Bold Art in Bushwick

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I constantly come across amazing murals as I wander through Bushwick and I finally found out who I should thank for them. Kudos to The Bushwick Collective for creating immense, thought-provoking, inspiring, breathtaking, community-enhancing works of art in a logical, yet unexpected part of Brooklyn. Read more about the Collective here. The two pics from my last post are also their creations. Below are two murals that I came across today.

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It Starts with a Seed

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Last year, I started drying out my okra and peppers so that I can get seeds for the following season. It worked beautifully. All of my peppers and okra this season are from last year’s harvested seeds. Well, the cycle continues. These are pics of my dried okra seeds that I will sow next year.

Also last year, at a Green Thumb event, I won a gift certificate to Seeds of Change. Not only was it exciting (garden geekiness), I saw it as an invitation to purchase some seeds for veggies that I wouldn’t normally try like yellow stemmed swiss chard and bok choy. I have my eye on starting purple peppers and what I believe is called Indian spinach (I have to do more research).

yellow stem swiss chard

My challenge for spring will be to start planting at home and bring the seedlings to the garden. I usually seed directly into the garden beds but this will give them a head start and give me a chance to start playing in dirt a bit sooner.

“I Will Be a Hummingbird”

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Wangari Maathai. Environmentalist. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

In my favorite clip from the documentary, Dirt the Movie, Ms. Maathai tells the story of a hummingbird who, in spite of its size, tries to put out an enormous fire all alone. The other animals, including some more capable of outing the fire, just stand by and watch as the hummingbird goes back and forth to the fire and a river with just one or two drops of water in its beak. When the animals asked the humming bird, What do you think you are doing? You are too small. You can never put out that fire. The humming bird gave this simple but powerful response.

Thank you Wangari Maathai. Rest in Peace.

Artist Date: D.U.M.B.O Arts Fest

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The D.U.M.B.O. Arts Festival is this weekend! Last year I wandered from studio to studio gallery to gallery and although I saw lots of interesting works, it was a bit overwhelming. This year, my game plan is to start at the Shades of Brooklyn exhibit and then wander around (ha!). The promise of art, typography & mixed media combined with personalities associated with Brooklyn is really appealing to me. Even though there’s rain in the forecast, I definitely think the festival will be worth the trek.

Let me know if you go. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Todo Menina Baiana*

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Every September, Little Brazil in NYC celebrates Brazil’s independence with a parade of wonderful people, soul shaking music and delicious food. This year, my friend Lorelei, invited me to the Lavagem da Rua 46, lead by a group of Baianas who open up the festivities with a blessing. The lavagem, or cleansing, dates back to 18th Century Bahia.

It was Maravilhoso! A sea of beautiful brown women dressed in white from head to toe with vibrant pops of oranges and reds in their flowers, bracelets and necklaces. There was an amazing energy driven by percussionists, dancers and the spirit of the Baianas. Being there reminded me of how rejuvenated I felt after my trip to Rio and Bahia several years ago. Maybe it’s time to for another visit…

*Todo Menina Baiana (All the Bahian Girls) is the title of a song written by renown Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil. 

On Becoming A Better Writer

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One of the reasons I started this blog was to improve my writing skills. What better way to improve than to take advice from one of my favorite authors - Zadie Smith?

Zadie Smith’s Rules for Writers

1 When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2 When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3 Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4 Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

5 Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6 Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

7 Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.

8 Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9 Don’t confuse honours with achievement.

10 Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.