Monday, November 16, 2015

Shanti Arts Releases The Reluctant Artist by Dorothy Rice

Shanti Arts is very pleased to release The Reluctant Artist: Joe Rice 1918-2011 by Dorothy Rice. 

The Reluctant Artist tells the story of Joe Rice, high school art teacher, inventive artist, father of four children, and self-proclaimed "overeducated pauper." Rice lived his life in and around San Francisco, raising his children during the sixties and seventies—"a magical place at a magical time"—with LSD, the music of Janis Joplin, and a VW Microbus on every corner. Rice's story is told by his daughter Dorothy Rice, who recounts tales of his lifelong commitment to art, his disquieting tendency toward solitude, his unease with useless conversation, and his self-effacing manner and adherence to humility as the highest virtue. Though he made art all through his life, Joe Rice never sought recognition or financial profit for any of it. Near the end of his life, his children became increasingly fascinated by and attached to his work, chronicling, photographing the art on his walls, and discovering a cache of paintings that had been stored in the garage rafters for over twenty years. Through his art they attempted to better understand their father's hidden truth: though he never sought to make a living from his art, art gave him his life. And having left so many tangible remnants he will live on in more than memory.
ISBN: 978-1-941830-14-7 (print; softcover; perfect bound) $35.95
ISBN: 978-1-941830-15-4 (digital)
digital edition is available from amazon kindle, google books, apple ibooks, and others 
Joe Rice might have been a reluctant artist, in the sense of one who works outside the public eye, but it's clear that making art was what he most wanted to be doing. His artwork provides intimate histories–the many self-portraits, the depictions of domestic spaces and acute observations of daily life. But–and like his own complicated family background–his work, with its use of hot color, non-perspectival space, and intricate patterning, also complexly alludes to histories of diaspora and internationalism, speaking to multiple sources from Mughal miniature paintings to Native American organizational forms. Rice’s intricate weaving of the intimate with the expansive, the familiar with the experimental–and he was always trying out new things–is what art does best, rewarding those who look closely. Who better to guide us to look more closely at a father who is an artist, than a daughter who is a writer?
~ Allan deSouza, Chair, Department of Art Practice, University of California, Berkeley

Dorothy Rice has not only written a memorial for her father, she's established herself as a different kind of artist in her own right: a gifted writer who, in eloquent and delicate prose, reveals the joys and costs of being an artist. Visual, emotional, and insightful, this book is a must read.
~ Emily Rapp Black, Author of Poster Child: A Memoir and New York Times bestseller The Still Point of the Turning World 

Joe Rice tackled diverse modes of art making throughout his long career in the San Francisco Bay Area. The exquisite highs and lows of the practice were central to his life to the exclusion of any effort to find an audience for his work.  Such a curious and passionate man deserves our notice.
~ Jim Melchert, Professor of Art Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Diana Crane Awarded 2015 Write Well Award

Diana Crane has received the 2015 Write Well Award  for her story, "The Visitor," which appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly.  

The Write Well Award was established by the Silver Pen Writers Association, a non-profit organization that encourages and fosters creative writing careers, and is named after the Write Well, Write to Sell blog by Rick Taubold and Scott Gamboe, also a part of Silver Pen. The award seeks to recognize excellence in published short fiction in both print and electronic magazines. 

Diana Crane grew up in Canada, taught sociology in the United States, and has published several books of nonfiction on topics related to fashion, the media, and the arts. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and twice the recipient of a Fulbright award. She now lives in Paris where she writes fiction as well as articles about fashion and the arts. She also co-edits a fashion studies journal.

Please click here to read "The Visitor."

Images in this story are by Susan Landor Keegin.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Art Magazines to Merge

Beginning with the upcoming fall 2015 issue, Stone Voices and Still Point Arts Quarterly are merging to form one quarterly publication focused on art, nature, and spirit. 

Started in fall 2011, Stone Voices was about the connections between art and spirituality, the role that art plays in understanding the journey of our lives, and the role that spirituality plays in making art. Started in spring 2011, Still Point Arts Quarterly is focused on art, artists, and artistry. By bringing the two publications together and adding the component of nature, we have a publication focused on what might be the essential building blocks of the creative and inspired life.

