Categories
happiness humor wisdom

day 69: smile under that mask: it shows!

Today I went out  into the “world” for the first time in eleven weeks, and it was strange. People seem tentative, spooked. “Convalescent” was the word that kept dogging my steps, even though I feel fine and just got a sterling bill of health. Everybody seems to be limping around, being super careful as if we’re emerging from a catastrophe or long illness, even if we’re perfectly healthy. Of course, some of them may actually be convalescing from an illness or COVID-19. But I think it’s deeper than that: our whole society is in mourning for what we’ve lost, and it will take some time for us to get our spring back.

Walking around on the breezy streets of the West Seattle Junction, which is usually jam-packed on such a beautiful day, most of the people wore masks. (My Honey Girl limited edition puppy logo mask was so comfortable!) It was weird at first to see those blank faces. Suddenly you cannot “read” people, and you realize how many psychological clues you miss, when a person’s mouth, lips, and nose are hidden from view. Seeing people with half-faces makes them look blank, or sad, or indifferent.

So here’s an idea for “the new normal”: smile.  Just for the hell of it, smile. Make your eyes twinkle.

Smiles show, just from the eyes. I tested it with some people today and they said, “Yes, smiles show, even from under masks.” So smile!  It shows! (and you don’t have to worry about the spinach between your teeth)

Photo credits:   MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images   https://observer.com/2020/02/coronavirus-crisis-face-masks/

 

***

Yesterday’s face mask production:

Face masks made on May 26 2020

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art creativity happiness humor music nature

day 49, number numbers numbers! in homage to Kraftwerk’s calculator song

Hello, here I am again. After listening by chance to Kraftwerk’s song about the pocket calculator yesterday (on KEXP, naturally), I have been thinking about how we love numbers. LOVED THAT SONG! Loved how it mocks our imagined control over life, “I’m the Operator of my Pocket Calculator” (as if the numbers did not control us). And loved that the DJ played it on the request of a 5-year-old girl.

On April 6, I wrote to a friend: “I’ve now got 22 face mask orders which will keep me busy for weeks. I have been making all kinds of lists and counting things, to control life, I now realize, it’s sort of funny.  I started going for long solitary morning walks a while back too, and have been doing that consistently: today will be Day Nine. Not to mention that we are soon to enter Week 4 of Shelter-in-Place, and I’m on Day 18 of my blog chronicle of the crisis.  hahaha  what funny creatures we are. Makes me think of a children’s book:  Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer. Pretty cute book.”

On Numbers. PART TWO:

Today, May 7: Today’s list is up to order no. 82 and I’m working on no. 52. I’ve made 270 face masks since April 2. It is Day 40 of my walks. I no longer follow a plan, rather I’ve come to prefer Short, Steep, and Solitary. (and Sunny, if possible). Easy to find out here, since our house is on the tip of a small mountain range. We are in Week 8 of Shelter-in Place, and I’m on Day 49 of this blog chronicle of the COVID-19 crisis.

CONCLUSION:

Blah blah blah, numbers can only do so much for the spirit. Maybe that’s why Kraftwerk made their funny pocket calculator song.  Very cheerful, wryly funny and catchy! Those high-pitched beeps work like an anti-depressant.

I’m off down the hill now, to blow all those numbers out of my head. Freed of that burden, the empty head will listen instead of striving to achieve some distant goal; listen to all the sounds my world has to offer—doubtless some mechanized pounding of pile drivers or tooting boat horns coming across Elliott Bay, but also the sea lions’ barks, sea gull cries, and other “little melodies.”

Thank you Kraftwerk, for opening up the fabulous world of electronic music, and RIP Florian Schneider. Wish I’d known you earlier…but I’ll never forget your music.

P.S. yesterday’s mask production:

Face masks made on May 6 2020

Categories
American literature conflict wisdom work

day eighteen: fast or fastidious? good must be enough

Greta's face masks April 5 2020

As I cut and sew, moving as quickly as possible to supply the demand for face masks, I am haunted by the battle between “fast” and “fastidious.” So today I looked up those words.

