Friday, April 23, 2010

My Week in Pink, Yellow and Blue

Pink tags are queries out to agents.

Yellow are agents selected to be queried. So far. There are hundreds more.

Blue = Rejects.

I'm quitting for today. I feel like a puppy at the ASPCA.

Pant. Pant. Do puppies swear? I know they drool. And whine. If they swear, I'm definitely a puppy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's just sit a spell.

The new look needs some attention. I'll get to it shortly. In the meantime, park yourself on this bench and contemplate the coming of spring. And Earth's creative path into the sunlight. Mmmmm. I'm almost warm.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fritter Away

This just stumbled upon (as one is apt to do snorkeling the web): Garfield Minus Garfield. Without that smug, know-it-all cat, the message goes mental, from humor to existential angst. Can't tell if it's frivolous or brilliant. Some of both.

Logging into the blogosphere, sending thought bubbles into the ether. Pop! Gone.

Giving credit where it's due: (I think.) Also woefully a book.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Artist's Date? A cup full.

So does this count? An artist's date - or a reckoning. Bra shopping (Macy's... buy 2 get 2 free, I guess would be a BTGT, not a BOGO) very fraught. Things have shifted, nothing fit. Sales lady advises, go up a cup and band size. Whew. Really? When do they run out of letters?

20 try-ons later, nothing fit. Until- the Wacoal. Realization that my chest has Champaign taste. So I'm doing math in my head, justify on a per-wearing amortization. Then, I stop cold... it doesn't matter! It fits! I found something in the world that fit just right.

This was a great day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Far away, off the path

An empty nester, with not so much as a pet to keep me true to a schedule, with a two-career path marriage that routinely puts us on separate tracks for evening meals, and sometimes even entire destinations, oh yeah, I can wander off. I take lots of artist’s dates. I like to call the habit getting lost in space. Or as my mother used to say, “Maisey birding it.” (Dr. Seuss)

I hadn’t planned to write today. And certainly not about “Artist’s Dates.” But if I’ve learned anything over the past twelve weeks, it’s that I don’t always need a reason or a particular plan to write. The notion can just come over me, if I let it. And, so at Ann’s bidding to report on the best of the best “date with myself,” well who knows, but. . .here goes:

The date: August 10, 2007. A Saturday. One glorious day. On my own. On foot. With a considerable distance to go. With only my camera to share a view. Wandering at leisure and in absoute wonder, 6000 miles from home: in Tel Aviv.

The opportunity for such an adventure? Work. I was in Israel on “assignment” -- working for the Jewish Federation, and traveling with a group of Jewish media representatives from the US. Just 20 of us, in Israel to report on the mood of the country, focusing on American-supported social service agencies, one year after the War in Lebanon. An amazing trip and extraordinary experience in its own. The formal tour ended on a Friday afternoon. I had an appointment and meeting set up with a colleague in the Galilee on Sunday. My colleague had family to visit -- and so that left me time off - 24 hours to discover my own private Israel.

Tel Aviv. Is modern Israel. Both exotic. And familiar. Alive. On constant alert. The pace of Israel is like no other place I know. It bustles and bristles, in a friendly, casual way. Unlike Jerusalem which all but shuts down from sundown to sundown from Friday to Saturday, many of the shops, museums and cafes in Tel Aviv stay open.

My "Artist Date," if you will, began with an early morning walk along the beach promenade (the Miami-like hotel district). Turning from the joggers and cyclists and children playing in the sand, I headed to the art museum, winding through sidestreets along the way, snapping photos in the park.

Don’t hold me to it, but I believe the photo above is a painted mural on the back of the Mann Auditorium, home of the Israeli Philharmonic. I took that shot in a lovely courtyard, searching for the Rubinstein Pavilion -- another art museum.

