Category Archives: Writing

Thoughts, ideas and quotations about writers and their work.

(I’ll) Take Two Road Trips and Call In The Morning

The wandering creative gypsy in my soul needed a bit of inspiration. One place I found it was at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, and if you don’t know his work, please take time to do a bit of research. You won’t be disappointed.

This is the Folk Art Church at dusk. It was beautiful and we spent time walking through the garden and seeing a lot of interesting objects created from recycled “stuff” as well as paintings and words of wisdom.

And here is a photo of the barn at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale PA. Again, please search for the information and attend a workshop or three. 🙂

These are two places where I feel I’ll be able to get in touch with my creative muse within, and when I needed a bit of a pick-me-up, they certainly did.

Creatively busy. I’ll call later……

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Filed under Creative Living, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Writing

Good Material

We’ve had several days of rain these last few weeks. 

Wind, too. The windmill went crazy. Pieces here; scraps over there. It is now in the Restoration Stage. 

But the Treehouse escaped damage from every tree that fell in the forest. See? Although just barely visible, we were able to move and cut the surrounding trees and will have wood to use for other building projects. 

  

We’ll haul the wood up to the sawmill we’ve constructed on our property. 

Oh yes. There is now a sawmill. My contribution was to photograph the original sawmill before it was disassembled and then moved. I had to draw and label pieces, as well as make working diagrams in order to be able to put it back together again. 

So the storms have provided us with good building material. We’ll cut the logs here:

  

And build a footbridge and shelter here:

  

We will have good materials for building. 

A creative group of writer friends will be sharing some tips and their knowledge about Writing Middle Grade novels. Check them out if you’d like to learn more:  they are using their collective skills to build something wonderful as they set up their blog tour. 

Check out the Middle Grade Mafia at:

www. middlegrademafia.com and tell them I said “hi.”

Happy Creating!

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Filed under Creative Living, DIY, Life on the Farm, Writing

Back On The Trail (Again!)

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I’m getting ready to attend one of my favorite writing conferences–the Southern Breeze SCBWI Writing and Illustrating for Kids (WIK) conference, close to Birmingham, AL. It will be great to visit with writers and illustrators– meet agents, editors and art directors. I always learn SO much from these conferences and come away inspired and with plans for creative projects. Plus, I get to visit with long-time friends who are creative spirits, too. We share news, tips and talk about our individual creative “path.”

So I put on my hiking boots today to take a walk in the backwoods. It’s so DIFFICULT to pack for these conferences. There’s so much to think about!! I can’t decide what to take along with me, and you know I want to do a lot and all at the same time!

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By the time I got deeper into the woods, I could hear the sound of the water in the creek. No cars. No phones. Nothing to create a distraction. Just the sound of my own footsteps as I crunched through the leaves.

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I went as far as the tree house before I stopped to rest. The sun provided a nice canopy over the bend in the creek. I took out my sketchbook, fully intending to spend some time writing or drawing while I was there.

But I stopped. I just stood still and listened. To my breath and the beating of my own heart.
I hope to include that in my writing and illustrating.

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Happy creating to you, too!

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Catching Up and Time Travels

I have issues with time–both in the here and now, and with the past and present. I can get creatively busy and forget how much time might have passed. Going from the house to my barn studio, I’ll travel from the twenty-first century back to the nineteenth century if I don’t take my phone.

(I’m still wondering if that’s some Time-Warp-Thing.)

Since it’s rumored that a picture is worth a thousand words–I’ll share a few photos and see if they SHOW what I’ve been doing:

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Every day can be a creative day!

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Filed under Creative Living, DIY, Handmade, Life on the Farm, Writing

Road Trip About To Be Taken

Stowaways.  I FOUND them!

Stowaways. I FOUND them!

Almost every year I attend the Fall Writing And Illustrating for Kids Conference sponsored by the Southern Breeze Region of SCBWI. WIK 2013 has a wonderful line-up of speakers: Authors, Illustrators, Editors, Art Directors, Agents—wow! So much talent packed into just one location. I’m hitching a ride with my longtime travel buddy, author/illustrator/poet Robyn Hood Black (www.robynhoodblack.com) and critique group member, artist Kathleen Bradshaw.

As I’m packing to leave for the trip, I hear a muffled sound coming from somewhere around my suitcase.

There they are.

Yes, you can go, too.

You’ll have a lot of fun!

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Old Dogs, New Tricks

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Yes, I’ve heard that old saying too. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Supposedly to be an explanation of how it’s easier to teach something new to someone younger. That expression has been around since the 1500s, and quite possibly just as inaccurate then as it is now.

To my way of thinking: it depends on the dog.

From time to time, I try to teach myself a few new tricks. I like to think I can knit and am mostly self-taught when it comes to that. There’s something oddly self-satisfying about the repetitive hand motions which accompany knitting, crocheting or hand spinning. While researching hand spinning, I came across a general statement about how Gandhi used spinning as a form of meditation and if he did, I understand how that works. My mind is clear, yet focused, and I can use that time to allow the most amazing creative thoughts to develop. Multiple points of view(s) are explored, plot points developed, dialogue planned, characters fleshed out: when I use that time as a technique for writing, it frees my creative consciousness to go to a whole other place. I’m not just spinning or knitting. I’m WORKing my brain! If I knit while riding a recumbent bicycle, I’m working my body as well. (Before you ask, the answer is yes.)

