Back from Beantown




Jack and I took a brief break from New York with 75 hours or so in Boston. Neither of us had ever spent time there before —though with the torrential Nor’Easter dumping all over New England, I’m not sure we saw it at its best. We trained up there, stayed in Cambridge and managed to see Harvard (infinitely inferior to my alma mater, of course), its art and natural history museums, then visited the Institue of Contemporary Art and the Science Museum. We saw some movies, had some nice meals, played cards,talked, and drew in our journals. I broke out my watercolors for the first time in ages, and Jack bore down on his dip pen.

It was a refreshing break after a very sad week, giving us some distance and perspective, as well as a chance to start our lives as a smaller family. Drawing was a relief to both of us, a feeling that we were making something out of the nothingness, and seeing a new place with fresh eyes. Our journal pages will be a landmark for us, the first fresh pages we are turning over, with many blank ones ahead to fill.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated: Patti was always the first person to read my journal pages after I finished them. Somewhere in Boston, it occurred to me that I write for her to read and that she  wouldn’t read them, ever again. But then I realized I will always write for her, she will always be my favorite reader.

33 Comments

  1. Libbi Corson

    You will continue to be an inspiration to all of us. Continue to pray for you and Jack.

  2. ClaraCharlotte

    here's to many new blank pages and to many many lovely and wonderful experiences and impressions to fill them with. i'm so sorry for your loss. And i'm happy for you that you can rely on your sketchbook to communicate with your favourite reader.

  3. melindabilecki

    Wonderful, Danny! Your pages are a joy to see as always. It's good to think of you and Jack in Boston, forging ahead, seeing new things, and drawing together. I'm sure Patti would be cheering you on and very proud. You are indeed an inspiration.

  4. Kate (Cathy Johnson

    I have a lump in my throat, Danny, but you are SO right…I'm glad you two were able to draw.

  5. Roz Stendahl

    Danny, it was great to see these pages (your affection for science stuff comes through clearly—but I do love the comment about "the sad stuffed bear thing"). I lost my mentor in 1989 and Dick and I still laugh over the way I continue to write and draw for Thom. When you have had a loving and engaged "first reader" they become a part of you in a really great way. It's just one of the many gifts Patti gave you. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Barbara Weeks

    You are a great inspiration, artist and dad. Thank you.

  7. Davielle Huffman

    Danny, I have been immersed in CREATIVE LICENSE all week, and I was thrilled to see your post on Facebook today … we haven't met yet, Danny, but I feel like so many of us "know" you through your work. Good for you and Jack, taking ahold of that different perspective and picking up your drawing tools. Thank you for sharing of yourself with all of us. — Davielle in California

  8. Nancy Edwards

    Danny, I only just today read of Patti's passing. I don't think I've ever before been as saddened at such news about someone I didn't know personally. But, you see, from the first time I read "Everyday Matters" years ago you and your family have been so real to me, like next-door neighbors. I've delighted in your words, your sketches, your books, your webpage. You are, indeed, an inspiration to so many of us and, although it probably can't cut the sadness for you, please know that you continue to help us deal with our lives more honestly through drawing. You and Jack are in my prayers. Thank you.

  9. Alex Tan

    Absolutely love these journal pages. You've been such a great inspiration and motivation to so many people around the world at so many levels. It's always been just a simple idea, but it's the simplicity that helps us to remember that we don't need a special reason to create because we could just do it for the sake of creation itself. A lot of people didn't know that until you've form a group and switched on the lightbulbs. Thanks Danny =) you truly are a wonderful soul

  10. Patsy

    I recognized lots from your journal pages. I love the Museum of Science in Boston and I hope you both did too. Nasty weather is still in progress.
    I am so glad that you shared your journal with all of us, thank you.
    I don't believe that those we love every truly leave us, they are just not visible anymore. I look forward to seeing more of your fabulous work.

  11. AutumnLeaves

    What fabulous and colorful sketch pages, Danny. Do you share your son's sketchbook pages too? I'd love to see them. Your words break my heart, truly. Your indomitable spirit shines through; I know that would make Patti proud (and I've only recently found your blog, but this is a certainty).

  12. Nancy Patterson

    A Collective "WE" will always be here to read and enjoy your wonderful sketches and thoughts….we will never be able to take Patti's place as primary journal reader, but know that there are people who care and truly enjoy, and look forward to seeing your travels, sketches and stories! I hope you can find solace in your art–and doing this together with Jack. A huge hole is there and will be there for quite some time–fill it with art.

  13. vickylw

    I’m so glad you had this time together. Continued prayers & blessings to you both.

