval Masterpiece, the Book of Kells, Is Now Digitized & Put Online
The ancient masterpiece is a stunning example of Hiberno-Saxon style, thought to have been composed on the Scottish island of Iona in 806, then transferred to the monastery of Kells in County Meath after a Viking raid (a story told in the marvelous animated film The Secret of Kells). Consisting mainly of copies of the four gospels, as well as indexes called “canon tables,” the manuscript is believed to have been made primarily for display, not reading aloud, which is why “the images are elaborate and detailed while the text is carelessly copied with entire words missing or long passages being repeated.”
Stronger Brain Activity After Writing on Paper Than on Tablet or Smartphone
“Stronger Brain Activity After Writing on Paper Than on Tablet or Smartphone
March 19, 2021 – Neuroscience News
A study of Japanese university students and recent graduates has revealed that writing on physical paper can lead to more brain activity when remembering the information an hour later. Researchers say that the unique, complex, spatial and tactile information associated with writing by hand on physical paper is likely what leads to improved memory.
Source: University of Tokyo
March 13, 2021 – field guide additions to “Cake”
The William Morris Society of Canada exists to foster knowledge about the life and work of William Morris, the 19th-century English artist, writer, and craftsman. The Society attracts a mixed group of people interested in Morris as a visionary socialist, designer, poet, printer, ecologist, and preservationist. Morris’s prodigious energy and enthusiasm are reflected in his numerous activities: he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877, organized the Kelmscott Press in 1891, and ran a successful and extraordinarily influential design firm in London from 1861 until his death. Each March the William Morris Society of Canada holds a lecture or symposium to coincide with William Morris’s birthday (March 24, 1834), and it always concludes with a birthday toast, including cake made completely from scratch. Click this link to view a selection of these masterpieces.
For Linda’s Chocolate Mayonaisse Cake recipe, click the image below
March 6, 2021 – field guide additions to “Home”
Raymond Isidore didn’t plan on becoming an artist—let alone a sculptor who would go on to cover nearly every surface of his small home with glittering mosaics. But after a fateful stroll in 1938, when a shiny piece of broken crockery caught his eye, Isidore devoted the majority of the remainder of his life on the outskirts of Chartres, France, to the creation of one of the world’s most unique homes—an ecstatic expression of the untrained artist’s bursting imagination.
February 26, 2021 – field guide additions to “Door”
A zoetrope is one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion.
December 5, 2020 – field guide additions to “Trees”
Writing adventurer, Patricia Kennedy, wrote after our session with some details about Witness Trees, a topic she tapped into during our writing sprints …
“Trees are such a broad topic for me…….but here’s the information on the witness trees at Union County College [NJ]. I met Dr. Tomas Ombrello by chance at Tennent Church in Freehold a couple of months ago, but a bit about the location. The church is located on the fringe of Monmouth (NJ) battlefield and was used as a field hospital while at the same time in range of the battle. There is a gravestone there that was hit by a cannonball and several gravestones of soldiers including a British soldier. Now, at noon, the church bells play patriotic music and it is quite moving to hear in that particular place. In front of the church was, until this past year, a witness tree. (see photo below) Tom asked us (my sister and I) if we knew what happened to the witness tree and it was at that point I realized it was gone!!! I have been there at regular intervals over the past several years, and missed that it had been removed as it had finally reached its final gasp. Tom informed us that he was looking forward to collecting something that would allow him to include that tree in his witness tree program at the college. At which point he gave me a pamphlet (a rather good sized one) explaining his student project to grow trees from seeds or bits he’d collected from other witness trees and invited us to contact him for a tour when covid eased up. If anyone is interested in contacting him for a pdf copy of the listing, his email is email@example.com. The pamphlet gives location information for the trees as well.”
Witness Tree near Tennent Church, Freehold, NJ
November 14, 2020 – field guide additions to “Horses”
The days run away like wild horses over the hill.
