This Moment: October 29, 2011- 7:20 A.M.

The sound of breathing fills the room. The dog's inhales are out of sync. Passing cars sound like waves crashing. A plane and it's passengers pass overhead. The moon is an unknowable eye, hidden in the dense colors of the morning. I think of Hamlet's witching hour and wonder who wanders my land in the soul's in-between journey back to their underworld. The small dog sighs in his sleep, shifting to his side. I've seen this before; he is positioning for a scratch. Then the old dog snoring on his pillow will waken, growl, and unfold herself and with slow and halting steps, come to the side of the bed for her pets. The younger dog will try to solely occupy my hand, and failing, will leap to the hardwood and nip and snarl until both spend every last dime of jealousy, then return to their pillows, eyes on me, waiting to be let outside. A car is ratcheting down the street, squealing as if pursued by murderers. The end of harvest nags a long list of what has been left undone. The fields are stripped bare. The first frost has not arrived. The land will be planted with wheat that will harbor like a secret under the snow. The pear tree holds it's cache of fruit. Fallen pears lie beneath like a cast circle in a long forgotten ritual. I am on this fertile land, but unlike my ancestors, not of it. I know that although I am not subject to its mercy, I am bound to it and cannot leave. The light is turning night to day. Harvest is past. Soon, the dead will walk the earth again on the day set apart for them. I will leave a plate outside for my dead, leave a box of Lorna Doones on her headstone, pour a beer into the clipped cemetary grass between the two brothers, and perhaps this year have the courage to pour salt on the grass of another grave and let the darkness finally go. The sun is visible above the Rocky Mountains. Day is here. The winter is coming.

Poem Therapy October 27, 2011 12:02 P.M.: Saignee - Tung- Hui Hu

Tung-Hui Hu

They chew on flowers to bring color
back to their faces. Inside the rows of
bougainvillea they eat the purple and the
ochre that climb up the walls, and I want
to say I too know the solitude that divides
blood into bright cell and plasma
that leaves a fluid pale as the eye of a partridge.
I too know no cure for it except to keep eating.

At dawn sunlight stains the city the blush
of onion-skin and the muezzin’s voice
rings out over the rooftops. He is the foghorn
that pierces the heart before morning,
rising from the ocean’s octaves to burn off
the clouds, and yet it terrifies me, to think
early some day you will wake up to see me

standing by the balcony as if I and my legs
and my robe were part of the railing,
you will put your arms around me and ask
why I stand there and I will have no answer.
You do not stir, but I know you have seen
men tumble out of the sky, and with
every ululation your body trembles in sleep.
Though we lie next to each other we are
in different countries, one with water,
one without.

I originally thought saignee a city, but it is a process of bleeding the tanks in the production of rose red wines. I love a new word and the terrain it brings! This new knowlege of the meaning of saignee sent me back to the poem with a different focus, and of course the poem changed, because I had. Read more about saignee in Zinquisition blog-a blog about the wine industry.

This poem reminds me of an unnamed fish at my work,(let's call him Saignee from this point forward, and assign him male status). In the fish tank in the main office where I work is Saignee, a strange vermillion red fish with black accents around the eyes. Saignee is unlike the other fish in the tank. Instead of constantly swimming about or hovering in place, Saignee finds a rock or shell on which to perch, and essentially plays dead, until he feels your eyes upon him, or you place a finger on the glass, and darts away to another location and perches, motionless. Everytime I go to the office I have to check where the Saignee is. Sometimes I stare a little too long, and off he goes. I like the game, but try not to play it too often. I know I intend no harm, but I'm pretty certain Saignee doesn't.

Two years ago,Saignee was transparent. The main secretary said she thinks the fish was clear-colored because in the tank there used to be an aggressive fish that bullied and attacked all the other fish. Perhaps the aggressive fish was territorial, or maybe its aggressiveness was just in its nature, but it didn't matter to the office staff, it had to go. Once the aggressive fish was gone, Saignee transformed from transparent to opaque by slowing starting to pink up until he was a vibrant orange red.

It makes perfect sense Saignee would try to become invisible so he wouldn't be a target. I may be projecting here (so okay, I am), but perhaps becoming transparent is a useful strategy to blend in with the other "fish", so differences, say in temperament, world view, or belief systems aren't so apparent. Or, so that no one really sees you for your imperfect self, like the speaker in the poem, so afraid his lover will see how different their worlds, "one with water, one without", are, see his sadness, his solitude, and leave him to his imperfect self.