Art, nature, and spirit — could they be the holy trinity? It's hard to imagine art without nature, hard to imagine nature without spirit, hard to imagine spirit without both art and nature. Our new publication, continuing use of the title Still Point Arts Quarterly, will celebrate these connections that are avenues on the way to peace, joy, and gratitude.

Stone Voices columnists, Peter Azrak, Vincent Louis Carrella, and Leslie Ihde, will continue writing their highly regarded columns for Still Point Arts Quarterly.

A preview of the fall 2015 issue will be available soon. The new publication will be slightly smaller in size so readers may easily put it in a bag or purse for reading while on the go. It will also be a longer publication than the current 110 pages to make room for the wider variety of topics to be covered. Each issue will include portfolios of contemporary artists as well as articles, essays, fiction and poetry. As has been the case with both publications, Still Point Arts Quarterly will be beautifully designed and produced with numerous full-color images, a genuine merging of text and image.

Produced by Shanti Arts LLC, Still Point Arts Quarterly will continue to be available in both print and digital formats. Both formats may be purchased on our website, while digital editions are also available through MAGZTER.com, OWNZONES.com, Apple Newsstand, and several other online retailers of digital content. The publication is indexed for information databases through EBSCO. 

Past issues of Stone Voices may be purchased as long as they are available. Please visit the Stone Voices website.

Go to the Still Point Arts Quarterly website.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Spring Rain Winter Snow Honored by the Haiku Society of Ameria

We are delighted that our children's book Spring Rain Winter Snow received an Honorable Mention in the annual book awards by the Haiku Society of America. The haiku in Spring Rain Winter Snow are by Edward J. Rielly, and illustrations are by Angelina Buonaiuto. 

Spring Rain Winter Snow celebrates the four seasons with insightful haiku and enchanting illustrations. The pages of this lovely book are filled with opportunities for children to gaze, wonder, question, and smile. Both children and adults will enjoy this book for its engaging approach to the magic of nature's seasons.

JUVENILE NONFICTION / Concepts / Seasons

ISBN: 978-1-941830-94-9 (print; hardcover) $19.99

More Information  |  Purchase

Samples pages:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Writers Nominated for Write Well Award

Three featured writers have been nominated by Shanti Arts for the 2014 Write Well Award, which seeks to recognize excellence in published short fiction in both print and electronic magazines. Winners will be announced in August 2015.

Nominated writers are:

Diana Crane, for "The Visitor," which appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly

Diana Crane grew up in Canada, taught sociology in the United States, and has published several books of nonfiction on topics related to fashion, the media, and the arts. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and twice the recipient of a Fulbright award. She now lives in Paris where she writes fiction as well as articles about fashion and the arts. She also co-edits a fashion studies journal.
Crane's website | Amazon page

Frederic Smith, for "The Old Man and the Ballerina," which appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Stone Voices.

Frederic Smith is a southern Californian who went to Princeton and Cambridge. Twenty years ago he tired of practicing law and turned full-time to writing. He is the author of numerous stories and a novel, See How We Run, which received the lead reviews in the New Statesman and the Irish Times.  

Susan Scott, for "Still Life," which appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Stone Voices
Susan Scott collaborates with artists, scholars and activists on a wide range of creative projects and serves as a lead editor with New Quarterly magazine, home to the Wild Writers Festival in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Scott teaches memoir, short fiction, and the well-wrought essay; 2014 workshops include the annual French River Creative Writing Retreat and Stone by Stone: Writing Spiritual Memoir, with Prajna of Amida Mosaic Sangha. A memoir in-progress, Sainted Dirt: Stories from the Fringe, explores the gifts of spiritual displacement. A chapbook, Temple in a Teapot, was launched on the Mormon Women Writers Literary Tour.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Robert McGowan: Understanding

Anchise Picchi, The Flying, 1982
 I have since youth endeavored dutifully to ascertain whether thinking is better than feeling or feeling better than thinking. I know now that it's a false problem, that feeling and thinking merge into one another and that, though each has exclusive properties, feeling can strengthen thought and thought deepen feeling. And so I have ceased being sheepish about feeling.

I believe now that any human activity that does not derive of an awareness of mystery, any art that does not evoke mystery, any contemplation that is not of mystery is puny and trivial by comparison with those exercises of human mind and hand in which mystery is felt.

There is nothing of any kind whatsoever that we can know absolutely about which we can have final certainty. Over everything, enwrapping all of our thought and all of our awareness, is at last only wide mystery.

