Showing posts from December, 2016

Be "Another"

It's been a year of loss. Lots of people whose work influenced our world for the better are gone. Musicians, actors, writers. Artists of all kinds. The loss of Carrie Fisher--actor, writer, advocate --hits me especially hard. Especially her, especially this year. So, Yoda says, "There is another."  Whatever or whoever he (or George Lucas) may mean by that--all that speculation feels, increasingly, beside the point. All of us can, must, should be "Another." Yes: speak/write, especially speaking up when power is abused. But also, find others who are speaking. Stand beside them, listening to and amplifying their work, letting them know they're not fighting alone. NOTE: I'm not listening backward (or, you know, backwards). I'm no longer interested hearing people speak hate or even ambivalence about people who don't look like they do. I refuse to seek out voices who glorify "business sense" at the expense of compassion and equity,

The Best Gift

For many years, I made calendars for my family for Christmas gifts. I live in a place that my siblings and I visited every summer. The calendar was a way to show them photos of our beloved place in other seasons. As gifts go, it was fine. I mean, printed calendars are still somewhat useful in our age of digital everything. My siblings thanked me and seemed to enjoy the pictures. I certainly enjoyed putting it together every year, but over time, making the calendar became another thing to do--another item to check off my list in a busy season. Several years ago, in late December, I met a fellow artist for coffee. She was a large-hearted, charismatic woman, an actor and writer, who raved about my photos on Facebook. She had a fractured family and a sensitive soul and, underneath her "show must go on" demeanor, dreaded the holidays. We weren't especially close, but I liked and respected her as an artist and a human being. At coffee, I pulled out a calendar--I always fa

What Will You Miss?

I'm within one package and a few cards of having my holiday obligations taken care of, and I kind of don't know what to do with myself! I'm used to drowning in guilt for missing these family deadlines. Nobody likes guilt, right? How I've handled that in the past is declaring, "Our Christmas will be in January." Or telling myself "Better late than never!" But sometimes, receiving the right gift in the right way--under the tree, in the stack of gifts after you blow out birthday candles--magnifies the value of the gift. It's a big part of the fun. Plus, there's a satisfaction in meeting deadlines other than those imposed on me--deadlines I choose for myself. So imagine my surprise to learn that I actually miss the guilt from being behind. Similarly, I spent a good part of this past year pulling together a nonfiction manuscript that I've been working on for twenty years. TWENTY YEARS! Twenty. Years. Twenty. Years. I've recei

Highly Recommend

Below are a few of the books I've read recently--and OK, three I haven't yet read. Good gifts! The top four are available as a boxed set , and of those I've only read Spring so far, but based on that volume alone, they're worth the price. Also, they're a fundraiser for The (UK) Wildlife Trusts . (And no, I get nothing from any links.) After a respectable-yet-not-excessive amount of dithering, I've decided I will read Winter next, given that that's what's mostly happening outside and the calendar will catch up in a couple of weeks. I'll write more about Common Ground later, because man oh man. Rob Cowen, like Melissa Harrison (not coincidentally, the editor of the set of seasonal books, above), writes like gangbusters about the natural world--specifically, bits of land in urban or suburban or exurban areas that aren't "nature" in the normal sense, but where natural things happen. Because nature. And people. And us all togethe