Artist of the Day: Dive - Elle Moss

Dive Elle Moss

I am drawn to images of half-submerged women. I think I love the image of suspension, being seen and unseen, because it illustrates how unknowable we are to each other. I went to hear Marilyn Robinson speak this past weekend, and she said that this very thing, the unknowable, the mystery, is at the core of each of her characters.

In your own life, your circle of friends and family, how well do you know them? I don't mean the obvious preferences or temperaments, but that which flows like secret water under the surface.

I analyze everything, even minutia, to death. I think this is why sometimes I'm so slow-moving in my decisions, but then, there are times when I make critical decisions like a lightening flash. Why? I don't know, other than it's a visceral thing. Now, analyze that.

I've admired Elle Moss's work ever since I first discovered it. Now that the holidays are approaching, I am inspired by her work to create my own photo essays as gifts, (not of myself-that would be just weird). I think I'll collect images like treasures and then compile my favorites.

Artist Bio:
I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best. rida Kahlo

Recently seen on Mal Pearsons "30 Days of Giveaways" on The Daily Buzz.

My work has been published in these magazines:
The Portland Mercury (cover image) - October 2011
SHOTS magazine - Dans Le Jardin - Autumn 2011
Maeve Magazine (Cover Image) Issue 5 Spring 2011
ElleGirl Korea: September 2010 and April 2011
Prism Magazine (Cover Image): June 2010 (issue 48:4)
Maeve Magazine (Cover Image): Issue 1 Winter 2010
Carpaccio Guide to emerging illustrators, photographers & artists Vol. 3 (December 2009)
Itaú Cultural Continuum Magazine Oct/Nov 2009
Capricho Magazine (Brazil) September 2009
Somerset Digital Studio Magazine Autumn 2009
File Magazine
Carpaccio Magazine issues #5 & #7
Antler Mag May 2009
Parasol Mag March 2009
Marie Claire Italia March 2009
F-Stop mag issues 28, 32, 37 & 40

Group Exhibits:
Torpedo Factory Art Center/Target Gallery, "masks", Alexandria, VA October 2011
Ann Arbor Art Center All Media Exhibition, Ann Arbor, Michigan September 2011
SAPAC "rEVOLUTION", Ann Arbor, Michigan April 2011
SAPAC "rEVOLUTION", Ann Arbor, Michigan April 2010
"ARTsquared", Powell, Ohio April 2010
YES Gallery, Rhode Island Sept-Oct 2009
Getty Images Gallery, London England Sept-Oct 2009
Louisville Art Association June-July 2009
"Idea of Self" The Center For Fine Art Photogaphy, Louisville,Colorado, February, March 2009
"Through the Looking Glass" Northwest Cultural Council, Chicago, Illinios July 2008
Projekt 30, June 2008
Daisy Lake Art Gallery, Dexter, Michigan, May 2008

Solo Exhibits:
Whittaker Branch Library, Ypsilanti, Michigan, August 2008

Book Features:
Photographer's Forum Best of Photography 2009.
She Took Her Own Picture
In Her Own Image
Visual Candies the book
Poetic Terrorism
Female Photographer's of Etsy book, "She's a Rainbow"

Book Covers:
1. La Rosa Escondida' by Reyes Monforte (2009)
2. I Love You When Im Drunk' by Empar Moliner (2009)
3. 'Darker than Midnight ' by Salvo Sottile (2010)
4. 'Das Madchen im Pelzmantel' by Amy Bloom
5. 'La Restauratrice di Matrinoni' by Donatella Diamanti
6. Christophe lamert - La fille port-boheur (france)
7. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (italy)
8. Attachment - Isabel Fonseca (Portugal)
9. Grace Williams Says it out loud - Emma Henderson (UK)
10. The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove - Lauren Kate (UK)
11. Hondred lliefdessonetten - pablo neruda

Elle Decor
Marie Claire
Creature Comforts

EMAIL: email: ellemossphotography [!at]

This Moment: October 20 2011- 7:24 A.M.

