Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Martin Blank

Martin Blank is one of North America’s premiere figurative glass sculptors with a style quintessentially his own.

Creating tension between sculptural forms that evoke compelling landscapes revealed by the juxtaposition of sculptural elements, Blank’s work is about carving space.Martin Blank was born August 29, 1962 and received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1984.

That same year, Blank moved west to begin his professional career in Seattle, working at the center for studio glass and learning from the driving force behind it, Dale Chihuly.Blank worked on the Chihuly team, bringing his infectious enthusiasm and courageous desire to push the material for several years, all the while establishing his own contributions to the glass movement.Whether it is a collection of flower blossoms, a monumental abstract installation, or a figurative sculpture, Martin Blank’s hot sculpted glass is made with a combination of technical exactitude and creative exuberance.

His working relationship with glass is an intimate one, as he wears heat protective clothing, gets very close, and employs his entire body while molding the molten material. 

Intuitive and deliberate, he is nonetheless open to enhancing his visual vocabulary with the happy accidents of glasswork.

More of Martin Blank‘s amazing glasswork can be found at https://www.martinblankstudios.com/

 

 

Spring Morning Sounds

There is nothing more inspiring than a Spring Morning.

Country sounds are louder, more melodic, than you can imagine. Sitting on my back deck I hear a symphony of sounds: a woodpecker at work in the woods, robins, crows, and a half dozen other birds I can’t identify singing their little hearts out. There’s a bird in the far feeder squawking at any other birds coming near his breakfast, and a squirrel or two chitting and chatting at something moving in and around him.  Now and then an airplane roars past from the heavens, and the neighbor down the way is running his tractor through the fields.

This is when I enjoy sound the most. No blaring TVs, no obnoxious radio stations; no yelling or swearing or scolding.

Most of my life I lived in the suburbs, and there was music out there, too. Just a different tune was played. The morning symphony of birds singing was joined by traffic on the busy street a block away. Summers brought out the sounds of kids in the neighborhood playing (mine included), dogs barking, lawnmowers buzzing, a rumbling truck passing by now and then.

This was when I enjoyed sound the most, too. No blaring TVs, no obnoxious radio stations, no yelling or swearing or scolding.

I think most of us lose touch with the songs of nature along the way. We are in the office from early morning until late afternoon. We are driving here, there, and everywhere. We are at soccer games and grocery stores and classes. We have to deal with computers, telephones, bosses, co-workers, talk shows, housework … the list is endless.

We never get a chance to just sit and listen to life around us. We are too busy, too responsible, too many tasks and not enough time.

I know. I’ve been there. Many days I’m still there.

That’s why everyone needs to take time to listen to the flow of life around them. We need to reconnect with the other side of life. The musical side. The sunshine side. The inspirational side.

No matter what our current situation, there is always time to get inspired. That’s where creativity comes from. Where it feeds from. Where it bursts open and spreads more seeds from.

City, suburb, countryside. It doesn’t matter. Get up early one morning and listen to the sounds around you.

You’ll be surprised how much life is going on — with or without you.

 

Which Books Would You Bring?

It’s the beginning of a Glorious Day here in the Midwest.

Being alone with my dogs and cat and fish and computer and crafts room and my messy closet floor, there will be a lot of things I’ll want to accomplish that I can’t always accomplish with company around.

But you know me. That’s not what this particular blog is about.

I had an idea in the shower this morning, and I’d LOVE to hear back from all of you. The more the merrier.

I really enjoyed the end scene in the movie “The Time Machine” with Rod Taylor, where George comes back from the future to grab three books to take back with him. It goes something like this:

Filby: He must have taken something with him.
Mrs. Watchett: Nothing, except three books.
Filby: Which three books?
Mrs. Watchett: I don’t know. Is it important?
Filby: No, I suppose not. Only – what three books would you have taken?

I thought about throwing you/us onto a deserted island or in an isolated cabin in the woods, but then you/we would have more to worry about than what books to read. Food, tools, medicine, is all too much to think about on this beautiful morning.

So here is the question:

If you time traveled into the future (or into the past), which three books would you take?

This time around I’m going to put restrictions on the question. Like being specific on the time period, (forward OR past), what you have in YOUR library (vs. stopping at the bookstore first), and only three books.

After all, those are the choices George had.

And, as a side, if you feel like it, are the three books the first three that came to mind, or did you think about it for a bit first?

I’ll go first. And it’s really hard.

I ran downstairs, tripping over my Tears crafts bins, and looked at my shelves. Ack! An eclectic mix, for sure. Seeing as they have to be books from MY library, for reading I’d take Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien; for art, the History of Art (1st Edition) by H.W. Janson (1982); and for poetry, The Illustrated Household Book of Poetry Charles A Dana 11th Edition,  1868.

None of these books are “modern” in the sense of the word; I’m ashamed I don’t have any current poetry or updated art books. I tossed around bringing a book of Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe stories and poems, but their rhetoric might not be as entertaining after the 375th read.

If I had time to think about it, or had time to run to the bookstore or library, my choices may have been different. But, for what I have, for what I would have to share with others for eternity, would be a little bit of entertainment through the ages.

After all, how could you not enjoy a happy ending?

“At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippin rode on to Buckland and already they were singing again as they went. But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Silos in Australia

 

My Gallery stash is bursting at the seams —

 

Silo Art isn’t just a beautiful addition to the local landscape; for many towns and communities it’s a lifeline.Silo Art is extremely important for promoting tourism in Regional Australia.The idea of emblazoning outsized farm storage buildings with oversized art began in Western Australia in 2015, when a cultural non-profit called FORM hired well-known street artists Phlegm and HENSE to paint a series of linked silos in the town of Northam, 62 miles northeast of Perth in the Wheatbelt region.Phlegm covered one end of the 118-foot-high block with wry, black-and-white portraits of early aviators and balloonists; HENSE plastered colorful, abstract forms on the other.Designed as a pilot project to bring art to rural regions, the stunt was a hit.It ignited a movement, with other towns in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt and beyond angling to get their own beautified silo, and to bring visitors and revitalization with it.Cultural grants and private commissions filled rural areas with the kind of buzzy, bright art usually found in downtown alleys and warehouse-y neighborhoods.An added bonus? From Australia’s wide-open back roads, the silos could be seen for miles around.Amazing artists with amazing ideas bring yet another dimension to the world of Art.More silos can be found at https://www.australiansiloarttrail.com/

 

 

Creative Monday

Creative Monday!

Actually you can say that about any day of the week, depending on the weather, your mood, your itinerary, and your energy level.

Creativity is much more than starting a new painting or designing a new pop-up card. 

But you already know that.

Being creative can mean taking a virtual online tour of magnificent museum slike the British Museum, London, The Guggenheim in Bilbao, in New York, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Reading is always a step towards creativity. There are milllions of stories out there of people who made history being creative — Steven King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Henry VIII, Maya Angelou, Gertrude Stein. History is full of people with creative, interesting, exciting lives. 

One of my favorite ways of expanding my creativity is finding new recipes online. I tire of the hot dog-french fries menu, so I periodically take a stab at foods I’ve always been curious about but too lazy to buy or make. My husband recently learned a smashing egg foo young dish, and I have stepped out of my comfort zone lately to experiment with a classic French Chicken Basquaise and Cuban Ropa Vieja. Cooking is fun, eye-opening, and very rewarding.

I have also been listening to different kinds of background music while I craft, write, or walk. Lately I’m into Spanish Guitar music and Ambient Japanese Instrumentals. There are podcasts about nature, astral travel, and who knows what else that can tip your scales one way or another to play in the background.

How else can you be creative without investing all your spare time and spare change?

I’m sure you can come up with dozens of ways to expand your mind. Books from the library, free lectures, arts and crafts classes, wine and painting parties — the list is endless. There are crafting challenges and writing challenges and cooking challenges all over Word Press and Pinterest and Facebook — there’s always something to pique your interest.

There is no such thing as being bored in this universe.

All you have to do is take the first step. Make the effort to learn something new or hone a craft you’ve been tinkering with. 

 I haven’t been writing lately (except for blogs), and the itch is almost becoming unbearable. I want to write about “visiting” Paris and its countryside for a while now, which takes research research research. That’s exploring to me. That’s creativity in yet another form.

Creative Monday.

A chance to start again, to continue, to excel and fly and explore.

Take advantage of this opportunity you’ve been given. And spread it out all throughout the week.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mothers

 

Mothers, Mothers-in-Laws, Friend’s Mothers, Cousin Mothers — they are all the same.

Full of love, devotion, and inspiration.

Happy Mothers Day!

 

Grant Woods’ Mother

 

Mary Cassatt’s Mother

 

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Mother

 

Andy Warhol’s Mother

 

Norman Rockwell’s Mother

 

John Wayne’s Mother

 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Mother

 

Michael Jordan’s Mother

 

Edouard Manet’s Mother

 

John Quincy Adams’ Mother

 

Prince Charles’ Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeds of Survival — Ivor.Plumber/Poet (repost)

A beautiful start to a beautiful Friday. Have a wonderful voyage!