Fast has many meanings in the dictionary; indeed “rapid, swift, quick-moving” is only no. 8 among the ten meanings listed. The first seven meanings relate to a different concept: “Firmly fixed in place,” such as a fortress or pair of dentures.*

Fastidious, a word I have long associated with, has actually quite negative meanings. It comes from the Latin fastidium, loathing, and its first meanings signify “disagreeable,” “disgusted,” and “proud, scornful, disdainful.”  The definition I expected is no. 3 but it too is more negative than I thought: “Scrupulous or overscrupulous in matters of taste, cleanliness, propriety, etc., squeamish.”**

Speed is anathema for a person like me, whose forte has always been attention to detail, precision, and care. Hearing bad grammar makes me cringe; seeing misspelled words on menus creates personal turmoil (to mention? or not?); unaligned objects call out for a nudge into alignment. “Perfect” has always been one of my favorite words. No wonder I cannot sleep! Yet in my sane moments, I realize that even if the face masks I create these days may not be quite as perfect as I’d like them to be, the orders will be met. They will be good enough: good enough to hold fast and keep people safe.

As Yehuda Yerushalmi notes, “what we do may be only provisional. But that is all right. In the terrifying time in which we live and create, eternity is not our immediate concern.”***

 

 

* The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), vol. 1, p. 929.

**Op. cit., vol. 1, p. 928.

***Yehuda Yerushalmi, Zakhor. Jewish History and Jewish Memory, (2005, p. 103); quoted in Joyce Block, A Good Enough Life After Freud: Psychotherapy in Uncertain Times (2011, p. 24).

 

Categories
American literature creativity death French literature wisdom work

day eight: let us make things happen

Richard Wright

“Anything seemed possible, likely, feasible, because I wanted everything to be possible… Because I had no power to make things happen outside of me in the objective world, I made things happen within. Because my environment was bare and bleak, I endowed it with unlimited potentialities, redeemed it for the sake of my own hungry and cloudy yearning.”  –Richard Wright*

In our current bleak environment, let us make things happen.

Volition, William James tells us, the power to will ourselves to act toward some future purpose, is what makes humans unique among the animals. As he writes, “the deepest question that is ever asked admits of no reply but the dumb turning of the will and tightening of our heart-strings as we say, “Yes, I will even have it so!”** We are arguably the only sentient creatures on earth who make plans that will not come to fruition until some unspecified time in the future, possibly beyond our life span. (This is a gift and a curse, possibly our greatest folly, as philosophers from the East and the West have rightly noted.)

Now, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it is hard to know what do to. How and where should one will one’s will to act? As a skilled seamstress, should I rush down to the JoAnn’s store and pick up a mask-making kit for medical personnel?  Should I take my car, even if I thereby contribute to the traffic jams already happening, due to the abrupt West Seattle Bridge closure earlier this week? Or should I stay home as Governor Inslee has ordered? I am frozen.  So I stay home. And I look for a transfusion of hope from beloved books. That in itself is an act of will, and it reinforces the promise I made to you last week.

And that is how I landed on today’s quote by a great American writer (and Francophile), Richard Wright, pictured above, from his powerful and heartbreaking book, Black Boy. His words remind us that today’s struggle, for the millions of people who are healthy, remains primarily a mental battle. If we are lucky enough to have housing, food, and good health, yet we are unable to go out or work in the world, how can we continue to feel purpose?  We have to will it into being.

