October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on Friday, October 13, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, sadly, I have a friend who has recently started chemo for breast cancer. It’s not surprising, I suppose, when you think about the numbers, but it would preferably be a disease in our distant memory. As it stands, according to the CDC: in 2014 236,968 women and 2,141 men in the United State were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 41,211 women and 465 men in the United States died from breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Clear and Simple book cover

Thinking back, I have known several people who have had this disease. Thankfully, the treatments and the survival rates have improved greatly over the years. As for my friend, she has a great support system and a positive attitude. I believe those are key components in conquering any struggle. Continue reading “October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month”

Bonsai Bonanza

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

On Sunday, September 17, the Columbia Public Library is hosting a bonsai show courtesy of the Mid-Missouri Bonsai Society. What more perfect excuse could there be to write about bonsai?

For those who might not know, bonsai is an art form that originated in China in which small trees are manipulated into desirable shapes using wires, pruning and a variety of tools. It translates into the Chinese words bon (or poon) meaning “pot” and sai (or sue) meaning “tree.” The amount of variation possible in the results of this process is amazing, taking into account all of the various tree species, geographical styles, pottery and compositions. It is a very personal expression of art and horticulture. Some people enjoy it chiefly for the meditative aspects of the work. Continue reading “Bonsai Bonanza”

Mental Health Month: Information and Resources to Stay Mentally Fit

Posted on Monday, May 8, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

May is Mental Health Month. Having a designated month reminds us to think about our own mental health and consider whether any peers or loved ones need our attention.

Here are a few facts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
*One in five adults in America experiences a mental illness.
*Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-fourths by the age of 24.
*Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
*Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earning every year.
*African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about half the rate of white Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
*Approximately 10.2 million Americans have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S.
*Approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”
*Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.

There are many different types of mental illness with varying degrees of severity. There is, unfortunately, still a stigma surrounding mental illness that leaves some people reluctant to seek help. If we, as a society, considered mental illness as we would any other physical condition, it would help bring the problem out of the shadows. If more people felt free to discuss their experiences, they could more readily find the help they need. Mental illness should not be viewed as a weakness or a short-coming, but as a condition that needs treatment and understanding. Continue reading “Mental Health Month: Information and Resources to Stay Mentally Fit”

In Appreciation of African-American Artists

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

Photo of mural on staircase
Event Horizon, Kara Walker, 2005

The magic of visual art lies in its ability to communicate in ways not possible through words. Much like music, art is a universal language that can rise above cultural barriers. African-American art, specifically, is full of examples of this transcendence. Art in the black community has been used to exorcise pain, to rejoice and to record life. From artists like the silhouette artist, Kara Walker, or the painter, Jacob Lawrence, we can learn history not always taught in our schools. Art gives us a window into lives that may be different from our own or reveal how similar we all are when preconceived notions are stripped away.

Aesthetically, I gravitate towards art that is full of rich colors, bold shapes and dynamic compositions. There is a bounty of African-American art, in a variety of media, that fits this bill.

The Quilts of Gee's Bend book coverAfrican-American women, like so many women in history, expressed themselves through beautiful textile arts. One difference is explored in “Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad“; Jacqueline Tobin tells how quilt patterns were used to give encoded messages to men and women traveling on the Underground Railroad. Another selection, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” displays the talent of the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, who have upheld a tradition of lively quilt-making through the generations going back two hundred years. I love these! Continue reading “In Appreciation of African-American Artists”