~ Robert McGowan, Current, Shanti Arts Publishing (2013)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Patricia Steele Raible: Looking Through the Mirror

The work of Patricia Steele Raible is featured in the summer 2015 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly

Initially Raible worked only in collage, creating abstract images with paper and sewing. But her interest in surface design and texture grew, and she began experimenting with different types of materials. She now works primarily on wooden cradles, developing both visual and tactile texture that is multi-layered and fragmented. 

Raible’s inspiration comes from reading, writing, and observing. As she attempts to make sense of the world through her art, words and symbols continue to be important and are often found in the writing on the sides of the cradles, in the pages torn from old books, or in the fragments hidden beneath multiple layers of paint.
Art is how I make sense of the world; the “making” process is what saves me. By making art, I am encouraged to turn things over and look at them differently, to explore ideas and confront questions, both directly and in terms of their impact on individuals, including myself and my family. When words aren’t enough, art allows me to speak in textures, lines, and colors.
Raible lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Wow PULP Literature Press with Flash Fiction

Flash fiction master and author of Nothing But Trouble, Bob Thurber, is judging a flash fiction contest for PULP Literature Press

Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction
Got something short, sharp and snappy to tell?  Wow us with 1000 words of your economical and brilliant storytelling. Final contest judge is flash fiction master, Bob Thurber. Entry fee $10 until May 14, then $15. Prize $300 and publication in Pulp Literature Issue 9.

More details (from website):
Want feedback on your story?  Get a professional critique from one of the Pulp Literature editors for only $15 more.
Contest opens: 1 May 2015
Deadline: 15 June 2015
Winners notified: 15 July 2015
Winners published in: Pulp Literature Issue 9, Winter 2016
First Prize: $300
Runner up: $75
Judge: Bob Thurber
Entry fee: $15
Editorial Critique: $15
Early Bird fee (before 15 May): $10

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Leslie Ihde: The Image in Reverse

The upcoming summer issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly features an article by Leslie Ihde, "The Image in Reverse."

When carving linoleum for printmaking, the image created is the reverse of the one seen on the completed print. The artist learns to think in negative space. Cut away what you want to see and flip it over. It is funny how different a moon over the right side of an image looks from a moon over the left.

Leslie Ihde is a psychotherapist, artist, and spiritual teacher. As an adolescent, she attended just three Quaker meetings, but they made a lasting impression on her. Too young to drive and unable to persuade her mother to drive her to the meetings regularly, she did not encounter another rich spiritual influence until college. There she met a mystic who was to become her mentor for some thirty years. Leslie offers guided spiritual self-inquiry, drawing inspiration from the Quaker meeting, Zen Buddhism, Socratic philosophy, and mysticism. She writes a regular column for Stone Voices titled "Art and Spiritual Self-Inquiry." She lives with her husband and their golden retriever in upstate New York.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Carol L. Myers: Best in Show-Portfolio

Mixed media artist Carol L. Myers was awarded Best in Show-Portfolio in Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition Still Point VII.

 Swanson   Swanson  

Carol L. Myers grew up in Baltimore, where she went to nursing school at the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing. Her first job as an RN took her to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The atmosphere of the college town inspired her to follow her longtime interest in art, first with classes at the Washtenaw Community College and later at the University of Michigan, where she earned her B.F.A. in printmaking. Since graduation she has mixed art, nursing, marriage and family.

During her thirty-two years in Indianapolis,Indiana, Myers was active at the Indianapolis Art Center as a student and teacher. She was also a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and curator of the gallery at the Cultural Complex at the Indianapolis Art Center. Myers has shown her work in many national and regional shows, participated in several cooperative galleries, and has prints in several museum collections. Myers was awarded an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission in 2000 and served on their grant review panel in 2001. Moving into the Stutz Business and Art Center, her participation in the arts community continued as director of the StutzArtSpace Gallery, president of the Stutz Artists Association,and chairperson of the Annual Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House 2011-2013. Myers served as chairperson and curator for the Stutz Artists Association Partnership with Clarian Hospitals, bringing staff, patients and visitors into closer contact with the arts. 

