gathering good :: 16 march 2017

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A day early this time (or three weeks late, depending on how you’re counting), but lots of links for the easily distractable. Have fun, but don’t forget to go outside.

After seeing the movie Hidden Figures, I think we’re ready for this all female NASA Lego team, don’t you?

Cement factory magic castle is a thing. Kind of breathtaking.

Here’s a lovely longish read: What writers really do when they write.

I have several friends on Facebook who have passed away, yet FB reminds me of their birthdays every year. Is your digital life ready for your death?

I love this…book reviews in 3 paragraphs or less. The Brief Book Reviews blog.

Nope, we didn’t just make it up. The Science of Hangry.

This cracks me up (and yes, it would probably work on me). Repackaging junk food for the hipster crowd.  Heh.

34 books by women of color to read this year. Time to stop talking and start supporting.

These are beautiful. Designer turns Arabic letters into illustrations of their literal meaning (you have to see it to get it).

Finally, we have something new on This is Plan Be, Be the Change postcards. They’re free. Come visit and get a pack of your own for sending or just some inspiration for creative resistance.

See you on the flip side.

 

Photo by Kim Tackett. Almond orchard in Yolo County.

always short and almost true stories :: winter

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My latest set of 35-word stories, sponsored by the longest of seasons, winter.

 

She blames gravity.

Winter rains.

The election.

Guilt for what, she can’t recall.

The death of Princess Leia.

Melted glaciers, never known.

She doesn’t realize

caring is for the strongest.

And spring will eventually come.

 


 

Leo,

alone by the fountain,

greets all who pass by.

He’s not at the retirement resort,

but the Italian Riviera,

60 years younger,

and his wheelchair

is a shiny red Vespa,

with room for two.

 


 

Her smile doesn’t move,

encased by plastic surgery.

It seemed a good idea, but now

without her laugh lines, how do we know

where she’s been, what happiness she’s lived

and how she really feels?

 


 

Storm’s coming.

I gather rainy day provisions:

Red wine, truffle popcorn, fancy cheese

and chocolate.

Meanwhile, under the freeway

shopping cart forts

built of cardboard, tarp,

rope and defeat,

shelter others.

Two roofs, different storms.

 


 

They sat until they ran out of nothing to say.

Staring without seeing each other.

Tense, anxious,

afraid of what comes next.

She spoke first.

Your move.

Yes.

King me.

Checkmate.

Damn you.

Another game?

 

I began writing 35-word (or shorter, never longer) stories by accident, a result of my failed attempts at a decent six-word story. I couldn’t be that concise and not feel some regret for the leftover words. The short-short-short story kept at me, until I found a format that gave me enough, but not too much. The stories reveal themselves almost every day. I can’t make this stuff up, or at least not all of it.  More stories live here.

Photo by Kim Tackett, Barcelona.

gathering good :: 24 february 2017

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Hi there, it’s been a long while since I have done one of these round ups of internet wonderfulness. We might have to look a little harder these days, but artists are still making, writers are still creating and the rest of us are imagining with all our might. Want to know what I found?

33 new books for 2017.  My books-in-waiting are stacked around my chair like little towers.

And here are 70 books to make you feel hopeful. (If you’re counting, that’s 103 books for my reading towers, which might make getting to my chair without spilling my coffee a little trickier.)

Jamming with the Boston Typewriter Orchestra!

Tee shirts for the feminist in your life.

The wheelchair, reinvented (wow!).

The one breakfast habit you should break...oh, my life would be so much easier if I didn’t require milk in my coffee. Honestly.

These Earl Grey Tea Truffles…is it past chocolate season yet?

Winter may have felt more beautiful last November, but if you need a reminder, these photos are breathtaking.

Do you follow Emily McDowell? I love her products, especially her empathy cards.

Productivity is about what you don’t do. A new way to look at an old issue, yes?

Norman Seef B+W portraits of celebrities in the 70’s and 80’s. So cool.

My daughter Alex would love this. Now that I think of it, it’s not so different from my stack of books surrounding my chair.

There, don’t you feel better than if you’d spent the last 15 minutes on news sites? I sure do.

See you on the flip side.