 

https://ivors20.wordpress.com/2021/05/08/seeds-of-survival/

Life is a journey of discovery An ordained roller coaster ride Of tall crests and deep valleys And if we knew what our voyage would be We would not venture beyond the cabin door And sail the world’s unpredictable oceans Those stormy swallowing vortexes Of tall tsunami’s and deep ravines But our passage of life […]

Seeds of Survival — Ivor.Plumber/Poet

 

 

Look Into My Crystal Ball

Late night musings that have carried over into the daylight …

If you could look into a crystal ball to see your future, would you?

According to scrying experts, crystal balls can be used for recalling dreams, checking the present, revealing desires, karmic therapy, finding a soulmate, seeing the future, or watching out for dangers.

That’s a lot of responsibility for a crystal sphere.

I own two beautiful crystal balls, one held by unicorns, the other by brass dragons. 

I myself have never seen anything in a crystal ball. But would I want to? Would I want to know what was in store for me next week? Next month? 

Would I be able to channel the direction of my vision, escaping tragedies like death and Covid-19 and atomic bombs? Could I focus on something small like the outcome of my first craft fair or if my story will get published?

Somehow I don’t think you can control the direction of incoming information. Like a hole in the dam, it starts small but it doesn’t take much to burst through with more water than you can imagine.

Telling the future is too much water for me, I think.

I don’t think I’d want to take a chance on finding out something big and having to keep it to myself. Even if it’s pleasant news like I’m going to be a grandmother again or I will sell a thousand Angel Tears, I don’t think I’d want to experience the feedback that might result from peeking into the future.

Like invisible wavelengths, time and space have a weird way of payback. 

Maybe that’s why it’s safer for me to write about time travel in my stories. I already know my present, which is someone else’s future, which gives my character the edge on survival in the olden days. 

I worry about the character changing the present by screwing up in the past — meeting yourself or your grandfather and making him turn left instead of right, changing the ancestry line to make you a boy instead of a girl.  So I make my time-travelling characters swear to never speak of the future. Like that works.

But back to scrying.

Taking a peek in a crystal ball to tell your future might make hedging your bets easier, your choices simpler, but I wouldn’t mess with Mother Nature.

There is a reason things turn out as they do.

I suppose there might be a decision or two that I would have made differently in my past. Stupid decisions. Painful decisions.

But then again, if I had chosen left instead of right, I probably wouldn’t be blogging today. I wouldn’t have the family I have, the friends I have, or the long life I’ve led.

I will leave peering into the crystal balls to those who know what they’re doing.  Crystal balls make beautiful art pieces in the sunlight, but their mysteries can stay a mystery.

After all — I want to make sure I stay a girl when I go back in time…

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — The Mountains

The mountains are calling, and I must go.
John Muir

 

Matterhorn Mountain, Switzerland

 

Kangchenjunga Mountains, Nepal and India

 

Monte Fitz Roy Mountain, Argentina

 

Mount Godwin Austen K2, Pakistan

 

The Dhaulagiri Mounuain, Nepal

 

Aoraki Mount Cook Mountain, New Zealand

 

Mount Olympus, Greece

 

Mont Blanc Mountain, the Alps, Italy

 

Denali Mountain, Alaska

 

 Mount Cho Oyu, Nepal and China

 

 

Inner Me vs. Outer Me

I came across Eva‘s post on my Monday Morning Readathon, and it stuck a chord in my creative sphere.

In her post she said, “This is a portrait of what I think I should look like on the outside. In daily life I look and dress quite conservatively. But when I close my eyes, this is how I picture myself: more rugged and a bit punky.”

And it made me wonder:

Do we all look different on the inside? Is our “other” self someone quite different look-wise, thought-wise? Who is the person writing your novels? Painting your landscapes? Cutting out your quilting patterns?

Is it the same person that looks back at you in the mirror every day?

What a startling thought.

I thought I’d say yes, it’s me me me. But it’s not.

A lot of my books are “me” a little younger, a little thinner. Her decisions are not always what I would decide, but, as my husband said reading a book one time, I can’t really judge it because it’s me.

But I know my inner “me” often looks different than my outer “me.”  She is more confident, stands taller, is a great conversationalist, and can wear those great outfits I see models online wear. She has flair which she applies to her writing, her cooking, and her life.

We are the same, inner-me and outer-me, yet we are not.

Read Eva’s article and see if it stirs an echo in your mind, too.

New Artwork: Self Portrait — Ursus Art

‘Eva’, acrylics and ink on paper, A4, €110

 

My goodness me! What a long time it took for me to be able to sit at my desk and get to work. Life at the moment comes at me full throttle and it leaves no room for other things than absolute necessities. But…. here we are. […]

New Artwork: Self Portrait — Ursus Art

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Antoni Gaudi

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) was a Catalan architect whose distinctive style is characterized by freedom of form, voluptuous color and texture, and organic unity. 

Sagrada Familia

 

Gaudí was born in Catalonia on the Mediterranean coast of Spain on June 25, 1852. He showed an early interest in architecture and went to study in Barcelona — Spain’s most modern city at the time.

Artigas Gardens, La Pobla de Lillet

 

Once he got his degree in architecture in 1878, Gaudí began working on  larger projects.

Casa Calvet

 

He soon became one of the most sought-after architects, and began taking on larger commissions, leaving behind many other one-of-a-kind works in Barcelona.

Casa Vicens

 

Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion.

Bodegas Güell

 

He considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry.

Church of Colonia Guell

 

Under the influence of neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the Modernista movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Episcopal Palace, Astorga

 

Gaudí’s was highly innovative in terms of his explorations of structure, searching through a variety of regional styles before seizing on the parabolic, hyperbolic, and catenary masonry forms and inclined columns that he developed through weighted models in his workshop.

Casa Batlló

 

These are often integrated with natural and highly symbolic religious imagery that encrust the structure with vibrant, colorful surfaces.

Sagrada Família School

 

More of Antoni Gaudi‘s work can be found at https://www.casabatllo.es/en/antoni-gaudi/ and https://sagradafamilia.org/en/antoni-gaudi/. 

 

New Way of Camping

As I am recently retired, my hubby and I took a few days off mid -week and went camping. 

This is the first time out for our new camper, and first time it’s just the two of us (except for the dogs).

I don’t know which one feels stranger.

I have camped most of my life, with some gaps in years between campsites. But it’s always been in a tent. Lots of bending and pulling and grunting before you can sit and listen to the wind blow.

As my retirement gift to myself, we bought a little RV. Now most of the movement is about not bumping into each other inside the small surroundings. 

I’ve also always gone camping with my kids and grandkids. There is no life better than sitting around a campfire talking and smoring with family and friends.

Last night it was just the two of us.

Tonight for dinner it will be just the two of us.

Tonight around the fire it will be just the two of us.

The jury is still out on the two of us thing.

I love my husband. He let’s me be me. Even if that Me is goofy half the time.

But times like these are the real test for a relationship. No taking off and folding laundry, no going downstairs and making Angel Tears, no going out to the garage and working and fixing stuff all day.

This is silence. Together. Daylight and evening light. No movies or kids to distract us. No job to go to, nowhere to hide.

It’s been quite interesting so far.

I know we are not Siamese Twins. We don’t need to be glue balled to each other 24/7. We actually LIKE each other. Despite the fact that I love writing and Crafts and he loves hunting and fishing, we seem to give each other enough space to be our own selves.

But with my adult onset A.D.D. I sometimes find it hard to just sit still and do nothing.

To read and then play a video game on my iPad then take a little nap then walk the dog then read then write a blog then read some more then find a gossip column on my phone is my idea of doing nothing.

He sits and reads.

I’m still getting used to this camping alone thing. 

Then again, “being alone” is a relative term, right?

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sandra Apperloo

 

Sandra Apperloo is the potter behind The Pottery Parade.

She  creates all her ceramics by hand from her studio located in Utrecht, The Netherlands.Apperloo loves colors and patterns, and has a weak spot for pastel shades.She likes to sculpt tiny eyes and paint weird freckles, and challenges herself to try out new fun things all the time.She rarely creates plans or designs before she starts working on a piece.Apperloo usually decides on the shape when she is building it, finding what feels good at that moment.This is the case for every part of the process: shaping, sculpting, choosing the colors and painting the patterns.It helps her to stay open minded and try out new things, which she believes really important in her work.More of Sandra Apperloo‘s whimsical works can be found at both https://thepotteryparade.com/ and  https://www.instagram.com/thepotteryparade.

 

 

Check Out What’s Outside Your Window!

I should have the word “Creativity” tattooed across my arm or forehead or something.

Not that I’m more creative than anyone else. Not that I spend more time creating than anyone else. Or appreciate Art in all of its dozens of forms any more than anyone else.

It’s just that that word is always dancing around inside and outside of my head.

Take my gif collection/selection of Monday.

Others might not be as mesmerized by them as I am. I get it. It’s moving computer graphics. It’s graphic design in motion. Gifs are taking one picture and making it move. Or several pictures and blending them into one another.

It doesn’t matter how they’re made — it’s that they are made that surprises and delights me.

Gifs are all over the place now. They are constantly being created, many highlighting movie stars or normal people doing weird things or saying weird things over and over again.

I find creativity in the original gifs.

The ones that bring waterfalls to life. The ones that make stairways to heaven or swirling galaxies. Or reflections in glass that ripple and mazes that forever hypnotize.

