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10 posts categorized "Create / Art"

04 February 2008

Come, let's ride brightly painted inner tubes, you and I

If you have watched TV commercials for the new teeniny microscopic MacBook Air, perhaps you will recognize this song by Yael Naim. Come, let's ride brightly painted inner tubes, play cymbals in a field of sunflowers, sing with a gorgeous Israeli-French accent, and realize that there is a whole big world out there, ripe for the dancing and for the floating. That's real air.

02 February 2008


I just love this. Love it. Art everywhere.

[seen here first]

10 January 2008

37days book ("Life is a Verb") coming this fall from Globe Pequot Press

Shrine2 Maverick writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman once wrote that "life is a verb." It is a sentiment echoed by the likes of Buckminster Fuller and Kevin Kelly.

And so it is. Life takes action, not wishful thinking. It takes mindfulness and intention. It takes slowing down and saying yes and being generous and being amazed and loving more. It takes getting out of bed and going to see the tiny Ninjas.

Together with artists from around the world who created amazing works of art to illustrate the essays, I'm so pleased to announce that my third book, LIFE IS A VERB: 37 Days To Wake Up, Be Mindful, Find Your Heart, and Do it Now (Before It's Too Late) will be published under the Skirt! Books imprint of Globe Pequot Press in the fall of 2008.

If you'd like to be among the very first to hear when it's available, please complete the form below. I can promise on a stack of vegan pancakes with fresh raspberries that your email address won't be used for any other reason than letting you know when the book emerges, with that fantastic smell of fresh ink and clean, crisp paper we love so much.

Email Address:

free forms

29 December 2007

N is for now

Bodyclock “Nothing is worth more than this day.” –Goethe

In 2008, I am going to be here now.

When you unpeel it, 37days is all about now, but I find I don’t live in now very often. I live in then, or when, or one day.

I want, instead, to live in Now. This moment. What does that look like? I think it looks like a lot less time on the computer and a lot more time playing Candyland with a four-year-old or making vegan cupcakes with a teenager or raking leaves with Mr Brilliant. I think it looks a lot like paying attention. I think, for me, it looks a lot like writing or being creative every day. Maybe it just looks like breathing deeply every morning before flinging ourselves into the whirling stream of our lives. It is far too easy to be swept into the competing currents.

As Thich Nhat Hanh has written, “Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

Pema Chödrön has reminded us that Now is the only time. That how we relate to Now creates the future. That what we do accumulates and that the future is the result of what we do right now.

I asked Billy Collins (you know, we talk constantly) if death is the main chord of all poetry. “Yes, it is. But poetry isn’t a consolation for death, for the reality that you will die. Instead, it is an expression of gratitude that you’re alive. Poetry italicizes experience or brings it into sharper focus. It provides a fuller immersion into life.” Poetry is about seizing the day, but we only need “carpe diem” if we realize we have a limited number of diems.

Continue reading "N is for now" »

06 February 2007

Read more poetry

We_generousTwo years ago, I attended the North Carolina Writer's Network annual conference. I was amazed to find hundreds of writers there, all talking about writing.

It had never occurred to me that so many people write or that, in fact, people actually study how to write. Go figure. Just think of all the time I've wasted, not in a writing group or studying with a teacher.

It was a real moment of clarity - I decided that it might be a good thing to take a writing class or twelve, to get work in front of others for their comment, to explore whether a writing teacher could see the architecture of the pieces that I couldn't see, not yet.

At the last moment, and at the last session of that conference, I decided to attend a workshop on memoir. For some reason when I walked in, I felt that the teacher was someone who would be significant in my life--I didn't know how, and I knew it didn't really matter if we continued our connection past the end of the workshop, but for that moment, his influence would be significant. And it was. I'm still figuring out how. It doesn't have to do with proximity, as so many things do.

His name was (and still is) Sebastian Matthews. A poet and memoirist, he teaches classes in which we read and listen to other writers, explore the structure of our pieces, and workshop the works of others in the course. I'll begin my next class with him on February 14th.

It's important to support writers, don't you think? Sebastian has a new book of poetry out - a perfect Valentine's Day gift, perhaps? You can find out about it here.

