• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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We’ve All Gone to Look for America

I had the great good fortune to visit Georgia O’Keeffe’s home over the weekend. The first thing I noticed was a wooden ladder resting against the wall lit by a noon sun, then a collection of rocks, then her humble single bed and the mountains beyond. Black cows and white horses in the valley below.  I was aware of the presence of greatness, a singular mind whose life was dedicated to art. No questions asked. Something so undeniable, so all encompassing. What was I thinking in my twenties working on my poems, spreading them out on the floor, pacing and smoking. Did I dream of being poet or was I already divided, in search of a job that would sustain me. O’Keeffe understood that making art would sustain her. Could there ever have been doubt with walls the color of cream, brown floors mixed with the blood of oxen. Standing in her courtyard and kitchen, her studio and storage room, to look at her spices and yogurt machine, it all made me feel full of wonder and longing and awe.

Who inspires you?


16 Responses

  1. lovely post….she spells her name with two ees and two ffs…OKeeffe.

  2. I’m inspired by women who seem devoted to adding something good and effective to the world: art, activism, service, kindness, whatever. Right now I’m looking to people like Tarana Burke and Rebecca Traister and the women on the rise to power in America. And of course Olivia Colman.

  3. Beautifully written and inspirational in itself. Who inspires me? Children inspire me and my hopes for their future; their innocence and openness the freshness with which they approach everything and never give up. Do you know that a baby learning to walk on average falls 100 times a day! Never give up, I say.

  4. Currently…Lin-Manuel Miranda. He wraps up rap, poetry, history, music, and storytelling with humanity.

  5. Sometime in my 20’s I had a vivid dream in which Georgia told me she liked my work. Maybe that could have been the death of striving for rank and tokens. What do you tell of the light cascading through an open-sky channel like that, before the picture, during the painting, after the museum closes? It is the exact same unstoppable brilliance coursing through the most meager and muddied of us, know it or not.

  6. It depends on what I’m working on, but, mostly it’s been Dorothy Allison and Kaye Gibbons.

  7. Patti Smith.
    I love how she writes about art and writing, and living a creative life on her terms. Plus, she’s just so cool.

  8. I’m an admirer of Ralph Glasser.

  9. “Who inspires you?”

    No one anymore. I thought about this before I responded. I lay in bed last night and as I thought of things, as I do, often in a structured way, before I slip into sleep, I thought of your question and my possible answer. And I realized, no one inspires me anymore. I have been well inspired in the past, both by some of the usual suspects and by persons peculiar to my own passage through this world — but I have not been in a state of being currently inspired by someone in some time.

    So, you may ask (or you may not), if no “who” inspires you, then “what” inspires you? In answer to that I can say only that I no longer feel inspired. I feel desperate, both to continue my work as a writer and a photographer, to get as much of it finished as I can before I go — for in those pursuits lie the meaning I have given to my life — and desperate at contemplating my personal situation and the situation of my country and of the world. There is no inspiration here. There is inertial velocity, and there is cold fear.

  10. This is a beautiful post. Thank you.
    There are many people who inspire me right now, almost all because they are in direct opposition to the current authoritarian regime. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. David Hogg and all the activists from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Teachers. Barack Obama. Michelle Obama. Meryl Streep. George Saunders (“Lincoln in the Bardo” in part illustrates why Lincoln was a great president and subtlety illustrates why trump is not.). Colin Kaepernick. Jamal Khashoggi.
    People who refuse to be bullied or suppressed..
    Prophets who are willing to shout it from the mountain tops..

  11. My mother loved O’Keefe’s work. I respect other people who admire it, but I get nothing from it. I did stop the car halfway up O’Keefe’s driveway, and, in looking over the landscape, began to cry and had to wait in the car for the rest of my family. What inspires me? Beauty. Nature. Music. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The Kite Runner. Renee Fleming. Anna Netrebko. The list is a mile long.

  12. Who inspires me.

    The dead inspire me.

    My job requires that I work with them, every day.

    They inspire me.

    Those who are left behind and grieve… they inspire me as well.

    The ones who die and have no one to grieve for them? I step in the place of those who might have been by them and am inspired to be a kinder, gentler person, because of their passing… indigent or well-to-do (a lot of well-to-do people die alone and remain so in death), it makes no difference.

    How about the convict who dies in the penitentiary? The ones who have no one… the ones who have committed grievous crimes? I grieve for them, as well, sad for the life they lived in having taken the image they were created in, almost destroying it… almost. Inspired by those small and kind things they have done, otherwise. Further inspiration comes from knowing how not to live life.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on one’s view) I’m not too taken with awe for the rich and/or the famous. Actually, I might have to take that back. I have one person that I’m inspired by and a great number of the world knows of him. He didn’t have great riches, fame, wisdom or power. Heck, no one even knows his name. His profession was what might be considered cowardly. He only had a couple of lines to speak. But the words he spoke have inspired me for decades. He died, shortly after his utterances.

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