When people connect in blogs and in tweets and on story boards, you never know who’s listening. Words and images can be so powerful, especially when they come from the heart. So choose your words well.
I was touched that my Wordless Wednesday pic (that I took down one of the paths by my house) would touch off such a beautiful poem. Please check out Ivor’s post.
Thank you, Ivor, for inspiring us all.
Feature Image: Courtesy, “humouringthegoddess”, thankyou Claudia, for permitting me to use this beautiful photo, I’ve tagged the picture, “Smiling Leafs”. My eyes, narrowly cracked. My cheeks, slightly etched. I rest here, retracing every mile. Remembering, your everlasting smile. My lips, already dry. My tongue, trying to say goodbye. I wonder, was it all worthwhile. […]
Please note: Many Americans are not their politicians. Pride in country goes back much further than 2017. Be proud of who you are, what got you here, and where you are going.
July 4, 2017
It’s also inspirational, spiritual, cosmic, and thrilling.
My problem lately is that I’ve gotten in the driver’s seat of my fourth novel, and although I’ve worked out the story line and am loving writing about my space traveler, I miss writing a short story now and then. I have been perusing various contests and publication opportunities, and I find areas I’d love to try. This one wants a creature story. This one wants supernatural fiction. This one wants pirates and ghosts.
What fun! What adventure! But what do I write about?
I think I hang out in novel land because the writing is long and real and I can keep the same idea throughout the pages. Short stories require separate thought, separate ideas. Unique ideas. And eventually my love of writing starts slipping on the confusing bed of ideas and plots and endings.
Do you hide in one genre over another? Do you have a desire to paint something totally different yet stay within your safe and more experienced area? Or draw something totally out of your comfort zone?
I have a folder of stories, some finished, some barely started. Few would fit into the guidelines I so fawningly follow. Most of my good pieces are written more on a whim of the moment — an impression on the drive home, an interlude between two or more people at the bus stop. My short stories are based on a bolt of lightning that directly hits me. It’s a lot harder if I’m out searching for that bolt.
I often encourage my blog readers to break through your self-imposed sanctions and to go for it. Reach for the sky — or dig deep into the cavern.
I still believe in that.
But I sometimes think it’s getting harder and harder to dig into that fertile creative ground and come up with something new. Something that will fit within someone else’s parameters.
How do you juggle all your cravings? Do you stick with what works or do you find time to experiment and go off in left field now and then? I’d love to know that there are other seasoned and non-seasoned writers who are as confused and excited as me.
Let’s see now…as the website says…think adventures and hauntings at sea, shipwrecks and buried treasure, treacherous waters, sea spirits, ghostly galleons, giant squid, kraken and sailors gone mad.
I can do that…can’t I?
Artist Colin Batty puts an amusingly strange spin on photographs of the past.
Taking cabinet cards from the early 1900s, he uses acrylic paint and crafts entirely new and surprising scenes directly on the image.
It’s so convincing that at first glance, you might not notice the images were even changed.
The amazing part is that Batty does this work all by hand — you won’t find a single image Photoshopped in his collection of cards.
More of Colin Batty‘s amazing photography art can be found at http://www.peculiarium.com/colin-batty.
I am feeling a bit under the weather this eve. I went through my back stories looking for something else (always the case) and found this fun blog from a few years ago. Seems like it’s perfect for my feelin’ down time…
My Irish Wench Muse came to visit me last night. She was all full of her usual Irish self. I wasn’t writing or researching or hanging with my family, so I knew something was up.
“Read yer blog the other day,” she said, smiling, wiping the kitchen table off.
“Oh? Great! Which one?”
“The whinneh one.”
I should have been upset, but how can you be upset at your truthful conscience?
“Whiny? Why was it whiny?”
“A lotta ‘I wants’ and “I’ canna haves’. And no solution. What kenna blog is that?”
I sat straighter in my chair, watching her bend over a drop of gravy and start to scrape it. “Hey! All bloggers get down now and then. It’s part of the creative process!”
