Monday, December 4, 2017

From the oven, direct to you (if you wish).

For a recent boutique I created new shrink art pins, each hand drawn, colored and cut out.  A few styles may be similar (a favorite rabbit) but each is one-of-a-kind.  Six have been claimed, a good number remain.  If anyone is interested in purchasing, each pin is $20.  Postage within the US would be, I imagine, about $1.50.  The pieces that have been taken are:

Page 1 -
Row 1, the bird on the heart (3rd from left)
Row 3, woman with the rose on a stem (far left)
Row 4, large cat face (far left)
Row 5, walking cat (far left) and panda (far right)

Page 2 -
Row 1, head-to-toe cat (center)

To give you an idea of size, the pin on Page 1, Row 2, "Big Day" is 1 1/2" wide and 1" deep.  All are packaged in clear cello envelopes with an illustrated mini MOO card behind the pin.

If you are interested in making a purchase, I am able to accept PayPal (I believe I can figure out how to invoice) or checks by mail.  If you are on Facebook, please Message me with a precise description of your desired pin, location on the page would help.  If not on FB, please leave a comment with a precise description of the pin you want here on the blog with an email address so I can contact you.  Sales will be first come, first served, going by date and time of message or comment.  If you wish to order from outside the US, I will need to find out postage rates.

Please window shop to your heart's content.  It is Christmas, after all.  Judy Garland is singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The oh-so-not smallness of The Small

Assortment of small print fabrics from binskystudio.
Fabric watches by Julie Arkell.
Fabric brooches by Julie Arkell.

Fabric covered buttons.
From seemingly out of nothing, nowhere, I was overtaken by an obsession for little bits of leftover fabric in tiny prints.  Day upon day I tracked scrap packets on etsy, chased images of art that made glorious use of such prints and similar remnants.  At some point I realized I was nourished by, enamored of, The Small.

The Welsh author and felting artist, Karin Celestine, invites her followers to post their Small Beauties daily.  These joys may include the sunrise, a rock, a flower, cuddling a beloved creature, something chocolate (or, as we write it in the Celestine world, choklit).  These delights are in no way less for their simplicity, the way in which they often exist for free, their lack of influence on a seismograph or their fleeting nature.  I challenge you to quantify the sweetness of ripe mango slices or a kind word.

A scrap of patterned cotton that would fit in the circle of a thumb and forefinger could not be the cause for exhaled tension, could it?  Well, yes.  Thus have I launched myself as a self-proclaimed smalloligist.  Of course I will require new business cards.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, none among us is made healthier by frenzy.  All that is loud and unloving contributes to every sort of affliction.  Small is known to hold hands with quiet.  They understand each other perfectly.  Attempts to seduce us to noise and The Big go on without cease. 

Whether or not there exists a scrap of fabric too small to be used is a question without answer.  There is not, nor will ever be, a beauty too small.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Process and practice

Creating habit, changing course, all is process and process is slow.  Slow is a tireless teacher.

It is now 146 days since I began a practice of wheelchair yoga, inspired by and following this book:
Available at
When I first ordered the book, I showed it to the nurse practitioner who sees me at home.  A second floor apartment, very steep outside stairs and greatly diminished mobility have me, for now, playing the part of Rapunzel.  The NP was enthusiastic and encouraged starting to work with the book, "Ten minutes a week," she suggested.  For a time I resisted, claiming that I had a prior commitment to art every day, "or so help me."  And then one day it changed, as absolutes do.  And now, for more than the stated One Hundred Days, I have begun to build a practice of 35 to 40 minutes a day which equals about four hours a week and I am not the same as when I started.

A friend with whom I Skype from time to time, told me well before I reached the hundred days, that I had been "youthified," appeared thinner, she heard more life in my voice, more strength, she complimented my complexion and my consistence.  I feel that, other than in supernatural heat, my sleep is better, my desire to overeat compulsively is diminished, and an enhanced state that I will call balance of mind has crept up on me.  I am able to complete tasks in whatever increments they require, however long they take, making space for them with room for the unexpected.  If I will not make a deadline, I call and reschedule.  Process.

