"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. 
In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to 
sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to 
their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves."

Rabindranth Tagore

Existential Intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to engage questions about human existence – how we got here, whether we have a purpose, and whether there is meaning in Life. Existential intelligence embraces the exploration of aesthetics, philosophy, religion and values like beauty, truth, and goodness. A strong existential intelligence allows human beings to see their place in the big picture, be it in the classroom, community, world, or universe.

First proposed by Howard Gardner, existential intelligence is one of nine theorized intelligences and is considered to be amoral – that is, it and the other eight categories of human intelligence can be used either constructively or destructively.

Friday, March 18, 2011

No More Blogging

The earthquake and Tsunami in Japan are another reminder of the fragility and transience of Life. I don't think I can justify the use of your time reading this blog. So I will no longer be writing it. It would be different if I had anything really useful to say.

Perhaps we should start an Anti- campaign. Anti- pointless ego driven blogs, silly Twitter exchanges and endless Facebook drivel.

I am going to try to use what time I have more wisely.

Thank you for your support and friendship.



  1. It is through reading some of the blogs I follow that I have found a fellowship of people who have helped each other to make sense of the recent tragedies in Christchurch and Japan.

    I am truly sorry the cynic in you has surfaced. Indeed, some blogs are ego-driven, and probably facebook and twitter are not the finest examples of intellectual accomplishment, but your blog has always been of interest to me. Your voice is creative, thoughtful and rational and I will miss it.

  2. I ditto arts4all comment. I have enjoyed your blogs and have gained some knowledge and insight in things I might not have considered without your thoughtfulness. Please, reconsider.

  3. Dear Jane, I will not let you go without sharing with you how much value I find in your provocative observations and conclusions. I have especially so enjoyed your thoughtfulness on the topic of community. Frequently I take immediate action on issues you raise. Your careful analysis of the everyday has changed my perspective on my everyday in a positive, life-affirming manner. Your voice lives in my head now, and will continue to guide and challenge me. Thank you for sharing your days with me.

  4. Jane, When our tears for the people in Japan have dried, please reconsider this decision. The "neighborhood" you have created here is anything but pointless. And I cherish what you have to say. Miriam

  5. Dear Jane, I feel the need to echo the above comments. Although I only very recently found your blog (after signing up to take your class this coming winter at AQT), I have found your posts some of the most well-written and thought (and ACTION) provoking - and will miss your voice. Best wishes, Susan C.

  6. it is sad to see you feeling thus about your blog. here, i am revealing yet another of my attachments which are part and parcel to our existence. or, at least, to mine. i honor your choice, though it is with a heavy heart and disturbed thoughts, as i, like susan, only recently found your blog, but have been thoroughly captivated by your provocative posts. there is nothing wasted about time that makes one think instead of mindlessly trudging through life. your voice will be greatly missed.


  7. It is difficult to feel that anything we do here has meaning in the bigger scheme of these tragic world events. We all are going along dragging our hearts behind us. And yet, aren't we still a community? An existential neighborhood? It is only through these connections we have, whether we are close enough to take each other's hands or sharing through cyberspace, that we are able to be and feel a part of something bigger than ourselves.
    Jane, I truly understand your feelings of depression and hopelessness. I only hope there is someone close by you, to hold your hand until you can see clear to share your thoughts with us once more. love in difficult times, Cameron

  8. I've only recently found your blog, Jane, and have been refreshed by your intelligence and the quality of your writing. I bought a copy of Art Cloth on the strength of your voice here, and I'm glad I did so.
    I don't really want to add anything to what has already been said on the subject of community and meaning, but I do echo the words of your other readers here.

  9. Hi Jane,

    I "ditto" the above comments. You have taught me so much through your blog and your books.

    I feel the same way you do at the moment (flat and ineffectual!)

    I live in Australia. For the first 70 days of this year I have watched floods in Queensland and Victoria (devastating for farmers here who have been living with drought for the last 10 years), cyclones on both sides of our country, bush fires in Western Australia, the earthquake in New Zealand and now the horror unfolding in Japan.

    If we give up creating, educating and communicating with each other, I think we, as a civilisation, will have learnt nothing and will be a poorer place for it!

