Douglas Kipperman

to my world

I hope you like the WriteDesign online site. We have worked on its development for the last several years. Although, you have seen much of my work displayed throughout the site, the links below allow me to show you a few more facets. Enjoy!

Out on a limb | Tribute to Lew | Collaborations | Doug's Experiment | Photos from Africa | Sketchbook - Crayons | Sketchbook | Sketchbook, The Beginning | Bio | Vita | The adventures of my pal Pete | Partial portfolio | EdTec | Nephuncular conversation | San Diego Jewish Academy | SDJA logo development | WriteDesign | Melissa | Gallery
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Granada Treehouse Studio Logo

a virtual and real place to explore your passions

writing, reading,
design, art

All art is created and
copyrighted by Doug and is associated with

When you do something long enough you eventually collect a body of work which you are proud to claim as your own and share with others. Our work is all created with care, craft, passion, and love.

We have started workshops for a variety of ages. Please go to for more information.

Don't think less of me because I can't do what you love.
Love me because I can do what I love
. - Doug
- The context of this quote.

I had been talking with a dear friend about watching someone give less than a whole-heartedly effort in a sport and wondering how they could be so disengaged. I loved sports, especially baseball. How could they not love to play baseball?

Within several days, I sat with the subject of my confusion playing a game of say the line from a movie or play and stump your opponents. I sat there wondering why I felt so disengaged. The person who had shown little interest in baseball, played the word game as if it were their greatest delight. Not only did they know the lines, they said or sang them with enthusiasm and glee.

The next day I found myself pondering the irony of the two situations, hence the quote above and the next question, why do we look at people based on our interests and abilities and not on their interests and abilities?

As a teacher I find myself looking at a student who appears disengaged and thinking that they have an issue. They may, but the real issue lies with me.

I do my best to look at each student as an individual with likes and dislikes, knowledge, abilities, skills, potential, and areas where they simply can't perform.

My renewed goal, beyond teaching the content, find my students doing something well and then nurture their interests. In a line from Mr. Holland's Opus, Principal Jacobs tells Glenn Holland, "A teacher has two jobs; fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that that knowledge doesn't go to waste."

As my mother said last night, "I learn something new every day." I hope to walk in her footsteps all the days of my life.


2004 new year's resolution

as I get older I realize obtaining perfection holds little promise,
consequently this year's resolution will reflect Samuel Johnson's quote,
"It is reasonable to have perfection in our eye that
we may always advance toward it,
though we know it can never be reached

hence, I will continue to move toward living in the moment;

continue to move toward appreciating the little things,
good and bad, pleasurable and painful;

continue to move toward showing and feeling
a healthy, strong, pain free, mind, body, and spirit;

continue to move toward showing and feeling laughter and happiness;

continue to move toward showing and feeling patience and calm;

continue to move toward showing and feeling care and compassion;

continue to move toward living in the moment every day of my life.


23 January 2003, Thursday, 11:25am

My life feels a void today.

My life feels full today.

Lew let go
leaving as he lived
with integrity,
on his own terms.

My life feels a void today.

My life feels full from all that Lew shared.


His final words to me:

"Take care of yourself.

My new year's resolution:

Listen to my heart
where Lew resides.



continue the quest;

live in the moment...




without pain,


body, and





reflection on an anniversary
(a found poem based on shakespeare's romeo and juliet,
act 4, scene 3, juliet's soliloquy, to take to poison or not)

farewell, tomorrow

i have a faint cold fear thrills
through my veins.

comfort me

shall i be married?
what if it be poison?

there's a fearful point.

shall i not then be stifled?
shall I not then be distraught?

hideous fears
madly play

comfort me

i have a faint cold fear thrills
through my veins.

farewell, tomorrow

today, the 24th passing
of my fear born

20 march 1977

'twas not poison,
'twas a strong potion
gave growth to
new life.

yesterday, farewell.


life-option theory revised

imagine the center circle in the above drawing a decision point in your life.

