Sunday, October 9, 2016

Questions of Life

To the question of your life you are the only answer.  
To the problem of your life you are the only solution. 
~Jo Coudert

This has been a favorite quote of mine for more than 20 years.

We are each responsible for our life adventure. And yes sometimes there is a turn in the road you don't expect. And we all have heartache and physical ailments. The hope is that by staying in the moment and embracing the challenge you get on the other side of things. No one else is responsible for your happiness. You are the solution and the answer.

Enjoy this autumn day. It is raining in Connecticut and cool, but it is still a perfect day. 

All the best,

Follow me on Facebook at  Moth at the Window and/or Mary Lachman Design

Greenland Cove, Bremen, Maine
Link to order the book on Amazon: Moth at the Window: Poetry of Grover W. Clayton and Recollections of Indiana 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Count Down to Hudson

In less than 2 weeks I will be at here at The Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson, Ohio!

I am very excited because Ohio is my home state and I hope to see some cousins and former classmates who live in the area. 

Mark your calendar for
Saturday, October 15, 2016
1:00-3:00 p.m.
204 N. Main Street 
Hudson, Ohio

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Miraculous Human Spirit

We humans are full of self-doubt. Yet we are clearly capable of so much more!

Think about the Olympic athletes in Rio this week. How many struggled to overcome economic and social disadvantages to be come the best from their countries!

So push on to live your dream, create and finish what sings to your spirit.

I saw this sign in a shop last weekend in Lake Placid, NY.  I photographed it to share with you. Have a terrific day.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Admiring Ted Kooser

I am a huge fan of Ted Kooser, the former U.S. Poet Laureate.  I came to know his work through hearing it read on the radio and television, but I had not read his poetry myself.

But, last weekend I picked up a copy of Lights on a Ground of Darkness: An Evocation of a Place and Time which he published in 2005 with the University of Nebraska Press.

The book is dedicated to his mother. In it he begins by describing a scene in 1949 in Guttenberg, Iowa.

It begins..  
"Summer, 1949. Above the Mississippi, the noon sun bleaches the blue from a cloudless midsummer sky. So high in their flight that they might be no more than tiny motes afloat on the surface of the eye, a few cliff swallows dive and roll."
~Ted Kooser

I was hooked.
I was charmed.
I embraced the little book and all its flavor.
And devoured the words.

I think you will too. Have a lovely weekend.

All the best,

Art Website:
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Facebook: Mary Lachman Design and Moth at the Window
To Order: Moth at the Window: Poetry of Grover W. Clayton and Recollections of Indiana 

Five Tips to Jump Start Your Writing this July 4th Weekend

You have been thinking about starting that short story or book but just can't seem to make it happen. Here are 10 tips that can get you going:

1. Keep paper and pen with you at all times. I find a small bound journal works well. Moleskin makes all sizes but there are many other types that you might like.

2. Jot down ideas when they come to you. Maybe you like the notebook feature if your cell phone has one.  I prefer paper and ink but use whatever works best for you.

3. Write each day. Write about a funny thing that happened to you or someone else. Write about the crazy story you heard about the bridesmaid who didn't have her dress two weeks before the wedding and asked the bride if she knew anyone she could borrow one from. Really!? Yep true story. Some things you just can't make up.

4. Write at the same time each day.  Studies show that doing the same thing at the same time each day creates a routine for your mind and body and makes the habit stick. (Routine also makes bad habits harder to break so be careful!)

5. Write at least 100 words each day and better yet, write 750 words!
Do you want to tell a story about your family? what were the outstanding characteristics that immediately pop into your head when you think of Uncle Denny? or Aunt Lucy?
Write it down. Describe don't tell. Paint a picture with words.

Remember the toughest thing to do is to get started. So write that very first word and that very first sentence! Make it a habit. You might even like it better than a cup of coffee!

All the best,

Art Website:
Book Website:
Facebook: Mary Lachman Design and Moth at the Window
To Order: Moth at the Window: Poetry of Grover W. Clayton and Recollections of Indiana 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Storytelling as ART

There is no question about it. Good storytelling is an art. In this TED Talk by Andrew Stanton he shares some hints on how to do it well.

