Further places & events

Don’t listen to anybody. Decide by yourself and practice divine madness. Develop courage for the benefit of all sentient beings. Then you will automatically be free from the knot of attachment. Then you will continually have the confidence of fearlessness and you can then try to open the Great Door of the Hidden Place.
—Tulshuk Lingpa (1916-1962)

World views:

Since last taking note, this blog site has had some more visits from viewers/readers outside the US. Norway and South Korea are now added to the previous list of visitors’ locations outside the US, so the line-up now is: Belgium, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, UK, & US…

More festivals listings!

If you scratch the surface of event listings for tiny but significant places like Taos and Port Townsend, you’ll find, as I did, that they have some interesting-sounding events happening virtually every week all year long (visit their websites—I’ve only included a few items from each). Probably lots of other similarly scenic & culturally desirable communities are also extremely rich in cultural events all year round. Taos and Port Townsend are quite small! Taos population: 33,035 (2013); Port Townsend: 9,210 (2013). Not every US small town is a cultural wasteland! Though to be sure there are plenty of such BFEs scattered across the landscape as well!

My lists of festivals lean heavily in the direction of locations I’ve enjoyed living/visiting, typically without any concern at the time for particular festivals or other interesting major events taking place there. I’ve mostly (though not completely) omitted anything in the Deep South as I generally find that quadrant of the continent just too off-putting for words. I’ve also mostly omitted major massive urban cluster-f**** centers in the North, for somewhat similar reasons. This is just my personal taste!—Obviously there are gobs of lovely people in the North and the South, as elsewhere, and lots of interesting aspects of their respective regional and local cultures. I’m just making a highly personal, rather arbitrary and certainly idiosyncratic/idiocentric selective listing of my own. No offense intended.

Again, let me know if there are events I’ve left out that you think I might enjoy, and send me your own lists of events you’d most like to attend/participate in. Do you have any plans to show up at any of these events? Share your responses!

Further Festivals 2016

Feb 2016

Feb 27-Mar 5 Poetry workshop: DO I DARE DISTURB THE UNIVERSE? Writing Long or Linked Poems  – Spokane


Mar 12 Abby Martin speaks at The Venus Project Celebration – Fort Myers FL


Apr 7-10 Taos Shortz Film Festival – Taos NM


May 7 Kinetic Sculpture Race Grand Championship  – Arcata to Ferndale CA
“Triathlon of the Art World”

May 20-22 Taos Lilac Festival

May 29-June 4 Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival & Workshop – WA


June (?) Taos Solar Music Festival – Taos
celebrating music and alternative energy technology

Jun 3-5 Folk ‘n’ Bluegrass Festival – Pagosa Springs CO

Jun 10-12 The Brass Screw Confederacy – Steampunk Festival – Port Townsend


Jul 3-10 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes – Port Townsend

Jul 8-10 Taos Pueblo Pow Wow – Taos Pueblo Buffalo Grounds

Jul 14-23 Port Townsend Writers’ Retreat, Conference & Readings

Jul 22-24 Fiestas de Taos

Jul 31-Aug 7 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival & Workshop


Aug 4-29 Art Port Townsend – Annual Port Townsend Arts Festival
visual arts, literary events, workshops, lectures, artist studio tours

Aug 12-14 Crestone Music Festival – CO


Sept 2-4 Four Corners Folk Festival – Pagosa Springs

Sept 8-11 Big Barn Dance Music Festival – Taos

Sept 23-Oct 2 Taos Grand Fall Arts Festival

Sept 23-25 Port Townsend Film Festival

Sept 28-Oct 2 Port Townsend Ukulele Festival


Oct 1-2 Great Port Townsend Kinetic Skuplture Race

Oct 1-2 World Championship Outhouse Race – Virigina City NV

Oct 23-25 Taos Mountain Balloon Rally



Some more fave places (may include some overlaps with earlier list):

Anambas, Arcata, Bababudangiri, Bawah, Bo Town, Brunswick, Cala Bono, Cala Millor, Cambridge, Cicely, Demoshong, Einsiedeln, Eldorado Canyon, Emerald Lake, Eremo delle Carceri, Florence, Flüeli, Gaienhofen, Gili Air, Gili Meno, Goifulhafehendhu, Gold Beach, Hermit Gulch, Ibiza, Interlaken, Kamloops, Kanchipuram, Kanya Kumari, Koh Lipe, Kyichu, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Louise, Limantour Beach, Laucala, La Verna, Livigno, Madison, Mainau, McKenzie Bridge, Minusio, Montagnola, Mt Arunachala, Mt Sanitas, Mullayanagiri, Narni, Nusa Lembongan, Oban, Oberengadine, Okanagan Valley, Pashupatinath, Phajoding, Pushpanjali, Rameshwaram, Ranft Ravine, Revelstoke, Rolwaling, Sacheln, San Juan Capistrano, Shirdi, Silver Plume, Squaw Valley, Sringeri, Stockbridge, Tirupati, Tiruvannamalai, Trawangan, Udupi, Witch Creek, Yolmo, Zanzibar

