THE ART IN POLITICS

  

   

The Art in Politics

I know it sounds silly, but that doesn’t make it not true. Art engenders empathy in a way that politics doesn’t and in a way that nothing else really does.  

Whether it’s a photograph, play, television show, movie, or lyrics in a song – it doesn’t matter. Art has a way of changing things that most factions don’t or can’t. 

Art can bring the conversation to the forefront when politics on sensitive issues builds walls and divides. We can dissect, digest, debate and appreciate Art in whichever form it is delivered and ruminate the message we take away. 

Without malice we can disagree, but Art spawns conversation and changes the temperature of how we talk about divisive issues. 

  

   

The books and plays; To Kill A Mocking Bird, Look Who’s Coming To Dinner, Bird Cage, West Side Story, Schindler’s List, Hamilton (now on Broadway) and, of course, Shakespeare. The list is long. I’m sure you can add to this with some that might have influenced or changed your thoughts about a social issue.

  

Photographs by Robert Capa, Eddie Adams and others that have evoked conversations and changed the world forever. Visuals of events frozen in time that provoke and will stimulate discussions for generations to come. 
  
Lyrics of Dylan, Springsteen, RAP, and, if I might add, the 90’s generation Dylan songwriter, Emerson Hart. These and many more creative or controversial writers bring sensitive issues – war, racism, poverty, dysfunction, mental illness into conversation. 

Art creates change in people’s hearts. It happens slowly, but it does happen. As the wheel of creativity turns, so does the world.

Copyright Sandra Hart© All Rights Reserved

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

( Author Note: As former Romper Room Teacher and Pittsburgh CBS affiliate anchor, my children began their lives with Romper Room and Mr. Rogers as their ‘normal’ family. We relocated with my late husband to New Jersey 43 years ago, but no escaping for them – their friends here in New Jersey always remembered me as the lady on Romper Room.)

Growing Wings Of Their Own

It has almost been 20 years since one of my children took his sisters out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ shadow they had been living under for most of their lifetime. A new dimension was added to our lives and nothing would ever be the same again.

In 1996 my Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey singer/songwriter son, Emerson Hart, and his band Tonic released their first album, Lemon Parade, which rocketed to multi-platinum status and garnered him awards, including the Billboard Award for the #1 most played song on rock radio.

What followed in the ensuing 19 years would be world tours, six Tonic albums, two Grammy Nominations, ASCAP Award, movie soundtracks, two successful solo albums and concerts in war zones entertaining our American troops – even being knocked off of his feet by a bomb blast while the band was staying at one of Sodom Hussein’s Palaces in Iraq.

Springsteen. Bon Jovi. Both New Jersey icons, were already firmly established within the 80’s Rock frenzy by the time Emerson and Tonic came along. But the ‘new kid’ on the block from New Jersey, the late ’90’s talent entry, came into the game like gangbusters when music tastes were were changing. Emerson was on the tail end of Rock’s biggest roll, but he and Tonic have survived.

So have his sisters. Each of them with their own quiet, or not so quiet victories growing up and out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ memories.

So a toast from parents to our children and their victories growing up and out from under our wings. A toast for 20 more quiet and maybe not so quiet years!

Eliminate The Negative

  
This weekend I asked myself with all the negativity in the world assaulting us from every electronic and wireless gadget attached to our digits, or in front of our faces, what should I blog about this week? What should I tell people to help them to reduce their stress? What can I do to relieve some of my stress? 

 My reply in my own head to myself was to stop – put down my iPhone and turn off the television. Now that’s cheeky advice I thought, knowing how I have been Mrs. News Junkie personified most of my life. How personally I react to everything that’s going on in the world from war to kidnapping to the stock market falling precipitously, ISIS murders and child-abuse. Never ending gloom. And the politicians on both sides! Heaven help us.

Of course a forever withdraw from the worst in the world is not practical, but it sure wouldn’t hurt for a few days, or even a week. Wasn’t it Deepak Chopra who said the same thing? The peace of mind I would have not being bombarded with negative and horrific news about the grand transgressions of the human race every waking moment of my day. It would be refreshing.  

