Better You Don’t Know

my-grandparents-for-blogMy last grandparent, my paternal grandmother, died when I was 15. I miss her still. Grandma Esther was a mere slip of a thing, in her usual housedress and glasses with lenses so thick she looked like an owl. I remember her as self-effacing; never wanting anybody to make a fuss over her, content to slip into the background of any scene. If she were alive today, I’d tower over her physically, although I’m no giant myself at just 5’ 3 ¾”. But as the years roll by, I’ve come to realize that my life has been built upon her small shoulders. Continue reading

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I Think You Meant to Say, ‘Thank You’

philly-marchTo those who saw the Women’s Marches around the country and — damn — around the world and didn’t “get it” — try harder. To those who called the rallies “protests” and compared us to those who willfully and criminally broke windows, attacked the police and set a car on fire in D.C. yesterday — try harder. To those who don’t understand that our individual rights and freedoms are under siege — try harder. Continue reading

My Life at 45

for-45th-blogAs a child, I never understood why adults were so dismissive of their birthdays. And then, somewhere along the way, I became an adult myself.

This year is a milestone birthday for me. Or perhaps a mid-milestone birthday, as I’m halfway between 40 and 50. I’m at the age where a birthday no longer marks the exciting steps taken away from birth. Instead, it is a step towards an eventual death.

But markers are just arbitrary placements in time; a time whose length none of us knows for certain. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned well during my life it is that time only ever moves forward. Birthday or no, every day edges us forward toward the end. Instead of apathy or anger, I’ve chosen to focus on living every day to its fullest. Continue reading

On Trump and the U.S. Election by an American in America

rainbow-white-houseI was recently asked by Renée at the Mummy Tries blog to write a post about how I thought a Trump presidency might affect the rest of the world. I waited until just a few days before Election Day to write the piece because my thoughts and opinions were on a roller coaster ride on a daily basis.

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Because I spent my junior year of college abroad, attending the University of Bristol, I know what it’s like to “represent” an entire country’s way of thinking. Although Bristol is in no way a backwater, country town, and other Americans attended the university, I still found that those around me—friends, fellow students, professors, shop owners—were still very much interested in getting the opinion of an American on a variety of subjects. It’s both a difficult and heady position to be in, and I tried to tread carefully because I was under no delusions then, and even less delusions now, that my opinion in any way, shape, or form represents the bulk of Americans. It can be a dangerous thing, indeed, to assume that other people think the way that you do. Continue reading

The Gifts I Want for My Birthday Are Not for Me

giving-giftsNovember is here already, at just about the time we were getting used to the idea of October. The truth is, we’re never quite ready for the steady passing of time, no matter what month the calendar turns to.

I love November because it’s my birthday month. But I also love it because it’s the month when Mother Nature typically gives up those schizophrenic last days of absurd heat and focuses on the predictability of crisp, cold mornings, with the occasional flock of Canadian geese wandering overhead. And I love November because it contains Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. Continue reading

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