Category Archives: Raising a Humanist

Sliding Thoughts

I have a busy brain.

It’s a bother sometimes.

It makes it hard to sleep.

It can make it hard to concentrate.

It can make life feel overwhelming.

It can make going off into the woods with no way to cross off items on the growing list in my mind unnerving.

But, in the end, it’s worth it.

Sometimes, when you have a busy brain, the best thing to do is just turn everything off and walk away.

The calm does come.

I hope my daughter takes less time to discover this skill.

Summer Bravery

4 wasp stings

2 on the right arm
1 on the left arm
1 on the belly

no tears

a shriek and shout for mama
a dance of pain and shock
a dash across the pavement into my arms

no tears

a big bear hug and a clawing at the small red pin pricks




my child’s bemused smile as she declares to the room “that’s what happens when you explore, you get boo-boos.”

i have a brave, brave child.

Quite O’rwhelm the Senses

The side effect of beginning a new project, any project really, is that it is constantly buzzing through my head.

If I’m not trying to figure out what to tweet or write in the e-news, or remembering who I need to follow-up with, or write a thank you note, or which chapter I’m on, I’ve got visions of Hamlet running through my head.

Every few months, this culminates in a day with a single thought running on top of these buzzes: curl up in a ball. curl up in a ball.  curl up in a ball.  curl up in a ball.

But I don’t. I forge on.  I sift through the to-do list, I patiently explain to my preschooler why screaming is not an option, I call and make appointments, I fold laundry, I scrub things, I research and comment and tweet and compose emails, and I sift through the to-do list yet again.

And the day ends with stress nightmares and I wake up with a stomachache.

And then I shut everything off for a couple of days.  Everything.  I ignore emails.  I don’t listen to messages.  I shove away the list running through my head.  I sew and go for runs.  I go on adventures in life.

And after a time, I’m ready to go back and forge on again.

This time, I’m back.  But I don’t feel ready.  I’d like a few more days.

Maybe it’s the end of summer on top of it all.  Family vacations are over and Do-bug will be starting school next week.  My personal fiscal stress rises to five alarms about this time of year with several impending birthdays and the holiday season approaching with nary a penny saved.

So the challenge this week is to forge on and take the time, all at once.

I don’t know if it’s possible, but my sanity depends on it.

Beyond the Face

Sometimes, I take a photograph that I absolutely fall in love with and no one understands what I see in it.  It must be the artist in me seeing something beyond just faces.  I love taking photos of people on the move best of all.  And what draws me is not just their faces and shapes, but the empty space around them.

Sometimes, I take a photograph that I quite like but is nothing extraordinary and people tell me it is stunning and they point out beautiful pieces.  They find meaning where I found none.

NPR interviewed Joss Whedon this week.  As an artist, I admire the risks he takes and the stories he creates which possess infinite detail and unexpected variations.  He told the story of how he came to befriend Steven Sondheim:  How he made a comment at an interview about a truth he saw in Sunday in the Park with George, and Mr. Sondheim sent him a note because he had never seen it himself.  I have never heard another artist express what I love the most about creating my own art:  Others find things you never knew were there. I don’t create a photograph, play or character and expect to know everything about it.  I create works of art in the hopes that others will find even more.  It was exciting to hear this view expressed by another.

And, it was a timely expression of thought because I took a photograph last week that I thought “oh, that’s pretty neat,” but the responses from friends and family have been unprecedented.  It may be extra-meaningful since they know the subject matter (my daughter) but apparently, it says more than I thought it did.  So I thought I would share it with you.