Some years ago, while I was writing a book on literature about the French Revolution, I wondered about the pre-conditions for artistic genius. Would France have seen the great novels of megalomania and disillusion written by Stendhal (b. 1783), Honoré de Balzac (b. 1799) or Victor Hugo (b. 1802) without the Revolution of 1789-93 and the memory of its trauma on their lives? Is there a cause-effect relationship between one’s generation–the time and place where you live, your country’s wars and prosperity– and one’s genius?  I was quite taken by the following quote by Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot, about the conditions necessary for an artistic renaissance:

“Poetry requires something enormous, barbaric, and savage.  …  When shall we see the birth of poets?  It will be after a time of disaster and great misfortune, when the beleaguered people will draw a breath.  Then the imagination, shaken by those terrible spectacles, will depict things unknown to those who have not seen them.”***

Could the present crisis give birth to a renaissance in the 2020s?  Let it be so, and let it begin with us.

P.S. In case you think I’m shirking my civic responsibility by not going down to JoAnns’ in Southcenter to get a mask-sewing kit, please know I have signed up to sew masks (Phase 3) for Sew Loved, in South Bend, IN. (and you can too, by clicking here!)  People with pets in their homes are ineligible for making medically-approved masks for Sew Loved (Phase 1 & 2), alas.

* Richard Wright, Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth, 1st ed. 1944, (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), pp. 72-73.

** William James, Psychology: The Briefer Course, ed. Gordon Allport (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), 326.

***Denis Diderot, « De la poésie dramatique », 1st ed. 1758 in Œuvres esthétiques, éd. Paul Vernière, Paris, Garnier, 1968, vol. 2, p. 2.  With thanks to Elena Russo for this translation, from her book Styles of Enlightenment, p. 200.

Categories
American literature art creativity design nature quilts trees wisdom

day seven: on time and its vicissitudes

Yesterday I got the best present for these cloistered times: a huge English dictionary (in two volumes!) and a book on psychology by William James. These generous gifts from a new friend (thanks, Emma!) have already improved my life and arguably improved our dinner-table conversation. According to me, anyway. Our resident Millennial rolled his eyes about my newfound enthusiasm for etymologies, saying “OK Boomer.”  Go figure. 

Those gifts have inspired today’s thoughts on time and its vicissitudes. But first, let’s all remember that our lives had vicissitudes well before this crisis! Perhaps it’s the lack of vicissitudes that’s making us miserable? More on that below… let’s recall what the word means:

*Vicissitude (Etymology: Latin vicissitudo, from vicissim, “by turns” + preposition -tude [forming an abstract noun, as altitude, exactitude, solitude]

  1. Reciprocation, return, an alternation, a regular change (Rare)
  2. The fact or liability of change occurring in a specified thing or area; an instance of this.
  3. Change or mutability regarded as a natural process or tendency in human affairs.
  4. In pl. Changes in circumstances; uncertainties or variations of fortune or outcome.

Aha! It is the lack of apparent change, the sameness, of life under coronavirus that makes the time feel so long. Let’s play a mind game to test that: try to grab the now.  You’ll find you have to continually say, “Ok now!” “No, now!” “Now!” “NOW NOW NOW NOW!” because as soon as you speak the word, it is already no longer it.  But that does not make it any more interesting.

The great lecturer and pioneer in psychology, William James (1842-1910) articulates that paradox nicely:

“Let anyone try, I will not say to arrest, but to notice or attend to, the present moment of time. One of the most baffling experiences occurs. Where is it, this present? It has melted in our grasp, fled ere we could touch it, gone in the instant of becoming.”

“Reflection leads us to the conclusion that it must exist, but that it does exist can never be a fact of our immediate experience. The only fact of our immediate experience is what has been well called ‘the specious’ present, a sort of saddle-back of time with a certain length of its own, on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions into time.  … with a bow and a stern, as it were—a rearward- and a forward-looking end.”**

Then why is the present is so boring?  Back to vicissitudes.  As James writes,

“A day full of excitement, with no pause, is said to pass ‘ere we know it.’ On the contrary, a day full of waiting, of unsatisfied desire for change, will seem a small eternity. Tœdium, ennui, Langweile, boredom, are words for which, probably, every language known to man has its equivalent. It comes about whenever, from the relative emptiness of content of a tract of time, we grow attentive to the passage of time itself. Expecting, and being ready for, a new impression to succeed; when it fails to come, we get an empty time instead of it, and such experiences, ceaselessly renewed, make us most formidably aware of the extent of mere time itself.”

