Blogging and Writing: A Stream A Collage An Unfolding

BlogsTyler Weaver, in his newsletter, wrote this passage about blogs (such as this one you are reading) in a way that I thought captured my own sense of why I continue to come to this space, writing and sharing and thinking out loud.

“… blogs work best as a crossroads between a stream and a collage made human by the collision of processings and ruminations through time, simultaneously representative of an individual, fleeting moment and the totality of those moments in a perpetual unfolding … ” – Tyler Weaver

Tyler’s newsletter — MacroParenthicals — is a quirky dive into comics, music, media, writing and other creative strands that he pulls on and looks at with a distinct voice.

Tyler’s piece had me thinking (yet again) of this blogging space, and how my view of it has changed over time. It used to be more of a space that I imagined as “outward” facing — sharing with other bloggers, and being connected into larger blogging networks — but now I see it more as a reflective space, something more “inward” where I am curating my writing and thinking. My audience may be smaller (I may be my only audience) but I still keep the door open for others (you, perhaps?) to peek in and see what I’m up to.

Peace (in the unfolding),

PS — and then later, I found this piece by James Shelley — What’s The Fun In Writing On The Internet Anymore? —  that has an ancillary point about the act of writing on an Internet full of AI bots and algorithms:

Write here because ideas matter, not authorship. Write here because the more robots, pirates, and single-minded trolls swallow up cyberspace, the more we need independent writing in order to think new thoughts in the future — even if your words are getting dished up and plated by an algorithm.

Those who write — those who add ideas instead of paraphrasing and regurgitating them — inform the lexicology and mental corpus of how we think in the future. Indeed, the point isn’t “being an author,” but contributing one’s perspective, even if one’s personal identity is silenced, erased, and anonymized along the way.

– James Shelley

Video Documentary: The Last Repair Shop

When I was a kid, my father (a drummer) used to bring me to visit a musical instrument repair shop for odds and ends, and it would be a place I enjoy just being in, just hanging out in.

It was called George’s Music Shop, and George was the man behind the counter, and when I was learning saxophone, it remained a place of wonder. I even used my memories there for a collection of connected short stories at one point (NOTE TO SELF: dig that up and revisit the stories)

This documentary — The Last Repair Shop – is a wonder of capturing a place in Los Angeles, and how the shop is a hub for fixing things and maybe, people.

It also inspired my morning poem:

On a memory stop
to an old repair shop
on Main, a whistle in B flat
ringing on the door, opening,
explaining I’m here,
aiming to get a broken sax,
fixed; worn pads,
replaced; things sound
better, with love

I hand it to the man
behind a glass counter
littered with sheet music,
cork grease, guitar strings –
his probing fingers pour
over every turn of the neck,
the bell, the cage, the springs

In a gruff voice, he speaks,
in a sort of bebop rhyme:
he’ll weave some magic
to make my sax sing again –
come back in two weeks time

Peace (and repairs),

Mickey Remix: Dance Mouse Dance

With news that the original Mickey Mouse from Steamboat Willie is now in the public domain, I tried a little remix — taking a scene from the video and putting it to music.

How I did it:

  • I found a high quality version of the movie
  • I used Gif-It to grab a gif-ed section of the movie
  • Created a soundtrack in my music-making platform (Soundtrap)
  • Layered the gif and music in iMovie
  • Played around with filters for the video

Peace (with some funk),

Film Festival: Emerging Filmmakers of Western Massachusetts

Film Festival Northampton Dec2023

Last night, my eldest son – Colin — and his film-making friend, Lucas, hosted a free event at our city’s old and beautiful Academy of Music. The event — Emerging Filmmakers of Western Massachusetts — featured a series of short documentaries and movies from local people in our area. My son and his friend had two movies on the agenda — a music video and a documentary.

The theater with the big screen was packed with people, and it was a fun night but also a proud night for my wife and I as we watched our son showcase his talents and shine a light on other filmmakers, too. Plus, donations helped support the local food bank.

I was reminded, as we watched the movies, of how many short films my son and I did when he was young (and then his youngest brother, now in college, studying film, took up the baton years later — and in fact, his movie was shown in the same theater as part of kids’ film festival many years ago).

It was a lovely evening, with many old friends and families reconnecting.

Peace (and film),


Wandering Into Inter_

Wandering Inter_

My wife and I had a great weekend in New York City, and one of the strange but interesting places we wandered into on a whim was an interactive museum called “Inter_” in the city.

The place is designed as a series of themed interactive rooms, where the walls respond to your touch (through some sort of haptic system, I guess) and colors and designs were part of the experience. The New Age-y narration and music didn’t do much for us, but the interactive elements drew us in.

Peace (and interaction),

In Bloom: Flower Show Collage

Flower Show Collage

Smith College, down the street from us, hosts two flower shows a year, in its greenhouse. Right now, its the Chrysanthemums coming into bloom, along with other assorted flowers and interesting plants.

Peace (in beautiful colors),

Tiny Art Gallery

Tiny Art Boxes

This was an interesting surprise. I was biking the local rail trail when I spied a box up on a stand, and thought it might be a new Little Free Library. Nope. It was a Tiny Art 4 All display, one of five newly installed small boxes of public artwork located along the trail that will feature local artists, changing the art every few weeks for the year. I stopped at a second box a bit later and will need to go another time to find the other three. I love our small art-centered city.

Peace (and Art),

Remembering Duke (Farewell, Old Friend)

Duke the Dog Collage

We had to put our dog, Duke, down yesterday. He had a good life, living 15 years, a long time for a big dog. Nearly all of that time was with us, after we rescued him from the streets of the Carolinas as a 9 month old pup.