— Charles Bukowski
Paintings by Bruce Roberts, as seen and photographed through a shop window, L2 – Montreal, 2000
October 1, 2020
WRITING AS AN ANTIDOTE TO LONELINESS
“It may not seem possible to be able to write your way to better health. But as a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a poet myself, I know what the scientific data have to say about this: when people write about what’s in their hearts and minds, they feel better and get healthier. And it isn’t just that they’re getting their troubles off their chests.
Writing provides a rewarding means of exploring and expressing feelings. It allows you to make sense of yourself and the world you are experiencing. Having a deeper understanding of how you think and feel — that self-knowledge — provides you with a stronger connection to yourself. It’s that connection that often allows you to move past negative emotions (like guilt and shame) and instead access positive ones (like optimism or empathy), fostering a sense of connection to others in addition to oneself.”
—Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPHJeremy Nobel, MD, MPH
September 19, 2020 – field guide additions to “Knots”
Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper’s beautiful conversation about grief
August 17, 2019
“The bravest thing you can do is to accept, with gratitude, the world as it is….It is a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering, and there is no escaping that.”
— Stephen Colbert
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
― Jamie Anderson
English producer, director and writer
EASY RECIPE TO MAKE GARLIC KNOTS…
September 5, 2020 – field guide additions to “Work”
John Stevens: Beyond Exemplars and Ductus
John Stevens is a well-known and accomplished letter artist on the international scene, renowned for his versatility and skill as a calligrapher and letter artist and for a wide range of exemplary work. On November 19, 2019, John lectured at Letterform at San Francisco Public Library. Nearly four decades of letter-making have provided John with a comprehensive view of letterforms and design, having worked with classical letterforms, experimental letterforms, and personally expressive letterforms from the functional to the experimental. This talk will provide insights into form (and what is “good form”) – beyond the “form is function” model, the Universal Line, strategies to expand a letter designer’s vision (vs. so much copying), how visual literacy can expand one’s possibilities to see beyond “styles”, and a few models John has developed for visualization, ideation, and creation with letterforms. Enjoy this 90-minute presentation!
September 16, 2020 to October 14, 2020
Each Wed 1:15pm to 3:15pm
Book Arts with Mary Elizabeth Nelson
Miniatures Books Part ll
A never ending discovery of things small.
A book can be mysterious, it can be subtle or dramatic, bold or soft, colorful or monochromatic.
Join book artist, Mary ELizabeth Nelson, on this adventure.
University of Cambridge Digital Library has shared 235 magnificent pages of a parchment codex of insular half uncial created in Northumbria during the eighth century, C.E.
September 5, 2020 – field guide additions to “Work”
WPA Poster Collection
Library of Congress
A Treasure Hunt for Lost WPA Masterpieces
Artnet – April 22, 2014
Shakespeare at Planet Word
Natural Clay Paint, homemade with soil and wheatpaste: A cinematic venture
Lapis lazuli – From rock to powder
August 22, 2020 – field guide additions to “Shadows”
POTATOES … Recipes, recipes, recipes!!!
August 15, 2020 – field guide additions to “Time”
Recommended reading… From Robyn Cadwallader, author of the internationally acclaimed novel The Anchoress, comes a deeply profound and moving novel of the importance of creativity and the power of connection, told through the story of the commissioning of a gorgeously decorated medieval manuscript, a Book of Hours.
London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power – it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.
Rich, deep, sensuous and full of life, Book of Colours is also, most movingly, a profoundly beautiful story about creativity and connection, and our instinctive need to understand our world and communicate with others through the pages of a book.
Social Justice, an exhibit of work in Asheville, NC by calligraphers and other artists, exploring the themes of Black Lives Matter and Racial Justice. First shown at the First Congregational United Christian Church, the art includes weathergrams, artwork on brown paper that names the names of many of the victims of police shootings over the last 20 years, and texts written by scribes which bridge the gaps among the lives of the community. The church partnered with Mountain Scribes, western North Carolina’s calligraphy guild. Much of the work in this exhibit is the art of those talented scribes as well as work from Carolina Lettering Arts Society and other groups.
