Category Archives: Blog

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

A Creative Collaboration

house with ocean storm and bee
 

While at first glance Virginia artists Robin Braun and Rob Browning seem drawn to different subjects, techniques and philosophies, their unexpected collaboration has surprised and delighted them both. Artist’s Statement, Robin Braun: The ocean is never far from my thoughts and is constantly in my dreams. It can be ruthless and it can be supremely calm. I like to paint all of the moods of the sea. Having grown up near the water, I feel that it is an inherent part of my consciousness.     My paintings are about both the sublime and the … Continue reading A Creative Collaboration

Previews of Coming Attractions


 

If You’re Here With Us, Give Us a Sign of Your Perversion My wife is a ghost hunter. Actually, my wife considers herself more of a Paranormal Anthropologist. But, essentially, she’s a ghost hunter. And if that makes you think of poorly socialized men on basic cable running around decrepit buildings in the dark, adorned with over-moussed fauxhawks, poorly groomed goatees, and overdeveloped vanity muscles, then you’re in the ballpark. My wife does tend to bump around decrepit buildings or other structures in the dark. However, she doesn’t tend to run screaming from strange noises … Continue reading Previews of Coming Attractions

“You dance really well for a librarian”


 

That’s the kind of remark that librarian Ruth Kneale encountered often in her research showing that all the old stereotypes of her profession – you know: they’re a mousy, prim, timid and bespectacled lot – persist in popular culture today. I can’t say that I’ve ever met a librarian who fits that description. Well, bespectacled, yes. But, in my experience, librarians tend to be outspoken, visionary, sometimes revolutionary and even subversive when they have to be. They are advocates for openness and access to information. They embrace new technology (budgets permitting). They stand up for … Continue reading “You dance really well for a librarian”

The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are Not Real Life


 

Something I’ve noticed about public discourse over the past decade or so is the habit or need to assume or force our real lives and events to fit into the arcs and tropes of fictional stories. This happens to us as individuals but also occurs in the larger communications of our culture, from the way we address the lives of individuals to how we address movements and nations. I call it narrativism, because I don’t have a better word for it. I call it narrativism in the same way that one calls bias based on … Continue reading The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are Not Real Life

Letters, We Get Letters


 

But do we? Do you still get letters?  Sometimes I find myself wishing I did. Of course I get mail. Everybody gets mail. But is the monthly statement from Belk’s to be considered a letter? I don’t think so. I know they love me. They’ve told me so many times with their catalogs and wonderful offers, but somehow, I don’t think it’s personal. Same goes for Dominion Power (without the special offers) and the doctor’s office. They use my name to keep from confusing me with somebody else, but it’s just not personal. Oh, e-mail. … Continue reading Letters, We Get Letters

In Your Own Backyard

Avery Lawrence
 

I could argue that there is, in fact, an art to the garage sale – I’ve certainly claimed more than a few cheap treasures – but I wouldn’t imagine scouting for such in the hushed halls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Tell that to MoMA curators who recently launched “Meta-Monumental Garage Sale” in the museum’s open and noisy atrium. Here donated items were browsed – and bought – as they might have spilled from a friend’s front porch or wide backyard. Had I been an art participant all these years and never known … Continue reading In Your Own Backyard

Farewell and Hail


 

  As Streetlight gets ready to go into our second year, it’s my sad duty to bid farewell to one of our editors and my glad duty to introduce two new editors. George Kamide, who has been on the staff since we went online last year leaves more than a small vacancy here. One can hardly overstate the contribution George has made, not only as fiction editor, but as a planner and facilitator of the website. His previous experience working on an online publication and his willingness to put in the extra effort  made our … Continue reading Farewell and Hail

One Hundred Years of Poetry


 

This year, Poetry Magazine has been celebrating its one-hundredth birthday. It’s not unheard of for a magazine to last a hundred years, even in this country where things get old fast, but it’s still unusual enough to note. And for another reason: not only has Poetry been celebrating its birthday all year long by publishing notable poets from its past alongside the contemporary – it also has published an anthology. I got notice of this in the mail last week and so I pass on the news to anyone who might want to know about it. One … Continue reading One Hundred Years of Poetry

Cultivating Obsession


 

  The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. So it’s time to come clean: I have an addiction to notebooks. I am a danger to myself if left in a stationery store. I buy them whether or not (most often not) I’ve filled the ones from previous purchases. There is an entire box in the closet of my study that is nothing but empty notebooks. This peccadillo is perhaps made all the more shameful considering I do most of my “real” writing on a computer. I am a creature of the … Continue reading Cultivating Obsession