What if paper was not merely paper. But magic? What if we could see in it sculptures capable of making international journeys? Gifts capable of resurrecting love, libraries, art, words? Gifts capable of resurrecting our innate ability to be moved by beauty? Generousity? Kindness? Each other?

Everything swirls so fast. So intensely, swirlingly fast. And when it doesn’t I often find myself looking down to the “B Section” of the “To Do List” to try and get ahead of where I am already disappointingly behind. I think sometimes what a huge relief it would be to not be in such a giant hurry, to not be so terrified of being run over by the details of my life. There are, somewhere, completely peaceful, well-adjusted persons (I doubt enough that we could say people) not trying to please every boss, friend, co-worker, sibling, spouse, parent, child, pet, peed-on boxwood, over-watered orchid and stack of unread-by-the-bed books. I don’t know any.

Fortunately, life stops me dead in my tracks lately, offering, for no apparent reason, exotic, indiginous bouquets of flowers. They come in many forms: The quirky insights and startling relevance of lyrical artist-writer Brain Andreas–the way he seems able to re-introduce me to myself, the part that believes joy matters more than thighs that do not touch when standing feet-together. The mythological excavation and interpretation of Clarissa Estes–the way she continues to disprove my belief that myths, archetypes and stories live safely outside of me–the way she taps me back into myself–makes me almost unable to breathe at my son’s karate class when I realize I am the woman in the Bluebeard myth with the weeping bloody key.

I mention these particular bouquets, rather than those that come in the form of hugs and kisses and deep sweetnesses from my sons, husband and dogs, because they are gently jolting me, forcing me to grow, to tune in, to engage in some cosmic, metaphysical way with the fact the trees inside me are screaming it is time to let the others grow. I must jack-hammer away the concrete parking lot I have built to support my well-engineered beliefs. And I am. It just looks so very barren sometimes. I am waiting though, picturing the glorious paper forest ahead.

And for the first time, in quite some time, I am doing it before I volunteer for another school fundraiser, do five hundred leg lifts, or schedule another work meeting. Below, is my latest bouquet of flowers, I offer to you, sent via an FB post by a good friend and gifted writer, Tess Brown.

There has been a recent spate of mysterious paper sculptures appearing around the city of Edinburgh–a poetic gestures of sorts in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…magic. The astounding visual artistry and story below is gathered from: ”http://community.thisiscentralstation.com/_Mysterious-paper-sculptures/blog/4991767/126249.html

Those of you who don’t keep up with Edinburgh’s literary world through Twitter may have missed the recent spate of mysterious paper sculptures appearing around the city.

Guardian article, 3rd March 2011.

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account – reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… … We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)


Next to the ‘poetree’ sat a paper egg lined with gold and a scatter of words which, when put together, make “A Trace of Wings” by Edwin Morgan.

Nobody knew where it came from, nor was anyone forthcoming with information in person or online, despite a fair amount of local news coverage.

It looked like this was a one-off, a beautiful and delicate piece of art created by a fan of the Poetry Library. Until, in late June, the National Library of Scotland found themselves the recipient of a similar piece.

A gramophone and a coffin, sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin’s Exit Music, and again deposited anonymously. The tag in this case read:

For @natlibscot - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit)

And soon afterwards, the Filmhouse had a pleasant surprise!

Guardian article, 30th June 2011.

This time the sculpture is a complex scene in a paper cinema; punters arrayed on seats watching men and horses coming alive from the screen and charging outwards.

The tag?

For @filmhouse - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. and all things *magic*

Amongst the audience is a figure with Ian Rankin’s face, clutching a Deuchar’s.

Finally (so far), in early July the Scottish Storytelling Centre found a dragon nesting in a window.

Scotsman article, 11th July 2011.

Once again carved from a Rankin novel, they don’t know how long it might have been sitting there unnoticed as it’s quite well hidden. Perhaps the loveliest tag so far:

For @scotstorycenter - A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas….. Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story…..

