Morning Rituals: Art, Writing & Design Blogs

 Little Guru - Olaf Hajek

How do you start your morning? What are your morning rituals?

Before I take my dog for our early morning walk, I check my favorite blogs and sites to begin the day with art and ideas.  Later, on the trail, while my dog is sniffing and marking his tiny heart out, my imagination is sparking and I'm ready to work on my own art or writing.

Beginning the day this way always reminds me of line from Mary Oliver's poem, Wild Geese, "...the world offers itself to your imagination..."

Blogs are like friends, each one a new world, each offering itself up to the imagination. 

Here are a few of my favorite sites to get your day sparking:

The Jealous Curator 
Danielle Krysa's blog and Podcast showcase art and interviews with emerging and established artists. I lovelovelove the podcast and listen to it while I'm working in my studio.

This site is an incredible source for insightful, provocative, thoughtful, (choose your adjective and it will apply...), well-written & researched & linked articles, on a wide-ranging array of international art fairs, exhibitions, movements, and artists of note, from art history to contemporary, such as Marcel Duchamp and Mickalene Thomas, for instance. Start with two of my favorites: Art Genome Project case study and Big Art History and see where they lead.

You know when you were little and you had an ant farm terrarium and you watched in complete fascination  as the ants worked tirelessly clearing tunnels, going about their work for the common good? And then at some point, for some inexplicable reason, you moved on to another interest. Well, Brainpickings blog is like that ant farm, except, that unlike our former child selves, we won't ever lose interest in Maria Popova's tireless work of bringing all things interesting, thought provoking, dear and uncomfortable, to our attention.

Design Sponge
Grace Bonney's blog is so much more than the standard design or lifestyle blog. Her blog is an engaging perspective and important voice on diverse subjects and peoples. Check out her interviews with contemporary artists, writers, podcasts and travel guides.

Brown Paper Bag 
Sara Barnes has curated one of the sweetest art blogs with it's line-up of illustrators, paper, ceramic, and textile artists. Can you even believe that Queen Bey vase! Or the Olaf Hajek paintings?

Swiss Miss
You know that ant farm I was talking about earlier? Well, this is the ant farm on crack, except for all appearances & 99u talks,  Tina Roth Eisenberg is quite possibly the most chill, hip & balanced Type A over-achiever on the Internets. Get ready for the overuse of exclamation marks: She is the founder of Tattly (temporary tattoos by artists!), Creative Mornings (breakfast lecture series for creatives!), Teux Duex (a to-do app she designed!), and Friends (a Brooklyn based co-working space!) And she's a wife! And she's a mother! And she dances

Summer Reading List 2016

The Siren's Day Off - Marie Fox

I have read a few of the books listed below and have yet to write about them, but I included them for you to consider for your summer reading.

I am excited to read in the hammock, by the ocean, and hanging out in my new outside reading nook.

Summer is the best!

Check the following books out at your local library or independent book seller! (all links/book reviews are provided by Amazon)

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
Oreo - Fran Ross
The Blazing World - Siri Hustvedt
Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, that Elizabeth Gilbert)
The Crossroads of Should and Must - Elle Luna
Man Alive - Mary Kay Zuravleff
The Secret Lives of Buildings - Edward Hollis
The Opposite of Loneliness - Marina Keegan
Life In, Life Out - Avital Gad-Cyckman
Intelligence in the Flesh - Guy Claxton
The Bricks That Built the Houses - Kate Tempest
Ms. Hempel Chronicles - Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
The Understory & The Virgins - Pamela Erens
Wizard of the Crow - Ngugi wa Thiong'o
The Empathy Exams - Leslie Jamison
The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka
Tales of a Female Nomad - Rita Golden Gelman
Phenomenal - Leigh Ann Henion
Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino
Forest of Fortune - Jim Ruland
Syllabus - Lynda Barry
Bright Lines - Tanwi Nandini Islam
On Gold Mountain - Lisa See
Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling - Ross King
A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James
The Moor's Account - Laila Lalami
The Queen of the Night - Alexander Chee

Poem Therapy: Grief's Weird Sister, Gratitude - Jennifer Michael Hecht.

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born - Njideka Akunyili Crosby

How to read a tome of Collected Poems?
Read one that pivotally changes you
and lose track of the page and title.
How to clean a house? Lose your ring in it.
Milosz not having to make peace one day
because the people are dead, nor revisit
some cities of his blood, because they are
razed. I’m still reading for that one.
If I wince that I got cuppy, said too much,
maybe years ago, sometimes the sudden
knowledge that my auditor is no longer
will come in as wistful relief, if with grief.
So I’d like to find it. This “how” isn’t
an engineering question, but angle,
here alchemically
translated to hope by way of loss.


Grief is a savage sister to Gratitude. The last few years have been lessons in loss. Loss of all kinds. I won't go into it, that's what poetry is for, to show rather than tell. What I will say is that I am grateful to be on this side of it.  

These Hands, If Not Gods - Natlie Diaz

Sainte Genevieve - Kiki Smith

Haven’t they moved like rivers—
like Glory, like light—
over the seven days of your body?

And wasn’t that good?
Them at your hips—

isn’t this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin worth hurting for. Finally, a sweet, a
You are mine.

