The Big Burn

Timothy Egan

Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America


On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men  —  college boys, day workers, immigrants from mining camps  —  to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force.

- From Goodreads

- Submitted by Marty Brandt


Robert Beauchamp

Fantasy by Roberty Beauchamp

Robert Beauchamp (1923 – 1995), along with his six siblings, was orphaned at the age of three and raised during the depression in communal housing in Denver, Colorado.  After receiving encouragement from his high school art teacher, Beauchamp immersed himself in art books from the public library and spent countless hours at the school art studio.  His perseverance earned him a scholarship to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and launched him into his life long career as an artist.

Read more about Robert Beauchamp

View more Paintings by Robert Beauchamp

Here in the Mirror: Finding Beauty Beyond Body Image

Sarah Ann Henderson

Nude by K. Castillo

Art by K. Castillo

Tonight, I looked at my body. I have not done this in a long time, not intently anyway. As I was undressing to shower, I caught my reflection in in the bathroom mirror and for some reason it stopped me. For some reason, I felt there was something I needed to see.

As I stood there staring at my naked reflection, it occurred to me that I did not have the instinct to turn away in fear, as I had for many years. I was able to look solemnly and appreciate this image, this form that encompassed my physical being.

This is what I saw.

At first, I had old memories appear. I could see every place that I was ever touched in cruelty, every place on my body that I was violated by someone I should have been able to trust. I used to feel those touches repeat themselves over and over in my body, like a record endlessly skipping.

Then I saw the way I had coped with this. I had blamed my body for accepting those violations without putting up more of a fight. I had blamed those places for attracting the violations, as if I had a choice, as if it was really my fault. So I punished my flesh. I split my skin open with razor blades and knives and scissors countless times- arms, legs, breasts, stomach- I cut everywhere I could. I saw the scars all over my body from those punishments and did not feel shame, only compassion.

I remembered flashes of other mirrors, other bodily inspections, only then I was counting my bones. The other way I punished my flesh was by trying to get rid of it altogether. I starved and puked and ran until I weighed practically nothing and was nearly dead; and yet I was proud. I felt safe in that body- I’m sorry - that skeleton. I felt strong and invincible which was ironic because I could hardly walk. I see now a body so far from that time. Healthy, capable, brave in its softness. I accept the shape that I am because it means that I am no longer in danger of dying. I accept it because I have enough respect for myself to not care what other people think, and to put what is best for my health and recovery before anything else.

When I turned I saw the eleven inch scar that curves down my back from my left shoulder blade to beneath my arm. I see four oval shaped scars each the size of a nickel; two beneath my left arm and two lower down on my side. These scars remind me how resilient the body is. After all, at twenty-three years old I had my chest cracked open, part of my lung removed, my heart stopped in surgery, I was in a coma for two days, I had four huge tubes coming out of my chest, an unidentified raging infection, and I still managed to fully recover. I am proud of these scars, because they make me remember how strong I really am, to have been able to survive that.

When I turned back around, I took one last look and realized that all of those things my body held were like a little history of my life. My body was a tablet that my story had been written on; each mark and scar and tattoo has a story, and those stories make up my life so far. And what I see in that, finally, is beauty. My body is beautiful. Mostly, because I am beautiful, and because I have survived and recovered and accepted and developed compassion for my experiences. This is the way I believe we can find beauty in ourselves. By removing the blame and fear and guilt and shame and rage that has been wrongly pinned on the body, and finding compassion for exactly where we are.

-Reposted  from Writing For Recovery

Better Now

Collective Soul

Let the word out,
I’ve got to get out
Oh, I’m feeling better now
Break the news out,
I’ve got to  get out
Oh, I’m feeling better

The world’s done shakin’
The world’s done shakin’
The world’s done shakin’ me down

-Better Now From the album Youth by Collective Soul

Artist Keith Maddy

Artist Keith Maddy



When I view my favorite works I experience wonder anew each time. How wonderful, how creative, how amazing, how incredible, that this piece has come from someone’s imagination, through their mind and hands, and into reality.