In a recent donation of books to a thrift store, I set a maximum number of grocery bags that would be included in this round of clearing. That allowed me to stop when the number was reached, knowing I could call them again for a return trip - or several.  I've pictured creating a map of what I want to accomplish in nest fluffing and may go ahead and draw it.  There may be "before" and "after" scenes with no life-or-death dates for completion of anything.  Rather than my old way of creating needless stress for my son and me, I have become more caring of our time, our physical resources and, much as I still have pipe dreams of being turned into House Lovely by some magic hand, a very gradual, wary acceptance of who I am and how I do things.

As I am still a newbie to such a practice, I know what has been revealed, what has been altered, is only the beginning.  Under life's umbrella of process in the act of surrender, over and over and over.  I simply await direction.  The best description I can give is that I show up every day for the series of poses and movements, complete them, and let go of everything else until the next indicated thing becomes clear, which it always does.  There are days with drawing and coloring, days of sorting and sifting, days of lifting and, after a fashion, muscling things about.  I remain seriously committed to a daily sharing of what I find beautiful, inspiring and encouraging on Facebook.  That assignment is clear.  I've gotten over the notion that such an intention is trivial, lightweight.  It is part of my work and part of my joy.  Beauty and love, optimism and humor are the antidotes to every pox and toxin that would knock us to our knees.

Being in touch with friends makes me happy, though I have yet to master being a timely and reliable correspondent.  Always process.  I trust what I do manage to send forth will be adequate, possibly welcome and not seen as falling horribly short of expectations.  Process is where we learn to major in patience.  Along with possibly quantifiable gifts of beginning a practice, I think I am finding those aspects of human existence which cannot be counted, which may not have any name beyond spirit.  For some years now I've felt that all life is an act of faith.  That feeling grows stronger.  Peace and trust help diminish the deadly stress-produced chemicals that claimed me for so long.  Because I have seen so many movies based on samurai and kung fu warriors, it is a metaphor that springs easily to mind, tremendous inner strength to withstand relentless outer forces.  I would like to be strong in every sense of the word, to be quiet and calm, reasonable, healthy (heaven knows!), resilient, clear and kind.  I would like to be steady, firm in mind and body, not practicing juggling in the way I once did.  Not teetering, no fancy footwork, yet flexible.  Some of you may be familiar with one of my RubberMoon stamps, "Impossible Things Happen."  Yes, yes they do.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Poetry for breakfast

Once I reached my worktable to begin the tasks of the day, I treated myself to a few pages from Bill Moyers' "Fooling With Words" as I munched the nuts that were breakfast.

In the book, Moyers' first subject is poet Stanley Kunitz.  He refers to Kunitz reading of his poem, The Lincoln Relics, at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.  He quotes some lines that sent me looking for the whole piece.  The Civil War, its monuments currently in question, also the subject of a recent inaccurate reference, always speaks to me.

This morning's experience has me vowing to begin my days with poetry, any amount, for even a taste, while a set-up for cravings, nourishes like nothing else.  With poetry under our belts, we are no longer running on empty.

Here's the link, a connection to the poem and access to additional information.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Word of the Week - 160

Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.”    - Ram Dass

Word(s) of the Week:  SPIRIT ENCOUNTERS

Art by Lisbeth Zwerger.

Ram Dass also said, "Treat everyone you meet like God in drag."

I have come to believe that all encounters, human and otherwise, are spirit encounters.  Human to human, it is far too easy to slip into expectations, anticipating certain outcomes, making no allowance for the fact of spirits meeting - or colliding - and instead simply reacting.

Beneath the exterior, applied selves we may fashion to carry our often vastly different spirits from place to place are the grottoes, the hidey-holes where we truly live.  Spaces secret and safe where there is no reason to be other than who we are.  However deeply hidden, we are always at home within.  It feels wildly essential to me that I try and remember this, remember that we and our exchanges occupy sacred ground, the conversations beneath, behind the spoken words.