This morning’s music

Some people would rather listen to Pat Boone, Brittney Spears, Bing Crosby, or I don’t even know who, boy bands, or some such kettle of fish….To each their own. Seriously. There are all kinds of music for all kinds of people. That’s a good thing. As Ayurveda states, every natural substance has the potential to be a deadly poison under certain circumstances, and contrariwise, under other circumstances also has the potential to be a life-saving medicine. Taste is a wonderfully free and wild thing. My own personal tastes are pretty captious and bizarre, and certainly include some fluff from time to time. But sometimes one has to “get solid”: “I can’t keep from cryin’ sometimes…”

Ten Years After, performing “I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ ”  1975 Winterland

More Festival Listings

More Festival Listings

Apropos of my earlier post about various culture festivals: Thanks to all of you who sent word about additional interesting festivals in 2016. I also did some more exploring on my own, and found many fests I’d not previously listed. I’ve combined everything from my earlier post in the list below.  It seems there’s some interesting festivities happening almost every week throughout the year, with several overlaps, of course.

A few events have already occurred (Jan-Feb). See my earlier blogpost regarding my fanciful notion of perhaps enjoying spending a year traveling by camper-van from one culture festival to another throughout the seasons and across the country.

Of course, there are also plenty of similar fests around the world, but I have restricted my list to events to & from which theoretically I could drive, more or less easily & safely, camping on route, in the US and Canada–though at least one fest in Hawaii has slipped onto the list!

What do you think? Are there other festivals & similar events you would include in your list of those you might wish to attend, or at least enjoy knowing/reading about? I’m already remembering others I should look up & add to my list! There were a few I didn’t include because I couldn’t find any specific dates for this year—maybe some from the past are no longer being held?

Some Festivals in 2016

Jan 14-17 Wild & Scenic Film Festival – Nevada City CA
“where activism gets inspired”

Jan 21-31 Sundance Film Fest

Jan 29-30 Amnesty International Film Festival – Nelson, BC


Feb 19-21 WinterWonderGrass – Avon Colorado
“3 days of world-class Bluegrass/Acoustic Roots music”

Feb 20-28 Sedona Film Fest – Sedona AZ


Mar 3-6 Boulder International Film Festival – Boulder CO

Mar 3-6 Peace on Earth Film Festival – Chicago

Mar 11-13  McDowell Mountain Music Fest – Phoenix AZ
“community – culture – charity 100% non-profit”

Mar 14  Banff Film Tour, Sedona – Sedona AZ

Mar 15-20  SLO Film Fest – San Luis Obispo CA


Apr 1-3 WinterWonderGrass – Tahoe / Squaw Valley
“3 days of world-class Bluegrass/Acoustic Roots music”

Apr 7-10 Vail Film Festival – Vail CO

Apr 13-24 Manhattan Film Festival – NYC

Apr 14-17 National Ayurvedic Medical Association Conference – Warwick RI

April 15-24 Coachella Valley Music Fest

April 15-19 Plein Air Convention & Expo – Tucson AZ

Apr 15-17 Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Fest – Bronxville, NY

Apr 22-23 Blue Ridge Bookfest – Flat Rock NC

Apr 30-May 1 Yall West Santa Monica Book Festival


May 13-15 Shakti Fest Joshua Tree

May 15 Maifest San Francisco Tourist Club – Mill Valley (Mt Tam) CA

May 17-21 Festival of Faiths, Sacred Wisdom, Pathways to Non-Violence – Louisville, KY
“Five day celebration with dialogue, music, poetry, film, and the arts that explores how sacred wisdom addresses violence.”

May 18-28 San Diego Surf Film Fest

May 20-22 Overland Expo Flagstaff

May 27-30 Telluride Mountainfilm Fest

May 27-29 California Roots Music and Arts Fest – Monterey

May 27-June 3 Sufi Camp Hawaii – Keanae, Maui

May 28- 29 Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival – Santa Fe

May 29 – Jun 2 Seattle Film Fest


June 16-18 Ann Arbor Book Fest

June 18-19  Flagstaff Folk Fest

Jun 18-25 & Jul 25-Aug 1  Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference


Jul 1-7  Rainbow Family Gathering of living light, world peace, and healing
“location tba: will take place in Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont”

Jul 8-10 International Folk Art Market – Santa Fe

July 10-16 Fishtrap Summer Gathering of Writers – Wallowa Lake, OR

July 17 Sommerfest San Francisco Tourist Club – Mill Valley (Mt Tam)

July 17-24 Mendocino Sufi Camp


Aug 4-7 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

Aug 21-28 Port Angeles WA Plein Air Fest Paint the Peninsula

Aug 28 – Sept 5 Burning Man


Sept (?) Northern Arizona Book Fest – Flagstaff

Sept 7-12 Bhakti Fest – Joshua Tree

Sept 8-10 Carolina Mountain Literary Fest – Burnsville NC

Sept 16-18 Flagstaff Bluegrass Fest Pickin in the Pines

Sept 17-18 International Peace Festival – Ithaca NY

Sept 18 Kinderfest San Francisco Tourist Club – Mill Valley (Mt Tam)

