The Prompter Room

For Friday, January 4, 2019:


Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable — but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.

Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000–2016, with a Journal of a Writers Week


The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, November 27, 2018:


Imperfection is in some sort essential to all that we know of life. It is the sign of life in a mortal body, that is to say, of a state of progress and change. Nothing that lives is, or can be, rigidly perfect; part of it is decaying, part nascent… And in all things that live there are certain irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life, but sources of beauty … All admit irregularity as they imply change; and to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality. All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.


The Prompter Room

For Sunday, January 24, 2016:


“An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo … Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”


A young friend of mine is an artist of this caliber.  In my eyes she walks in an aura of beauty.  Not only is she stunning on the outside, she is beautiful on the inside, and she creates – and enables others to create – amazing art that is literally changing the world one Peruvian barrio, one mentally ill prisoner, one group of struggling students, one Black Lives Matter demonstration, one New York City ghetto street, one dilapidated park bench, one gathering of grieving mothers, one homeless man at a time.

Her activism on behalf of others has landed her in jail, and it’s taken her to Russia to develop and present clowning workshops with Patch Adams.  She has worked with political, municipal, education, and hospital powers-that-be to brighten up neglected, dingy hallways, neighborhoods, and community spaces with murals and stencils that sparkle and shine.

Not all of us can be like my friend – for one thing she has the energy of at least five people in her slim little body – but we can strive to ‘challenge the status quo’ in our own ways.  How do you use your words, your photography, your dance, your voice, your own unique vision to make a difference in the world?  In the life of one person at a time?

Thank you for doing so!  And thank you for your courage.