Nobody knows whether there are more to come and if so, where they might appear. Some say the newly opened National Museum, others suggest the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It’s all a bit exciting!

Having been on display in the Scottish Poetry Library for a few months, the poetree is now kept behind the counter for safety, but if you ask nicely I’m sure they would let you have a look.

The National Library’s gramophone is in a display case near the front door.

The Filmhouse’s cinematic diorama is currently not on display.

The Scottish Storytelling Centre’s dragon is probably going to estivate during the Festivals to avoid any possible manhandling by infant hordes but will surely make a return in the autumn.

UPDATE: The dragon has been moved out of harm’s way but is still visible to the public!


UPDATE 24/08/11: Two more appeared today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival!

One, addressed to @edbookfest (the Book Festival), was left on one of the signing tables in the Bookshop.

The tag on this reads:

To @edbookfest ’A gift’ This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…… & festivals xx

It includes a teabag filled with cut out letters, on the tag of which are the words “by leaves we live”. The cup on the top has a swirl of words which read ” Nothing beats a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and a really good BOOK”, and on the ‘tray’ next to the cupcake it says “except maybe a cake as well”.

The other, addressed to @edincityoflit (UNESCO Edinburgh City of Literature), was secreted about their stand in the entrance tent.

The tag reads:

To @edincityoflit ‘A gift’ LOST (albeit in a good book) This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…. “No infant has the power of deciding….. by what circumstances (they) shall be surrounded.. Robert Owen

Intriguingly, this is crafted from a copy of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinnerby James Hogg.

This book is not only a favourite of the City of Literature team but is also known to have been an influence on Ian Rankin’s work. So far quite a few of these sculptures have overt links to Mr Rankin, suggesting this is no coincidence. As Ian was due on site later in the day and had not yet met any of these creations face to face, the @EdinCityofLit team introduced him to their new baby.

Former local Guardian beatblogger Michael MacLeod and all round top journo was on the scene to file a swift report. The Book Festival’s blogger also shared with the world, and @edinCityofLit’s Anna has a mention of them…

Guardian article, 24th august 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival blog post, 24th August 2011

Anna Not Karenina’s blog post

Once the latest additions to the family have found offical homes I will update with further images and information…

UPDATE 30/08/11

Another has appeared in the Central Lending Library on George IV Bridge.

Taking the form of a book with a magnifying glass mounted atop it (made of paper of course!) it was left on a shelf and was unreported for at least a couple of days.

For Central Library ‘A Gift’ @Edinburgh_CC This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…. LIBRARIES ARE EXPANSIVE


The word “expensive” has had the E crossed out and replaced with an A. No question of the creator’s views on library cuts… The tag then notes, “Words on book – Edwin Morgan”. No talk of Rankin this time!

In the news:

Scotsman article, 30 August 2011

Library blog post, 31 August 2011

A plastic cover has been placed on it and for the time being at least it is on display where it was left.

And here’s some coverage from STV.


UPDATE 16/09/11:


The ‘poetree’ is now on display in the reception area of the Scottish Poetry Library.

Which has clearly had the desired effect, as the comments book next to it shows:

UPDATE 20/09/11

The Edinburgh Evening News claims to have discovered the identity of the sculptor. The general view is that We Don’t Want To Know…


“It’s important that a story is not too long ……does not become tedious …….”
There was a flurry of excitement when someone at the Scottish Poetry Library spotted this note in their guest book:

“Hopefully next time I’ll be able to linger longer – I’ve left a little something for you near Women’s Anthologies X. In support of Libraries, Books, Words and Ideas….”

A quick dash into the library led to the discovery of another gift.

The tag on this read:

“To @ByLeavesWeLive……. THE GIFTS “Gloves of bee’s ful, cap of the Wren’s Wings…….” Norman McCaig …. maybe sometimes impossible things… In support of LIbraries, Books, Words Ideas….”

And with the suspicious addition in the corner reading 10/10.

So here we have a cap made of a wing.

A wing, of course, made of exquisitely crafted paper feathers.