Like I commented to my friend Elaine who commented Monday —  I enjoy them because they take reality one step further.

And that’s what creativity does. Creativity with a capital C.

Artists take every day objects and make them special. Enhance them, embrace them. Change them. Change their fabric or their intent or our perception of them. Artists use a myriad of textures, fabrics, utensils, colors, materials, styles, and interpretations of influences around them to make their own special creation.

And it’s amazing what they come up with.

When I tell you that you, too, can get high on creativity, it’s true. You don’t have to understand every shadow and shade, every cut and stitch — you can appreciate someone’s work just for what it is. Someone else’s work. Someone else’s creative mind pulled out of the 4th or 5th dimension and made real here in the 3rd dimension.

You can do it too.

I know I sound like a broken record. A record with a skip. Ta da BANG. Ta da BANG. Over and over again. But I want to encourage you to explore the world of Creativity. See what the world outside your window offers.

Unique Artists. Traditional Artists. Visual Artists. Musical Artists. Graphic Artists. Gardening Artists. Woodworking and Glass Artists. Calligraphy Artists. Interior Decorator Artists.

You get my drift. 

YOU are the artist.

Go enjoy the world. And report back to me what you find.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Natalia Goncharova

Natalia Goncharova was a Russian avant-garde artist, paintercostume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer, born in Tula, Russia.In 1892, her family moved to Moscow, hoping to improve its financial condition.

While at school, Goncharova developed an interest in history, zoology, and botany but eventually decided to pursue art, enrolling at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1898.Initially preoccupied with icon painting and the primitivism of ethnic Russian folk-art, Goncharova soon began to mix Cubist and Futurist elements in her work, which led to the beginnings of Cubo-Futurism.From an influential, wealthy, and musical family, the artist’s own interests lay with Russia’s rural workers and by seeming contradiction, with a cast of otherworldly characters.Through repetitive everyday tasks, Goncharova observed the same celestial strength more commonly associated with religious figures, and in this sense merged the realms of heaven and earth in her pictures.She was a founding member of both the Jack of Diamonds (1909–1911), Moscow’s first radical independent exhibiting group, the more radical Donkey’s Tail (1912–1913), and with Larionov invented Rayonism (1912–1914).  The decorative, stylized quality of this work reflects Goncharova’s interest in the folk arts and religious icons of her native Russia.Goncharova emerged as an important and also a highly controversial figure, often breaking social conventions as well as rigid cultural dogmas.More of Natalia Goncharova’s colorful work can be found at http://Natalia Goncharova  and https://www.artst.org/natalia-goncharova/.

 

 

 

You Won’t Believe The Galleries!

It’s Saturday Night! 

Dining and dancing, or pizza and beer? A party full of friends and family, or a snuggling two- or three-some with a child or grandchild in front of the TV?

My other half is recovering from his second Covid shot. All is well, so I’m here on the computer for a few moments to encourage you to stop by the Gallery and see the amazing images from the amazing artists I’ve highlighted here with the Goddess.

I’ve added more images to many of the galleries — the artists had soooooo many amazing creations that I couldn’t choose just three or four to show off.

Check out some of these hot artists and topics:

Hari and Deepti

 

 

Beatriz Hidalgo de la Garza

 

 

Frank Lloyd Wright

 

 

Jen Stark

 

 

Mirrors

 

 

Melissa Schmidt

 

 

Minerals

 

 

Doors

 

There are many, many more artists that will just amaze you. Take some time and wander the galleries. There’s always something new and amazing just around the corner.

 

 

Seniors (and others) — Don’t Be Stupid

For those of you who encouraged me with my multi-tasking madness the other day, I thank you. Talking with you helped relieve the stress, the pressure, and the madness. I am tasking one task at a time. Sometimes they last 10 minutes, other times 3 hours. But I assign myself to one project at a time.

Well, okay. There are times when I do a little work on the computer while I’m watching a movie. That’s a hard multi-task to stop. But sometimes an old TV Western in the background while I research does my soul good. 

That’s why I resent TV commercials — especially in the evening.

I can’t believe how stupid seniors seem to be to advertisers.

Heaven forbid — we are missing out on a multitude of Medicare benefits, need help dealing with walking (collapsible cane), need lawyers to deal with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from RoundUp or mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, missing out on extra spending money from reversible mortgages (this isn’t my first rodeo), and expensive car repairs if your car’s out of warranty.

It’s amazing how help is just a phone call away.

No one’s laughing at Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or paying for car repairs. But to think that “One call, That’s all ” (another obnoxious lawyer commercial here in Wisconsin) is doing yourself and those you love a big disservice.

Young kids not yet near retirement age and old kids at retirement age — don’t be stupid. Don’t think there is a one-stop cure for all your woes. No TV lawyer or TV star is going to help you when you are sick or in need of cash.

It seems so simple, but it’s amazing how many people fall for TV scams.

Okay — for the advertiser, it’s not a scam. It’s a legitimate business. And somewhere down the road they can help you out.

But there are so many other trustworthy ways to get help.

The obvious are family and friends. Government agencies are here to help you figure out everything from filing taxes to claiming Medicare benefits. Hospitals have medical groups and counselors to help you get the help you need for illnesses of all kinds. Even groups like AARP has assistance programs to point you in the right direction.

You don’t need a televised lawyer or doctor to help you out.

Also, don’t be afraid to do the research yourself. Take notes. Ask your friend or your grandkid to give you a few search lessons on the computer if you can’t figure something out. Don’t follow TV promises helter skelter down the rabbit hole that could lead to who-knows-where.

I have a relative who has a half dozen devises he bought on TV: a foot pedaling machine to use while watching TV, plus a pocket fisherman or two. They are still gathering dust and grime sitting in the basement. But they ~sounded~ so promising! So good!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, feel better. Nothing wrong with wanting a better, easier life. We all want that.

Just use your head. Don’t fall for TV promises and easy answers. Do your homework, then do the work.

And stay off of late night TV.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sergio Bustamante

Sergio Bustamante is a Mexican sculptor best known for his depictions of animals and inventive humanoid creatures.Born in 1942 in Sinaloa, Mexico, he went on to study architecture at the University of Guadajara, leaving before he finished his degree in order to focus on craftmaking and fine art.Bustamante infuses every one of his creations with such life and love and a limitless passion for both, that there’s no question that only someone very much connected to his ancestors, to his culture, to the cosmos and to the unknown could be responsible for such wild, wondrous and beautiful creations.Working in papier maché, wood, bronze, and ceramic, Bustamante’s sculptures are often painted or glazed, allowing him to bring even greater heights of imagination and surrealism to his creatures.One of the more compelling forms he continues to explore is his bronze and ceramic sculptures.Often cast of the same strange and surreal creatures who inhabit his paintings (fish-headed humans, mystical figures draped in heavy dresses, and plenty of half-moons and half-suns), Bustamante has grown to love his bronzes and ceramics more and more.“Colors are more poetic,” he says, “but the bronzes and ceramics are more abstract.” Many of Bustamante’s works are as magical as they are known.“Magic is something in your mind, something you help to create,” emphasizes Bustamante, who uses colors and design the way a poet uses words.

“The magic in some of my things is because you chose to show these worlds, shapes, these atmospheres that maybe other people haven’t imagined. I try to impact people and seduce them. It’s like trying to make them love.” More of Sergio Bustamante‘s whimsical art can be found at https://www.coleccionsergiobustamante.com.mx/ and the Meyer East Gallery.

 

I’m Making Myself Crazy

I am one of those people who is always doing something while doing something else.

Before you congratulate me on my multi-tasking abilities, let me assure you. I am beginning to hate it.

Take Saturday, for instance. I was watching Downton Abbey, writing my Sunday blog, plus I had a bin of cardboard I needed to cut to size, went into the kitchen and scooped some ice cream, and my phone was nearby just in case I need to look up something or text someone.

Why can’t I just sit still and watch a chapter or two of the telly? Or just sit and write a blog? 

I tend to blame my senior-onset A.D.D. The older I get the less I can sit still for any length of time. I have already talked to my physician, so that part is just fine.

But I’m making myself crazy with all these things lined up to keep myself busy.

I’m too old to be kept so busy.

I’ve tried meditation, Valerian, and deep breathing. I’ve told myself I don’t need to keep busy every second of the day, yet everywhere I look there’s something I can be doing while I’m doing something else.

And I find myself thinking why not kill two birds with one stone? Sew the holes in my socks or research artists while a movie babbles in the background? And since I’m already online, why not check out other blogs,  work on updating my website, look for a new recipe for Apple Crisp, and type a text to a friend? I can also paint my toenails and let them dry while I’m surfing and watching TV. I’m not moving around, after all ….

I’m making myself crazy.

So yesterday I decided to stop multi tasking. Just for the day. I had a sinus headache anyway, so I just aimed to do nothing.

At 8:30 pm I couldn’t take it anymore and went online, wrote this blog, turned on my iPad and downloaded a game, plus edited the story I wanted to post. That was after I took time to find some ambient music on YouTube.

It’s midnight now. It didn’t work.

I truly have to start tackling tasks one task at a time. Concentrate on one thing at a time. It’s okay if a half dozen ideas and projects bombard me at one time, but I have to learn to prioritize and not stress myself out by trying to do three, four, or five things at once.

