Monday, August 21, 2017

Skinny

Ohh, he works out
but it's you that I really want
~Izzy Bizu


Two Skinny songs for Music Monday. The first is a body-positive song for skinny guys by Izzy Bizu:



Skinny Blue with "Tennessee":



Sunday, August 20, 2017

How to Stop Time

Forever, Emily Dickinson said, is composed of nows. But how do you inhabit the now you are in? How do you stop the ghosts of all the other nows from getting in? How, in short, do you live?
~Matt Haig



Just finished How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. I cried at the end, not because it was sad but because I was so moved. If you read it, let me know what you thought.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eclipse

How then does light return to the world after the eclipse of the sun? Miraculously. Frailly. In thin stripes. It hangs like a glass cage. It is a hoop to be fractured by a tiny jar. There is a spark there. Next moment a flush of dun. Then a vapour as if earth were breathing in and out, once, twice, for the first time. Then under the dullness someone walks with a green light. Then off twists a white wraith. The woods throb blue and green, and gradually the fields drink in red, gold, brown. Suddenly a river snatches a blue light. The earth absorbs colour like a sponge slowly drinking water. It puts on weight; rounds itself; hangs pendent; settles and swings beneath our feet.
~Virginia Woolf



Isn't that an exquisite quote from Virginia Woolf? I don't have permission to post the following artworks here, but they are worth clicking on the links:

Eclipse of the Sun, 1975 by Roy Lichtenstein

Corona #2: Solar Eclipse by Caryl Bryer Fallert
from the Permanent Collection of The National Quilt Museum of the United States
One of the 100 most important quilts of the 20th Century

Lastly:
A terrific selection of downloadables for Eclipse 2017 from NASA

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A prayer and a call for submissions

Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.
~Brandon Mull


Something from 100 Poems to Lift your Spirits today, followed by an announcement.

An excerpt from Max Ehrmann's A Prayer:

May I not forget that
poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions be
such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth,
and let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what I am;
and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,
and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet;
and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

*********


Perhaps a mistake was made?
photo by Diablo Rosa

I'm putting together a poetry anthology for middle schoolers and would like to invite you all to submit. The theme is mistakes.

Why make an anthology about mistakes? Because "mistakes flower/every hour"! We make them all the time. Some are the size of erasing a hole in your paper, mispronouncing a word, or tripping over your shoelace. Some are the size of telling a friend's secret. Some can be useful, like a science experiment that goes wrong but gives you a new idea. How can we make the most of the good mistakes and do our best to fix the ones that need fixing? Poetry can help us figure it out.

The details:

The anthology will look at mistakes from as many angles as possible, including (but not limited to) mistakes that result in discoveries/inventions, grammar and etiquette mishaps, historical and fictional blunders, funny/silly/embarrassing missteps, ways to make things right, and forgiveness.

Humor is good. Seriousness is also good. The primary interests are carefully-chosen words and generous, honest insight (although not everything needs to be deep, you know?).

Please submit blind entries (include your name, address, phone number, email address, and poem title on a separate page). A panel of readers, including teachers, will be evaluating the poems. Poems can be form or free verse. Multiple submissions by individuals are fine.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable as long as they are identified and as long as you remember to withdraw it if it is accepted elsewhere. Reprints are fine as long as the author has the rights. Payment is one print copy and one electronic copy. Authors retain rights. Send poems (and questions) to mistakesanthology(at)gmail.com.

The deadline is November 1, 2017.

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A Journey Through the Pages has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Kay!

Poetry on Paper

Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.
~Vincent Van Gogh


Posting work by Vincent Van Gogh today. Basically, I wanted to spend time with "Undergrowth with Two Figures" and then I started adding on.

Undergrowth with Two Figures
by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)

Green Wheat Field with Cypress
by Vincent van Gogh

The White Cottage Among the Olive Trees
by Vincent van Gogh

Sunflowers
by Vincent van Gogh

The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital
by Vincent van Gogh

Almond blossom
by Vincent van Gogh

The Red Vineyard
by Vincent van Gogh

(I've featured Van Gogh before.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Memoirs

Memoir isn’t the summary of a life; it’s a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition. It may look like a casual and even random calling up of bygone events. It’s not; it’s a deliberate construction.
~William Zinsser


Hi folks! Like last week, this Wellness Wednesday post was inspired by a press release.