 Most of us are sponges that can’t help but absorb negative energy when we feel the stress of a world that seems to have gone all wrong. I think today I’m going to take my own advice and see how I feel in a few days. 

If you are up to a challenge, come along with me to the land of ‘political and world news’ free. 

Let’s spend our time counting our blessings, walking in the woods, hugging our children and sitting surrounded by nature reading a good book in hand. Add a layer of background music that makes us remember how lucky we are to be in the here and now. “Actuate the positive, eliminate the negative…”

Copyright by Sandra Hart. All Rights Reserved.

  

Why Read To Your Child?

  
As early as I can remember reading and books have always been a part of my life. Growing up on a farm far away from all of my neighbors when I was young provided me time to use my imagination through the stories in the books that I read.  The complete tales of Charles Dickens,  the Bible, and Bible stories that were brought to the farm by the Jehovah’s Witnesses traveling the  backcountry roads delivering their message. Any of the books that I could find on the dusty bookshelves on my grandfather’s farm – I read them all.  Each of these stories within the pages of the books made me feel less lonely and took me on adventures that I could live and gave me friends that I didn’t have. 

I credit those early days of reading with developing  both tools that I’ve used my entire life; the ability to use my imagination and the ability to express myself.   Together these skills have allowed me to live a more creative and successful life. 

I do hope parents won’t be caught up with today’s technology  that makes it too easy to bother to stop and spend quality time with their children  with a real book with words weaving stories that will help them express themselves throughout their lives. Words and how to use them will prove to be one of the strongest platforms in their lives.  Ever.

* Please click on the link attached to ‘Ever.’ To watch a short video that fortifies my thoughts.

Copyright Sandra Hart©. All rights reserved.

  
 

Tell Me, How Does Your Garden Grow?

  

Tell me, tell me true have you ever tried to dig a perennial flower garden in soil comprised of peanut stone and blog iron formed 11 million years ago, just waiting for a senior citizen to come along and plant something in it? You know, a lot of little peanut pieces, and mixed in the red soil just to make it more fun are plenty of rocks – big ones.  
When I was a wee Ohio lass years ago it was a challenge to fight with this ornery New Jersey soil. The Midwesterner in me was not going to let any East Coast ground beat me. You guessed right, the peanut stone won. I returned to the house and raised my children. I let nature be my Gardner. The lilies reproduced, azaleas grew big and colorful, birds planted berries, the ivy climbed beneath the mountain laurel and the natural habitat of dogwoods multiplied all while I was enjoying my life and never lifted a finger.  
Well, that was the smart someone I used to know. This over-fifty woman must have lost her marbles and memory to think she can still mine peanut stone.
So today when I returned from Lowes with a trunk load of perennials I had the good intentions of planting and re-energizing my flower garden near the front gate. But it only took the first ‘clink’ as my shovel bit into the impenetrable ground to wake up my memory- sort of a version of shovel shock therapy. I remembered why I have a natural landscape. 
Faced with the dilemma of ‘what next’ and not one to waste a trip to Lowes (or my money), I started to dig half-holes, or about as much as the concrete ground would give me,  all over the garden. It looked like a drunken gopher had been at work. In went the daisies, coneflowers and tall grasses. Half in and half out in a half-planted-‘half-arshed’ way. Topped off by a bag of potting soil and a prayer of forgiveness to these poor perennials, I dragged the hose and gave them a well deserved drink. Please survive sweet things but I’ve got to run. See you tomorrow. 
Slipping off my garden gloves I headed back up the beach stone path to the house defeated by my 11 million year old peanut stone soil. The next drink will be for me. Defeated by a bunch of dirt!

Copyright Sandra Hart©. All rights reserved.

  

Friends For Life

  

Friends are the bows on the tail of our kite. Without them we are rudderless and we can’t fly. Although we don’t often look back to see them, their presence will always be a part of us. When I have lost a bow that has loosened from my string, I dip. I feel it fly away and my journey is altered forever. 
Copyright Sandra Hart©. All Rights Reserved.