With one or two exceptions, these are not polished works. Most are posts to various mailing lists (lightly edited); others are essays written way back when and not really polished since. Someday I hope to turn these into more formal compositions, but for now, it’s potluck. Enjoy!
A series of essays and blog posts on the nature of craft.
The Loss of the Creature – A tribute to Walker Percy’s essay of the same name. I wrote it in 1991, so it’s a bit rough; I hope to rewrite it properly someday. (I’m not quite as militant as I was then–I’m not vegetarian anymore, for one thing–but I still like it.)
Clinging – On the roots of frustration, based on my experiences in a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Nominally about craftwork, but applicable in many other areas as well.
The Value of Craft – Every fiber artist has been asked, “Why are you making this when you could buy this at Wal-Mart?” This blog post is an exploration of the reasons (stated and unstated) why craftspeople value working with their hands.
A Box of Chocolates – We only fully appreciate things when they are beautifully presented, unique, and fleeting. What can we do to enhance this? Do we create more beautiful, unique, and fleeting things, or do we reclaim the usual? No answers, but some interesting questions.
Thoughts on the Road Not Taken – On what actually makes taking your own path valuable, and a new look at Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”.
Into the Wilderness – Why is it valuable to spend days, weeks, months beating through the wilderness to create your own original work? It’s not the uniqueness of the finished piece…”to me the essence is a desire to be a sovereign wayfarer, to claim my own experiences rather than to follow the path prepared…by engaging myself in the piece, in designing my own rather than meekly following instructions en route to a destination laid out by experts, I deepen my own experience.”
Creativity, Stash, and Hoarding – Thoughts on the unnecessariness of stash to creativity, and how a huge stash is really about hoarding, an out-of-control desire for control.
Learning to Think – On learning to “think” in a given medium, understanding how A leads to B, and the struggle to understand how the pieces all fit together.
Slow Living – A meditation on how handweaving and sewing your own fabric relates to the Slow Eating movement – it’s all about relationships, and slowing down to savor things.
On Creativity – Someone asked me about how I could be so creative, and I answered: “To me, creativity is not a characteristic but a verb: it’s something you do, not something you are. Creating is as simple as taking a trip somewhere.” This post is about what is needed for creation, and how to avoid frustration as you begin to create.
Honoring the Divine – People marvel at my attention to detail. This piece talks about handwork as sacred – a connection to, and honoring of, the Divine.
Fail Faster! – Why sampling is important!
Discipline and creativity – Why discipline and creativity are not opposites, though they are often thought to be…and a few words about spontaneity and planning as creative styles.
Mind the gap – When beginning to create, there is always a gap between your vision and your ability to execute. This gap is what frustrates beginners, and leads people to quit creating. This essay provides some thought and insights on the gap, and ways to get past it.
Giving Yourself Permission - Often the hardest thing is to stop wondering whether you “can” or are “allowed” to succeed at something, and simply work on succeeding at it.
Choosing to Follow – I wrote this in response to a thread where a woman was complaining that the men in her area all expected her to kowtow because she was female…a couple of women who believe in submitting to their husbands jumped in, and the rest can be picked up from context, I think.
Courage – I wrote this back in 1998. It is, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever written.
Foreigners – Written in 1997, as a retrospective to four months in Budapest in ’89.
The Potential Myth – Teens and kids with obvious gifts are frequently told they should “live up to their potential”, which causes all sorts of self-esteem and guilt problems. In this post to a gifted-children mailing list, I wrote about my experiences with that particular guilt trip, and why I feel now that it is far more important to follow your passion than to do what you’re gifted at. (It’s nice, of course, if they coincide, but passion is more important to happiness than talent.)
Living with Bipolar Disorder -I have Type II ultra-rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, which is treated (very effectively) with medication. After I wrote this blog post on thankfulness, a social worker wrote me and asked if I would be willing to share my story with others he was treating for bipolar disorder. I wrote it for him, in hopes that it would help someone else who was going through hell.
I thought long and hard before deciding to post this on my website. There is still a lot of stigma associated with mental illness, and it’s conceivable that (for example) a potential employer might read it and decide not to hire me. However, I also feel that unless some of us with bipolar disorder are willing to stand up and own the disease, the stigma will never go away. So I am doing my small part by “coming out” and telling my story.
This is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever written, but it’s worth reading.
Shaping Life – A moment of clarity surrounding how our decisions sway the course of our lives.
The Safety Trap – Musings on fear and risk-taking.
Why I Ride – The introduction to my book on AIDS Lifecycle, and an account of how I became involved with the ride.
On Being An American – I attended the naturalization ceremony of a close friend – a big event, as he’d been waiting 17 years to get his American citizenship. He says he came to the U.S. because it is a far better place for an “out” gay man than his home country, and that got me thinking about what it means to be an American.
On Harnessing Chaos – Musings on how to harness your “chaos field”, for a more interesting life.
These are about my work with domestic violence.