Monthly Archives: December 2016

stay hopeful

today’s prompt: hopeful. This is one of the last pages of my sketchbook, or maybe call it a playbook. Yeah, playbook. It’s an old family finance record book I picked up for a buck at a goodwill. Make art, stay hopeful. Happy new year, y’all.


The Love Rock

wordpress daily prompt: <a href=””>Retreat</a&gt;

Here’s my working metaphor for the coming year: There’s a big boulder along the waterfront in Lincoln Park here in West Seattle. It’s north of the Colman pool and is referred to as the Love Rock because the word 20130918-113510.jpg is always, always spelled out with driftwood and shells, rusted metal and sometimes flowers in the summer.

Last week, I rode along the trail on my bike, glancing at the rock as I passed. Someone had brushed all the letters off and the pieces were scattered on the ground around the boulder. I kept riding and thought I would rebuild it on my return trip.

An hour later, I was looking forward to making things right, but I was too late–some good soul had already put things aright and Love triumphed once more. we’re in this together.

Never back down, never retreat.

WP Daily Prompt: missing

I listened to a talk today by Gil Fronsdal who has a new book out entitled Buddha before Buddhism—it sounds interesting. It’s based on this very old text called the Book of Eights.

The Eights refers to a collection of poems with eight lines each. Gil read one of the poems and it exhorted followers to abandon obsession with the past, thoughts of the future, and basically be in the moment. Not rocket science, but not easy, as it turns out. I mean, if spiritual leaders have focused on being present for like EVER, then it must be more than a little challenging.

Anyway, the poem goes on to suggest abandoning dogma, rules, orthodoxy of any sort as it detracts from being in the moment. Thinking of life after death detracts. Thinking of righteousness detracts. Thinking of sin detracts. Thinking of those many, many ways dogma detracts.

Seriously. And then he said something funny, but also thought provoking. Imagine your neighbor is a religious person and shares all the ways this religion helps her/him through the day with this rule and that belief and this promise. And then she/he asks you what you believe in and you just sort of stand there with nothing to talk about for all that practice of being in the moment.


And in fact, in that nothing, the only thing you supposed to do is be with the nothing. The Nothing Moment. Lame, right? Like this whole team-jersey, book-of-rules belonging gig is completely missing and all you have to show for it is this lousy nothing-moment!

And that, the poem suggests, is the gateway to peace.

Think about it.

WP Daily Prompt: protest

No, dear, that is too easy.

In the target rich environment of our United States right now, protest is a writing prompt in search of its antithesis, if only to give things a little texture, a little variation.

There is virtually nothing happening these days that doesn’t deserve strong protest. The only decision point is selection. Be selective. Make it count. And keep the faith, baby.

WP Daily Prompt: martyr


Modern Martyrs

If a martyr died in a forest

or a city or a desert for that matter

and there was no phone, no internet, no tv

did the martyr die in vain?

WP Daily Prompt: Construct


It turns out, in another of life’s funny little twists, that sometimes who others think we are is more important than who we are.

Take for example the impact of audience on a performer. It goes without saying that the success of a live performance is relational. The audience matters. I went to a concert recently, I won’t name names, but it was made clear that the singer—accustomed to a warmer, more engaged audience than she was getting that night—was displeased. And her displeasure made for a lack-luster performance. For the most part, the audience did not know her. She was part of a season-ticket line-up. I found her subdued but wonderful anyway and wished I’d seen her in her native Portugal, not chilly, rainy Seattle.

Identity is a strange thing. Often molded by what others see, less by one’s true nature. It is a construct we offer the world. And sometimes, the successful construct becomes the thing itself and is perpetuated, exaggerated and amplified by perception, as in an echo chamber.

And if there really is no there-there, no internal stability, that construct will be vastly more comfortable and vital than the confused, murky, unformed fog that  no one really wants. Construct a priori. Works every time.