Friday, December 8, 2023


“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”

-Kate Douglas Wiggin

Many of us have been at home – or close by it – for a considerable time without end of late. We have, all of us, seen our worlds shrink down to perhaps only a few dozen square miles at most. This is a rather antiquated way of life, hearkening to a time when individuals may remain in the place where they were born until they day they again departed this life. But for many of us, the world soon will open up again and we will find ourselves moving through it once more. Will we be changed as we approach travel once again? Will we be reluctant to leave home or will we embrace the newness of away with even more enthusiasm than before?

Montana Ray joined us to discuss her poetry and other writings – both old and new. She recently completed a PhD and is at work on what she calls a rather roving project despite being mostly based in her home office. The work is a nonfiction book that explores connections between the U.S. South and Central and South America. She does her research through genealogy, monuments and cultural performances as well as connections within her family. Ray explores many themes by connecting the South to Central and South America. To hear more, listen to the complete interview.

Stephanie Ellis Shlaifer is a poet and collaborative visual artist who spoke to us from St. Louis. She reports that while the last year was very difficult, things do seem to be looking up. Her visual work includes a collaborative project with Cheryl Wassenaar titled The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs. This site-specific installation was in part prompted by Shlaifer’s poetry from Well Waiting Room and explores the bureaucracy of the mind through interior political cabinets. For the exhibition, they created the office spaces for the Cabinet of Unconsciousness, the Cabinet of Indulgences and the Cabinet of Reason, each with its own cabinet minister. To hear more, including live readings of Shlaifer’s poetry, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Where will you go?

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews is here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. To learn more about work by Montana Ray, click here. For information about Stephanie Ellis Shlaifer’s writing and visual art, click here.


Artists age 21 and over whose work has not yet been internationally recognized are invited to apply for residency at Chautauqua School of Art. There are between 38 and 44 openings available and there are no education requirements to apply. Among the many benefits of residency are housing, meals, ample studio space, mentorship with the lead faculty of artists’ choice and more. For full details and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is March 2.


Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius. His book, Making it in the Art World, is available now with bonus content here.

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