He suggests another experiment:  “Close your eyes and simply wait to hear somebody tell you that a minute has elapsed, and the full length of your leisure with it seems incredible.  … The odiousness of the whole experience comes from its insipidity; for stimulation is the indispensable requisite for pleasure in an experience, and the feeling of bare time is the least stimulating experience we can have. The sensation of tedium is a protest, says Volkmann, against the entire present.”

If tedium is a protest against the lack of stimulation inherent in our current “Lockdown,” “Stay at Home” or “Shelter-in-Place” lifestyles, what can we do?  Aha, the dictionary again comes to the rescue!  Sometimes understanding a word can lead to an action to activate it or prevent it. To avoid the enemy–insipidity–we must know what it looks and feels like.

Insipid*** (Etymology:  comes from the French insipide or late Latin insipidus, formed as IN– [prefixed to adjectives to express negation or privation]+ sapidus, [savory, delicious, prudent, or wise])

  1. Adjective. 1. Tasteless, having only a slight taste, lacking flavor.
  2. Lacking liveliness; dull, uninteresting.
  3. Devoid of intelligence or judgment; stupid; foolish.
  4. Noun. An insipid person or thing; a person who is deficient in sense, spirit, etc.

The answer to insipidity–that is, boredom– is to find things that are opposite to all of the words above. We turn to the word Interest.

Interest**** (Etymology: from Latin interest, it makes a difference, it concerns, it matters]

Many meanings follow, but for us it is nos. 8 & 9 that matter

  1. A state of feeling in which one wishes to pay particular attention to a thing or person; (a feeling of) curiosity or concern.
  2. The quality or power of arousing such a feeling: the quality of being interesting.

CONCLUSION!  To change the dull into the savory, without moving beyond our homes or speaking with strangers, we must change our perspectives.  We must find something that arouses the feeling of curiosity. Take one thing about your life and change it.  For me, I went outside and took a new photo of our window with the sign, from a slightly different angle. The new photo hides the damage on the window frame and ushers in the view of lovely young buds poking out of a tree branch. Now this photo journal will also track the progress of spring!

Week 2 photo detail Mar 26

I’m also creating a new quilt design, by channeling memories of travel and experimentation in a stream-of-consciousness for a young woman far away. These squares show how I’ve deconstructed Alice in Wonderland by stitching some key moments from the book (where Alice puts the key in the door, meets the hookah-smoking caterpillar and follows the anxious rabbit) into a patchwork that includes scraps of one of her old dresses, surrounded by scenes of Paris and a cityscape by night, trees, French words, and a crane for long life and good luck.

Quilt in progress Mar 26 2020

Wishing you an interest-ing day!  And see ya in the a.m.!

 

P.S. Interesting. (Etymology interest + suffix ing [forming nouns from verbs, by analogy denoting a) verbal action [i.e. fighting, swearing, blackberrying, or an instance of it, as wedding], or an occupation or skill [i.e. banking, fencing, glassblowing]. Our goal is to create a skill out of being curious with the banal….

 

*The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), vol. 2, p. 3532.

** William James, Psychology: The Briefer Course, ed. Gordon Allport (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), pp. 147-152.