And with it a pair of paper gloves…

… made in the texture of a bee.

And an explanation!

“It’s important that a story is not too long ……does not become tedious …….

‘You need to know when to end a story,’ she thought.

Often a good story ends where it begins. This would mean a return to the Poetry Library. The very place where she had left the first of the ten.

Back to those who had loved that little tree, and so encouraged her to try again …….and again.

Some had wondered who it was, leaving these small strange objects. Some even thought it was a ‘he’! ……. As if!

Others looked among Book Artists, rather good ones actually…….

But they would never find her there. For though she does make things, this was the first time she had dissected books and had used them simply be- cause they seemed fitting….

Most however chose not to know….. which was the point really.

The gift, the place to sit, to look, to wonder, to dream….. of the impossible maybe…….

A tiny gesture in support of the special places…..

So, here, she will end this story, in a special place … A Poetry Library ….. where they are well used to ‘anon.’


But before exiting …a few mentions. There could be more, because we have all colluded to make this work……. Just a few though.

- the twitter community who in some strange way gave rise to the idea in the first place
-@chrisdonia who gave the story a place, a shape and some great pictures

- and not least @Beathhigh whose books and reputation have been shame- lessly utilised in the making of a mystery ……..

…… But hold on. Someone’s left behind a pair of gloves and a cap……….?

Cheers Edinburgh It’s been fun!
A wonderful end to a wonderful story and a lovely mention for a humble photographer! But talk of ten sculptures had everyone a-flutter. There were only eight we knew of, what of the remaining two? Could they have been lost? stolen? or worse, thrown away by someone who didn’t realise what they had found?

Mercifully the answer was forthcoming the next day. The National Museum of Scotland had received a gift, found on the plinth under a skeletal stag. A consciencious member of staff had found it and passed it to his supervisor, thinking it might be something more than average lost property. It soon made its way up the chain of command until it came to rest in the Director’s office for safety.

Meanwhile the museum staff were abuzz with the imminent arrival of their millionth visitor since reopening (which was a surprise as that wasn’t really expected until about August 2012) so they didn’t have time to tell the world about it until that had died down.

And so another is unveiled!

A Tyrannosaurus Rex, bursting from the tattered leaves of a book. And what book could it be other than Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World?

“For @NtlMuseumsScot A Gift Your friends at @edbookfest suggested you might like this. …. In support of libraries, books, words, ideas and those places that house our treasures……”

And in the corner, 9/10.

Hidden amidst the tattered leaves of the book are tiny men with weapons that probably wouldn’t do much damage to the beast, as its bloodstained jaw seems to prove.

The museum hope to exhibit this as part of the 26 Treasures series.

And what of the last?

Yesterday afternoon staff at the Writer’s Museum found something atop the donations box in the Robert Louis Stevenson room.

A wonderfully atmospheric street scene with what appears to be a silvery moon with wisps of cloud hanging from it. This tag reads:

@CuratorEMG A Gift “The stories are in the stones” Ian Rankin In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas …… and Writers.”

And the 8/10 in the corner, confirming that we’ve found them all!

The cover says, “the stories are in the stones / Ian Rankin” …

…which is fitting as it has been sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin’s Hide and Seek.

Inside the book are an array of people with birds on wires and a streetlight…

There are even goings-on visible behind some of the windows, as well as a pentagram scrawled on a wall in red with the signs of the zodiac around it.

Along the front of the scene have been placed the enigmatic words, “comming [sic] led out of Good and evil”.


The curators are looking into ways to display this piece although it’s possible that it will have to live in a different venue due to considerations of space – the Writer’s Museum is absolutely packed with stuff! They’re terribly happy with it though; apparently they had been hoping to receive one and now feel very lucky to have had one of the last three.

So this seems to be the end of the story. There is talk of organising some sort of exhibition but so far it’s just an idea. Some of the ‘gifts’ are viewable anyway – those in the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Central Library (the gramophone in the National Library seems to have been temporarily displaced). The rest will hopefully find a place in the public eye and I’ll keep an eye on them as I have grown rather attached.

