At the Corner of Wisdom and Love

PURE, 2018
Mixed media installation of washing machine, mirror, globe lights, mallet, plaster Ivory
soaps
Dimensions variable

I find myself, thirty-nine years old, at the self-help book stage of my life. It dawned on me about two years ago (and progressively became more clear as time went by) that I knew next to nothing of value to me. Give me a hammer and I’d build you a fence, give me a piano and I’d play you a song, show me a sentence and I’d diagram it, but ask me a couple years ago to articulate my needs and I’d sit there, baffled. Ask me what I’m feeling and I didn’t actually have the vocabulary. I didn’t even […]

Am I My Greatest Obstacle?

Sunia Gibbs Art - Nothing is Static

For reasons too complicated to explain here, I held down two “part-time” jobs this year. One on Long Island and one in Manhattan, all the while living in the Bronx. If you are already thinking I am crazy, you are right. It was a year riddled with obstacles, long commutes, crazy hours (thus the “part-time” status), and chronic stress. Thankfully, this part-time arrangement is coming to an end in just a week and I have been promoted to full time at my job in Manhattan. There are days when I feel this year was a total failure because I didn’t […]

The Extrovert’s Challenge

Shanti Grumbine, Studio Detail of Asemic Textiles (Including Key and Tuning Fork), 2016, New York Times plastic sleeves, nails

I am an extrovert. An off-the-charts extrovert. Like I could sit in the middle of Grand Central during rush hour and feel energized and focused and motivated. I have come to know this about myself over time and with a lot of help and guidance. I first came to know this about myself through my relationship with my husband. He’s an introvert. And off-the-charts introvert. Like he could sit with me all day and never say a word and feel energized and focused and motivated. We worked together to become aware of our differences and how we could be respectful […]

Listening’s Power

listening

I have become convinced that one of the most important things humans do in life is to be in relationship with one another. As a pastor and hospital chaplain, all I do is tend to relationships. Relationships are complicated, complex, messy, thrilling, incredible, sad, loving, full of drama, full of meaning, some are good, some are bad, some give life, some take life. What has enabled me to become so convinced of the importance of human relationships is my work with those who are sick and dying. I meet people when they are at the end of their lives and […]

Is It Gay-Friendly?

Alex Nuñez, I’m sleeping with my windows open. I wish you would appear. Remind me why I screen my calls and how I wish you lived near- an exercise in opulence, 2016 (Installation shot 1)

When planning a trip when young and naïve, I would ask myself just two questions: 1) can I afford it? and 2) is it going to be fun? For many years, those were really the only things I considered. But as I have aged, come out as a gay man, and have seen the world become a more and more complex place, I have started to ask myself this question before each trip: Is where I am going gay-friendly? For those of you who are not gay, people really do notice when two men eat dinner together at a nice […]

A Wealthy Perspective

Photo by Noah Fecks

A couple of years ago I was walking up Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. It was the end of a long day and I was feeling and looking pretty drab compared to the impeccably dressed employees of Park Avenue’s Fortune 500 companies. As I approached the corner and was about to step into the street, a homeless man looked at me and yelled out, “that man walks like a billionaire!” I, of course, being a jaded New Yorker, didn’t flinch or skip a beat and kept walking past. “Look everybody,” he continued, “That man walks like a billionaire!” By the […]

A Tale of Two Communities

sollom

Without community, I’d be dead. In my short life (35 years), I’ve had the unique experience of living with two completely opposite communities. One of them fully rejected me and tried to change who I was as a person. The other one accepted me completely as I was and tried to help me bring about meaningful change in my life. The fascinating part of this tale of two communities is that I received love, life, and a second chance in the community from which I least expected it. When I was 12 years old, my very Irish Roman Catholic family sent […]

What Really Matters in Life’s 11th Hour

nick sollom

Each floor of the 21-story building is divided into north, south, east, and west. I know exactly where I am based on the color of the trim of the walls: blue in the north, red in the south, yellow in the east, and pink in the west. There is always a lot of noise: phones ringing, machines beeping, people calling out, conversations crossing. I slide through it all unnoticed, quiet and determined, preparing myself in the midst of life to look at death. I am convinced that you can look death in the eyes, and it looks back at you. […]