Duke has often been sleeping near me in the mornings, when I write. And walks with him have given me time to think. He was a gentle dog, to people and other animals, and I will miss him dearly.

Our younger dog probably does not yet understand why he is missing or where he is (we are also watching a relative’s dog, so there is another canine presence here, which is helpful).

The house feels a bit empty, for sure. We’ll miss him. Good dog.

Peace (and love and sadness),

On Juneteenth: A Focus On ‘Black Rosies’


Rosie, the riveter as a black woman poster.

D. Elisabeth Glassco shared an entire thread on Mastodon the other day about ‘Black Rosies’ — the nearly forgotten members of the Rosie The Riveter generation of women who helped with war efforts at home during WW2. Efforts in recent years have worked to raise the profile of these woman.

Among these unsung heroes were over half a million “Black Rosies” who toiled in shipyards, factories, offices, and various other sectors to combat both foreign authoritarianism and the entrenched enemy of racism on the home front. Sadly, their immense contributions went largely unacknowledged for decades. — Glassco

But, unfortunately, many of these women worked in conditions and environments that were laced with prejudice and inequality, and for a long time, the iconic image of Rosie The Riveter was a white woman. Remembering the contributions of ‘Black Rosies’ is important as part of expanding the story narrative of our country’s wartimes history and I was intrigued by the insights and resources that Glassco shared (and I thanked her on Mastodon).

Black Rosies not only played a vital role in the war effort but also sought economic empowerment. For many Black American women, becoming a Rosie offered an escape from dead-end domestic and sharecropping jobs, aligning with the ongoing Great Migration. The war provided them with an unprecedented opportunity to earn money and shape a better future. — Glassco

Glassco’s posting caught my attention — not just for Juneteenth — but also because some of the work I have done with the Springfield Armory National Historic Museum and with Write Out (a National Writing Project/National Park Service partnership) has touched on and used the Rosie The Riveter story, with both other educators in Professional Development and with middle school students in summer programs that we have run at the Armory itself.

There is a Rosie The Riveter WW2 Home Front National Park in California. In particular, the life and story of Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin has received a lot of attention, as it should.

I don’t particularly remember ever coming across this many resources (see list below) related to Black women who were also considered ‘Rosies’, but I wish we had had more in our Armory programming, particularly when working on historical inquiry with young people. Seeing themselves in the primary historical documents of the Springfield Armory has always been one of our program goals. We work hard to diversify the resources, to expand the stories, to make sure place and culture are central to the inquiries.

So, here’s further appreciation to D. Elisabeth Glassco for giving us more resources and ideas to think about for any future programming and for teaching me something on Juneteenth.

Peace (Making Progress),

PS — here is Glassco’s curated list of sites and videos:

Wandering The Chalkroom (Laurie Anderson’s Text-based Virtual Reality)

(image via

It was a hot, humid day here in New England, so we took our teenage son to the MassMOCA museum — a huge, cavernous modern art extravaganza created out of an old manufacturing complex. It’s cool in there, in both degrees and art. We hadn’t made reservations in advance — it was more a hit-the-road on a whim kind of day — and we took a chance to see if there was any room for us to explore the Laurie Anderson Virtual Reality exhibit entitled “Chalkroom

No luck, the attendant informed us, as the day was booked solid in advance. Dang. We knew our son would enjoy a VR experience. We wandered away, slowly, but a few minutes later, we heard the attendant calling us back. ‘Come on,’ he informed us, with a smile, and a secretive wave, ‘I’ll let you in,’ and he led us into a completely dark room with virtual reality stations set up.

If you know anything about Laurie Anderson – musician, visual artist, writer —  you know she is full of interesting experimentation. The Chalkroom VR takes that to another level altogether, fusing technology with immersive text. The Chalkroom is based on a live exhibit she created years ago for the Guggenheim in New York, in which she converted rooms with etched writings in chalk. In this VR version, the visitor in immersive goggles flies and wanders through a fascinating landscape of virtual writing and art. It’s difficult to describe. Anderson created the experience with collaborator Hsin-Chien Huang.

(image via

In one room called Cloud, my favorite, you use the VR set to pull words off the walls and create a swirling cloud of letters and words, so that you end up standing in a maelstrom of texts set in motion. In another called Tree, my other favorite, you come upon a tree, whose leaves are letters and words, and you can either fly up through the branches, causing letters to fall and float, or once at the top, channel down along the trunk of the tree. In another called Rain, you are standing above a puddle of water, as rain in the form of text, comes falling around you. In another, called Writing, you shine a line on the walls, and write your own texts, scribbling lines that are made out of other words, so that her writing becomes your ink, but only temporarily, as you then watch your graffiti lift off the walls, float off and disappear.

Laurie Anderson’s voice, meanwhile, is whispering in your ear the whole time, providing snippets of story and text, a gentle hum of the artist perched on your shoulder even as you are invited to make your own choices about what room to explore and what to do once you get there.

I am often a skeptic to the emergence of Virtual Reality as the next step for creative composition — the whole Meta World thing bothers me because I know how companies are already gearing to exploit the experience for financial gain — but Anderson’s work has opened my eyes a bit wider for other possibilities, for the way that Anderson and Huang so effectively merges text and story and technology and sound together into a fascinating experience within her imagined world.

I love that text itself is key component, too, (white chalk writings set against a dark background) as she uses letters and words and phrases to chalk the walls and floors and ceilings, and then invites the viewer to explore those terrains, which sometimes open up into wider narratives and compositions in the virtual world. It’s also worth noting the tension between the old school writing (chalk boards) and the new (virtual reality), as Anderson bridges the past with the present/future.

Peace (writing it on the walls),