Do you have multi-tasking-itis? Do you do ten things at one time? If you do, let me know how you do it. If you don’t, let me know how you do it as well. 

Like I said earlier, the task list is getting longer and my attention span is getting shorter. And I’m not getting any younger.

I just can’t keep up with myself anymore …

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ansel Adams

 

Ansel Adams (1902—1984) was a photographer and environmentalist,  born in San Francisco, California.

Tetons and the Snake River

 

Adams rose to prominence as a photographer of the American West, particularly Yosemite National Park, using his work to promote conservation of wilderness areas.

Lake Tenaya

 

His iconic black-and-white images helped to establish photography among the fine arts.

Bridaveil Falls

 

In 1916, following a trip to Yosemite National Park, Adams began experimenting with photography.

Yosemite Valley Clearing Winterstorm

 

He learned darkroom techniques and read photography magazines, attended camera club meetings, and went to photography and art exhibits.

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico

 

Adams’ professional breakthrough followed the publication of his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, which included his famous image Monolith, the Face of Half Dome.

Monolith, the Face of Half Dome

 

For Adams, the environmental issues of particular importance were Yosemite National Park, the national park system, and above all, the preservation of wilderness.

Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park

 

He fought for new parks and wilderness areas, for the Wilderness Act, for wild Alaska and his beloved Big Sur coast of central California, for the mighty redwoods, for endangered sea lions and sea otters, and for clean air and water.

Thunder Clouds

 

Seen in a more traditional art history context, Adams was the last and defining figure in the romantic tradition of nineteenth-century American landscape painting and photography.

Mount Williamson

 

More of Ansel Adam‘s breathtaking photography can be found at https://www.anseladams.com/.

 

 

Share the Wealth

 

I just love this stuff.

I just love when creative people share their creativity. There’s so much out there I think my head would burst if I looked at all of it, shared all of it.

All is a big word.

So today I’m going to share some great art from a few of those I follow. Take a few minutes and check them out. You’ll be glad you did. 

 

Annette’s blog Beauty Along the Road,  is about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations. She is thrilled to announce the 2021 Creative Project Coaching workshop, Wild Ember Sparking. This monthly workshop series runs from March through October 2021 and assists you in getting your creative project off the ground, with clarity and purpose, and then supports your ongoing project. If you are curious, please check out the details: https://emeraldmountainsanctuary.com/creative-project-coaching/.

 

I’ve followed Michelle Lee and her blog My Inspired Life  for a bit,  and I enjoy the whole feel of her world. She has poems that will move you (many w/audio), stories that will entertain you, photographs that will uplift you, and people who will inspire you. Like us, she has gone through much, but the calm and graceful way she relates her poetry and experiences leaves a good feeling behind.

 

Elaine runs an award-winning blog filled with stories, poetry, and amazing digital artwork, called, appropriately, Elaine Rose.   Her work is fun and creative and brightens up my day. You can purchase her digital artwork, too!

 

 

 

Laura Kate at Daily Fiber is one of the most creative people I know. If she’s not quilting she’s knitting or trying out new styles in watercolors. Her work is amazing. I never know what she’s going to come up with next! To me she’s just amazing. You have to check out her work.

 

 

Ellen Appleby, based in Noosa Studio in Australia, is busy all the time with the ceramics and cards she creates. She has a very small following at the moment, but has large ceramics talent, but I hope she continues to post her work, for it’s delightful.

 

 

Even though I did highlight a work from The Alchemist’s Studio the other day, I can’t help but show off their work again.  The Studio specializes in raku pottery, which is a centuries old firing technique from Japan. They also make functional ware, pit fired pottery and other pieces of objet d’art. You’ll love their work.

 

 

 

Writing is always inspirational, as it encourages a lot of trial and error before it becomes a song on the breeze. Candia at Candia Comes Clean is so interesting because not only does she write, but has been experimenting with boussekusekeika, sestinas, rhyme royale, villanelles and other forms of poetry. She is exploring Japanese themes at the moment, so stop by her blog for an interesting time!

 

 

Sketchuniverse is a virtual meeting point to find and comment on any sketch, drawing or engraving, made by the historical masters. This blog contains so many new and exciting concepts, artists, and styles, along with traditional creative outlets. It is my inspiration for new and unique artwork. You must stop by sometime and just wander his galleries.

 

Another favorite of mine, Gwenniesgardenworld, is full of beautiful photographs of flowers, cacti, and trees. She has such an eye for nature — I even have a Sunday Evening Art Gallery devoted to her. 

 

I could go on and on with recommendations — I’ve already spouted about Purplerays,  spiritual enlightenment and self improvement quotes and images;  David Kanigan and Live & Learn, whom I’ve learned from for years; Jan Beek, sharing spreading love, joy, peace, faith and unity; notquiteold by Nancy Roman, a refreshing trip through getting older;  Tiffany and her Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art blog, a delightful stop for bright and imaginative paintings; and GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast, Healing Arts and Pagan Studies, anything you want to know about herbs, tarot cards, charms, and spring cleaning.

 
Good blogs are everywhere. Start one. Read one. Share one.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Emeralds

 

No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be emerald, my color undiminished. 

~ Marcus Aurelius

 

Mogul Mughal Emerald

 

Chinese Silk Jacket

 

Emerald Box, Persian Crown Jewels

 

Australian Emerald Dragonfly

 

Antique Baccarat Paperweight

 

 

 

Stotesbury Emerald

 

Villa Pisani Labyrinth, Italy

 

INK Sweets

 

Echeveria Emerald Ripple

 

Emerald Oracle

 

David Morris

 

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

 

This past week has been the beginning of something good. Positive. Promising.

We are always warned not to get too excited about things we want to see or do or accomplish. After all, it may not happen. Then where will we be? Standing in the middle of the road with egg on our face because we got excited over nothing.

I’m here to tell you that’s the worst advice anyone could give you.

Anticipation is one of the most positive energies you can experience. It’s okay to be super excited about the last day of school before summer vacation or going camping with your family next month.

Why can’t you be just as excited about your creative future?

I got accepted into my first Art Fair last week. Whether shoppers will be interested in my wares is another story. THIS story is that I get to set up a booth and show off my sparkles and bring some smiles into other people’s lives.

Will I make any money? Probably not much. Will I make back my initial investment? Who knows? But I’m doing something I’ve never done before and am looking forward to having fun with it, no matter what.

I’m also excited because in a few months I’m going to expand my blog. I’m thinking of offering Angel Tears to my friends and readers, although I’m not sure how big of an expansion step I’m ready to take yet. But at least I’m thinking about it.

I’ve also started my second I Dreamed I Was In Paris book. There was a lot of research and stress and imagination involved, but I loved every minute of it. I do so love writing, and I want to experience that again. 

Speaking of writing, I also am going to put my first Paris book online for a free download just because. I’ve got other books, too, that I want to eventually share. I don’t care about being published. E-books? Maybe down the line. I’m more interesting in just making people happy right now.

People who hide their work, waiting for the right time to share it with friends and strangers, will never find the right time. No one is ever going to read or see your work if it stays hidden. 

And that’s sad.

What if no one likes my Tears? My books? What if I don’t recoup the investment I’ve made in time, materials, research, and physical effort?

Who cares?

Do you ever recoup your investment in dinners you make that no one eats? Do you recoup the effort put into learning new skills that your employer has no use for? Or the investments you’ve made in buying trombones and pianos for your kids who only want to play video games after school?

I always say it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.

Your thoughts may be, “Ah .. but when you get where you’re going, then what?”

I say, “Great! Where do we go next?”

Better to have a lot of places to see, things to do, dreams to aim for, than to sit home, never venturing out at all. Better to share than never to know.

It’s all there waiting for you. Go and have fun with your creativity.

After all — Everything’s Coming Up Roses for Me and for You!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — David de la Mano

David de la Mano is a Spanish contemporary artist best known for his stunning murals often depicting silhouettes, trees and other monochromatic imagery.Born in Salamanca in 1975, de la Mano has a degree in Fine Art from the University of Salamanca and PhD studies in Public Art from the University of Valencia.

He is known for his minimalist aesthetics while using black and white themes depicting human figures.His large-scale, black and white pieces provoke reactions among the viewers and encourage their emotions and ideas through a minimalist aesthetic.De la Mano is particularly interested by the theme of the link between human beings as a mass which evolves, in groups, as a flow, or the link between human and nature also as a danger or a union.He observes others and their social or anti-social behavior, exploring every corner of both in his practice, using silhouettes of men, women, or the masses as narrative metaphors.Through these figures, he gives poetic visions of the the human condition in society and the ways human perceive the world.

More of David de la Mano‘s imaginative work can be found at and at  https://daviddelamano.blogspot.com and https://bottleneckgallery.com/collections/david-de-la-mano.

 

Spooky Repeat

I was watching the movie Predator  the other night, and the scene of the “invisible” predator reminded me of this blog from 2016. I still feel the same way. I still won’t walk through the woods at night. Have fun!

Something Is Out There

20161210_215909I was watching TV the other evening. A horror flick. Or SF. Or both. No matter.

