Just over the border of Indiana, a toe into Michigan is the town of Michiana where oak trees dot the rolling hills, Lake Michigan laps at the cool shoreline, and a deep and peaceful silence hems-in the town. Chicago peeks, like silhouetted upright legos, over the horizon…so distant I couldn’t hear the familiar rattle of the El, the sirens hard at work, the disappointed sobs of our beloved city’s denizens over the loss of the Olympic bid, or the complaints about how hot (or cold or hot or cold) the weather is.

No. Last weekend was our annual time for girlfriends, a time when we gather at our friend Joy de Vivre’s house. A time for talking, and bonding and laughing, yes. And also a time for rejuvenating our spirits amidst the trees, sitting on the beach as ladybugs used us as warming stations, gulping down the pure silences like we’re dying of thirst.

It’s good to see the stars at night.

It’s good to taste how clean the air can be…and to feel the eyes of a hawk upon me.

It’s good to unplug (even though I love to tweet and Fb and work on my laptop and Skype and all the technological wizardry that comes with this age).

It’s good to just be.

Thanks to Joy…to Lucky the Ladybug Magnet…and to Cool Blue.


How Creativity Works, A Theory

What a pleasure it is to witness creativity in all my friends. Just wanted to give a nod to the gods, goddesses, and muses that inspire their talents. When you read book jackets, author bios, artist statements, even articles about artists, there’s often a focus on the specific piece or project they’re promoting. People get known for that one or, possibly, two fields they do well. The public was surprised to learn that John Lennon drew.

But when I think of my artist and writer friends and family, so many of them are creative in more than one arena. My ceramicist friend, Renaissance Queen, can sew a velvet gown, paint a mural, and cook a mean roast chicken. My musician friend, Dark Side of the Moon, plays guitar the way people breathe, does graphic design and water colors, and cooks some mean Korean short-ribs. My cousin, Can Rewire Your House And Redesign It Too, has a crazy force of creativity running through her: photography, painting, interior design. And she cooks a mean set of cupcakes that look like sculptured flowers and butterflies, only they’re made of sugar.

All this to say — Creativity is Polymorphous. It takes many forms, busts out like an unstoppable riot of color, sound, movement…spirit. It’s not about being an “expert” in all of them (though there are those who are that, too). It’s about the Process taking over.

As for me, I’m really glad they all like to cook.


“Promise on the Prairie” – Sierra Magazine

Read my latest feature article, “Promise on the Prairie”, at Sierra Magazine online. I cover Chicago Boys and Girls Club teens from La Villita (South Lawndale) and a prairie restoration workday they did in 18F degree weather — that’s right, below freezing. Who says there’s no action in the prairie in wintertime? Enjoy!


Koan #6: Bare branches

It is the long season of ripening. Time to harvest solitude in the bare branches of the trees. Sing wind! The squirrels are plump, making slow scrambles up the maple trees. I walked with my new friend, B., this morning through our town. We spoke of technology and nature while our dogs sniffed poetry in the dry grasses. Yesterday, driving my mom to Midway airport, I saw a hawk catching a thermal over the industrial vastland where people eke out a living. It hung in the air, wings spread wide, spiraled, spiraled, beyond the DesPlaines, searching. Three warm days and my body was tricked into longing for summer again. But winter is on the cusp. The bare branches bear witness.

Look out your window. Better yet, GO OUTSIDE. Unplug. Live a little. Above all…Love.