Art by Robert Browning


 

Rob Browning “always loved art,” and had parents who recognized his young talent, buying him books to encourage a budding interest in drawing and painting. Browning, a native of Nahor, a village in Fluvanna County, Virginia, received his BFA in Communications Arts and Design in 1979 from Virginia Commonwealth University. In studying art, he felt most influenced by 20th century illustrators Dean Cornwell, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle and Andrew Loomis, among others. Browning was also attracted to the work of several American painters. “I like the same thing [Edward] Hopper seems to have liked. I … Continue reading Art by Robert Browning

Art by Robin Braun

bee over flowers with storm clouds
 

  From her window as a child, Robin Braun could look beyond the grassy yard out to the Chesapeake Bay. The water, its tides and artifacts, would fascinate her from then on. Today an accomplished artist, Braun is best known for her fine, small paintings of the ocean, rivers and marshes, and the insects and bees that live in their grassy midst. She also paints scenes of farmland and rivers viewed from her studio in Southern Albemarle County, Virginia. “The water and high tides were deeply embedded in me at an early age,” says Braun, … Continue reading Art by Robin Braun

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

Learning v. Education


 

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” -Einstein During the last few years I’ve debated going to graduate school for poetry. Do I need a formal degree to get where I want to be as a poet? A look at price tags helped me decide quickly, at least for the time being. But shortly after putting the issue aside, I was presented with two literary opportunities that felt like the perfect interim education: copy writing at my content marketing firm and co-editing poetry for Streetlight Magazine. Maybe grad school could wait … Continue reading Learning v. Education

Suzie dePoo: A Key West Treasure

Suzie dePoo Unicorn scuplture
 

Some years ago in Key West’s Gallery on Greene, I saw a unicorn — sculpted from wire entwined with bits of china, crystal and beach glass — gliding like a giant mobile, catching the light, gently riding the air. Nearby were ethereal, life size angels and jesters clipped from scrap tin or painted onto driftwood. I was intrigued. The artist, I learned, was 82-year-old Suzie dePoo; she lived behind the battered wall on Dey Street and it was okay to drop by. No one answered my knock. Open sheds spilled chicken wire, panels of wood, … Continue reading Suzie dePoo: A Key West Treasure

House of Mirrors


 

A few days ago I was in the Ramada Inn off Interstate 4 in Altamonte Springs, somewhere in central Florida. My son sat on the bed surfing the web and my daughter, her back against the headboard, legs stretched out under the sheets, balanced a Mac on her lap. From out of my son’s computer came a little boy’s shrill cry, “Charlie bit me.” And again, a high-pitched wail,  “Ouch, Charlie bit me.” “What in the world?” “Mom, it’s Youtube,” my son said, “Watch this.” He clicked the play icon and a video of a … Continue reading House of Mirrors

At Your Service


 

    This year, as you probably know, marks the bicentennial of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  And, if Jane Austen could only see what an industry she has spawned.  The Amazon listing for books related to – or cashing in on — this title spans 101 pages.  There are sequels and “variations” and “re-tellings” as well as “re-imaginings.”  There are journals, graphic novels and a whole spate of murder mysteries, including one by P.D. James.   There is a version set on Mars and another one set along the Hudson River.  There is Pride … Continue reading At Your Service

Something Besides Silence


 

At one point in the graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman’ chronicle of his father’s life before WWII and in Auschwitz, and the author’s own difficulty dealing with that history, Spiegelman is speaking with his therapist, who is also an Auschwitz survivor. Spiegelman is having great difficulty writing the second part of his book, which concentrates on the father’s time in Auschwitz; the holocaust, as a subject, is too large, too complex, too evil to even address, to the point where both men are struck dumb. Eventually the therapist quotes Samuel Beckett, saying “every word is … Continue reading Something Besides Silence

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