Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Fresh Air Fund needs hosts for the Summer of 2009 within the New England and East Coast region of the U.S. Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air vacations. There is no such thing as a "typical" host family. If you have room in your home - and your heart - to host a child, you could be one too. Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 12 years old, who reside in low-income communities in New York City and are eager to experience the simple pleasures of life outside the city.

If you are interested in learning more, please continue reading at


Last night, Sandhya Nankani, Cecilia Andre and I hosted a Creative Mixer for Artists and Entrepreneurs. Fifteen women came from Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Connecticut, and Westchester.

We met in Cecilia's painting studio in Manhattan and started out with a half hour of mingling and snacking. We then convened and did a go around of introductions: What do you do (doesn't have to be paid work)? What brought you here tonight?

We had folks jot down answers to these three questions (from Carol Lloyd's book Creating a Life Worth Living: a practical course in career design for artists, innovators, and others aspiring to a creative life):

1. What creative project, idea, or dream do you keep coming back to? It doesn't have to be a career or for-profit project).

2. What is at the heart of this project or dream? What makes you want to do it?

3. What images come to mind when you think of this project/idea/dream?

We broke into three small groups and made sure that each person had time to share her answers to these questions. The rest of the women in each group got to ask the person in the spotlight open-ended questions that would help her clarify her vision.

We ended the evening by re-convening as a large group and each woman said something she had learned or was taking away with her from the gathering.

People seemed to delighted to have an opportunity to connect with other creative women and to have a space to put focus on their dreams.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


After receiving my most recent newsletter, called "Who Are the New Storytellers?", author Bill Zimmerman sent this note:

Hi, Eleanor,

I enjoyed this edition of Creative Times and its theme of the new storytellers. When I wrote my first book, an oral history book -- How to Tape Instant Oral Biographies -- the defining thought was that everyone has a story to tell, if only someone would ask, if only someone would listen. I even put up some of the questions on my site -- -- where people can come to get ideas on how to tell their stories. You are welcome to share with your readers.

Things are going well at this end -- my online comic strip site -- is now being used by families and educators in 180 countries to teach writing, reading and storytelling; it's getting about 80,000 visitors a month now, was just written up in Good Housekeeping, and was selected by Google and UNESCO as one of the world's most innovative sites to enourage reading and literacy. I'm very proud of that. I also added a WRITERS PROMPT feature with writing ideas for teachers and students.

And my new book, Pocketdoodles for Kids, will be out next month.

I hope you are well and thriving in this harsh time.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I’d be delighted to help you accomplish the following things:

* Brainstorm concept and content for your blog

* Learn how to set up your blog, how to post entries, and all the other blogging basics!

* Use online and off-line networking practices to grow your community of readers, clients, and customers

* Use your blog to get the word out about what you do!

Call to find out about my Blogstarter Package! * 917-499-7395


This list taken from Scott the Nametag Guy’s Ten Reasons You Aren’t Blogging (Yet)
Thanks, Scott! (Responses to the “reasons” are mine.)

You don’t know how.
Ask for help! I’m here, and so are other people who know how to do this.

You’re scared of technology.
So was I when I first started, but not anymore. I ask people to help me when I encounter something I don’t know how to do. It’s fun to learn!

You think you can’t write.
Do you send emails? Do you make grocery lists? Then, you can write!
Writing is putting your thinking down on paper. If you can think, you can write!

Also: some blogs are mostly made up of visuals. My friend Julie Fortenberry’s blog Children's Illustration is mostly just that - children’s picture book illustrations! Her blog is read by people all around the world. And……..some people are photobloggers like my friend Frank Jump at Fading Ad Blog.

You feel like you don’t have time.
You can make time. Once you get the hang of it, posting takes minutes. Some of my best ideas come in a flash and take moments to draft and post. Posts don’t have to be essays, just bits of information or stories or lists that are useful and inspiring to your readers.

You’re afraid to stick out your neck.
So was I when I started my blog.
I had the writer’s equivalent of stage fright and slept very little in the first week that I published my posts. Guess what? It went away and I’ve been reaping the rewards of being a blogger ever since.


Every human has beautiful stories to tell, and that includes YOU.

Watching The Academy Awards always reminds me of how amazing our society is at telling stories, especially through film. But guess what? Folks in Hollywood are not the only storytellers and film is not the only medium for storytelling.

There are so many other brilliant ways that people have figured out how to tell stories – through cave paintings, songs, dances, puppet shows, poems, plays, musicals, quilts, scrapbooks, and now through blogs.

Some say that bloggers are the new storytellers. Coolest thing? Anyone who has access to a computer (and that can mean a library user!) can read a blog or create one. You are in a prime position to tell your story!