Currently, Myers maintains an active studio in southwestern Michigan. In addition to studio work, her mission is to promote the arts as a life-enhancing activity in medical and educational settings by facilitating shows and workshops.
My work explores the internal landscape of spirit. Meditative pencil drawings explore the natural objects that fascinate me: shells, bones, fossils, bare trees and roots...the architecture of nature. These explorations form my personal constellation of image and meaning, and my work spins off from here, becoming richer with time and repetition.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Still Point Art Gallery Opens Still Point VII

Still Point Art Gallery opens Still Point VII . . . 30 amazing artists and 115 images! 

Honored artists are:
Carol L. Myers (Best in Show - Portfolio);  
Michael Washburn (Best In Show - Single Image);  
Tatiana Roulin (Best Painting);  
Debra Small (Best Photograph);  
Yukari Nakamichi (Best Three-Dimensional Artwork)

All artists exhibited in this show:
Leslie Anderson - Bobby Baker - Beth Baylin - Darla Bjork - Eldred Boze - John Brooks - Ann Calandro - Bob Craig - Erin McGee Ferrell - Suzan Fox - Gail Higginbotham - Peter Jacobson - Karen Johnson - Gayane Karapetyan - Melissa Mahoney - Chance McCroskey - Karl Melton - Carol Myers - Yukari Nakamichi - Louise Parms - Kristin Reed - Richard Reep - Tatiana Roulin - Karen Shulman - Debra Small - Karen Terry - Madelene Varalli - Carolyn WarmSun - Michael Washburn - Anthony Whelihan 

view exhibition

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Laurie Schreiber: Sharon Arnold Captures a Fantastical World

Laurie Schreiber's article about artist Sharon Arnold is featured in the upcoming summer issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly. Here is an excerpt from "Sharon Arnold Captures a Fantastical World."
Arnold’s approach to photography hasn’t changed in essence since she was a child, when she wielded a Brownie camera and sourced materials for dioramas at her father’s junkyard. As a young adult, she turned to creative writing, but in 1988, she again picked up a camera. She immediately returned to the diorama concept to create twilight or fairy tale worlds “hoping it will seem strangely familiar,” she wrote in her biography. . . .

"Queen of Hearts: Queen for a Day, 1958" is a triptych of begowned and polka-dotted figures, arms and eyes upraised in supplication. The image is a tribute to Arnold’s mother and her older brother, Chucky, who died that year at age eight in a bicycle accident. The title of the image comes from a 1950s television game show of the same name. Contestants, mostly women, talked about hardships in their lives; judged by an applause meter, the woman who had the most tragic story won prizes.

Laurie Schreiber is a freelance writer living in Bass Harbor, Maine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

W. A. Polf: Lunch at the Dahesh

William-Adolphe Bouguereau,
Young Girl Going to the Spring
(The Water Girl), 1885.
W. A. Polf's story, "Lunch at the Dahesh," is featured in the upcoming summer issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly, a story of contrasting tastes for art and their impact—if you allow it—upon love and relationship.

Mark’s artistic sense was intuitive and emotional; he felt it in his gut. As a student, he had wept on his first visit to the Impressionist gallery at the Met. Sheila studied art with a scholarly focus; her approach was more disciplined, relying on a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of artistic composition. She appreciated the skill it demanded. Artists are seeking perfection, she believed. She wanted to parse that perfection into components she could understand.

W. A. Polf retired as a long-time hospital executive in New York City to write short stories in North Carolina. A native Californian, he lived in Manhattan for more than thirty years. His story, “Chickens,” will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Milo Review. “Chickens” was a finalist in the Glimmer Train 2013 Short Story Awards for New Writers, and won an honorable mention. He is the author of a collection of short stories, Magical Ballyglass and Other Stories.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Maya Chachava: Memory and Self-Identity

The work of Maya Chachava is featured in the upcoming summer 2015 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly.

Maya Chachava's work stems from her interests in poetry, literature, memory, and nostalgia. The ongoing challenge of self-integration into a different culture remains a strong force that fuels her artistic practice. Her processes incorporate traditional painting materials as well as printmaking, drawing, digital, and encaustic media.

Chachava holds B.F.A. degrees in English language and literature from Tbilisi Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages and in Spanish and fine arts from Central Washington University. She also earned her M.F.A. in painting from the University of Washington. She is an associate professor of painting and drawing at Central Washington University.

Chachava’s work has been shown in over fifty national and international juried and invitational shows, with solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe. She is a recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards.