Many thanks to whoever has been crafting and distributing these magical objects, and thanks on behalf of the creator to those who have followed their discovery with such infectious delight.


There are days I try to get through. Too many. On these days, no amount of coffee or chocolate can help. I usually have too much of both.

Screaming rush of river
Into mud-walled stagnant pond.

There are days I try to get out of. Not participate in. Pretend are not happening, because my emotional filters are clogged. My spiritual portals: closed. On these days, I clean until our home is a stage-set. Then, I reluctantly become a nomadic forager of salty starch products. Fool myself by choosing “baked” varieties.

This weekend I tried a one-day water fast. What I learned (besides the fact that coffee is definitely the answer to everything) was that I am starving. Not for more attention. More love. Or a mind-melting foot-rub.

I am hungry
to be a connector of spirits.
A networker in other worlds.

I am hungry
to be a giant epic success
of radical receptivity.

I am hungry to hear the leaves.

Two days after the fast and I introduced fruit, coffee (in case that wasn’t obvious) and turkey chili. Odd, I know, but my objective was not to follow any prescribed cleansing rituals but to make my own. I have felt out of step with my spirit.I know, it sounds abstract. Esoteric. But what I am craving is a primal, elemental. The kind of experience that cannot be accessed by therapy or acupuncture. The kind of experience to which howling or chest beating or shrieking would be a more likely way in.

I am trying to tune in. I am not sure what this even means. Certainly not how to do it. But, I have been trying to let the day get through to me, get out of me what it has to give–show me that I am bigger than two letters.

I ask the red leaf,
“Where should we go?”
It points down. South? No.
Back? Toward the train? No.
It bobs in the barest breeze. Nods.
I widen my retinal aperture. All the leaves
of all the trees nod, in unison. Agreement? Yes.
“Faith is bigger than knowledge,” they say.  And then,
the one red leaf, speaking from within my head offers this,
“Drip like molasses through the roller coaster of your mind. Enter
the fire of passion without singing the edges of your five-fingered maple soul.

I cannot speak with spirits (yet) but I am dancing deeper into the questions.


Things are never as they seem.

Blue Jays are not blue. Their feathers do not have blue pigment; refracted sunlight casts blue light. Their blue coloration is the result of light interference due to the internal feather structure. If a feather is crushed, the blue disappears as the structure is destroyed. This is referred to as structural coloration.

Things are never as they seem. Even when they seem straightforward.

After my mom died four months ago, my husband was in our backyard watching our dogs, saying to the earth, air–whatever, that he missed my mom. A blue jay landed next to his left foot and stayed there pecking around looking at him. It stayed a long while. I was getting a glass of water at the kitchen sink thinking the same thing when a blue jay landed on the tree outside. It too stayed a while. When I ask my mother questions now, a blue jay more often than not, lands nearby. Prior to my mom passing away, we did not see blue jays on our property. Makes me wonder what makes up our structural coloration or constitution after we move on.

Things are never as they seem.

Purple Finches are not purple. The Latin name “purpureus” means crimson or other reddish color. And the female is entirely brown.

Things are never as they seem. Even when they seem straightforward

Yesterday morning a female purple finch hit our plate glass window. The bird fell, stunned, to the deck below.  It flattened me. It doesn’t take much these days, but still. It was the second bird that morning. The first had flown on unharmed and I’d thought it a singular event. The second crash made me feel somehow responsible I’d not taken action after the first. I began sobbing, ran outside in my nightclothes (still on despite it being midday) to see if she was okay. Two of her digits off the right tarsometatarsus looked rather mangled. She kept trying to walk and falling over on her white-speckled breast. It was crushing. I picked her up in my paper towel, stayed with her for an hour twisting her digits back around, gently stroking the mesh of shiny brown feathers until her eyes closed from a bright yellow beaded double-tiered under-brow up. The opposite to ours. I laid down beside her while she rested begging god, or an angel or my mom’s spirit–somebody, somewhere to please help this creature, to make her well. I was scared for her. And me. Eventually, her digits realigned . She flew away.

