Inspired a ukulele made from repurposed church pews by the artist Zeke Leonard at Pentaculum 2019 — a craft and writing residency at Arrowmont School.
Photo by Dan “Soybean” Sawyer
Say an instrument is born with all of its songs
intact, DNA in the material from which
it’s forged. A ukulele fashioned from repurposed
church pews, the wood still holding ghosts Continue reading
You collect them. One was stolen from a neighborhood
house empty of all traces of its previous owners except
the crystal knob on the hallway door and the thin
iron key. Whoever bought the house wouldn’t care
about the lives lived in it before, or the echoes of footfall
or the way long shadows took on the shapes of those
who no longer sit at the tables or gaze out the windows. You Continue reading
“Spooky house” by Wayne Woodruff. See his photos here.
This neighborhood had a name before it was colonized by Trader Joe’s and an endless stream of SUV traffic. Just because no one who lives here now can remember what it was called doesn’t mean you get to rename it.
You build your house on a graveyard and act surprised when the ghosts move into your hot tub, your gourmet kitchen, your wood-fired pizza oven. There’s a reason why houses from a hundred years ago had such small closets: no space for the dearly departed.
The ancestors are not impressed with your two-car garage, your home yoga studio, your posh amnesia. If you don’t call a place by its true name, you’ll dream of its former inhabitants. You’ll wake to them rattling like mice in your walls.
My experience as an artist so far has been that I am led down various life paths, often related to the BIG LIFE ISSUES (marriage, career, friendships, family, health scares for myself or those close to me, minor and major tragedies, national and world events) and make art in response to those experiences. The art isn’t really planned beyond “I think I’m OK at writing, so I’ll study that, and since I’ve studied it a bit, I guess that’s my main media” or “I’m sick of words and need to try to express myself through some other art form so maybe I’ll play the ukulele because it only has four strings so how hard can it be?”
In short: Art Reflects Life.
Members of Pussy Riot perform at Red Square, January 2012. Photo by Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
But now, in my mid-40s, I find myself wondering if the more meaningful creative path might be Life Reflects Art. Wherein the artist would choose an art form and follow that Continue reading
After deleting 139 photos of my ex, my photo gallery looks like I’ve only ever vacationed by myself. I suppose that’s sort of true: Me leaning casually against Hadrian’s Wall; me at Edith Piaf’s grave; me, in an optical illusion, touching the top of the Temple of Kukulkan as if it’s miniature and I’m a giant.
I can barely remember feeling hot that day, in Chichen Itza, or motion sick from the bus ride. I recall those details like an itinerary, like a packing list, like a fact that could also be a lie. Like a movie I once saw while sick with the flu that I later, inadvertently, adopted as a series of scenes from my own life. Memory is like that: Fallible, slippery. Continue reading
I found a folder of 68 photos, from a 2015 trip to Ireland, on a forgotten SD card. Like finding an old role of film, it turned up some treasures and lots of questions. What is this shot even of? What was I feeling on this day? Who was I, three years ago? So this week’s post is a flash fiction on that theme.
It’s not this town. And you’re glad, though this town is scenic, sprawling along a mineral-gray lake. The banks are mossy and the sky is pale blue and the hill beyond the village is artfully terraced by ancient people who carved civilization from the land with Iron Age tools. Maybe it was Bronze Age. You should know from all the museums but you don’t know. Continue reading
COLLAR OF WASPS
I could have been a droning “caller of wasps” perhaps?
I just invented that job, I like the sound of it. — Neko Case
The frantic rush of the morning and all
its tasks got to be too much. I had
to send myself out to the rain. And because
the mud portends the spring I went in deep Continue reading