A final thought, brought to you by Daniel Pink’s opening to A Whole New Mind:

The keys to the kingdom are changing hands. Th future belongs to a very different person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people – artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.
Sandhya Nankani, pictured above, is one of my favorite bloggers!


  • Grow your community of customers, clients, and collaborators.

  • Attract new customers and clients.

  • Stay in front of your customers and clients

  • Differentiate yourself
    - Says Daniel Pink in A Whole New Mind: "Story […] is becoming a key way for individuals and entrepreneurs to distinguish their goods and services in a crowded marketplace.”

  • Create ideas for future books, products, and projects (this idea from Scott the Nametag Guy)

  • Express yourself creatively

  • Document your personal experiences and share them with others

  • Stay in touch with friends and family

  • Share practical knowledge or skills with others

  • Motivate other people to action

  • Entertain people

  • Influence the way people think

  • Network and meet new people who share your passion

Friday, February 20, 2009


A Silent Auction to benefit the Dumbo Arts Center (DAC)


Auction Party and Raffle 6:00- 8:00PM


Collecting Art on a Budget: Silent Auctions, Non-Profits and Loving Art - A Talk, by Amy Goldrich

Silent Auction art works will be on view and open for bidding in the gallery and online from February 14 through February 21, 2009.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


From Daily Om

1. Live simply and live deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down the . You will also discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive.

2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world.

3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place.

4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to.

5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you.

6. Nurture your ties to your tribe. If you don’t have one, create a community that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a tribe, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members – loved ones, friends, or neighbors - can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship.

7. See the larger picture. Remember that the way that you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion.

Embrace the challenges that life presents to you, and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull.

9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality.

10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often "on the go" and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'd Rather be in the Studio! The Artist's No Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion is a smart, well-researched, and well-lived
book of advice by Alyson B. Stanfield.

She calls the Table of Contents the Table of Excuses, writing a chapter to address each the main excuses artists use to avoid leaving the studio to get themselves and their work out into the world.

Some examples from the Table of Excuses:

Excuse: "My art speaks for itself."
Action: Differentiate Yourself: The Power of Your Artist Statement
Action: Fill the Rooms: Speak and Teach to Become an Expert

Excuse: "I don't want to bother people."
Action: Send a Killer Newsletter that Begs to be Read and Reread
Excuse: "I'm an introvert."
Action: Get Involved Rather than Waiting for Life to Happen

In the book, she flushes out and expands upon the actions, giving artists step-by-step tips to sticking their necks out and connecting with the world at large.

I signed up for Alyson's weekly email tips and find those quite useful as well!


Seth Godin is the author of ten international bestsellers, including The New York Times bestseller, The Dip. Text from the book flap says what needs to be said about this little gem:
The web can do amazing things, but it can't provide leadership. That
still has to come from individuals - people just like you who have a passion about something. Anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


By Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster Of K Squared Enterprises

How does a 25-year veteran advertising executive reinvent herself as she watches her industry shrink?

Where does a 15-year magazine production manager go when magazines everywhere are folding?

What happens if you get laid off and realize that your career hasn’t fulfilled you for years anyway?

Welcome to the age of opportunity disguised as loss. When industries shrink, erupt or otherwise change, it provides the survivors an unforeseen opening into new and different frontiers for work.

Do you find yourself in an industry that is dwindling? Is it hard to see a place for yourself in the current state of your chosen profession? You may be in a position where re-inventing yourself is the best option.

The difficulty with re-inventing yourself is twofold:

1) You have to weather a temporary loss of identity. YOU are no longer defined by your job title. Your former employer and industry do not equal your definition of self.

2) You don’t have another identity (a New You) to jump into. For the time being, you have to tolerate a period of identity limbo.

During this kind of career transition, you can construct an interim, more general definition of your talents, skills and capabilities. This short-term identity is based on the skills that you want to continue to use as you enter a new industry.

For example, if you’ve been selling mortgages and you like the activity of customer relations, you can define yourself as an expert in customer service. Or if you are the V.P. of IT for a shrinking bank and you excel at completing projects on time, you can bill yourself as a project manager and look for greener pastures in other industries.

In some cases, re-inventing yourself may involve returning to a long-term interest and getting the skills or training you’ve always wanted. After years in the retail industry, you may yearn for a degree in library sciences. As you prepare to move away from a career in accounting, you may pursue a childhood passion for electronics.

Why is it so difficult to re-invent ourselves?

The short answer is most of us hate uncertainty. It’s much easier to stick with what we know and who we know than it is to forge into new areas. This includes self-definition. And who wants to be a beginner again? Re-inventing yourself requires some tough exercises. You have to engage in self-assessment. You have to determine where your talents lie. And you have to be willing to transfer your well-worn skills into new realms.