Keith Maddy was raised in Pembroke, Massachusetts as the last of 7 children.  His mother’s side of the family is Italian and his father was of English, Scottish and German roots.  Growing up in a working class family, Keith held various jobs since the age of 12, including paper boy, baby sitter, dish washer, bus boy, waiter, and night loader for the toy store, Child World.  After graduating high school in 1982, he attended Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, as a theater major.  An international study semester in Mexico City peaked his interest in studying abroad and he transferred to the American University in London.  He worked, travelled and studied in Europe for 2 years before returning to the States.  Settling near Boston, he paid the bills working as a bike messenger while experimenting with collage making.  With a varied artistic background and a strong portfolio of collages, he applied to Massachusetts College of Art and Design and was accepted, graduating in 1994 with a BFA with distinction.

Keith Maddy currently resides in Back Bay where he enjoys spending time with family and friends.  As soon as the season allows, you can find him swimming in the ocean or at the celebrated and sacred Walden Pond.  Keith creates and teaches at Vernon Street Studios in Somerville.  He is represented by The Schoolhouse Gallery and The Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery.

outofthewoodsKeith, thank you for sharing your story with Healing Hamlet.  When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?

Growing up I was always very different from my siblings, a true artistic sort – very sensitive, loved to color, and played the clarinet.  I got involved in theater, both in high school and community theater (Duxbury Players). I was also very influenced and energized by the emergence of punk and new wave music – the new sounds, the clothes, the theatrics.  My favorite bands were the B-52′s, Nina Hagen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Devo and Lene Lovich.  After London, I started making collages from magazines. My first show was at Trident Bookseller Café.  Applying to MCA was a big step in embracing it more seriously.

Not everyone who loves to create can make a living doing it. How do you make it work? What advice would you give someone who wants to be an artist?

After graduating MCA, I always had to have another source of income to pay my bills as my art income fluctuated every year. I’ve worked retail management, art modeling, organic farm manager, office manager and quality control supervisor with the US Census Bureau 2010. After getting layed off at the USCB, I went back to school to become a licensed Massage Therapist with the intention of doing that 1/2 time and my art 1/2 time. Being new to the field and building clientele, I currently work as a LMT full time and am in my studio part time. Not what I had planned, but in the near future I anticipate reshifting the balance more equally.  Most artists I know are in the same boat. Many artists teach in order to supplement their art income. Other artists I know work in museums or galleries. In any case, it’s a long road of persistence and the belief in oneself and one’s art, regardless of the perceived value of success via sales, shows and acknowledgment. There are many ways to be an artist. Follow and be true to your own path and vision.

You work primarily with collage and mixed media. How did this become your creative focus? What draws you to this form Leisure Wheel SOSof art?

Collage was the foundation of my work and portfolio that got me into MCA. I enjoy the tactile quality of working with various materials and transforming or incorporating common materials into works of art. Vintage materials have a certain nostalgic feel and patina that I am attracted to and serve as a sounding board. I believe I’ve unconsciously stored colors, patterns and shapes from my childhood that I continue to draw upon.


Your pieces begin with various, often vintage, materials (textiles, wallpaper, books…), and become something separate but connected to their original elements. Where do you see yourself in the process? Is it the artist that guides the materials or the other way around?

I definitely believe I guide my materials, which I choose for texture, color, line, content, pattern and often knowing, through experience, how they will work (adhere, tear, relate).  Though they all have their own unique “essence”, it is up to me to coordinate seemingly disparate elements into something harmonious, like a poem of sorts.

What is the most important thing you want to pass on to your students?

I want my students to SEE, embrace and develop their own unique style.

Wtwilighthat do you hope people experience when they view your work?

I really hope people experience joy when they view my work. It is serious work for me, but it is playful and happy work.

What do you experience when you view your favorite works or discover something new in the art world?

When I view my favorite works I experience wonder anew each time. How wonderful, how creative, how amazing, how incredible, that this piece has come from someone’s imagination, through their mind and hands, and into reality.

What inspires you?

