4.21.2017

Now on Exhibit:
Arizona in Layers
April 21 through May 18

I'm pleased to announce long-time local artisan shop MADE Art Boutique in Roosevelt Row Arts District has accepted one of my mixed media pieces for display & sale.

This painting puts up for show my love of collage. Layering under, over, & around Arizona's state shape, I used vintage fabric & pattern paper, upcycled art & book paper, embroidery, hand-made stamps, graphite pencil, glaze medium, & a smidge of acrylics all in an effort to portray the beauty I see in the desert, even in its driest periods. A washed out sky, shades of dusty earth, a pop from wildflowers, who insist on being here.


Click links here if you'd like to check out MADE Art Boutique or Roosevelt Row Arts District. Tonight happens to be Third Friday, a more arts focused night than First Friday, & galleries in the area will be holding special exhibits. But visiting the area anytime is worth the trip downtown. MADE is open Mon-Sat 11am-7pm & Sun 11am-4pm.

4.08.2017


Years ago, while attending a writing retreat, the great kidlit author Kirby Larson mentioned a group of teachers who had taken the leap into the blogosphere and were writing posts about books and the reading life. Teachers talking about titles for children and teens? I scribbled the name of the group--and the blog--in my notebook. I had to read what they were writing.

And I did. And I still do. And I always will.

If you haven't heard of the Nerdy Book Club, give yourself time to check out their site or Twitter feed. It's fun. It's a good resource. It uplifts. It gets serious. It gives out awards. It promotes. It teaches. In the end, it is a club, and today, it features my first club post:


This post is inspired by my family's influence on my childhood experience with reading.

For instance, my mom, who drove endless cycles, library to house and back again. Who helped carry piles of books and kept track of return dates. Who, wisely, set us free early to walk, skateboard, or bike ride to Cedar Roe Library and be responsible for our own library card.

Or my dad, who made sure we had a sturdy, family dictionary and a cohesive encyclopedia set. Who read the paper every day and made me curious about biographies.

Or my sisters. My oldest read always and often and never gave a second thought to closing herself into her room to disappear into a book, which gave me permission to escape too. My sister closest in age read edgy coming of age books, and in secret agreement, let me know where they were stored so I could read them myself. My sister in-between was the one who joined my reading life, and later, allowed me to join hers.

I write about this sister in the Nerdy Book Club post, a tale of paying it forward, reading up, and reading out. Meaning, reading outside our comfort zone. It's fantastic for kids, but in this world, it's imperative for adults. Get to know someone, something, some place that you don't know in your everyday life. And once you do, share the material. Because, it's true...

Reading could change the world.

4.03.2017

There’s this quote by George Eliot:


It is never too late to be what you might have been.


It’s a favorite of mine, but almost every time I recite it to someone, they scoff. Maybe that reaction is due to the way we view time. Have we made it work for us or do we see it passing uncontrollably with few opportunities to harness it in our favor?

Or maybe the quote reminds us of the moment we caught a glimpse of our desired outcome, but turned away, whether on purpose, frightened by the enormity and power of it, or because we were distracted by a shiny something, a too-good-to-be-true promise, a call to duty.

Or maybe we simply found an easier way, a safe and comfortable way. A way that didn’t feel like it’d swallow us whole.

For me, the quote implies a lot. Like, there’s unknown magic along the road to the destination. Like, I have the map, I routed my path, and I know where I want to end up, but the very real, feet pounding out the trail journey is long and will change me. To the Might’ve Been Me. The Supposed To Be Me.

For me, the quote also almost-demands I start again, over and over and over if need be, to find that enormous and powerful idea of who I could be—each day, every day, as long as I live—and when I catch sight of that person, advance toward her. Determined, insistent, unwavering.

Each of its implications and demands presents an important challenge for Creatives confronting aging for the first time. Go off map? Leave the plotted route? That was fine back then, but now I’m too old to take risks. I’m too wise to chase magic. Following whims? I could bounce back when I was younger, but now it’s irresponsible. And I don’t have time. I mean, I really don’t have time. One car needs new tires. One needs a tune-up. The bathrooms need to be cleaned. And there are the three appointments today and then tomorrow that guy is here to do that thing and Thursday I’m helping so-and-so with such-and-such and, well, the calendar is jam-packed. And the thing I need is not Might’ve Been Me, but Should Be Me, who has a steady, stable job that provides security.

