Keeping Ancestors Alive

In October, our thoughts turn to those spirits who may still roam among us. Other cultures didn’t try to keep these phantasms away, but encouraged them to stay with us, believing them to be ancestors who could help us from the beyond. The Standing Gong from North Ambrym Island in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation,

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Art That Makes Sense

The great American writer and critic, Albert Murray (1916-2013), felt that art should make sense to a person. He believed in artistic struggle and creativity, not as a means to achieve fame or wealth, but as a way to evolve personal order in the world and to comprehend one’s place within it. When I read

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What do you wish for?

Lorna Simpson, III (Three Wishbones in a Wood Box), and Gary Simmons’, Can’t See Straight, works are dissimilar in appearance. But they unite in concept. Both tap into a human yearning: to believe a wish could be fulfilled. Simpson’s presentation is potent, but aloof. An orderly arrangement of seven wishbones in three vertical rows, invites

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Foraging is in my blood, as if ancient Hunter and Gatherer genes can’t be denied. At the beach, I compulsively gather interesting rocks and shells. Their designs enchant me, and I rub my fingers over the textures, satisfying something deep within. Four to six inch-diameter stones from my father’s favorite salmon fishing beach, La Push

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Pandemic Itch

Until the pandemic mandate to avoid touching our faces, I thought I rarely laid a finger on that piece of anatomy other than to apply my daily vitamin E cream.  In accord with a universal truism, the minute something became forbidden, I had to do it. My head seemed to erupt in hundreds of itches

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Pandemic Is Like Divorce

Living through a pandemic is like enduring a long, contested divorce. One false move and the enemy can seize us. In my sister’s divorce, still on-going after three years, if she gets angry at her cheating spouse, the lawyer accuses her of being an emotionally unstable mother. She has to remain serene as a saint. 

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Introvert Heaven

Aside from the threat of imminent, hideous death by asphyxiation, I have never felt so supremely happy as during the pandemic. As an introvert, I’d always suffered as an invisible minority, a person who craved quiet in a noisy world. Cities assumed everyone wanted a stadium or a convention center. With successful bond-raising efforts and,

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People Watching

Mom taught me well. She loved “people watching,” as she called it. During my childhood, when we were in a downtown crowd or sitting in a restaurant, she’d poke me and giggle, “Look at that man’s nose. It has a drop on the end. Oh, my God, it’s about to drip.” As we chuckled, we

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