Category Archives: life in general


  Sometimes the fascination of items from Norse culture is in the personality and lore of the design and sometimes as a connector to the creator. Reproductions remind us of who came before us. New designs that give homage to the past  revisit what we know in new ways. Handcrafted items by descendants of ancient […]

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Commitment: Upstream by Mary Oliver

  In her book Upstream the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver says of creative commitment, “There is a notion that creative people are absent-minded, reckless, heedless of social customs and obligations. It is, hopefully, true. …The working, concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and […]

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I did not participate in any of the women’s rallies yesterday, but here is my small protest sign. Several months ago I worked on a modification to the women’s gender symbol. Well, today its meaning is enhanced. Mr. Trump said yesterday that he will work for all Americans. That we the people will run this […]

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Book People Bonding

This is a story about book people, a table, and some croc-a-mole. Once upon a time Ron McCutchan, then Art Director for Cricket Magazine, had a couple of pot luck meetups at my house for authors and illustrators working for Cricket. One reason was social The whole Emberley clan came: Ed, Barbara, Michael, and Rebecca. […]

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September 11, 2001

  One day, Jeb Dubus, Rob Blount, and I were in Jeb’s office at what was then the Amesbury Artworks building in Amesbury, MA. We were planning our response to the city’s RPF for the building next door, to work with artists and the city to convert it to artists’ studios. The phone rang. It […]

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Two May Residencies

Iceland, 2015 Being invited for an artist or author residency is such an honor. Last May I went to northern Iceland for a week long artist residency to help seventy kids in grades one to ten paint murals. The school was Valsárskóli in Svalbarðsströnd, which is across the fjord from where my son Eric and […]

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Female Power Symbol

Today we walked among snow-encrusted trees at Maudslay State Park and an idea came to me. Now that I have drawn it, let me explain. Symbols can be powerful. Consider Gerald Holtom’s peace symbol, which he designed for the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War in the fifties. It is now widely used and is […]

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Linda Sue Park: Ted talk

In this terrific TedX talk, author Linda Sue Park talks about a path to changing the world. Life is not fair, but stories engage the minds of those who can develop empathy and act in heroic ways. Bookmark

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Diversity Part 2

I originally posted this article on As one of my heroes, the Dalai Lama, once said…“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”  Let’s each one of us be the mosquito!   —Lin Oliver This week Lin Oliver, co-founder and Executive Director of the international Society of […]

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Pain-free Writing and Art

also posted on most visuals by author Here’s something for writers and illustrators to consider: the painful physical effects of your work. Don’t laugh. I kid you not. You might think that the arm in the photo (mine, actually) looks pretty healthy. After years of making welded steel sculpture using all sorts of heavy […]

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The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: A Golden Key

What do Ezra Jack Keats, Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Robert McClosky, and Andy Warhol have in common, besides being incredibly creative? Ding. Time’s up. Each won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award when they were in their teens. Of this experience Richard Avedon, among others, said winning was “the defining moment […]

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Perfect Weather for Creative Work

Today the weather is perfect for writing, drawing, painting, or other creative work. It’s 9 degrees F. and snowing like crazy. There’ll probably be an additional 12″ by the time it’s over, on top of the 22″ we already had. Bookmark

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Caring for Heron’s Dream

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day; perfect for a touch-up on Heron’s Dream. This kinetic sculpture, a collaboration between The Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council, the town of Acton’s NARA Park, Carolyn Wirth, and myself, was installed after the pond froze last winter. The grant process, town approvals and contract negotiations meant that I could not fabricate […]

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About Peace

The New York Times Op Docs today offered 45 minutes of beautiful wisdom. Humans can cause peace. Bookmark

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Why the Gap?

I haven’t posted here since June for a simple reason: coping with a huge storm of sorts that blew my way. My mother had not been so well, so in January a pacemaker was installed. Rehab and all that. Then April 26th she had a stroke. Rehab again, driven by the delusion of optimism. We […]

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Nara Park sculpture name

Usually I name my sculptures myself, but there’s a first time for everything. During a celebration bash that was held June 1 at Nara Park in Acton, MA, a kinetic sculpture that I built, based on a design by Carolyn Wirth, was dedicated. The Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council, a division of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which […]

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International #MuseumDay

My brother Tom is in Boston for six weeks while undergoing radiation treatments and today Egils and I went with him to the Museum of Fine Arts. We were there from about 10:45 until 4:30 when we had to stop before our heads would explode. We started with the gorgeous quilt exhibit that demonstrates so […]

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Last day of school

The last day of the semester…and for me the last semester, too. For the past fifteen years I’ve been teaching in the Art Department at Middlesex Community College, in Bedford and Lowell, MA. Standing among eighteen new students in each class and encouraging them through fifteen weeks of growth has been an awesome experience. I […]

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Bearded Horde

Last night, after a month of strange events, something extraordinary happened. A bunch of guys, mostly bearded, rose from the dead. They threw things, struck them with weapons that exploded into splinters, and slid along in the dirt. They were quirky and had superstitious mannerisms. They spat and ran, chewed and slammed into walls. Hordes of […]

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I was at my ninety-one-year-old mother’s house in Lawrence today when I turned on CNN because my mother likes to know what goes on in the world. We watched the mid-list runners of the Boston Marathon near the finish line by the colorful flags of eighty countries that were snapping in a brisk spring wind. […]

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