Nerve Trouble, Dry Cheese and Other Complaints

Farm Field & Fireside, Friday April 27, 1928

Inspiration from the Time Capsule: this week I pulled out the April 27, 1928 edition of Farm Field and Fireside.

Finally my curiosity about French Polishing has been answered – I might actually try it (“1 pint of methylated spirits and 6 oz of the finest orange shellac”). And I was intrigued by all the possible ways to use the huge elder beside our house other than to make jelly (see quote at end of this post). 

Each line used below is from a different section of the newspaper – creating “alternative” problems and advice.

*****

Could you kindly tell me if there is
A Guide to Descent?
Does the eldest son take all?
(The game is to have only one left on the board.
The rules applied Continue reading

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Brides and Beach Companions

Housewife June 1950

 

 

Folds flat, collapses neatly: Beach Companion.
To make:
cut, mark, turn, tack
backstitch, snip, turn, tack
overstitch. Knot at the top of Continue reading

Paying Attention: The Art of Noticing

setting sun in woods, Eastern TownshipsI finally make myself get into my boots, gloves, hat, neck roll, big coat, boot grippers and go to the gym. Head down, I lean into -24 C. Stop in my tracks. Feel the cold on my face, the icy wind, the stinging hail-like snow. Become aware of a strange creaking sound – the city is creaking all around me. No blaring horns and whooshing tires and squealing brakes from the passing traffic, just this strange creak of snow under tires. Beyond the creak – silence. What am I doing? I’m marking out a moment. Last year raced by. So often days became a blur. I’d finish one thing, rush on to the next.

Every day includes much more non-being than being. This is always so. One walks, eats, sees things, deals with what has to be done; the broken vacuum cleaner; ordering dinner; washing; cooking dinner. When it is a bad day the proportion of non-being is much larger. Virginia Woolf

So my new year’s resolution? Carve out a moment of being every day. And that means a moment of being attentive to the details of what I am doing, thinking, sensing.  I thought I would start by taking up journal writing again but this great article by Keri Smith gave me a better plan: the idea of ‘fives’. Every day I would write down five particular moments I had noticed. No sooner had I started than I changed my rules! Instead of ending the day wondering what moments I could remember, I would actively search for my moments. Every evening I would choose a focus or theme for the day. This could be : Continue reading

Perceptual Shifts: Seeing The Strange In The Everyday

sky and clouds

 

I’m sure most writers have heard this advice at some point: write from the known to the unknown. The theory is that this grounds the reader and avoids confusion.

When I was analyzing Virginia Woolf’s “Between the Acts” for my MFA craft essay at Lesley University, I noticed that she often did the reverse. I loved the disorienting effect and the immediacy this gave to the narrative.

Early on in Continue reading

Golden Rain And Other Inspirations

When spring insists on remaining winter, it’s wonderful to have such a rich arts week! So great for enlightening our own creative process…

Golden rain

In Lin Hwai-min’s “Songs of the Wanderers” performed by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, three and a half tons of rice stream down as curtains of golden rain, splash up in high gleaming arcs and, in falling, transform into the shifting sands of a desert.

sun up in Sahara © Dr. J. HockAn ancient tribe struggles through this desert, leaning on their crooked staffs which have what look like a little leaf or bird at the top but are in fact tiny bells.

To one side, a monk or Buddha figure in white. Eyes closed, hands together in prayer. A constant column of rain pings off his head and hands and white robes. He remains absolutely motionless. Surely a statue. No. At curtain call he receives thunderous applause for his 90-minute stillness. Continue reading

Be Inspired: October Grab Bag of Exercises, Links, Ideas

Mother Earth, sculpture, Canadian entry at Mosaicultures Internationales, Montreal 2013

Mother Earth

I’m always excited and immensely grateful to come across links and ideas that inspire me to write and think and dream. Here are some I’ve been enjoying recently that I’d like to share with you.

Writing Warm-Up: a right-left brain exercise

  1. Touch your right thumb to your left little finger, let go, then touch left thumb to right little finger. Let go.
  2. Touch right second finger to left fourth finger, release, then left second finger to right fourth finger. Let go.
  3. Right middle finger to left middle finger. Turn hands over Continue reading