Is there a word for that?

My older daughter is a real entomophobe, and she protested by loud wailings my choice of subject for yesterday’s painting. I had said “dragonfly” and so I agreed that it did sound scary. Is “damselfly” more charming? They are, in fact, two different types of creatures in the order Odonata. But maybe they occupy a…

Emotions as little gods

I like to think of literature and the creative writing process itself as a type of habitat for emotions. We can reserve a space of quiet, practice the discipline of gardeners, and protect our observational vantage points from those who might disturb the sanctuary. But does anyone know where an emotion comes from or where…

Patience

Like that of a mountain, to make art. Especially classical styles, which I spent some time reflecting on at the Morgan Library today. Art requires painstaking, attentive gestures. Focused light. More specifically, a mind full of moonlight. Shahzia Sikander’s paintings and collage-style artwork in this exhibit, “Extraordinary Realities,” showcase her classical techniques and many layers…

Eat well, write well

My middle-school homeschool students had a pool party today to celebrate the end of our year reading The Odyssey together. It was epic. They stood in the water scream-laughing about the crushes they dramatically recounted for each other from their pre-Covid schooldays. I was kicking myself: it never occurred to me to ask them to…

Effortful effortlessness

I know, that’s backwards. It’s usually “effortless effort,” the Zen approach to living. But I think it may be more realistic and compassionate to say that putting in a focused effort upfront pays off in the practice of most things. One of my friends asked me when I’m going to add “watercolorist” to my profile…