Sieve Mind: A Writer Wednesday Post

March 26th, 2014 | Posted by Irene in Essays - (12 Comments)


Sieve 3Sievery, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014



“Words draw pictures,” my mother was fond of saying. Perhaps that’s why I paused a moment when I recently heard myself say–as many do– “My mind’s like a sieve.” This mind I was griping about immediately came up with a rejoinder, which I wanted to pass along calligraphically to you:






Taking this week’s photo, I also realized that not only do our sieve minds catch what is important, on a good day they reflect the light, too…


Has your sieve mind caught something interesting lately?

Las Vegas Laugh: A Writer Wednesday Post

March 19th, 2014 | Posted by Irene in Essays - (8 Comments)

Las Vegas LaughLas Vegas Laugh, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

To listen to this post, please click here:Las Vegas Laugh


Captured this image last week in Las Vegas, where family members gathered to surprise my younger brother Jim on his 60th birthday.

It might be that this gizmo dispensing little rolled-up flats could soon outstrip one-armed bandits and roulette wheels to become the most popular machine in Vegas.  My stiletto days are behind me, but the muscle memory lingers on…

The trip was healing–a wonderful chance for us all to laugh and connect for happy reasons.  Nephew Mike and his delightfully droll wife Jolyne brought along our newest family member, Creighton, soon to turn one, and a joyful presence he is.

And, in the beautiful rolling wheel of our lives, so recently touched by death, came news of their second baby, due in October.  Praise life.


Happened to notice that today marks my one-hundredth post. Know that your eyes and ears continue to inspire me. Thank you.

SerenityGlimpse of Serenity, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014 

To listen to this post, please click hereGlimpse of Serenity

I found this carving of serenity among my brother’s things. It seemed he’d left her just for me. The watery heart below her was a gift from my friend Jean this week. She wrapped it in the festive paper floating like a dream above. They are gathered for you in the morning sun, a glimpse of peace and healing thawing our ferocious winter.

Have you found a piece of peace lately?

John Christmas

Christmas John, photo © Robin O’Brien, 2013, all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

To listen, please click here:Sartre Was Wrong

The wedding was to begin in 30 minutes. I had just changed my clothes and was headed out the door to meet my husband so we could stroll together to his sister’s ceremony. OhI might want to take pictures of the happy couple. I turned back for my phone. Onscreen was a voicemail alert. “Call me when you get this.” The anguish in my sister’s voice froze my veins. I dialed her immediately.

That is when and how I found out that my older brother John had died unexpectedly at 65. Peacefully, in bed, on Valentine’s Day, and, according to my brother-in-law who found him, with a look of wonder on his face.

Genius, classical guitarist, peace activist, tournament bridge player, loner: just a few of the many truths about my brother. Ironically, I had just resumed work on a long piece of mine called Family Landscape, where eventually you can find more about him and other forces in my family.

What I want to share here, however, is that because he was single, the thousand dark decisions that must be made so rapidly fell to us siblings, the lion’s share to my sister who was closest to him emotionally and geographically.  The words “yeoman service” were spoken more than once, to more than one yeoman. It was deeply heartening to see siblings, nephews, in-laws, neighbors, landlord and luthier alike create a lovely, healing, fitting celebration of his life. Indeed, it was a reflection of an observation we found among my brother’s recently discovered writings: “Sartre was wrong. Heaven is other people.” He was less a loner than we thought.

1show current page