Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Poi Pounder

On one of my trips to Hawaii I learned that poi is created from mashed taro root with a tool appropriately enough called a poi pounder. I met a man who made a good side income fashioning poi pounders from monkey pod wood. I was so fascinated that I bought one from him and have admired it on a shelf for years. I must say it has never pounded poi. Sometimes the functional can become our art and delight us more than any amount of intended use.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Winter's Tale

Now that it is hot, I have been thinking about winter for some reason. One winter when I was a teen, we had a storm in Rochester which kept everyone from going to work or school. I thought it would be a great opportunity to have a neighborhood party. My father worried about the family running out of food. We both thought each other was crazy. I have come to see since that there are people who want to seize every opportunity and those who fear the worst no matter what. With age, I have also learned that their is a middle ground of responding to adventures which present themselves and being careful not to shoot yourself in the foot.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Send in the Clowns

I wrote recently about my girlfriend Carol signing up for clown school. Last night I attended her graduation with her best friend Chick and four other clowns through Grease Paint Alley in Greece NY. I could feel their joy as they awed children wandering into the Greece Ridge Mall. They shared their joy through baloons, stickers and their wonderful selves. They all showed us how to have fun and to appreciate children by making them feel special even if just for a moment. The world welcomes their spirit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Clowning Around

My girlfriend graduates from clown school tomorrow. I never thought I would be writing this. Frankly it never occurred to me. She has been looking for a way to brighten people's lives (beyond what she already does on a daily basis with her personality.) Tomorrow she will be in costume practicing a new way to bring joy to people. I wish more of us thought seriously about what they had to share with others and how to make the world a little more joyful place.
(Clown triggerfish)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fingers Do the Walking

Yesterday in church as I watched Jane's fingers create a mood of meditation, I thought back over the last week to the fingers of Jerry Lee Lewis and Doctor John at the Rochester Jazz Festival and how they could excite the Eastman Theater. I have wrestled with the piano for quite a while but have never been able to make my fingers connect the keys and the music with any proficiency. I marvel at the music flowing easily from musicians as their souls float on their melodies. It is one of life's joys for me.
(Reconquista Festival, Vigo, Spain)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Liberalism is a Mental Illness

The above title graced a bumper sticker which recently caught my attention. I wondered what that made conservatism. What about the varieties of religion, occupation, interests and other ways in which people differ. Sometimes we hear of something we could never imagine doing and say, "A person must be truly sick to do such a thing." When we can't picture ourselves thinking or acting in certain ways, we sometimes think those who do must be showing signs of mental illness. Might it not be possible to think or act in different ways from ours and still be sane?

(Reconquista celebration- Vigo, Spain)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Beginning and End

I finished the draft of my first novel this week. I had trouble deciding if it was the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning. It was an accomplishment to reach the last page. Then I realized I had just finished the first stage and that I had quite a bit of editing to do before the book is ready for consumption. Even though there is always more to do, I think it is important to take time to appreciate the steps of accomplishment along the way.

(Lighthouse- Nantucket)

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Art and Science of Life

To look at the newspaper, one would think that living is a scientific endeavor with all there is to be said about medications, medical discoveries, nutrition, etc. In the leisure or living section, we find references to the arts but they are not presented as being essential to our survival, as if they are an afterthought. Lifing life scientifically can be practical but drudgery while living it artfully brings us joy and also an understanding of life's difficulties. As usual, a productive life lies in the balance.

(Carol and Joe at the Mardi Gras Museum- Algiers, Lousiana)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rodin and Writing

At our writers' meeting on Tuesday, Bill talked about the process of creating written art as a gradual one. The author starts with writing a general group of ideas and then gradually refining them until they finally emerge as a work of art. I thought of Rodin's Gates of Hell and all the refining it must have taken to produce this masterpiece. I remember watching my son starting to weld steel welding rods together bringing to life a mother polar bear and her cub which gladden my heart every time I see them
on my wall. I am grateful for Bill's observation and for the inspiration for my writing which accompanies contemplating sculpture.
(Auguste Rodin- Gates of Hell; Peter Langen- Polar Bears)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Baker's Corner

Today Carol and I decided to visit the Public Market in Rochester. We had only been there once before on a busy summer Saturday and had to park several blocks away and hike to the market. Today was cooler, in the fifties, after several days of very warm weather. A sparse gathering of customers were blown through the lanes of outside stalls, clutching their coats and shirts while making their purchases. We managed to find some promising fruit and were about to head for the car, away from the chill. We noticed a bakery in one old building and decided to look in. Not only did they offer loaves of fresh bread and pastries, they also advertised the flesh of many beasts and birds. We were less adventurous and chose simple sandwiches. The building was old but servicible.
The owner served us and doted on us while whe had our lunch. The bakery provided shelter from the cold and wind and the proprietor warmed our hearts.
(Tapas in Gijon, Spain)

Monday, June 04, 2007

You May Think That I'm a Dreamer

...as the John Lennon song goes, "...but I'm not the only one." I have long realized I was a dreamer, but sometimes thought I was the only one or at least one of a relatively small number. I have since realized there are many dreamers and have been so throughout history. Dreamers are sometimes seen as useless or a hinderence by those of a more practical bent. I sometimes wonder what the would would be like without any dreamers, whether the rest of its inhabitants pay much attention to the ones among them them or not. Sometimes it is lonely being a dreamer, but usually it is very gratifying.
Railroad siding junction- Batavia, NY)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Zest for Life

Yesterday I felt aware of people who ignored traffic rules such as turn signals and cell phones, sniped at each other and ignored others' needs and wishes. On my drive to Spencerport for the Relay of Life, I was aware of the wonderful scent of honeysuckle seemingly eminating from every stand of trees. It transported me into a different dimension. When I arrived at the Relay, I was aware of a sea of purple-shirted cancer survivors surrounded by their friends and families. Contrary to what one might expect at an event focusing on cancer, the mood was one of celebration and remembrance of loved ones as well as hope for the future. On the way home, the honesuckle kept me focused on the sweetness of life which all too often we seem to forget.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Following Our Senses

I am currently reading Diane Ackerman's book, A Natural History of the Senses. I am reading it to help me be more aware of sensory experiences in my writing and incorporating them to make my writing more personal and graphic. It has been interesting how, as I read about each sense, I become more aware of it and less likely to take it for granted. I think the book will make me more attuned to my character's senses but will also help me be more aware of the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touches which surround me and carry me through each day.
(Silver Sword plant- Haleakula Volcano- Maui