I wonder after a night of vivid dreaming in which all visitors feel so present, whether others share that experience.  There have been far too many of these dreams for me not to believe they, too, are spirit encounters.  People long departed or perhaps merely distant arrive and I awake knowing we have spent those dreaming moments, during which much is always revealed, together.  There is a sense of needing to send spirit emissaries to communicate without disguise or armor, that this is the only realm in which such honesty can occur.  That I am capable of imagining these dreams are more than dreams I freely acknowledge, yet I know myself to be capable of recognizing the existence of unlikely events, of trusting what cannot be verified.

In spite of loss, pain, terror and occasional defeat, life is the on-going seance during which we become familiar with magic.  As I've been typing, Hummingbird has visited my window twice, checking to see that amnesia hadn't overtaken me, confirming that I continue as a student of its message of joy, lightness and love shared.


Monday, March 27, 2017


Poets Joseph Brodsky, left, and fellow Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.
A revisited post from March 22, 2011.  At the original post, readers have left their own experiences of being saved by poetry, a form which will forever unite us.  You will find the comments here.

In cultures other than mine there are ceremonies to restore balance, refit missing pieces into the spaces left by their exodus. My absence from self has been an itinerary of comings and goings for which no estimated times of arrival or departure were known.

Before poetry - appreciated and even studied long ago but not absorbed, not inhaled, no door opened wide enough for habitation, accommodating the bulky goods with which it travels - caught me, I assumed that my once-absent segments had all flown home. Now I find that what I took for life in full measure was more a silhouette. Poetry has a way of poking its fingers into vacant corners, eyebrows raised with the question, shouldn't there be something here?

Poetry, if it wanted to, could beat any self-help manual senseless. A poem is a far more believable testimonial: I survived to write this. Poetry doesn't tell you, it shows you. How is it that, over not so many months, a literary form, an art, has become teacher, guide, source of wisdom and the voice that keeps me awake at night (in a good way)? Painful shards of memory that used to steal my breath now look like material.

There is study ahead, there is travel. My fragments could turn up anywhere. They arrive in daily emails, my heart lurching in recognition. They emerge in posts and comments, they step shyly forward from links that have a telling glimmer: look here.

In a culture thought by some to be without shamans we are not lost or abandoned. The poets rattle and drum, they chant and dance. We are redeemed by words, their incantations point the way.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Word of the Week - 159

Art by Michael Sowa.
Word of the Week:  GIFT

I assume we each retain possession of a child's delight upon receiving a gift, especially when it arrives as a surprise.  What a bonanza this week when a friend sent not only the newest version of the FLOW BOOK FOR PAPER LOVERS (300 pages of paper-paper-and more paper, the subject of a future post) and her copy of SOWA'S ARK, a collection of creatures which inhabit the imagination of German artist Michael Sowa.
One of Sowa's many rabbit illustrations.
A Sowa snail of intimidating size.
Thank you, Elaine, for the multi-part joy, first the arrival, then the opening and now the ongoing enjoyment of the rich contents.  In my family, we called such surprises "Hi presents."  Thoughtful, generous and such fun to receive.

If you are interested, the book is available from Amazon, here.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Word of the Week - 158

Jeong Kwan, a South Korean Buddhist nun, is featured in an episode of the series, Chef's Table.

Word(s) of the Week:  TEMPLE FOOD

I will allow the links and the chef herself to tell what moved me so deeply about this program.  The most I can add is that my own sense of rightness about the world, a world in which peace, beauty, devotion, ceremony, sacredness, generosity, stillness, attention and love not only exist but are valued, perpetuated, feels greatly affirmed.  If you, as I, have felt estranged from long-held truths,  please permit yourself this accessible period of restoration.  And the pure art of vegetarian meals, called simply temple food by the chef.

This will take you to a New York Times article about Jeong Kwan.  Here is a recap of the series episode, available on Netflix.

To find the show, it is Episode 1 of Season 3 of CHEF'S TABLE, however you watch streaming programs.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Word of the Week - 157

Art by Lisa Kaser.

My family of origin was not much for saying, "I love you."  I actually cannot remember it being said to me or among the five of us as my sister, brother and I were growing up.  We siblings say it now, yes we do.  The words are spoken between me and my friends, me and my son.  Anyone who reads this blog or any FB posts knows that I love lots.  Lots of people, things, weather, states of being, colors, creatures and love itself.  I had a rubber stamp made, small, simple, that urges, "Fall in love with everything."

