Beyond the Binary

A conversation with poet and painter Wendy Videlock

So many hues of autumn—an invitation to see beyond black and white.

Preview: Episode 51 on How the Arts Help Us Meet the In Betweens

“In our evolution, we are coming to understand nuances and in betweens are necessary to living a full life,” says poet and painter Wendy Videlock. She quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.” In this episode, we continue to explore how life itself is the greatest creative process and how we are asked to live and create in the messy middle, and how all of us, all of us, are makers.

Wendy Videlock lives in Palisade, Colorado, on the Western Slope of the Rockies. Her full-length books of poetry include Nevertheless, Slingshots and Love Plums, The Dark Gnu and Other Poems. Her blog, Ghost Buffalo explores painting and poeming and life in the west. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Rattle, Terrain, Able Muse, New Criterion and many more. Her artwork, including alcohol inks, is sold in galleries around the West, and she teaches in a freelance capacity across the arts. She organizes poetry festivals on the Western Slope and is well respected in the formalist community.

What We’re Reading and Listening to:


  • I am leaning into music so muchly these days. Recently, a beloved friend played cello on me—right on my heart. It was so healing. I have also been listening to these remarkable young men, 2Cellos, and this song “Benedictus” by Karl Jenkins.

  • When I am able to meet it, I listen to Joseph Vincent’s cover of “Remember Me” from Disney/Pixar’s Coco.

  • I love the podcast Turning Toward Life with Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn, “a 30-minute deep dive into life’s big questions,” and this week what a pleasure to hear them discuss a poem of mine about not needing to be fixed—how we might “walk a path of loving inclusion.” Seems quite on point with our conversation on living between right and wrong in our episode this week.


  • Our episode 45 guest, Catherine Price, was the one who told me about poet and writer Ross Gay’s year-long experiment to focus on noticing and then writing down moments of delight. The resulting book, named The Book of Delights, is exactly what I need right now. Gay’s writing is gorgeous and his insights and observations are thought-provoking and satisfying.

  • I had a moment recently where my car stereo inexplicably voiced my feelings. The song, which I hadn’t heard before, was Adrianne Gonzalez singing Everything at the Same Time. The lyric, “it's everything, everything at the same time” so aptly expressed the tsunami of emotions I’ve so often felt lately — sorrow and joy and love and sadness all pouring out at the same time — and it also feels very fitting for this week’s episode.


-Wendy Videlock

Change is the new,

word for god,

lovely enough
to raise a song

or implicate

a sea of wrongs,
mighty enough,

like other gods,

to shelter,
bring together,

and estrange us.

Please, god,
we seem to say,

change us.

Source: Poetry (January 2009)

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Two Questions:

(share your answers with us here on Substack or in our FB group)

  1. How do ideas of good/bad affect your creative process?

  2. How do you encourage yourself to lean into uncertainty?