Bin Laden’s Death & What We Really Want

I heard no fireworks.  In the center of the rural Midwest, I was aware of no celebrations – raucous or otherwise – in bars, in living rooms, in church fellowship halls. I was an outsider.  Just visiting.  I may not have been sensitive to the signs.  Midwesterners are also known to be a rather reserved bunch.  But, this winter I’ve had occasion to observe both Green Bay Packers fans and energized mass… Read More

“Lead,” She Said.

If we’re ever going to begin to grapple with the problems we have collectively,we’re going to have to move back the veil and deal with each other on a more human level. Wilma Mankiller (1945 – 2010) Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Today I sat with two Elders in my community – two Grandmothers.  Both of these designations, elder and grandmother, carry ambiguous valence in a culture (mine) so taken with… Read More

Libya, a First Draft, and Pondering Truth

Back in the 2000, my friend Amy Schutzer published a novel she titled Undertow  She considered another title:  What Version of the Truth Do We Tell? I’ve just finished the first draft of 100 Voices:  Americans Talk about Change. Really!  The first draft toward publication in September, 2011.  That’s amazing enough, but the reason I mention it here has to do with truth.  It has to do with the incredible candor… Read More

March Forth!

I’m not sure the first time I realized this day, March 4, is the only day of the year that doubles as a poem.  Poetry is, by nature an illusive combination of feeling and fact.  It is mysterious, powerfully so.  It is anchored in words, also pretty imprecise when it comes down to it.  There is certainly reality in it; otherwise poetry would never catch our attention at all, but it’s bigger… Read More

Working for a Living during Black History Month in Wisconsin

In January of 2009, Nick Minnis sat in a coffee shop watching the street scene on the corner of 28th and E. Burnside in Portland, OR.  We got into a conversation about change.  Nick said, “I’m not a politician.  My world is small.  I work, I provide, and I sleep…very little.”  He laughed.  I don’t know whether Nick is in a union.  I do know he is a working man, a laborer…. Read More

What Accents Have to Do with World Peace

The bald eagles are nesting in northern Wisconsin.  To see them is a privilege.  This sense of privilege – really, of awe – is not new in humans.  And the birds deserve it.  Their power and dignity, their grace and comfort with majesty can only be met with appreciation of the highest order. Then there’s everyday eagle speak.  Not the famous war cry that echoes through canyons, but the way eagles chat… Read More

Egypt, Chicago and the Year of the Rabbit

Today is the second full day of the Chinese New Year.  We leave the year of the White Tiger to enter the Year of the Golden Rabbit.  I am not Chinese, but my Chinese-American friends tell me the rabbit symbolizes graciousness, kindness and a sensitivity to beauty.  They say Chinese astrology predicts this is to be year of peace and collaboration. Associated with the beginning of the lunar calendar, the festivities of… Read More

Year Three Begins: Change in Everyday America

Two years ago, today I was interviewing Kate and Georgiana, #s 002 and 003 on the EX:Change.  They are both women in the middle of their careers.  They are both artists and teachers.  I was interviewing them about change, the word and the concept that had gained such notoriety in the 2008 presidential election. Kate said this: “It’s really my strength and my weakness, this penchant for change.  I can get impatient… Read More