Predator. You know — the Sci Fi movie with Arnold and a bunch of special forces macho men. You know the story line — the alien who comes to Earth to hunt humans for sport.  Well, there was one scene closer to the beginning of the movie that made me pull out a camera and take a picture of the TV screen — a scene that flashed the words blog topic into my brain.

The men are walking through the jungle, in and out of clearings, when one of the soldiers stops. Just stops and looks ahead. At the trees, at the jungle. Silence. When asked what was up, Billy said there was something out there watching them. Something you couldn’t see.

That kind of terror gets to me much more than blood and guts.

The fear of the unknown.

Some people can sense something’s not right way before it hits you like a pie in the face. We all have intuition, but some just live with it turned on high, while others barely crack the surface.

Do you ever sense things that are — unnatural? Nebulous? Out of our sphere of reality?

I don’t care for the scientific explanations. I understand them, I agree with them. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering — what if something was watching us? Something invisible, fifth dimension-ish and all that?

I’ve seen dogs avoid places in the wild; some would rather pee on themselves than check out some particular place. I’ve heard stories of birds avoiding certain trees and wild animals refusing to walk through certain areas.

It’s like seeing something out of the corner of your eye. If you turn and focus, the thing is gone. But for that fleeting moment you swear there is something there. It is hearing songs on the wind when everyone else hears a lawn mower. Or seeing a glow in the woods that everyone else says are lightning bugs.

I know that none of these abnormalities exist — at least not on a scientific level. The guy I dated 40 years ago dashed a lot of my airy faerie ideas out of my head when he insisted science is much more fascinating than imagination.

But through the years I’ve regained some of my fascination with the “unknown.” I love to entertain the impossible. The improbable. The ridiculous. For within those worlds lies even more remarkable truths. At least for the person experiencing them.

I have never seen the clear, wavy distortions of a Predator before they become visible. I’ve never seen a unicorn drinking from a stream or a faerie dancing through the night.

Or have I?

We all see things that aren’t there. As we get older and memories fade, what we think we remember isn’t necessarily what happened. The conversations change, the situations change — we rework the past to fit our current psyche. So what I thought my father said before he died might not have been what he really said. The punchline of an old movie might not be the quote I spout out to friends and family.

To be honest, I am spooked by things I don’t understand. I don’t like walking through the woods in the dark, or driving down unfamiliar deserted roads at night, or playing Mary Worth in the mirror. Whether it’s an overactive imagination or the true sensing of something beyond reality, I prefer to deal with the unknown my own way.

Avoidance.

I figure don’t tempt the gods.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Carolynda MacDonald

 

Carolynda MacDonald is a painter with a Bachelor of Science Honours in Biological Science, and a Fellowship from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences with The Special Examination in Bacteriology from Paddington College of Technology, London.When it comes to her paintings, though, her explanations seem to come from a totally different direction.According to MacDonald, her paintings occupy an analogous realm, operating in a space reminiscent of daydreams or areas of quietude within the mind.She tries to bring together both landscape and still life painting in ways not normally encountered. In an increasingly busy and confusing world, MacDonald feels it is important to find solace for the soul, whether it is in art, music or literature, and her paintings are her way of contributing.Her paintings imply a stillness which is integral to the whole and provides a tranquil space for thought and reflection.MacDonald often chooses a bird to rise up in symbolic celebration of finding oneself in such a place or state of mind.More of Carolynda MacDonald‘s ethereal paintings can be found at http://www.carolyndamacdonald.com/ and https://www.tathagallery.com/artist/carolynda-macdonald.

Hope For Classic Editor

I have been fretting for some time about WordPress blocking access to Classic Editor.

I’m old fashioned. I’m technically challenged.  I’m lazy.

I like Word Press just the way it is. I don’t need nor want fancy new blocks and all that go with it. I’ve been around my block enough to know that I want to stay on my own one-way street.

So this morning I set up a little chat with the Word Press Support Group. This is how it went: (I’m red)

Support Chat

Is WordPress totally getting rid of classic editor? I know many who are moving away because of the change.

Hello there

Morning!

There are no current plans to fully remove the Classic editor as of now. The Classic Block will be in the editor for many years to come and we do still allow you to use the full classic editor for your site.

Thank you. I much prefer the “old” way and have talked to other bloggers planning on leaving wp because of the change.

Sure, that’s understandable! Many users really like the way the classic editor works and we wouldn’t want to just remove that from you.

How long will classic editor be available

I don’t have a date that I’d be able to provide as the WordPress community works on making those changes together, but as far as I know, there won’t be any changes to that for the next few years.

I will pass along the word. Thank you.

So there you have it.

To WordPress Support: you have great support people. Please don’t stop giving us a choice. 

To those of you who follow this blog and have backed away from your own because you are confused as to how to get back to classic editor: come back.

We all have our ways to get into Classic Editor. I’m sure there’s a legit, sensible way. But you know me. I’m hardly ever sensible.

I create a document in block; I type one word in the title then save the blog. I hit the “back” button and go to my left sidebar to “all posts.” I find the one I just created (the one with only one word), and click on Classic Editor.

Voila! I’m back in the Dark Ages! Where I like it just fine.

If you have a different way of getting to C.E., let us know. If you love the new blocks, Hoo Ha! I am proud of you. 

Keep blogging. No matter how confused you may feel. Creativity is our life line.

We can overcome and hold on to Classic Editor — at least for a couple a’more years.

 

 

 

A Little Poetry

Something different.

A poem from 2011.

Reflections before/during/after writing my first book.

Come along.

 

 

Eternity Road

I see you driving down the lane
Golden leaves guiding you home
Your heart is not in your world
It floats in seas blue and green
Not of your world
You search for shadows
Hoping to make them real
To bring them into your light
And make them whole.

Time and space are curious things
They take shape in the mind
And vaporize in the void of now
We reach to make them our own
Yet they laugh at our being
Our very nerve

You wait, heart in hand
Driving tirelessly to the ends of the earth
I wait for you
Lost in another world of time and spirit
Empty wine glasses
Hold the promise of eternity
Yet somehow I know
You are lost on the highway of dreams

The golden leaves have turned to icicles
The music has stopped
The building has closed, the doors locked
Yet I see you driving down the lane
Trying to find me
Lost in your own world
In your own dreams

It’s too late, it didn’t work
I came to the end of my book
The last page of our hope
Shelved with the dreams of others
Dickens, Mitchell, Austen
Explanations that came too late
Roads that never made their way home

I never give up hope
That you will follow the hidden pathway
To my arms, to my heart
I will wait for time to tick forward
Ever evolving, ever flowing
My heart holds yours in trust
Until you find your way back home

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Ruby

You have no need to travel anywhere – journey within yourself. Enter a mine of rubies and bathe in the splendor of your own light.

Rumi

The Delong Star Ruby

 

 

Magical Ruby Red®  Hydrangea

 

 

Carmen Lúcia Ruby

 

 

Shleton Claret Red Tuxedo

 

 

Timur Ruby

 

 

Ruby Red pomegranate

 

 

Imperial Ruby Charriol Perfume

 

 

Elizabeth Taylor Ruby Necklace

 

 

Salvador Dali’s Ruby Lips

 

 

Liggy’s Cake Company

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ruby Silvious

 

Ruby Silvious is a Philippines-born, US-based artist who has found an ingenious way to regenerate used tea bags into stunningly intricate works of art.She draws, paints, prints and collages moody, evocative and sometimes whimsical art on used teabag paper.Silvious attended Art Print Residency in Arenys de Munt, a municipality in Catalonia, Spain.While at the printmaking residency, she found time each evening to paint a used tea bag, usually inspired by random activities or places she had explored that day.By the end of her stay, she had amassed several used tea bags and a small, intimate collection of miniature paintings.In 2015 she started a project called 363 Days of Tea, a visual daily record of her impression of the moment, using the emptied-out tea bag as her canvas, and altering it to create a new work of art every day for 363 days.Silvious wants viewers to keep an open mind and think beyond the boundaries of what they may consider traditional art.“It seems to me that even non-tea drinkers are fascinated with my work. Maybe it’s because it’s just a unique canvas,” she reflects.More of Ruby Silvious’ ingenious paintings can be found at https://www.rubysilvious.com/.

 

 

What View Inspires You?

Is there a particular place you go to find inspiration for your craft?

Is there a view that inspires you every time you experience it? Music that makes you want to write or paint or knit or carve? Walks or vistas or scenery that triggers your creative muse?

Years ago I used to walk the path behind the University in my town. The paths took me past an open field, into the woods, down groomed and ungroomed paths, to a spot where a huge tree had fallen to its  forever-sleep position some time earlier.

I used to dream on those paths. I planned my B&B strategy there, my novels, my travels, the new-and-improved ME there. A lot of stories came to light in those woods — a lot of love and angst and fantasy came alive as I walked in early morning sunlight or late afternoon twilight.

That was many years ago. Before retirement, before grandbabies, before the pandemic. Days when I vainly tried to turn my data computer job into a writing job. When I dreamed of being published or being thinner or whatever daydreams haunted my world back then.

What made me think about this question today was that I drove down a winding road this morning on my way to the Vet. A road that I haven’t driven on, really, since I left/was let go of my job.

This drive inspired two novels and a couple of short stories and at least one poem I can think of. I hadn’t driven down this road for so long I’d forgotten what inspiration felt like.

Old inspiration.