“Aye, and a lotta bees sting people when they’re nah looking, too. And they still manage to make the honey.”
I had to see where this was going and fast.
“Well, I didn’t see it as whining. I saw it as voicing the universal truth of too much to do and not enough time to do it all.”
“Nay — the ‘Universal Truth’ is more like ‘Leave your dog inside too long and he’s bound ta poop somewhere.’ That’s why you need a calendar, lass.”
“I already have a calendar at work. And it’s packed full.”
“Do you get everything done on the calendar?”
“Well, duh. It’s work.”
“Then, my darlin’ writer, you need a calendar at home, too. A Grand Poobah Calendar.”
What is that?”
My muse finished scraping the drip and headed towards the crack between the leafs. A dangerous area. “The term is from one of those operas. The Poobah has all the titles and ‘na much else.”
I didn’t get what that had to do with me and my whining…er…woes.
“If ya canna make time in your head, write it down. Make the time on the calendar,” she explained, pulling out a butter knife to scrape the caverns between leaves. “Makes ya look important.”
“But that means I’d have to be — organized! How can a pretzel be organized?”
She shook her head between grunts. Must have been extra crumbs down the crack.
“How does the Gran’ Poobah get things done? Too many titles, too little authority. At least if he writes the bloomin’ things down he can see what he wants to do first. And he can pretend to do everything, even if he gets only a few things done.”
Well, that made sense. I helped her scrape the bread crumbs out of the crack and she smiled her little Irish smile.
“You’ve just got to know how to do a calendar, luv. Jam it with all sorts of rot. Then when you start the day, start crossin’ off. Lines through rot are good for the soul! Makes you pick and choose your rot!” She spit on a slide of old milk. ” You know, I may be a muse but I’ve got other ‘tings I have to do too. I canna babysit you all the time. “
I nodded sheepishly.
“I’m yer creative Muse, ya know. A lot of work goes into finding projects for you and fillin’ your head with ideas and suggestions. Makes my beer turn green half the time!”
“Well,” I said, “you know I love your company. And your ideas. I wish I would have listened to you 20 years ago, before I had grandkids.”
She threw out a hearty laugh. “Darlin’ 20 years ago you had your own kids, and were just as busy! and 20 years before that! ‘Ya dinna have time back then either. But you kept the calendar. In yer head.”
“I get it. I get it. Make a calendar. Put it all down. Bring your plans out of the 4th dimension in to this 3rd dimension so I can get a handle on it and do a little bit of everything instead of none of a lot. I get it.”
Viola nodded and stood. She was beautiful — green eyes, full figure, Irish brogue and all. “Aye. And donna forget — I’m riding up to the cabin with you this weekend. I’ve got a great idea for a poem! Oh, and my sister from Italy is comin’ too! She’s got this wild idea about manicotti and pirates and diamonds and …”
Alaa Awad is an Egyptian-based graffiti artist, and painter known for his graffiti in Cairo and Luxor.
He is best known for his mural paintings created on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo.
Awad studied at the South Valley University Faculty of Fine Arts in Luxor and graduated in 2004.
Since then he has served as a member of the faculty at the Faculty of Fine Arts as a professor in the Department of Mural Painting.
Unlike other graffiti artists, Awad chooses to paint with a brush and uses acrylic paints rather than using stencils and spray paints.
His intricate paintings can sometimes take up to a week to make not only because of the materials he uses, but because of the complexity of his designs.
Awad’s style aims to remind people of their heritage and past to help them stay true to their Egyptian identity.
His murals are typically multifaceted and multi-layered with each telling a different story.
More of Alaa Awad’s marvelous artwork can be found at http://alaa-awad.com/ and at http://artitssymbolsandmeanings.blogspot.com/2015/05/alaa-awad-power-of-mural-art-of-urban.html
It’s funny to find myself writing a blog on a Sunday morning. I mean, we all should be sleeping in or going to church or going on a bike ride. I have plans for later but for now I have what everyone looks for on a Sunday Morning — inspiration.