Sept 19–25 Mendocino Plein Air Paint Out

Sept 19-25 Global Peace Film Festival – Orlando

Sept 22-25 Creative Edge Film Fest – Fairfield IA

Sept 23-25 Jaipur Literature Fest at Boulder CO (& Jaipur India, & London)

Sept. 24 & 25 Julian Apple Days

Sept 29-Oct 14 Vancouver International Film Festival


Oct (?) Ashland Book & Author Fest – Ashland OR

Oct 7-14 Plein Air Fest Acadia Ntl Park, Maine Fall Color Week

Oct 14-16 Brattleboro VT Literary Festival

Oct 19-23 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

Oct 21-23 Bioneeers Conference – San Rafael (Marin Co) CA

Oct 29 – Nov 6 Banff Film and Book Fest

Oct 30 Yosemite Film fest


Nov (?) Chicago Peace Fest

Nov 1-5 Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival – Portland OR

Nov 11-13 Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival – Colorado Springs
“longest running women’s film festival in North America. Documentary, narrative shorts & animated films that are thought-provoking, enriching, & encourage global awareness & personal growth, that present the world as women experience it & that inspire curiosity, educate, entertain, & stimulate conversation.”

Nov 20 Peacefest – Peace River, Alberta



Random Travel notes


out 1

There was nowhere to go but everywhere.
—Jack Kerouac

Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.
—Prophet Mohammed

Studies have shown that planning a vacation brings people more happiness than every other part of the trip. And a huge body of research shows that people train more consistently when they have a race or other goal to target. So we have a theory: Planning a vacation and a big event will make you happy and fast.
—unknown (cycling magazine)

Journalist: You are a particularly beautiful woman. Does it help you in your profession or is it rather a burden?
Cecilie Skog: I don’t think I’m especially beautiful. It could be that some people find me attractive because I’m a dainty girl. However, I wish they were interested in me because of my achievements as an adventurer and not because of my appearance.
—Cecilie Skog (b1974)
Norwegian mountaineer, global adventurer, nurse

I’m picturing myself: I’m 87 years old, and I probably still have this big hair, but it’s totally grey, and I have two long braids. And I’m climbing…in south of France…with a boyfriend…he’s twenty years younger than me.
—Cecilie Skog

On Himalayan climbing:
I really enjoy the views from the tallest mountains in the world. It is amazing to reach the highest points and especially to do it with people I care about. But I’ve come to that point now, where I actually enjoy it more to trek into those mountains and to visit the villages around and the local people. It actually just gives me more and I enjoy it more.
—Cecilie Skog

It doesn’t matter where you are going,
It’s who you have beside you.

It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can’t see who you are.
—E. Lockhart
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

“So,” she said, “I went to the doctor and it turns out I have chlamydia.”…She’d previously been dating a bigger-name snowboarder and with Whistler being the cesspool of degeneration that it is, these things happen….Resort towns are statistically off the STD rate charts with Whistler rumored to be the king of them all. The golden rule of avoiding anyone with a foreign accent to ensure cleanliness is the thinking of a fool.
—unknown (snowboarding magazine)

I’ve been mountain climbing in Iceland, parasailing in New Zealand and dog sledding in the Arctic, but haven’t been to many beach resorts. So I’m not really used to being waited on, or being expected to relax, which I’m not very good at and quite expert at avoiding.
—Kate Winslet
English actress

Go solo—at least once in your life.

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of solo adventures. Everything from eating lunch by yourself to strolling in the park alone all help to shape your sense of independence. If you’re never by yourself how will you ever know yourself.”

Don’t sit and wait. Get out there, feel life. Touch the sun, and immerse in the sea.

I must pack my short life full of interesting events and creative activity. Philosophy and aesthetic contemplation are not enough. I intend to do everything possible to broaden my experiences and allow myself to reach the fullest development. Then, and before physical deterioration obtrudes, I shall go on some last wilderness trip to a place I have known and loved. I shall not return.
― Everett Ruess
Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty, by W.L. Rusho

To wake up on a gloriously bright morning, in a tent pitched beneath spruce trees, and to look out lazily and sleepily for a moment from the open side of the tent, across the dead camp-fire of the night before, to the river, where the light of morning rests and perhaps some early-rising native is gliding in his birch canoe; to go to the river and freshen one’s self with the cold water, and yell exultingly to the gulls and hell-divers, in the very joy of living; or to wake at night, when you have rolled in your blankets in the frost-stricken dying grass without a tent, and to look up through the leaves above to the dark sky and the flashing stars, and hear far off the call of a night bird or the howl of a wolf: this is the poetry, the joy of a wild and roving existence, which cannot come too often”
― Josiah Edward Spurr (1870-1950)
Through the Yukon Gold Diggings: A Narrative of Personal Travel

“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.”
― Angela N. Blount
Once Upon an Ever After

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
― Erol Ozan

You don’t always need to have a plan. Sometimes you just need to wait and see where life takes you.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
—Mark Twain