I now walk my own little patch of woods, looking for faeries and a cornfield that leads to another world and an archway that takes me to Paris. I think my Angel Tears are somewhere in there, too.

But I think it’s time to walk a new woods. Sit on a new shore. Time to find inspiration in a new place, while keeping a foot in my current one.

It’s time to experience the transcending moment true inspiration brings.

How about you?

 

The Beginning Is Everything

Last August I wrote a lovely little blog about Your Favorite Opening Sentence. How Language is the foundation of many of the Arts. To instruct, to classify, to share your Art you must understand and communicate with words. 

And how important an opening sentence and/or paragraph can be.

I shared one of my favorite openings, the first paragraph of H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of the Cthulhu:

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

I love the atmospheric set up for the whole piece.

Another great opening paragraph is in Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

And, a final tribute, the opening paragraph from The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson:

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

I realize two of my three examples are from the macabre side of town, but that’s precisely it — how you know from the opening paragraph what the feel of the book is about.

There are many ways to start a story. A book. Conversations, descriptions of locations, someone’s thoughts on their life. First person, third person, omnipotent. All need be done with skill and flow if the conversations and descriptions and locations are to bring us into their world.

It’s not easy. I have written many books, and some beginnings are better than others. It’s not easy catching a reader’s attention in just a few sentences.

From: Corn and Shadows:

“You cannot live in both worlds.”

The words echoed in the back of Anna’s mind like waves hitting the breakwater. Soft, rhythmic. They made no sense, at least not in their current context. She tried to hold onto the silver threads, but they slowly faded into meaningless whispers. All her mind could focus on was the slow, continuous beeping that radiated from some distant point.

From: I Dreamed I Was in Paris

To write a book about traveling to Paris is like …
To write a book about staying in Paris is like …
To write a book about what I learned in Paris is like …
Nearly impossible.

And finally, from: Gaia and the Etruscans:

My name is Gaia Borealis.

I was told most introductions, most self-driven non-fiction recordings, start out with a name and an insight. Well, as you can see, my name is not of the usual variety. I suppose you could say the same about my life. Of course, doesn’t everyone say that?

 

All my beginnings are different. Different styles, different emotions, different points of view. Sometimes the beginnings came easy — I knew the perfect start. Others I wanted to set the personality of the main character in the first paragraph..

The point of this blog is that, if you are a writer, your opening paragraph is the most important piece of writing you’ll ever do. You need to make your beginning insightful, curious, tempting, flowing, and indicative of things to come. Catch our attention. Give us a feel for the rest of the book.

What are some of your favorite opening paragraphs? I’d love to hear what sets your reading rockets off!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Collin Lynch

Collin Lynch of Essarai Ceramics crafts custom ceramic mugs, plates, and bowls that are clustered with dazzling crystals.Riding the fine line between practical object and sculpture, Lynch adorns his creations in 3D rather than the standard 2D illustration or patterning; the conventional dishware silhouettes are elevated with glazed geometric forms protruding from them.His palette sets the stage for the vibrant layered crystals that seemingly burst from the side of the vessel and extend from its base to the lip. Lynch works from his home studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he allows each crystal formation to take shape as it is constructed.In addition to alluring surface aesthetics, Lynch also finds inspiration in his efforts to “unveil perfection through imperfection, which is where Truth lies.”Lynch notes that “nature, being the most delicate yet enduring example of this paradox, is where through the rough surfaces and shattered angles, we are reunited with ourselves.”More of Collin Lynch‘s creative ceramics can be found at https://mymodernmet.com/custom-ceramic-mugs-essarai-ceramics/ and https://www.instagram.com/essarai_ceramics/. 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthro … What?

I hate being anthropomorphic.

No — that’s not a political state of mind, nor a medical condition. The word comes from Anthropomorphism. The attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities.

I am very anthropomorphic.

This is not to be a conversation/discussion of if and how animals think and feel. I will leave that to philosophers and researchers. 

I just hate feeling three-dimensional about animals. 

Most emotions are straight on. Agree, disagree. Understand, Don’t Understand. Understand yet don’t like, don’t understand.

Sifting through the emotions I feel when I see dead animals on the side of the road or in healthy zoo environments is not always an easy line for me to follow. 

I went to the zoo today with my family. The Zoo is a wonderfully clean and organized sanctuary for endangered and non-endangered animals. The animals have doctors, caretakers, chefs, and zoologists to take care of them — more than many of us have. If it were not for zoos many people would never know what some animals like rhinos or giraffes look like.

So I get it.

But when I look into the eyes of a gorilla or a seal I sometimes feel they are speaking to me. Talking to me.

And it creeps me out.

Thinking that orangutans are reading my mind or giraffes are asking to be set free in the wild is, for me, a step across the line. I mean, free the giraffes just to have them be eaten by lions or starve to death? Thinking the gorilla is wondering in human words “What are you looking at?” when he has no idea who or what ~I~ am, does nothing but arouse unneeded guilt, grief, and remorse in me. 

This cosmic picture is much bigger than I am.

I think this all goes back to the life and death and life-after-death thing. The one-minute-you’re-alive-the-next-minute-you’re-dead thing. I don’t deal well with that topic so I try to think about other things, which leads my wandering mind to think about others trying not to think about it either, including animals.

One reason I shouldn’t dwell on these things is that my mind is so convoluted when it comes to mixing reality and fantasy.

I’m glad I got to see the animals with my grandkids, and hope I instilled a respect and reverence in them for life in general and zoo animals in particular. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Don’t overthink things. Don’t put your thoughts in someone else’s head.

Even if that head belongs to a giraffe.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Visarute Angkatavanich

Born in 1970, Visarute Angkatavanich is a Bangkok-based Thai photographer  based in Thailand. He graduated in Communication Arts majoring in advertising from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. 

His stunning crystal-clear photos of Siamese fighting fish as they dance in the water make it seem as though they are suspended in air instead of water.Their quick, elegant movement  is a mesmerizing scene, captured perfectly by Angkatavanich – their unique sense of motion frozen in time through his brilliant photographs.The Siamese fighting fish, known simply as the betta in the West, is a small fish that originates from the rice paddies of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

They have been bred since the 19th century (and possibly sooner) for their flamboyant appearance and for their territorial aggression.

In some images, they don’t appear like fish at all, but rather swirling clouds of colorful ink suspended in water, or snapshots of flowing pieces of silk. His currently unnamed and ongoing series of betta portraits is captured through the lens of a Nikon D800, with only a simple strobe light to emphasize the spectacular coloration and flamboyant fins of the beautiful fish.Angkatavanich’s series transforms the common misconception that Siamese fighting fish are disposable by using them as weightless and isolated subjects, showcasing their incredible coloration and elegant movement.More of Visarute Angkatavanich‘s amazing photography can be found at https://lalanta.com/artists/visarute-angkatavanich and https://500px.com/p/bluehand?view=photos. 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Barbara McCraw

 

Retired teacher and pathologist Barbara McCraw is a Master Quilter whose pieces have been exhibited across North America and Europe.McCraw grew up on the south side of Chicago and later received her degree in English at Illinois State University in 1973. In 1986 she earned a degree in Medical Technology.She grew up in a Chicago tenement, and became in awe of how her mother took second-hand scraps of fabric, furniture, and hand-me-downs and turned them into a palace of a place for them to live.McCraw believes no artistic form is more closely associated with African American culture than quilt making, which represents skill, aesthetic beauty, and utilitarian need.She feels that quilting offers an outlet for women’s emotions, adversities, and triumphs.Her artwork is most influenced by her imagination, the encouragement she receive from her friends, and the memory of her mother. Her colors  are vivid, recalling movement, Nature, and the beauty of people.McCraw has great respect for traditional quilting and loves to imagine and learn the history behind the patterns. But her true interest is in creating one-of-a-kind, uniquely designed quilts using more contemporary techniques.More of Barbara McCraw‘s remarkable quilting can be found at http://www.quiltasart.com/

 

Am I THAT Person?

I don’t want to be that person.

I don’t want to be the person that follows hundreds — dare I say it — thousands of blogs, yet reads nary a one. 

The one that pops in once every few months to quick read a few posts, only to gain zero knowledge of the person behind the posting.

I’m not saying we all should be best friends through our blogs. The world is too big for all of us to constantly connect. We’d be like a plate of fried eggs sooner or later, dry with only an over-cooked center to show for our efforts.

But I can’t help but hit the “follow” button when I follow a lead which leads me to more of what makes me feel good. Often it’s poetry, but lately it’s been crafts, photography — words and images that touch my center.

And I add yet another name I don’t get to enjoy as often as I should.

I don’t want to be one of those people.

One of those empty followers.

I want to absorb a bit of every post I read, understand and identify with some, be entertained by others. I want to nod my head in agreement or smile in reaction.

I don’t want to be one of those people who once a week go through their ledger and click on those who I follow and read a couple of their blogs before moving on to the next person. 

But I feel like one.

That’s why I tried not to follow too many people when I first started blogging. Some have stuck around, others have wandered down different paths. I wanted to show I was loyal to their following me, and returned the F in kindness.

Then I started discovering blogs through other people’s blogs and opened up a whole new world of creativity. 

How could I say no?

Thank goodness I am retired — I have a bit of time each day to at least read today’s contributions. 

