Friday, February 8, 2013


…..was held at an elegant Beverly Hills home with about fifty writers, readers and all around lovers of books in attendance.


Lovely Chinese Magnolias about to burst forth…


At the entrance were books by the writers we were to meet….


The empty chair is MINE…arrived early to be assured of a seat!


Can you spot #1Assistant Nikka?  The woman to the right is CJ, a retired lawyer and ‘knower’ of all things cultural and literary. She turned me on to ‘Inside the’….check it out!


The event was titled ‘Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How & Why The Do What They Do’ edited by Meredith Maran, book critic, journalist and author of 10 nonfiction books who was one of the guest speakers along with Terry McMillan and Susan Orlean.


Susan to the left, Terry in the center with Meredith to the right.


Terry wrote ‘Waiting to Exhale’ and ‘How Stella Got Her Grove Back’ among other novels and said that Columbian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years of Solitude) influenced her early on and Ring Lardner, sports columnist & short story writer  ‘helped her accept her voice.’ Terry also said “You can’t pass judgment as a writer ….. it’s most important to surrender to the process.”  Another major influence for her was, J.D. Salinger, literary legend & author of ‘Catcher in the Rye’.

‘Writing is like praying.” … I write because the world is an imperfect place, and we behave in an imperfect manner…Writing is about the only way (besides praying) that allows me to be compassionate towards folks who, in real life, I’m probably not that sympathetic toward.”


Susan Orlean, a non-fiction staff writer for  the New Yorker wanted to be a writer since the age of 5. She was played by Meryl Streep in the film adaptation of her book ‘The Orchid Thief’. Her recent work,  ‘Rin Tin Tin’ was a New York Times best seller.  Susan said that Nobel prize laureate William Faulkner influenced her early on. “There is still surprise & wonder in the world & a writer is your guide……Read as much as possible & LOVE writing!”


Did I mention it was also a tea? Had to show you the great kitchen….


  …then on to the dining room….032

  Isn’t this the most exquisite wallpaper ever???024

….now for the tea…. 033

….and assorted treats….the pink ‘thingies’ are little cupcakes….next to them are the most delicious macarons….just like Bouchon’s. 034

I opted for water….. 035

All the tasty treats are from ‘Palate’ 048

Thank you Book Soup for enabling us to purchase the wonderful books…


….and thank you Janet for opening you beautiful home to such a splendid event!044

I love this tree………..


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There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.