TIDBITS Blog Archives

Monet Versus Picasso in “The Glass Slipper”

In my story, “The Glass Slipper,” the stark contrast between Picasso’s cubism and Monet’s impressionist art forms plays a major life-changing role for our protagonist, Ashleigh Edwards, an art-history doctoral student in London. She is doing her thesis on Monet’s art, which she adores.

When she visits The Glass Slipper (a bridal boutique), she notices her favorite Monet, “La Méditerranée,” hanging on the wall. As Ashleigh observes it, she thinks, A million points of light, like sparkling gems, are dancing on the water. She feels uplifted by the pastels, the airy sense of the art, and the extraordinary way Monet depicted the sunshine flowing toward the sea.

When she returns to her future townhouse, Ashleigh is surprised to find an original painting by Picasso hanging in the anteroom. She is jarred by the painting’s fractured figures, leaving her in a dark and dismal frame of mind. She is quite familiar with Picasso’s art, and cubism, in particular. She detests this genre and much of the work of this artist. From this point, her life begins to take a radical new direction.

La Mediterranee
La Méditerranée

In “La Méditerranée,” the artist intently focused on the relationship between land and sea. Monet painted it in 1888, when he was on a working vacation on the verdant shores of Antibes, in the South of France. This seaside location boasts a rich, deep-blue sea, enhanced by particularly clear conditions due to the mistral wind, for which this region is known. Throughout his career, Monet explored the quality of light as it flowed into water; the deeply saturated hues he found in the Mediterranean were ideal for such endeavors.

Monet’s work, particularly the art he completed on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in 1888, showcases the light, gentle beauty of light, sea, and sand. As he wrote to his wife, Alice, while he was on that working vacation, “What I will bring back from here will be pure, gentle sweetness: some white, some pink, and some blue, and all this surrounded by the fairylike air.” (Quoted in J. Pissarro, “Monet and the Mediterranean,” 1997)

Early in the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso was a father of cubism, in which geometric shapes present fractured figures (including people) in unnatural, abstract states. In his cubist art, Pablo Picasso analyzed, broke apart, and reassembled objects and people from multiple perspectives. And the surprise Picasso becomes a catalyst to open Ashleigh’s perspective as she comes to comprehend her life choices, where she has come from, and the new direction she needs to take.


  1. “Impressionism”, Wikipedia
  2. “Cubism”, Wikipedia
  3. Pissarro, Joachim, “Monet and the Mediterranean,” 1997

Music Therapy in Dementia and Beyond

In my story “Monique’s Melody,” Coral Jones reads a magazine article about music therapy as she awaits Jennifer’s return to the interview. In the background, Dr. James Whitaker, a victim of senile dementia, plays the ukulele. It is a means of connecting with his dear deceased wife, decreasing his agitation and stress. In different ways, music plays a significant role in the lives of all the key players in this story. For now, let’s focus on how music is used for therapeutic purposes in the treatment—and even prevention—of dementia.

Dementia symptoms often include repetitive questioning, agitation, wandering, sleep problems, and depression. Music therapists use music to address these issues as they work with dementia patients. Since musical perception is processed throughout the brain, remarkable results start happening. The music’s comforting sensory stimulation positively influences mood, as well as alertness, balance and coordination, sleep, appetite, communication, cognition, and socialization. Though music therapy is not thought to reverse the loss of mental function, it can enhance what does remain—and may mitigate further deterioration.

Most people have had sentimental experiences with music. Emotional connections, deeply embedded in the brain, are preserved throughout life. Music is better preserved and resilient than other stored information, as it allows more primitive emotional and cognitive parts of the brain to connect. So long-term memories of melodies remain accessible even in individuals with advanced dementia, when only a limited amount of brain tissue can still function normally.

Dr. Jennifer Whitaker, a highly regarded doctor in my story, is aware of the benefits of music therapy as she tries to help her father. And Coral, reading that caregiver stress is also reduced, has another reason to be pleased to accept this job. As Jennifer later observes, music appreciation is Coral’s forte. Coral appreciates how music has played such a rich role, on a deep level, in her own life, in the life of Dr. James Whitaker, and in the lives of those she loves.


  1. “Music Therapy and Dementia Care: Older Adults Living with Memory Disorders,” in American Music Therapy Association, Inc., copyright 2022, compiled by J. Geiger, et al.
  2. “Music Therapy and Dementia Prevention/Mitigation” interview with Dr. Concetta Tamaino, as seen on “Being Patient Alzheimer’s”: YouTube, Feb. 24, 2022