Daily life Part 3

After our morning greeting with Pickles, the next thing on the list is a check-in with Mittens.

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Mittens, although Pickles’s litter-mate, is a black-and-white tuxedo cat.  A favorite place to hang out is under our black Yamaha piano, where, we think, she imagines she “blends in” with the piano’s blackness.  Not.

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Mittens knows how to be comfortable as well.  As you can see!

Thanks for visiting!  More on Daily Life soon!

Daily Life Part 1 | Part 2

Daily life Part 2

In our household, the first thing that happens is Pickles.

Photo by Theresa Barker.

She keeps us on our toes by waiting to hear us through the closed bedroom door.  When she hears the sounds of getting up, she starts her yowl-hello to let us know she’s ready to join us!

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Pickles knows how to be comfortable.  As you can see!

Thanks for visiting!  More on Daily Life soon!

Part 1:  Daily Life

Daily life


This week I was reading fellow writer-poet-blogger Luanne Castle’s blog, in which she described a typical day in her life (“Typical Tuesday with Luanne Castle”).  Then today I read  the blog of my writing friend and collaborator Anne J in which she talked about a rushed and stressful afternoon in her life and how she managed to get through it (“Finding Joy I”).  After I read their posts, I had the wonderful feeling of getting to know them better by learning more about their daily lives.

In the past few days I’ve been talking with Tom & Audrey at USAThroughOurEyes blog about the profound transformation that happens when we take the time to listen – really listen – to our fellow human beings.  What is life like for them?  What are the hopes, fears, what do they strive to do.  What makes them laugh? What brings tears to their eyes?  And that suddenly, in hearing their stories, we find ourselves seeing the world from their vantage point.  (“Putting ourselves in their shoes,” as the saying goes!)

I was inspired this week by an interview with visual artist Maira Kalman, who said in part:

. . . People are leading very particular and very complex lives, and. . . every human being is a human being. People who you think you might have absolutely nothing in common with, philosophically, or just on a daily level, you find out there’s a tremendous amount of contact [shared common experience]. It might be so obvious to say that, but I don’t think that you can appreciate that until you actually go, and live that. . . . [and then] we can have a conversation about that and find the common humanity.  (On Being With Krista Tippett, https://onbeing.org/programs/)

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These conversations and reflections got me thinking about writing about my life on a daily level in a future blog post.  I’m thinking of doing that later this week, and I hope it helps us connect even more over the things that unite us, and about that things that make us different.  Have a wonderful week!

Two recent sketches

“You must laugh at yourself, laugh and laugh.” – Susan Stewart, “Lessons From Television”

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

And then she started laughing. The kite tugged at her hands along the kite string, the energy of her laughing bounced the breezes and bumped up the kite, unseen by us, but dancing in her eyes, so that we saw her lively heart and her faith in being beloved. That was all we needed for the moment.



“A shadow in the shape of a house/slides out of a house/and loses its shape on the lawn.” – Christian Wiman, “Darkness Starts”

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

What is she thinking?  She’s walking her dog.  Probably thinking about email, or what she has to do at work, or about that job, how it feels like a dead-end.  A millennial, she could be doing so much more.  But you have to have a job to earn money and this isn’t her parent’s world, the world of the baby boomer who had nowhere to go but up.  This is the realities of the 2000s, this is the time of partisan in-fighting, this is the time of environmental setbacks and global climate change, the time of things you can’t do much about as one person, seemingly.  She is walking her dog.  That’s all she is doing.


What is this about?

Laughing Girl – As I continue with my “sketch-a-day” efforts, I’m experimenting with adding color to the inked-in drawing.  In the top sketch, I liked how the flower in the hair turned out, and I thought the color patterning on the girl’s bright fabric shirt made a nice effect.  The pattern was actually flowers, large and small, on a red background.  Rather than draw each flower individually, I went for an “impression of a floral print” approach.   (They say hands and facial features are the hardest to draw.  Yes, these didn’t quite work out as in the photo.  You can see the original photo on Flickr here.  But, I continue to learn!)