When Love Arrives
by Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye
(Transcript of Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye’s spoken word poetry)
I knew exactly what love looked like- in seventh grade.
Even though I hadn’t met love yet, if love had wandered into my homeroom I would’ve recognized him at first glance. Love wore a hemp necklace.
I would’ve recognized her at first glance, love wore a tight french braid.
Love played acoustic guitar and knew all my favorite Beatles songs.
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me.
And I knew,
I just must be searching the wrong classrooms,
just must be checking the wrong hallways, she was there, I was sure of it.
If only I could find him.
But when love finally showed up,
she had a bowl cut.
He wore the same clothes every day for a week.
Love hated the bus.
Love didn’t know anything about The Beatles.
every time I tried to kiss love,
our teeth got in the way.
Love became the reason I lied to my parents.
I’m going to Ben’s house.
Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor, but made sure we never missed a slow song.
Love waited by the phone because she knew that if her father picked up it would be:
“Hello? Hello? heavy breathing I guess they hung up.”
And love grew,
stretched like a trampoline.
Love disappeared, slowly, like baby teeth, losing parts of me I thought I needed.
Love vanished like an amateur magician, and everyone could see the trapdoor but me.
Like a flat tire, there were other places I had planned on going,
but my plans didn’t matter.
Love stayed away for years, and when love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him.
Love smelled different now, had darker eyes,
a broader back, love came with freckles I didn’t recognize.
New birthmarks, a softer voice.
Now there were new sleeping patterns,
new favorite books.
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else,
songs love didn’t like to listen to.
So did I.
But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly,
we found jokes that make us laugh.
And now, love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies.
But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack.
Love looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer.
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator.
Love knows where she’s going, it just might take her two hours longer than she planned.
Love is messier now,
not as simple.
Love uses the words “boobs” in front of my parents.
Love chews too loud.
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste.
Love uses smiley faces in her text messages.
And turns out,
But love also cries. And love will tell you you are beautiful
and mean it,
over and over again.
You are beautiful.
When you first wake up,
“you are beautiful.”
When you’ve just been crying,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t want to hear it,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t want to hear it,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t believe it,
“you are beautiful.”
When nobody else will tell you,
“you are beautiful.”
Love still thinks – you are beautiful.
But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget,
when you need to hear it most,
you are beautiful,
do not forget this.
Love is not who you were expecting, love is not what you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep, and you are in California, India, Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone,
maybe love is not ready for you. Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love looks older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays-
maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, and love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say,
“Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet,
“Thank you. Thank you for stopping by.”
August 8, 2020 – field guide addition to “Luck”
Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie performs her poem “Titanic” or “On This the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic, We Reconsider the Buoyancy of the Human Heart”
Sarah Kay reads “Titanic” or “On This the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic, We Reconsider the Buoyancy of the Human Heart” by Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie
On This the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic We Reconsider the Buoyancy of the Human Heart.
by Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie
What’s wrong? Titanic asked me this morning, when she found me lying on the ocean floor with all my suitcases strewn open.
Oh, I dunno, I moaned, I was looking through National Geographic and saw some pictures of you, and thought I might come and chat. you looked great, by the way, in the pictures.
Me? No. Titanic smiled. If anything I seem to have become a Picasso. and I have a beard.
It was true; she looked more like a collage of a ship. Strangely two dimensional, in a crater of her own making:
French doors, boilers, railings every which way. And she did have a bit of a beard-rust icicles hanging in red strands from her iron engines.
Sitting up in my own little crater, I sort of blushed.
To be honest, i told Titanic, My honey’s leaving town soon and I’m afraid it’s gonna wreck me, so i dove down here.
Well come on in, Titanic said, but I’m not sure I’ve got what you’re looking for.
So in I climbed, through a window between two rust stalactites, and began to pace her great promenade (which would have been awesome, by the way -walking by the ghosts of all those waving handkerchiefs – except that I was in that feeling-sorry-for-yourself state where very hallway is the hallway of your own wretched mind, every ghost your own ghost, so I didn’t take a good look around.)