What if death is not as it seems?



Riffs & Jams

We are each a chorus of one. Many singers, many selves packaged inside a single body. Each of us speaks with one unified voice. Yet that voice is composed of and with as many riffs and jams as we are willing to let in. This is what I believe.

These riffs and jams come from everywhere. Trees spirits. Childhood angst. Wild animus. Lost souls. Ancestral fires. Water sprites. Pure love. Universal energy. Angels. So I try to listen. Mostly I run around listing off what needs to be done, what hasn’t been done, what is going to need doing.

But not when I actually run. When I lace up my running shoes and take leave of our home, our driveway, our street––I begin to listen. And they speak to me. The birds. My mother’s spirit. The clouds I splash through in puddles. Even the fabulous transvestite chutzpah of my Uncle Burk who died of Aids before there was Aids.

I mention this now, here, because I had a rather unusual conversation I want to share.

She died
in a hit and run accident
sometime around 4:30 in the morning
near the corner where Witch intersects Hunt
near a friend’s driveway beside the limp garbage bags.

Was it 4:44? Surely, it was not exactly 4:30.
Was she cold? It was cold out. Was she cold?

She was known to pray,
on her knees, in the street.

What was she praying for? Was it what I have been praying for?
You? Are we now one prayer short? Where do our prayers go?

She was known to walk
all hours of the day and night.

Where was she going? Did she get there? Is she there?
Are you running as fast as I am? Where are we going?

She was known to lift her head, her gaze,
her hands and arms toward heaven.

Like winter branches, reaching–
naked before the vast blueness of sky,
the bitter winds, the glaring sun, invisible air–
reaching– for what is, what is to be.

She was not known by many
directly. People knew mostly of her.

A skitzophenic wanderer kneeling on the side of the road
praying, day after month after year for what… for what? What?
It all to come together? The selves, the fractional elements of soul
that get splintered off along the way into orphan phantoms of possibility.

I never saw her until the afternoon after she died.
And it would be wrong to say I saw her. I did not.

I felt a presence running beside me and somehow having read of what happened knew it to be her and I asked if she was okay running on the road side. And then in my mind thought well, it’s not like she can get hit and she laughed. Not aloud. I mean I did not hear it audibly. But she was funny. Set me at ease. The music from my iphone stopped. Not by me. And I ran without music as long as she ran beside me, which was for maybe a mile. I asked if she was staying here long or going straight up. She said she wanted one more walk, or jog as it turned out to be, with everything being so clear and bright. I asked if she was happier. Yes, she said, it’s easier, because it IS all one.

I told her if she needed me for anything, you know, after she goes, to let me know. Told her I’d be happy to help. I was thinking perhaps if the driver needed help with what would surely, eventually, be weighing heavy on his soul. I didn’t know? I like to help. I asked if she’d be willing to sit on my bench up there, help steer my many selves toward each other, help me to see what my eyes cannot, to feel the oneness of it all, to run with grace and mercy and forgiveness, to integrate, braid the strands of my existence into the fabric. Yes, she said, she would. I am pretty sure she is. But it is harder to listen this way. To blue jays on the back stone-wall, tiny worms and spirit.

If she is me, and I am you and we are one,
then perhaps a piece of us has died?

Perhaps we are meant every now and then to walk,
our hands, hearts held in prayer, humble.

Perhaps our prayers have been answered
and we are freer than we think? Reborn?

Perhaps we are meant to fall to our knees
in gratitude, grace at the grandeur.

She told me her name was Esther.
The newspapers call her Alice.
She rests at the corner
of our intersections.

This was my unusual conversation. Unusual for me, not in the having, but the sharing.

Most of us are scared of believing in anything we cannot see. Save for god and atoms. I want to say, It may have just been my subconscious telling me what I needed to hear. Or perhaps it was my vivid imagination. The origin does not matter. Just the message.

