A Year in Miniature


In January of 2014 Susan dRende's beloved little house in LA was going to be turned into an Air B-n-B. This loss inspired her to take a leap into the wider world and seek a new context for her life as an artist and person. She sold or gave away most of her possessions and hit the serendipity road. She decided to  go where chance led and create with what showed up on her plate.

January 1, 2015, she landed in New Zealand for a 3-month artist residency with two suitcases and no "home" to go back to. She created a miniature painting a day of what caught her eye or imagination. Along with the images, poetry began to emerge in response to  living no place but where she found herself. This chapbook presents the 31 pictures created in January and the poems inspired by her empty-handed leap.

Parade of Grass

The tall grasses make a parade
Of my walk along the lane
Jostling in the breeze
They cheer my on my way
A soft and whispering encouragement
To keep going

As I walk I cannot tell
One from another
I know if I looked closely
I’d see this one’s charm
And that one’s pluck
But I would have to pause
Grateful as I am for their company
I do not stop to know them each
I only see the crowd-lined road
And solitary I walk

Walking I see my life
As a time-lined lane
The days so present as one
And the next
Bending and waving as a crowd
Encouragement and cheer
All our intersecting paths
A parade of lives
Bound for the mountain
Hazy in the distance
Under cloud-etched blue


I went around the world
seeking transformation
nothing so spectacular
as metamorphosis no
just an inner shift and yet
to think I could have simply settled
into the tall grass one day
wrapped myself in a bit of silk
rested there while the summer sky
swallowed my past
the daily tracing of sun across the sky
etching a new design into my flesh
the wind singing to the fabric of my being
in languid notes held for hours or days until
change I could not have imagined emerged wet
to lift into another life this one forgotten and free



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"It is a very serious thing to be a funny woman"

Feminist humor is not an oxymoron. All female humor is feminist, because all female humor takes over the body of the audience/reader when it triggers a laugh. It isn't just different in that a woman is making the jokes. Women's humor in general has a different shape from the guys' in what I call the "multiple-orgasm model" that is as different from Aristotle's as lipstick is from a hockey stick. (title quote by the 19th Century humorist,  Frances 'Berry" Whitcher)