Spent the afternoon exploring, that is, getting a little lost in space, with no place in particular to be. After lunch in an outdoor cafe, (a favorite Saturday pasttime for Israeli’s in Tel Aviv), I ran into two of my travelling companions from the week’s tour, and sat down for a second repast on bustling Dizengoff, the main avenue in the fashionable shopping district. Finished the afternoon taking photos from the rooftop of the hotel, then took myself to a no-holds-barred, no-expenses-spared meal at a beachside restaurant, seated outside, watching the sun go down and the city lights come up, delighting in my solitude, feeling utterly at peace in my own skin, amidst thousands and thousands people, not exactly strangers -- old and young, singles and couples, families of all origin and many nations, flocking to the seaside, on a glorious summer night in Israel.

Traveling alone. It isn't preferred. But oh, the places you go.

Tell all!

This was not my best Artist's Date ever. But anytime I get to ride a galloping rabbit has to be a better than average day. The haircut, though. Lordy! And yet, if I look in the mirror, there it kind of IS!

With the arrival of today, we're now in retrospective mode. How's about reporting on your best Artist's Date. Post if you will. Email if you won't and we'll have a happy list for newbies and also a reminder to slugs like moi that there are fabulous adventures to be had out there.

I'm not much for bucket lists, but I was intrigued and entertained by those Buried Life guys on Oprah yesterday. Here's their blog:

And here's the Matthew Arnold poem that inspired them:

But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us--to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.

Tell us all what adventure the Artist's Way -- past and present -- has sent you on. And what dreams and buried inspirations will guide you on from here.

You go first. I need to cogitate.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Not sure what I said that caused alarm, but I'm NOT planning to close the blog when this round of the course ends. I swear it. I promise. I plan to maybe make some small cosmetic refreshes, but the blog will be at this address until the stars burn out and Blogger moves on to the new universe. And the posts that are here will stay right where they are. Swear. Promise. Whew!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome to my brain.

OK. Final day discounts on our thoughts out here on this lap of the A-Way highway.

Where are you guys? Is anyone out there? Traveling our solitary yet parallel paths, touching base, sharing insights, asking questions, toasting marshmallows? I could use a good marshmallow. I’m beginning to feel like the post is just that -- an outpost for random thoughts. OK, that’s really okay, too.

By the way, the block at the top of this post is my dream scheme for an exhibit on mental illness, one of several projects I’m working on at the Detroit Science Center. With the request to develop a 2500 square-foot traveling exhibit embracing a handful of newly conceived exhibits - and only one actually funded by the American Psychiatric Association -- I sat down at a Starbucks on a January evening and sketched this: a 50‘x50 foot maze, (I like simple arithmetic). An obvious metaphor, the maze provides a walk-and-talk-about various states of the mind/brain, in sickness and in health.

The exhibit is called BrainStorm! The Science and Stigma of Mental Illness (working title). Alice in Wonderland-like, it opens not with a rabbit hole, but a mirror maze gallery, themed the Search for Self. Six additional galleries, each with similarly cute titles, explore brain function, order and disorder, all leading to an Amazing Brain, walk-thru sculpture. Literally smoke and mirrors, theatrical lighting and sound. It’s very heady (yes, pun intended) to be working with th the University of Michigan Depression Center and board members of the American Psychiatric Association, and to have evoked the enthusiasm of foundations. . . but we’re still out there in the desert with this. I love this project with all my heart. To see it to completion will take $3 million as well as the support, common vision, timing, luck, compliance, negotiation, creative design, problem-solving ability, wiring, carpentry, artistry, heart and soul and wakeful nights and good humor of -- oh, about 100 people. Like threading 100 strands through a needle.

Faith. It takes faith.

Sitting on the “ledge of authenticity” -- in Julia Cameron’s words -- the “dragon” (her metaphor for the Artist in Search of Self ) -- can “see” into the distance . . . “storms rolling in from afar” -- (after all, it’s spring) -- “travelers on their way from a great distance.”

Am I “serene in the knowledge” of the Way? Hell, no way. I’m restless as ever to move along. As for the floorplan in my Brain? The exhibit scheme that lives in my head can collapse at any moment, a house of cards. . . or come to life. Ahh, the amazement and the mystery of the work we do.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Coming Soon: To An Inbox Near You

Just like that. It's Week 12. And, as I predicted but never believed, spring is almost here. As a matter of fact it kind of looks here. But I won't fall for that one. You can't trust spring. (Was that it, Ann? And by the way: So HAPPY about Muffin! So HAPPY! Had a lost cat once. Finding your lost cat is the best thing ever.)

