St NickHe Is Us, photo and all text ⓒ Irene O’Garden 2013

Just a couple of holiday smiles and happy publication news this week. Above is a Santa paper sculpture I made years ago. Though he looks as if he’s gigantically filling an armchair,  he actually finds his foot-high self on a doorknob every Christmas. What you can’t see is my little pencilled inscription. It became our Christmas card a while back, which sentiment I now share with my newer friends:

“I have met Santa, and he is us.”

On Friday, I received a recording request this week, and while unplanned,  I thought it an appropriate gift for you. Note our stockings hung with care as you listen to this classic: A Visit From St. Nicholas.

Writer Wednesday or not, no one needs email on Christmas, so I won’t be posting next week.


In Hopes In Hopes, photo ⓒ Irene O’Garden, 2013


Happy Publication News:  Goodbye Fat Girl is now live! You can download and/or gift this e-version of my book Fat Girl in Kindle form here at Amazon. Both Kindle and PDF formats are available here at A dedicated iBooks version for iPad and iPhone will be released in January. Don’t forget to enter the signed first edition giveaway through the widget above.

Also, some of you know about my play Little Heart, based on the life of Corita Kent. I am happy to share that “Someday Is Now:The Art of Corita Kent,”a new book detailing her work was just named one of the NY Times ten best visual books of 2013. Interviews I conducted for the play are cited in the book and I am proud to be credited in this handsome volume.



OurChair copy 2 OurChair, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden

To listen to this post, please click here:Pro-Am Week

For the ungolf-ic, (like myself) a Pro-Am tournament  teams professionals with amateurs. Which well-characterizes my week.

At our local high-school production of “Our Town” last Saturday night,  a young actress reserved this chair next to me for her father, her wording a testament to the enduring inspiration of this 75-year-old play, presented here for two nights only.

Some performers were louder than others. Some more expressive, more skilled. But skill is not all.

I wrote of a derailment earlier this year and about a local death just a few weeks ago. Shockingly, both happened again. The NBC technician who lost his life in the recent Metro-North accident was married to a wonderful member of our community.  On Friday, over a thousand of us stood hours in bonechilling rain to offer respect and condolences.  Many, that night and the next, came to the play.

World-class performances are ours at the press of a button, but no professional company could have offered more healing than our own young students, newly scalded by death, finding and sharing the balm of art. The beautiful widow and one of her sons sat in front of me.

I planned to end this post there, but last night I heard two brilliant literary professionals. The New York Public Library hosted Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett, (so polished and radiant I could not capture them in a photo–glimpse the vibrant room instead.)




Their  lively conversation sparkled with wisdom, humor and insight, some of the finest gifts professionals offer. (To say nothing of their wonderful new books: The Signature of All Things and This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage.) Watch/listen to their nourishing conversation here while wrapping presents, if you like.

Pro-Am Week: amateurs with the rigor of professionals, professionals with the vigor of amateurs. A beautiful continuum.


Have you enjoyed an amateur or professional this week?


Publication News: Happy to say my Goodreads giveaway is now underway. In honor of the release of Goodbye Fat Girl, I am giving away ten signed first editions of Fat Girl. Click through the widget above to enter, and good luck! As soon as I have a pub date for the e-version I will let you know.

Also, a reader reminded me to tell you that Forest, What Would You Like? makes a delightful Christmas present, and Glad To Be Human is a meaningful piece to read aloud at holiday time. My media advisor tells me to ask those who have read either to kindly post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads on my behalf. Many thanks!


MossLog MossyLog, photo and all text ©Irene O’Garden 2103

To listen to this post, please click here:Phorgotten Phone

Our Black Friday was Green, but the photo above doesn’t come from the serene Columbia River Wildlife Refuge we visited with family that day.  Nor from the crisp tawny hills we subsequently explored in San Jose, or the silky-stranded stands of eucalyptus near Salinas.

I shot it this afternoon walking Bee in our bit of woods, because I knew you’d look for a photo, and flying out ten days ago, I phound I’d phorgotten my phone.  Turned out my brother forgot his, too. We laughed and guessed we did not want to be distracted during this eight-day family trip.

Fast-backward to the early eighties. Every youthful explorer of consciousness has a whopping enlightenment experience or two. Mine came in ’81, and lasted several months. During this acceleration, my artist friends, the streets of New York, domestic life—everything— was intense, colorful, deeply meaningful and I wanted to record it all.

I carried a notebook and pen for words, a clipboard and brushpen for on-the-spot sketching, a heavy-lensed camera,  a hand-sized tape-recorder for musical inspirations and conversations, plus fresh batteries, film and extra cassettes. In the days before cargo pants. I was a veritable communications packhorse. It was thrilling to have such capacities, albeit cumbersome.

When smartphones appeared, I recognized that all I had sought was now in a single trim item, with Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist-radio and a video camera thrown in.  Plus you can read a book, answer most questions and talk with the people you love.

Eight days with no phone. What did I miss? Other people could place and take my calls for the duration, and I so rarely text that that was no inconvenience. I had another way to check email, and though I sometimes capture a floating melody, I don’t record conversations anymore, or do many al fresco drawings (Cezanne’s house notwithstanding) And I still carry a notebook rather than typing my observations.

But I missed that camera. I know the faces of my family, and I’m continually drawn to the same behaviors of light. But life, while mellowed,  is still intense, colorful and deeply meaningful. And you, dear reader, travel with me now.  I was sorry not to be able to bring you an image. Happily, some can be carried in words.


If you phorgot your phone, what would you miss most?


Am very excited to share the new cover of “Goodbye Fat Girl,” the forthcoming e-version of my book, “Fat Girl.” It will be released very soon. Watch this space for giveaway news!





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