This little pocket of the web is a place for me to express my personal perspectives on social and environmental issues (climate change, ecocide, poverty, peace, education, parenting, gender,...), explore the nature of reality (the self, oneness, perception,...), and reflect on some of my creative pursuits and interests (visual arts, creative writing, music,...).

You can see the list of my most recent posts below. Please feel free to share your reactions in the comments; and if you do enjoy your visit, please feel free to spread the word about my work and this blog.

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Jesse’s Dream Skirt — available now

Jesse is a little boy who likes to wear things that “whirl, twirl, flow and glow.” He dreams of a perfect skirt that fits him just right and has lots of colors that flow together when he spins. His mother helps him make his dream skirt and he wears it to daycare. How will the […]

Great News about Jesse’s Dream Skirt!

Great News! We have copyright permission to reprint! I’m finally in touch with Bruce Mack’s brothers, and they’re just as excited as I am to get this sought-after classic reprinted. The year 2019 is a milestone anniversary, so I’m aiming to get it out in the next couple of weeks, before the end of December. […]

The straws that break the climate camel’s back

I love a lot about Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist. She’s articulate, unpretentious, and usually focused on a pretty basic message that I, too, would like people to heed: unite behind the science, curb climate change, take immediate action that’s bold, effective, systemic, and redresses climate injustice. Sometimes, her message goes beyond that. […]

What we know (and don’t know) about the author Bruce Mack

What we know (and don’t know) about Bruce Mack, the author of the children’s book Jesse’s Dream Skirt.

Dragon Flame

The Princess and The Dragon, illustration by Elenore Abbott

Deep in the cave of his Shadows and hidden treasure, boundaries of cold hard rock keep The Western Dragon from the skies he could be flying. (My wings are diaphanous. He doesn’t recognize.) Stretching out my hands to him, I enter his space though dark and hard to see. —Jarring — thunderous roar — he […]

Silly Lies and Wide-Eyed Wows – Remembering Cathy Callihan

Stained glass by Cathy Callihan

Whenever the Home County Music & Art Festival comes around, in July in London, Ontario, I can’t help but think of Cathy Callihan. Back in 1982, it was called the Home County Folk Festival, and she had a craft booth there, selling her beautiful, extraordinary stained glass and metal work. I had a craft booth […]

Jesse’s Daycare Teacher – how to react to a gender-non-conforming child

In the previous post, I described the differences between the two versions of Jesse’s Dream Skirt in terms of the way his daycare teacher looks, based on the imaginations of two different illustrators. Now it’s time to look at the differences in how Bruce the teacher acts, based on the two versions of the text. […]

Jesse’s Teacher – could be black, could be white, could be straight, could be gay

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that there are differences between the two versions of the story Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve already covered the differences in the way the mother is portrayed and the way the children react to Jesse wearing a skirt to daycare. Now it’s time to look at the portrayal of the […]

Shadow – a poem

I realize this poem may feel a little dark and despairing. I’m hoping the paradoxical sense of transcendence will come across as well. Shadow A blank philosophy filling the wounded spots shields her invisible threads with so many mysterious whispers. From the unseen to the known, a path is carved in pure uncertainties. Hunger echoes […]

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt – Part 3

Joining in (or not) This is a continuation of the exploration of the differences between the two versions of the children’s story, Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve covered the daycare children’s initial reactions and then the group discussion initiated by the teacher. Now let’s find out what happens next. In both versions, the discussion ends on […]

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt – Part 2

Why does it matter to them that Jesse’s wearing a skirt? This is a continuation of the exploration started in the earlier posts in this series, and particularly the previous one about the daycare children in the Jesse’s Dream Skirt story. I mentioned there were several differences between the two versions of the story, relating […]

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt

Overview, First Reactions, and the Dynamics of Shaming I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that there are differences between the two versions of the story Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve already covered the differences in the way the mother is portrayed. Now it’s time to look at the two different versions of the children and how […]

Jesse’s Mother – two ways of parenting a gender-non-conforming child

Jesse's mother helps him make a skirt that will fit him just right

In the children’s story Jesse’s Dream Skirt, the main character is a little boy who likes to wear skirts and dresses – in other words, clothes that the society he lives in considers to be appropriate only for girls. We can leave for another time the debate about where such an idea comes from and […]

The “Orphan Works” copyright threat

I only recently found out about the plans to reform the U.S. Copyright Act, and about the Copyright Office’s Notice of Inquiry asking visual artists for comments. Luckily, there was still time for me to participate in the process, and I received much of my information through the ArtLicensingShow.com website, on a post titled Your […]

A better version of Jesse’s Dream Skirt

As you know from my previous post, Jesse’s Dream Skirt is a children’s story about a little boy who wears a skirt to daycare. But did you know there are actually two published versions of the story? Before it was picked up by the feminist publishing collective Lollipop Power, the story was first printed in […]

Jesse’s Dream Skirt – the Project

Jesse loves to wear things that whirl, twirl, and flow. How will the children react to him when he wears a skirt to daycare? This project starts with a children's book but goes beyond. Jesse's Dream Skirt, was written by Bruce Mack (a.k.a. Morning Star), illustrated by myself, Marian Buchanan, and published by Lollipop Power in 1979. Decades later, it has become a classic. I’ll be chronicling the making and impact of the book, (including the backlash), making some artwork available for sale, and welcoming your input on where to take it from here.

Jesse loves to wear things that whirl, twirl, and flow. How will the children react to him when he wears a skirt to daycare? This project starts with a children’s book but goes beyond. The book, Jesse’s Dream Skirt, was written by Bruce Mack (a.k.a. Morning Star or morningstar), illustrated by myself, Marian Buchanan, and […]

Harriet Dushane Penniman Patterson Buchanan

Who is it who has such a long name? My mother. The “Buchanan” at the end came later, when she married my father, but even before that, it’s a bit of a long name. This photo will give you a sense of why she inherited family-names-as-middle-names from her family roots. (Does anyone still publish announcements […]

Mousey

I wanted to write up something very special about my mother today, to honour and celebrate her on her birthday, but I find myself at a loss for words. Let me give you a glimpse of her through this painting instead, a portrait she did of me when I was 8 years old. She signed […]

Voice of Andrea

Background notes on this poem: I knew Andrea Currie through yoga, when I lived in Halifax in the early-mid-1980’s. She joined the a capella group Four The Moment while I was still there, and I loved her singing voice as much as her soft speaking voice and gentle manner. She once made and gave me […]

Abstract self-portrait

When I attended l’École supérieure des beaux-arts de Tour, in France in 1972, one of the assignments was to create an abstract self-portrait. I never got around to painting the final version, but this is the coloured-pencil sketch I did for it. My idea for it was the experience that there are no boundaries to […]