Fresh Start

Cassandra Tondro, "Don't Tread on Me," contemporary art

Hi Friends,

I’m back! Was I even gone? I don’t think I missed a single week. As soon as I announced I was taking a summer break, insights and clarity began to appear. Maybe I needed to draw a line in the sand and declare a fresh start in order to move forward.

I realized that it’s difficult to stay away from writing, because writing to you is writing to a friend. I want to tell you all about everything that has happened! I like to write, and it would feel like something was missing if I didn’t write.

I get a lot of feedback on my writing, and sometimes that makes it difficult to find my own voice among the opinions of others. Some of you only want me to write about art. Others like to hear my personal stories and reflections. And there are a few of you who are open to anything I write!

Another thing I realized during this brief break, if it was even a break at all, is that my life and my art are inextricably intertwined. My art is informed by everything that I see, think, hear, read and experience. I can’t separate my art from my daily life, and writing about one is inseparable from writing about the other.

I aim to be authentic, and sometimes I write about things that are controversial or uncomfortable. That’s a part of life that I choose not to ignore. Often my best art derives from strong feelings and emotions.

Occasionally I write about things that are deeply personal and difficult. My hope is that by sharing my struggles I might be able to benefit others who are dealing with something similar. I know that it helps me when I find that I’m not alone in my strife.

There are times when it seems like nothing has happened, and it’s difficult to find anything to write about. When that comes up I think I’ll share a favorite poem or a favorite quote, along with a work of art. I don’t want to feel pressured to be profound when I don’t have anything meaningful to say.

And I may take a week off every now and then, when I have a lot of other things going on and there’s no time to write. That will be OK, too!

Thanks, as always, for hanging in with me! In closing, I want to share a funny picture of my cat, Luci. She overheats in the summer, and her vet suggested that I have her clipped. Cats generally have to be sedated for that, and it’s an ordeal. So I took the scissors to her extra long and thick fur, and gave her a trim myself! She didn’t mind at all, and she’s a lot more comfortable now.

She’s actually a small cat underneath all of that fur. She’s half the cat that she used to be! She looks like she’s having a bad hair day, but it’s kind of adorable in a well-loved teddy bear way.

Luci the cat with summer haircut

Where could you use a fresh start? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Don’t Tread on Me,” 36 x 48 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas.



  1. What a bright note to wake up to. I enjoy your notes, like hearing from a friend. My grandmother was from Vermont. Her family moved to San Diego when she was about 10…..that would have been in 1909. She corresponded monthly with a childhood best friend until her friend passed. My grandma died in 2001, 101 years old. I am named after her. Shag hair cut on Kitty is fun….Trendy Kitty. Hugs.

    1. Hi Marguerite. Yes, the days of writing letters to friends has passed, but I have always enjoyed writing. I’m glad I could brighten up your day a bit. Luci is loving her new hair do! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  2. I love that you gave yourself permission to not write and then… Poof, you felt inspired again! I enjoy reading your weekly emails and I love your insights and the way you share your perspective and musings. I also like seeing any new pieces of art.

    Your cat looks adorable! It reminds me of fringe that you would see on a skirt or curtains. Maybe you’ve started a new trend? :)

    1. Hi Jodi! Yeah, pretty funny, huh? Once I was freed up from having to write, I suddenly wanted to write. Who knew?

      Luci does look pretty cute with her new hairdo! I know I wouldn’t want all of that fur in the summer heat. I might just keep her trimmed year round. She’s a lot more comfortable this way.

  3. Yay….giving ourselves permission to be ourselves is always a good fresh start. Thanks, and I’m glad to see your name in my inbox! Tell Luci I, too, get home haircuts. Head down over the waste basket and lardy loo!

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