Mernie Buchanan

A 1983 copy of West With the Night is one of only a few books to survive almost 40 years of moving and purging many bookshelves. In my 20s Beryl inspired me to hurl myself into every adventure and danger be damned. In my 60s she gave me the confidence to write my stories as a memoir. and, like Hemmingway, I built my own pigpen.

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I'm a painter and absolutely agree—an artist's essence is not only embedded, but emits that energy. I can 'dark night of the soul' in literature, but not on my walls. My favorite way to buy art is directly from artists I have made an effort to meet, talk with and determine if I want them (their work) to be the equivalent of a roommate for a long time. Open Studios & smaller art festivals is where you can find affordable originals while supporting a living person whose energy is uplifting and ideals inspire. As it happens, they are most often female artists. The walls of my home are beautiful and happy... bookshelves are where the controversy lies.

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I graduated with a liberal arts degree in 1977. I worked nights & weekends in retail 4 solid years and emerged debt-free—possible back then. Useful contacts? No. Job I qualified for? Flower girl at the Tropicana Hotel. Worth it then? Yes & no. Worth it now? Liberal arts at a mid-ranked U? Not with any loan at any interest rate. If I was 18 today? I would take 2 years of cad drafting at a decent community college and get hired by a progressive architectural firm. No debt! Great contacts, opportunities, money to travel, study, create as a hobby & eat out once in a while. Liberal arts profs prepare you for a more advanced degree to land a professorship in the liberal arts. Look at the stats for openings in ThAT field.

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Mernie Buchanan

Mernie Buchanan

Mernie paints and writes in Woodstock NY. A signed copy of her memoir The Incompetent Psychic available via www.mernie.com