Here are some tried and true tips for re-inventing your work identity
1) Appreciate that it takes guts to re-invent yourself. Give yourself credit from the start.
2) Get help in defining the skills and talents that you’d like to apply to a new position within a different industry.
3) Consider interning, volunteering, getting trained or educated to build your credibility.
4) Find like-minded people who have either done this successfully or are in the process of re-inventing themselves, and let them support you.

It’s not easy to re-invent yourself, but it can be very exciting and ultimately rewarding. We encourage you to take the chance. If you can weather the discomfort, a new, more fulfilling career path awaits you.

Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster are the authors of the national bestselling book Working With You Is Killing Me – Freeing Yourself From Emotional Traps At Work. Acclaimed speakers, seasoned trainers and skilled workshop leaders. their company, K Squared Enterprises offers real solutions for managing workplace relationships. Their next book, Working For You Isn’t Working For Me – The Ultimate Guide To Managing Your Boss, will be released in Fall, 2009.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This just in from my friend Dave Castillo at Blue Barn Pictures. To stay updated on the progress he makes checking items off this list, go to his blog - THE BARN.

I have, FOR as long as I can remember, done something completely different on my birthday, be it climbing a mountain, get a tattoo, spending it in quiet seclusion, inviting everyone I know to celebrate with me, getting high on the Great Wall or completely ignoring it (last year).

I will share this year’s birthday with my daughter who will be born April 17ish, a month and some change after my thirty-third birthday.

Birth, like everything else in life, is not predictable so I have given myself a a ten day window before she rightly steals the show, to accomplish this surmountable task I have laid out for myself.

To celebrate my birthday and my daughter’s, I have laid out 56 things that I would like to do before I meet her.

In no particular order, the list:

1. Be more patient with people and with myself

2. Read Pablo Neruda’s poetry in Spanish and write the ones I like in green ink.

3. Support the Brooklyn music scene by going to concerts

4. Go to the MoMA

5. Restart the mix CD group

6. Go to the gym 3 times a week

7. Play more

8. Take yoga classes

9. Read ‘Your baby’s first year’

10. Learn how to make sushi

11. Shoot a short film for myself

12. Make the bed every morning

13. I will speak more Spanish at home

14. Scan old photographs and post them

15. Build the baby’s crib

16. Make a stop motion video

17. Cook more

18. Make time to relax

19. Eat sitting down and enjoy my meals

20. Take a hot bath once a week

21. Drink more water

22. Listen to my body

23. Photograph the Brooklyn Bridge

24. Fix the breaks on my bike

25. Keep my desk clean

26. Organize my storage space

27. Sell or give away what I don’t needed

28. Sew the buttons back on my coat

29. Call friends I have not heard from in awhile

30. Spend 5 minutes a day with the belly

31. Write more in the black moleskin

32. Go to the MET and look at a Caravaggio

33. Stop looking at Porn

34. Learn how to say No

35. Stop checking work emails on the weekends

36. Listen to more classical music

37. Write down my dreams

38. Take more time explaining my ideas

39. Realize stress is self induced

40. Free my photography from my self imposed rules

41. Take more pictures

42. Eat more vegetables

43. Write down the names of the wines I like

44. Go to art gallery openings.

45. Organize my digital photo library

46. Pay more attention to my grammar

47. Speak to my father

48. Contribute to other blogs

49. Discuss in depth the finer points of Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Ave Gardner, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly over Ketel One martinis.

50. Take my wife out on dates

51. Visit my mother’s grave

52. Start drawing again

53. Take my shoes off when I get home

54. Spend an afternoon listening to vinyl with my friend Jim

55. Document tackling this list

56. Have drinks with friends at the Brooklyn Inn on April 6th and look at the list

Monday, February 09, 2009


Valentines Day can be anything you want it to be.

I think it's the perfect time to show the love and to broaden your idea of who you can show the love to.

Valentines Day is not just about showering "that special someone" with chocolates and flowers. It's about SHARING THE LOVE with all the special someones in your life - grandparents, clients, customers, fans, colleagues, neighbors, shop owners, people who show kindness to you and your children - anyone whose relationship you value.

I sent my brother's family a care package with all kinds of Heart Day goodies in it. His boys are gonna get cool red Snoopy race cars filled with candy. I wrote each person in his family a separate note to let each of them know I love them.

I sent my mom and dad some goofy foil-covered candy in the shapes of fish and lips.

I'm sending simple, hand-made valentines to clients, friends, and family to let them know I am thinking of them.

Who in your circle could use a little show of love in a card, a phone call, a kind word?

Make it happen.