Is this the kind of follower you want to be?

Is this the kind of follower who follows me?

Am I just a notch in someone else’s never-ending belt of a blog once read and soon forgotten?

And should I care if I am? At least I’m on that belt.

Then I look out the window on a Sunday morning, lovely music in the background, coffee perking, a day’s worth of creativity (I do my best to make housework creative, too) in front of me, and know that creativity often does not come with rewards.

It doesn’t always come with first-place ribbons or shiny trophies or extra dollars in your pocket for your labor. 

Creativity is self-rewarding. We create because it makes us feel good. If we pick up admirers on the way, that’s frosting on the cake. But it’s the actual high of making something out of nothing that is the thrill of the chase.

Thank all of you who read the Goddess, and thank all of you who just pass through and wave. 

We all are making the world a better place for each other.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Miles Johnston

The female characters inhabiting the world of London-based illustrator Miles Johnston appear to be undergoing near perpetual transformation.

Binary Sequence

 

Johnston spent the first few years of his early childhood living in Brunei, Borneo, something that he is sure had a major effect on him.

The rest of his school years were in Hampshire, England. After getting involved in art forums as a young teenager, he moved to Sweden to study at the Swedish Academy of Realist Art at the age of 18

Inflation

 

The totally different environment gave him the intuition early on that there was no true state as ‘normal; in hindsight he has always been interested in anything that helped to transform his perception of the mundane.

Johnson works primarily in graphite and oils, using the human form as a vehicle to attempt to process the intensity and profound strangeness of the collective human experience.

Melancholia

 

The distortions and transformations his subjects undergo serve to represent the experience of our internal state during crucial moments in our lives.

Shame

 

It is almost impossible to look at his subjects and not consider what must b going on for them internally, an effect elicited by the emotive poses of Johnston’s figures, in combination with his use of distortion, repetition, division and illusion.

For Johnston, evoking an emotional reaction is key; the relationship between a piece and a viewer is what makes a piece of art complete.

Johnston believes a piece can be technically sound and meticulously rendered, but what brings it to life is how it affects those who see it.

Self Reflection

 

More of Miles Johnston‘s  unique and extraordinary art can be found at https://www.milesjohnstonart.com/.

IN BLOOM TODAY

Can you smell its beckoning fragrance? I”d love to live in GweniesGardenWorld !

GWENNIESGARDENWORLD

BLUE HYACINTH

These blue hyacinths are in bloom today in my garden. I couldn’t resist putting one in a yellow vase, I love the combination blue and yellow. I just took one flower as they bloom much longer in the garden than in a vase.

After I took this photo I put it in my livingroom on the coffee table, my whole house smell’s like Spring now !

Have a great weekend all !!

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Happy Vernal Equinox!

Purplerays

    Happy Vernal Equinox!
    Mother Nature is blessing us with a new cycle of regeneration and renewal!
    On this sacred day of equal hours of day and night, we are reminded of importance of finding balance as we grow into our new selves. It is a call to birth our dreams into reality and celebrate new life and beginnings!
    Blessings to all!

    ❤ Rivers in the Ocean
    Art by Lucy Grossmith

            Text source: Rivers in the Ocean https://www.facebook.com/222770714439924/posts/3985206421529649/

            Image source: Snowwolfs Woodland Nook https://www.facebook.com/531188960392510/posts/1803266199851440/

            View original post

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Splashes

            There is something about the photography of liquid splashing that really challenges a photographer’s attention. No matter if it’s computer graphics or  something more like freeze motion or water splash photography, it is an exquisite form of art that demands being shared.

             

            Jay P Morgan, The Slanted Lens

             

            Arcus La Buvette Packaging

             

            Gert Lavsen

             

            Chris Stein, Getty Images

             

            Jean Bérard

             

            Amundn

             

            James Stiles Photography

             

            Pixers

             

            Adorama’s 42West

             

            Momentsintime

             

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Yarn Bombing

            Yarn bombing (also called also called wool bombing, yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting, or graffiti knitting) is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber rather than paint or chalk.You are likely to see yarn bombing on trees, bicycle racks, and statues, but there have been popular “yarnstallations” that cover vehicles, benches, and even entire buildings.The “bombs” began slowly.  A few poles, and then some trees, and a few other “normal” objects started to get this new “look”, providing them with a positive vibe that people maybe didn’t see before.Initially, yarn bombing was almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile public places and giving them a personal touch.Having a need to create something fun, unexpected and beautiful, these artists used yarn to create warmth and comfort inside the urban environment that was often perceived cold, depressing and unfriendly. It has since developed with groups graffiti knitting and crocheting worldwide, each with their own agendas and public graffiti knitting projects being run.In the midst of the growing popularity of the medium and practice, yarn bombers also are striving to maintain an awareness of the environment they are working in, being careful to limit the life of their craft on trees and other live canvases.Showing up on trees, lamp posts, monuments, benches, and other elements of everyday cityscape, the practice is a new artistic form that has been invading our streets in brilliant colors, bringing street art and craft together.Yarn bombing can found on sites all across the Internet. Have fun exploring!

             

             

             

            Another Monday is Here!

            Now that I am retired I am not as much against Mondays as I was when I punched a time clock at work. If the day has nothing in particular scheduled, I sleep a little later, enjoy my coffee a little longer, and waste a little more time on my computer.

            My Sunday Evening Art Gallery folder is filling up fast. Plus I have 2 pages of possible unique artists to explore. 

            I know no one is as excited or interested in the array of unusual and unique artists I’ve discovered, but I think that’s true for all of us, no matter what our creative outlet.

            I’m a unique art fan. I also love writing and crafting (only one particular item). My family isn’t terribly interested in any of the above, which is alright by me. At least I’m not in competition with any of them.

            But it’s nice to find others who are interested in the same things you are. I’ve let writing simmer on the back burner for a while now, but I have friends who are writers and poets and I love where they are going with their work. I have friends who have turned from active poets to active painters, and others who are active woodworkers or crocheting superstars.

            I believe in shining no matter how good or talented you are.

            But that’s just me.

            But I digress.

            The Gallery folder is filling up faster than I can post. I can’t even keep up with the actual gallery, although it doesn’t get as much traffic as my blog. 

            The seat of creation has to lie somewhere, doesn’t it?

            Here are a few images of artists waiting in the wings:

             

            David de la Mano

             

            Ruby Silvious

             

            Yarn Bombing

             

            Dino Rosin

             

            I hope you all stay around for the ride. I love this stuff! I hope you do too. And stop by the Gallery and see all of the artists I’ve added!

            Happy Monday, kitties!

             

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Rock Formations

             

            What are men to rocks and mountains?
            ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

             

            Delicate Arch, Utah

             

            Twyfelfontein Organ Pipes, Namibia

             

            Acacus Mountains, Libya

             

            The Hoodoos at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area, North Mexico

             

            Arbol de Piedra, Bolivia

             

            Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

             

            Immortal Bridge, Mt. Tai, China

             

            Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

             

            Kjeragbolten, Rogaland County, Norway

             

            Nanya Rock Formation, Taiwan

             

            The Wave Rock, Arizona

             

            Faraglioni dei Ciclopi, Sicily, Italy

             

             

            Cats and Dogs and Kids — Oh My!

            Those of you who dream of housefuls of dogs and cats running around happy and free most likely have never had cats and dogs running around free.

            Oh, I’m not against having more than one pet per household. I have had two dogs and two cats at one time, and loved them immensely.

            Maybe I should rephrase that.

            Those of you who dream of housefuls of dogs and cats running around happy and free have never babysat several dogs from several different families at one time.

            We took our current dog as a donation from a family member because she was too crazy as a pup around a newborn. We have been taking care of a different family member’s little dog for over a year, (I believe she is permanently mine now), and just took in my son’s young lab for a few days while they move. 

            We also have a cat who doesn’t leave the closet for the duration of my son’s dog’s visit.

            Throw in two grandkids under 5 and it becomes true chaos.

            The visiting puppy relentless pursues the older dog for wrestling matches, and chases the littler dog just because he can. The cat was almost eaten the last time the dog visited, and all three mooch popcorn and cookies from the little ones. 

            The visiting dog has to sleep in his cage, which promotes whines and barks at 2 a.m., the other having escaped his madness by sleeping on our bed (along with the hiding cat). The three-year-old constantly chases kitty to give her an oversized squeeze hug, and the five-year-old smothers the little dog when he gives hugs.

            Food falls from tables and little hands into waiting mouths, and all this excitement makes the dogs need to go outside every hour.

            Indeed, it’s mass chaos.

            I’ve been taking care of my grandkids a little more this past month as they pack and get ready to move to their new house this weekend. 

            And I realized God knew what he was doing when he decided that 68-year-olds can’t get pregnant.

            I love them to pieces — I love their visits and their hugs and their stories. I am blessed with their being in my life every single day.

            And I definitely like the affection of dogs and cats.

            But by Sunday afternoon I’m in search of a comfy chair, a book or computer, and nobody around. Peace and quiet. All alone. 

            Hoping you  find a way to fit mad pets and kids into your life. They add years to your life, and help you enjoy the peace and quiet even more.

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Luke Nugent

            British portrait and fashion photographer Luke Nugent takes glorious, powerful photos of women of color featuring some of the most fabulous hair ever seen.

