The Necessity of Perspective

picassoAnybody who has ever taken grade school Art class has learned about perspective. Before it, you drew one-dimensional pictures that seemed to have something missing, because they looked nothing like reality. But with it, your pictures gained the multi-dimensional look of real life.

Perspective gives you a more complete picture of the way things really are. Once you have it, you naturally incorporate it into your art as a habit. You can remove it knowingly, and for a reason, like Cezanne did in some paintings, or layer on multiple perspectives for something entirely new, like Picasso so often did.

As goes art, so goes life. Continue reading

An Open Letter to a Cowardly Neighbor

clinton-kaineYou came, as all good cowards do, under the cover of darkness. Trespassing on our property, not far from where we slept, you removed the political sign we’d just put up a little more than 24 hours before. You removed our neighbor’s sign too–perhaps you craved a matched pair.

This morning, when I took the dog out for her morning pee, I noticed the sign was gone. You might be interested to know that I wasn’t one bit surprised. Neither was my neighbor; nor my husband when I texted him. You see? We all expected you, or someone like you, to remove it eventually: The only unknown in the equation was the exact day and time; not whether we had fools living in our neighborhood. Continue reading

My On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With New York City (or If an Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, Why Did I Get So Sick of the Big Apple?)

New York CityAs a child growing up in the Central New Jersey suburbs, I loved visiting New York City. Back then, my mom was usually the one who took us to the city. A cousin on my dad’s side of the family had a dental practice there, and we’d go in for checkups. She also had family in the Bronx, and I remember at least one visit to the zoo. But the trip that I remember the most was the one that made New York City magical to me: A day in Manhattan around Christmastime. Continue reading

Talking to Strangers

shutterstock_313066517Neither of my children like to sit next to strangers. Whether we’re at the movie theater, on a train, or just waiting in line somewhere, they typically like me or my husband to serve as a buffer between them and the unknown person. I hope they grow out of it–I’m sure they’ll grow out of it–but for now it’s slightly annoying and I do try to get them to stop it. The funny thing, of course, is that we spend so much time when our kids are young warning them about strangers, and then we do a 180-degree turn and try to get them to not be scared of every stranger. Parenting, am I right?

On a trip to New York City yesterday, my daughter said to me, “You like talking to strangers.” It was an interesting observation because I have no doubt many people who think they know me or kind of know me from social media would think that I hate people. But my daughter is right–I DO like talking to strangers. And I typically do it without a conscious thought. Continue reading

I Refuse to Stop Feeling

Rainbow

The sad truth is that man’s inhumanity to man still continues to shock me. The shocking thing is that man’s inhumanity to man still continues to sadden me.

And in each instance, each story a scrolling litany of death death death across the bottom of the television screen and the right side of my Facebook page, I have to look away.

I’m glad that I can’t bear it. I’m glad that I can still feel shock, and sadness, and pain. It means that I’ve not yet grown a callus over my heart, or my soul. I’ve not yet hardened myself to all the awful things that life throws at us.

And I don’t want to. Because when that happens, it will mean that I’ll no longer feel anything. Not a thing. Not the anger and the pain that kicks me to my knees, but also not the joy and the hope and the love and the sheer amazement that life contains in all of its bright and breathless moments. Continue reading

Dear Perfect Parent

shutterstock_369704522

I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’ve come along. I’ve spent 14 years now wondering how to do this parenting thing right, convinced so many days that I’ve done it totally wrong, and now you’re here to confirm what I long suspected. I suck as a parent.

But luckily, you don’t. You know exactly what to do, right? You’ve got the right answer for every situation this parenting thing can throw at us. I mean, you must, because I’ve seen the free advice you’ve been doling out–especially lately.  Can you spare me five minutes of your time before you go wring your hands and wag your tongue over the next parent who society thinks needs a public skewering? Because I so obviously need the help. Continue reading

When Nobody’s to Blame

Harambe

Source: Forbes

I haven’t totally reconciled myself to the need for zoos to exist in our society, whether for research purposes or entertainment. There just seems to be something wrong about placing animals in pseudo-real environments, whether for a well-intentioned reason or not. Perhaps it’s because I myself hate to be fenced in, and naturally project my feelings onto something that so obviously does not belong where it’s been placed.

I also agree with my husband, who summed it up perfectly: Circuses and zoos were created for entertainment before the advent of television. In this Digital Age especially, when we can watch most animals in their natural environment via hidden camera, GoPro, and other means, why do we still need circuses or zoos?

However, my feelings shouldn’t be taken into account by anyone when it comes to what happened with a wayward child and Harambe the silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo this past weekend. And guess what? Your opinions shouldn’t matter either. Continue reading

The Unexpected Joy of Joy

Chewbacca MomCandace Payne, a.k.a. Chewbacca Mom, enjoyed one of the best social media fandom explosions in recent memory. If you have no idea who or what I’m talking about, stop reading and go Google her RIGHT NOW.

Her Facebook LIVE post, made in her minivan shortly after she completed a mini shopping spree at Kohl’s and shortly before she had to go pick up the kids from school, started appearing all over my Facebook feed on Monday. Not one to ever go with the crowd, the more it appeared, the less it appealed to me. But finally, I couldn’t resist the lure and I clicked. And watched. And couldn’t help but giggle. Continue reading