The dog is on the bed, curled into a pillow. He leaps up suddenly, and stands defensively at the end of the bed, barking at some unseen enemy. Minutes ago it was pure darkness, but now familiar shapes are beginning to reveal themselves in the early light. The dogs are in the kitchen lapping water from their bowl. For a weekday, traffic is slow. Color outside my window is evident. The apple tree is green and heavy with fruit. It will be only a few more days before the pear tree's cache will be ripe for picking. Fall always fills me with a sense of loss, even while surrounded with such abundance. I know the sun light is diminishing, the snow and ice are coming. The old dog is barking a half hearted warning. She is quiet now, her old head resting on crossed paws. She looks to me as if to grant me any wish. The rumble of a truck grows as it nears. Traffic is growing steady. Far away, a train traverses tracks and I can feel it's sideways rocking motion and I imagine running along side it, reaching up and hoisting myself into the car, settling in, eyes closed, my face in the wind.

Artist of the Day: Behind Plastic - Caryn Drexel

Behind Plastic Caryn Drexl

Autodidact photographer Caryn Drexl's photographs are exciting and disturbing. Looking through her online portfolio, I felt like I was viewing work from another era, (save for the very few art school type images - and yes, I know she's self-taught, but thought this an good example). I saw references to Julia Cameron, Sheila Metzner, Man Ray, Sally Mann, even Diane Arbus. Perhaps I'm projecting my limited photography knowledge here. See for yourself.

I love the titles of her photographs, especially, Oh, Slyvia (allusion to Slyvia Plath's final moments), Conjuring, Her Very Own Sea, and You Don't Sing to Me Anymore.

Aritst Bio #1:
Self taught photographer in Florida, taking [mostly] female based "conceptual" photography. You can view a larger portfolio of my work at

Artist Bio #2:
I'm Caryn, newly in my 30's, living in smallish Palm Coast, Florida. I love my dog. Sometimes I love my cat. I definitely love my girl of 11 years [who I should probably start calling my fiancé since we put rings on each others fingers.] I love my family, though I often don't like most of them, [exception being my sister Michelle, whom I adore!] and I lovelove the color green. The love list also includes old houses, old clothes, new england, lace, tv [oh yeah, I love me some tv] depressing music, long hair, books, eco friendly stuff, Joss Whedon, fresh baked bread, coke slurpees and chocolate chip cookies. I could go on for a while, but I figure cookies is a good place to stop. My ideal evening would involve being on the couch in my pajamas with Brianna and my sister, watching some ridiculous but funny movie and drinking coffee. Also, while my images [and my taste in music] might tend to create a specific image of the type of person I might be, I'm actually pretty bubbly and light-hearted. Goofy even. I'm always trying to make people laugh. So, yeah, don't judge a photographer by their images.

Now, the photography and images part. A popular question is if I went to school for photography, and the answer is no, I did not. I've never even taken a class. Everything I know I learned through trial and error or the internet. Equipment wise, I currently use a Canon T2i, and in the past I've used a Canon 400d, Canon 10d, Nikon d100, Nikon N80 and a few vintage film cameras. I have girly little hands and a dislike for big heavy cameras that'll break my wrist or my neck, so the littler rebels suit me well. And while I love the look of film images, I'm not the most technically sound photographer, and I'm definitely not patient, so digital it is. Lens wise I tend to stick to my 50mm, but I'm trying to break out of that habit and become knowledgeable on that whole bit. [Any help would be appreciated!]

In the past I've gone on about how I hate titling images, and how when I do title them it shouldn't mean much to the viewer, and that has changed, a little. First though, here is exactly what my old bio page used to say:

"I hate putting titles to my images, but when I do they usually mean little to nothing at all. My images are meant to be whatever you think they are, not what I tell you. Sort of like choose your own adventure books, only it's choose your own back-story instead. And so I prefer to present them to you at face value and nothing more, that way you can react in whatever way you will, without my influencing you with an explanation of why [or how] I've done what I did and what it all "means"."

Generally speaking I still have that attitude. I, for the most part, don't want people to worry about what I mean, but to pay the most attention to what the image says to them. At the same time though there are times where there is something I'm trying to convey, or something specific I had in mind, so I kinda, sorta, try to hint at that through the title in hopes that it won't be overlooked completely. But that's not always the case, so it makes this whole thing sort of difficult. =) I come up with every idea differently, I approach every image differently, so my hopes and expectations are always different. So I guess now I'm a little more careful, when it comes to titles, to cover all these points. I want the title to hint at something, if there is something to be hinted at, but to also remain vague, in case there isn't something I need to hint at, or just so that my "message" doesn't smack someone in the face. There are now even family pow-wows when I've taken an image and don't know what to name it. is also my good friend, because often the titles the girls come up with suck!