When I got to the turkish baths, I sat on the edge of a barnacled tub and watched weird crabs scrabble at my feet.
I was hoping you’d teach me how to sink, I said. You, who have spent a century underwater with 1500 skeletons in your chest.
I don’t know, said Titanic, I’m kind of a wreck.
Exactly! I said, Me too! I’m here to apprentice myself to wreckage. I’m here to apprentice myself to you! Great bearded lady, gargantuan ark, you floating hotel. With enough ballrooms in you to dance with everyone I’ve ever loved.
My heart has an iceberg with its name on it, I told Titanic, so i need some advice. Tell me, did you see the iceberg coming?
I did, Titanic said.
And you sailed right into it?
It was love, Titanic said.
And the band just kept playing? And the captain stayed at the wheel? What did it feel like to swallow seawater? Tell me, Titanic, how did it feel?
It felt like a hole in my side and then it felt like plummeting face first into the ice-cold ocean.
She’s a straight talker, the Titanic.
Alright, I said. Now let’s talk about rust. When my love leaves, I’m planning to weep stalactites from my chin. I will wear my sadness in longs strands. Like you, I will be bearded by it.
Then I made a terrible noise.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrkkkkkkkkkkk! I’ve been practicing the sound of wrenching metal, I told her, for when my love leaves.
But you aren’t made of metal. Titanic said to me.
I’m a writer, I said, I could be made of anything.
Well then, be a writer. She said.
Be a writer? I paused, anemones between my toes. Okay. When my love leaves i’ll start with SOS. I will Morse code odes as the whole world goes vertical. I’ll write nosedives as my torso splits in two.
And the next day i’ll write the stunned headlines,
and the next day i’ll write the obituaries, and the next day I will write furious accusations, and the next day I will write lawsuits, and the next day I will write confessions of my wrongdoing, and the next day I will write pardons, but i won’t really mean it, and the next day i’ll write sonnets, but they won’t fit the schema, and the next day i’ll write pleas, please, please come back. The next day I will write epitaphs, navigation maps, warning for future generations about the hubris of human love. I will write quotas and queries and quizzes, I will write nonsense, I will write nonesense, I will write nonsense all the way down and no diving teams will find me, no robot arms will retrieve me in pieces. never will I be reassembled in plein air. No, I will remain whole, two miles down, with my suitcases strewn open, and in 100 years i will still be writing about this feeling, though my heart be a Picasso, though my heart be bearded at the bottom of the sea.
The Titanic let me cry for a while, my sobs echoing off her moldy mosaics.
Then she said: Girl, you’re too young for a beard like this. You’re never gonna get some if you rust over now.
I sniffled a little and scratched my name into the green slime of the tub.
The trouble with you humans is that you are so concerned with staying afloat. Go ahead, be gouged open by love. Gulp that saltwater, sink beneath the waves. You’re not a boat, you can go under and come up again, with those big old lungs of yours, those hard kicking legs.
And your heart, she said, that gargantuan ark, that floating hotel. Call it unsinkable, though it is sinkable.
There are enough ballrooms in you to dance with everyone you’ll ever love.
That’s what the Titanic told me this morning, me, lying next to her on the ocean floor.
There are enough ballrooms in you.
“Circles in the Sand,” the spectacular labyrinths on the coast in Bandon, Oregon, are the brain child of Denny Dyke who created the paths “as a means of meditation, transformation and healing.” He and numerous volunteers create these unique walkable sandy paths based on historical forms so that everyone can experience the “benefits of taking some time just to be themselves.” Bottom right photo courtesy of Deborah Fisher, Bandon, OR. For more information, visit https://www.sandypathbandon.com/
August 1, 2020 – field guide addition to “Bread”
Published: November 8, 2006
The New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
NOTE: Here are two articles by Mark Bittman, food editor at The New York Times, with backstory, weight measurements, and variations for this delicious bread:
July 18, 2020 – field guide addition to “Fragrance”
“The Name of the Rose”
Pat Kennedy, photographer and storyteller of the old roses we enjoyed in our writing circle today, sent a note afterwards to let us know “the name of the rose is ‘Gentle Hermione’ – surely there’s a poem in just that!!!!!”