I was and am very proud of the journey [my motorcycle] Amelia and I have created and completed. I am lighter with emotion and with need, and know more what I really want from life. Adventure will always reign high on my list. I don’t need a bucket list because I want to live my life in a way that I am always traveling to new places and experiencing new things. But if one needed to tick the boxes, riding a motorcycle to all 50 states and Canada definitely ticks a box.
People often ask for my worst experience or scariest time on this journey and I really don’t have one. If the weather was bad and re-routed me, it always led to a unique experience, one I would would not have had otherwise. Even when I crashed at slow speed on the ice, this gave me a chance to meet a diver coming around the corner to warn me about the blind curve ahead that hid a steep downward hill covered in sheet ice with no guard rail. And I have to give credit to years of travel and to trusting my “gut.” I believe in my “gut” feelings and many times I rode on and skipped campsites or areas just because they did not feel right. I give credit to my “gut” for keeping me out of places that could have become a horrible experience.
What now? I have yet to find the absolute place to plant roots, but I don’t need deep roots just yet because there is another project on the horizon that will take me on another motorcycle journey with a team in less than 9 months. It is not official yet, but I hope to release the adventure information in May 2016. As of this writing I am submitting the Guinness World Record (just waiting to hear the news if I have broken the record), have begun the books that will be written about the journey, and I am completing the videos from each month on the road. I hope to have my accounting of the full journey ready for release early in 2016.
—Danell Lynn

If you have great ambition, take as big a step in the direction of fulfilling it.
—Chinese fortune cookie found in VW bus left derelict for 40 yrs

A man does not climb a mountain with out bringing some of it away with him, and leaving something of himself upon it.
—Sir Martin Conway

The tourist hopes to catch something through his lens, while the traveler seeks to surrender, even to be claimed by a surprise in very real ife.
—Pico Iyer

I had no desire to travel faster. In this way there was time to notice things.
—Wilfred Thesiger                                                                                                            on choosing camels over automobiles for expedition across the Arabian Desert.

If ever you find that you have to rush, rush slowly.
—Mongolian wisdom

The average person walks the equivalent of three times around the world in a lifetime.

After spending the majority of the day in hike mode, we made our way back…we decided that maybe while having dinner in Curry Village [Yosemite] we could indulge ourselves in some international crowd watching; this was not a disappointment. The best and only way I can describe the nightlife in Curry Village is that it is an intimate international gathering of strangers. It truly must be experienced to be understood.
—unknown (hiking magazine)

Out here, it’s not that you’re lost. You just don’t care to be found.

Go somewhere you’d rather be.

…All those nights taught me that at my core, the wild heart that beats within us all finds its love out there experiencing the world fully with eyes wide open!
—Danell Lynn

Stay Wild.

Embrace the wild. Be unstoppable. Go further.

Step off the grid. Alter your boundaries.

Don’t let them tame you.
—Isadora Duncan

In short, all good things are wild and free.
—Henry David Thoreau
Walking (1862)

Adventure is worthwhile.

Where the road ends
adventure begins

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
—David Bowie

I hope you get where you’re going, and be happy when you do.
—Jack Kerouac
On The Road

Some more fave places (S-Z):
St Francis Wood, the Samuel P., San Anselmo, Sand City, the Sandias, San Geronimo, the Sangre de Cristos, San Jacinto, the San Juan Islands, the San Juan Mountains, San Rafael, Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina Island, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santa Lucia, Santa Ysabel, Saratoga Springs, Sark, Sausalito, Schuls, Scranton, Scrotum Ridge, Seahaven, Sea Ranch, Seattle, Sebastopol, Sedona, Seelisberg, Shasta, the Sheffield, Sierra Nevadas, Silverton, Silver Lake, Silver Springs, Sleepy Hollow, Slide Ranch, SLO, Snowflake, Soboba Springs, SoHo, Solana Beach, Soquel, South Fallsburg, Spirit Rock, Stars Hollow, Steep Ravine, Stewarts Point, Stinson Beach, Stockbridge, Stowe Mountain, Strawberry, Strawberry Manor, Strawberry Valley, Sugarbush, Summerland, Syracuse, Tam Valley, Taos, Tassajara Springs, Tesuque, Timber Cove, Tocaloma, Tokpo Gongma, Tomales, Trona, Tubac, Tucumcari, Tuolumne Meadows, Two Harbors, Uberengadin, Ubud, Uttar Kashi, Valley Ford, Valley of the Blue Moon, Valkenberg, Vancouver, Varanasi, Venice, Venice Beach, Victoria, the Village, Villanova, Virginia City, Vlodrop, Vulpera, Waikiki, Waimea Kamuela, Washington Square, Waukegan, Weed, Whistler, Whitehorn, White Rock, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsburg, Williamstown, the Willamette Valley, Wilmette, the Willows, Winnetka, Don’t Forget Winona, Witch Creek, Witch’s Glen, Wolf Hole, Woodacre, Woodstock, Yorkville, Yosemite, Zingzingbara, Zion.

out 2


Nowhere To Go But Everywhere – Part Two

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
—Henry Miller

The purpose of existence is the expansion of happiness.
—His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

More Fave Places (Part Two: D-L)