And that's entirely too much talk about titles. But I guess some insight on my "process" and how varied and murky it is. The second most popular question I get is where I get my ideas from the answer is [I assume] always unsatisfying and unhelpful. "Everywhere. Everything." Sometimes I sit down and look at old paintings online for a few hours. Old photos from the 20's through to the 50's. Those often give me light ideas. Sometimes I'm in the hardware store and something weird jumps out at me and I think "that would look awesome on someone's head!" Or I'll be window shopping online and I'll notice a pretty dress and get a flash in my head of it moving a certain way and something grows from that. Often it's just random. One second I'm chasing the dog around the couch and the next second there is an idea in my head that seems to have come from nowhere. And every once in a while I'm on flickr or tumblr or deviantart, looking at other people's work, and I'll see something I'm kinda grumpy I didn't think of first, and from there, instead of abandoning the idea of ever doing it myself because "it's already been done", I figure out how to make the idea mine. Of course I don't mean stealing, because I would never, intentionally, repeat someone else's idea down to every last detail. I just figure out what I like about it, and how I can incorporate that into something that's more my *mine*.

Anyways! A little more history on me as a photographer: I fell in love with photography as a fluke when I was 10. I went on vacation with my family and came back having taken the only properly exposed images out of everyone. I have photographers in the family, and people were impressed, so I got all chuffed and went on to take a bunch of crap snapshots that even I couldn't bother to care about. I stopped for a really long time, until I was a teenager, all the while still claiming I'd be a photographer when I grew up. [Though back then, I was first thinking I'd be a concert photographer, and then strictly fashion, which I've always had a thing for.] And then when I started again, because of the things going on in my life at the time, it was more of an outlet than anything, a way to deal with things. To vent. It wasn't photography in a traditional sense. First I would turn my scanner on it's side and take self portraits that way. Then we got a free webcam from our internet provider and I used that to capture stills. All these images would immediately be put online, included in the online journal I kept. The positive response I got spurred me on, and things just grew from there. Eventually, when I was 20, we spent 100$ for a less than 1mp camera, which quickly broke and led to lots of out of focus images, or insane closeups because it would only focus within a few inches of the lens. Around 21 I got my first film camera, and though it was fully automatic, and I loved it, it was still frustrating because I had grown too accustomed to instant gratification. At 22 I started stealing my "mother in laws" 2mp digital fuji and that when I really started to set up little shoots and "create", so to speak. It was still mostly self portraits, though friends and family would participate too. At 23 a nikon d100 was bought for me and that's when it all really started. From then on it was less "just for fun", or to use instead of a therapist, or to cure boredom, and more my seriously trying to be a photographer. And I do still take self portraits, for a few reasons. For one, it's still convenient. I'm typically the only one available at 3am when things are quiet and I'm alone with my head, and certain pesky ideas are getting louder. Other times my ideas seem a little too cruel to do to other people. And others it's just about control. I know how to give myself what I'm looking for. And one day, when I'm older, I hope I can have a show that includes a self portrait from every year, age 15 on.

Lastly, because of most of what I've said already, I consider myself an artist the internet made. It molded me and propelled me farther than I would have gone without the resources and support system it gave me. I am still not the best technical photographer, the way I started out kind of ruined me a little in that way, but at the same time I feel it allowed me to go where I wanted with my ideas without any fear. I try my damndest to hold onto that, regardless of what progression I've made. Maybe one day I'll be able to say I'm a "pro", whatever that means, but until then I'm fine considering myself an amateur, while maybe, sometimes admitting there are things I could teach others as well. Maybe

Poem Therapy at 1:22 P.M. : A True Poem - Lloyd Schwartz

A True Poem
Lloyd Schwartz

I'm working on a poem that's so true, I can't show it to anyone.

I could never show it to anyone.

Because it says exactly what I think, and what I think scares me.

Sometimes it pleases me.

Usually it brings misery.

And this poem says exactly what I think.

What I think of myself, what I think of my friends, what I think about my lover.


Parts of it might please them, some of it might scare them.

Some of it might bring misery.

And I don't want to hurt them, I don't want to hurt them.

I don't want to hurt anybody.

I want everyone to love me.

Still, I keep working on it.


Why do I keep working on it?

Nobody will ever see it.

Nobody will ever see it.