 It is so worth watching!

Ted Talk with Andrew Stanton

Best wishes. Live a simple creative life!

Author Website:
Follow me on Facebook at  Moth at the Window and/or Mary Lachman Design
Order: Moth at the Window: Poetry of Grover W. Clayton and Recollections of Indiana 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Poems and Music

Lyrics are often poetry set to music. How else would those songs be so unforgettable!  The rhyme and rhythm increase a human's ability to remember the lyrics. In ancient times poetry was used as a method to communicate history of the people.

Poetry and music share an intimate connection. Both take some of the deepest and most intimate human emotions and distill them down to a few words.

In her TED Talk, Singing Old Poems to Life musician Natalie Merchant draws on her tremendous reserve as a creative and passionate artist and sings with from her heart.

I highly recommend the video. If the above does not work for you here is another link:

Link to Natalie Merchant's TED Talk

Best wishes. Live a simple creative life,

Author Website:
Follow me on Facebook at  Moth at the Window and/or Mary Lachman Design
Order: Moth at the Window: Poetry of Grover W. Clayton and Recollections of Indiana 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Time to Downsize?

In a few weeks my husband and I will write the final check for our son's college tuition (payment plan). Graduation is in May and with any luck he will be finished! In addition, my older son and his wife are looking for their own place and will not be living with us any longer.

With those changes our house will be a quiet spot. We love our house, yard and garden but at some point one has to consider whether they are going to be in the same place long term (until retirement) or whether it is time to downsize.

Some of you know I work full-time in White Plains, NY.
My commute is 106 miles round-trip, daily. Could it be time to move a little closer?

Around here though, moving anywhere closer to NYC, also translates to paying considerably more for the same size house. As a result I think it could be time to downsize. But this is where the DH and I differ.  I would like a 2 bed cape walking distance to pizza and coffee. He would like a 3 bed colonial on at least 0.5 acre. Obviously we need to work this out.

We do agree that we need to sort out our belongings. (Of course he thinks I collect more than he, which I do, but I sort regularly and recycle regularly and he just piles his things in the basement. The basement is completely full, btw. Just saying.

I just finished reading the "Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, a Japanese professional cleaning consultant. Her premise is that when cleaning and sorting all things much be physically touched. And when you touch your belongings if you don't like them, if they don't bring you a surge of happiness or pleasure then you must eliminate them from your home and life. I like the idea. I get it.

Here is a link to Marie Kondo's website:

All the best,

Author Website:
Follow me on Facebook at  Moth at the Window and/or Mary Lachman Design
Order: Moth at the Window: Poetry of Grover W. Clayton and Recollections of Indiana 
Mary Lachman at a book signing 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Storytelling: What Makes a Lion a Lion?

Saturday I attended a performance of " The Lion" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven. It was a written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer in which he told the story of his life by song. Mr. Scheuer's performance was stunning and he received two standing ovations! I will provide a link to the show at the end of this post.

Several things touched me about his presentation. He was so open and candid sharing extremely intimate details of his life. He sang with such passion.

It was storytelling at its best. It had a beginning, middle and end. As an audience member one could not help but ask yourself, "what next?" Because Mr. Scheuer was so passionate, and his story so engaging, the audience became invested in the outcome of the story.

The Lion is on stage through February 7th.

Link to the  Long Wharf Theater

All the best,

Author Website:
Follow me on Facebook at  Moth at the Window and/or Mary Lachman Design

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Friendship - Face to Face

Friends are so important. They can buoy you up, push you along, or redirect your path.

Although I have both male and female friends, they are different. It is said that women are friends face to face, while men are friends to one another side by side.

Maybe that is why women often make good friends throughout their lives, while men sometimes reminisce that their best friends were their buddies in high school.

Remember that hilarious movie, Nine to Five? In it three characters, from different backgrounds, played by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton become friends united around a purpose. (If you don't remember the movie you might consider borrowing it from the library.)  Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin shared their thoughts on friendship in a recent TED Talk. You can follow a link to it at the end of this post.

