How does the poet get started on the process of writing a poem, or the songwriter as he sets about composing a song? Does he or she look at the environment, at what is going on in the world and seek inspiration from things external? Or does the creative artist look within, using introspection as a tool to uncover emotions out of which the poem or song can be fashioned? These questions can be asked about all creative processes, not just writing. They can be asked of the graphic artist, of the composer of music, of the sculptor.
We have all been brought up to believe in the importance of progress. For the past several centuries, the goal of philosophy, religion, culture, and certainly science has been to develop ideas and practices which advance humankind beyond its present state. Poets have acclaimed the superiority of progress; one of them, Robert Browning, put it […]
We all have our secret lives. I don’t mean to say that each of us has a sinister side, which we wickedly act out in some deep, dark, private world. What I do mean is that we all act differently when we are alone, or with a few close intimates, than we act when we […]
For many of us, the first pieces of wisdom which we learned were from nursery rhymes and schoolyard jingles. Sometimes these childish lessons had value, but more often they were off the mark and had the effect of distorting a truer perspective on life.
Like any good grandparent, I have seen my share of little-league baseball games. Earlier this summer, I sat through an all-day tournament of four five-inning games. Not too excited about what was happening on the playing field, I found myself slipping into a half-dozing, half-contemplative mood.
I must begin with a disclaimer. I am not an economist. Admittedly, there was a time early in my college days when I considered majoring in economics. My father, may he rest in peace, was a workingman and a member of a labor union (about which he had only good things to say). This led […]
As a parent, grandparent, and psychologist, I am often considered to be something of an expert on parenting and child-rearing. In that capacity, I have frequently been asked to review or give an opinion about any of the plethora of books on the subject of raising one’s children. Like in any genre, there are better […]
We were young then. They were old—in our eyes, very old. We were the students, barely out of high school and studying in the beit midrash of our yeshiva in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Some of us were on the path toward rabbinic ordination, but most of us were simply spending a year […]
It was a typical park bench conversation. I hadn’t seen my friend for quite some time, and we both were delighted when we ran into each other by chance that afternoon. We shook hands, and withdrew to a bench in the shade to spend a few minutes together catching up with each other. As is […]