But I think this is wrong. The origin does matter. A lot. I think honoring where things have come from matters. Not second-guessing the giver of our gifts.

Ancestors, perhaps even ours, talked to trees and stars and cows––were connected beyond mere molecular structure and wave energy. They were not freaks or crazies living in the margins of their society. They were the wise. Those that could connect directly to spirits were revered most.

I don’t know who Esther is––was. As it turns out the woman who died was named Alice Goldfarb. She lived from 1959-2011. I was wrong about her name. I did not know this while I was running. It was announced later that day.

So who is Esther? Maybe Alice Goldfarb, who was Jewish, had thought of herself as a kind of Esther from the bible, a Persian Princess of a different time. Or perhaps Alice introduced herself as Esther because she knew I’d learn her real name was Alice and I’d struggle with why she said Esther. Because she knew no matter how much I tried to disregard our conversation I wouldn’t be able to; would be forced to wonder if she had offered Esther to me as a kind of parting gift? A message.

I googled Esther. Esther (Hebrew: אֶסְתֵּר, Modern Ester Tiberian ʼEstēr), born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther. According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. Her story is the basis for the celebration of Purim in Jewish tradition.

However, the more you dig, the more complicated Esther’s story becomes. Esther is the only book of the Tanakh that is not represented among the Dead Sea scrolls. The Greek text contains six additional chapters and many small changes in the meaning of the main text. Some modern scholars question the historical accuracy, suggesting the book of Esther to be a historical novella.

So what? What does any of this mean? It was at first, irritating. I riddle inside a riddle from a woman I’d never met. And then it hit me. Maybe the point is that there is no single story. Not of Esther. Not of any of us.

We tell ourselves the same story about our self and each other over and over until it becomes carved in a kind stagnating, toxic stone and we feel bound to walk the same path again and again. But what if the story was constantly changing? Even after we die?


I went to Alice’s funeral. People that knew her here, in Rowayton, knew one story. The story of a deeply troubled woman who suffered from Schizophrenia, who walked and prayed in the middle of the street, who had several female roommates and lived on Thomes Street.

They did not know, as I did not know before attending her funeral, that her father had breakfast with her every morning. Or that she graduated George Washington University, married and moved to Peru. They did not know she traveled the world as an expert computer-programming consultant until she became too ill to work. That she spoke to her mom everyday and was deeply loved and supported by the synagogue, friends—a whole community of people. They do not know the lengths her family went to respect her wishes to remain independent, how proud they were of her fierce courage, kind essence, her romantic flights of fancy that her father said took her around the world, both physically and emotionally.

How much fuller they would feel to know her full story. How much happier they would be to know she was not alone. How relieved to know that what we see is not the whole story. What we tell each other, what we tell ourselves is only the surface. There are depths and heights we are free to explore.

So, I keep listening for the riffs and jams.






This morning, I chose to honor a small rebellion inside me to do something without knowing why. I chose to walk to the train, rather than drive.

This is how conceptual photographer, Matthew Jensen found the inspiration for his series,

“Nowhere in Manhattan”

So, inspired by Matt and in honor of small rebellions, I set out to rediscover the narrow, rock-strewn, dirt footpath through our neighbor’s yard that connects Crooked Trail to Deane.

I set out to see the short jog of over-grown, un-manicaured greenery that hides the bumpy jog of earthen trail that connects Deane street to the New Haven-bound parking lot. I set out to transform my “shortcut” into a “double-shot of surburban limbo”.


I walked because I have too many energies inside me that needed moving out. That need to NOT be shut-inside another small space.

Moving energy. Matt offers us a space to do this inside the congested maze of Manhattan.

5Rhythms offers the same through dance.

They too are based in the fast-paced-frenetic-all-at-one-time energy of Manhattan. Why? Because as founder, Gabrielle Roth says, “Manhattan mirrors our minds exactly.” Mirrors our minds exactly… yes. I think it does. Mirrors mine for sure.