I was already thinking of this phrase for Word of the Week when last night I dreamed - for about the nine-hundred-and-forty-seven-thousandth time - of an old beau.  In the dream I had to turn down an invitation to be his date at a car show, his yellow dream Chevrolet beckoning, as I was already going with someone else.  The someone else said, "You know how much he's in love with you, don't you?"  My answer was, "Yes, but he won't do anything about it."  (Please excuse me for I know the dreams of other people are generally tedious.)  The dream caused me to ponder more than four decades speckled with memorable, treasured blurts of affection.  We are not growing younger, just like the rest of you.  I grapple with the still-adolescent parts of my mind that think saying those words to a man who has been a friend, uniquely, to me for more than half my life has to be "going somewhere."  What a twit I can be.  It has always been somewhere, everywhere.  It is a gift, as my sister might say, "A pearl beyond price," to have people we love, even better but not required if they love us back.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Word of the Week - 156

All paintings by Stephane Dauthuille.
Word of the Week:  INCOMPLETE

I look at the art of Stephane Dauthuille, the heads or limbs of his richly-gowned women existing just outside the paintings' edges, and I do not wonder what is missing.  I have no feeling that what these works say to me is an incomplete message.  They speak fully.  We are each allowed to interpret as we will.

The notion of a life in which nothing essential is missing is relatively new to me.  Any of us of moderate means is capable of wishing for material goods or circumstances that could, we believe, make everything better.  Depending on your definition of better.

A heart or mind that chases after the unattainable allows a sense of lack to cast shadows on what actually IS, obscuring, diminishing what we have.  Contentment is not a product of merely having but of the awareness of and gratitude for what is present.   As I write this, it sounds simplistic.  Of course, everyone knows that, I chide myself.  I can't say that I've always known it.

As the only story I can tell fully is my own and though I may write "we," what I mean is me/I.  Historically, my greatest sense of incompleteness involves my relationship with myself, with a notion of insufficiency in every nameable category.  Becoming our authentic selves, allowing that to be not only enough but desirable requires such traits as acceptance, faith/trust, the willing suspense of doubt and continually reviewing the situation.

I assume of others as I do of myself that we are all works in progress.  I once believed that meant an endless striving to be somehow better than I was.  I had no idea there could be something succulent about being miraculously ordinary, ordinary meaning just me being me.  To be fully who we are,  treasuring that profound and unique state without apology or asterisks to indicate missing parts, ah, there's a challenge.  Within the boundaries of human life with its sorrows, we seem to have the option of being not only happy but complete.  When our mother passed, my sister described her as dancing in heaven with her mother, now restored to two good legs.  In the realm of spirit, measured by the heart, I believe I have what I need, two good legs and a great deal more.   

Monday, February 20, 2017

Word of the Week - 155

Portion of "Window in Collioure" by Henri Matisse, 1942
Word of the Week: TIPTOE 

My thought for the week:  I'd rather not walk where I feel the need to tiptoe.  I am at home in art, in beauty, in poetry, color, music, laughter, all foods for the senses.  I find strength there, bedrock wisdom, grounding.  For whatever life has planned, I am better for leaning into what provides enduringly solid footing while acting as a timeless balm for my soul.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Word of the Week - 154

Illustrator Pablo Auladell and friend.
Writer/artist Edward Gorey as puppeteer.
Word(s) of the Week:  INNER CREATURES

Various sources tell us of our inner beings, the ways they inform and shape our lives.  Inner goddesses, the inner child, inner chef, inner entrepreneur.  I wish for us each to claim our inner creatures.

My creatures are closely tied to the inner child, their gifts the ones I wish she'd had to provide a greater sense of safety and of self.  My inner octopus, a master of camouflage and squeezing into tiny hiding places.  Tentacles, essentially eight additional brains, would have sensed when conditions required caution.  I cannot imagine an octopus behaving recklessly.  My outer child/teenager was a puzzling combinations of timid and foolhardy.  The creature's ability to move swiftly yet with the languid grace found in water-dwellers speaks to my inner mermaid.  The sense of becoming weightless, certainly less gravity-dominated in water still calls to me.