I was charmed by the summary for the film Spettacolo:
Once upon a time, villagers in a tiny hill town in Tuscany came up with a remarkable way to confront their issues: they turned their lives into a play. Every summer, their piazza became their stage and residents of all ages played a part – the role of themselves. Monticchiello’s annual tradition has attracted worldwide attention and kept the town together for 50 years, but with an aging population and a future generation more interested in Facebook than farming, the town’s 50th anniversary performance just might be its last. SPETTACOLO tells the story of Teatro Povero di Monticchiello, interweaving episodes from its past with its modern-day process as the villagers turn a series of devastating blows into a new play about the end of their world.
What's the link to Wellness Wednesday? It made me start thinking about memoirs. Maybe you'd be interested in writing a wee memoir about yourself or a friend or family member? It seems like it has the potential to be rewarding and therapeutic.

* Memoir prompts
* Reasons for writing memoirs
* Writing a flash memoir
* How to structure your memoir
* A memoir-writing workbook




Monday, August 14, 2017

Sharon Isbin and Berta Rojas

Let me explain something about guitar playing. Everyone’s got their own character, and that’s the thing that’s amazed me about guitar playing since the day I first picked it up. Everyone’s approach to what can come out of six strings is different from another person, but it’s all valid.
~Jimmy Page


Sharon Isbin and Berta Rojas for Music Monday:







Thursday, August 10, 2017

In my mailbox

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.
~Phyllis Theroux



A poem wallet from Irene

I love pulling the mail out of the box and finding something exciting inside. This summer has provided a bounty of delights. (I'm not including everything that everyone sent because it's a lot of photos already and I want to give you a good look at poems.)

From Carol Varsalona:



From Buffy:


From Joy, who enjoys correspondence more than just about anyone I know:

From Michelle Kogan:

From Irene, who used a book as her springboard:

From Robyn, who used a map of my locale for her clever steampunk critter:


I also shared the poem I received from Iphigene earlier.
A bonus shout out to my friend Amanda who sent me a care package of some of her handmade soaps.

One last quote:

Alice Adams wrote a sweet note to me after my first novel came out when I was 26, and I was so blown away that I sent her a bunch of stamps by return mail. I have no idea what I was thinking. It was a star-struck impulse.
~Anne Lamott


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Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Wassily Kandinsky

Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and... stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?
~Wassily Kandinsky


Works by Wassily Kandinsky today. Kandinsky was a law professor who decided to leave the university and devote himself to art, a choice partially instigated by seeing an exhibit of French impressionists.

More Kandinsky quotes:
Each period of a civilisation creates an art that is specific in it and which we will never see reborn.
The more frightening the world becomes ... the more art becomes abstract.
Color is a power which directly influences the soul.


Wassily Kandinsky with Paul Klee in Guethary, France, 1929

Yellow-Red-Blue
by Wassily Kandinsky

In the Bright Oval
by Wassily Kandinsky

Above and left
by Wassily Kandinsky

Distinct Connection
by Wassily Kandinsky

Hommage to Grohmann
by Wassily Kandinsky

Merry Structure
by Wassily Kandinsky

Quiet Harmony
by Wassily Kandinsky

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Character Day

Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow and only one thing endures - character.
~Harry Truman


It might be fun for fiction writers and readers to have a "Character Day" where you dress up as your favorite character (does such a thing already exist?), but for Wellness Wednesday, we're talking about something a little different. I received a press release that explains:
There are 7.5 billion people on this planet, and each one of us has a unique character, determined and developed by genetics, our environment, and ultimately, ourselves. The fourth annual Character Day scheduled for Wednesday, September 13, 2017, presented by Emmy-nominated Film Studio Let It Ripple, will explore meaning, purpose and the science of character through a LiveCast Q&A with prominent global thought leaders like the Dali Lama, Krista Tippet, Al Gore, Angela Duckworth and more.

Character Day focuses on the idea that if you concentrate on certain parts of who you are, you can develop your character and ultimately lead a more meaningful, successful and happy life.

Spearheaded by Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, thought leader and founder of The Webby Awards, Character Day highlights recent breakthroughs in the social science and neuroscience behind character development, and provides the tools (films, discussion kits, online resources), for free, for millions of people to engage and develop the character strengths needed to thrive in today’s world. ..You can sign up at CharacterDay.org.

Character Day Trailer from The Moxie Institute on Vimeo.



Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.
~Cassandra Clare


A rather mysterious quote:
You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans.
~Ronald Reagan


Monday, August 7, 2017

Watch out for Lucy

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
~Samuel Butler



We have a dog named Lucy who likes to go off with stuff and take it under the sofa, where she can eat it/chew on it to her heart's content. She's done that with lip balms, boiled eggs, donuts, pill bottles, shoes. If Lucy's backside is sticking out from under the sofa, it's a good idea to get down and see what she's got. Sometimes even just the way her collar is rattling will make me suspicious. Recently when my husband was away and he said he couldn't find tea that he thought I'd packed, I said, "Let me go look under the sofa." (It was there.)

