Tunes for a Monday Morning
Escaping into magic

In the eye of the storm

Fernworthy 1

If I had to chose a single quote to encapsulate my view of life and art, this line from Jeanette Winterson's essay "Art Objects" would be a strong contender: "I had better come clean now and say that I do not believe that art (all art) and beauty are ever separate, nor do I believe that either art or beauty are optional in a sane society."

Yes. That's it exactly.

Fernworthy 2

"Art is central to all our lives," Winterson insists, "not just the better-off and educated. I know that from my own story, and from the evidence of every child ever born -- they all want to hear and to tell stories, to sing, to make music, to act out little dramas, to paint pictures, to make sculptures. This is born in and we breed it out. And then, when we have bred it out, we say that art is elitist, and at the same time we either fetishize art -- the high prices, the jargon, the inaccessibility -- or we ignore it. The truth is, artist or not, we are all born on the creative continuum, and that is a heritage and a birthright of all of our lives."

Fernworthy 3

Reflecting on the nature and value of art, Nobel-Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow once said: "I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction."

Fernworthy 4

But there is just so much to distract us right now. Politics. Climate crisis. A world-wide pandemic. Keeping our loved ones safe and the wolf from the door. How do we find that "stillness in chaos" when the din of chaos is everywhere, and so many good people are tense, and angry, and frightened, and flailing?

Fernworthy 5

I turn again and again to these words by Italo Calvino, who knew a thing or two about surviving hard times: "Seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."

Fernworthy 6

The books I read are not inferno. The stories I write are not inferno. The people and animals and places I love are not inferno. I am giving them space. I am finding the quiet eye of the storm.

Fernworthy 7

It is here. With you.

Fernworthy 8

Fernworthy 9

The first quote by Jeanette Winterson is from Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy & Effrontery (Jonathan Cape, 1996); the second quote is from "Up Front: Talking With Jeanette Winterson" (The New York Times, Dec. 19, 2008). The Saul Bellow quote is from Conversations With Saul Bellow, edited by Gloria Cronin (University of Mississippi Press, 1994). The Italo Calvino quote is from Invisible Cities (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974). The poem in the picture captions is from The Complete Poems of James Wright (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992). All rights reserved by the authors or their estates.


this powerful so much to luarn from your words

in mits of storms

splaches of paint
droplets of water
clouds of gray swirling
in my tea
I draw a sun splot some colors
write in curving letters a rainbow
acros blaink pages
me the arest creating my futucher

Thank you for this, Terri, as for so many other moments of respite and words of wisdom shared. This is one I will save in my secret pocket of quiet inspirations for that rainy day when I have forgotten how to create or lost my belief in the value of pursuing such efforts. So many perfect pieces of the puzzle in this piece. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Chaos v Art

In the midst of chaos,
that builder of universes,
I add one verse more.
It has to do with the calm,
the quiet, the hush
that rips artists apart
as no chaos can,
to show us the working parts
of the still beating heart.

©2020 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

And one more: "Thank you".

Yes, "thank you Terri," for the space and Jane reminding me of my still beating heart.

Hi Terri

Love the message of this post and the that gorgeous poem by James Wright. I have an artist friend whose husband said "art can save the world". I believe in his perspective and narrow that further to say, it can save the individual in turmoil, the soul in conflict. A creative force propels both our minds and spirits. Thank you so much for this.


In the Autumn twilight, God draws a picture
of a thrush. Some may think a cloud
but I tell you -- it's a bird
with charcoal wings and salmon breast, there
in his stillness to invoke
a song of soft wind.
across the field and mountains.

A promise, a purpose
I have yet to grasp
as the moon shows her maiden face
through fir trees that shade
a local stream -- where one may ask
for fresh water or something deeper
than its desert well.

Hi Jane

It has to do with the calm,
the quiet, the hush
that rips artists apart
as no chaos can,

A brilliant observation and wonderful poem. Yes, the stillness and the calm can often invoke the restlessness that drives us to create and also the meditation that stirs our conscience with deep thought and inquiry toward hopefully a greater good.

Take care
my best to you and yours,

Hi Jessica

splaches of paint
droplets of water
clouds of gray swirling
in my tea
I draw a sun splot some colors
write in curving letters a rainbow
acros blaink pages

Lovely thoughts and imagery!! Inspiration comes to us from the most unexpected sources and when it does, I think we feel and see that rainbow.

Than you for sharing,
my best

What a beautiful blog. Thank You...

Terri, working with you is not inferno.
Another thank you from me.

Thank you Terri for the reminder to make this kind of space (and for making this space).

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