My recent body of work is a new investigation of the concept of memory and how it affects my perception of self-identity. I took old family photos that I reprinted through different processes and superimposed drawings so that I could extend the process of making an image by working with multiple layers of media, creating visual “density” and narrative that is both precise and open to interpretation.

When I started this project I had a very vague idea of what it would look like at the end. My objective was to create images that would transpire an emotion, a recollection, perhaps a sense of time. I loved making these pieces and the excitement came, as always, from the variables and unexpected turns that happened along the way.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Katie Wilson: Painting the Figure

The art of Katie Wilson is featured in the upcoming summer issue of Stone Voices (Contemplative Art). Her painting process involves putting down paper collage using old wallpaper, decorative paper, and pages from books; laying in the drawing; and then pushing paint around, but not always in that order. Working with collage pushes her to be innovative and encourages spontaneous color, pattern, and texture.

My initial enthusiasm to paint the figure came when I acquired my grandmother’s childhood family photo album. I was compelled to bring the people of her world into my own through my painting, and I felt a need to get to know her, her friends, her backyard, her mother. I became familiar with what she wore to school and what her brothers wore to picnics. The album tells a story and I wanted to be a part of it. I was fascinated and excited to bring color and life to the images.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

What Is This a Picture Of?

What is this a picture of?

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche once posed this question. While no one wanted to state the obvious, someone in his audience finally said, "It's a picture of a bird." Rinpoche then replied, "It's a picture of the sky."

This teaching is retold by John J. Baker in "The Dharma in a Single Drawing," which appears in the Spring 2015 Tricycle.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Journeys by Ekaterina Bykhovskaya


This beautiful book is the journal of a photographer's travels to four distinguished places of the world—Jerusalem, Japan, Istanbul, and Provence. Through Ekaterina Bykhovskaya's vision, dreamlike imagery, and the magical connection of light and process, readers are drawn into the silent kingdoms she portrays. Bykhovskaya's images show us how to think differently about time and place while we also discover truths about ourselves.

I spent a few hours in the quiet and peace of the temple grounds, feeling reluctant to leave. Having found myself in the contemplative mood I was hoping to reach, I put my infrared camera to work. Being blissfully unconcerned with not getting fellow tourists into the frame (this having been my main photographic concern for the past several days), I could fully concentrate just on the feel of the place. I wanted the photographs to be very light and somewhat dreamy and found that infrared worked well for conveying this mood.

Keen on continuing my infrared efforts, I took the camera with me the next day for a stroll in the Imperial Gardens. The vast grounds of the gardens were just as unpopulated as those of the temple, and I felt absolute tranquility wandering its alleys. The pine trees and creeks seemed to me to come alive from the sumi-e paintings, and I tried to capture the poetic ambiance in my photographs.

I returned home with hundreds of both color and infrared images, and for all my striving for the autumn hues, I found that ironically the monochrome images turned out to be more subtle and lyrical. Overall they conveyed much better the mood I was seeking to impart. Besides, I realized that my obsession with the autumn leaves was successfully healed and felt a great and unrestricted willingness to return to Japan in any season.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Krish V. Krishnan: Rambles into Sacred Realms

Rambles into Sacred Realms is the beautiful and inspiring chronicle of author and artist Krish V. Krishnan's travels around the globe as he explores and portrays places of awe-inspiring divinity through writing and artwork. Krishnan recounts his experiences at places like the stunning rocky red desert of Petra, Jordan, replete with the ruins of shrines, palaces, and tombs; the ancient and holy city of Varanasi, India, where sacred chants waft in the breeze as funeral pyres consume the dead; and the ruins of Sukhothai, Thailand, teeming with temples, monuments, shrines, and watchful statues of Buddha as far as the eye can see. Krishnan's writings offer adventure, drama, and bits of humor, and his extensive collection of artwork, in watercolor, scratchboard, acrylics, pencil, and pastel, is superbly executed and captivatingly impassioned. Rambles into Sacred Realms offers a compelling invitation to the reader to vicariously enjoy and experience, through both words and images, the stunning power of some of the world's most incredible and sacred places.  Available Now!

- - - - -

Here is an excerpt from chapter 12: Sukhothai, Thailand: Divinity in Stone.