    It might seem trivial now to blog (I haven't blogged for a while because I feel, like you, I don't think, right now, I have a lot to say), but, soon it will be right to start again. I don't think blogging is ego drive so much as using what we have to communicate with others. Learning and teaching is so important and any avenue that can be used is vital.

    I have waffled but please reconsider. You have so much to offer to the art world and some of us only have cyberspace available to learn the things you have to offer!

    Please don't go!


    Sally in Hobart Tasmania

  10. I just recently found your blog but have read your books and have admired your work for some time. I love reading on the Internet, as it is sort of my in home library. Reading blogs like yours is about learning and touching others. We are all touched by the events around the world, but if you can make your corner of the world a little bit better and a little bit more beautiful, then you have done a great thing. Through art you touch the world and I really hate to see you go. I hope you re-consider.

  11. I have 2 degrees in environmental science and policy and wrote my masters thesis on sustainable communities. The internet IS a community and we are your fellows. This blog has accomplished what community is about, creating tight connections that give comfort and provide direction and a true sense of belonging. You have challenged us to think about the greater world and think about community. It is far from drivel. I will miss having you hold the light up for us.

  12. Okay, I'm mad. No need for you to justify my time reading this blog. I enjoy your blog; I find it inspiring and thought-provoking. You writing that you don't have anything useful to say basically means you think I'm wrong in believing that your blog has value. Well, I'm not wrong--you are!

    You say it yourself in your "About Me"--you are an artist and a teacher. Artists share their work. Teachers share their ideas. This isn't an ego-boost drivel blog. That isn't what you've created here. I've learned a lot about the creative process through you. When you dust yourself off, I would be interested to hear what your creative process was to getting back on your feet again.

    (And I'm not really mad--not really. It's just sad coming out as mad.)

  13. Jane,
    It is understandable that you feel as you do as a result of the disasters in Japan and the horrific human suffering there. It causes me to look critically at what matters as well.
    You have long reminded me of my dear friend, Francesca. Fran lived in south Hartford, Ct. and was an artist and local businesswoman as chef/owner of her catering company. South Hartford had long been the, 'Little Italy' of Hartford but over the last 15 years has been declining to gangs, violence and fear. Fran believed that she should stay there and be a part of the solution. She taught the city children cooking classes and involved herself in local politics in hopes of changes for the better. She never felt that she was effective. Fran recently lost her life to cancer. In the fall we held a fund raiser for her and to her amazement 500 people attended! The mayor even proclaimed it Fran day going forward! She knew then that she had made a difference. So do you.
    Our communities require beacons of light and I see you as a beacon! Wherever you you go in your life, there your light will shine.
    A wise woman once said, "How foolish of me to lose track of the fact that good work is never finished. It only feels that way. In fact, we must be vigilant and keep the good works going. It's the commitment to continuing that counts."
    You WILL be missed by this on-line soul. I hope you find the meaning that you are compelled to and should you decide to return to sharing your light through your blog, I will be here to follow it. Blessings to you.

  14. Jane, while imunderstand your sadness and frustration at all the negative in the world, I am offended that you would so immediately "kill" art and the sharing of it by saying it is not important. Is your book I bought a waste of my time too then? Even though it has shown me new ways of expressing myself through my art?

    Youre essentially telling the world art doesn't matter, and I am going tom hope this was a moment of utter frustratioen and you will eventually come around. Inrely on other artists blogs, because if I only read/watched news, I think I might slit my wrists! Lol life isn't worth living wihtout some good in it - you're part of that good. Remember that, and maybe stop watching the news for a couple days. :) it can be too overpowering.

  15. Existential Neighborhood
    I always look at the blog banner imagining a deli corner in Portland (reference from my youth). We are passing and chatting as we get the days bread/coffee. I will miss you in the neighborhood, there is always a void when a freindly face goes.
    I hope you find peace and the ability to share your creativity again.

  16. It was such a surprise to read Jane's post, and judging by the comments which have followed, I know others are as saddened as I am. Thank you all for joining me in caring for Jane and her decision.

    Dear Jane,
    I have been trying to decide what the balance is between respecting your wishes and continuing to encourage you to return to your blog. Hope you feel supported and still a part of the community you helped to create, whatever your final decision.