I keep working on it even though I can never show it to anybody.

I keep working on it even though someone might get hurt.

Arthur Miller said that writers really aren't writing anything of worth unless they felt like they are transgressing against themselves. I feel this way all the time. I also feel like I'm exposing myself, not to ridicule, but to danger. Seriously. From whom or what? I admit that sometimes I can be a wee bit paranoid and horriblize and make giant leaps to worst possible scenarios. So if I am fearless and write what I really have to write: a poem, or short story, or a novel, what could happen? Sigh. Nothing. Flannery O'Connor was wracked with guilt about her material and thought her writing a sin. Thank God, Flannery wrote in spite of her guilt.

Artist of the Day: Bento Box - Crystal Smith

Bento Box Crystal Smith

I am starving at this very moment, but that isn't the reason why I am drawn to this gorgeous print. I love the expressive rendering of the sushi rolls, the interplay of opaque and transparent, love that the architectural plan drawing is the ground for this mixed-media collage.

Smith's Bento Box is from her Traditional Food in a Modern Home series.

I agree with Maggie Mason of mightygirl that No One Cares What You Had For Lunch. I get it, but in case you do, I'm having Chinese chicken salad. What about you?

Artist Bio:
Crystal Smith of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, loves the small and beautiful ordinary things that make interesting subjects in photos.

How Do You Begin A Poem - 2011 Poets Forum in New York City

I'm enrolled in a weekend fiction workshop with Judith Freeman, author of Red Water, Chinchilla Farm, The Long Embrace. To prepare, I'm reading up on poetry. Okay, it may sound strange to focus on poetry rather than prose, but not really when you think about it. Each word in a poem has to work very hard to convey the precise message and tone. I've always looked to poetry to teach me to be a better fiction writer.

I haven't written much for about four years. Sometimes we lose our way, get sidetracked or distracted, involved in things that are not our business at all. I have reasons why I haven't written, but they don't matter, really. I'm taking this class to get back at it.

I found this article on To begin, (or begin again), you must start at the beginning:

How Do You Begin A Poem? from

Six poets featured in the 2011 Poets Forum in New York City participated in a six-question interview in which they were asked about their own poetry, what books they're reading, and how they engage with social media like Facebook and Twitter. Check out excerpted answers to the first question posed to them: "How do you begin a poem?"—along with their answers to five other questions.

Cate Marvin in Conversation by Cate Marvin How do you begin a poem?
Cate Marvin: All poems, for me, are rooted in either a title or a line. I fall in love with a phrase I've read somewhere, overheard, or come up with on my own, and can't let it go, ever, until I've done it justice by encrypting it into a poem as a title or a line.

I like to think of poets as moving through the world with their minds poised like nets, intent on capturing scraps of language, resonant images. Thinking as a poet means viewing the world as a poem; thus, the poet is prone to existing in real space and time in a most vulnerable manner. This means being super-observant wherever your physical self takes your mind, as it requires being terribly receptive to light, images, movement, conversations between others, oddities many might be inclined to overlook in newspaper headlines, heatedly intimate conflicts overheard in public places, disingenuous directions offered by advertisements and street signs, etc.
Sometimes a poem comes over me like weather, feels like an itch or impulse. It's a near physical sensation. At that moment, there is nothing else to do but move to the typewriter or computer to pound the thing out.

More often, the poem has lived in my head for a long while, and I've battled with the entire idea of it. It insists on being made. I resist. I try to will it away. It won't go away. This is the Real Poem. The poem not born simply out of anger, or from a fit of lyrical bliss—no, this kind of poem has a real agenda. And it happens to me. When I begin this poem, I must be humble. Because this kind of poem, which usually has a big idea in its back pocket, is prepared to duke it out with me for years until I get it right. (By which I mean, one has to write a great many very bad poems to get this kind of poem started.) This kind of poem takes a lot of time. Sitting down. Beginning it again and again. By the point you've started it, it's taken so long to get there, you can't honestly explain to anyone how you began it. It began with you. In you. And it won't quit until you've got it right, by which point it bears no resemblance to the poem you "began."

Gabrielle Calvocoressi in Conversation by Gabrielle Calvocoressi How do you begin a poem?
Gabrielle Calvocoressi: Often, I begin a poem with a walk, or a song I hear that begins a movie of the poem getting made in my head. That's funny to write "out loud" but it's true. I'm a daydreamer and a wanderer so a lot of my day is spent imagining the world of the poem before the words even come. Particularly for this new book that I'm working on—the poems are a real story so I spend a lot of time just imagining what the characters might do and how the light looks and the car radio sounds when they do it.

