What I Learned This Week: #136

Monday, January, 6 – Sunday, January 12


The Week In Emotions and Words: Poetry exists and thrives. People are writing it and shoving it in desk drawers, and burying it on disc drives all over the world. Search poetry magazines and such on-line and there are thousands of outlets. And even in a mid-sized city like Cincinnati there are plenty of places for these poets to share their  poetry via Poetry Nights. Sitwell’s in Clifton’s Poetry Reading Night on the first Tuesday of each month draws a wide range of poets from the city, including young poets keeping the art alive who are students at the University of Cincinnati.

At an open poetry reading you have to be prepared for any emotion from the peaceable feeling of sitting on a river bank to the terror of being pursued by sexual predator. You may laugh or cry. The poems can be light as air or rich like a bite of chocolate mousse. They can be casual or urgent. Sad or joyous. At the end of the evening I like to take a deep breath because every single poet has given a small gift to the audience.

The Week in Emotions and Health in Music: At Music Hall this week, I saw renowned opera singer Renee Fleming not sing, but lead a discussion with two local neuroscientists about how important music is in all our lives, specifically how music impacts the brain. Fleming works with the National Institute of Health and gives talks on Music and the Mind all over the Country.

Close your eyes for a few seconds and think of a particular song that you know well and notice the emotions that even those few seconds of musical mindfulness create. (In the Mood by the Glenn Miller Orchestra makes me feel like my Dad is standing right next to me.) Music can be used to rebuild damaged brains and “awaken” people from depressed states, or from cognitive confusion. Some of the experiments in healing through music are fascinating. The couple sitting next to me said their autistic daughter has benefited greatly from the local music therapy organization Melodic Connections. One take away from the talk to to advocate these programs because they really work.

melodic connections


The Week in Words and Life: My friend artist Joe Pearce’s autobiography became available this week. I love that he did it and stuck with it all the way!

The Week in Taking a Break from Authenticity: After a week of emotions and words, I decided on a simple Sunday evening dinner…grocery store sushi.

I am a food snob like 97% of the time. But I eat grocery store sushi…and I like it. Pictured is a chef’s sampler that even the label didn’t tell me exactly what I was eating. Definitely avocado. Maybe some pimento cheese and fake crab. The bright orange sauce makes me weep like an emotionally insecure teenager. The crunchies could be onions, could be cereal. The bagger threw the package in with my produce and everything got a good shake on my way home. It’s so gross and wonderful. #AuthenticityIsNotTheGoal



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