It is hard not to have faith in this:
from the blue-brown clay of night
these two potters crushed and smoothed you
into being—grind, then curve—built your form up—

atlas of bone, fields of muscle,
one breast a fig tree, the other a nightingale,
both Morning and Evening.

O, the beautiful making they do—
of trigger and carve, suffering and stars—

Aren’t they, too, the dark carpenters
of your small church? Have they not burned
on the altar of your belly, eaten the bread
of your thighs, broke you to wine, to ichor,
to nectareous feast?

Haven’t they riveted your wrists, haven’t they
had you at your knees?

And when these hands touched your throat,
showed you how to take the apple and the rib,
how to slip a thumb into your mouth and taste it all,
didn’t you sing out their ninety-nine names—

Zahir, Aleph, Hands-time-seven,
Sphinx, Leonids, locomotura,
Rubidium, August, and September—
And when you cried out, O, Prometheans,
didn’t they bring fire?

These hands, if not gods, then why
when you have come to me, and I have returned you
to that from which you came—bright mud, mineral-salt—
why then do you whisper O, my Hecatonchire. My Centimani.
My hundred-handed one?

I wonder what my own dark carpenters, bulders of my small church, think of their creation. And further, who is the hundred-handed one who will overthrow them?

from People Close to You - Crystal Williams

Original Jenny Mendes - Set of Ceramic Sculpted - Two Heads Salt and Pepper Shakers

Two Heads - Jenny Mendes

She asks if she can sit on the bench &; it is that kind of day in Santa Monica, slow & gentle so that when she sits, properly, like a teacher or the pudgy mother of a girl named Marilyn, in unison you raise your round faces. The wind hefts the voices of your deadlings. They are serious &; sorrowful women, full of warnings, but today seem content to let you be, saying only, Child, be thankful, open your chest, that great cavern, to our other sister. & so you watch the sea.

Who knows what the woman beside you hears: there are so many languages in the world & your tongue is tied to this one. So you sip iced tea &; lean a bit forward into them, your gone women, your sages, who seem to be stroking your head. You begin to imagine the ocean floor as a cup, the pouty lips of God, the soft foam, the salt as if food, tasting sweet &; clear.

I heard Williams read at a writing conference years ago and was so moved I fled the auditorium before the lights came up so that no one would see me weep - as in the first stage of the ugly cry. 

If she comes to your town, go hear her read. Bring tissues. And sunglasses.  

What is Broken is What God Blesses - Jimmy Santiago Baca

20% off purchases of $50 or more folks Im going to be discontinuing sales of all images “current” on my website I’ve put a limit of ten left for each item nows the time to scoop it up if you’ve eyeball'n. I’ll be moving on to new and more images but these ones will be retired. thanks yall! PROMOCODE: CHARLIE
Hurt - Cheyenne Randall

   The lover's footprint in the sand
   the ten-year-old kid's bare feet
in the mud picking chili for rich growers,
not those seeking cultural or ethnic roots,
but those whose roots
have been exposed, hacked, dug up and burned
   and in those roots
   do animals burrow for warmth;
what is broken is blessed,
 not the knowledge and empty-shelled wisdom
 paraphrased from textbooks,
  not the mimicking nor plaques of distinction
  nor the ribbons and medals
but after the privileged carriage has passed
 the breeze blows traces of wheel ruts away
 and on the dust will again be the people's broken
What is broken God blesses,
 not the perfectly brick-on-brick prison
 but the shattered wall
 that announces freedom to the world,
proclaims the irascible spirit of the human
rebelling against lies, against betrayal,
against taking what is not deserved;
 the human complaint is what God blesses,
 our impoverished dirt roads filled with cripples,
what is broken is baptized,
 the irreverent disbeliever,
 the addict's arm seamed with needle marks
  is a thread line of a blanket
 frayed and bare from keeping the man warm.
We are all broken ornaments,
  glinting in our worn-out work gloves,
  foreclosed homes, ruined marriages,
from which shimmer our lives in their deepest truths,
blood from the wound,
    broken ornaments—
when we lost our perfection and honored our imperfect sentiments, we were
Broken are the ghettos, barrios, trailer parks where gangs duel to death,
yet through the wretchedness a woman of sixty comes riding her rusty bicycle,
   we embrace
   we bury in our hearts,
broken ornaments, accused, hunted, finding solace and refuge
  we work, we worry, we love
  but always with compassion
  reflecting our blessings—
   in our brokenness
   thrives life, thrives light, thrives
    the essence of our strength,
     each of us a warm fragment,
     broken off from the greater
     ornament of the unseen,
     then rejoined as dust,
     to all this is.
All the children of a lesser god, not the god revered in cathedrals or temples,
but the dusty god of our ancient ancestors, remembers and blesses us,
the broken, yet still unbowed.  

Autobiography of Eve - Ansel Elkins

Adam and Eve 1909,Suzanne Valadon

Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.
I leapt
to freedom.

In this new century women are finally, finally throwing off those old snakeskin stories 
which wrote them as enemies or mere secondary characters in the story of the world. 
This century, sixteen years new, has and will see women around the world leap to freedom.