Category: Culture

10 Things I Love About You

Susan's Birdhouse

Grey hair in streaks, falling straight down. Friendship, translucent and strong as fishing line Books, stacks of texts, leaning. Paper birds, emerging from the wet, hempy mash Disagreement, and dissent. Chickens in the back 40. Raised boxes and their bees. Voice, a cool shaded pond. Bob. Tomorrow, empty canvas. — for Susan, Day 12, Poetry Month

Life is Terrifying

Cam's Head on a Platter
I can remember one of the first really scary movies I saw.

It was “The Giant Spider Invasion.” That classic 2-star fave came out in 1975. Which means someone in my family let me see that film when I was FIVE! If I recall, it was at the drive-in.

For years and years afterward, I literally RACED up the steps of our split foyer home, anytime I was caught alone on the lower level. Just beyond the doorway, I was sure a giant spider was lurking, ready to pounce.

I love the big, unreasonable scares of Halloween. I love that feeling underneath my heart, the pit of doom in my stomach. I love the ghoulish decor and horrifying costumes. I love “Modern Family”‘s special, and all the other Halloween themed fun.

I take a pass on new fangled “safe” fun, like Trunk or Treat, or going for a spin with the kids in their costumes around the mall. The street where you live may be scary place: the mall is 100 times scarier.

I’m intrigued by those who have a distaste for Halloween terror and frights. Whatever its roots — whether in pagan history or Christian hallows — life itself is terrifying. It’s filled with war, cancer, ebola, racism, rape and major league worship of criminals. There’s bullying, mean girls, political machinations and just plain natural catastrophe. Some days, a zombie apocalypse seems like it would be an anti-climax.

I guess that’s why I love Halloween… it’s the day the dead, the weary, the twisted, the frightened, the entombed, the maniacal — finally getting a chance to feel free.

Here’s a few of my favorite Halloween videos. Enjoy:

Andy, going through the Haunted House:

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From Shaun of the Dead, greatest zombie film ever.


Alone is Where We Are

Randi Jane Davis Three Blind Men

The deluge came out in the general direction of Ridgefield artist Randi Jane Davis this past weekend at City-Wide Open Studios. Her painting (above), called “Three Blind Men” (in private collection) wasn’t the only wonderful piece of work I’d seen that day. But it was the one that reignited my feelings about aloneness. So Ms. Davis…

10 Reasons to Travel Back in Time

This past weekend, I had the chance to return to a place I once considered home: Kansas City. By home, I mean it was the place where I became the person I am now. I lived in Kansas City from the ages of 24 to 34. For those 10 years, I was single, except 2…

Notes from Inside the Train

Pyramid Electric Windows along Amtrak NER train 141

In Philadelphia, the quiet car fills up completely– so completely that I can’t keep my screen hidden from my seat mate. I don’t know him, but I know enough that he was kind. He gave up his window seat to a couple so that they could sit together. From WAS to PHI, the quiet car…

In Love with ‘Love, Actually’

Love Actually Perfect

Because I forgot to take the bacon out of the freezer Christmas Eve, I got the chance to see “Love, Actually” again this year. It just so happens that this is the 10th anniversary of the film, and for some reason that means that people are thinking/talking about it and revisiting their dusty opinions of…

Heading into a ‘Month of Letters’

I am fully aware that it is a bit ironic that I write a BLOG with the word “letters” in the title. Is it a misnomer? Maybe… Originally my blog was “Letters from London (and Elsewhere)” and it was really just a way for me to — en masse — “post” to a bunch of…

11 Minutes is alot of Time

Today is wrote a small stone called “The Time.” I wrote it for two reasons. First, because I notice I had about 11 minutes before the kids had to leave to go to school. The kids were happily engaged in something and I suddenly thought: “Hey! I should write my small stone right now, while…

Take a Letter, Maria

The person I most dig, admire, croon after, and just all-around want to brain-pick (for the year 2012) is Maria Popova. In case you haven’t gotten any of my many nudgings about her awesomely curated website Brain Pickings, here’s another one. Her site (and the weekly newsletter, which is any artist or bibliophile’s perfect inbox source for…

No Prize is Modest to a Poet

A little poem of mine is published this quarter in Boston Literary Magazine. (yay!) I’m only bragging a little, because it’s funny to go prancing about saying “Oh look at me! I got a poem published,” … because I hardly ever update my Facebook status with the more common haiku news of my life: Rejection…

What Are You Looking At?

This weekend — at Art in Paradise Alley — you get the chance to stop staring at your screen. Walk outside. Talk to artists. To look inside yourself and ask: “What am I looking at?” Art takes us into the minds of the artist, true. But it’s best used for getting to know ourselves Art works…

How to Be Amazing

One of my favorite things to write about is PEOPLE. I often get the chance to interview people and just ask them: How did you end up here?  By “here” I mean right where they are in their lives… doing exactly what they are doing. Cutting hair, owning a bar, running a business + being…