Saturday, July 8, 2017

900 years ago

Two pit houses, Walnut Creek National Monument, near Flagstaff, Arizona,  photo by anita c. fonte 7.4.17

I am awed by the reminders of how short a life span we have, how our time on earth, and in this land is brief.  Maybe we leave behind a few rocks to say "we lived here," or a poem, or a painting.  But all things eventually are worn down by time, and that humbles me, brings me to appreciate this moment, now.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Creative Clutter

Clutter has been criticized for being a messy collection of things that should be reordered, discarded, or avoided.  But I am arguing that clutter can be creative, too.  Having a collection of things that are bound together by a creative urge, idea or practice can be a stimulus to create.  At least, that works for me these days.  Walking the World by Julia Cameron and Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey led me to shop for small blocks of cloth, needles and pins so I can start a small hand sewing project.

What do you think?  Can creative clutter be a "push" for you to create something new? If yes, send me a photo and brief description of your creative clutter. and I will share it on my blog.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Creative Lives of my Mom and Dad

For most of my life I have not thought of my parents as creative people. Children of the Depression Era, they both worked hard in and out of the home.  But, as I reread Julia Cameron's book, Walking in This World..., I have come to understand a broader definition of being an artist.

My dad, while still in high school, made this cabinet.  First, for his mother, and then it became his wife's sewing cabinet.  The top drawer is still full of her sewing tools and the side shelves used to be full of patterns.  I recall her putting patterns for ballet costumes, dresses, and aprons into those shelves, the tissue paper rustling within the McCall's envelopes.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

play ball

Summer can be, and is, a tough season for those of us who live in the Sonoran desert.  I have found one way to beat the heat is to follow the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games on tv, in the comfort of my living room with good air conditioning, and, once or twice a season, I see them live at Chase Field. (I used to be a White Sox fan, but only check them out in the newspaper now, having left the Chicago area years ago).

My love of baseball started early with my dad tossing me the ball in our backyard on McClure Ave. in Elgin, and listening to the games broadcast on the radio.  He had a white and red transistor radio that now sits on a shelf in my husband's office, and it still works in a scratchy sound kind of way.  Once a year in the summer, Dad took my sister and me into Comisky Park.  I think, at some point, she stopped going, but I continued into my early teens.  It was a rare way for me and my dad to have a good time together and I cherish those memories.
Ralph Fonte, a White Sox Fan, two weeks before he died, 8/14

In my thirties, baseball became a conversation point that I had with Henry Kissinger.  Yes, I met the former Secretary of State at the LBJ Library and Ranch when I worked with the Kettering Foundation.  We talked about baseball as a way to find common ground on the issue of National Security which he and I definitely did not agree on in any way.  Years later, when Kissinger came to Tucson as part of a community forum, he crossed the yard at the resort, with local security tagging behind, and said, "Oh, my little activist!"  Then he proceeded to tell me how our baseball conversation earlier (he hadn't understood the game), eventually led him to have box seats at New York Yankee Stadium.

I don't pretend to be a political guru from that experience, but, as demonstrated at the recent moment of  a "coming together" baseball game between Congressional Democrats and Republicans, playing baseball, talking about baseball, watching baseball can move the needle enough to create space to share our uniquely American sport--between political parties, a liberal activist and Secretary of State, and a dad and his daughter.

On line coloring by Anita C. Fonte

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

update summer 2017

Keep watching this site. It will be updated soon to reflect my renewed creative and, yes, slow life.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Words and Phrases of my Life for 2016

(partial response to the poetry prompt from Poets & Writers, 11/17/16)—a. fonte

Sports:  Cubs win, Olympics in Rio are a bust.

Politics:  Bernie’s tufts of white hair, Hillary’s white pantsuits, Trump’s “Make America White Again”.

Home:  New carpet is a mottled cloud, Gray (the cat) helps us play quiet, neighbors come and go, wave their hands, avoid making eye contact while dead palm tree fronds clutter the pool.

Work:  Stuck in second gear.  Like a kid struggling to ride a bicycle, I fall off TENWEST, pick myself up with TEDx, bump into BuildUP^, and coast through do happy today.

Writing:  Stuck in second gear.  Poetry is my harbor; fiction is my reading compass; non-fiction is my bread and butter.  Blogs are bittersweet.

Travel:  Too brief a time in Maui where the water is warm, the sand pillows around my toes and wind blows flower petals across my eyes. I learn hula and let go of my hips, eat homemade granola for breakfast, and am delightfully dampened by mist at a luau.  My husband and son learn to play together again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Remembering Aunt Mollie

Today is the funeral for my Aunt Mollie, formally named Mollie P. Ianno. Her maiden name was Fonte and she was my dad's eldest sister. Actually, her name was Mary Pauline Fonte, but her mother was also named Mary so, she became "Mollie." Mollie took care of my dad and her other seven siblings as well as she could in a large and poor Italian home. She spoke often about how my dad was a "good boy" and had a tough tone to her description of three other siblings.

She was tiny.  Like a hobbit.  In 1967, I remember visiting her when I was eighteen and she danced the tarentellla for me in her Arcadia, California kitchen. Sunlight streamed through the windows and bounced off the white porcelain sink as she twirled with a sharp tomato-cutting knife in her hands. Her husband, Frank, made fresh pasta.  He loved to drive his car on the wide streets.  His belly rubbed behind the steering wheel as he chauffered me to see Blue Boy at the Huntington Library and Museum.  My cousins, Chuckie and Frankie, took me to my first trip to Disneyland.  I don't remember any details from that drive or visit, except the speed of the freeway with convertibles flying past us like noisy blue jays. Jeannie was married and out of the house then with her own growing family of three, but we have bonded since she became Aunt Mollie's companion and caregiver.

Many visits to California to see my auntie since then. First in Hemet where Aunt Mollie had Christmas cactus on each windowsill in their sun room. For twenty years the one she gave me flourished in my bathroom, but this Spring, as her 102 year old body finally began failing, the cactus also began to shrink.  Still struggling to survive, it's on my shaded patio, returning full circle to its place in the sun.  Later, my husband and I visited her in Fountain Valley where she was the little queen in Jeannie's home, celebrating her 100th birthday under the magnolia tree with friends and family.

After my dad died in 2014, Aunt Mollie was my last link to him and to the childhood stories about Dad that gave me insight into his adult behaviors. Her stories, no doubt embellished with the love of a big sister and adjusted memory of an old woman, helped me forgive him for his many faults and helped me appreciate the deprivation that drove his demons.  My dad always saw the cup as "half empty" or nearly so.  Aunt Mollie always saw the cup as "half full" or full to overflowing.

She's gone now, too.  Buried today in Calfornia...where the dreamin' for some, still goes on.

photo of Aunt Mollie at the Ted DeGrazia Chapel altar
My tiny tribute poem reads:
Becoming Mollie
she lived for ten+ decades with
an orange tree's deep roots.