Paula Garrett

When Art Unites, It's Amazing

Apr 25, 2017

Record Store Day was this past Saturday, and it prompted a flashback to the ’70s when I'd head to my local record store to buy an album every other Friday.  That was payday – with an actual check I had to take to the bank to cash.

A big part of the pleasure was browsing the cover art, which – more than once – was the deciding factor in my selection. In fact, I think the exposure to art that my record store trips provided was almost as significant to my aesthetic stimulation as the music itself.

Tributes In A Faraway Land

Mar 28, 2017

“Kia Ora.” The flight attendant used this Maori greeting as we approached the islands of New Zealand. My vacation had begun, and I’d escaped to the “land of the long white cloud,” Aoteaora.

The rain cleared, and a spectacular specimen of that cloud formation stretched endlessly over the harbor in Wellington, the capital city at the bottom of the North Island. I took it as a welcome, and it turned out to be a harbinger of good weather for the trip.

Job Exchanges Can Open The World

Feb 28, 2017

Ever thought of swapping your identity with someone else? Job exchanges are one way, and luckily, I’ve been able to do two in my career.

Both were in Australia: the first in the capital, Canberra, and the second in Sydney. I spent six months each time taking on the life of my exchange partner and experiencing the world from a whole new perspective -- something that seems massively appealing these days.

A Place To Find Solace

Jan 31, 2017

In the midst of bleak times, weather-wise and otherwise, I need an antidote for gray days and alternative facts. “There’s so much beauty in the world,” a friend said, trying to cheer me up.

So I imagine springtime gathering its energy below the dirty snow and project out four years, hopefully sooner, when mobilizing truth-sayers have gathered critical mass. 

Meanwhile, I find solace and inspiration in art – musical, visual, written, performance, and those creations that defy classification and often expose us to diverse cultures.

"Use your words." Over the holidays, I heard this phrase spoken to children; but as adults I think we, too, need that reminder -- to take care in our conversations and be alert when we hear not just lazy language but also euphemisms that can skew reality.

Summer Brennan gives us some timely examples in her LitHub column on language and power: "A lie becomes 'a claim,' equality becomes 'identity politics,' a protestor is 'an economic terrorist,' a propagandist - 'a maverick.'"

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