            Nugent studied photography at London’s University of Greenwich, and has been shooting professionally since his late teens.

            He  captures a wide range of style, beauty, and personal expression in his creative photo shoots, for which he often works with London-based hair stylist Lisa Farrall.

            Nugent highlights women of color in his varied series, from the more subdued everyday styles in Emancipate to the Afrofuturism-inspired Armour, which was a finalist for the 2016 British Hair Awards.

            Working primarily in the fields of music, portraiture and fashion, Nugent works with top models, musicians and personalities to develop imagery of a high technical and aesthetic standard.

            His work, his models, are so striking, so bold, so beautiful, it’s hard not to notice his perfect eye for detail.

            More of Luke Nugent‘s marvelous photography can be found at https://www.lukenugent.co.uk/.

             

             

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Dasil

            Dasil (David Silva) is a professional, self-taught Mexican-born painter.

            Born in Mexico City, Dasil has been a resident of Montreal since the spring of 2002.In parallel with a multi-year career in commercial photography, corporate communications, and television programming production, Dasil has developed a rich pictorial work, original and very personal.Once he arrived in his new adopted country, Dasil devoted himself to the development of his painting.Working with acrylics, oils and inks, Dasil presents imaginative figurative paintings, responding to a mix of influences going from surrealism to classicism, fantastic, allegoric or sacred art.The finesse and precision of his drawings are enhanced by the richness of the colors and hues.

            This allows Dasil to share his passions such as music, mythology, and history.The whole of his work is meant to be a celebration of life.To the careful observer, Dasil offers fine composite and complex images, with hidden details and compositions that reveal a secondary vivid symbolism.More of David Silva‘s — Dasil’s — artwork can be found at http://www.dasil.ca/index_ang.html.

            Do You Have a Spirit Guide or Two?

            Do you have a spirit guide that you work with?

            An archangel that gets you through the rough times?

            A spirit animal or totem that offers you guidance and wisdom?

            Some people believe God sits right next to them, guiding them through creative adventures and balancing the books. Some swear by Archangel ___ or Egyptian Goddess ___ for their inspiration. Yet others feel stronger with someone like Creatura, the Creative Faerie, having their back.

            I believe in all of the above.

            I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pulling strength out of the cosmos to help you with your creative struggles.

            This cosmic connection is different (yet in the same family) as God/Spirit/Counsellors helping us through life’s struggles.

            This sort of guide lends moral support in an artsy way. When you struggle on character development, color choices, or your final quilt size, it helps to have a faerie or angel or spirit from the past give you guidance.

            Some decisions we can’t make on our own. That’s where divine intervention comes in.

            I didn’t realize I had help until I wrote my first book. Being inspired and stuck at the same time, I asked the cosmos (in general) for help. Somehow it stuck in my head that I had help from an ancient Greek spirit. The sequel was nudged along by a heavy-set French mistress from the late 1800’s. I’ve also been known to consult a philosopher from the Tang Dynasty and a priest from Middle Ages.

            How do I know I’ve been contacted by spirits to guide me along my bumbling way?

            Because I choose to believe.

            A little bit of reality and a little bit of fantasy, mixed with daydreams and aspirations and hard work, I don’t believe I’ve gotten this far in life without a little help. A little inspiration. A little guidance.

            The world is bigger than we can imagine. More mysterious than we can imagine. More beautiful than we can imagine. And when I get stuck in one rut or another, it feels good to have someone behind me to keep my creative juices flowing.

            This is above and beyond the help of the divine. We need those pillars, too.

            But sometimes I just need someone to talk to. Someone I can bounce ideas of off. Someone who can listen to my ideas and see my colors and understand what I want as my end product. Especially when I get inspired in the middle of the night or while I’m driving down the road.

            I’m shopping around now for a spirit guide for the next step on my creative path. Angel Tears. I realize there’s more going on than meets the eye. After all, I’m a faerie girl. Not an angel girl.

            Yet here we are. Here we go.

            Looking for a little direction in your creative life? Feel free to find a past spirit or mythical creature or divine being to accompany you on your next wild and rewarding journey.

            We need all the help we can get!

             

             

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Naoko Ito

             

            Naoko Ito is a Japanese artist based in New York.Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Ito received a BA in Science of Design with a concentration in museum studies from Musashino Art University.Her project “Urban Nature” was inspired by the relationship between man and nature.Ito cuts the branches of trees into several pieces and places them in glass jars.Her choice of material originally stems from a desire to replicate the luminosity and fragility of ice, a natural material that shares the quality of preservation with jars.Stacked precariously on the concrete, the works are evidence of an unfaltering hand.Her offerings are unique, fragile, and symbolic.More of Naoko Ito’s exhibition can be found on her website, https://naokoito.com. 

             

             

             

             

            What’s Going On Back There?

            Well, it’s Monday Morning, my first morning in a while where I can just sit quietly and go through paperwork and emails and try and get moving in some direction.

            Checked my emails — I have 49 spams. And I just cleaned it out the other day!

            I have written blogs before on this ongoing phenomenon — just for fun, if you have time, go check out Comments 101, 1/5/14,  comments having nothing to do with my blog; Enjoying My Back Yard?, 1/5/16,  conversations in my spam; or No Phishing for You!,  1/17/16, good reminders about phishing scams. 

            All deal with the nonsense that’s going on behind our backs.

            We all love when people comment on our blogs. It’s good for our psyche, good for our souls. Especially because most readers don’t comment. 

            So some slicksters take to making positive comments that sound like a complement, yet trick you into clicking onto a link that takes you God Knows Where. 

            Now, I always look in my SPAM before I delete them all just in case, by chance, someone who’s name looks familiar and legitimate was picked up by the SPAM police by mistake.

            But that doesn’t happen very often. Trust me.

            This batch of kudos surrounded my Sunday Evening Art Gallery posting for Craig Haupt, a fun and creative artist. But I posted him on Sep 20, 2015. And am getting lots of comments about the post today. 2021

            Here are a few very recent comments about his art:

            Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

            You’ve made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

            Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering issues with your RSS.

            An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people don’t talk about these issues. To the next! All the best!

            I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something regarding this.

            How reassuring that I am so “spot on.”

            But do you see how close these come to being real comments? Nothing about a specific topic, artist, or thought. General positive comments that want you to respond to them in your blog so they can get inside and wreak havoc on whatever they can get their spammie grubbies on.

            Check your spam now and then just in case a friend sent you a message. Just remember every responder is not your friend. then

            DELETE*DELETE*DELETE!

             

             

             

             

            Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Unique Libraries

            In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.  ~ Mark Twain

             

            Geisel Library, University of California, San Diego

             

            Library of Birmingham, United Kingdom

             

            Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, Chicago, Illinois

             

            Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, Canada

             

            Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

             

            National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague

             

            National Library of Korea, Sejong City, Korea

             

            La Bibliotheque Louis Nucera, Nice, France

             

            Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart, Germany

             

            Central Library, Seattle, Washington

             

            Qatar National Library, Doha, Qatar

            The Mask … err, Masque of Red Death … CPAP Here I Am

            Tom Banwell

            I got my first CPAP mask and machine two days ago.

            This is a picture of what I look like wearing it at night.

            Okay, not really. This fine art of Tom Banwell just reminds me of how I felt the last two nights with it on. Gears and tubes and pushing air in and out of my mouth and lungs, drying out every corner of my mouth like the Sahara Desert, just because I stop breathing sometimes at night.

            Sleep apnea, they call it.

            Sleep apnea causes short pauses in one’s breathing while they’re asleep. Nowadays, it’s become known as one of the most prevalent sleep disorders. About 22 million Americans have sleep apnea.

            That’s a pretty big club to be a member of.

            Most of us don’t even know we have any breathing issues. We toss and turn and wake up feeling more tired than when we went to bed.

            The pauses in breathing caused by sleep apnea can occur 30 times or more per hour.  Normal pauses are around 5 per hour. This can lead to a boatload of conditions, including severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue, high blood pressure (hypertension), risk of recurrent heart attack and stroke, abnormal heartbeats, developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and abnormal results on liver function tests. Not to mention loud snoring that can keep anyone who sleeps near you from getting good rest as well.

            Who would have guessed?

            So based on being a little stout (overweight), constant sinus drainage, and calling hogs (snoring), I had a sleep apnea test and passed with  flying colors.

            Actually, so far all is well and good. I had two decent nights’ sleep and adjusted to my octopus apparatus fairly well, considering. Although last night I must have moved it around on my face too much that it was loud enough to sing the song of my ancestors to my dog.

            Somehow my vision of nocturnal beauty is shattered by this proboscis protruding from my face.

            Remember the movie Alien? Remember the spider-like creature that attached itself to a crewman’s face, the creature with eight finger-like legs, and a long tail that tightly wraps around the neck?

            Okay. Okay. Being a creative writer has its disadvantages as well as advantages. It’s easier to find a special way of describing the mundane, the ordinary, the necessary.

            And sleeping well through the night is necessary. If you snore, are restless, overtired, sleepy during the day, talk to your doctor. Take the test. Take the mask.

            You’d rather be wearing a breathing mask than the The Masque of the Red Death (thanks, Edgar Allan Poe).