Monday, October 3, 2016

The Soul of Art--Launched!!

The Soul of Art is now available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle E-book formats on Amazon US and will soon be available through Amazon in Europe, Australia, and Asia. 
“The wisdom and guidance offered in The Soul of Art motivates artists to ‘never give up,’ but rather to seek ever higher goals in their art form, knowing always that what we have is a God-given gift and privilege.” — Andrei (Bill) Tremaine,  artistic director, choreographer and premier dancer – soloist, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo — and founder of The Pacific Ballet Theatre.  
Born into a theatrical family, Alfred J. Garrotto began working in films (crowd scenes) at the age of seven. Much later, he settled into a writing career (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry). The arts in all forms are his lifelong passion. The Soul of Art is his 12th book.
Kindle E-book Link

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sagrada Familia Revisited

The tomb of architect
Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926)
My first drive-by visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, was in may 1964. At the time, what is now an amazing basilica fully open to the public was a shell, an abandoned project of visionary architect Antoni Gaudi.

In 2008, my wife Esther and I toured the inside of the emerging sanctuary wearing hard hats and skirting the inner walls. We marveled at the potential magnificence and awaited the day when Gaudi's vision would become a worshiping space reality.

On June 24 of this year, we arrived once more in Barcelona and checked into the Hotel Sagrada Familia. We had two days to spend in one of our favorite cities. My bucket list of things to do in my life included attending Mass in the crypt beneath the basilica's main sanctuary and to finally visit the completed interior. 

Our hotel gave us a 10:30 a.m. Mass time that Friday. Next, I went to to order tour tickets for later that day and received confirmation that we were good for the 2:45 p.m. tour. At the crypt, we discovered that the hotel's Mass time list was outdated. We accepted that outcome. Just a mistake. There would be another opportunity at 9 a.m. Saturday. Our cruise ship wouldn't sail until 4 p.m. that day.

Altar/sanctuary of the crypt
beneath the main basilica.

Getting set for our afternoon tour proved to be a greater challenge. I was unable to print the tickets at the hotel. Frantic, we moved to Plan B. On my phone we had visual proof of booking and paying for  tour. We went to the gate and showed the proof on our phone. The tour managers refused to accept that evidence. They insisted on having paper tickets. The time of our tour came . . . and passed with us still standing outside on the sidewalk. Neither "must do" items had disappeared from my bucket list.

Feeling as bummed out as we've ever been, we dragged ourselves back to Sagrada Familia the next morning. It was a glorious Saturday, but we hardly noticed. Before going to Mass, we inquired about a tour for that day. Sadly, the next tour opening would have made it too late for us to catch our ship.

Then, the miracle. I call it that; others can call it whatever they want.

An elderly priest celebrated the Mass that morning for a small congregation. Near the end of the service, I heard a voice saying, "Go talk to him after Mass." Normally, I would be too shy (ashamed) to beg for a personal favor. Immediately after Mass, I told the unsuspecting Esther, "Wait for me here," and followed the priest into the sacristy (vesting room). I took out a business card that identified me as a lay minister at a Catholic parish. After introducing myself, I told him our sad story of the day before. Without missing a beat, this kindly priest smiled and said, "Come with me."

I waved to Esther, who ran to meet me in the sacristy. We followed our new best friend--who turned out to be the pastor of the basilica--outside and down the block to the ornate Nativity entrance. Along the way, we passed the very same gatekeepers who had told us there was nothing they could do to get us inside. One after the other, they greeted the priest with a "buenos días" as they opened the gates.
The altar area is surrounded 
by a forest of trees (columns)
rise from floor to ceiling. 

Inside, the magnificent interior warmed us with its welcome. We spoke with the priest for a minute. He shook our hands and disappeared (as Jesus did after walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as found in Luke 24:13-32).

Yes, both bucket list items were checked off that morning. I'll leave it to you to decide the moral to this story.

