Workshops  |  Consults  |  Shop  |  Contact
Openness is our greatest human resource.

Blog Entries tagged 'art'

Art + Life according to Chekhov

"Art, especially the stage, is an area where it is impossible to walk without stumbling. There are in store for you many unsuccessful days and whole unsuccessful seasons: there will be great misunderstandings and deep disappointments…you must be prepared for all this, expect it and nevertheless, stubbornly, fanatically follow your own way.

Anton Chekhov

October 10th, 2009

Nothing Ever Happens on My Block


So as many of you know, I love great design.

Which is one reason I love Donald Crews. My son and I have just about every one of his books, and have spent many hours reading our favorites: Freight Train, Harbor, and especially Flying.

Crews is someone I've wanted to interview for years--his graphic work is that strong--and as I'm working on a book at the moment that integrates the visual arts, I sought him out. 

I found him, and also the work of his daughter, Nina Crews, who is a terrific illustrator in her own right. I also found an interview with her in which she mentioned a favorite children's book that inspired her work. 

It's called Nothing Ever Happens On My Block by Ellen Raskin. It was published in 1965. I immediately ordered it from Amazon. It arrived yesterday and is FANTASTIC. It's about a boy, Chester Filbert, who declares nothing ever happens on his block while a dozen fascinating stories play out behind him.

What makes the book so great, aside from its lovely, lovely design, is the way the six or seven mini-narratives unfold in the graphics behind Filbert. You have to keep going back to find the early versions of each one to follow them, which ends up feeling like a cross between a treasure hunt and reading six books in one.

GENIUS. 

And that's my post for today. Even when we think nothing is going on, we are at the center of an untold number of stories. We just have to wake up to them. Then we won't be like Chester Filbert, thinking nothing ever happens when really, we are at the center of universe. 

September 25th, 2009

So I was Tweeting Mad Men...

...and wondering with @JenDeaderick if, after her horrid birth experience, Betty Draper will read the Feminine Mystique, put her head in the oven or both. Which inspired the lovely JD to send me to one of Plath's many extraordinary poems:

Morning Song

by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
 

Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song” from Collected Poems.

Copyright © 1960, 1965, 1971, 1981 by the Estate of Sylvia Plath.

September 20th, 2009

Baryshnikov: Three Solos and a Duet

Just home from the perfomance tonight. Two of the strongest, most honest works I've seen in some time. I wept. 

September 18th, 2009

Creative people are inspired by the creativity of others.

Creative people are inspired by the creativity of others. Which hopefully  explains why I've just spent an hour poring over Swedish fabrics from the 1940s.

My favorite of the collection is called, appropriately, Brown Hawaii:

September 3rd, 2009

Blended Nation

I was thrilled to write the foreword for this book of images and narratives of multiracial people in America.

The Honolulu Advertiser covered it yesterday.
August 23rd, 2009

Dreaming...of home

From the book Woodstock Handmade Houses. Love the organicity. 

August 4th, 2009

Richard Pryor: 40th President of The United States

July 31st, 2009

Writing in Paradise

Hey people!

The last workshop was AMAZING. Students beautiful, Banyan house beautiful, all of it, just gorgeous. A dream.

New writers, come to Maui!

Five spots left for December 13-20.

Come write your heart out...and then go wade in the ocean blue.

Register. 

xo

July 28th, 2009

Leaves of Grass

But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face; 

It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists;    

It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees—dress does not hide him;

The strong, sweet, supple quality he has, strikes through the cotton and flannel;  

To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more;    
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.   

July 28th, 2009