  14. PainterWoman

    Boston is worth visiting under most any circumstances (though I don’t especially like it under SNOW). Good picks on the Harvard Natural History Museum… (did you see all those glass flowers? If not, it’s worth a second trip!) and the Contemporary. And the Common. And The North End. I wish you and Jack well as you adjust to a new family configuration. No matter who leaves your life (I’ve had my share of losses, too), there is always a friend at the end of your pen. Always.
    Wishing you and Jack strength and comfort… from each others and all the rest of us in the community.

  15. Sue

    Good for you for taking a road trip and forging on. “OK, but not really OK.” That’s a very honest and raw assessment. I admire you for taking those first steps so bravely. Beautiful journal pages.

  16. Martine

    Thank you Danny for inspiring us ! It’s good to see that you and Jack are following a new path together thanks to Art, and thank you for letting us share it with you.

  17. ffyrebird

    Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us!! I am glad you and jack were able to get away and a have a fun father and son time. As a mom I know that I’d want my family to live, love and laugh.

  18. Joan Gillman Smith

    Danny, How great you and Jack had a very creative outing. Your drawings, as always, are wonderful. Especially love the harbor pages.
    Boston is an interesting city and deserves a second visit on a sunny weekend. Keep making art. As you well know, it will be your salvation!

  19. nancy t

    I so admire you for your strength and determination to move forward with Jack. Your willingness to share your journey with us is generous beyond words. Thank you so much, and may you find joy and peace along your way. nancy

  20. Carol C.

    I’m glad you guys are ‘back in the saddle.’ Here’s to many many more opportunities to experience and write for Patti, shared with us as well.

  21. Dawn Sokol

    You’re such an inspiration, Danny. I’m so sorry about Patti. Jack is lucky to have you and you him. And drawing is a great connection. After losing someone, it’s so true to be OK, but not OK. And really, that’s OK. Patti is with you in your hearts and she always will be. And she IS reading your journals. And she will continue to do so always.

  22. Sandra Rice

    Such heartbreak I may never know – a good thing to get out and explor eand spend time together doing somehing so cathartic and touching. Beautiful pages, and I would like to think Patti is smiling down on you both.

  23. lou s

    You will always be an amazing family

  24. Dan Kent

    Therapy through art. It’s what I would do to. What beautiful work. Your sad realization at the end was something to hear..

  25. Candie

    I am sorry for your loss and so touched that you and Jack took this trip. In tough times my mom always says “Get a project.” It helps you keep moving. Keeping your hands busy gives your mind a place to rest. I’m glad you and Jack can find solace in each other and in your drawing. I think Patti would be happy you are still drawing and exploring. May your strength and love for each other guide you through this difficult time. My heart goes out to you.

  26. Mark

    You really write with your heart, simple as it may seem, your words simply touches me straight within ,
    I wish things will be better and in order for you to continually inspire many.
    Believe and be happy as you always do!

  27. Roxana

    This brought tears to my eyes, but It’s good to see you find healing in your art. After all, isn’t that how it all began? This too shall pass. Take heart that Patti is right there with you every step of the way. We are too. (((hugs)))

  28. kass

    I’m actually planning some time in Boston in October so your post is nice to read because I share many interests. Sometimes getting away from everything is the best approach, even if we can never really escape ourselves. Stay strong Danny, you have many friends and readers who are with you in spirit to help you through this difficult time.

  29. Amy Brinkman

    Danny,
    May your pen and ink, watercolors and sketchbooks, heal you again during this sad time as they did in the past. Thank you for opening up the healing power of drawing to all of us.
    God Bless,
    Amy Brinkman

  30. AnnaDenise

    Wonderful pages. Very touching post. I wish you two many more moments like these.

  31. Lucien Swartwout

    I just found this website a while back when a good friend suggested it to me. I’ve been an avid reader ever since.

  32. kunstzinnigdagboek

    Oh Danny, I'm so sorry about your loss. I only just found out about Patti's passing away…and even though I only "know" you through your books and website, it touches me deeply. I deeply admire your and Jack's trip to Bean Town. I think it's very good and courageous of the both of you. I can imagine how awkward it must be that Patti's no longer there to be the first audience to read your journal pages. But I hope you can reconnect with your journal in as meaningful a way. Even though it may not feel like that in the beginning. I hope your journal can be a lifeline for you in times of need.

  33. dee

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just learned about your wife's passing here. I, like other of your visitors, feel as though I have come to know you through your book, which I gave to my nephew for Christmas (not before reading it of course!)… I wonder how your drawing will help your grieving, and also keep Patti present, somehow…

    best to you and your son.

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