Entry 49: Bit By Bit


A lump, gray, nondescript

But in my vision it is glorious

i lay my simple tool

On the gripping surface

Scrape away one sliver

Then another 

And a third

The lump changes only imperceptibly

i aim the tool to remove the excesses

Bit by bit

To reveal the form 

Enveloped within the clay

There is no short cut to its birth

Each bit removed 

One by one



No use to celebrate after each

Or look forward to promised success

There is none

i can only 

Be here now.

Then, a feature is unearthed

From what remains

i stop to admire what became clear

Only with the loss of what was unnecessary

i do not own its intricate glory

i am the instrument

i welcome the pause

And raise my tool again

Entry 37: The Audacity of Canvas


Who am I

To fill this canvas,

With colors of my whim

Following paths of my

Untethered desires?

Why spend

Time away from familial duties,

Hard earned money on

Brushes and paints?


The canvas is for

The creative,

The inspirational,  

The movement builders

With a vision for the masses.


I have only a quiet

Yearn in my heart for

Vibrant colors and curved lines,

A small ache in my soul for

Texture and beauty.


Who am I

To fill this canvas?


rainbow spirit

Entry 32: Tree


She dances solo

On a patch of grass

Across from the prison wall


Birch white, with swirls of gray

Like a couture gown on a Paris runway

She wears no leaves of jewelry


Waves her curvaceous branches

Her trunk stretches

Towards the sun


She is aglow from within

My throat aches to

Not have the skill


To expose her visual beauty

My words are corny

Analogies juvenile


I envy the painter

Who shapes and shades

Shadows and highlights


All I have are saturated words

Inadequate for

Her Majesty, and I

I am unworthy

Entry 26: What if we were to take from the Earth


What if we were to take from the Earth

Only what we needed

To feel whole and fulfilled and beautiful?

What if we were to ask others to give

Only what they were capable of giving?

What if we were only to create

Art and poetry,

Relationships and communities,

Products and companies,

That bring love and healing?

What if we each were to feel the pain

Of all other beings?

What if you were to expect yourself to be

Only what you are in the


Stillness of your safe place?

What if we were to take from the Earth

Only what we needed?

Entry 25: Vibrance


Sacrifices dilute

Fade my colors

Mixed with your tired hue makes

Mushy gray violet

The color of nothing

Sucks the joy out of


Inside me knows only my true

Color will complete the masterpiece of my


You need to find your primary


I cannot pour my paint onto your


I can only shine my

Light as you feel your way through your

Darkness. I am shining my


Entry 23: Never


I never walked through a cold forest

Alone with my fears

Lighting a fire to survive.

I never jumped from a plane

My face skin whipped by

Gravity’s wind.

I was never violated

Body and soul crushed by someone’s need

To seize.

I never left the shore for long

My leash reeled me back in again

And again.

I never felt hunger for food or ambition

Or heart-break that made me want to die.

I dab, with a fumbling brush

My wound, my doubt,

Onto a homemade canvas

Wondering if I have anything

Worthy to say

Entry 21: The Better Artist


Who is the better artist?

The one who draws precisely what she


With each stroke,

Shading carefully,

Measuring for proportions

Converting canvas into reality,

As if developing a photograph?

I think otherwise.

The artist who fills their masterpiece with


Interaction, who

Creates, not imitates

Is the Magnificent artist.

To this wisdom, I held true at age 16  

And in 26 years since I have become a master



Written in January 1992, Updated in August 2017

Entry 19: The Magic of Art


I first witnessed Art when I was 8 years old.  I came upon a black and white photo print, taken by my dad, in a paper folder under my parent’s bed.  The moment I saw the photograph of my grandmother, I felt myself gasp, and I tried to breathe in every detail.  

My grandmother’s face is not visible, but I am certain it is her.  Her hands are framed by the sewing machine, as she pushes fabric through.  A light reveals the creases of her weathered, yet loving hands.  I can almost hear the machine chugging as the stitches pierce the fabric rhythmically.  

My grandmother came alive to me in this 2-dimensional image, even though she had passed away when I was a toddler.  My heart ached with a new reverence for my dad- it had not occurred to me that my idol had an idol of his own.

I imagined my dad at 12 years old, gripping his black and silver Minolta camera, one with no automated capability for zoom or focus.  With the viewfinder raised to his eye, he quietly approaches his mother while she is sewing.  She asks him, Khokha ki korchish thui?  [Little boy, what are you doing?].  He doesn’t answer her, instead he steps closer until he is within one foot of the sewing machine.  She is pushing the last of the fabric through the machine, and he waits, without breathing, for the moment that her hands are fully exposed.  He clicks the shutter, just as she stands up and scolds him lovingly for being a silly boy.

He doesn’t know at that moment, that he captured the shot, or that it will leave an enduring mark on his daughter, more than 60 years later.

That is the Magic of Art.