Then I turn the corner. Click on a link. Meet someone new. Have an idea. Write or make something great.

I think, Maybe writing and art don’t have to be tossed aside as pastimes after all.

I think, Six more months. I’ll give it six more months.

I think, I’ll micro-focus with tunnel vision dedication. Because…

It’s never too late to be what I might’ve been.

Shit.

2.19.2017

sketchbook philosophy

While some seek to
make our world
less unified and diverse,
I'll imagine cities 
packed with colorful harmony.


2.16.2017

I’ve been away. Away from writing. Arting. Any type of routine. And in this time away, the world’s troubles have multiplied and become more complex. As has my distress. So, what happens when you’re mad as hell, don’t want to keep quiet, but also long for peace and normalcy? I ask myself this question almost daily, but no answer has bubbled to the surface. Instead, new questions arise.

What do I do while I wait for the answer? Do I spout off, act up, make good trouble?

Or do I settle down and get on with my life, hoping for the best when it comes to the injustice and inequality I see?

For me, it’s impossible to look the other way, but that impossibility isn’t because I’m so brave or wise. It’s just written somewhere in my genetic and spiritual code.

Face the problem. Call out bad behavior. Push for fairness. Push more when challenged. In fact, push until they surrender to goodness. Push. Push. Push.

I’ve been like this since I was a kid, and at times, the drive to act feels burdensome. Heavy. Unwelcome. Especially when there are a million other things that need my attention. Especially when making noise feels scary and unpopular. Maybe this is why lately I find myself waffling between the desire to distance myself from those who choose to look the other way and the desire to join them. Between wanting to end relationships because of contrasting ideology and wanting to accept others’ right to an opposing opinion or disinterest in the current state of culture and politics.

One thing I know for sure, I’m not the kind of person who wants to try to persuade people to my side. At least not anymore. I probably discovered this a year or so ago and it’s tied closely to the fact that I’m an overgiver. The thing is, after years upon years of offering help, feedback, or deeds to folks who didn’t appreciate it, I noticed how physically weary and emotionally spent I felt when I delivered to a closed door. It’s the same thing with concepts and ideas. People either get it or don’t. Either care or don’t. Still, up until last month, the teacher in me continued reaching out to friends and family, hoping to pass along knowledge and form coalitions and huddles to fight the good, progressive fight. Was I surprised that my calls to action were met with a silent majority? A little, but it's okay. I don’t have power over what others count as worthy or true, but they also don’t have power over what I deem important. That doesn’t stop me from feeling sad, though, and when I see large meet-ups broadcast by Women’s March, Indivisible, and Swing Left a pang of jealousy strikes me. I’d enjoy it very much if the people already in my life and my community had the same energy I had to build a progressive future.

As a writer and artist, much of my time is spent on my own, sorting through ideas. I work in a quiet, solitary place. I'm also always alone when I push send on a submission. I'm not the first to feel lonesome in my craft. And I think another part of my genetic and spiritual make-up is to be sturdy enough to handle all of this creative aloneness. But in a world gone topsy-turvy, I'll admit: this Creative could use a tribe.

Lucky for me a couple of handfuls of people in my world are like-minded, and of those, a few have joined me in creating a fuss. I’m quite grateful to these women. And today, amid a whirling twister of confusion, chaos, and probable corruption at the White House and within the Republican party, it felt critical to thank them and anyone out there who’s part of a small group or is completing their day-to-day activism alone. I honor you, in your slight gatherings and individual presence, for showing up, not keeping quiet. For refusing to deny that persistent voice inside.

“There are others like you," it says. "And across time and space, you create a massive entity. So push on. In the name of equity and dignity for all, push on.”

1.28.2017

in this crazy, new order
we could all use some true faith
in good & humanity.
things will work out.
until then, dance a little.


1.08.2017

rainbows: everywhere

rainbow of random items
found within twenty feet of my front door

1.07.2017

It's Jackson Browne. It's Clarence Clemons. C'mon, get up and dance.