All posts by Lisa Ryan

Radio Star


Charlottesville, Virginia, where Streetlight operates from, is full of Ph.D candidates, post-docs and masters students, thanks to Mr. Jefferson’s University. Amid all the academic types, a person without some kind of post-graduate education can sometimes find herself feeling a touch inadequate. There. I said it. Luckily, for those of us without the focus, freedom, or finances, formal knowledge is as accessible these days as frozen yogurt. Personally, I’ve found my university in the pages of The New Yorker and in the sweet sounds of Radiolab, an NPR podcast. Podcasts are a newer medium for me, listening to “radio” … Continue reading Radio Star

National Poetry Month


Another April means another month of celebrating poetry across the country. Admittedly, this surprises me every year. That many people care about poetry? Walt Whitman would slap me in the face, and he’d be right to.  But then I remember what Rainer Maria Rilke said: “For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences.”  And what Wallace Stevens said: “The poet is the priest of the invisible.”  In light of NPM, here are a few local and national going-ons. If nothing else, reach out your hand and take one of … Continue reading National Poetry Month

Amending Gray by Anne Bromley


Amending Gray   When does the snow begin to fall? I try to witness the change as the theme of this season grays. Bolts of felt clouds roll across the heavens, a basket of straight pins spills into the night, and I’ve been sewing a lot of gray, not to be somber, but to sway light as mist, soft as the winter coat of a wolf. Snug in my velvet jacket, fleece slippers, cotton sweats, their subtle weaves showing— not that I want anyone to notice me, to see what I wear sitting alone at … Continue reading Amending Gray by Anne Bromley

Work Meets Play


A friend and co-worker, Caroline Eberly, shares her essay about mixing labor and leisure. This piece first appeared on Story Matters, the digital expression of Journey Group, a Charlottesville creative agency. [divider] Work Meets Play: An invitation to turn up my senses.   Looking out the window at this wide, dried-out wilderness, I have sympathy for the desert-crossers who have gone before me. The wayfaring types who pushed sand with feet to cover this bare country. Just minutes before, I’d been considering the people of the future — those beings who might live in these shiny, … Continue reading Work Meets Play

Stranger Among Other Phantoms by Chester Johnson


Stranger Among Other Phantoms   Someone invisibly disturbs several finished Cigarette butts and barely gathers a nod At the acceleration of a crowd. The ticket Line’s for impatient aches – there’s no wit to dissuade The routine. Stalked by clumsy bags and instruments, Commuters and distance travelers, the rich and Penny-counters, four handsome students and a fat, Unscrubbed sort—all defended by miscellany— Compete for angles and rewards. Mostly, They fidget and don’t quite ask a question, while glares Perform the reproof of an agent, who slowly counts Light change or lengthy tickets and who replies … Continue reading Stranger Among Other Phantoms by Chester Johnson

Embracing Constraints


Is graphic design art? The debate, for me, started in art school and now lives on in the offices of Journey Group, the creative agency where I work. Although there are convincing arguments for both sides, the argument for me revolves around the idea of constraints. As design director at Journey Group, I have had the good fortune of designing a wide variety of projects for many clients — websites for international relief agencies, wine bottle labels for wineries, books for the U.S. Postal Service. One reason I love design is that, unlike art, constraints … Continue reading Embracing Constraints

Daily Feast: process before product


Meet Anna Bryant, a local painter/Montessori teacher/mother/wife/friend of mine. Currently, her exhibit, “Daily Feast”, is running at New Dominion Bookstore. I advise you to stop by when you’re downtown, but try to go after a meal; aside from their visual appeal, her paintings might stir up the munchies. As the exhibit name implies, Anna’s pieces are 6″ x 6″ snapshots from the kitchen table, done in delightful colors applied with thick brush strokes. They’re part of an artistic exercise she embarked on recently–a commitment to to create one painting a day–and though my artistic genre is … Continue reading Daily Feast: process before product

A Meal in Honor of Someone Once Beautiful by Susan Cunningham


A Meal in Honor of Someone Once Beautiful   My God. Preacher, pass the silence. Stop talking. The whir of desperate voices cloud thick air, fill our glasses to the brim, shocking one empty chair before flowers, china & shroud. Enough is enough. For heaven’s sake. We squeeze as twisted thread. Passing through the eye of sorrow’s needle making our way to the far side of this dread meal of death, bread & wine. Bent fetal. Enough is too much. Susan Cunningham is a therapist and poet. She holds master’s degrees in education as well … Continue reading A Meal in Honor of Someone Once Beautiful by Susan Cunningham



After seeing Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, I’ve been on a Leonardo DiCaprio binge. Never mind that he still hasn’t won an Oscar, or that he wears white athletic socks with boat shoes–those topics are covered on BuzzFeed. What I want to mention here is an article I read about Leo in the May 2013 issue of Esquire, written by Tom Junod. I liked this article immediately, and not just for the obvious reasons. Junod’s intro drew me in with just enough detail and ambiguity about “a guy in a room” to carry me six … Continue reading Surprise

Pretty cute for a 19th century assassin


I recently read a critique in New York magazine by Jerry Saltz about a current MoMA exhibit, “Photography and The American Civil War.” The piece mentioned Alexander Gardner, a Scottish-born war photographer famous for his Civil War coverage and portraits of Lincoln. When I read about a particular photo of his, Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, I went a-Googling. Scrolling through Gardner’s images, one particular portrait stopped me –– but for all the wrong reasons. It was a young gentleman, clean-shaven, out of uniform, staring starkly at the camera. Let’s put it this way: I could imagine … Continue reading Pretty cute for a 19th century assassin