This Giving Season

Some’s readers create opportunities for others; some are creators themselves.  Here are ideas for holiday and New Year’s giving from a few of the people who read this blog – presents your friends and family may love, and gifts you might love to give to yourself in the months ahead.


GYST-Ink, founded by Karen Atkinson, is an artist-run company providing information, technology and solutions created by artists for artists.  GYST support artists and arts organizations with an integrated mix of software, services and information in order to keep artists working.  GYST’s software helps artists organize and manage their lives. readers can save $30 by entering code CPNINDHS1110 when ordering here.


Over My Shoulder Foundation is a unique arts and entertainment driven project whose goal is to raise awareness of the historical impact of mentoring both cross-culturally and cross generationally in new media driven ways.  It’s an organization that understands that there was a time when mentoring was a given art handed down to generations as part of one’s reason for gaining a skill or just plain old wisdom. reader Dawn Carroll co-founded the organization, and co-wrote the song Over My Shoulder. Grammy winner and OMS co founder, Patti Austin, along with her young singing sensation mentee, Lianna Gutierrez, recorded it.

College Path LA is a college access program for public school students created by Susan Philips and Lori Zimmerman (disclosure: Lori’s my wife).  They’re currently prototyping it at Marshall High before rolling it out to other schools and consulting on its process nationwide.  Already, 40% of the students in their learning community are taking advantage of the program, and many of these students will be the first ones in their families to go to college.  Two facts make College Path LA different from many coaching programs. They will help any student (within their learning community) who will make a two-year commitment to come to meetings and communicate with their coach in between.  And they connect these students to resources already available in the community, including other nonprofits, volunteers, business resources or programs at the neighborhood library.  To make a donation, write a check to Community Partners for Creative Education Partners, put College Path L.A in the memo section, and mail it to: Community Partners, 1000 N. Alameda St., # 240, Los Angeles, CA 90012-1804.


Provocative, New York-based graphic artist and designer Howard Stein shares his works and thoughts at and  From striking photographs and drawn portraits to tableware pattern designs and menu graphics, he always makes you enjoy visual space from a new perspective, and his blog makes you think big. is the creation of Catherine Clinch, and its mission is to help moms become effective consumers and creators of digital media.  From January 8th through April 22nd Catherine will be live on channel 36 (university affiliated) with an edutainment program called Mass Media & Society – every Saturday from noon to 2pm.  The program can also be seen online at  At any time after the program airs it can be seen on YouTube at

Writing Workshops

Irene Borger has been teaching ongoing writing workshops since 1990: privately; as longtime writer-in-residence at AIDS Project LA; at Rancho la Puerta; and, for the last three years, as a guest teacher for the Getty Fellows and NEA Arts Journalism Institute at the USC Annenberg School.  What’s at the core? Exercises that focus the mind, readings which ignite the sparks, tools for learning to “not know” and to really listen. In other words, writing, writing, writing – in the circle of the workshop — words, sentences, paragraphs and plunging, engaged, intimate, truth-telling, vulnerable pages that matter.   At the moment, there are two spaces in the Monday night workshop and a waiting list for the Tuesday night group. We meet in Santa Monica. For more info: contact Irene Borger at

Jack Grapes’ world-famous (yes it really is world-famous) Method Writing workshops start up again the week of January 17th.  Many of us have benefitted immensely from his teaching.  I credit my ability to write at all to his class.  More information at and you can view his video here.

And a book

It runs in the family… Guest columnist and frequent comment-maker Garner Simmons’ brother John Galbraith Simmons has co-authored  tPA for Stroke, The Story of a Controversial Drug.  It could be lifesaving and deserves wide reading – the drug tPA, if given immediately following a stroke can dramatically reduce long-term damage, but its usefulness is not widely known.  Order from Oxford University Press, and enter promo Code: 29225 for a 15% discount.

Happy holidays to one and all, and thank you for being such a generous and fascinating community.

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