Michelle Hiskey

With love to Garcia Marquez, one word at a time

On a day that seemed so damp that fish could have come in through the door and floated out the windows, lovers of the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) gathered at Kavarna coffeehouse in Decatur to pay their respects by reading from his timeless stories of families, war, death, and above all, the magic of love.

They came to 100 Readers of Solitude, named in homage to the author’s greatest novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien Anos de Soledad).” One by one they read vigorously, declaratively, and with humor, like Garcia Marquez wrote.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Inspiration, Michelle Hiskey, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Heavy loads lifted at truck stop chapel

Jackson, Ga. — When a tractor-trailer is barreling down behind you on I-285, the driver may not seem human at all. Pull over at exit 201 off Interstate 75, and you see the personal side of the men and women who drive the big rigs.

About 40 miles south of Atlanta, the Trucker’s Chapel is a truck trailer converted into a sanctuary. Some of these truckers carry hefty emotional loads and seek pastoral help to go the distance in life, not just behind the wheel.

“When you’re traveling on the road, it’s pretty lonely out there even though you’re in a crowd,” said “Chaplain Joe” Hunter, president of TruckStop Ministries Inc., which maintains 82 similar chapels at travel centers in 29 states and is headquartered next door. “We provide a place where they can come and have fellowship, somebody they can talk to, a shoulder to lean on.”
Continue reading

Posted in Career Makeover, Inspiration, Life Changes, Reinvention, Self-Help, Transformation | 1 Comment

Gay marriage in Georgia? Not if, but when, forum participants say

Ten years ago, banning same-sex marriage was so in vogue that 3 of every 4 Georgia voters approved amending the state constitution so only men and women could marry each other. Last weekend, several prominent gays and lesbians spoke of how lives and society will transform when—not if—the marriage ban is overturned.

They spoke the same week that Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta seeking to overturn the state of Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. The promise of “marriage equality” drew more than 100 people to the “Beloved Community Dialogue” Saturday night at The Friends School of Atlanta, a moment that showed how far the issue has moved away from moral debate to a question of timing and expectations. Continue reading

Posted in Ben Smith, Inspiration, Life Changes, Transformation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why not risk life and kids by traveling around the world?

Adventure and discovery demand we take risk, and we parents measure this all the time when it comes to our kids. One of the greatest adventures is to travel around the world, and the blogosphere is still harshly buzzing about the recent failed attempt (and expensive rescue) by parents Eric and Charlotte Kaufman to sail around the world with daughters Cora, 3, and Lyra, 1.

This saga and debate intrigued me. In a span of five years, I traveled around the world and became a parent. Though separate milestones, my experiences make me one of the quiet supporters of the Kaufmans.
Continue reading

Posted in Ben Smith, Inspiration, Life Changes, Transformation | 1 Comment

Tech marching band’s offbeat amazing race

Long before TV’s “The Amazing Race,” an elaborate competition with puzzles and physical challenges already took place each year around Atlanta with little fanfare. On Saturday, the 25th anniversary Get-a-Clue featured 13 teams in a high-tech elaborate scavenger hunt, a modern tradition started by Georgia Tech musicians.

Contestants jumped out of cars in front of eateries in Decatur and Buckhead looking lost and determined at the same time. Carrying cinderblocks, they scampered through Inman Park, scanning QR codes from cryptic notes attached to public art, benches and other things. Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Inspiration | 2 Comments

Rules help ground Georgia’s largest hands-on farmers market

Through all the ice, snow and harsh temperatures of Atlanta’s recent winter, Christi Behrend waited for the Peachtree Road Farmers Market to open for the season. She keeps an organic kitchen at home and likes to support local farmers. The market, only 10 minutes from her home, shortens the distance from farm to her family’s forks. “You can shop DeKalb Farmers Market and Whole Foods but it’s not the same, definitely not the same,” said Behrend.

On a sunny morning Saturday, her wait ended in the parking lot of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, filled with 50 vendors operating out of pickup trucks and popup tents to open the eighth season of the largest producer-only market in Georgia, according to Lauren Carey, market manager.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Inspiration, Self-Help, Self-improvement, Transformation | Leave a comment

An artist’s walk through the valley of censorship

After censorship, can there be reconciliation? That was the question for Atlanta artist Ruth Stanford on a recent visit with her to the re-installation of “A Walk Through the Valley” at Kennesaw State University. A month ago, the university’s president ordered her artwork removed from the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art as controversial.

It’s back after the sides found common ground, but the notoriety forced Stanford to scrutinize her comfort zone as an artist and sort out the ambiguities exposed by an issue that seems black and white. Is it possible for an introvert to take a stand as an artist?
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Transformation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Young playwright brings comic touch to Atlanta

This week, Louisa Hill, a young playwright who learned to keep going in Atlanta and win national awards for making audiences laugh, will return to her alma mater to speak at the 43rd annual Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival. Organizers say Friday’s scheduled reading by Hill, who graduated in 2009, almost certainly marks the fastest turnaround for a former student to be invited back as a headliner.

With a history of drawing luminaries such as John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Reynolds Price, James Dickey, Eudora Welty and Robert Penn Warren, the Writers’ Festival often features one alumna whose Agnes Scott education helped launch her success in writing poetry, plays or books.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Inspiration, Self-improvement, Transformation | Leave a comment

Decatur illustrator finds patrons at $10 a pop

As technology makes creative work move faster, the careers of Deeds Davis and other illustrators have slowed way down. In a world of stock photography and digital design, fewer people seek intricate, original drawings by a human. Davis, whose art has always had a proletarian feel to it, found a small sweet spot in the tight art market and has some profit to show for it.

Last week, the Dallas, Texas, native launched a month-long exhibit of her latest sketches at the Java Monkey coffee shop in Decatur, where she works as a cook.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Career Makeover, Inspiration, Life Changes, Reinvention, Transformation | 2 Comments

Out of the Box, It’s CardboardCon

While Mardi  Gras was breaking out in New Orleans last weekend, an anti-carnival with all the snazz of a paper box unfolded in Atlanta. Scores of cardboard-covered figures paraded across downtown Atlanta last Saturday night, attracting attention from conventioneers, bar-hoppers and others out for good time.

In case you missed it – chances are you’ve never heard of it – Saturday marked Atlanta’s fifth annual CardboardCon. Welcome to the antithesis of DragonCon, the world’s largest fantasy/sci-fi convention that brings tens of thousands of costumed conventioneers into downtown Atlanta on Labor Day weekend. CardboardCon draws them there by the tens in late February or early March in outfits repurposed from a product with 101 uses and its helpful sister, duct tape.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Inspiration, Reinvention, Transformation | Leave a comment