Not in the guttural fragments of the broken words, but in the

singing of the birds, in the whispering of the leaves where

life speaks. And the soul finds rest.

In 1995 I wrote these words and created a letterpress piece, hand-coloured with pencil to honor this time of day. As I leave the place where I work – on the Close of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., does this tribute to Evensong, many of which I have attended and where my students sang their praises, hold special meaning.
©Tina Hudak

Minor chord


 Minor Chord

My life is being lived in the melancholy

with moments of tenderness

all rooted in the minor chord.

 ©Tina Hudak 2018


a toll


This has not been a year of easing into aging. With retirement ahead, the days and months have elicited unrelenting attention to events filled with details that hold little meaning any longer. If one is in the constant state of readjusting one’s natural rhythms to the artificial, a toll is taken on body and spirit. Both of mine are bearing this toll. Through illness. Through a sense of fragmentation – the stress that builds from constant interruptions.

I long to do nothing. To be no one. To just exist and absorb the beauty of the world I find in my own small one. The plethora of birdsongs. The sun, on a cool windy day, seeping into my bones. The comforting weight of a warm blanket caressing my body as I lie still and silent. No obligations. No required responses. No pleasantries.

For a time, albeit, a small one in the longevity of my brief life on earth, I need this to ease into aging.

For now, I need to survive until that time in the oh so far, near future.

In my youth, I was at ease.

calligrapher 002

“The little girl…who tapped into her creativity to bring lesson plans, art projects, and bulletin boards to life…”


Our guest blogger is a retired, elementary school teacher who taught for decades with all her creative spirit be it math, history or science. Everything was infused with her joy of learning and always, with the creative spirit.

Submissions for guest posting on the “perfect O” are being accepted through the end of May 2018. Please submit your writing at my Contact page by clicking on this link.


the perfect O



As a calligrapher, the two shapes to master are the straight line and the circle.

My affinity is with the circle.

So elegant. So whole.

So difficult to achieve.

Sheets of “o”s created with pointed pen, angled nibs, fat and thin brushes, fill empty spaces. Sheets upon sheets. With each new white, clean space hope is revived. During my twenty years as a calligrapher-artist, I have never mastered the circle. Yet, I have never lost my love and appreciation for this shape.

I have never lost hope.

Hope for wholeness.

Hope for an elegant world.

Hope that I may contribute to this by a mere stroke of the pen or brush.

Included are some studies of Os. Just the beginning. Always, the beginning.







Melancholy takes a bad rap. It is in my DNA. I would not extract, eject, or expel what runs through my veins for any reason.




Melancholy fuels the creative urge. This dark, black side provides dark, black comic relief which only the few can abide. “Edward Goreys” of the world know this to be a truth. For yes, Wednesday’s child IS filled with woe; she is also filled with an astute sensibility for its mate.


Yes, I am telling you joy is the underbelly of this pensive state. This is true. When it rises, perhaps rarely and quietly, through being- gazing at dust motes through sunlight – joy percolates, spilling out into the world.

You ask for truth.

It is this.


The world needs melancholy more than joy.

Born on a Wednesday, I know this.

Calligraphy was rendered during my last year at St. Albans School with my wonderful Form I and Form II boys in our “Arts Club.”


Did you ever read his quirky book

While hiding in your special nook,

Or underneath your narrow bed, aloud,

or in your teeny head?

It’s fine to read together, too! (perhaps while learning to tie your shoe?)

If you are six and have a bigger brother,

The younger says one line, the older, the other.

In the end, they’re all read by mother

who goes from one to another, then another.

And then there’s dad who’s always glad (once he starts in fits and stops)

To read his favorite, Hop On Pop!

We smile big. Our mouths get wide.

We shake our heads from side to side.

We read each book. Our tongues get loose.

Oh, thank you, thank you, Dr. Seuss!


Tina Hudak,  Tribute to Dr. Seuss, ©1995 an artist’s book created with fabric, pastels, calligraphy & pencil.

Today I was introduced to a contest for which I submitted a very abbreviated version of the story below that I wrote in honor of Dr. Seuss. His writings dominated our lives during my boys’ childhoods – stories we all enjoyed, and those which I have continued to teach to my older students for their meaning & messages behind the words, such as The Lorax.
A thank you to both Brenda Davis Harsham and Vivian Kirkfield, “WordPress” bloggers.

a clue


Christmas tree, silver tinsel waving softly with the slightest shiver; tree lights, large and bulbous in primary colors; the revered putz scene with Mary’s and Joseph’s empty gazes – waiting for the child. December in a Pennsylvania steel town of devout Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, and Italians. In this working-class household, where I am the youngest of three and certainly well-loved, I begin to see past it.

Clue In the Ivy

Sprawled on my back, one leg dangling from the comfy cushioned sofa of forest-green these eight-year-old arms, slight but strong, are lifted as if in prayer; they hold the covetous birthday gift – The Clue In the Ivy – the fourteenth title in the Dana Girls series, where Jean and Louise open their world to the likes of me. Authors* of Nancy Drew fame illuminate the personal.

All fall away as I enter this carefully scripted world. Girls flying airplanes. Girls attending prestigious schools. Girls exuding their independence. All fall away: my short stature, dark, straight hair and olive skin; the home-made dresses and Catholic wool uniform. For within this space, I am tall and slim; athletic and sharp of mind, conservatively dressed, but fashionable. Most of all, I am heard.



While these women gave me a voice, they were hiding their own.



Keene, Carolyn. The Clue In the Ivy. Grosset & Dunlap, 1952. Print

*Rehak, Melanie. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her. Harcourt, Inc., 2005. Print




broken china

Oh, broken china.

Cold moon. Bitter winds blow.

An heirloom lays in pieces.

                                           – Tina Hudak

My mother-in-law was so generous with meaningful gifts handed down to my husband and me. Among these are many odds and ends of delicate espresso cups and saucers made in France, Japan, and Belgium. Yet with a careless move, one breaks. It is not only the object but the heart that is shattered.



Christmas break. This is the season. One where I have exactly two weeks to relax. Now. At this moment.

It is cold outside. Cold enough that the body tends to slow down, not from inertia, but rather to conserve warmth. I am grateful to the temperature for this very reason. It forces me to still myself. Of course, I venture out for the odd, long walk up and down the quiet streets of my town, but if I am honest, I am spending more time and less energy inside. Seated on the sofa. Or the chair. Lying prone on the daybed in my studio. Asleep early under the white, down quilt – heating pad set on low.

Yesterday, I mustered enough energy to make French onion soup. I felt revived chopping cup after cup of large, beautiful onions. Bending up and down for this pot and that pan. Slicing and buttering day-old French bread for the croutons. “Look how relaxed I am”, I say to my husband, “I am cooking!” He is nonplussed. He knows me too well. He knows it is not relaxation, but my wit’s end. I have no idea how to relax in two weeks, despite the soup. Today, I baked a cake instead.



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