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Showing posts from November, 2011

A Wild Black Friday

Spent part of "black Friday" in the wild with friends and family. The prairie dogs were quite conversational, and I had an eye-to-eye moment with a bison. Seeing the great dark shapes of these hooved creatures against the prairie grasses and old, old mountains produces a soothing sensation within me. The pairing / visual juxtaposition seems at once incongruous and ideal.

There were many other people out exploring the wildlife refuge last Friday.  Proof that our society has not gone completely to the bags yet, and we can still decide to define shopping and not let shopping define us.

There's a reason why they call it Black

It can be a very enjoyable outing to go shopping with friends or family the day after Thanksgiving. Canbe. Used to be. While I know that some people truly enjoy camping out on a sidewalk to get into a big-box store before the rest of their fellow shoppers, I also think that this kind of "enjoyment" is a little like enjoying illegal drugs. It is remarkable--and frightening--what we Americans will tolerate having thrown at us in the way of messages that push, push, push us to buy, buy, buy. A man or woman selling drugs to children could not outdo these ads.

Have you seen the latest Target ad? I bet you have, but if not, you can see it here.  The You Tube title even calls the ad "Crazy Target Lady."

Target is a great store. I shop there a lot. This is not a great ad. And it is a worse message. But, Target will be far from alone in this kind of messaging.  You've probably also seen the news item about the Target employee who began a petition to fight back against …

Following My Own Very Good Advice

Do you remember this line from Alice in Wonderland?
"I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."

Well, for once I am following my own very good advice about listening to more good music instead of more bad news. Today and yesterday, I have been listening to Lucille Chung's piano transcriptions of Saint-Saëns' music, and it's making my time in the car pretty happy indeed. It's also giving me a new and deeper appreciation of Camille Saint-Saëns, who, like his music was complex, multifaceted, a brilliant human mixture of harmony and dissonance.

Have you given yourself some very good advice lately?
Are you following it? Try it, it just might make you happy.

Lucille Chung: One good reason why God invented the piano

Julie Albers, Alessio Bax, and Lucille Chung. Three young human beings that make me feel soaringly optimistic about the human race and its future. I was in the audience last night when Lucille Chung played the Concerto pour Piano Nº 2 OP.22 in G Minor by Camille Saint-Saëns. What a gift!

I heard Martha Barnette talking about the difference between mastery and artistry on this week's A Way with Words on public radio. A distinction that immediately set me thinking. Mastery is required, but artistry...artistry is the work of the soul, of the entire human being. It is, in my world, what happens when dance is applied to mastery.

Lucille Chung does not simply "play" the piano. She dances it. Every inch of her frame goes into each note. Even if you could not hear the music, you would remain entranced by her performance and its sheer physical beauty--the grace with which her hands rise into the air after a chord, the architectural slant of her body as she leans into a passage, …

Take a Bilingual Ride on the Red River / Un viaje poético por el Río rojo

In this case, I am referring to Red River Reviewan outstanding online poetry journal, which began "way back" in 1999. Current editor is Michelle Hartman, and Bob McRanie serves as Web master. This electronic journal is simply and elegantly organized, and the poetry it publishes represents a fantastic variety of  voices that bring real life to poetry and bring poetry to real life. 

In the introduction to this month's issue, Michelle writes: Dylan Thomas defined poetry this way: "Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing." What happened to poems about sunsets, heart break, or golden leaves spiraling frivolously to the ground? I hear at workshops that these topics are dead, and all that can be said about them has been said. Has it? Isn’t that what poetry is all about, taking something that we observe every day and holding it up to a new light, using new tools of perception and lan…