I keep forgetting and being reminded, that within that frenetic island of chaos, with its densely-packed-to-do-and-not-to-do-list, is wide open wilderness. In the Manhattan of our minds, there is Nowhere.

Matt recovers these lost places and although his objectives are of a more political nature, he offers me (and maybe I am not alone) a space in my mind that has NOT been razed. That has NOT been developed into the high efficiency, high-design, high-in-the-sky, taller, prettier skyscraper model home.

A space that IS pure possibility.

He walks and walks and walks until streets end and footpaths begin and he finds it. Or perhaps it finds him.
The oasis. The retreat. The room inside our mind with the door we have never opened.
5Rhthms dance and dance and dance and dance and dance until energy moves.
Until we embrace the dance. Or perhaps it embraces us.
And we return to our personal wilderness. It to us.



To see what is there. No more.
To speak what you see. No more.

No caveats. No excuses. Not even fancy, literate, well-crafted ones.

To be able to experience truth.
Before it became a complex, stretched thin, hologram.
Before it became political, the hunted, the hunter––the uncatchable.

Picasso has famously said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, a lifetime to paint like a child”. He speaks about his objective this way, “I aim at deeper resemblance, more real than real, thus becoming surreal.” It seems to me, in his sculptures, his paintings, his plates––all his art he was attempting to enter essence. And record it.

Bathers Playing With A  Beach Ball

Entering essence seems a tall task.

Given our lifestyle. Most of us at least, especially those of us with kids, within commuting distance of a city, with patience-challenged personalities. Not to mention death. The agonizing beauty of love. Too many chocolate brownies. The internet. Hormones.

But children get it. Picasso sought to see like a child. One of my very favorite poets and essayists, Naomi Shihab Nye, pays homage to this in her poem, “One Boy Told Me”.



CONNECTION is why we are here.  our STORIES connect us. our FEAR separates us.

can we find the COURAGE to give up our ADDICTION to PERFECTION?

can we SHARE our stories, struggles, joys in an AUTHENTIC way?

can we see VULNERABILITY as BEAUTIFUL rather than weak?

can we believe that WE ARE ENOUGH?

Twenty minutes is a small eternity in modern translation but this
brilliant, insightful TEDx talks video by Brené Brown is worth
watching. Twice.


A nationally renowned speaker, author and educator, Brown’s
groundbreaking work has been featured on PBS, NPR, CNN. She is a
research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of
Social Work who has spent the past ten years asking some rather
profound questions: How can we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities
and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of
authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage,
compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are
enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

They are big questions, ones I struggle with hourly. Our culture does
not encourage imperfection. And yet our hearts harden without it.


Welcome. These posts will attempt in some way to evolve the conversation we have with ourselves, with each other, with art, history, time, poetry, love, chocolate–pretty much anything that seems worthwhile!

What if our stories were not carved in stone? What if historical events were not? What if we could evolve these stories? Turn them upside-down? Inside-out? Provide a new context? Engage in a new conversation? What if we could rebuild what is broken? What if instead of bombshells raining down over Berlin, it was poetry?

Since 2001, the Chilean art collective Casagrande has been staging “Poetry Rain” projects in cities that have suffered aerial bombings in their history—cities like Warsaw, Berlin, Santiago de Chile, Dubrovnik, and Guernica. In Berlin in 2010, thousands gathered in the city’s Lustgarten as 100,000 poems rained down from the sky. The poems, dropped by helicopter, included work by 80 German and Chilean poets.

What if on 9/11 what filled the sky was a migration of monarch butterflies?

Two years after the Twin Towers fell, my husband, Joe, and I were driving down the West Side Drive, past the meat-packing district when I saw what looked like debris falling from the sky. The image broke my words into silence. Then we got closer and the debris was not debris at all. Hundreds, maybe thousands of Monarch butterflies were beginning their 2,500 mile migration to Mexico.

Perhaps we are being given signs all the time on how we can evolve our conversations. Perhaps our stories are made of clay.