Shadow Girl – Aha!  Did you notice, no hands or facial features in this photo!  I liked the angle of this photograph, that it was taken from above the subject.  The trickier part of the drawing were the shadows and the angle of perspective.  I was happy with it.  (Original photo here.)


Thanks to all!

With each sketch is my little reflection or fiction on the subject.  Thanks to yellowfuzzyduck at turtledesk blog, who recently published some of her acrylic work in a blog post, and to Miriam Hurdle of The Show of Blessings blog who often posts her paintings as well.  To Amy Maranto of Photography Journal Blog for explaining the process behind her creativity in photographs, and to so many others . . .  I still feel self-conscious about exposing my small efforts to the world at large, but thanks to you, all my blogging colleagues, for your encouragement!

“It’s a Local Production”- part 7


In Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5 and Part 6, our community theater costumer Margy, is writing a play.  Seetha, the director, has been rehearsing another social justice play, Bronx Zoo.  But the playwright just got a better offer, and this is Margy’s chance to shine.


“It’s a Local Production”

SAFARI, a One-Act Play

A black-box stage, house lights.

Two chairs sit center stage.

GIRAFFE, in full costume, sits in the chair on the left, holding his head.  He turns the head around and around, studying it.  He is silent. He peers at it, picks some lint off of it, holds it up facing toward him, shakes his head, and dusts it off some more.  Holds it up again, hands spread out inside the head, as if imagining the costume head on his own head as the audience would see it.

COYOTE enters stage right.  She is fashionable, with an upscale haircut, and a confident bearing.  She’s wearing a fashionable business dress, red, with a jacket, and black high-heel shoes.

COYOTE:  You’re never going to get more out of that head.

GIRAFFE: (mournfully) I know.

COYOTE: (going over to stand by Giraffe, empty chair between them)  You have to be tough on the costumer.  Demanding!  You have to tell them you won’t stand for it, you have to have a better head.  (Surveys the audience.)  That’s what I always do.

GIRAFFE: (looking up at COYOTE)  Does it help?

COYOTE:  (looking at GIRAFFE)  Sure!  Of course it does!

GIRAFFE: Where’s your costume?

COYOTE: At the cleaners.  I think.  (She sits.)

MUSKOX enters stage left.  She is an older woman, a wise-woman-type, who is also in costume, carrying her head.  Her costume looks good, noticeably better than GIRAFFE’s somewhat worn-out costume.  She crosses downstage, stands facing the audience.  She ceremonially puts on her head, fully costumed now, and turns the head gracefully from side to side, as if introducing herself to the audience.

COYOTE:  (to MUSKOX) There’s no one out there.

MUSKOX:  (from inside the costume, in a deep booming James-Earl-Jones-style voice)  That’s when it’s most important to be in your part.  When there’s no one watching.  (She turns to face COYOTE.)  Otherwise, you’re just faking it.  (She stamps her feet one at a time, toro-like, and lowers her head menacingly.)

GIRAFFE looks startled.  COYOTE looks angry.  Lights out.

Lights up.  Chairs are empty, one is knocked over as if someone left in a hurry.  STAGE MANAGER enters Stage Left, holding a clipboard and a new GIRAFFE head.

STAGE MANAGER:  (yelling)  Hey!  Where is everybody!  This is dress rehearsal.  Everyone to the stage!  Full costume!  (CAST gathers.) . . .


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The play was a success.  Two curtain calls. Seetha even asked me to “hold the mental space” to write another play next year.  The theme, while not hitting people over the head, was effective:  the futility of classism, racism, and elitism.  Stage Manager (modeled after Molly, played by Molly) had the final line:  “On Safari, everyone’s the same.”

(the end?)


Well, Margy got her chance to be an author, and to see her work performed and enjoyed by an audience.  I would like to take a moment to thank you for being in my audience.  Even when one writes for creative expression, the interaction with a readers makes a huge difference.  1) I learn so much from readers’ observations and reactions!  2) I feel connected to other writers, instead of isolated.  3) I gradually gain faith in my ability to touch other people’s emotions and experiences through writing.  Thank you for being part of my story!

What is your opinion – do you think there should be an epilogue?  Or does the story seem like it’s over?  How do you know when your stories, or poems, or essays, are finished?