Krish V. Krishnan, Monk’s Prayer on a Surreal Morning:
Wat Mahathat from Wat Tra Phang Ngoen.
Watercolor, 18 x 24.
This was indeed a dreamlike scene. As sacred chants in the Pali language wafted from across the pond, an early morning fog enveloped the landscape. In the distance I could make out the tall spires of Wat Mahathat and a few stone guardians that kept vigilant watch and blessed the pious. A lone monk clad in ocher robes was offering his worship at a Buddha shrine. As my guide chattered away with historical facts and architectural details, I lost him to the rapturous sight before me. In this special moment, there wasn’t any need for dogma or man-made faith, just the joy of being there and my gratitude for being able to both relish and capture it. Words couldn’t do it justice, nor brushstrokes make fair representation; the canvas here was infinitely more vast, handled by an artist with far more skill and expertise, and blessed with a color palette more intricate than a human hand could ever hope to mix. Nonetheless, I later sketched this scene and coated my cold-pressed paper with eight layers of washes before I could even faintly recreate what I had witnessed that morning. I returned to Wat Tra Phang Ngoen a bit later in the day to find the scene looking very different — the sun was now smiling down, bringing light to reveal every historical detail that an enthusiast could revel in! The artist’s mystery that had so enchanted me was now a thing of the past.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Naomi Beth Wakan: Film Noir

The spring 2015 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly features an article by Naomi Beth Wakan about film noir.
He throws the door open wide. He is handsome beyond words and has the face of a dark angel. She is startled and rises hesitantly from her chaise longue. She is slender, platinum blond, and gorgeous. Sparks should be flying between them any moment now as they rush into an embrace in the center of the room. Instead, he reaches into the pocket of his belted trench coat, while she opens her beaded purse. Two shots ring out at the same time, and they come together in the center of the floor, joined in a pool of blood. Such was the way with the film genre you might have watched in the late forties and the fifties of the last century and watched again more recently on DVDs; the genre is known as film noir. (read entire article)

Naomi Beth Wakan is an essayist, and the inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. She has written over fifty books, the most recent being Some Sort of Life and Poetry That Heals. She is a member of the League of Canadian Poets, Haiku Canada, and Tanka Canada. She lives on Gabriola Island in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, the sculptor Elias Wakan.

Still Point Arts Quarterly is a truly beautiful publication with a clear focus on art, artists, and artistry. Subscribe

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Christopher Woods: Spirits and Houses

Christopher Woods' portfolio appears in the spring 2015 issue of Stone Voices.

There are spirits all around us. On lonely country roads, in the woods, and in memory. I have a distinct feeling that spirits are also drawn to our dwelling places. ■ I did not always think this way. I was not an unbeliever, but I simply had not thought about it until I began photographing old abandoned houses and buildings in rural areas. Decrepit, lonely places. I was drawn to them — broken windows, sagging roofs, overgrown yards and fields. No one lived in these places. No one was there. ■ Or so I thought. The more I was around old houses and buildings, the more I felt a presence. There is a primal need for place, and after spending time around old houses, sheds, barns, and railroad buildings, I came to realize that even spirits are hard pressed to give way, to go without place. What is left if we give up our only place? ■ I don’t know if you will see spirits in these photographs. I don’t know if I can. But I can tell you one thing. I feel them. There is an energy and lasting human desire in these places. Still. ■ Look around you, under your own roof. What would you do if you couldn’t be there any longer? You might linger too.

Link to Christopher's portfolio in Stone Voices.

Note - We received this lovely and much appreciated note from Christopher: I want you to know that the portfolio of my photographs is simply awesome. Such a nice and generous layout. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is the nicest thing to ever happen to my photographs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sornberger Offers Workshop

Judith Sornberger, whose poetry has been published in Still Point Arts Quarterly, is offering a “Write with Me” workshop at the Deane Center in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on four Wednesdays, April 1, 15, 22, and 29, 2015.

This workshop is open to anyone who writes or wants to write. Sornberger said, “It can be difficult for writers to find a beginning point, so I will be providing writing prompts and exercises that will help them find their way into writing.”

During the first hour of the workshop, participants will write in response to prompts and exercises. The second hour, they will share what they have written during the first hour. Sornberger said, “This is not a critique group. The emphasis will be on creating a safe and stimulating environment for writing and sharing.” 

For the past 30 years, Sornberger has been teaching creative writing in various venues from prisons to college classrooms. She is a professor emeritus at Mansfield University where she taught English for twenty-five years before retiring in 2013. “I am teaching this workshop because, although I retired early to devote more time to my own writing, I love to teach. It is very exciting to help people access their creativity and to discover themselves through writing."

