Category: Creativity

Robin Morgan standing at lectern

Distilled by Parkinson’s

In May 2015, poet Robin Morgan gave a TED talk that woke me up. She had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and wrote poems full of life and humor and insight. Who but a poet would say of a disease like that, “I do not feel diminished by Parkinson’s; I feel distilled by it, and I actually like very much the… Read more →

Farewell to an extraordinary muse

Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese is gone. He has left on the journey whose destination is mysterious to those of us still plodding along in our earthly lives. When I heard the news on CBC this morning, I was devastated. He had fallen silent on Facebook. His last entry was November 26, 2016, when he wrote: Two men saw a pile… Read more →

Millie’s Farm Family: teacher’s guide for the series

Millie’s going to school. The first three picture books about Millie and Turkey Baby and their farm pals now have their own teacher’s guide, for students from Kindergarten through Grade 3. Packed with background, vocabulary, questions, ideas and activities, the guide will enhance students’ experience of the books. Each book – Millie’s Feathered Foster Family, Turkey Baby and the Hungry… Read more →

Child with a lantern ventures into the night

Hope in uncertain times

    Years ago I was mesmerized by Laurens van der Post’s book, The Heart of the Hunter. His writing sank its hooks into my story-loving soul. Today I came across a conversation he had with another of my favorite storytellers, P.L. Travers. In it he tells part of a story I still remember from The Heart of the Hunter.… Read more →

Painting software for the digital artist

Not so long ago, turning a photograph into something that looked painterly required a lot of technical know-how with feature-rich, complicated software. New generations of photo editing software make the process both quick and fun. The versions below are just a quick show and tell, with encouragement for you to check out the amazing variety of software on the market. If you have… Read more →

Art, Fear, and Purple Mountains

  Shut down as an artist An 8th grade art class filled me with exuberance. I sketched, explored pastels, tried watercolor. I filled tablets, doodled on margins, and saw the world with new eyes. One day my joy came crashing down like a landslide, burying my joy in rubble I am still digging out from. Something about my watercolor of a… Read more →

My mom’s Charlie Brown Christmas trees

The scraggliest tree on the lot found a loving home with my mother. Well before A Charlie Brown Christmas became a movie classic, she cherished the lopsided trees with sparse branches. “We’ll cut off these bottom branches,” she would say, “and wire them in the empty spaces. Besides, this gives us space for more ornaments.” A single mother with two… Read more →

Sometimes our best teachers ignore us

    As I walked through the marsh this morning, I heard a nearly-grown osprey chick crying plaintively from the nest. He was facing away from the marsh, which made me curious. Further along the path, I discovered the reason. One of his parents was sitting atop a tall, dead tree, eating a fish. Junior could not fly to the… Read more →

Writing the last chapter

  I took my camera for a walk this morning. With summery weather rolling over us like a heat tsunami, I’ve moved my walks to earlier in the day, before the sun burns my skin on contact. Marmots were hanging out atop their condos. Cranes were swinging over construction sites. Leaves were enjoying the evaporating dew. As I wandered the… Read more →

You’re not too old, but start NOW

Sheryl Sandberg’s (Facebook CEO) May 2016 commencement address at UC Berkeley is a gem. She talks about 3Ps that will help you get through, and past, anything. She also tells the story of her grandmother, who managed to acquire a university degree in spite of having to drop out of high school to help support her family. That made me… Read more →

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