Category Archives: Art

Pandemic Diary: 18 May 2022

The pandemic is somewhat abated here, but in other places around the globe, it’s still raging. Americans tend to think of it as “over” because we’re so parochial. The rest of the world is out of sight and, so, out of mind for the majority of Americans. And no one else on the planet is more important than us.

I don’t agree with that stance, and there are a lot of other people who don’t. But we do oftentimes seem to be in the minority.

While looking for a discussion topic to write for work, I came across this acceptance speech by Ursula LeGuin for the 2014 National Book Award. She names the plagues of our times, long before the biological plague, COVID-19, appeared. And she calls on artists—particularly writers, since that’s her art—to redress the wrongs, to write of freedom and hope. In her words [time stamp 1:24–2:19],

I have loved Ursula LeGuin since I first read her Wizard of Earthsea trilogy when I was, I don’t remember how old. Somewhere in my early teens, I suspect. I think I’ve read everything she ever wrote since. If you haven’t read her yet, you’re missing out on a brilliant mind and impeccable writer. She is one of my heroes.

Pandemic Diary: 10 Dec 2021

I got my booster shot on Wednesday—a Moderna, even though I got a J&J before. I’m glad to have an mRNA one now, and actually also to have had the old-fashioned kind first. That way I feel like my body is equipped across the board to fight off the current plague. I got my regular flu shot at the same time, so I was really wiped out and had a headache yesterday, but today is much better. Still a little weary, but the headache is gone.

Lucie developed a UTI and was peeing all over the floor constantly. She hasn’t peed in the house since she was a puppy, so we knew something was wrong. Fortunately just a couple weeks of antibiotics and she’ll be back to her old self. Already after just a couple of days she’s much better. No pee in the house last night or today! She’s now lounging on our bed for the first time in a week, so she’s happy.

James is doing his L’Arche thing right now. They’re singing their favorite Christmas carols, which of course include “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Blue Christmas”—it wouldn’t be a celebration without Elvis. I’m sometimes envious of James’s total love of that work, and of his chance to be around French speakers and speak it himself. But it’s not my calling. Apparently my calling right now is to be an English-language teacher to business professionals in Japan. Hard to get my head around that being my calling, but it seems to be so at the moment. I’ve put in 4-1/2 years at The English Farm so far. And I’m getting more and more work to do for content and curriculum. People say I’m a great teacher, and I get a lot of strokes for my content work, so I have to believe that I’m doing a good job. Still doesn’t feel like my passion, though.

If I had to choose a passion at this point, besides being free of all responsibilities when on vacation, I’d have to say visual arts. I’ve been obsessed with a portraiture competition on TV—it’s fascinating to see the process of creating a portrait of a sitter. Each artist has their own style and approach, so I see a lot of different ways to work. And I always think about how I would portray that sitter. If I had the money, I’d go to art school in a heartbeat! Not for professional gallery work, but to learn the skills to express myself well. I think I’d specialize in multi-media because I love to put things together to make something of its own. And it’s very hands-on. Photography is mostly about the eyes, especially since I don’t have a darkroom. I want something more physical.

[4 Dec 2009] Cutting our own tree (I miss that vest!)

We’ll be getting a Christmas tree tomorrow from the local farmstand down the hill. It used to be a huge thing for me to cut our own—I grew up doing that, so it seems like cheating and a let-down to buy one off a lot. But these days it’s just more work than it ends up being worth, I guess. And with my constant state of injury and pain these days, it’s pretty hard for me to manage Christmas tree cutting.

A regular student of mine told me today that she’s pregnant, after years of trying. Hope for the world continues.

Pandemic Diary: 13 June 2021

We walked into the grocery store without masks. We went to the library and browsed to our hearts’ content without masks. In Massachusetts, enough people are now vaccinated to allow most of us to be freer now in our movements. Last weekend we even went to a restaurant and sat inside with friends and ate, without masks.

Other parts of the world are still dealing with raging infections and deaths. My mind, soul, and heart don’t know where to stand, where to go, what to feel, living on a teeter-totter. So I enjoy my new freedom, and I weep for those who don’t have it yet.

And I wait to see what comes next.

Today I decided to treat myself like I would tell anyone else to treat themselves. I paid $100 for a set of Photoshop filters. I’ve used the free version for a few years now, but as always happens in the Capitalist world, the company finally killed off the free one and only offers an expensive paid version. Without the filters, I found that I never wanted to spend time on my photography anymore because the artistic rendering was too limited. I feel bad about the money spent, but it’s exciting to work on images again.