Inspiration is all around you.
Having had a crappy end of the week and too much to drink Friday night (I don’t drink so it didn’t take much) and the body hangover of a 64-year-old, it’s easy to be cranky and crabby on this cool morning. But over the weekend I came across two people that truly inspired me to be a better person.
To be a better me.
My first inspriation was my 16-year-old niece. Always on the chubby side, I worried about her. Things may have changed in high school since I went 150 years ago, but teens are still teens, and it’s still easy to make fun of someone who looks different. Being made fun of in junior high, I looked at her through my own insecurities.
Yesterday at a family party I saw the girl again, and she had changed. She was still the smart, funny adolescent girl I’ve come to love, but she was 30 pounds lighter.
I almost didn’t recognize her.
Being a granny-aunt, I feared she did something really drastic. I probably would have. But she is smarter and more grown up than I. More salads, less treats, lots of water. She told me all about it.
And I am so proud of her.
My second inspiration is my sister-in-law. We lost my brother a few years ago, a heartbreaking experience. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss him. His wife took it as well as she could. We all move on, she along with her two awesome kids.
I saw a pic of her and her family on FB this morning, and it looked like she dropped a ton of weight. A ton. She looked like a totally different person. I haven’t asked her yet how she did it, but whatever she did had added 30 years back onto her face. I see my brother in her children’s eyes, and I see a content person in hers.
And I am so proud of her.
My son is another one. He used to be a skinny in track and field in high school. 10 years of marriage and two kids later, he was thicker than he wanted to be. It was as if a lightbulb went off in his head and he turned to healthy eating. 25 pounds later he’s in the gym all the time, an inspiration to me and his kids as well.
I have been on a weight thing myself since January. I have lost a bit of weight, but because I always wear big clothes I don’t think people can tell. It doesn’t matter. I eat healthier now. I walk more, I’m not really into junk food. I eat what I want but I eat one or two bites, not one or two portions. We all work on weight loss our own way. I know my niece did, I know my sister-in-law did.
We all want to live longer. We want to be inspired. We want to be around for our grandkids and our friend’s grandkids. We want to live and love and be able to walk up the stairs without our chests hurting.
Find inspiration in your life. Let it touch your own heart. Whether it’s to lose weight to be healthier or to start writing the novel you’ve always had in your heart, look around you. There is plenty of inspiration around you. Take that first step.
Trust me. You won’t fall. Keep walking. Be your OWN inspiration.
That’s a joke.
I love the idea of being able to instantly sending your thoughts, instructions, and requests immediately to someone else. But instant thoughts often demand instant responses. And sometimes it’s text before you think.
Son (1:21 pm): You have any plans for tonight?
Mom: (1:22 p.m.) Oh sure. Washing some dishes, throwing the ball for the dog, catching up on Deadliest Catch. Nope. Why?
Mom always knows that when son #1 calls it has something to to with the grand kids. His dad gets the friendship calls on the way home from work, fishing story calls, all that. But mom…
Mom (2:35 p.m.) An hour later…
He texted me over an HOUR ago! Does he want me to come over for dinner? Take the grandkids for the weekend? Take me out to dinner? WHAT???
Son (3:00 p.m.) Sorry, I get busy. Can you watch the kids at the park while we clean my office?
No. Never. WHAT DO YOU THINK I’D SAY?
Mom (3:02 p.m.). Sure! Let’s make plans!
I never have a problem with last minute plans for watching my grandkids. They are fun, smart, goofy, and mine. I’d change most any plans to catch an hour or two with them.
I was never this generous with my own kids. Although they have fond memories of their grandparents on my husband’s side, my inlaws had to use a crowbar to pry the first out of my insecure mommy hands. By the time the second one came around 5 years later, my grip was less maddening. I let them take both kids with wild abandon.