My inner bear, considered a light hibernator, enjoys long winter naps while being able to awaken and take part in Christmas festivities and a winter birthday, neither of which require actually getting dressed.  An especially thick, warm bathrobe could transition handsomely between cave and civilization and would, of course, have roomy pockets to carry foraged treats back to the nest.  There might also be an inner tortoise capable of hibernating more deeply.  The three which were family pets spent their winters in a well-protected location packed with dry leaves, hibernation by concierge.

There is probably a spot at which a spirit animal and inner creature intersect.  The attributes of totem forms supply what we most need: a moth, a crow, a fish and my most frequent visitors, parrots.  We live in one of the Southern California neighborhoods inhabited by flocks of wild Amazon parrots.  They roost and cavort just outside our windows.  At times their squawking drowns out conversation.  We invent dialogue for them, their loud exchanges sounding like accusation and complaint.

For at least the past 10 years or so I have identified with the story of Ferdinand the Bull, realizing that my activity of greatest comfort is a metaphoric smelling of the flowers, sidestepping conflict, declining to engage in rivalries, feuds, stink talk in general.  With the goal of a quiet mind and quiet heart, I follow Ferdinand's example, growing still as I celebrate beauty wherever I find it.

In another post, we may contemplate inner fictional human creatures.

Wishing you blessings of all the Animal Gods.  (Thank you, Rebecca.)  xo

Monday, February 6, 2017

Word of the Week - 153

Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware.
Word(s) of the Week:  A WIDENED MIND

I picked Jimmy Corrigan as this week's poster boy for his "smartest kid in the world" title without any connection to his story.  If interested, please read the article at the link, above.

And I will also use myself as a stand-in for the rest of humanity, speaking of my experience, trusting that it is more universal.

A closed mind in a hamster wheel, a spinning treadmill from which I would never escape IF I stayed there without allowing in light, air and other possibilities.  I can suffocate myself with narrow, pinched thinking.  I, and I assume many of us, am not the best judge of my better aspects.  Too often I fail to find any finer points when I bolt the doors, pull the blackout curtains and burrow into my obvious and plentiful, as I believe, shortcomings.  This happens most often under stress and when tired.

With some rather limited experience of meditation, I know how a quiet mind feels, what it says - or doesn't say.  The agitated mind is a liar, perhaps out of malice, perhaps simply from fatigue.  It, in my case, has compiled evidence of insufficiency in pretty much all areas.  Viewing the documents in the case, my spirits sag lower still.  The evidence is so compelling.

But wait!  Put the focus elsewhere, like, say, sinking into an interesting movie or book, seeing the world with a refreshed perspective.  It actually feels as though louvers have opened in my temples, allowing refreshing breezes in, letting stale notions escape, certainly thinning the noxious gasses they produce.  With a brain open to the winds and the world, I feel so much more connected to all that is not me.  I gain a sense of being part of a vast and benevolent entity in which good thoughts prevail, in which "thank you" becomes a mantra, in which unseen hands are joined in fellowship.

A widened mind is not so much the product of being really smart as it is about being open.  I thrive on ideas that are not just self-generated.  Like when somebody forgets to change the water in the fish bowl, things grow slimy, murky and, let's face it, deadly.  I remind myself, or outside forces remind me, to unlatch the windows, to grab the broom and sweep away sour opinions.  Perfection is neither a reasonable nor attainable goal, but expanded thinking is, a practice that lets me see myself as more than I seem.  We are here to be, I believe, the best versions of ourselves, something we find through being connected to each other and the infinite in which we dwell.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Word of the Week - 152


My maternal grandmother was a battlefield nurse in World War I.  When, in her 60s, she became ill she was admitted to the Veteran's Hospital in West Los Angeles.  Long before freeways went from Pasadena to those far reaches, my father drove our family over one night a week so my mother and I could visit her.  Dressed in my Easter suit, I passed for the minimum age allowed to call on patients.  On one of our visits, she was not in her bed nor anywhere to be found around the ward.  No once could tell us where she might be.  We were apprehensive, as she was nearly blind and had recently lost a leg to diabetes.  We waited beside her bed as they screened a movie for the women.  I think it was something with Elvis Presley.

