The Wisdom of Walt Whitman–to Question Everything

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I have taught Walt Whitman in several classes both at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, in traditional and adult classes.

This excerpt is from his introduction to the 1855 First Edition of Leaves of Grass.

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(http://www.whitmanarchive.org)

Whitman was one of the greatest American poets and has been called the Bard of Democracy. He challenged the existing views of normalcy in the United States across a wide range of topics. We live in a time, perhaps even more than in the 1800s, when great pressure exists to conform to what society defines normalcy to be. I believe it is crucial for individuals to find out who they are, for what they have passions, and what they believe. With this thought in mind, I want to share this small excerpt:

“re-examine all you have been told at church or school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem”

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Whitman shattered the conventions of his time, and his admonition to us to question everything is as important today as it was in the mid-1800s.

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Please, keep Whitman’s idea in mind, and question everything.

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Quotations on Integrity

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“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

                                                                         Abraham Lincoln

 

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“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”

                                                                        Albert Einstein

 

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“A quiet conscience makes one strong!”

                                                                       Anne Frank

Faculty Author Reception at Muhlenberg College

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I am honored to have been invited to participate in Muhlenberg College’s Faculty Author Reception today at Trexler Library. This lovely event is hosted by Trexler Library and the Office of the Provost.

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Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

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Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

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My radio interview:

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Available on Amazon

Quotations on Honesty

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“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”

                                                               Albert Einstein

 

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“Truth never damages a cause that is just.”

                                                              Mahatma Ghandi

 

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“You should not honor men more than truth.”

                                                           Plato

Quotations on Character

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“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

                                                                  Anne Frank

 

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

                                                                 Abraham Lincoln

 

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“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”

                                                                Mark Twain

Quotations on Fiction

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“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”

                                                    Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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“A lie, sometimes, can be truer than the truth, which is why fiction gets written.”

                                                    Tim O’Brien

 

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“There are people who think that things that happen in fiction do not really happen. These people are wrong.”

                                                    Neil Gaiman

Guest Post for the ULS, the Underground Library Society, by Sue Clancy

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Here is a wonderful guest post by Sue Clancy for the ULS, the Underground Library Society. Please visit her site: sue clancy visual stories: fine art, artist books .

 

The Art of Life

by Sue Clancy

In a world where books were illegal the two books I would memorize, attempt to smuggle out under cover of darkness and then would recite/read from until people rolled their eyes (or killed me) are: “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” and “The Art of Color And Design” by Maitland Graves.

“Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” is the collected and illustrated stories of Dr. Bob Hoke a psychiatrist who practiced what is now known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) – basically he had the idea, developed in his Emotional Repair Program, that people have the resources and the emotional strength to resolve their own problems and create emotional growth. People do not need to wait for a savior or to wait until they feel better – there are constructive, practical, actions one can take regardless of circumstances or feelings.

When I met Dr. Bob Hoke he had constructed a series of “teaching stories” as he called them that would help people think about their ways of thinking, think about their self-talk vocabulary and the rhythms of the mundane life that they were creating – and he wanted an illustrator to illustrate them for his use during his lectures. Many years later I told him I wanted to collect them into a book. He agreed – on the condition that I make it an ebook and or a very thin small printed book – he didn’t want people to be intimidated by lots of text. So, the book is about half graphic novel style illustrations.

Dr. Bob Hoke wanted cartoon illustrations because he wanted people to laugh while they learned as he believed laughter aided learning.  At that time, I was a professional cartoonist so I took on the project.  And his concepts so revolutionized my own thinking that his concepts became foundational for my own life. Including my way of approaching fine art.

Before I met Dr. Bob Hoke I had taken art classes at my local high school.  Art was taught by Jackie Faulkner who assumed that everyone taking her art class was planning to be either a professional artist or to have art as a hobby so seriously that their art activities would be listed in their obituary.  She taught us from “The Art Of Color And Design” by Maitland Graves. The book had been originally copyrighted in 1941.

The root concept in the book is that the principles of art-making/design are the basic vocabulary of art. The principles are knowable and can be learned and practiced. The principles are not mystical or magical. An art guru is not needed.  Artist’s do not need to wait for “the muse” to strike or to wait until “feeling inspired”. There are concrete steps toward learning and practicing the principles of art that can be done by anyone regardless of circumstance or momentary feelings.   

Maitland Graves writes in his introduction “In the following pages it will be demonstrated that all art, Modern, Primitive, Classical or Oriental is built on a few simple, fundamental principles of structure. This common basis is the key to understanding. It also provides a standard of comparison that makes possible a keener perception and a more intelligent appraisal of design.”

What follows in the book are pictures that illustrate the principle concepts, guided questions and exercises – suggestions of practical, technical, things to do that will help an artist at any skill level help themselves in their own artistic growth.

Later, in college, when I met Dr. Bob Hoke and learned the concept of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I realized that Maitland Graves was – essentially – teaching Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for artists as applied to the visual arts. And the two books became bound together in my mind as essential tools for living the creative life well.

Dr. Bob Hoke says at the end of the First Aid Kit “This Emotional First Aid Program is something to “do”! It is a practical guide for creating an ongoing practice of thinking about your own thinking and creating your own regular Therapeutic Conversations with yourself! The good news about this “First Aid Kit”: When you consistently practice you will notice changes in your self and in your relationships. Start your practices in small doses and keep up your courage when you fail at first. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first! Just keep practicing.”

As it is with life so it is with art. Which is why I would memorize, smuggle and risk annoying people (or death) for the sake of these two books.

Resources:

Information about “Dr Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” can be accessed here:

https://store.bookbaby.com//bookshop/book/index.aspx?bookURL=dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit
“The Art of Color and Design” by Maitland Graves, copyright 1941, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc

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Thank you once again to Sue Clancy for this post!