“Anonymous No Longer”
Gemma Black wrote to say that she found the author of the “anonymous” quotation in today’s field guide: It is always wise to stop wishing for things long enough to enjoy the fragrance of those now flowering. It is by Patrice Gifford. Gemma “discovered on LinkedIn that Ms Gifford is a Mental Health Therapist in San Antonio.”
July 15, 2020 – “TSO Daily Dose – Interview with Gemma Black”
Artist Gemma Black discusses calligraphy and the creation of apology documents with TSO Principal Bass Trombone, Mitch Nissen. This is followed by a performance of Ross Edwards’s composition “Yanada” by TSO Principal Oboe, David Nuttall.
July 4, 2020 – “TSO Daily Dose”
Members of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra perform short pieces to enhance our days.
Inspiring and beautiful!
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Sonata in G minor BWV 1020
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart(1756-1791)
The Magic Flute for Two Flutes
No 13. Der Hölle Rache
from an edition of 1792
Ed. Gerhard Braun
June 13, 2020 – “Still Life With Cheese”
from video “Marcel Wanders presents ‘Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age'” (2015). Calligraphy by Brody Neuenschwander and Massimo Polello
September 16, 2020 – Bucks County Classical Arts Center
Figure Drawing from live model every Wednesday night, 6:30-9:30PM, EDT, via Zoom. Hosted by Bucks County Classical Arts Center, moderated by John Murdoch
FEE is $10 SIGN UP HERE:
July 4, 2020 – Recommended reading…
July 4, 2020 – field guide additions to “Cloth”
World Reclamation Art Project (WRAP)
In Syracuse, New York, what was formerly the Nottingham Citgo #53, a fifty-year-old abandoned gas station, has been converted into a work of art, titled WRAP, or the World Reclamation Art Project, by Syracuse University graduate art student Jennifer Marsh.
United by this common cause, World Reclamation Art Project contributors range from professional artists to elementary school children, and their methods run the gamut from knitting to silk screening. Marsh sewed her submissions together, waterproofed the panels, and commenced the installation on April 12, 2008.
More than 600 yards of brightly colorful canvas cover the gas station, sectioned into 3,400 one-square-foot panels contributed by participants from 15 countries and 29 states in a statement on global dependence on oil.
Each participant created a small piece utilizing their favorite means of fiber expression to tell the world why they felt that society needs to lessen its dependence on oil. Then, all the individual pieces were sewn together to create this gigantic wrap for an abandoned gas station, for which the owner had signed papers allowing this art installation. Even the gas pumps were covered.
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June 27, 2020 – “Eco-Printing” – field guide additions to “Garden”
Gemma Black’s how-to article
See some of Gemma’s eco-dyed papers with writing here:
India Flint’s eco-printing inspiration
India Flint’s School of Nomad Arts
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June 13, 2020 – field guide addition to “Birds”
Michael Leunig, typically referred to as Leunig, is an Australian cartoonist, poet, artist and cultural commentator.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
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June 6, 2020 – field guide addition to “Fire”
Kim Stafford’s proclamation “Whereas the world is a house on fire…”
Robert Frost reading his poem, “Fire and Ice”
which was published in Harper’s Magazine, 1920.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
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May 30, 2020 – field guide addition to “Roots”
George Ella Lyon reading her poem “Where I’m From”
published in “The UnThe United States of Poetry, 1996, Harry N. Abrams, pub.
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May 23, 2020 – field guide addition to “Hands”
written and sung by Bill Withers
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May 16, 2020 – field guide addition to “Kindness”
How to Make a Face Mask
See this web page for a PDF of instructions and a step-by-step video
“How to Make a Face Mask”
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May 9, 2020 – field guide addition to “Dance”
“Blessing 13” written and spoken by John O’Donohue