 

Photo by Kim Tackett, Barcelona.

 

it’s complicated

He’s right outside my window,
right now, right here.
In the rain, looking for dry spot, under the eaves,
or so I presume.

Wrestling with a blanket, tucking it into his torn jeans
It’s awkward, trying to work and watching him
just trying to be warm.
I wish I had a tarp, or a blanket, or something
more.

I can’t see his face, but I can see
he’s wearing a
leopard skin bra.

It’s complicated.

But it’s cold and wet
and I don’t know
how to reconcile the
community growing
under the freeway with
the life I get to live,

where I ponder
creativity and travel and wine and
if I need a new sofa, or if chairs and better lighting

are good enough.

here we stand, connected to each other

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This weekend I was reminded again, how we are all connected. How we are all neighbors. And how we all are standing with each other.

Our town of Davis, is known as one of the most liberal communities in America. You may have heard of us. Rush Limbaugh (who worked in Sacramento for many years) refers to us as “the people’s republic of Davis.” We have a toad tunnel (good idea, didn’t work so great). We are a nuclear-free zone and a Sanctuary City. Our bicycle-to-person ratio is about even (with the bikes winning).

Our town is mostly good, but sometimes bad things happen here. Last week, our beautiful Mosque was vandalized. Broken windows, slashed bicycle tires, and perhaps the most emotional and disgusting act, bacon wrapped around the door handles.

It was a difficult week for all of us, but imagine what it must be like to be visibly Muslim, and to know that you are on the government’s list, based on your religion?

But then a neighbor stood up. And another. And another. Hundreds of neighbors, connected by our need to do something, anything, for social justice, human rights, religious freedom (hey that sounds familiar, isn’t that what our country was based upon?).

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On a sunny Friday afternoon, we gathered in Central Park, to support our friends and neighbors. The crowd stood in silence, as we witnessed our Muslim brothers and sisters in prayer.

I saw my friend, Kamal, in the front row of the prayer group, and was honored to hear him offer the Call to Prayer. I’ve known Kamal and his wife, Anne, since Alex and their son, Nassim, were four. They went through school together, birthday parties and play dates and graduated from high school together.

My friend, Robb Davis, who is now our town’s mayor, spoke emotionally about our collective brokenness and shame, and the power of love. I worked with Robb at Freedom from Hunger, and Steve and I are good friends with him, his wife Nancy, and his daughter, Kara. We did Robb’s campaign materials when he ran for office two years ago.

Steve and I stood with our good friends, Dave and Vicki, who we have known since our girls were ten, playing softball together. I saw Sheila across the way, her daughter played with ours.

I realized later that the organizer of the event, Kate Mellon-Anibaba, is the older sister of one of Alex’s dear friends. They spent several summers together as camp counselors in Marin County.

A woman came up to me and identified herself as someone I worked with at Explorit, many, many years ago. She’s been reading the blog ever since, and was inspired by my previous piece on Resistance. She’s starting a website with resources for resistance. I hope I can help her.

The speakers stood on the steps of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, one of our favorite clients. The logo Steve designed for them is one of his best pieces of work, ever.

We stood behind a group of young Muslim girls, wearing jeans and hijabs. Younger than my daughters, but reminding me of them.

I looked around, and saw my neighbors. I saw my town, connected and connecting. Protected and protecting.

Our country supervisor, Don Saylor, said “This is not something foreign,” he said. “This is not something strange and faraway. It’s us. This is our community.”

Yes, it is.

While we were standing side-by-side, in the sun, on a beautiful Friday afternoon, the president was signing his shameful executive order to ban refugees from certain countries (though not the ones where he does business) from entering our country. Alex works for IRC, teaching cultural orientation classes for newly arrived refugees, many of them from Syria and Iraq (including some who worked for the U.S. government). Refugee resettlement has become a daily topic in our home.

I have hope that our connection and our commitment to each other, the neighbors we know, and the ones around the corner, will be stronger than the government that is working to break us. And I am trying my best to stand up, speak up and support others.

Because, we are connected. Even in ways we don’t yet know.

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The Davis Vanguard had a nice piece on the event. Thanks to all who made this possible. I am honored to be in your community.