[My original Sagrada Familia post has been the most visited/read on this entire blog. Find it at the top left of this blog's home page or at ]

[There's also a great documentary film on Netflix about the artists and builders who are at work today to bring this immense and sacred project to fulfillment.   For a look at my post about this documentary, go to ]

(c) 2016 by Alfred J. Garrotto


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Love Emeritus

‘I love you’
and its evil twin
‘Luv ya’

how they flow across the tongue
glib but tired half-true habits
drones in need of overhaul

soundless noise
unmeant unheard
invalid password
instinct-blocked from other’s heart

what eager understudy
waits in wings of romance —
love’s more genuine self?

what if?
what if instead I said,
“I cherish you.”

ahh, ‘cherish’ . . .
to hold another dear
take care of

naught in safe reserve
Cupid’s sharpest arrow
costing the lover
delighting the beloved

now there’s love’s worthy sub

*  *  *

Selected for publication in the Literary Review,
a journal of the California Writers Club, founded in 1909

"Love Emeritus" and image "Couple on the Beach," Santa Cruz, CA
(c) 2013 by Alfred J. Garrotto

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Art & Soul

Coming soon: The Soul of Art
(the book)

On Sunday, June 5, 2016, Art and Soul set off on its maiden voyage at San Damiano Retreat in Danville, CA.  Topics included: 
•  Imagination--Mother of Art
•  Telling the Truth Through Art
•  The I AM of Being an Artist
•  Sharing Our Artistic Gifts

The artists, writers, and musicians who attended gave the day a rating of 9 (out of 10).

My next project this summer will be to convert the workshop material into a book  under the same title.

I Am

I am the fine and graphic ARTIST; I paint, sculpt, draw to touch the hearts of those who view my work.

I am the COMPOSER; I transmit the beauty and compassion of Creator-Spirit through the gift of music.

I am the MUSICIAN; I channel the composer‘s vision to bring joy, uplifting peoples’ spirits.

I am the SINGER; I add voice to music, moving and entertaining my audience.

I am the DANCER; people’s spirits soar along with my body.

I am the WRITER; I use language to transport my readers.

I am the POET; my verse gives light and new life to soul-dead spirits.

I am the PLAYWRIGHT; I speak truth to challenge those who might be life-blind and indifferent. 

I am the ACTOR; I hold a mirror to the world. 

(c) 2016 Alfred J. Garrotto

Friday, May 6, 2016

Spirituality of the Arts--A One-Day Retreat

Art & Soul
play video 
A Spirituality of Creative People
Sunday June 5, 2016
Presented by 
Alfred J. Garrotto

A guided reflection on the intimate relationship between artists and the Divine Spirit. Designed for professional and aspiring actors, composers, dancers, fine artists, musicians, playwrights, writers, et al., whose gifts uplift humankind and lead audiences to discovery of life’s higher meaning. Participants will explore the source of their gifts and inspirations and the joy of sharing them. Attendees of all faith are welcome.

Alfred J. Garrotto grew up in a theatrical family. He began working in films (crowd scenes) at the age of seven. As an adult, life detoured him into Roman Catholic ministry. He is the author of 11 books, seven of which are novels.

Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.
Program is from 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Lunch included.
Sunday Mass will be celebrated for those who wish to participate.
Cost: $55

make a reservation By mail
Please send a check for the full amount to:
San Damiano Retreat
P. O. Box 767
710 Highland Drive
Danville, CA 94526-0767
or by Phone: (925) 837-9141

(on the Event Calendar, go to June 2016,
click on June 5)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

An Interview with bereavement counselor Alfred Fleischer

I am pleased to share with my readers a conversation I had recently with Alfred Fleischer, a well-known grief counselor. Over the past 30+ years, he has helped mourners who have lost a loved one deal with their grief--and survive. 

WLM: How did you initially discover and feel called to grief ministry?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Easter Interview With Author Judith Ingram

Judith IngramI am pleased to offer an inspiring Easter gift to my readers. Judith Ingram, my friend and colleague in the California Writers Club, Mount Diablo Branch, is an award-winning author of inspirational books. Her novels, including the  Moonseed Trilogy, draw on her training as a counselor and her love of story to create realistic characters, who grapple with deep and significant themes. Her non-fiction work, including A Devotional Walk with Forgiveness, weaves together principles of her Christian faith and her experience of growing through the painful and limiting consequences of an abusive childhood.