in utopia, you enjoy an endless list of options from subtle adjustments to major course changes. each leading in time to another set of endless options -- at least to a point.

now imagine this concept placed in the "real world" where demo/psychographic factors such as: social-economic status, gender, nationality, religious affiliation, physical and mental challenges, sexual preference, and a slue of other mindless pigeon holes expand or limit your decision options.

take a moment to think about the implications while i make the decision to change course and explore other options.

more to follow...maybe...maybe not...


new year's resolutions for 2001.

live in the moment.

check my work more carefully.

avoid those damn "be" verbs. show my active voice.

living in the moment. an ongoing quest. it doesn't sound that difficult, but the simpler the more complex. each year i come closer. i still find myself between moments. not in one, not in another. not really anywhere. in a state of disconnection. my goal this year requires more active (my word for the week) engagement in every moment. i will make time to reflect, time to plan, time to live. time to rest. i will see, not simply look. i will feel, not simply touch. i will listen, not simply hear. i will savor, not simply taste. i will inhale, not simply smell. i will make every breath, every heart beat, every moment, notes in my concerto of life. i will live in the moment.

check my work more carefully. one must first look in the mirror before remarking at others' flaws and i've noticed too many times this year that i have not checked my work or shown the care required. this smacks of a rant and why not? ok, this rant comes from my own carelessness and uses a recent fill-the-well walk about to address my culpability.

have you noticed the large building across the street from the train station in downtown san diego? it's the sdg&e (dc power plant) building. above each large wooden door lay an inscription, "pioneering in service". when i first saw the inscription i walked past as hundreds do daily. but, the rules of a fill-the-well walk about dictate seeing and recording not just looking and ignoring. i felt an obligation to go back and note its existence in my sketch book.

having entered the words i allowed them to ferment as with any good fill-the-well artifact.

i pondered the concept of service.

did the inscription represent another time, another mindset?

did a time really exist when service took precedent? when people really cared about the customer? when service meant value added?

i know people care, at least at our core we want to do the right thing. what's happened?

bean counters? we've always had bean counters and for much of our existence they actually counted beans. in most regards life has improved. employees enjoy rights that never existed even 20 years ago. business and government have better technologies and delivery systems. customers have more options. the economy grows steadily. at least it did until the presidential campaigns got going in full--oh my god, those are our choices, what do we do? puppets really do exist.

have i just become jaded? to quote my nephew (imagine an overtired cranky precocious seven-year old traveling in italy with four adults saying this) i don't thiiiiiiiinnnnk S O O O!

i credit technology, take overs, big business, short-sighted harvard mbas, and greed. when it comes down to it, you are welcome to add unions to the list. of course, lawyers receive full credit as well. oh, i almost forgot, the media.

in many regards life has never been better. i would not want to go back to--hell, i wouldn't want to go back to any time--life, for many, affords more advantages than thought possible. for many, not for most, not for all (another rant for another time).

so why do i feel...empty? perhaps i want all of the benefits of an advanced technological society with more humanity. where we have time to fill-the-well. time to talk. time to share. time to live. time to drink from the well. time to live in the moment. time to do the right thing, because when it comes down to it, the right thing matters. at least the time to do our best.

all of this leads me back to the beginning of this rant, one must first look in the mirror before remarking at others' flaws. my goal this year and from now on, check my work more carefully. don't just accept my first effort and go on, but truly do my best to do my best.

avoid those damn "be" verbs. show my active voice. this one means what it says and implies my desire to communicate more clearly. i've worked on this for a while and know that i need to continue the effort by living in the moment and taking more care in my work.

i have written it. you have read it. now i have to live it. i'll keep you posted.