A prize-winning poet, Sornberger has published six poetry collections. Calyx Books published her full-length collection Open Heart. Her most recent chapbook is Wal-Mart Orchid, winner of the Helen Kay Chapbook Prize. She has published over a hundred poems in magazines and anthologies.

Her memoir, The Accidental Pilgrim: Finding God and His Mother in Tuscany, will soon be released by Shanti Arts Publishing.

The “Write with Me” workshop is limited to fifteen students. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. There is a $75 fee.
To register, call Sornberger at 570-724-5429.

—extracted from Solomon's Words for the Wise

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Let go of it?

One cold day a bearskin was floating down the river.
I said to a man who had no clothes,
"Jump in and pull it out."
But the bearskin was a live bear,
and the man who jumped in so eagerly
was caught in the clutches of what he went to grab.
"Let go of it," I said, "Fighting won't get you anywhere."
"Let go of it? This coat won't let go of me!"

~ Rumi, "The Pull of Love"

A Bear Fighting a Tiger, 1610

Monday, March 16, 2015

Megan Steusloff: Art Exposes the Soul

The spring issue of Stone Voices features a short essay by Megan Steusloff: The Journey.

I believe that endless fear and enormous demands are felt by all artists. Art exposes the soul, leaving the artist vulnerable to judgment, isolation, and ridicule. Suddenly, an artist is labeled, marked, and trapped within a certain image that they have created forever. This can be magical, and it can be painful. It can give eternal life to that emotion the artist was able to capture, and at the same time become the moment that can never be vanquished.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Leonard Cohen: He's My Man

I've rediscovered Leonard Cohen....he's my man.

"I generally find the song arises out of the guitar playing, just fooling around on the guitar. Just trying different sequences of chords, really, just like playing guitar every day and singing until I make myself cry, then I stop. . . . I don't weep copiously, I just feel a little catch in my throat or something like that. Then I know that I am in contact with something that is just a little deeper than where I started when I picked the guitar up."

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

An Afternoon with Bergman - Ingmar Bergman

As editor of two art and literary journals, I have the pleasure of reading an amazing variety of submissions—gripping stories, inspiring characters, surprising endings. Of those pieces that are selected, I then have the delight of putting them in layout, which involves doing a very close read and creating the visual display, the "look and feel," that will enhance the telling of the story and the delivery of the message.

Today I had a very special treat. I was working on a piece that will appear in the upcoming summer issue of Stone Voices. Called "I'm Anxious, Mr. Bergman," by Leo Tracy, its story is entwined with that of the 1972 Ingmar Bergman film Cries and Whispers.

Tracy tells the story of a young man dealing with searing questions about life, love, joy, destiny, cruelty, and death. His internal struggle is made even more difficult because he is gripped by anxiety and OCD. While visiting his uncle, the young man goes to see Cries and Whispers—not ever an easy movie to watch, but far less easy while gripped with emotional fragility. As for me, a close read of this piece made me determined to see Cries and Whispers. So I checked Hulu for availability . . . and there it was.

The film tells the story of three sisters, one of whom is dying of cancer. Through flashbacks, the problems of the family are revealed: infidelity, jealousy, arrogance, and even hatred. This makes dealing with the death of a sibling extremely difficult. Only the family maid is able to comfort and care for the dying woman and does so out of genuine love and affection.

The film is a thing of beauty. Costumes and furnishings are splendid. Poses, postures, and facial expressions of characters are precise and expressive. The flow of the film is slow and serene, but also perfect; one can't rush through the kind of emotional spectacle presented here. Adding to the drama, the color red is used to punctuate scene changes and certain highly emotional moments. It is a memorable and complex creation.

"I'm Anxious, Mr. Bergman" is ultimately about the intertwining of life and art. We bring ourselves to art, our anxiety, sorrow, desperation, as well as joy, freedom, and sense of fulfillment. If we are open and engaged, art helps us churn through all the muddled pieces of our lives. Sometimes art is enjoyable and refreshing; sometimes it tears us wide open. But do it, we must. 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Book Cover: Rambles into Sacred Realms

Completed the book cover today!
This book will be out April 6. We'll be taking orders very soon!

Friday, February 27, 2015

First Sign of Spring!