***The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 1387.

**** Op.cit., vol. 1, p. 1400.

 

Categories
art children conflict work Zen philosophy

Remember last Christmas? thoughts on the Tranquility Pillow, six months later

It’s now been six months since the annual “Caring Professional Thank-you Week” sponsored by Honey Girl Books and Gifts, and the word is in: the Tranquility Pillows really do work!  Read on to see how last year’s winners use their special gifts at work and home, to soften some of life’s hard moments…

“The Tranquility pillow sits on a small chair in my office where students sit for a time to relax.  When I invite them to sit in the chair, the child instantly picks up the pillow and places the it on his/her lap.  As we begin to talk the child begins to calmly ‘pet’ the soft satin or velour.  Then I would allow the student to change the star to reflect the emotion being felt.  This worked really well.”

–Melissa, Title 1 Intervention Specialist, South Bend, IN

“I love to sit in my chair and hold it in my arms when I am talking to my daughter; it’s great to snuggle up to.”

–Erin, nurse from Seattle, WA

“This beautiful pillow has a prominent place in my office and has provided a perfect dose of tranquility to both adults and students. The ‘Moonrise’ design on satin and velour feels luxurious and the pocket on back is very convenient for holding the pieces. The deeper messages about coping and dreams were perfect for our students, and the children especially enjoyed expressing their feelings with the monster star.”

–Erin, fine arts teacher from South Bend, IN

Tranquility Pillow Xmas tree Dec 2018.jpg

Order your own Tranquility Pillow today!

Available only from Honey Girl Books and Gifts LLC 

Categories
art children creativity design generosity

Congrats to the caring professionals and Happy New Year to all!

Pair of Night pillows Jan 1 2019.jpg

Happy New Year, everybody!

To follow up on my post of December 17, “Tonight’s the Night!”:

Five caring professionals have come forward to capture the prizes in our second annual “Caring Profession Thank-you Week”:  a fire captain and a nurse from Seattle, two school teachers from South Bend, IN, and one school teacher from New Orleans, LA.

Congrats to all of you, and hope to see you and your feedback soon on the “Happy Clients” page of Honey Girl Books and Gifts.

Other big news: Tranquility Pillows are now available with Velcro fasteners or the traditional snaps, to make it easier for tiny or tired fingers to attach and remove the three cloth stars. As the tag says, “Snap on a star and let your feelings be seen. It’s as natural as a night sky.”

Night with velcro Jan 1 2019.jpg

 

Categories
creativity dogs happiness health humor meditation nature storms T'ai chi trees Zen philosophy

a few of my favorite things

 

 

Today I declared a personal snow day and canceled all three of my appointments. They were friendly visits anyway, and we’ll all see each other soon. Instead of driving around and dealing with the traffic and weather, I stayed home. Rich made bread, which means that the house was warm and smelled soooo good for several hours this morning.

Honey girl in morning.jpg

Favorite thing: Honey Girl and her warm fuzzy greetings every morning.

Favorite things: exercise and meditation. I got to catch up with my Morning Routine which felt restorative.

Favorite thing: I organized all the fabric in my studio (aka the guest bedroom) and took stock of the inventory. Wrote stuff down. That felt good.

Favorite thing: I moved forward on the three pillows I’m finishing this week, plus the quilt. Starting to feel like a real artisan.

 

 

Favorite things: There are many things in these pictures to love:

  1. an adorable French postcard now messed up by living in the kitchen but that makes it even more precious13 postcard.jpg
  2. a pepper mill by the French brand Pylones (a “must” whenever you’re in Paris, n’est-ce pas? soo cute!)
  3. a beautiful round loaf of Rich’s crusty French bread,
  4. the “fabricard” I created to accompany the Limited Edition Literary Pillow. This one accompanies No. 1, The Ladies’ Paradise, by Zola. The citations will zero in on key moments in the book to give readers a satisfying sense of what the book is about.
  5. Pillows that I am working on, with my sturdy 1928 White Rotary sewing machine!  The full repertoire of Honey Girl Books and Gifts is due Friday December 15, for the SPARK class graduation at Saint Mary’s College. I’m almost ready. Snow days are helpful. And being on winter break from teaching too.