Cathy Park Hong in Conversation by Cathy Park Hong How do you begin a poem?
Cathy Park Hong:
1. I read a lot, procrastinating from actually writing with "research."
2. I go to the New York Public Library, fill out requests for books, retrieve books, read, and take copious notes in the Rose Room.
3. Sometimes, I force myself to write a sonnet a day, where I just empty my head.
4. Go to museums, films, galleries, where I steal images.
5. I unload most of this raw material into my unlined black notebook that I always buy at a tiny stationery store on 12th Street. The notebook may consist of information, data, "free writing," stabs at stanzas, to do lists, directions to places (I don't have an iPhone).
6. Transfer mess to computer and twiddle with it.

Evie Shockley in Conversation by Evie Shockley How do you begin a poem?
Evie Shockley: There is a fullness in my mind, a crowding and jostling and rumbling of ideas, outrages, phrases, and images, reaching as far as my mind's eye can "see" in any direction, and I begin wading into the crowd and trying to make a space from which to think about what some (or all) of the things in it have in common or what they might have to say to each other— if I could only create an arena where that analysis or conversation could happen.
< OR>
There is an emptiness on a page, a vacuum represented and magnified by the whiteness of the space, that goes until it ends but even in ending implies an endless continuation of that blank refusal of inscription, and I begin to muss it up, to get it dirty, to bring it into contact with the world in which it exists, to pollute it with laughter, injustice, loss, ambiguity, laundry, and any other thing that goes into the human experience of life.

Ilya Kaminsky in Conversation by Ilya Kaminsky How do you begin a poem?
Ilya Kaminsky: I write in lines. So the lines find their way on paper whether I overhear two boys insulting each other at the gas station, or see a gull cleaning her feet, or two old men playing dominoes on a hood of a car, or two young women kissing at the fish market. They become lines on receipts, on my hands, on a water bottle, on other people's poems. Lines collect for years, but once in a while they discover that other lines are sexy and, well, the poems may come from that sort of a relationship. If I am lucky. Which isn't often. But one has to have faith.

Matthew Dickman in Conversation by Matthew Dickman How do you begin a poem?
Matthew Dickman: Most of the poems I write begin with a simple word or idea. I'll be drinking coffee and think "I like coffee!" and then I'll start writing about how much I like coffee. It sounds pretty basic, I know. I suppose it's the “like” that moves me to begin writing a poem—some sort of celebration in my chest wanting some words to understand itself, some sort of grief needing a body.

Artist of the Day: Expand Your View - Jan Skacelik

Expand Your View Jan Skacelik

How about all of us decide to expand our minds and then really do it!

You'll want to head over to Skacelik's design shop or blog (listed below), to see more of his engaging designs. The camera poster is a new favorite.

Jan Skacelik's retro poster featuring a classic viewmaster, in retro mid century modern style, reminds you to never forget to expand your views.

Artist Bio:
My name is Jan Skácelík and I work as a graphic designer / photographer / composer in Olomouc Czech Republic.

my blog:

Poem Therapy: October 7, 20011 9:55 A.M. - House Spiders Judith Vollmer

House Spiders
Judith Vollmer

Streetlights out again I'm walking in the dark
lugging groceries up the steps to the porch
whose yellow bulb is about to go too, when a single
familiar strand intersects my face,
the filament slides across my glasses which seem suddenly
perfectly clean, fresh, and my whole tired day slows down
walking into such a giant thread
is a surprise every time,
though I never kill them, I carry them outside
on plastic lids or open books, they live
so plainly and eat the mosquitoes.
Distant cousins
to the scorpion, mine are pale & small,
dark & discreet. More like the one
who lived in the corner of the old farm kitchen
under the ivy vase and behind the single
candle-pot--black with curved
crotchety legs.
Maya, weaver of illusions,
how is it we trust the web, the nest,
the roof over our heads, we trust the stars
our guardians who gave us our alphabet?
We trust the turtle's shell because
it, too, says house and how can we read
the footprints of birds on shoreline sand,
& October twigs that fall to the ground
in patterns that match the shell & stars?

I feel less and less like
a single self, more like
a weaver, myself, spelling out
formulae from what's given
and from words.