This week, as the week goes on, I will be emailing each of you individually and inquiring about:

a) whether we should attempt a congregation of physical beings in what those geeks at Fast Company used to call "meat space." Eeeg. That's so disgusting. Let's call it analog space and see how that works. In short... (Too late!) Should we plan to get together and hang out by the lake sometime to mark the end of this leg of The Way? Some base touching? A little marking of the occasion? A little wine?

b) whether you would like to reenlist for another tour of duty, starting, roughly, May 1?

c) if you know people who might like to come along for that ride.

And d) How the heck are you?

I plan to keep the blog open. Maybe a slight redesign. But Viv and I need a place to write down what we're thinking and the rest of you need a place to blog so you'll be part of the contemporary digital scene.

That's it. I'm dropping by this week. Look out for me!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Coulda Shoulda Woulda

Sharpening pencils

Coming to a close on a first-again lap around The Artist’s Way, I look back at the scrawls filling My Green Book of Morning Pages. So many woulds and shoulds.

I would not say . . .

I should be working. . .

If only I would. . .

I should think twice.

I wonder what would. . .

I should follow up.

And so it goes on. In tedium it would seem. And then I run across a passage of doublespeak, so obscure and circuitous, it stops me in my tracks.

Why so many shoulds? And not as many coulds? Could is a choice. Should is a task, not always welcome. Could is a condition of readiness, open to change. Why should? As opposed to could? Both words are conditional. Pending action on a tomorrow, a promise down the road. Or perhaps just a detour of the mind. A delay. A procrastination. Should is will, or should be. Could is can, or can be.

My point? I would tell you, if only I could.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Back to Sixth Grade

Because the world needs readers, too.

Because the Detroit Science Center where I work is also home to the new University Prep School of Math and Science, because the school is innovative and nurturing, because the teachers work in close-knit teams, because every student has an advisor, because no student is left to fall behind, because English class is called Humanities studies, because I said yes I would volunteer, I now have a student to tutor in reading and writing (and thankgod not in arithmetic). For forty-five precious minutes on Thursday mornings until school lets out in June, Cayla is mine.

A sweet little wisp of a six grader, Cayla puts on a tough exterior she doesn’t really mean. “Oh, she’s my little chocolate marshmallow,” explains Cayla’s Humanities advisor, “I call her that because inside she just melts.” Yes, I see that. Our first day, Cayla barely speaks. I actually work up a sweat teasing out that 1.) she’s good in math, because it’s easy and she likes her teacher, and 2.) she’s “bored” in Science and English (I mean Humanities) because there’s too much work. Bored reading the children’s classic, The Cay? No way. This will not stand. Not on my watch - that is to say, for the duration of 45 minutes each week.

And so we began to read, and I begin to understand: Cayla is a capable student, fluent enough in reading, reasonably astute in puzzling out new vocabulary, competent enough in writing to be earning A’s and B’s - not C’s. Hell, she even corrects a spelling error I make : Baja! What holds her back is a mystery to me. Possibly little more than hormones. Near the end of our session, we find common ground in discussion of American Idol, which elicits a spontenous high five. In return, I present her with a small token of appreciation - or bribe -- a blank journal. “It’s yours. Write in it. Whatever you wish. Just bring it back next time.”

And the next time she indeed brings it back. I see she’s filled the first pages with a draft of her “Survivor Story” -- her assignment for the unit on The Cay. Cool. As for the story? Well, Cayla is 11 years old, her reading of choice is The Magic Puppy. In her story she survives a shark attack on a boat with friends on vacation in Mexico where she and her buds mostly enjoy shopping together. Seems plausible enough to me.

Third session. This week. There’s method to my madness. We begin with an exercise. “This is exercise for your brain,” I explain. “Take out your journal, Calya. Write. And don’t stop until you’ve filled the page.” And I take out my notebook and pen, and together we write. Our first Morning Page. It’s a start. Thank you, Julia!