Speaking of which, the website for my new business, Honey Girl Books and Gifts, is now available!   https://www.honeygirlbooks.com/

It’s not quite “official start” ready yet, because the purchase function and A.V. stuff aren’t plugged in yet, but you can email me at juliawsea@gmail.com if you want to get a jump on the crowds!  I’ll accept pre-orders from readers of this blog.

***

View from Sunroom Dec 12 2017

Now back to the contemplation of favorite things.

As I was moving around in silence this morning, enjoying the light snow outside and the cozy sounds of this old house, and Rich and Honey Girl moving around downstairs, I suddenly felt a Zen sense of detached observation.

Watching the quick industrious ways my mind and hands were working together, I thought of an article read in last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. It is one of the most startling and useful metaphors for how the mind works (along with William James, to whom we will return one day), that I have ever seen. And, as a professor of literature for 30+ years, I’ve seen a lot! It made me feel serene, and affirmed more than ever the new path I’m on. Change, physical vitality, and hope: that’s what is making me feel so young these days.

Citing the work of Sigmund Freud to explain the antecedents of Oliver Sacks’s discoveries, the reviewer Nicole Krauss writes, “Freud wrote that he had come to explain psychoneuroses ‘by supposing that this translation has not taken place in the case of some of the material.’ In other words, that our psychological health depends on our ability to constantly revise and refashion memory to allow for growth and change, and the absence of this process–the stagnation of a memory, the brain’s treatment of it as something fixed–leads to pathology.”

“This is an extraordinary insight,” continues Krauss, one that helped to establish our understanding of the self as flexible instead of static, and our sense of the past as an imaginative reconstruction, ever evolving, both of which make therapy possible.”

The reviewer notes rightly that Oliver Sacks, as a neurologist and brilliant writer, “deepened our understanding of the dynamic, creative abilities of the brain by uncovering, again and again, the unusual ways the impaired brain may deal with its handicaps, compensating in ingenious ways, or by creating plausible explanations for the nonsensical, thus preserving a form of coherence, however subjective. ” [Sounds like some of Sartre’s characters.]

As Krauss explains, Sacks’s work is particularly powerful for young writers, who suddenly are able to see how “for the brain, the coherence that narrative forges is paramount to an accurate account of reality.”

I agree with Krauss that narrative is a primary human activity, without which we waste away.  That is what my narrative quilts are all about!

***

See Jane E. Brody’s piece on loneliness in today’s New York Times. After reading that, I reflected on 1) how lonely I used to feel last year, and 2) what has made me feel better.  Here are the things I am grateful for:  1) reading Byron Katie and learning to do “the work” on the thoughts that come into my head; 2) learning to practice T’ai Chi and meditation daily; 3) sewing; and 4) being able to channel my creativity into things I love, instead of trying to please external censors. As a businesswoman, I will see if there are any buyers out there. As they say, Some Will, Some Won’t, So What. Surely there is some lonely soul out there, or a grandma or a lover, who would like to give one of my soft and lustrous goods to a beloved?

At any rate, I don’t have to worry about some jerk at Stanford any more.

I wrote to Jane Brody, actually, with a compliment on how her article made me realize things, and an offer. I proposed a complimentary quilt from my new business, to see if she might agree that it has therapeutic effects.  We’ll see if she replies!

In the meantime, it appears that we weavers of meaning, artists of cloth, paper and pen, are all entirely “normal.” Whatever that is.

Whiteout Dec 12 2017

 

 

Categories
children creativity happiness humor memory

what a day! what just happened? something good.

Way back in September, I remember thinking that this day might be portentous. That was the day I compared the syllabus of the class I was taking with the three I was teaching, and realized that they all ended in the same week, one Tuesday, one Wednesday, and two–including the SPARK class I took at SMC and the “Write YOUR Story” class I teach–on Thursday. That was today. Although I was exhausted last night, after creating the “Sales projection” and final business plan for Honey Girl Books and Gifts, I survived. (btw: homepage below; website pending very soon!)

