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Story Telling in Images

© Hugo Croswaithe, Mixed media mural.

We are story-telling people. We love stories and well tell them to explain, to help, and to show who we are. Last week, in San Diego, I stopped by an exhibition at the San Diego State University's 725 Gallery. The exhibition was on speech bubbles, those visual descriptions of what cartoon characters are saying. The mural that caught my attention was one on the importance of story-telling. It is an interesting mix of ancient and modern, with … [Read more...]

Old Triggers, New Reaction

Ancient trap, old trigger, same effect: you get slammed.

Memory traps or triggers---that word, smell, comment, gesture, song, childhood memory that brings back a cringe-worthy memory in bright detail. We are snapped back in time and behave as we did the first time--although we may be decades older. In mild cases, they cause us to relive the old memory, often berating ourselves for what we did or said in the past. In severe cases, they cause us to behave badly, drop years of therapy, coaching, or … [Read more...]

The Thrill of Starting Over

Gallery in Yarmouthport, Massachusetts.

Like a new coat of paint over a tired life, starting over, forgetting the past, sounds like a great idea. The messy slate of mistakes is wiped clean, and ahead is a shiny new start. We can put on a new face, a new attitude, a new beginning It seems like we can create a whole new identity with as little effort as a new website. Not long into the new, it is overwhelmed by the old--habits, ideas, behavior--the old us. We bring our old selves … [Read more...]

Which Came First, Risk or Courage?

The stars are always in the sky; but unless it is dark, you can't see them.

After the last blog post ran, a blog-reader sent me an interesting email. She asked me if I had become brave because I was risk tolerant or if risk-tolerance leads to bravery. Or was there a connection at all? I hadn't given that much thought, but it was interesting. When I was younger, I was highly risk-averse. I planned things down to the last detail and got upset if anything went differently, let alone wrong. Events had to run the … [Read more...]

Before The First Step

Clown car from

Each time you risk something--money, an opportunity, your time, a friendship--you have to check your risk tolerance. You can make a list of pros and cons, you can ask for help, but in the end, the decision you make to take or pass on the risk is up to you. You have to live with it and you have to live with the consequence. Each time risk shows up in my life, I go through three phases. These steps might sound familiar, or maybe you never thought … [Read more...]

So You Want To Post Your Video?


First, this is not a how-to on videos. I'm not very good at making them. I am very good at watching them, however. And after a lot of video watching, I'd like to give some unasked-for suggestions for anyone who may be making a video. These suggestions are largely for those of you who do how-to art videos. Demos of your favorite project. But it works just as well for cooking, home repairs or building. 1. Start with the most important thing … [Read more...]

Vulnerability and Power


At a recent gathering of writers, I was telling this story of finding my mother's love letters. I got to the part about cleaning out her house, I finding her love letters to my father. They showed me another woman, one I had never known, and could scarcely believe existed, much less was the same woman I called my mother. When I tell this story, I tell audiences I will choke up, and I do.  I don't cry, but my voice waivers and I have to pause and … [Read more...]

Renovation Life

This is similar to my old banjo-top vanity. So innocent looking, so devious.

Note: Last week, a glitch on my website caused many subscribers to be sent multiple test emails containing blog fragments. If you were one of them and did not unsubscribe, thank you. It's embarrassing when something that should remain behind the scenes spills out into public space. Worse still, when the accident is annoying to readers I value. My webmaster think the problem is fixed. I sure hope so. I would certainly not deliberately annoy … [Read more...]

Breaking the Facebook Habit

Really? How about plastic bags and twigs and crayfish? They also go with the flow.

In a prior life, I was a fact-checker. I researched articles to make sure the facts mentioned were true, to check numbers, dates, the spelling of names. It was before the internet, and it was hard work. I loved it. It bothers me to see how easily we lost critical thinking and slid into bumper-sticker philosophy, particularly on social media. In the past week, I brought my annoying habit to Facebook. I could not skip a post in which someone … [Read more...]

Building Habits With Identity

Ice cream just doesn't hold the fascination for me it used to.

Yesterday, I wrote about feeling overwhelmed. And I foolishly promised mentioned I was going to talk about creating new habits through identity. I manage feeling overwhelmed with to-do lists, which I compulsively sort, sequence and follow. Reviewing what needs to be done and in what order is a big part of who I am--a practical, no-nonsense, no-drama get-it-done personality. What does this have to do with identity? Part of my identity is … [Read more...]