We hear the word no... (a flash movie)

a simple request for teachers.

stop teaching.

start learning.

i started to write about the meaning of life...i know...i'm old enough to not even want to go there. i just transitioned to 50. but there i went. within moments the six-minute video played at thanksgiving popped into my random synaptic mind game. the video, the biography of my recently departed uncle. uncle herm, or doc, devoted his life to education. not teaching, but educating and mentoring. sharing his passion for literature, writing, theatre, art, life with would-be engineers from all over the world, from all walks of life, all of whom topped the scale of left brainers.

ever since i can remember we received news clippings and reports about uncle herm's accomplishments and awards. the state of new jersey devotes a day in his honor.

why? because he shared his passion. he illuminated dimly lite lives. he cared about people. he brilliantly inspired humanity.

all well and good, but the point of this little rant...i never wrote him a note, a letter, a thank you, anything.


every one of my well-meaning teachers along the way managed to implant in my mind that i couldn't write.

do i blame them? yes.

do i take responsibility? yes.

as a teacher, coincidentally i just received a letter verifying that i have completed all of the requirements necessary for recommendation for the california professional clear single subject: art with clad emphasis credential. wow. but am i a teacher or am i an educator, a mentor, a beacon that stimulates, guides, and supports my students, peers, friends, and family?

i make my best effort every day.

and rather than go on and on and on and on about my philosophy of life, i simply request that teachers stop teaching and start learning.

learn about your subject, certainly. but,
most importantly learn about your students.

learn about their fears, their concerns.
learn about their interests, their passions.

let go of your importance as a provider of knowledge.
conversations, books, magazines, television, videos, cds, the internet all provide information.

embrace your importance as a provider of stimulation.

embrace your importance as a provider of guidance.

embrace your importance as a provider of support.

stop teaching.

start learning.


three-quarters of a bicentennial

went out fast, but steady --
strong, smooth, and steady
for 112 miles.

groin left, groin right,
right hand, left hand,
right hamstring.

v-8 and the best 7-up i've ever had.
lunch, i don't think so.

resurrection, it must mean you've died before.

yes, at 112, 121, 126, and 132.

i still can't account for the green leaf.

the top of resurrection -- more v-8, shade--95 degrees, and bananas.

snake losing his lunch --
amazing he had a lunch to lose,
but in front of everyone at the rest stop.

i at least chose a discrete, well,
semi-discrete launching pad.

i did feel better...yeah right.

i thought i could make it all the way.

what the hell do i know?

groin left, groin right,
right hand, left hand,
right hamstring, oh, that's a stopper.

150 miles, a personal best.

and the point is?

davis double century for most, a century and a half for me, 20 may 2000

in the end it proved that you can't always get what you want, but friends are the best under pressure. thanks jeff. you are a legend...what happened to the rider on the back of the tandem...i don't know, i heard his heart-rate monitor go flat line and when i looked back he wasn't there...

a special thanks goes to Robin and all of the volunteers from the Davis Bike Club who made every effort to make this a great ride.


A little new year's commentary

Self worth

How do we accurately access
self worth?

Do we add up all our hard assets...
homes, cars, stocks, bank accounts, toys...?

Do we add up all our intangible assets...
family, friends, feelings, deeds...?

I have my health, although I touched mortality.
I, again, looked at the fragility of life.

Had I not landed as I did?

Had a car run me over?

What would be the outcome?

What would be my epitaph?

Does it matter?

I'm alive every moment until I pronounce myself dead.

To be alive I must:

Savor the warmth on my cheek at this very moment;
Revel in the sparkle and moving reflections of the tacky green and red Christmas decorations; and
Even welcome the twinge of heartburn from the Motrin I'm taking to
reduce the swelling in my body from yesterday's asphalt lunch.

For yet the third year running
my new year's resolution is to live in the moment.
Savor life.
Worry not, about
self worth.

For self worth evolves from truly
living in the moment.


Out on a limb | Tribute to Lew | Collaborations | Doug's Experiment | Photos from Africa | Sketchbook - Crayons | Sketchbook | Sketchbook, The Beginning | Bio | Vita | The adventures of my pal Pete | Partial portfolio | EdTec | Nephuncular conversation | San Diego Jewish Academy | SDJA logo development | WriteDesign | Melissa | Gallery | Top

E-Mail me at