Tuesday, June 30, 2020

One Word at a Time

on June walk 2020
I found myself drawn to the latest revelation of roadside weeds, this specimen now proliferating up the hill where I walk. A bold plant, tall and strong and with wooly leaves, I wondered what it could be. Turns out it is mulleina giant spike of a plant that comes from the snapdragon family and sports bright, compact yellow flowers. Throughout history the plant has gone by various names, including candlewick plant since it was used in Roman times as a torch, as well as Jacob's staff and Aaron's rod. But is it only a weed, or does it have any value?

Well, who knew? Although considered bothersome and weedy by some, others claim it has benefits for respiratory health. I don't know how true this is, but one can find a mullein tea on the market. What I do know is that the plant caught my attention when I chose to really  look. The flowers are beautiful and the plant's presence is certainly dramatic up and down the landscape.

Staying observant, being attentive, fostering curiosity--all can play into creativity and imaginative directions in our lives. So why not stay curious and tune in, one marvel at a time? And if we take it one word (especially a kind word, a caring, encouraging, appreciative, valuing word) at a time, maybe Stephen King's writing advice can be adapted to life itself, transforming what might seem like weeds in our relationships into beneficial flowers. Yes, one (healing) word at a time...

Sunday, May 31, 2020

What Writing Is...Described 22 Different Ways

KT Photo: May 2020
I continue to be drawn to writing, even if it's only scribbling in a journal, making sense of the notes I jot down and stuff in a pocket, revisiting and revising an old project, or starting a new one. Like James Michener (above), I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle. I also love quotes. Through the years I've collected quite a few--on a variety of subjects and from all kinds of sources.

So, while recently gleaning through my collection (and trying to pare it down!), I found--not surprisingly--numerous quotes on writing. Some speak of the process of writing. Others of the joy of writing. Some share writing advice on while others inspire, stir, and admonish. But the ones that jumped out at me on this run-through were the ones that started out with "Writing is..." 

Writing is...what? How to describe? Well, taking from my collection, here are 22 quotes that attempt to do just that:

 1. "Writing is thinking on paper." --William Zinsser

 2. "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." --E.L. Doctorow

 3. "Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers." --Isaac Asimov

 4. "The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe." --Gustave Flaubert

 5. "Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." --Gloria Steinem

 6. "Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain." --Elie Wiesel

 7. "Writing is like a bird-watcher watching for birds: The stories are there; you just have to train yourself to look for them." --Barbara Micheals, author of The Wizard's Daughter

 8. "Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone." --Amy Tan

 9. "Good writing is like a windowpane." --George Orwell

10. "Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can't be taught." --Paul Desmond

11. "Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." --Mark Twain

12. "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." --Gene Fowler

13. "Writing is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent elimination." --Louise Brooks

14. "Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay." --Flannery O'Connor

15. The act of writing is an act of optimism. You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt it didn't matter." --Edward Albee

16. "It's the sheer act of writing, more than anything else, that makes a writer." --John Gardner

17. "The act of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." --Mary Heaton Vorse

18. "Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area." --Nadine Gordimar

19. "Putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought making us think more deeply even if our writing is thrown away." --Norbet Platt

20. "Writing is a struggle against silence." --Carlos Fuentes

21. "Writing is both mask and unveiling." --E.B. White

22. "Planning to write is not writing. Outlining...researching...talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing." --E.L. Doctorow

Which quote speaks to you the most? How would you describe writing? What do you collect?

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Haiku in Yellow

on the day of the goldfinch sighting April 2020
goldfinch buoyant on
waves of wind, yellow bobber
up down up down up
                                                                                              --Kenda Turner

...and she smiles remembering the moment...

Haiku, walks, wordplay, sunshine, children's laughter (even if only on video chats)--and the goldfinch--are some of the bright spots that bring smiles my way while traveling this difficult path of the coronavirus. And the poem by Emily Dickinson, familiar to many, comes to mind:

by Emily Dickinson
"Hope" is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

Wishing you bright spots, smiles, health and hope as you travel through these days, too.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Poems for the Times

Photos: March 2020
Template: Canva.com
Hoping this finds everyone safe and well in these times of uncertainty. In my little corner of the world, spring is displaying her beauty and each time I went out for a walk in recent days (thankfully, I can do that in my neighborhood), I found myself snapping pictures along the way. Sharing a collage of the beauty here along with a haiku I penned in response to troubling times.