Now I feel what my inlaws must have felt:
Give me those babies! What does it matter if we play at the park for 3 hours and jump in every puddle or go to the ice cream store and order an extra large fudge sundae or I take them to Kiddyland? I can take them to the zoo and the farm and the fire station and ride on the train and and and…
Now I am even goofier than my inlaws were. I jump at the chance to have them out to our house (we call it the farm but it’s really just a lot of land) or the cabin (my late father-in-law’s small house up North) or to the park (any park will do).
I know the joy of spending time with someone who thinks the world of you. Whose idea of fun is anything done with Granny. The innocence of youth and the lack of prejudice is enough to swell any adult’s heart.
I only hope I can instill some life values and love values that will grow inside of them as they grow. To value life, friendship, family, and oatmeal raisin cookies.
But my son is going to have to text a little faster. Otherwise one day I will assume that’s what he wants and will show up at his house before he gets home.
Cecelia Webber uses the human body to construct intricate tessellations that represent the natural world.
Each composition can take up to two months to produce, and involves photographing scores of poses; digitally cutting, rotating, and coloring the resulting images; and assembling all of the components together into the finished piece.
The artist also regularly uses herself as a subject, setting a camera timer and then orienting herself for the photograph.
Webber’s deep appreciation for nature, along with her scientific background, gives her a deep awareness of organic forms that she draws upon to concoct pieces bearing a unique interplay between colors, shapes, and models’ bodies.
More of Cecelia Webber‘s magnificent art can be found at http://www.ceceliawebber.com/.
I have a weird way of doing Facebook and Twitter. I am sure there are many out there who are devoted readers of both. After all, if you are following somebody it SHOULD be for a reason, like you enjoy their art or comments or inspirations. That is why I follow bloggers and tweeters.
Having TIME to read all the posts, however, is daunting.
My look-at-twitter-time is usually lunchtime, when I get home from work, and before I go to bed. My look-at-Facebook-time is usually at lunchtime or when I get home from work before I start writing. I must limit myself to those time or else I’ll never get anything else done — housework, writing, and all.
That’s why my method of reading posts makes me chuckle.
Instead of flipping through page after page after page after page (you get it) of tweets or blogs I often just go to a person’s name and read everything they’ve done recently. Even long ago, if I’m on a roll.
That’s why I’m certain those I follow are surprised with a comment months later. Like “Where has that chick been?” But I have found that you get a better feel for that person when you read a number of their posts in a row.
Many of us are pretty predictable with our postings, but now and then we throw something in that seems to have nothing to do with our persona. But it does — more than you realize. Someone who writes serious material all the time can surprise you with an attempt at humor. Inspirationalists who always quote someone else catches you when they quote themselves.
To me, social media is a monster that’s out of control. Too much credit is given to online stories with no face or accountability to go with them. Sometimes we just have to dig our heels in and say enough is enough. To say I like you and what you write, and I will come and visit you whenever I can, but don’t be mad at me if I miss some posts.
I used to want dozens of likes and dozens of retweets. But Earth to Claudia came pretty quickly, though. Check out these statistics.
Total number of registered Twitter users — 695,750,00
Total number of active Twitter users — 342,000,000
Average number of tweets per day — 58 million
Number of active Twitter users every month — 115 million
Number of days it takes for 1 billion tweets — 5 days
Number of tweets that happen every second — 9,100
Total number of Facebook users — 1.94 billion
Total number of mobile Facebook users — 1.74 billion
Total number of likes and shares — 10 million daily
Number of new profiles created — 5 per second
Total photo uploads to Facebook — 300 million per day
Comments posted — 510,000 every 60 seconds
Status updated — 293,000 every 60 seconds
Photos uploaded — 136,000 every 60 seconds
So come on. How many people do you think will read your posts? How many will retweet your tweets? Find a formula of reading and writing that works for you and forget the numbers. I myself like trolling down my lists of whom I follow and picking a name and reading a bunch of their posts. I like commenting on them, too, so they know someone’s passed by. Makes them feel good — and makes me feel good, too.
And isn’t that what writing’s all about?
Mehndi (also called Mehandi) is the traditional art of painting the hands, feet or body with a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant.
It is an ancient form of body art that has been practiced in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa for thousands of years.
