Your lucky day!


I’ve been blogging so long now I have to say that coming up with great titles to posts has become somewhat difficult. You’d think it’d get easier right? Not so. The competition is steeper round these parts, people. Everyone has new content going up every single day, sometimes twice a day. I’m lucky if I get words on the internet to update my status update these days.

I do have some words up though at and I’ll say they are nice words. Mostly, they are Luci Shaw’s words which means that they are far sweeter and much more luscious than anything I’ve put down lately.

If you have a moment and perhaps, even if you don’t, you should read them…and then you should read Luci’s work. Ruminate aims to make that a whole lot easier for you in fact. If you simply leave a comment on the blog post over there at you can win a copy of her book.

And you should want to do that because the book is wonderful…and Luci is wonderful…I want to be Luci Shaw when I grow up.

So go, my feisty friends! Go and read and make merry that this is indeed your lucky day! But go FAST! The drawing is tomorrow.

Click the image below, what are you waiting for?


Monk in the world…

I’m pleased to have a piece up on Abbey of the Arts this week for their “Monk in the World” guest series. I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out and to browse the rest of the site. It’s a sweet group of folks and there’s a whole catalogue of wisdom there!

Monk in the World

fotos: lullaby

It’s been a while since I posted an entry for “friday fotos.” It’s appropriate that I ran across this beautiful picture of the culmination of my husband’s recent work with Opera-matic, a small non profit street opera company he’s been developing. You’ll be glad to know that you can see more pics from the event held last weekend in Humboldt Park on the Facebook page. You can see more of Jim’s great photography on his site:  

Years ago, when the idea of Opera-matic was very young, the idea of the Lullaby Parade was percolating in the minds of a number of artists we knew and worked with on other projects. Dave and his partner, Mark Messing (who you’d know from the amazing Mucca Pazza fame) would often stoke the fire of this idea in between paying gigs, in between deadlines and the daily pressures of being creative small business owners in Chicago.

I saw the maiden voyage of this parade before we moved to Tennessee I think. My kids were small, some still toddling, some clinging to me. The bikes began it on that side street near the office we kept for Maestro-matic, Dave and Mark’s sound design company. The bikes rolled out, slowly on those dark streets in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The name of that neighborhood even now gives Chicagoans pause. They shake their heads at the sound of it, it’s a place you wouldn’t catch any decent person after dark, they’d say. But the truth is that there are and have always been decent people, even in the roughest of neighborhoods. Humboldt Park is no exception.

There were children here, playing and singing, long before the attempts at gentrification. There are families everywhere-  good people, loving folks, needing beauty no matter how gang infested, graffiti covered or low income. In the food deserts and the abandoned lot riddled areas, in the places where the city shrugs its big shoulders and throws up its hands, here we hold the first essences of the Lullaby Parade. And we roll out the bikes first, like an ice cream truck without the dairy treats attached, and the singing begins as they pedal down Talman Avenue from North. And the Paper Moon is projected on, the face singing sweetly, an easy song to catch, to hold, to carry. We are a small group at first and I am, I admit, a bit afraid because my children are small, some still toddling, some clinging to me as the parade makes its way down the road.

Then a child comes to the porch, then another, then a parent, a caregiver, a grandmother and they all wander down to follow along. And we sing as we wind our way down one street, then another, never going far, never going fast. The singing continues and the streetlights burn above our heads and the Moon smiles and the stars feel closer than they have ever felt. There is some laughter and some head shaking. There is some apprehension and some unbridled joy. There is confusion and honesty and the feeling that something important started here with something so small as this, something lasting, something truthful and beautiful.

There were more tastes of this between that first Lullaby Parade and the one held last week in Humboldt Park, more small starts, more important moments, lasting, truthful and beautiful. And it’s something, that given the chance, you should not miss and I mean that. Take some time and check out the amazing work of Opera-matic and the lovely photography of Jim Newberry (and others on our Facebook page.)

See what it stirs in you.

Momentum Muri

Momentum Mori OCT 30TH 2010:Opera-Matic in the Haunted Paseo Boricua Parade.
The procession featured a Crossing Guard, Ghost horses, and Ghost bikes and was performed in collaboration with West Town Bikes and Cyclo Urbano.
Photo credit: Jim Newberry


I got a rejection recently on a piece I submitted to a new literary magazine. I had some expectation that it might not be what they were seeking but I submitted it anyway mostly because the non-fiction editor is Kathleen Norris. There, I said it. I submitted my essay because the editor is a writer I love a whole lot.

Now, it’s entirely possible she read the first line only or had her cleaning lady read it, I’ll allow for that. It’s really ok with me. I’ve been rejected by a LOT of people in the publishing field in the last few years. I’m a little giddy, frankly, that I got rejected by Kathleen Norris. Lord knows, I’d be a great deal giddier if she’d accepted it, nonetheless, it’s fun to have Kathleen Norris (or her assistant or her cleaning lady) send me an email.

I realize now, this being the maiden voyage of that particular literary review that I had no idea the scope of the non-fiction category. Frankly, when I read that a magazine is looking for non-fiction essay I often forget that what I write is more “personal” essay. The piece that showed up in the magazine was ASTOUNDING. You should read it, I mean…it was astounding and beautiful.

Now that’s not to say that my personal essay is not also astounding in it’s own way. The point is that I sent in jellybeans and the piece that got in was a dark chocolate torte with ganache and white chocolate piping. Really.

I like jellybeans, I’m not bashing my own work. I like chocolate tortes better and could probably write one given the time and interest and brain space. It was, however, a treat to read the one made by the hands of Olga Sedakova entitled “The Morality of Art, or the Evils of Mediocrity.” Ach du lieber…loveliness…and decidedly not jellybeans.

If you have the opportunity I’d invite you to pick up a copy of St Katherine Review. The poetry by Jennifer Aktinson and Nicholas Samaras in particular broke open the tastebuds of my soul in a way that I did not expect. It may very well be the sweetness you crave today. Check it out. I’m going to hole up and start work on a three layer, triple fudge cake with coconut cream filling…and topped with jellybeans.