And speaking of poems in response to the times, have you seen the poem Lockdown, penned by Brother Richard Hendrick, a priest in Ireland? I found it here at Irish Central but understand that it was first posted on facebook March 13, and has since been viewed tens of thousands of times. Resonating words for many...

by Richard Hendrick
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
March 13th 2020

Heart-touching and truth-telling...

Do you read poetry? What poets/poetry books particularly speak to you, both in good times and bad?

Wishing all the very best in the days to come. Stay well. Love. Sing.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Value of a Walk, by Thoreau

Background photo February 2020

Grateful for morning walks still--I come back with so much more than when I went out. Perspective, inspiration, writing ideas, insight, renewed hope, sorting through the muddles, prayer--so many benefits. Yes, I vote with Thoreau--moving the legs makes the thoughts flow, and in a good way. How about you, does walking/being outside help open the spigot of helpful insights for you? 

Friday, January 31, 2020

New Year, New Projects

"Trust that still, small voice that says, 'This might work, and I'll try it.'" --Diane Mariechild

Looking ahead to new writing projects, continued exploration of storytelling and poetry, and trying my hand at importing text to images--thanks to canva.com, a new playground for me.

What will be your creativity playground of choice this year?

background, canva.com


Monday, December 30, 2019

Post-From-the-Past, December Archives

December 2019
Wow, closing out another year, closing out a decade and, for me, closing out ten years of blogging. And it's been fun looking back on the projects, writing and otherwise, that have filled some of my time in those years--one being the photo-a-day exercise I undertook back in 2012. So I have chosen my "Photo-A-Day: December" post to complete my post-from-the-past series. Hope you enjoy as you anticipate all those projects begging for your attention in the new year ahead!
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Photo-A-Day: December

"How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?" --Dr. Seuss

Not only did December seemingly get here before June this year, so did the new year the way the last twelve months flew by. Was it the same for you?

Yet as this year closes and another begins, milestones are noted and memories are catalogued. And in particular, my photo-a-day challenge comes to an end. Wow. So hard to believe it really got done. I surprised myself, really. Didn't have much confidence going in, I guess. But, the results?

366 days (Leap year, remember?) minus 4 equals 362 pictures. Well, many more than that actually since some days I took multiple pictures and chose one from the lot, but I did it. I only missed those four days total. Two because (ahem) I forgot. And two because I misplaced my camera. It had fallen out of my purse into the backseat of the car, and we couldn't locate it for awhile. Good intentions are good but life happens! Other than that, I looked forward to the moment each day that I picked up the camera. Some days I pocketed it as I went for my walk. Some days I was in the right place at the right time and had it handy. Some days--particularly on our fantastic November trip--I couldn't stop snapping photos. And then there were the late nights, just before going to bed, that I realized I had *almost* forgotten and so hit the deadline just before the night turned to the next day.

I found I loved the challenge. It was a great deal of fun. And as I snapped today's photo, the last of the last, I found myself feeling a bit  nostalgic. "You mean it's over already?"

Well, not really. I have all these things to carry with me from the experience like inspiration on:

DetailPatternsTexture. ContrastSerendipity. Surprise. IdeasVisualization. 
Light and Shadow. Wonder. NuanceThe UnexpectedFocal Point. 
Potpourri. Travel and Story. Fairy Tales.

Along the way I learned about nurturing the creative side, waking up to beauty in the simple things, the value of trying something new, perseverance. All lessons that will carry over into a new year's writing projects, too.

I'm still contemplating what might be my challenge for the new year. It will involve writing, of course, and reading. It should incorporate stretching--as in reaching for a new level--and passion. We'll see what ideas gel in the next few days.

In the meantime, here is the final photo-a-day gallery. You'll see that there was much to celebrate this month, including the birth of our second granddaughter, born 12/12/12, and special family time. Hope you enjoy. And thanks for stopping in with wishes to each and everyone for a wonderful, creative, and happy new year!

Rewinding back to the present: Wishing all a happy new year :-) And if you'd like to review all the months of my photo-a-day project, check out the photo-a-day challenge link under the Words and Such banner above. (Oh, and the granddaughter mentioned above in the photos? She's now seven years old. Double wow!)