Yours, for Keeps

After Emily and I got an estimate to have a professional paint our stairwell ($10,000?!), we asked our neighbor Kurt who makes his living hanging wallpaper for his advice. Could we paint it ourselves? You bet. Kurt set us up with scaffolding. He even jumped on it, thereby proving it was trustworthy. He also examined the ceiling with its strangely peeling paint, the rim of painted-over wallpaper along the top edge, and the long horizontal crack running the length of our hallway wall. For ten grand the pros would have fixed these. Kurt waved them off. He ran his hand along the jagged split in the plaster. “Nope,” he said. “That’s your crack. It’s for keeps.” (more…)

Broken & Beautiful: How the Light Gets In

Image 5Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

Inspired by the 2015 Key West Literary Seminar, I’ve been thinking about these Leonard Cohen lyrics for months now.  So few literary attempts ever achieve perfection! The Shakespeares among us are rare. Most of us are embarked on foolish, impossible, and yet strangely and ultimately worthwhile projects. “What matters most in our lives is unsayable,” Mark Doty said. “We’ve got to attempt to make meaning… Of course it’s impossible, but if we don’t, we despair.” (more…)