  17. Dear Jane,
    Although I understand and respect your choice, I would like to urge you to reconsider when the issues have had some time to settle. Your writing on this blog has made a difference in mine and many other lives. You do not fill it with drivel as many do, but with thoughtful and insightful commentary on the creative process that always seems to resonate. In the wake of great tragedy it is hard to see the value of our creative sharing, but the very process helps us remember that the world is still a wonderful place and that there is reason to continue both creating and sharing. I hope that you can come to terms with the anger and frustration you are feeling. Your friends and faithful readers are here waiting for you to come back.

  18. Dear Jane, This is your blog, life, and community. What you choose to do with it, is your choice and your choice alone. That said, please know that your calming, informative, and thought provoking voice will be missed.

  19. Thank you for sharing, encouraging, supporting, and exhorting. Thank you for reaching out and for caring. Please do not allow despair to minimize or trivialize these gifts as they are an integral part of your human spirit that can help you to keep going, to overcome, and to conquer. It is because of these gifts that you have touched the hearts and minds of many people and they are better because of it. How fortunate you are.

  20. Jane:

    I look forward to your posts as they always challenge me in different ways. Certainly not drivel-and I concur with others that I hope you will reconsider. You have a true gift for communicating and I will miss your voice.

  21. Dear Jane,
    Your telephone call really touched me when my dear Chuck died so suddenly. Still wounded, I reach out to you now. Together we can be stronger than we are alone.

  22. I have limited my reading of blogs because they were indeed taking up too much time without much benefit, but I kept reading your blog because it was not a waste of time. I am still trying to figure out what art is, what is that strange magical power it has, and what my own voice (literally and artistically) is--And perhaps we are back to ego here, but I think finding out who you are is perhaps the most important thing anyone can do. And you are helping me do this by changing my perspective at times, by reminding me of things I need to be reminded of, by challenging me to think, to look, to try.

    I just saw a local theater production of Twelve Angry Men last week and I don't know a stronger testimonial to the power of one man speaking his mind, even though at the beginning he is not sure what he really believes. "If I am not I, who will be?" said Thoreau.

    But then, of course, what does all that mean when one is faced with an earthquake or a tsunami--or the death of someone you love? I don't have that answer, but I do know that your voice, in your art and in your blog, has helped me discover more of my own humanity, and I will miss your voice as I continue to try to figure out what this chaos we call life means and what my own response to it should be.

  23. I dont know what to say really, except that I respect your decision, but will miss your blog. I only read a very few and yours is one of the three that I find really helps me to reflect and meditate and find my own artistic voice and a direction that has some meaning and purpose. Thank you for all that you have shared with us.

  24. You do not have to be good.

    You do not have to walk on your knees

    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

    You only have to let the soft animal of your body

    love what it loves.

    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

    Meanwhile the world goes on.

    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

    are moving across the landscapes,

    over the prairies and the deep trees,

    the mountains and the rivers.

    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

    are heading home again.

    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

    the world offers itself to your imagination,

    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting

    over and over announcing your place

    in the family of things.

    (Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver)

  25. Well, darn it all....So, you think you have nothing to say and nothing to share which it worth our time reading it...Here I was, going to link your blog to mine because I thought it DID have something to say...In some posts, I thought brought out the concepts and differing types of art quilts in a way that I have been struggling to understand and categorize. You did it neatly.

    You shared thoughts on art and design. You shared other things worth knowing. RATS.

    Can't you just re-think this? Perhaps give it some time? We can't all be nuts to think that you have something to say.

    Lisa Quintana

  26. I too am someone who has shortened the list of blogs that I read due to other priorities. I have kept this blog on that short list because what I read here gave me something to think about. I respect your decision and look forward to a time when you may choose to share your views with the world again.

  27. Jane, only you can decide if continuing to participate in this neighbourhood, this community you have created, is what you need to consider your life fully lived. I understand. You are right now staring in the face of Kierkegaard's obstacles of existence - despair, alienation and angst among them. But whatever you decide, allow me to add my own expression of gratitude: you have taught us so much and our community will be a less colourful, less thoughtful, less provocative place without your voice.

  28. Jane,
    Please rethink your stance. Your communication is a wonderful encouragement to so many of us. It's been months without anything. I miss your musings along the way. Please?