Basket of Scenes from a Life

<strong>DANCING SCISSORS</strong>

The following amounts to an electronic book. It consists of short articles that are published, in nearly every case, on Huffington Post. The articles describe remarkable experiences from my own life, mostly of people met or places visited.

The articles are arranged in chronological order and each title is clickable: you will be taken instantly to the text (preceded, in many cases, by a painting or photograph that fits with, or offers a comment on, the subject).

This “Basket of Scenes from a Life” stands beside my book, Enlarging Our Comfort Zones, which focuses more sharply on the 1980s. “A Basket” includes anecdotes from childhood to the present. This is less a memoir than a set of stories about other people, some famous and some just amazing. Enjoy.

Chronological periods:

  • Growing Up (number of articles = 14)
  • College (7)
  • Year Abroad on Knox Fellowship (13)
  • 1962-78 (21)
  • 1978-1992 (13)
  • The Nineties (11)
  • Early Ashland (13)
  • Later Ashland (13)

Total = 105

Images that appear at the head of articles listed on this page, whether works of art or photographs, are protected by copyright and are used by written permission of either the author of these articles ( or Shoshanah Dubiner ( who can each be reached via the websites listed above

Growing Up

Marge’s Program” #151 (order of posting)

“Salutary Shocks” (surprises to learn from)#179

A Penny on the Rail” (stopping a train) #155

Back to the Farm” #216

A Happy Man” #192

Little Entrepreneurs” (a lesson from Dad) #132

A Tipsy Playwright” (sneaking into the big city) #131

Every Sunday” #219

From a Still Pool to Flow”” (what I grew up with) #160

What’s in a Name?” (my Dad’s) #180

“A Misdirected Endorsement” (letters from Senator Humphrey’s office) #130


More Than I Expected” (volunteering) #202

When the System Fails” (adopting a false solution) #19 7

The Hungarians” (starting with a room-mate) #206

Monro’s Damage Control” (review of biography subtitled Uncommon Educator, about John U. Monro, who served as Dean of Harvard College) #54

Encounters with JFK” (a Foreword by Jonh F. Kennedy, youth service abroad, a joke on the Presidential campaign trail about Nixon, the American University speech) #114

Chosen Brothers” (college room-mates) #201

Year Abroad on Knox Fellowship

Hands That Are Invisible” (remembering Adam Smith, in Edinburgh) #45

Saved by a Strong Arm” (Lord Russell in London) #106

Discovering In Parenthesis” (in Wales, about David Jones, the poet and artist) #98

Amsterdam” #204

Wall of Shame” (in Berlin) #100

Unanticipated Lessons” (in Ischgl, Austria) #101

A Dinner in Delphi” (surprise in Greece) #107

She Would Have Fallen” (story told by Peggy Guggenheim, in Venice) #97

Surprised by Joy” (in the Jeu de Paume) #161

Not an Actor” (meeting Peter O’Toole) #146


Alone in the Dark” (in a Roman ruin in Tunisia, in 1964-65) #118

Nothing Happened” (a cistern) #173

Riesman’s Crowd” (teaching “American Character & Social Structure)#187

Dipping into the Law” (a year in New haven) #159

The Ranch as Refuge” (west of Palo Alto, CA, in 196 8-71) #123

Merits of Play” #205

Second Thoughts” (first responder) #144

As the Wheel Turns in Japan” (at the Katsura Imperial Villa, around 1971) #122

Lesson from Starting a School” (helping to found a grad school at the Wright Institute in Berkeley) #117

Corn by thre Roaring Fork” (celebrity picnic)#167

When a City Went Dark” (Manhattan blackouts) #154

Neglected Art” (Whitney Counterweight) #200

When a Cello’s Ready to Sing” (a love poem) #132

Reframing a Task” #149


(for this period, see also my book, Enlarging Our Comfort Zones)

Yes But What Does It Mean?” (starting to paint) #128

Running with Deer” (on Point Reyes) #163

Family of Origin” #195

Ashes in the Air” #182

When the Nuclear Arms Race Became a Thing” (a summit between Gorbachev and Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland) #99

A Nuclear Secret” (a conversation over coffee with a former Khrushchev aide) #09

Let’s Pretend” (a meeting of citizen diplomats) #220

Living Through Little Disasters” (in the San Francisco Bay Area) #168


Angie’s Way” (learning from Angeles Arrien) #129

Big Island of Hawaii” #188

Why You Were Shone to the Sun" (meditation on freckles in a poetry workshop with David Whyte) #127

Grandmother Moon” (making her acquaintance) #135

Raven in the Stern” (journey in a spirit canoe) #137

Brothers in the Market of Rugs” (in Marrakech, Morocco, in the 1990s) #126

Isaac Newton as Cowboy” (a visit to one of England’s great houses, in the 1990s) #113

If We Struck It Rich” (in Hawaii) #162

Another Level of Being There” (visit to Ricky Leacock, a filmmaker in Paris, in the 1990s) #109

Growing Up Under Authoritarian Rule” (an adolescence in war-time Amsterdam, lived by Robbert Van Santen in 1940-45, described by CKC in the 1990s) #116

Early Ashland (starting in 2000)

The Making of a Teacher” (a review of Keith Martin-Smith’s biography of Zen Master JunPo Denis Kelly Roshi) #41

Because You Can Be Taken Only by Surprise” (life on the path) #134

Healthy Masculinity” (Bill Kauth and the Mankind Project, or MKP) #60

An Incubator for Social Inventions” (participating in the Relentless Optimists) #119

Abundance Gifting” (annual event founded by Jeff Golden) #52

He Must Be in Love” (meeting my wife, Shoshanah Dubiner, in 2004) #120

A Life Told in Paint” (review of the Charlotte Salomon exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco) #33

Welcoming Warriors Home: The Film” (directed by Kim Shelton, produced by Bill McMillan, a documentary of a community ritual) #28

"Remembering a Buddhist Psychotherapy Pioneer" (Ron Kurtz, founder of Hakomi therapy) #22

Later Ashland

Just Stopped Eating” (Mom’s dying) #156

Progressive Condition” (living with a diagnosis) #148

Mocha for the Brothers” (a coffee club) #175

Playing at Any Old Age” (hosting a TV show called “Like Wow!”) #121

Free Caribbean Cruise” (telephone solicitations) #147

Importing That Shimmer” (the art of Shoshanah Dubiner) #172

It Wasn’t the Troops Who Lacked Courage” (on documentary about the war in Vietnam) #176

Nuclear Luck” #231

Moments of Awe” #232

A Graceful Ending” (a death with dignity) #110

My adventures in the 1980s and very early 1990s are described at length in a book, Enlarging Our Comfort Zones: A Life of Unexpected Destinations (2016), including friendship with such mentors as Yosal Rogat (a professor at Stanford) and Don Carlson (founder of the Ark Foundation)

My personal website includes links to my recent books and all internet articles, excerpts from other writing, samples of paintings and photographs, biography, and so forth

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.