Dal Lake, Darjeeling, Davenport, D.C., Deer Valley, Del Mar, Devil’s Gulch, Dharmshala, Dillon Beach, Dogtown, Douglas Island, Doylestown, Druid Heights, Durango, East Montpelier, Elephant Mountain, Elk, Elk Valley, the Elmwood, El Rito, Emerald Bay, Emerald Cove, Encinitas, Esalen, Ensenada, Ephrata, Estes Park, Eugene, Eureka, Evanston, Fair-Anselm, Fairfax, Fallon, Fernie, Fernwood, Fiuggi Fonte, Five Brooks, Flagstaff, Florence, Flumeville, Foggy Bottom, Forest Knolls, Fort Bragg, Fort Collins, Four Corners, Gangotri, Germantown, Glencoe, Glen Ellen, Goa, Gold Beach, Gold Coast, Goleta, Go Mukh, Goodpasture Island, Grass Valley, Green Valley Falls, Grover Beach, Gualala, the Haight, Haiku, Halaula, Haleiwa, Half Moon Bay, Hamakua Coast, Hamlet, Hana, Hanalei, Harmony, Hawi, Healdsburg, Heart’s Desire Beach, Hemet, Hillcrest, Hilo, Honeycomb Hill, Honeydew, Honokaa, Honolulu, Hyde Park, Ibiza, Idylwild, the Inner Richmond, the Inner Sunset, Interlaken, Inverness, Inverness Park, Irish Beach, Isla Vista, Ithaca, Kailua, Kalimpong, Kasar Devi, Klamath Falls, Kovalam, Kyoto, Jenner-by-the-Sea, Jewell, Joshua Tree, Julian, Jyotirmath, Kailua Kona, Kapaau, Kathmandu, Kedarnath, Kenilworth, Kensington, Kent, Kentfield, Kentwood, Kootenay Mountains, Kodiak Valley, Kullu, Laguna Beach, Laguna Canyon, the Laguna Mountains, Lagunitas, Lahaina, Laird’s Landing, La Jolla, La Paz, Larkspur, Laupahoehoe, Leucadia, Little River, Lincoln Park, Livingston Manor, Loleta, London Town, Lone Pine, Lucas Valley, Lucia.

Let’s go on a random road-trip!

Nowhere to go but everywhere – Part One



I’ve been thinking a lot lately about travels, past and future. What about you? I love so many places in one way or another for one reason or another. So many places I’d love to visit again, or for the first time. What about you? Where are some of your fave places? Where would you most like to visit next?

There was nowhere to go but everywhere.
—Jack Kerouac

Below is the first section of a list I came up with a year or so ago of some of my fave places. Do you see any overlaps here with places on your own list? Let me know. Let’s go somewhere together.

A Well-traveled Life contributes to a Life Well-lived
Some footprints, hearthfires, campsites, eyries, caravanserai, redoubts, crossroads, retreats…
(Part One: A-C):

Abiquiu, Absecon, Acoma, Adirondacks, Alameda, Albion, Albuquerque, Alpine, the Alps, Amarnath, Amherst, Amsterdam, Anderson Valley, Angelfire, the Appenines, Applecross, Apple Valley, Aptos, Arcata, Arosa, Ashland, Asilomar, Astoria, Avalon, Avila Beach, Badrinath, Banff, Barbary Coast, Bear Mountain, Bear Valley, Belvedere, Bennington, the Berkshires, Berzerkeley, Big Basin, Big Bear, Big Sur, Bird Rock, Bixby Bridge, Black Mountain, Bodega Bay, Boise, Bolinas, Bolinas Ridge, Booneville, Boston, Boulder, Brattleboro, Brigantine Island, Brooktrails, Bryn Mawr, Burlington, Cambria, Cambridge, Camp Meeker, the Cape, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Mountain, Carmel Valley, Caspar, the Catskills, Cayucos, Chama, Channel Islands (BC), Channel Islands (CA), Chelsea, Chiang Mai, Chico, Chimayo, Chinatown, the City, the Claremont, Coconut Grove, Cole Valley, Colombo, Coronado, Corte Madera, Cow Hollow, Cowle’s Mountain, Coyote Mountain, Cranks’ Ridge, Crest, Crested Butte, Crestone, Crystal Cove, the Cuyamacas.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
—Mark Twain







Random ARTy Notes 2

ART &cetera

Random recent gleanings on artmaking & creativity (writing, living, homemaking, etc)

I can paint pictures, but I cannot rule men.
Blessed Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole, 1395-1455)
Italian saint, painter, monk

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
Alice Walker (b. 1944), 71

Question: Where do you find inspiration?
Art, nature, books and music. I look for beauty in everyday things, and store it all in my head and heart. Everything I love is automatically reflected in my work.
Yelena Bryksenkova
artist, illustrator, New England
in Flow magazine, January 2016

There was another way, the way of freedom, there was the paradisal entry into pure, single being.
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Women in Love (1920)

At one point I learned Transcendental Meditation. This was 30-something years ago. It took me back to the way that I naturally was as a child growing up way in the country, rarely seeing people. I was in that state of oneness with creation and it was as if I didn’t exist except as a part of everything.
Alice Walker (b. 1944), 71
writer, poet, activist
quoted in Circling Faith: Southern women on spirituality
by Wendy Reed, Jennifer Horne (2012)

They were almost like two souls,…two souls going hand and hand along the upper road that skirts the heaven of perfection.
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
The First Lady Chatterly (1972)