The stains are usually cherry-red to brown color, but this can vary with time left on and a range of other factors.
Mehndi is special for many cultures, not just because it is an important part their culture, but also because of how beautiful the mehandi design looks when women are adorned with it.
In western countries, mehndi has gained a great deal of popularity in the temporary tattoo industry.
This art form is an intricately beautiful way to decorate the human body, a talent that is extraordinary and delicate and precise in its execution.
It is an amazing and intricate art form.
This is a big victory for jean-loving employees. Nothing says comfort more than a well-worn pair of Levis. And within certain (obvious) guidelines, t-shirts are the comfort wear of today and tomorrow.
Being an older BoHo chic kinda gal, it kind of amuses me to see the direction of the office dress codes through my past 60+ years.
In my prime I worked in downtown Chicago in the 80s. That was the time of big advertising budgets, big hair, and big shoulder pads. All the women wore tailored suits and dresses so we could be taken seriously. Yeah. Jeans were something you wore around the house to dig in the garden. Not to work.
The years have been turning more and more casual as far as the proper attire for us nine to fivers. Suits turned into pants and tops and pants and sweaters, and accessories turned from Army General shoulder pads to tops that have to have at least two inch straps. We’ve gone from business formal to business casual, and although I liked the idea that shoulder pads made me look taller, I’m willing to let change take over.
So when the freedom of jeansville was brought to my workplace, everyone went wild. Those first few days were seas of blue. Jeans and jeans and t-shirts that went with jeans. Skinny jeans, rolled up jeans, baggy jeans. The place went wild.
Me? I have one stretchy pair of jeans, and two baggy ones. The baggy ones were/are an embarrassment, so I’m relegated to one pair. The blue jean revolution isn’t such a big deal to me, though, for as I’ve gotten older I’ve been drawn to flowy skirts, peasant tops, flowers and sparkles and some narrow-ish pants. I’d toss on a pair of jeans now and then on Fridays, but I’m still fairly old school about work and looking professional, and tops have always taken precedence over t-shirts for me. I mean, damn…I still have a problem wearing pants to church.
The office has calmed down this second week of blue jean freedom. After all, it’s not a novelty any more. Some employees may look for an illicit thrill wearing those expensive jeans with the rips in the knee or t-shirts with bare shoulders between the shoulder and the upper arm, but hopefully those thrill seekers will not get us all in the doghouse for breaking the dress code.
As I reflect on this story, I see it’s really a metaphor for life. Be careful what you ask for, for when you get it, it might not be as exciting as you thought it would be. Everything new eventually gets old, and all that.
But for those days when I am barely dragging my butt out of bed and into the shower and it’s raining and blowing outside and I’m trying to connect with the road to work, the thought of baggy blue jeans and a flowery top don’t seem so bad.
Even if it’s not Friday.
Sometimes an artist’s description by others is as mesmerizing as their art.
Motohiko Odani (1972-) was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, and received his MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1997.
According to one creative description, “Odani, who possesses a keenly critical understanding of sculpture, has resisted (or taken advantage of) the medium’s conventional image of weightiness or substance.”
“Instead, he has given physical representation to ‘phantoms’ – entirely ephemeral sensations or amorphous phenomena.”
Odani’s works are comprised of complex layers of meaning that defy a singular interpretation, as the artist draws inspiration from various sources including horror and sci-fi films, Japanese folklore, Buddhism, and Futurism.
This last description matches Motohiko’s intrinsic art: “With Odani’s artworks transcending the conventional idea of sculpture and seeking to give visual representation to existence itself, this exhibition pursues new possibilities for artistic expression.”
I think that’s a perfect description.
More of Motohiko Odani‘s amazing art can be found at http://www.phantom-limb.com/ and http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2011/01/motohiko-odani/.