So anyway, a day heavy with expectation.

And now, the image I chose conveys how I feel.

At this morning’s class, the fifteen participants in the entrepreneurship class, SPARK, presented our “vision boards,” where we visually depicted milestones in our lives and how the class impacted us. I saw acts of bravery, intelligence, and kindness. I learned that people who I’ve become very fond of, as classmates, dreamers, and future businesswomen, have endured awful stuff I’ve never known, as teenage pregnancies and family problems derailed their dreams while they were really young. But now that all the babies are grown up, or almost, these extremely competent women are ready to take on the world! They are SO inspiring and fun to be around.

At the last day party (aka “Gala Celebration and Book Sharing”) of my writing workshop, the kids talked about their stories with phenomenal calm and purpose. I have never seen anything like it, in the five years I’ve been teaching this class. The first boy, Ian, age 10, took the invitation quite seriously. Even when the other kids and even I was getting kind of incredulous and giggling nervously, Ian kept going. He kept going and telling his very detailed story. Time to time, he would smile a little, but keep going. Ian knew what needed to be told and he took the time to tell his story.

From that precedent, every single child spoke with focus, passion, and unflappable poise. What was that, that just happened? Every other year, they were embarrassed and awkward, and rushed through the little presentations so they could open their presents and have cookies sooner. But not today.

We witnessed the spirits of kids (age 8-12) who, when given an invitation, can go deep into their minds and tell you stories of amazing complexity and allegorical meaning. They explained what they like about writing and said things a novelist would surely share, about character and motivation. Their metaphors were fabulous: one spoke of a castle where the staircase is made of stained glass, and everyone’s imaginations are safeguarded from the world. Another told of a pirate ship manned entirely by cats. There were many journeys, a mystery, and a lovely utopia.

And I’m delighted to announce that a fellow SPARK student, Jane Lockhart, of UX Designs, agreed this morning at the SPARK event to co-teach with me “Write YOUR Story” in Spring 2018. We now have two ND student assistants too: Priscilla Quaye and Travon DeLeon! So “Write YOUR Story” will live on, after all, in South Bend!

good karma? shooting stars? divine guidance?

it’s all good.

Rest easy tonight, reader. I know I will! The world seemed to be on a good axis, at least for a little while, today.

HGBG website homepage.jpg

 

 

 

Categories
creativity dogs humor nature trees wisdom

rainy thoughts

Today it rained all day but that did not stop Honey Girl and me from taking a leisurely walk through the neighborhood until we were totally drenched, but peaceful. There is something melancholy and touching about the natural world at this time of year; there’s a stark sunflower, blackened and brittle, which always catches my eye. Its silhouette against the grey sky reminded me of that scary scene in The Night of the Hunter where Robert Mitchum rides a horse in silhouette against a white sky singing an ominous hymn. Tragic, sad thoughts mull around.

I look at the picture of my relatives, the woman from whom I inherited the sewing machine that has become my spiritual inspiration, and I used to think, “How miserable to live in White Salmon, WA circa 1915. That battle-ax in the middle looks like a real tyrant. It must have been so awful and boring in the rain, in a wooden cottage, etc., etc.”

Today I was thinking of that little girl in the front row, second from the right, because I cut up a quilt that I think she made for me. It is all falling apart, we found it in a drawer a couple days ago. I cut off a piece, restored it, and I’m using it as the basis for the SPARK quilt, since our mothers were so important to many of us SPARK students this session.

Now I realize I may have her all wrong! She may have loved running up and down and through the dripping trees during those wintry days, and playing tricks on that grumpy old grandma to make her laugh, etc., etc.

We can choose the spin we put on our memories. We can choose the spin we put on every person we meet, thinking, “Hey this guy is actually really ….. (positive adjective of your choice)”! and this day is not so bad after all.

SPARK quilt in progress Nov 18 2017