Question: What inspires you?
Nature is my muse: I love to go camping and to be in the forest. And I collect vintage fabrics and English wallpaper.
Elizabeth Olwen, 2016
artist, illustrator, Toronto, Canada

Photography gives me opportunity to travel the world and go to places I have never imagined. I have met many great people and seen some amazing places.
Samson Hatae (b. c1986)
photographer, outdoorsman

The energy of this place [Destin, Florida] because of its natural beauty and the way of life is inspiring, and relaxing. I find inspiration in all aspects of all different cultures, not just the one I happen to live in. It’s raw, expressive, authentic and loose.
Justin Lyons (b. c1983)
artist, Florida

Question: How’s life as an artist in your hometown?
I love my city; it’s small and beautiful. I like strolling through it in the evenings, and find it very inspiring. It’s a very peaceful place. There isn’t much of an artist community here, but that’s okay because I like hanging out with people who do something completely different to me.”
Yelena Bryksenkova
artist, illustrator, New England
in Flow magazine January 2016

He who wishes to paint Christ’s story must live with Christ.
Blessed Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole, 1395-1455)
Italian saint, painter, monk

Question: Got a golden drawing tip for us?
I think it’s important to remember that nothing can be right or wrong when you draw. Earlier, I used to doubt myself before putting pen to paper, and question whether the end result would be dull or look stupid. But there is nothing right or wrong in art. It is your own interpretation of a form, an object or a motif, and that makes it so unique. The whole goal is just to have fun, be creative and express yourself. So be free and be yourself.
Elizabeth Olwen
artist, illustrator, Toronto, Canada

As far as painting goes, the artist Ray Turner once told me that a good painting should make the viewer feel all of their emotions: love, sadness, joy. My ideal painting, then, would be of a woman. I think they’re the most beautiful subject.
Tyler Warren (b. 1993), 23
artist, surfer, San Juan Capistrano

A beautiful woman is one of the glories of creation and one of the greatest objects of divine contemplation.
Blessed Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole, 1395-1455)
Italian saint, painter, monk

‘I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.
L. M. Montgomery (1874-1942)
Canadian writer
Anne of the Island (1915)

Oh! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen (1775-1817)

The key to having a successful in-home studio is turning your desk away from your bed.
I can get ideas just standing in the kitchen, but also before I fall asleep, it feels natural to work where I live, and to live where I work….
Joana Avillez (b.1987), 29
illustrator, Tribeca Manhattan

New York City is not a city, it is a country, where you choose where you want to be in life and how much you want to figure it out.
Moses Moreno
stylist and photographer

These mountains are full of Dharma friends;
we meditate and chant in a world apart.
If you look for us from the city wall
all you will see are clouds.
Wei Ying-wu (737–791)
Chinese Buddhist poet, recluse

Traveling keeps the mind going, it creates a non-stagnant life and teaches you to appreciate different cultures. I love surfing new waves, creating new memories, and meeting new people.
Tyler Warren (b. 1993), 23
artist, surfer, San Juan Capistrano

A tourist passes through the places they visit while a pilgrim allows the places to go through them.
brochure, Bardsley Island oratory, Wales 2015

Heaven is below our feet as well as above our heads.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Seeing Design in the Everyday
(or, The Antidote to Selfies)
by Rob Forbes (2016)

1. Walk around.
Find a cappuccino without a foam heart on top.
Turn over the cup or saucer.
Consider the silent hand of design.

2. Keep walking.
Actively observe where people choose to sit in public.
Note the preference for walls and stairs over benches.
Respect our resistance to direction.

3. Walk some more.
Listen to a bike passing you by.
Enjoying the quite hum.
Predict how many years of pleasant acoustics it will provide.

4. Walk on.


Since 2000, I have worked in a studio that’s part of a complex called Tussen de Bogen (“Between the arches”), in the Haarlemmer District of Amsterdam. As we are located near a little square and not in a dark little street, we get a lot of light but no direct sun. That’s exactly what you want if you do illustrating: sunlight without rays in your eyes. For me this is the perfect place. Working alone isn’t for me. I share the studio with three other illustrators. I can get so immersed in drawing that I don’t think of anything else. Luckily, working here, routinely someone breaks my concentration. I snap out of it, and I make myself an espresso. When I get back to my drawing table, I have distance from my work and can see more clearly,which can be a good thing at times. Over the years, I’ve collected drawings, presents and photos of loved ones around me. It’s nice to see familiar things when I look up. My cabinet full of children’s books and graphic novels is there for when I don’t know how to continue. I look at how another illustrator solved a certain problem and encourage myself by telling myself “Come on, you can do it, too…”
Gertie Jaquet
illustrator, Amsterdam

Question: Which city inspires you most: Shanghai or Amsterdam?
Shanghai. There’s always something going on, it stimulates and encourages me. My old memories of Shanghai are changing: the smell, the colors, the things, they are often gone. That is fascinating, too. Life in Amsterdam is much easier and more stable. I can write in peace and quiet here, without too many distractions.
Yue Tao (b. 1978), 38
writer, author of Shanghai Blue (2015)