There was a time
The universe expanded before me
Choice was a luxury
Youth my companion
Lost in the sparkle of the stars
Lately the vastness of that universe
Has shrunk before my eyes
The galaxies of choice
Have turned to
Cold hollow moons
Planets of necessity
Funny how small
My world has become
The luxury of time
Exists on fewer and fewer
Planes of existence
In this world and the next
The choices are not the same
As in the days of
Jobs and friends and goals
Now have razor edges
Options have narrowed
Doors once open
Now request verification
Of paths followed
And stars wished upon
In duplicate form
I can no longer shuffle the cards of
Destiny and Delusion
The games have been chosen
Hands have been dealt
Bets are hedged
The world is keeping score
I must play the hand dealt
Watch the glow of dawn
Twist into curls of dusk
Time no longer my friend
Its shadow the scent of musk
Choice is mine no more
My vision has become blurred
Memories have faded
My heart has been broken
By limitations of my body
And the changing of the guard
As they march into the fog
I never forget my heart
The journey that brought me here
I love and I cherish
I live and I learn
But cannot go back
To the land of never was
Even though hope fades
In the emptiness of dawn
And space of my soul
Reality bounds from the sky
Our star’s blinding glare
Reminding me of the truth
All I need to do is breathe
The universe, the stars
Will point the way
And the world of choice
Will open its doors
Claudia Anderson, 2013
My muse was at it again. I was standing in the shower, trying to remember what was still clean that I could wear to work, mentally making a grocery list, and trying to remember to bring a pair of scissors to cut flowers by the roadside, when my spicy Irish muse jumped into my head with a great idea for a short story.
With barely enough time to brush my teeth and curl my hair, I asked her to come back later when I had more time to listen. That evening she returned, but I couldn’t hear her, as I was thrown off by the barrage of super-loud commercials in the background. Once again I was interrupted by the Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Man.
Every day we are bombarded with advertising, advice, inspiration, and warnings. We are overweight, wrinkled, and messy. Our bodies are toxic and we have yellow teeth. We don’t have time to sort, exercise, chop vegetables or play with our kids. But there is a cure for that ― just ask the Info Man.
The other day on the radio I heard that the infomercial business is a 30 billion dollar a year enterprise. Just think — 30 billion dollars spent a year on ways to clean-up, tighten-up, and detox-up our bodies and our minds. Not only can we firm our thighs and flabby under arms, but we can buy bling from movie stars while we’re firming. We can organize our closet, scrub up doggie accidents from the carpet, and slice up vegetables in one swoop.
How did we ever survive this long on our own?
Most of us wouldn’t mind being a little thinner or have beautiful hair or be able to drain spaghetti in the same pot as the drainer. But these informercials know just how to tap into our low well of confidence. Advertisers do such a good job of pointing out our inadequacies that we buy improvement on the spot without having to think about it or leave the comfort of our sofa. What a convenient way to get better!
I’m not against advertising. I learn about a lot of new products every time I watch TV or read a magazine or walk through the grocery store. I get tired of cleaning up spills on the carpet, and I keep thinking I’m too old for pimples. But finding a solution to my mini dilemmas should be fueled by my judgment, not advertisers. We shouldn’t let our insecurities rule our self-worth. We shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to feel better, think better, be better.
We have the capacity for unbounded love, compassion, and understanding. From astronomy to astrology, we have the power to discover magic both inside and outside of ourselves.
And discovering the magic doesn’t cost a thing.
There is something wrong when we are told how messed up we really are and how that can be changed with a quick purchase off the Internet. To believe that the answer for happiness and peace of mind is outside of us is playing into the hands of marketers and profiteers who take our money and our trust and leave no instructions behind ― people who have never met us, never sat at our dinner table, never took the time to find out why our closets are so disorganized in the first place.
So go out and buy that great pair of jeans or that diamondish necklace or those celebrity-endorsed pots and pans. But realize that you are just as fantastic in those beat up jeans with the elastic waist, and that your homemade lasagna will taste just as good in your worn out baking pan as it will in the latest non-stick wonder.
Sparkle is free. The fire inside of you is free. Everything else is just hype.
The only infomercial that matters is the one that broadcasts in your heart.