The weather is finally acting like fall should. It turned cold and rainy overnight. I have a new friend from Germany that cannot understand our weather. It's raining or snowing one minute, then the next, it's clear skies and the sun is shining hotly. The weather here is changeable, on a hour to hour basis.

Now that the weather has made up its mind to be consistently cold, the spiders are migrating inside. I feel ambivalent about spiders. I like their role in mythology, and the part they play in the ecosystem, but, I just don't want them where I have to see them. I used to have a spider that insisted on camping out in the lamp by my bed. I moved it, and its thread several times to a more tolerable location, (for me). But it, or another, would return. I finally took it outside. I have a few that have made permanent residence in the laundry nook window amid my succulents and Mary statues.

Reading Vollmer's poem, I was surprised to find spiders are distant cousins of scorpions. Isn't it just fantastic when a poem teaches you something new? And also, poems that ask us to look again at what we think: stars are constant, and form a kind of roof. I have a shelter in which I house my collection of treasures. I live there with my child and husband, two dogs, one cat, and I imagine a host of spiders and other unseen entities. I've always thought of myself as fiercely independent, and I think this may be true, but maybe only in my thoughts. In reality, I am interdependent, dependent, and depended on, like the speaker in the poem, a weaver, using whatever life gives to create my fragile, silk strand world.

Occupy Wall Street in the Land of Deseret: Occupy Salt Lake City

Occupy Wall Street is in the City. Salt Lake City, that is.

Up to a thousand demonstrators marched early this morning, and the diehards have set up camp in Pioneer Park.

Utah's Senator Orin Hatch remarked that the demonstrations are peaceful, now, but that he predicts they'll turn to riots.

Don't think so.

But the local Deseret News'Jay Evenson thinks so, and describes the demonstrators as a mob, and the demonstration as a riot, while lauding the Tea Party for interpreting the Constitution and not getting involved in local politics. The Salt Lake Tribune's Cathy McKitrick reported that the demonstrators were well-behaved and articulate in voicing discontent.

All critical thinking issues or belief systems aside, reporters have biases that filter into their unbiased reporting. Read any major newspaper or blog and you'll have a file cabinet of evidence in no time.

I'm just grateful Americans have the right to assemble, guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Back to Senator Hatch's prediction: the one and only riot I was ever witness to on the streets of SLC, was during the Olympics, when the beer garden's doors were locked due to overcrowding, and the drunk, and seriously bugged revelers wanting in, they tried, unsuccessfully to leap the walls, and also, to tear them down. Police in riot gear, seriously, marched down State Street in military uniform rows.

I'll post updated pictures and video of Occupy SLC once I have them.

"You've Got to Find What You Love"

You've got to find what you love. Steve Jobs

Finding something to love, a passion, a vocation of service in which you offer the world your imagination...isn't that the dream.

Since Steve Jobs passed yesterday, the comparisons to Thomas Edison and other such luminaries/visionaries haven't stopped. It goes without saying that he will be remembered as one of the most dynamic and influential figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. It's hard to conceive what the world would have been without him. And now, at 56, Jobs is gone, and we will have to wonder what future brilliance death stole from us. More importantly, what death stole from his family and friends.

I remember when I was in high school hearing about this guy that believed that in the very near future, every work station, every home would have a computer. I also remember thinking, what on Earth would I need a computer for? And then I went to college and a boyfriend was in a brand new major: computer science, and two other boyfriends, already graduated, worked for computer companies, (both men are currently executives, and if you care to know what happened in my dating life, I dumped both for athletes. Girl genius). I hated the computer class I took. Hated it. It was Shift F8 this and that. And then I discovered that computers made writing papers so much easier. Instead of all that whiteout and backspace corrections, all you had to do with shift this and that and add or delete more prose. Brilliant! Except that professors threatened not to use those damnable dot matrix printers.

And then the Internet arrived! Computers became so much more than mere word processors. Every new Apple innovation enhanced connectedness, productivity, creativity, fun. I cannot imagine work or daily life without my IPhone.

Steve Jobs was a true visionary. I heard excerpts from his 2005 commencement and was inspired. I've posted the speech here. His words inspire to find and do what you love.