I usually start off with coffee, and then check the waves. That usually determines how my day will go. If I have an art show coming up, I’ll paint or draw more, but I must surf once a day. Sometimes I’ll paint, surf, and shape [surfboards] all in one day, but usually I focus on one or the other.
Tyler Warren (b. 1993), 23
artist, surfer, San Juan Capistrano

If you could put Japanese illustrator Aiko Fukawa to work in a dark cellar, her drawings would be just as pretty. “As long as I have my pencils, paint and paper, I can get inspired anywhere,” shes says. “Drawing comes from within. Since I got married a year and a half ago, I work from our new home in Kawasaki, near Tokyo. The large living room also serves as my workspace. Around noon, I go and sit down at my desk with a large cup of white coffee, and my cat Maru comes and lies down next to me. My own illustrations are hanging on the walls because they inspire me toward new things. I go on till around 10 pm, with breaks. When things are busy, I work till the wee hours. I love the quiet of the night. Drawing is more than work for me; it’s a part of my life. Wherever I am, I collect images in my mind of what I see.”
Aiko Fukawa (b. c1981), c35
artist, Kawasaki, Japan

I rent a studio 15 minutes from my home. While I’m working, I move around a lot. I have two desks in separate corners, a sewing table, a standing area, a couch to lie down on. I need this variety in my creative process. From a different angle, I can literally and figuratively work at things in a new way. On the high wall hangs a piece that I’m working on now. I can look at it from all the different spots in my studio. I don’t give much attention to the tables and chairs in the space. They are inexpensive, from Ikea. It all gets dirty so fast; I find it a shame to spend too much on it. The coziness comes from my collection of old photos, newspapers, dolls, and paintings. I’ve been collecting vintage stuff for years. It inspires me. I set my alarm to go off every 45 minutes. Then, I’ll take a break. I’ll eat or drink something and walk around and then I’ll continue from another spot. This keeps my thinking fresh. Creating is an untidy process in my head so I try to be as organized as possible in other ways. I start in the morning with a to-do list. Right now I’m working on two illustration assignments, two books, and two exhibitions, so this helps me to stay calm and relaxed.
Lisa Congdon (b. January 17, 1968), 48
artist, illustrator, Oakland

^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^

Random Arty Notes 1

ART & cetera

Random recent gleanings on artmaking & creativity (writing, living, homemaking etc)

Everything I do gohn be funky (from now on)!
Allen Toussaint (January 14, 1938 – November 10, 2015)
Dean of New Orleans music, singer-songwriter
“Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky (From Now On)”
from Toussaint (album recorded Summer 1970)

Make it out of clay or wood or silk
paint it blue or green and gild it with gold
but if you think a buddha looks like this
the Goddess of Mercy will die from laughter.                                           —Tao-ch’uan (12th century CE/AD)
Cha’n (Zen) Buddhist master

If you don’t dream big
how do you know what to do
in the morning?

Do what you love
Make who you are

Creativity is having fun in making mistakes.

Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep!

If you’re not having fun painting, then don’t paint.
Carlos Villa (1936-2013)
San Francisco-born visual artist, curator, professor
Painting Dept, San Francisco Art Institute

Working on my paintings, it sometimes feels like a relationship with a lover.
Audrey Kawasaki (b. 1982), age 33
LA-born artist

Visitation views

1969 Rexroth

I miss our wonderful home in San Francisco — but San Francisco has become unliveable — a typical Mafia-run town, like Chicago when I left it in 1927 — for the same reason. Just think — forty years and I never have made a true friend in San Francisco…
Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) 1969 age 63
American poet, radical public intellectual, outdoorsman, professor                 diary entry upon moving from San Francisco, where he had lived from age 21 to 63

1976 February Rexroth

Yes, you are right about the USA. After living in Japan, the culture shock of living here again is too much. This is the greatest military despotism since Assyria, governed by fools & feared and hated by every nation on earth…there is no escaping homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. I don’t want to be part of the collective guilt. I do not have a male friend in Santa Barbara who is not a foreigner! I don’t know what American men are talking about and I have nothing to say to them. On that score—as on most others—Tocqueville was certainly right. …I wish I was 35 years younger. I would change my citizenship…What a country!”
— Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982), 1976, age 70
letter, 1 February 1976

Besides friends from all over the US and around the world, anonymous visitors to this blog-site have shown up from the following locations around the planet (in roughly-alphabetical order): Belgium, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Russia, Taiwan, and the UK.

An interesting collection. Everyone is invited to say hello, post responses to what they read here. When writing blog posts, I am often aware of various known friends living around the globe, but otherwise I write mostly with a kind of “local”, “regional” or “mostly-national” scope of focus. Not deliberately, just by habit (for this kind of writing). It is somewhat-quickening to realize that what gets posted here may be read by unknown visitors from all over the world. And of course by various NSA workers busy collecting everyone’s data. (Hello NSA workers! Do you read the data you collect on each other? How boring—and creepy—is that? There are better jobs to have. Give it some thought….).

I don’t “believe in” the over-all supposed benefits/supposed necessary and/or benign-nature of modern nation-states (Can you tell?). Of course, if a people who share some strong degree of unique communal self-identity (whether ethnic, regional, linguistic, cultural, religious, genetic, etc.) and haven’t been able to self-determine their collective political/economic (etc) destiny, then of course, they may very well wish to assert their “national” sovereignty. I totally understand that. No group of people wishes to be subject to some other group!

