One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Hunger For images

As someone who spends so much of her time with words, I often get a near obsessive craving for images. Images and colors. It's a deep kind of hunger, a longing for non-verbal nourishment.

The images that draw me in the most are full of texture, the suggestion of sound and evocative of a mood, full of complicated emotions. Qualities can be so hard to get at with words.
Much of my wandering out in my part of the world, out in my landscape, is a quest for images. Days when the hunger is particularly fierce, I might head out to a museum or a gallery. Or a fabric store; I go directly to the velvet, the real, silk velvet whose rich colors, especially the shades of red, feed that craving.
But the other incredible source for images is, of course, the Internet. I could and have spent hours wandering through source searches on Google Image and Tumblr, but it takes a lot of mucking around to find that image that makes me sigh, Ah...
So when a friend sent me the link to Couleurs, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Theres something new everyday, and not just imagestheres poetry, video and music too. 

Now I revisit this heaven first thing every morning because it's better than caffeine, better than vitamin C, almost better than a bowl of fresh berries.

Rather than trying to describe whats there, go see for yourself:

What feeds your deep hunger?

Take Good Care,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Landscape of Creativity

Have you seen Laëtitia Devernay’s wordless picture book The Conductor

In it, a tails and bow tie clad conductor walks into a forest of tall-trunked, fat-leaved trees—their tangled, dancing roots visible beneath the soil. He gazes up toward the tallest of the trees, 

and then climbs to its top. 

He pauses. Then lifts his baton and…                           


At the end of the story—song, really!—the conductor climbs back down the tree and…ack! I am desperate to tell you what magical thing happens. But I will restrain myself. Find the book though. Read through to the end.

The Conductor (originally titled Applaus and originally a leporello style book, with all its pages able to open accordion style) is a gorgeous study of both the picture book and music. It is full of rhythm and sound…despite being wordless. But in addition to this, it is also a deep and simple study of creativity. The forest inspires the conductor. This inspiration—this love and curiosity and awe, really—births the impulse for the creativity. The conducting of the music.  The music itself. But then…ack again! I can’t give it away. 

But I will say that then…the conductor inspires the forest.

What fills you with curiosity? What washes you with hope and love and awe? What stimulates your flow of ideas and emotion?

And then, oh then! What can you do to give that curiosity, hope, and love back to the landscape from which it came?  What will unfold from that offering?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Enter Here

Yesterday, I took a little different route on my evening walk and passed by several entryways that have fascinated me for years...

Behind an arched iron gate, eighteen stairs climb under a trellis, up through a steep narrow passage, to a large house set back on the corner of Mason and Green. 

Just half a block down, a weathered wood gate, imprinted with a crescent, separates the sidewalk from the fern-dappled stone wall behind. 

Around the corner, a filigreed gate, wreathed in ivy, opens to a cluster of arts and crafts-style buildings set back from the street. There is something very evocative about these entrances—they always make me stop and wonder; ‘who lives here?’ It’s more of a question for my imagination because these particular entryways come with a sort of expectation.

When my girls were young, we used to play the game, ‘who lives here?’ on our neighborhood walks. A tall narrow door must the home of Mr. Giraffe, a tiny door (most likely hiding a water meter) must lead to the home of Miss City Mouse. We identified where the princess lived, and the witch, and the ogre, without ever seeing an actual resident pass through the door.

So this morning, I went out in the rain in search of more neighborhood entryways, because something niggled at the edge of my consciousness, a kind of hunch that there was an important lesson here for me. As I was walking, I thought about the writing task waiting for me when I got home—trying to figure out the opening to the historical YA I’m currently revising. Which got me thinking about how the opening to a story is like an entryway to a house and how different entryways set up different expectations, make different promises. I know this—that a writer makes a promise to the reader in the beginning of a story, but thinking about it in terms of architecture, in terms of kinds of doorways and entryways and gates and how they appeal to my imagination, gave me a visual that made it feel more clear.

As I sit down to work on the new opening to my story, the first question I’m asking myself is, ‘who lives here?’ What kind of story does my opening promise or rather, what kind of entryway does this story need?

Take Good Care,


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Landscape of the Body

This week my almost-eleven year old son watched a puberty video in Health Education class.

This week my just-nine year old daughter had her well-check visit and she and our doctor spent a bit of time talking about emerging breasts and not-so-distant-future periods.

This week my four year old daughter told me her brain and her body could do anything.

This week my husband realized that he was coming out of a slight too-much-dark-and-too-much-winter depression and felt more energy and more space in his body than he had felt in the last few months.

And me? This week I had a very-small-all-things-considered scare with my health* that turned out (gratefully, gratefully) just fine.

As I sat cross-legged at the end of yoga class this morning, and as I held my hands in a prayer position just in front of my heart, and as my teacher Diane asked us to take a moment to thank our bodies, in our own way, for holding, bending, stretching, balancing through the last hour and a half I thought about—

            —deepening voices
            legs growing long
            pubic hair
            wet dreams
(well, it’s true!  My son asked about them at dinner two nights ago and we spent the entire table time engaged in a thorough and awesome and honest conversation about sex…)
            arms building muscles
            made-up songs
            made-up dances
            focused minds
            calm hearts
            and healthy bodies—

—and I made a promise to myself: to continue to engage in a process of knowing and loving all of the pieces of my body as they change and strengthen and grow, and to continue to teach my children the same. And you? What can you promise yourself about your amazing brains and bodies?

I leave you with this, by my favorite poet of all time, Mary Oliver.


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Gratitude to you all.


* My brother just emailed me very worried about my health.  Ooops.  I forgot that I hadn't mentioned the scare to him or the rest of my family, because it had come and gone so fast. So for their sakes and for the sake of openness, I had to have an ultrasound on a dense mass seen on my annual mammogram, but it turned out to be (on my knees here) nothing. xxoo