Mother NaturePhoto by Jean Marzollo, all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

To listen to this post, please click here: Infant C and Infant B

It was wonderful to be part of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival again this year. I gussy up as Mother Nature on behalf of my book “Forest, What Would You Like?” but also offer my other children’s books.

Among my sales that day, two in particular gave me pause. The first was a beaming woman, who bought a copy of “Maybe My Baby” to add to a large basket of books she carried.

“Inscribe it to Charlotte, “she said, naming one of the world’s more notable grandchildren, born just the day before. The basket would soon be delivered to two residents of Chappaqua—one a former and one perhaps a future President.

Of course I was thrilled to have my book included—I felt like a marmalade-maker getting the Royal Warrant: “By appointment to her Majesty the Queen.”

But later a quieter, plainer woman came by. She picked up the same book.

“I work with infants,” she said. She read the book and nodded. “I’ll take it.”

“I’m so happy. To whom shall I inscribe it?”

“Infant B,” she answered. I did so, feeling a choke of emotion. She was gone before I could ask her anything else.

Infant C will want for nothing and I eagerly hope she and her family enjoy my book.

But for Infant B—at such risk a name has not been given—mine may be the only book. A greater, humbling and grief-streaked honor.




Angle Matters: A Writer Wednesday Post

October 16th, 2013 | Posted by Irene in Essays - (4 Comments)


Pisa1Tower Angle, photo and all text ©Irene O’Garden 2013

To listen to this post, please click hereAngle Matters

You know her, but do you know her from this angle? Fine-boned, luminous, pearly-white, she rises from the vivid green in the company of well-proportioned alabaster relatives.

From this angle, we enter and climb this narrowstepped, carefully-restored marble privilege. Feel the tower’s kinesthetic truth in the angle of our ankles, our limbs teetering out, then in, our tilting spines spiraling up the dim cramped stairway like passing through the tight and curling body of a dark seashell until we dizzily emerge into the blinding blue air at the top.

From this angle, terracotta roofs lead the eye like flagstones to the brushy olive hills and the iris-blue Appenines. Who knew she was so beautifully sited?

There’s a definite jolt of pleasure in seeing a famous landmark (or a person) from the angle you expect. Even if a pizza box trained you.

But we live in a world of three dimensions, a world of innumerable angles.

Let’s look around, above, beneath, behind the flat screens in our hands and our minds. Let’s play with a few acute and obtuse angles before we declare the “right” angle. Sometimes the rightest angle is several degrees from plumb. So Pisa teaches.


Finding a new angle lately?


Had a wonderful time at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. Frank Becerra of the Journal News took this great shot!


Gaudi eyeDivine Eye, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2013

To listen to this post, please click here:Soulgrowing

Greetings, dear friends. I missed you in September, yet felt you at my side pointing out things and asking questions during our three-week spirit-quenching sojourn in Mediterranea—

While I’m not sure how much of the trip I’ll share here, or even what wants to be worded or painted,  this image feels like its emblem.

Sagrada Familia is the colorful, starry-pinnacled, unfinished basilica whose towers grace many a Barcelona guidebook.  It was designed by Antoni Gaudi, and the photos I’d seen made me think his work quirky. Novel, but arbitrary.  Travel throws my ignorance in high relief, and thereby grows my soul.

The exterior is indeed colorful, syncopated, idiosyncratic, but for now, step out of the hot Spanish noon through the massive bronze doors into cool dim, which in a moment opens on a silver grove dappled with light: golden and white and the rotating wheel of the spectrum.

You are in a spiritual translation of a forest. In this shapely generous space, stone trunks rise, twist, branch, uphold a curved and jagged honeycomb of sky. At one end, through Gaudi’s mastery of mathematics, construction, light, design, and materials, saturated in his love of his work, of nature and of his divine “Client,” he translates the sun for us. It becomes the very Eye of God, and unlike our sun, we can look into it.

Free of cliché, of visual dogma. “This interior gives me faith in the future of human spirituality, “I whispered to John. Fresh, harmonic, flexible. Room for souls to grow.

Gaudi began work on the basilica 1883 and completed but a quarter of his design in his lifetime. He was at peace.  “My client is not in a hurry, “ he said.  Work continues, and according to today’s Huffington Post, plans are to complete it by 2026, the centennial of the architect’s death.



Omission Resolved!

Apparently the file I recorded of My Shadow (as requested by more than one reader) malfunctioned. Here is is again for My Shadow fans!

My Shadow


The Lit Biz

Busy times ahead—this Saturday, October 5, I am proud to be part of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival with the gifted artist/illustrator Pat Schories. 2pm Sunday, I’ll joyfully be at the Gardiner, New York Library, where Carol Montana is producing a reading of my Off-Broadway play Women On Fire. Q and A will follow. Please join me if you are in either neighborhood! News next week about a wonderful print anthology in which I am delighted to be included.



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