But asserting/attaining operational recognition of a particular people’s shared unique nation-state sovereign status also involves (eventually, if not always also immediately) various kinds of subjugation of individuals and minority groups within that population group, however small and seemingly-uniform the newly sovereign group as a whole seems to be at first. There are definite distinct advantages to modern nation-states, of course. There are also incredible disadvantages, not all of which are quite so obvious to many who have been programmed to assume the modern nation-state system is wonderful and/or inevitable/necessary. We have options.

Yes, as a stage of social-evolutionary growth or development, there is certainly preferability for any population who have not yet enjoyed (or are not now presently enjoying) sovereignty. Of course I totally get that. But I also dream/work/live toward the day when we can peacefully agree to allow ourselves to grow beyond such childishly limited models as nationalism- &/or-empires for living together in our world, on our shared single planet. It is such an ignorant and brutal form of structuring our shared experience of mutual existence.

Big clusters of fish gobbling up small clusters of fish and then the big clusters breaking up into smaller clusters of fish who keep gobbling up other smaller fish and then becoming big fish clusters who gobble up smaller fish, repeating ad nauseum, ad absurdum. We can do better than that. We must do better than that. Or we will all go down the drain of evolutionary history. The current model is all genocide, all murder and enviro-murder, all mass “suicide-by-cop” where some of us are cops and most of us are suicides-by-cops (our cop-selves). But what happens when all the non-cops among us have committed this suicide and only the cops among us are left? Of course, they (those few of us left alive) will all kill themselves (those few left among ourselves) killing themselves (ourselves) by killing each other. That’s how the modern nation-state system works.

And it’s not such a modern system. Man being “wolf” to man is a very old model. But it’s come to the edge of its lemming rush to follow its own herd-instinct to the fatal precipice of extinction (redundant? yes, but no more). We are quite literally murdering ourselves and our planet. So tragically unnecessary. So stupid and horrid and wrong. It would be/should be/could be so easy and wonderful to live together in peace and mutual love and joy and co-operative harmony and freedom. Help each other out instead of doing each other in.

As to national politics here in the US, various friends are beginning to write to me about considering
leaving this nation-state to relocate their residence to another. Somewhat jocularly (dark humour!), somewhat seriously.

Actually, there are tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of U.S. Americans who DO leave this nation-state to go live in another location every year, especially right after a new presidential administration is “elected”/selected/comes to power. But the numbers seem to be just about equal between those who leave rather than stay under what they perceive as an unconscionably evil new or continuing regime because it looks “too” liberal/progressive/leftist (what the right fears as a Stalinist lesbian intellectual police-state!), and conversely because it looks “too” crazy-rightwing/fascist/racist/white-supremacist/ homophobic/misogynist/theocratic/police-statist.

Yep, we’ve got both right here in River City, folks. And with each wave of Americans fleeing to other countries, I’m afraid you’re still gonna be surrounded in many locations by other expat Americans (as well as locals) who just happen to be gun-toting paranoid ignoramuses/schizoids. There are plenty of local homegrown ringwing neo-Nazi type nativist thug factions throughout Scandinavia and France and UK, and does anyone really feel safe in China or Mexico? Yes, with Canada once again pulling away from the effects of its recently replaced rightist regime, it is once again a friendlier place in many ways than the US, and of course it has never been as brutal as the US (with the clear exception of policies/practices of genocide against “its” First Nations peoples).

Meanwhile, I feel, personally, that this is still the nation-state within which I can continue, for now, to do the most good. It’s a reasoned assumption, but difficult to know such things for sure. And of course, as much as anyone, I also sometimes daydream about the possibility of enjoying a better existence by returning to an expat residency…some where….

2009 Bill Porter

“…Mountain Dave was making his first trip to China after being deported from Taiwan for overstaying his two-month tourist visa by thirteen years. That demolished the old record of seven years set by Bob Bensen, another friend who couldn’t deal with the bureaucratic requirements of visa extensions and residency permits. For people like Bob and Dave and myself, Taiwan was a welcome refuge and a hard place to leave. We never heard very good news from fellow Americans who went back home. Just the opposite.

“Someone once asked a Tibetan yogi the easiest way to attain Enlightenment. He said, “Leave your country.” Living as a foreigner, one had the opportunity to reconsider the attractions of one’s own culture and to choose new, less debilitating ones with which to outfit one’s life. I chose Chinese poetry and Buddhist sutras, oolong tea, and the afternoon nap—ostensibly harmless stuff.

“…During the winter I took a couple of baths a day to keep my fingers flexible enough to work my typewriter keys. A bath was good for a few hours, which usually allowed me to translate a Cold Mountain poem or a Stonehouse gatha, and the bathhouse was never closed. Lounging in the steaming water by candlelight, it was hard to imagine ever going back to the States.”

— Bill Porter (b.1943) 2009 age 66 American translator, Buddhist pilgrim in China and Taiwan
Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China (2009)

Image result for bill porter red pine