And guess who has written praise for Sebastian's work? Yep. None other than my beautiful Billy: "Music and musicians run through most of these poems—Louis Armstrong to the Beach Boys and many in between—but Sebastian Matthews has his own poetic music, which is poised, tuneful and able to shift from major to minor so nice you hardly notice. We Generous is a terrific collection, an assembly of smart and evocative moments." —Billy Collins

19 January 2007

Where every day is Now

Img_429837 days goes by quickly.

So does a life. After a young woman named Meta died this past fall, and in the slightly homebound recuperation following my fall in November, I created a 37days calendar for 2007 to raise money for a scholarship fund in Meta's memory.

The third and final printing of that calendar is now complete. If you'd like one, they are $10 (+$4.50 shipping/handling for 1-5 calendars), with half of that applied to printing costs and half donated to Meta's scholarship fund.

Img_4310_1Many of you have generously bought calendars - thank you. You have fed my burgeoning dream of sitting in a vast, spacious, uncluttered studio painted in shades of teal and umber surrounded by papers and textiles, creating small worlds of art that hang from silver threads or fantastic, bright cupcakes. Or something like that. I hope the calendars met your expectations.

If you haven't bought one and would like to, you can order one (or more!) online using PayPal (send PayPal payments to patti at thecircleproject dot com - please include your mailing address Img_4304in the notes section and let me know how many you want). If you hate PayPal and All It Stands For, you can send a check payable to "The Circle Project" to The Circle Project, 37days Calendar, P.O. Box 18323, Asheville, NC 28814 USA, and the fantastic elves will handle it from there...Img_4309

11 February 2006

Write some blues

“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.” - Duke Ellington

SuitI entered a writing contest six months ago with “Laid to Rest in Suit Number Nine,” a quirky little Southern gothic tale about a fastidious man named Nial who numbered all his suits as well as every possible suit/tie/shirt/sock/shoe combination, tracking them on a neatly hand drawn matrix on the inside of his closet door so he wouldn’t go to church two Sundays in a row wearing the same combination. Not that anyone would see them under his ubiquitous beige satin choir robe with that long pointy burgundy sash, or if they did see his outfit, that they’d remember which shirt he was wearing with which tie, but I’m giving this way too much thought.

Continue reading "Write some blues" »

26 October 2005

Frame your storyboard

“Not equal to

Not metaphor

Nor standing for

Not sign.” – Minor White

Patti_comicImagine Beetle Bailey’s surprise.

As Aldous Huxley said, perhaps Earth is another planet’s Hell. And maybe on that other planet, gargantuan people sit down with their oil drum vats of coffee, butter their big-as-car bagels, and open their 12-foot Sunday newspapers to find human Earth lives splayed above the fold as comic strips, our daily living played out for their amusement and edification in frames of our own choosing, and sometimes in boxes we wouldn’t choose—those defined by cancer, leukemia, dementia, racism, jealousy, hatred, boredom, inhumanity, wrong choices, name your fear, your awful regret, get inside that tiny box we draw for ourselves sometimes.

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17 September 2005

Save a grocery list

“The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory.” Chinese proverb

Daddys_luggage_tagThis luggage tag is what I have left of the ways in which my father’s hands moved and how he grasped his pen, always that blue plastic one with “Modern Barber Shop” on one side and his name on the other as Owner.

He’s been dead for 25 years now—dead now longer than he was alive in my life. Surely he’s been gone long enough that I am healed from that confusing and awkward and sickening day, those years of lack.

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17 June 2005

Find your saxophone

"Follow your bliss. Find where it is and don't be afraid to follow it." -Joseph Campbell


If you’ve read 37 days before, you might have picked up on my love affair with actor Johnny Depp. Beautiful, talented Johnny. Quixotic, funny, odd, quirky Johnny. Did I mention beautiful? Ooh-la-la.

What can I say? There’s no defending it. I won’t pretend it makes sense, this long-distance obsession from North Carolina to France, this enormous, smothering, consuming disdain for that little fragile wispy twig of a French blonde he keeps taking to awards shows and having children with for some unimaginable reason. Why, I could take her out in the blink of an eye, the bat of a more well-nourished eyelash, were I the least bit inclined toward violence, which - of course - I am not, having attended a Quaker college (whose football team was paradoxically the "Fighting Quakers," but I digress).

Continue reading "Find your saxophone" »