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Category: Friendly Fires

projects and support groups promoting creativity, educational opportunities, other people’s creative efforts

BLESSING FROM AN ELDER (Pete Seeger)

BLESSING FROM AN ELDER (Pete Seeger)

There once walked a gentle, funny, and very stubborn man, a musician who believed passionately in the power of people singing together out loud. It was his skill to induce crowds of friends and strangers to join their voices together and create transcendent harmonies that lifted up the people’s hearts and spirits and set the world to shining for a while, cloaked in visions of belonging, of unity, and of peace. With his long-necked five-stringed banjos, his 12-stringed guitars, and…

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HELP SEEDS FULFILL THEIR PROMISE

HELP SEEDS FULFILL THEIR PROMISE

One of my favorite quotes about seeds comes from writer-filmmaker-cum-social entrepreneur Kenny Ausubel who co-founded Seeds of Change with his wife Nina Simon in 1989.  The seed- growing company’s mission, “to restore ‘backyard diversity’ into the food web through marketing organic, biodiverse heirloom seeds to gardeners,” continues to this day. Around the same time that Ausubel was doing that, he was also helping to put together Bioneers, a non-profit group that holds an annual conference which, it says here, functions…

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SMALL TOWN * BIG ART ON THE ISLAND

SMALL TOWN * BIG ART ON THE ISLAND

One time a friend asked one of the old-timers who had lived his whole life on the island of Maui through the decades that made up the beginning of the end of the twentieth century what it was like to live his life in this place.  They were digging holes for pasture fence posts at the time. The island had gone through numerous transitions during that one lifetime.  Henry Burns had seen many of them. The laconic old man stopped…

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SWEET DRINK OF WATER

SWEET DRINK OF WATER

I like watching Judy Bruder be.  She is one of those people who seems to be comfortable in her own skin – what Hawaiians call being “pa’a”, grounded.  It does look lovely on her. Judy loves art.  She has a “good eye” for it and a warm tendency to nurture, celebrate and take delight in the people who make good art.  These tendencies of hers have stood her in good stead as she continues to develop and build her shop,…

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LEGACY-SCHMEGACY, KEEP ON WALKING

LEGACY-SCHMEGACY, KEEP ON WALKING

Lately I keep tripping over people who are either “building a legacy” or are trying to convince me that I should be doing one too.  It’s beginning to make me all kinds of grumpy. These strangers are telling me that my life will only have “meaning” if I do stuff that will somehow “impact the future” after I’m long-gone.  That one makes me scratch my head.   It’s even a bit intimidating. Me, I’m still walking towards my dream and I’m…

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LET THERE BE LIGHT (The Power of Small)

LET THERE BE LIGHT (The Power of Small)

Very often it is the little things that make a big difference in lives that are lived on the edge. In poorer parts of a city, where people’s homes often do not have access to reliable electrical service and where windows that let in light might be a bad idea in terms of home security, people either spend a lot of time outside their unlighted homes or use open fires, candles or oil lamps as light sources.  These can be…

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OTHER VOICES: Joy Harjo

OTHER VOICES: Joy Harjo

Poet, artist and musician Joy Harjo is a member of the Mvkoke (Creek) Nation.  (More usually, that word is spelled “Muscogee.”) Harjo became the first Native American to be appointed as a Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the American Library of Congress in 2019 by Librarian Carla Hayden.  In case you didn’t know, the Library is America’s oldest federal cultural institution and is said to be the largest library in the world. As well as other things, national poets…

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REVAMP ROUTINES (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

REVAMP ROUTINES (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

It’s a perennial bit of advice from most of the entrepreneurial advisers and advocates of DIY bootstrapping in the world to get yourself organized by working out routines and systems of routines that will help you get ‘er done and help facilitate your making that run towards your dream. It does work. It has occurred to me more than once that we humans are routine-building fools.  For some of us the whole routine-building thing may even be automatic. We can…

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OTHER VOICES: Maya Angelou

OTHER VOICES: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s life story always reminds me of a quote by William Blake that never fails to lend me heart when I’m feeling low: “No bird soars too high if it soars with its own wings.” The woman probably qualifies as a “force of nature.”  What can you say about someone whose first autobiography, I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, which was published in 1969 when she was 41, has gone through 154 editions so far?

SHAPING 101: Your Body Moves Your Mind

SHAPING 101: Your Body Moves Your Mind

I have some most excellent, scientifically correct news:  We humans are a lot more than big old naked brains riding around in vehicles that are kind of like animated meatballs with feet.  I have to admit that is a bit of a relief.  (I like albondigas in their place, but life, it seems to me, is more than a tapas bar.) All during my growing-up years, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the prevalent paradigms that told me that my…

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