Patterns in nature: water, rain, ripples, reflections, heart beats, sun rays, sun spots…

Projects you plan or hope to do in the future?

college_manI’ve always switched between working very small and fairly large. I would love to work larger, much larger. I’ve always dreamed about creating works on billboards. Either creating a piece for a billboard or working on a billboard that was weathered and peeling.

Where would you spend your dream vacation?

Hmmm….. small tropical island, no tourists, lots of locals, fresh fish and fruits, hot sun, big white clouds, cool blue calm clear ocean, warm nights, sounds of insects.  My bucket list includes New Zealand, Portugal, Newfoundland and Iceland.

Anything else we should know about you?

I love my new career in Massage Therapy. I specifically chose it as a spiritually complimentary career path to my art work. One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since studying massage therapy was volunteering at Hebrew Rehab in Roslindale.  I would go every Sunday morning for about 2 hours to give hand massages to mostly elderly women recuperating from surgery. They loved it and what I got back was immeasurable.

Swim With My Eyes Open

Learn more about Keith Maddy on his website.

View his works at The Schoolhouse Gallery and in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery.

Visit Keith’s studio during the Somerville Vernon Street Open Studios coming up on
May 4 & 5.

Don’t miss his collage workshop at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum this summer during the week of July 4th.

Mathilda Savitch

Victor Lodato

Mathilda Savitch

Fear doesn’t come naturally to Mathilda Savitch. She prefers to look right at the things nobody else can bring themselves to mention: for example, the fact that her beloved older sister is dead, pushed in front of a train by a man still on the loose. Her grief-stricken parents have basically been sleepwalking ever since, and it is Mathilda’s sworn mission to shock them back to life. Her strategy? Being bad.

- From Goodreads

- More about Author Victor Lodato


Nana Luna

Paula Nicho Cumez

Paula Nicho Cumez Grandmother Moon

Artist Paula Nicho Cumez was born in an indigenous Mayan community in Guatemala which suffered extreme violence during the civil war years.  She draws inspiration for her paintings from the women in her life, her Mayan heritage and culture, and from her dreams.  Through her artistic gifts and determination, she has broken new ground for indigenous Mayan women.

Learn more about Paula Nicho Cumez

View more paintings from Paula Nicho Cumez



Shanna Groves

Shana Groves

It took me two years before I’d let this much of myself show.
My bottle blonde hair
and palette of cosmetics
usually help me blend in with the other moms
who drive their children to sporting events on a warm summer afternoon.
I turn the wheel, hoping to avoid the stark reflection
that stares back in the rearview mirror.
A profile of me with the low ponytail says it all:
There is something different about me.

I am wearing hearing aids.

This is who I am.
I am slowly going deaf.
This was meant to happen,
to help me hear beyond what comes through
flawed ears.


-Reprinted with permission from the Lipreading Mom blog

-Hearing Aid bling by Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms

-Visit Shanna Groves’ website


I Can See Clearly Now

Johnny Nash

-Post by RealityShifts

Artist Mike O’Day

Mike O'Day

In my experience, every kid under age ten is fearless. As they gradually get older, they start looking over their shoulder and start worrying what other people think. I believe I have a strong connection to children because the same things appeal to us: Spiral-horned, winged Cheetalopes are awesome!

Mike O’Day discovered his love of drawing and creating as a child growing up in St. Louis, Missouri.  After receiving his Associates degree in Ad Design/Commercial Art, he worked at two different ad agencies in St. Louis before moving with his wife to California 1989.  For two years he worked at Olvera Street, a Mexican marketplace in Los Angeles, drawing caricatures.  When his first son was born, he took on the role of stay-at-home dad while doing freelance illustrating jobs.  In 1994, the family relocated near Seattle where Mike cared for his young son while juggling freelancing and remodeling their newly purchased home.  After a second son was born in 1996, he found himself involved in his oldest child’s cooperative K-8 elementary school.  He began teaching art classes, a job he enjoyed for six more years.  In 2004 he discovered ceramics and joined the Sculptors Workshop in Edmonds.  Two years later he won Best In Show for his sculpture, Red Plant Man, at the Edmonds Arts Festival.

