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The Promise of Mothers and Daughters

…this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much …   Jamaica Kinkaid, “Girl” Will you be there?  …  Can you hear the truth?    Tori Amos, “Promise”   It’s been a lovely […]
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Virginia Tabor: Artist and Best Friend to Alice, Cape May

Today is day 28 of Women’s History Month, and I’m beginning to panic. There are so many women on my heart and mind. I’m starting to think in categories, such as: Best Friends, Sisters, Aunts, Letter Writers, Diarists, Newly Discovered Relatives, Mothers and Daughters, Musicians, Asian Women, Latina Women. I only have three days left! […]
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An Awesome Mother’s Breast Cancer: A Difficult Daughter’s Redemption

  When celebrities like Angelina Joli, Joan Lunden and Hoda Kotb summon the courage to speak openly about their breast cancer, they offer an alternative to fear, hopelessness and isolation. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but for many, this awareness is year-round. My awesome artist-mother, Alice Steer Wilson, died of the disease in 2001. […]
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Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing

I am happy to participate in this writer’s round robin after being tagged by the lovely poet Lorraine Henrie Lins (thanks, Lorraine!).  After I answer the questions, I’ll tag two additional wonderful writers. What is the working title of your book?                   The working title was The Alice Book or OK FOREVER: Alice Steer Wilson’s […]
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respect for other

Fortune from Wednesday night’s Chinese dinner: “Your respect for other will be your ticket to success.” The grammarian in me corrected it first to “others” but then, as I am almost ready to go to press with the book about my mother’s art, I made a different single-letter edit: “Your respect for Mother will be […]
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Deadline Set: To the Studio!


Today I begin finalizing the text and images for the book on my mother’s art of Cape May. It has become so much more than a ‘pretty picture book’ and yet — it is still pretty, and full of pictures. As my friend Kathleen Volk Miller advised, it will read as an inside story, a book that could only have been written by the painter’s daughter. Somehow, I had been trying to erase myself, to keep myself out of the picture. But, that’s crazy. Even the picture above has me in it: it’s her studio, yes, but I was the one who found and prepared it, originally for my nascent business — but ultimately, in every way, I was unconsciously preparing it for her. And she, prepared such a love for art, beauty, family and friends in me. Now, to work. June 6th, the project moves to the able and brilliant studio of Ellen Lynch. Yes!

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Celebrating 60 with my almost-90 Dad


I’m lucky. I have a wonderful husband, a father who enjoys his life at 89 and models, daily, the stoic practical joy of putting first things first. As this blog repeats, I miss my mother and I aspire to art, a high calling, sometimes impossibly high. But in our lighter moments, Mom and I reassured each other with the charge “Aim for mediocrity!”

Today, January 23, is niece Pasha Alice Wilson’s 11th birthday. Twenty years ago, I was putting the final touches on the text for publication of THE VIEW IN WINTER. Then, I felt young and invincible. Now, I feel seasoned and I see the horizon line. Recently, over dinner, I mentioned to Paul some goals I had “as I consider the end of my life.” He was taken up short by that phrase. He said he’d never heard me utter it. Well, probably not. But it’s not as if I have never thought of it. I guess we all come to a realization of our mortality at different times, for different reasons. I believe in facing life head on. I’ve always been this way. Not that I see everything clearly, I need help on that score. New glasses. another point of view. Time.

Paul and I are preparing to hang an exhibit of Cape May prints and images from THE VIEW IN WINTER at Samaritan Hospice, Virtua Mount Holly. I am not in the winter of my life, but I love winter and I am grateful to have so many beloved elders leading the way. I hope little Pasha, a delightful, serious child, feels surrounded by love today, too. And you, dear quiet reader, I hope you feel warmed by love.