My friends who knit socks are encouraging me to give socks a try. So I’ve watched them, watched videos, knit and UNknit the same sock multiple times. The sock has to fit my foot and calf, right? (Yes) But it will go in a shoe, so does it matter if the toe is all the way closed? (Yes) Turning the heel part of the sock is a whole-other-matter. And you need two socks that sort-of match to have a pair of them.

My creative path to making socks is evolving. I can make two fairly good “tube” socks, with no heel. I am learning to knit from the toe-up and I enjoy having made my own double pointed knitting needles out of wooden dowel sticks. Granted, my work looks like a tiny porcupine with all those needles sticking out of it but that’s not what’s important. Just like those messy first drafts, I am working it out. Even if I have to unknit later, even that will have taught me something about the process. I will learn to knit a heel; short rows seem to be the way to go. There are SO many ways to knit a sock.

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Looks like a toe has begun to form, doesn’t it? As I keep going, maybe the rest of the sock will appear.

As I keep writing or drawing, I’m fairly certain the ideas will come together, too.

I’d show you a photograph of one of my dogs, but she’s not in the mood to pose for a photograph. The offer of extra kibble-bits just won’t do it.

The dogs suggest I come back later. They’re wise to me.

I think I’ll go knit. Or write. Or draw.
Happy Creating!

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The Popcorn Wagon

After restoration

After restoration

Would you like to have some popcorn?

Fresh!

Hot!

Melt-in-your-mouth-with-butter-good.

Living on a creative path can take me in so many directions. Like when my significant other comes in and says, “Look what I found! We didn’t have one,” I know by now I’m going to be in for something special. That’s one of the things I enjoy about him—-his finding of the most unusual and creative distractions.

Before restoration

Before restoration

The Wagon was a sad looking little thing when it first came to us. Rust here. Rust there. Actually, rust was everywhere. You could see the ground through the floor when you looked inside. You could see light from the sky when you looked up, too. Dirt and dust and more rust.

I sighed. “Tell me about it,” I said.

And his story began, about the guy who had previously owned the wagon, who said it had come from an amusement park back in the early nineteen-seventies. About how it had been in storage and how most of the parts came along with it. He thought. And wouldn’t it be great to “fix it up” and put a real popcorn machine inside? Wouldn’t that be fun for Movie Night? Well, yes, I thought so too. The restorations began.

One of the things I’ve appreciated a lot about this project has been the joy in research for my writings/drawings. I actually LIKE looking for clues and trying to see where they might lead. I don’t know who the people were who carved their initials on the inside of the drawers in the wagon, but I appreciate the fact they left a few coins in there which were dated in the late sixties. I appreciate the help we’ve received from people who thought it might be a this-or-that and who gave us a website or contact name for information. I am grateful for people who actually answered the questions we didn’t know how to formulate because we didn’t know what we were looking for in the first place. And I will TREASURE the information, when I get through it, from the person who pointed me in the direction of an entire 220 plus paged catalog of photographs of a particular popcorn company. When I get a confirmation from a certified source, I can tell you what they’ve said.

I know, I know. You might be thinking, the girl has gone too far down the path. She does too much STUFF. Are you asking yourself, “Does a Popcorn Wagon have anything to do with Creative Living? Writing? Drawing? Alpacas? Spinning or Weaving?”
I’d like to share a quotation, if that’s all right with you:

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ― Vincent van Gogh

When we show a movie on the side of the Big Barn on a starry night, we will have the MOST amazing popcorn to go along with it. What a wonderful finish to a creatively busy day.

Are you doing what you love?

Well done!

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Filed under Life on the Farm, Outdoor living, Writing

Serenade

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Homer can really sing. He throws back his head and aMAzing sounds come forth.

His “warning cry” sounds like a cross between a gargle and a yodel. Think: Tarzan yell, if you remember what that sounded like on early Saturday morning television. Or if you’ve ever watched any of the Carol Burnett Variety Shows (1967-78) or caught them as “re-runs,” remember? She always had a request from someone in the audience to do the Tarzan yell and she always obliged.

Go ahead—try it yourself. Tilt your head back and let it fly.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

My barn/studio is in the pasture beside the alpaca shelter. I can sometimes tell what’s happening right outside my doorway just by listening, like I used to be able to do when my kids were younger. The sounds of tussle, tussle, thump, thump in an adjoining room would be followed by some kind of outburst from one of the kids. Then there would be the sounds of hurried footsteps as one child chased the other down the hall.

Alpacas do that, too. One animal gets too close to the hay that another animal was thinking about eating and it begins. Tussle, tussle, thump, thump, WARbling sounds and one is chasing the other through the pasture. I stop what I’m doing to watch–to pay attention–and listen. I give them a few minutes to sort it all out. They love cool water, so turning on the water hose is a good method of distraction. They crowd around me for a drink of fresh water. I hose down their legs and in a few minutes, all is forgotten. They roll around in the dirt together and soon they are eating grass in the pasture.

I smile. I remember. I laugh out loud. Something about all this seems familiar.

I smile because I have the privilege of watching my own three sons grow into fine young men. I remember days of trying to figure out positive encouragement as they learn skills to be able to navigate their own waters.

And I laugh out loud because, well, it feels good. Will you join me?

AAHHHHHeeeaheee………Ah!!!

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