This morning when I said, "Watch out for Lucy," this song started going through my head. There are no dogs in it, but plenty of trouble...



Eric Clapton

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A collection of words

Lexicographer: A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.
~Samuel Johnson




Next week I'll share some poems from the summer swap, but in the meantime I have entries from Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755). They're not poetry, but they are poetic, and they make me want to use them in poems. For instance, did you know that "anthology" once meant "a collection of flowers"?

Anthology. n.s. [ἀνθολογἰα, from ανθος, a flower, and λέγα, to gather.]
A collection of flowers.
A collection of devotions in the Greek church.
A collection of poems.

*********

Daggersdrawing. n.s. [dagger and draw.]
The act of drawing daggers; approach to open violence.

They always are at daggersdrawing,
And one another clapperclawing.
Hudibras, p. ii. cant. 2.

*********

Afterlove. n.s. [from after and love.]
The second or later love.

Intended, or committed, was this fault?
If but the first, how heinous ere it be,
To win thy after-love, I pardon thee.
Shakesp. Richard II.

*********

Fopdoodle. n.s. [fop and doodle.]
A fool; an insignificant wretch.

Where sturdy butchers broke your noodle,
And handled you like a fopdoodle.
Hudibras, p. ii.

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Camelopard. n.s. [from camelus and pardus, Lat.]
An Abyssinian animal, taller than an elephant, but not so thick. He is so named, because he has a neck and head like a camel; he is spotted like a pard, but his spots are white upon a red ground. The Italians call him giaraffa.
Trevoux.

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Grubstreet. n.s.
Originally the name of a street in Moorfields in London, much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems; whence any mean production is called grubstreet.
I'd sooner ballads write, and grubstreet lays.
John Gay.
[What's a temporary poem? I guess it must not have been very well-regarded...]

*********

Blatteration. n.s. [blateratio, Lat.]
Noise; senseless roar.

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Anybody want to make a sentence or poem with one in the comments? Mainely Write has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Donna!

Zalipie

Surprisingly, tourists are still something of a novelty in Zalipie, and are regarded with curiosity by locals, which is probably for the best.
~Sumitra, Oddity Central


Sharing scenes from the charming Polish town of Zalipie today for Art Thursday. (I thought this was the first time I featured a town, but there was that post about Paris... )



Zalipie - painted village, Poland
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
Fot. Mariusz Cieszewski

Well in Zalipiu
photo by Ricardo77

Zalipie museum
photo by mksfca

Zalipie - painted village, Poland
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
Fot. Mariusz Cieszewski

Painted House
photo by magro_kr

Polish illuminated cottage in Zalipie Małopolska
photo by Mathiasrex

Muzeobranie 2007
photo by mik Krakow


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What we don't see

For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small;
But just in the doing—and doing
As we would be done by, is all.
~Alice Cary



A shout out today for being nice even when we are ignorant of a person's circumstances. This summer, my older daughter was diagnosed with a dysautonomic disorder which causes the blood to rush to her feet when she stands up. This makes her feel dizzy and makes her heart pound. Standing on her feet for long doesn't work well.

We went to a show the other day and, at the end, the performers were given a standing ovation. My daughter remained seated. Looking at her, you wouldn't know anything was wrong, and maybe it would make you annoyed that she wasn't getting up. Isn't it a nice idea, though, to give people the benefit of the doubt? Not to assume that we know everything that is going on with a person? I've said this before. (Don't worry, no one bothered her.)

She might get a temporary handicapped placard for the car, but she does worry how people will respond to seeing her get out. (She has two young friends with invisible illnesses who have gotten hassled when parking.) The people who would bother her would feel righteous about doing it -- what a weird world!

When you think about it, maybe there are more things that you can't see than those you can. I mean, you can see if someone has a service dog or is in a wheelchair, but you can't see migraines, lupus, diabetes, infertility, neurological diseases, digestive disorders, depression, heart conditions, allergies, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's, etc.

It can be hard to say the right thing since we don't know what is up with people. Years ago, a stranger told me that we needed to give my daughter a sibling, not realizing that I was utterly heartbroken about suffering a miscarriage the day before. We don't know, so the best we can do is try to be kind and try to let go as best we can when people say the wrong thing.


* But You Don't Look Sick? a blog with resources for people with invisible illnesses
* Self-care and chronic illness articles on The Mighty