Eventually an attendant wheeled her back and I'm sure we hissed our questions at her, trying not to talk over the movie.  Where have you been?  We were so worried.  Etc.  Her calm response was, "I've been out cheering up the sick people."

I think of her often, as I knew her and as the young Gertrude Holden of Boston, sailing to France after graduating nursing school at what was then Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.  In addition to "cheering up the sick people," she was known to have said on numerous occasions, "It isn't Boston but it IS Massachusetts," both of which I have borrowed and quoted all my adult life, probably to the annoyance of those who have listened to me the most.

The thought of her, of her ability to find something of value in what to many of us would seem worthless, the model she was that told me no matter what, if we draw breath we have something to offer others, helps me at times when I begin to sag or doubt.  If we are without words, we can listen.  We can offer a hand to hold.  We can refuse to be discouraged.  We can whistle, we can sing, we can be very clear about what matters most, about what is our truth.

I know that hospital ward, which once felt so cavernous, which I would swear reached into distant and shadowy corners on our night visits, would no longer appear so large.  I remember the relief my mom and I felt as we caught sight of her, seeming to return again from the battlefields, from very far away, her face, her spirit beaming.  I hope some of her lives on in me.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Word of the Week - 151

Art by Rebecca Dautremer.
Rebecca Dautremer illustration, JULES VERNE, 2016.
Word of the Week:  ATTEND

Multiple decades of living have schooled me.  They have enlightened and confused and guided me, taught me to recognize the urgings from which my truth emerges.  I have learned, I continue to learn, to attend my soul's guidance. 

My mother once told me that when I tried to lie I lit up like a tilt sign.  While I knew in the moment she intended to discourage further attempts at dishonesty, I also believed her.  While the blaring of a flashing tilt sign may be more internal now than it was then, it is no less present, certainly no less emphatic.

While we find companionship and support in numbers, in reality we always ride alone.  In certain respects each of us is an army of one, directed on a unique assignment.  Adhering to my own truth while legions would have me join and follow can be isolating.  Worse, it may cause me to doubt what I have come to know as my path.  It seems part of what we are here to be is misunderstood, for it is impossible, not to mention onerous, trying to explain a state so clear when viewed within and so limp and inadequate-appearing when held to the light of day and critical eyes.  We want those who care for us to understand, to trust our self-knowing, realizing they may not.

What any of us is best equipped to do is be ourself.  To be that we must first know just what that means.  Arriving at that information is a lengthy, possibly lifelong process.  Such awareness is hard-won, its value unquestionable.  We navigate our days amid the noise of many voices.  Know the one that speaks to and for you with the greatest honesty and attend to that.   

Monday, January 16, 2017

Word of the Week - 150

D&G 2014.
Word of the Week:  SUNSHINE

While I often label color as a nutrient, I know beyond doubt that sunshine actually is.  A vitamin D deficiency smartens one up rather quickly to the fact that a human body needs the light of the sun.  In my world that leaves color the task of being sunshine for the spirit.

It is not alone in its assignment, for I corral it with its fellows, including beauty by multiple definitions, swiftly running rivers, things that smell wonderful, the love of and for friends and family, silliness, kindness, insight and intelligence, artfully arranged words.   Oh, such a long list.  For the spirit to be underfed requires cataclysm of epic proportions.

I have long believed that any garment ought to have pockets and to be without them is a failure of aesthetics and duty.  In those pockets one can keep and transport the necessary charms, talismans, symbols of spiritual sunshine, available like smelling salts when weariness gains the upper hand.

