On My Mind

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Miscellaneous | 11 Comments

Art by Pascale Monnin from the book cover for Create Dangerously

What lurks in the mind of Carine Fabius? Have you seen her?

Several themes have been dancing around inside my head lately. Tiptoeing like a ballerina is the power of art to transform us. A recent New York Times Magazine article on Estonian composer Arvo Pärt described his music as being able to “touch the soul.” It was also described as “…a harmonic stillness that conjures up an alternative to hectic everyday existence;” R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe said that Pärt’s music brings one “to a total meditative state.” The writer said he was surprised at how many of his acquaintances knew of the composer’s work and loved it.

I was similarly delighted to find that so many unusual suspects are fans of Haitian author Edwidge Danticat, whom we recently hosted at our gallery for a signing of her book of essays, Create Dangerously. The response was so enthusiastic I feared having to turn people away. In a world where most people need their culture fed to them in sound bites from celebrities, preferably on television, the author is wildly successful. While her lyrical prose defies conventional storytelling, its simple and gorgeous use of everyday language serves to inspire, horrify and, yes, touch the soul. I like that in a work of art.

I am working on a major exhibition of Haitian art that is scheduled to launch in 2012 and travel to important museums throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Haitian Cultural Foundation (HCF), which hired me to curate the exhibition, believes, like I do, that my beleaguered country’s art and culture should be an integral part of the recovery and reconstruction dialogue. Why?
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Who the Hell is Eric and Why is He Protecting Me?

Filed Under All Posts, Health, Miscellaneous, Prudence Baird | 14 Comments

When Prudence’s life is saved, she wonders, is it merely coincidence or celestial interference?

I am alive today because Eric, a man I never met, saved my life last month.

No, I am not filtering bodily fluids with Eric’s kidneys; nor pumping blood with Eric’s heart. Heaven forbid Eric should have donated any of his organs! After all, he died of AIDS 30 years ago.

But, according to Catherine, my son’s art teacher, Eric’s fingerprints are all over the recent life-saving business—although some may claim a mouse who nobly sacrificed itself, or that a journalist at the Brattleboro Reformer deserve just as much credit.

Perhaps. So, let’s give credit to Eric, the mouse AND the reporter. And my husband. And anyone else who wants to get in on the credit crawl. After all, once you’ve wriggled free from Death’s icy clutches, you feel a little generous.

Let me backtrack. Read more


Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Politics | 13 Comments

Connie reflects on recent tragedy, ongoing hate and hypocrisy

I just turned 59. I was going to write some funny thing moaning about being mooned by 60, but instead, I need to talk about how grateful I am. I’m grateful for something I have no right to be grateful for, and that is the status of my own birth.

Oh, I suppose I could have had it easier. I could have been born smarter, taller, thinner, blonder, male, but in conforming to a standard of acceptance, I guess I’ll be grateful to have been born white, blue-eyed, American, and straight in the society we are living in right now, oh, and Christian. That condition, happily, I have recovered from. Everything else just is what it is.

I am deeply troubled, shaken, and heartsick over the recent suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after being cruelly and publicly humiliated by fellow students, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei. Those two miscreants are being charged with invasion of privacy and possibly for hate crimes and will do 5-10 years in prison if they are found guilty. So this evil “prank”, if you can call it that, (though I would love to know how that conversation went), cost the life of a beautiful, talented young man, the grief of friends and family, and the shame of a nation that cannot seem to wrap it’s head around HOMOSEXUALITY. Read more

The Long Road

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Reinvention | 16 Comments

Photo by Melissa A Howden

With her eyes on the road ahead, for Melissa it’s been a journey of miles, memories and insights

As a child my mantra was, “When I grow up I’m going to… __”(fill-in-the blank). Usually I was exclaiming what I was going to do, or know, or be. I think back now on how I must have felt then making such definitive statements and I long for such simple confidence and belief.

Theoretically I am “grown up” but generally speaking I’m really just figuring IT all out on a daily, sometimes, hourly basis. And as I go it’s becoming clear that the more I think I should know, the less I really do.

A recent work-related change of location and the necessary drive across the country provided hours for contemplation and a framework for a glimmer of the understanding I’ve been seeking. The long road became a tome of memory, and simple insight mile after big sky mile. Read more