I opened the back door this morning . . . and what did I hear? A cardinal singing from the top of the trees!

Nancy Teague, Wintry Cardinal Wheeeee!
from Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: Winter Splendor

Still, piles and piles of snow . . .  but spring is on the way!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Carrie Jacobson: I Do

Carrie Jacobson, I Do.

The more I look at this painting by Carrie Jacobson, the more I love it. The color, the texture. The strong light, the strong shadow. I can feel the warm air, the coolness of the shade...the significance of the moment.

Jacobson's painting is currently showing in Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: Chasing the Light (Finding the Shadow).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Who Am I?

I knocked quietly on the door, and a voice from within roared, “Is that the Canadian High Commissioner?” I opened the door to find him seated cross-legged on the floor —an erect, commanding presence clad in a white robe, with a generous topping of white hair and a long white bear, “Well, Swami,” I began, “that is just what I do, not what I am.” “Then come and sit with me,” he laughed uproariously.  (from James George, "Who Am I?" Parabola, Fall 2014.)  

Before becoming a publisher and photographer and a few other things, I was a data analyst. I worked at a small New England liberal arts college analyzing enrollment and retention data, financial data, and course opinion data. I studied course-taking patterns and changes in students’ attitudes over time. I developed and administered surveys and analyzed the mountain of data that came out of those activities. I shared data with other colleges and studied how we differed from or were the same as our peers and competitors. I enjoyed finding patterns and trends and blips, finding meaning in a vast collection of numbers.

I was the director of institutional research, but my colleagues had given me a few other titles. I was the czarina of data, the queen of the database, the one who worked magic with numbers. When people needed answers, they came to me. The college’s data were referred to as my data.

I liked my job...most of the time. I liked what I did. I liked my position. I liked the prestige of sitting on the college’s hugely important pile of zeroes and ones. Information is power, and buried within my data was all the information worth knowing. No one knew the data better than me.

But if there’s one thing worth learning in life, it’s that nothing stays the same. Following a series of leadership changes in the college, my throne crumbled. As that fact sunk in, my entire world slowly started to crumble. Then there was a mid-life crisis and attempts to let go...but it wasn’t always clear what I needed to let go of. Change? Criticism? Fear?

Eventually, though, it became clear to me that I needed to let go of my sense of myself as the czarina of data, the resident number cruncher, the all knowing one. And that was when I realized that whatever journey I was on had only just begun. I needed to plunge much deeper within myself to find out who I was. I needed to untangle the nasty mess that had come from equating my identity and my self-worth with my job. I needed to let go of a self-identity that was based on what I did. I needed to figure out who I am.

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Eventually, I left the college and left that type of work entirely. It was painful; there is no denying that fact. But I had the opportunity to do some other things, start my own business, work for myself, do what I wanted to do and not what I was told to do. It was a big change. A positive change in most every way.

Four years later – just this past week – I found myself driving back from Portland with a friend. She was going through the next few years of her life—3 more years of teaching and being department chair, then a 1-year sabbatical, then teaching for a couple of years and retiring. And she said to me, “When are you retiring?”

Retiring? I kind of already did that...been there...done that. I retired from my job at the college and started a business that now takes up a good sixty hours of my time every week, but I’m quite happy. Why would I even think about retiring...again?

Then I said, “Gosh, I’m not sure I could be happy without projects to do, deadlines to meet, emails to answer, etc.”

What did I say? I paused to listen to what I had just said. Have I repeated the cycle? Am I now wrapped up with myself as a publisher, photographer, editor...and several other things?

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

And so I consider these questions.

I am not what I do. I have many roles—publisher, editor, photographer...and also wife, friend, neighbor, cook—but my roles cannot define me. We all walk around within a role...within many roles. These roles make our lives easy because we fit within their comfortable grooves. Life becomes very predictable. But there is a danger within that groove. Roles can be limiting, both to ourselves and others with whom we interact. Connecting our identity so tightly with what we do limits our thinking. It shrinks our viewpoint. It can be like wearing blinders. We stop stretching and taking risks into unknown territory.

A role is not a bad thing. We all have them...many of them. The problem arises when we get stuck and attached to our roles.

We are not what we do, be it a data analyst, lawyer, teacher, housekeeper, artist. We must think about the roles we adopt...be mindful of the reasons they work for us as well as the reasons they limit us. And that includes the role of artist.