We have never truly known where the next step of our journey will take us.  That we don't know today only suggests there may be additional reasons for gathering to us more closely that which brightens and enlivens, that which lifts our hearts.  Vitality fuels our imaginations, empowers and strengthens.  The world needs us, needs our spirits, inspired, nourished, hopeful and strong.   The world needs, we need, our sunshine. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Word of the Week - 149

Page header and cover of a French ledger received for Christmas.  Today is Saint Agathon's Day.
Word of the Week:  JANUARY

I believe January is one of those hybrids, both month and state of mind.  As I age, I find that I am happier with more hours of sunlight, more warmth.  While I expect that, come August, I will be displeased with temperatures above 105, there is more day to the days.  Winter nights, relieved by strings of cheery, glowing bulbs, are bearable.  Without them, a sense of isolation creeps in.  Shivering, along with watery gray skies, aggravates a nature already listing toward occasional melancholy.  And all of this, mind you, takes place in Southern California, not North Dakota or even Virginia where winter doesn't kid around.  And, may I add, how much I have always loved the rain.  Just a bit less so when it falls in January.

January can feel like a primitive rope bridge strung between the sweetness, the natural or induced jollity of Christmas and the once-celebrated heart-filled red joy of Valentine's Day.  Thank you, Dr. King, for giving us a holiday mid-month to release some of the chilly tension.

As I see each day as the chance for a new beginning, the New Year holds no particular promise of transformation to come.  December brings a unique shine, associated with stars and glitter, colorful packaging, specific music, greetings exchanged, good wishes, peace on earth.  January is the absence of festivity, all possible childlike anticipations too far away to give comfort.  If one could find a way to spread the holidayness of December a bit thinner, to stretch it beyond the first of the year rather than using it up in what feels like a week or even just the one day, I believe winter would lose some of its sting.  One would feel less bereft.  No doubt you are thinking that to make the celebration of December holidays a more lengthy endeavor would dilute them.  I disagree.  January needs a little Christmas or its own special not-Christmas, its own bit of happy gleam to chase the deepened shadows, the damp, the ice.

I am not glum as I sit typing in my red sweater having spritzed cautiously frugal dots of Chanel #5 so the fragrance wafts from wrists to stuffy nose, singing to the senses.  Without inflated expectations of Christmas, I no longer experience the droop that used to follow.  Still, January at best is a wet blanket, at worst a bleak expanse.  No, it is not a particularly rational response to a collection of days that mean no harm but one's response to stimuli is rarely rational.  Keep the fires burning, hibernate if that helps pass the time, fill the hours with laughter and all that feeds the senses.  Press on.  Always know that something wonderful IS just around the corner.  Hello, February.  Will you be my winter Valentine?

Monday, January 9, 2017

A slight postponement

Word of the Week will appear on Tuesday.  I have a cold, my wits have fled, I am going to take a nap.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Word of the Week - 148

Illustration by M. Kelly
Word(s) of the Week:  WHY NOT FICTION?

On Christmas Eve, with very little time, I tried to write a follow-up story with the characters introduced at Halloween of 2015.  I had pleasing photos for illustration, showing dolls by artist Sandy Mastroni which had inspired the original piece.  I had a blurry idea of the shape I wanted the story to take, elements I wanted to include.  After a couple hours it was as weighty as an anchor and all I could do was put it aside until either the story or I managed to lighten up.  Still waiting.

On FB today, a friend mentioned the challenge of naming characters in fiction, with useful suggestions added to the comment thread, reminding me I have novel-length work just sitting there.  That seems to leave me adding Fiction Reworking to my list of Stuff I Would Like to Turn Into Habit.  I've discussed the Chair Yoga, plus working with hand weights, plus Art Every Day or So Help Me.  Then there's the fact of a daily nap not being an option but a necessity.  All this may require me to become more serious about time, about where the boundaries are.  Seeing things blocked out, in my planner, for instance, is not my norm.  As with time generally, I tolerate, actually welcome, its fluid aspects as I experience them.  But I doubt that sort of relationship gets books written.

So.  There IS no reason why there can't be fiction.  I assume if there can be little fiction, there might be big fiction.  What was unthinkable yesterday becomes a possibility today.  The universe as I have come to know it is fluent in encouragement.  It rubs its galactic palms together at the thought of surprising us with our own most deeply held desires, seeming to wander, whistling, through the neighborhood as we write an episode here, a chapter there, thinking of them as short-short stories.  As we humans tend to be greater than the sum of our parts, perhaps the same is true of building a novel using the model of the Add-A-Pearl necklace.

It is a daunting word, novel.  For now, I may speak of my Add-A-Pearl necklace.  We will know what I mean.