This is a prepared text of the Standard University Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Artist of the Day: Mildi - Eszter Schalle

Mildi Eszter Schall

I love Eszter Shalle's charming illustrations. I love the vibrant red of Mildi, and that it has the feel of a batik. The illustration also has a nostalgic quality. Mildi reminds me of me as a little girl. I was tree-obsessed, as in I spent all my time in them: imagining, painting, mostly reading. Here's a little secret: One of my heart's desires is to live in a treehouse. Not the little kid fort kind, but this kind.

It was hard to choose just one to showcase. Be certain to view "Bugs", "Winter is Coming", "Forest", and "Squirrel Picnic" on her site.

Artist Bio:
I am a graphic designer and illustrator from Hungary. Whenever I create things it makes me happy and I hope that when people see the things I create, they feel that happiness too. Visit me at my blog:
My wedding invitation site:

Occupy This: Wall Street Is Our Street

A reporter with Russian Television International speaks to Occupy Wall Street protesters who have camped out in New York's financial district on September 20, 2011. Original here. (CC BY Paul Weiskel

Morning commuters walk past Occupy Wall Street campaign protesters sleeping in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York, on September 27, 2011. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

A woman holds up a sign reading "Compassion is Revolutionary" during the Occupy Wall Street protests happening in Zuccotti Park, in the financial district of New York, on September 26, 2011. Original here. (CC BY SA Paul Stein)

Grassroots movements are the insistent voice of the people, whomever that people may be, whatever their desire. Occupy Wall Street is such a movement and is quickly gaining momentum. It's a movement that is being followed closely, (by the foreign press).

I've read the comparisons of this movement to the Arab Spring: that last spring it was Tahir Square and this early fall, it's Zuccotti Park. Seems like an oblique comparison, more of the apple and oranges variety. What comes to mind for me is the French Revolution. The masses demanded equity and the aristocracy dismissed the rumbles until it became a roar. It's counterproductive and too simplistic to demonize corporations, politicians, businessmen as heartless, greedy, "let them eat cake" bastards, (btw, Marie never said that). Perhaps the one percent is just the collective barbarians at the gate. And who are the one percent? I'd really like to know.

I love the sign that reads "The American People Are Too Big To Fail"

Regardless of which side of the issue you stand, these are fascinating times we live in. Here are a few articles that may be of interest.

Occupy Wall Street. The official site.

"As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known." An excerpt from Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.

The three (taken from the original 35) photos posted above are from The Atlantic Magazine's In Focus with Alan Taylor. This link is a photo essay rather than article.

Semper Fi: Marines Coming To Protect Protesters On Wall Street Somebody better tell Anthony Bolgna to leave his pepper spray home.

The Guardian's coverage of Occupy Wall Street. A list of recent articles with live coverage of protests.

‘Corporate Zombies’ Hit Wall Street. The Daily Beast's Cheat Sheet #5 informs that after three weeks, the ranks of roughly 700 protesters, are about to swell as NYC unions join in the protest.

YouTube. You can watch, and watch, and watch.

The Onion: America's Finest News Source. Something for your funny bone.

This Moment: Davis North Emergency Room - Utah October 1, 2011 7:00 P.M.

Waiting for the doctor to examine my mother. She cut her finger opening a can of frozen spaghetti sauce. She's reclining on the gurney, The thin green fitted sheet is stretched taut to reveal the blue vinyl covered foam mattress. A woman in red shoes, her fists shoved deep in khaki shorts, hesitates at our door as if deciding to enter. The doctor enters, examines my mother's hand, tells her she needs a stitch or two, and pats her foot on the way out. Now waiting for the nurse and her needle. Laughter in the next room. A steady stream of people and their injuries pass by our door. A man in fatigues with a hurt arm, clearly in the military, walks by the room and I sit up in my chair, a clumsy attempt at respect. I think of the suicide statistics of soldiers and returning vets: 17 attempts a day. Seventeen. And also, the staggering fact that more soldiers have committed suicide than died in Vietnam. Can this be true? The nurse deadens and cleans my mother's finger. I type on this phone rather than watch. I look up as the nurse gathers the blood soaked gauze and then prepares the kit for the doctor. She bumps into the cabinet on the way out and says "excuse me", which is oddly funny. Waiting for the doctor and his curved needle. The ER is quiet. And now coughing, voices down the hall, a door closes, and the hum of forced air fill the void. The doctor stitches my mother's flesh together. The talk turns to football and the dilemma of the men of Utah: watch General Conference priesthood session or the Ute football game. I watch the doctor pull his last stitch and think the technique is similar to knotting a string of pearls.