Mike resides in Edmonds with his wife, Christine, and two sons, Dylan and Rory, where he keeps active in the local artist community.  He is a member of Artists Connect in Edmonds and NCECA (The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts).  His sculptures can be found at the Hanson Scott Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, Artspot in Edmonds, and The Gallery at Town Center in Lake Forest Park.

Mike, thank you for talking with Healing Hamlet!  Your beginnings as a professional artist included party caricatures and freelance illustrations.  When did sculpture become your predominant focus?  What drew you to this art form?


Leer of the Dragon

Leer of the Dragon

I joined Sculptors Workshop in Edmonds when a friend, who was also a parent at my children’s school, invited me to the studio to paint a platter for the school auction. I never had an opportunity to work with clay, and I was immediately drawn to it. Being able to model all the creations in my sketch book in three dimensions was a total blast. There was something about modeling and carving clay that instantly appealed to me.

Many of your pieces possess a youthful spirit, full of whimsy, humor and the promise of adventure.  Has raising two sons and teaching art to children helped you stay connected with your “inner child”?

Working on projects with my kids and teaching children is energizing. Young kids are fearless, enthusiastic, and extremely creative. Picasso’s quote: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up” is very true. In my experience, every kid under age ten is fearless. As they gradually get older, they start looking over their shoulder and start worrying what other people think. I believe I have a strong connection to children because the same things appeal to us: Spiral-horned, winged Cheetalopes are awesome!

crouching cheetalope

Crouching Cheetalope

Funding for art in schools is often sacrificed when resources are stretched.  As an artist and a teacher, how have you seen art to be instrumental in the health and well being of children?

Having a creative outlet for kids is vital. With the current stress on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education right now, right-brain kids need art to feel successful and valued.

Was there a time when you considered doing something else?  What would you be doing today if you weren’t an artist?

Not really. Once I was hired doing creative work, I didn’t want to turn back. If I wasn’t an artist…I dunno.

When one of your students tells you he wants to be an artist, what advice do you give him?

Get a sketchbook, fill it up, and buy another one. Keep working, be persistent and curious, and be open to all forms of art, and you will gradually find your voice. Oh yeah, don’t expect to drive a nice car.

Your sculptures range from fantastical creatures with horns, tails, wings and toothy grins, to simple human forms.  Every piece has its own personality and voice.  Do your sculptures speak to you?

As a matter of fact, they do:

Your mosaic work might be described as more elegant than whimsical.  How is mosaic work different for you than creating sculptures?  Where can we see your mosaics?

My mosaic work started with remodeling the house. After I remodeled the first bathroom with tile, I decided a tile saw would come in handy for the more complex projects in the future. I had no idea that it would lead to two more bathrooms, the entryway, the landing, two fireplaces, a support pole, and the kitchen and downstairs bar. Mosaic work can be very relaxing and therapeutic, but can also turn into long term ventures that can take months to complete. Luckily, my wife Chris enjoys the breaking, nipping and placing of tile as much as I do. All of the projects in our house were completed together. I designed them and created any ceramic pieces involved, and together we gradually complete the mosaic work. The experience led to the production of ceramic murals for local businesses and schools.

Five Peepers

Five Peepers

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Dr. Seuss, Antonin Gaudi, Dale Chihuly, Maurice Sendak, songwriters such as John Prine, animators like Nick Park, directors such as Tim Burton. Recently, I’ve been following artists on Facebook. For example, there’s an obscure Russian artist by the name of Arseniy Lapin that makes odd, colorful folk art animals, and plays in an amateur Blues band. It’s unbelievable how much access we have to other people’s work on the internet! But it can be dangerous – you just want to look all day.

Favorite person (dead or alive) you wish you could meet?

Picasso, but with the temperament of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

Barcelona, checking out Gaudi’s work (hopefully sooner!)

Mike, thank you for sharing your story with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Phineas Finch

Phineas Finch

Learn more about Mike O’Day on his website.

View more art by Mike at the Hanson Scott Gallery, Artspot and The Gallery at Town Center