We all need friends. Too often we let other obligations get in the way of making a phone call or visiting someone dear. At an advanced age my grandmother, Frances, and her friend, Nelle Johnson telephoned one another each day, just to make sure the other was still alive!

Frances in center
Photo from Moth at the Window by Mary F. Lachman
Copyright 2014 - All rights reserved

I'd like to share one of several poems my grandfather, Grover W. Clayton, wrote about friendship.
from Moth at the Window by Mary F. Lachman
Copyright 2014 - All rights reserved

In our digital life it is easy to forget that we still need face to face contact with friends. It refreshes us and energizes us in a way that Facebook does not.

Have good day.

All the best,

Follow me on Facebook at  Moth at the Window and/or Mary Lachman Design

Friday, January 8, 2016

3 Reasons to be Grateful for Old Friends

On Tuesday I stopped for lunch at a friend’s house.  Marion is someone I worked with for more than 10 years and someone who I occasionally socialized with outside work. After I left that company almost 3 years ago it became harder to see each other regularly, even though we shared many interests.

It wasn’t as if we didn’t make plans to see one another. We picked dates but something always got in the way and one of us cancelled out. Actually I was usually the one who opted out at the last minute.

I had many excuses but I looking back I know I needed to put some space between my old job and former colleagues.  I was weary from answering questions about my new position, the commute and my level of satisfaction. I wanted a break!

The funny thing is now that I have had some open space I am ready to re-engage with some of these work friends. In summer camp we used to sing this little song: 
Make new friends,
But keep the old
One is silver
But the other is gold.

I am grateful to have friends who have been with me throughout various stages of my life.

In a recent article “Friends at Work? Not So Much” (NY Times, Sept 14, 2015 - link to article provided at end of blog post) contributing op-ed writer Adam Grant quotes Jane E. Dutton, professor at the University of Michigan, who finds that a high-quality connection does not require a “deep or intimate relationship” but rather respect, trust and mutual engagement.

Three Reasons to BE GRATEFUL for your Old Friends:
  1. You have a shared history. They know your former self. Maybe you met in high school, but somehow, for some reason, 30 years later you can rekindle a conversation as though it was yesterday. These are true friends.
  2. You have common interests. Old friends are just that because you have a shared interest (or many) with them.  You can talk to them about your life, kids, victories and defeats and they don’t judge you. They encourage you to be yourself.
  3. You trust and respect them.   They will take you just the way you are. They don’t care if you have holes in your socks and you don’t care either when you are with them.

Why not reach out to a friend this weekend? 

All the best,

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Reader's Question Answered

I was recently asked by a reader how the logistics of publishing Moth at the Window. What follows in this post are the nitty gritty details and some ideas for you if decide to pursue a project like this.

I signed on to self-publish with Xlibris when they ran a 50% off sale back in 2011 - THREE YEARS before I finished the project!  LOL.  I had a good experience working with them. If you decide to go that direction I can give you specific advice at each step. 

There are many companies for self-publishing your book. If you want to get your work in print quickly you can’t beat doing it yourself. Some have extra services like editing, etc for an extra charge. Some names you might know:
  • Xlibris
  • Amazon
  • I-Universe
  • Create Space (thru Amazon I think)
One disadvantage of self-publishing is the promotion is on you. You become the writer, marketer and promoter. You serve as your own agent and press release writer.

Smaller publishing houses will also expect you to do much of the footwork yourself. 

There are a few small publishers in the Hartford area (the reader who posed the question was from Connecticut) that you might search for online including ANTRIM HOUSE and GRAYSONBOOKS.COM 

Other larger publishing houses are KENYON REVIEW, HUDSON REVIEW, ANTIOCH REVIEW and TUPELO PRESS. Those are just a few. Often the larger places will indicate in the submission guidelines when they ‘read’ certain types of submissions. Follow the guidelines carefully or they might just throw your work out. 

Also, if you can, it is plus if you can get some reviews of your manuscript before submitting it (to use as blurbs for the back cover) or if you can get some of the poems published (even online in a literary journal format).  Those things could be a key to getting your work into a larger house that would do more promotion for you. 

Good luck with your project and I'll try to answer any other questions you might have. 

All the best-

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