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Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Best Parts of Being a Stay-at-Home Mama.

  • The relative quiet. I can tune out Thomas.
  • Occasional snuggles from Oliver.
  • Holding his hand if we go somewhere.
  • Watching and learning how he plays.
  • Seeing Victor--my favorite train--on Thomas episodes.
  • Playing showtunes and watching Oliver jump and spin. 
  • Watching him fall asleep in strange places, such as between his train table and the couch. 
  • Talking to Oliver even if he's not listening.
  • Seeing him line up cars or trains and check them from every angle.
  • Snuggling sometimes at bedtime.
  • Hearing him "read" his favorite books.
  • Seeing him sit and carefully turn the pages of books. 
  • Responding to his saying, "I need help."
  • Getting kisses and knowing I taught him that years ago.
  • Feeling able to answer more questions about him, especially with doctors.
  • Getting to sit quietly for a few minutes.
  • Getting to read or write for a few minutes at a time--a little still adds up.
  • Watching him paint. 
  • Noticing his sweet buttermilk skin.
  • Listening to him playing in the bathtub.
  • Successfully redirection Oliver (especially when Josh is home to see it!)
  • Helping Oliver learn to do tiny tasks like throwing away his food wrapper, turning on a particular light, or helping me switch the laundry.
  • Watching him solve a puzzle.
  • Smelling his hair and remembering that that was how I first knew (instinctively, not logically) that he was my baby.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fun Journaling Tips.

  • I love to use stickers in my journals. Before I use a journal, I add stickers to every second spread. Usually, they have some connection to the journal's theme or colors. It's fun to see which sticker is next, and it makes me want to keep filling and turning pages.
  • Each day, I switch to a new pen in a new color. This may reflect my mood, and it keeps the days distinct in case I look for something later.
  • I use all kinds of pens--whatever I feel like using that day: all colors, fine-tipped markers, pens with multiple colors, glitter, metallic, fluorescent, fountain pen...I love getting any pen from someone (encouragement to write!), but something unique is especially fun even if I'm unmotivated.
  • If I see words or come across images or ideas that strike me, I want to write about them. But I may not have the time or energy just then, so I write something at the top of a blank page in my journal. I call them prompts, and I come back to write about the topic later. It doesn't interrupt my other writing. Some of these prompts have become blog posts.
  • I think of myself as a journal collector. I look for beautiful, unique, sturdy books to become my own. My collection is massive, but they are like buried treasure in two green, polka dot boxes under my bed. Selecting the next volume (gift? smooth pages? size? paper strength? beautiful cover?) is so fun. It feels like that great word: abundance. So having at least a few journal to choose from is great fun.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

How to Be Generous with Myself.

  • If I know something I want as a gift, I should just tell the giver. He or she will be ready for the next gifting event, and I'll get exactly what I wanted.
  • Take and use alone time. If Josh tells me to go be alone, I should do it.
  • Remember how much I've been doing lately, and remember that Mama would probably say, "Give yourself some grace."
  • Add enjoyable elements to whatever I've doing--play music when I wash dishes, use fun (sparkly, metallic, scented...) pens whenever possible, and accidentally spill glitter.
  • Read the books I've been saving (for what?).
  • Write in the beautiful journals I've been saving (for what??).
  • Work on being comfortable with my body as it is.
  • If some clothes make me feel more uncomfortable with my body, I should consider getting rid of them.
  • Continue to let myself use work clothes, shoes, and accessories on ordinary days. It feel luxurious and a little sneaky.
  • Order some used (1 cent + shipping) books from Amazon.
  • Sleep deliberately, so it doesn't kidnap me.
  • Stretch out on my denim chaise in the quiet guest room. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Soaked in Art.

--Doris Lessing

I love the thought of this. How can I get soaked in art, and how can I help Oliver get art-soaked too?

I have season tickets to the theatre (which constantly amazes me), and I need to renew those each year. I should also go to as many additional shows as possible. They change the wallpaper of my mind if only briefly. I should go to our two local theatres to explore and support them. I can relive shows through souvenir programs.

I need to listen to showtunes and other music daily. I can share music with Oliver--we can dance. When he's old enough, he can go to some shows with me.

I have several art books, and I ought to be looking at them and showing them to Oliver. I can also go to the library and look at big books of art at one of the tables.

Literary immersion is simple simpler but more time-consuming. I have a great many books that would sharpen me, but I can only tackle so many at a time. I do think that nearly any book can makes a person smarter, brighter. I just have to get pushing and go after the stacks in my room.

What else can I do? I can talk about books and shows, reinforcing and adjusting my thoughts. I should also enjoy film. Bruce and I have a weekly movie afternoon, but I can also watch movies alone.

I've already surrounded myself with reminders of what I should focus on--fairy, mermaid, and princess art; pens on display in pretty mugs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness.

Lately, I've practiced kindness by praying frequently: "Let me think only kind thoughts." If my thoughts are unkind, nothing good is likely to come from me. The prayer also makes me look for something positive. When I eliminate something, something else is going to rush into its place, so I have to take control of that. This probably makes me smiles more sincere, and a genuine smile can be an act of kindness.

I've been working on the next step: sharing kind thoughts with the person. Communicating in this way is a little difficult for me. I've never given a great deal of encouragement or praise. I worry that I will seem insincere. It's been fine so far, but people have certainly been surprised. I think we all need validation, encouragement, and praise, regardless of age. Here are a few ideas:
  • Compliment something concrete--an article of clothing, a hair change (or simply beautiful hair you always admired), or a great facial feature. This works with strangers too if you're brave enough!
  • If the talking is too difficult, write a card or letter. It may come at the perfect time in that person's life.
  • Brag on the person in front of other people or even do it on Facebook and tag him or her.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Conditions to Write and Keep Writing.

This SARK phrase caught my eye. What are the conditions to write?
  • at least one supporting person. I have several people I wouldn't expect (like my nanna) ask if I've been writing. Several people have enjoyed my blog in the past--many of whom I'd never expect.
  • a reading routine. I have many books around me, covering most genres I want to write. Reading fills me, and I dip into that when I write. When I'm not reading well on a daily basis, I'm not ready to write. Or be a human being.
  • stability. I need to be stable to approach my writing effectively. Routines help with this too. I need to know when I can write and when I can read. Protected time is vital. 
  • writing spaces. I have a big gray suede armchair, a lovely white secretary desk, a denim chaise lounge, and a bed I love. I also have a library within walking distance and a cute coffee shop where I've written before.
  • writing tools. I do my product-based writing (writing that will become a story or other piece) on a laptop. It's almost as portal as the tools I use for writing practice and personal writing. I have more of those tools--beautiful journals, endless variety of pens--than I will ever use. But I like that feeling of abundance.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gobbling Beauty.

I love this. I love Mary Karr who wrote this! Gobbling--what a fantastic word choice. Filling up, chugging, speeding--so quick that some flavor is lost, testing the sharpness of teeth, tearing apart or swallowing whole, untamed need, hunger consuming the body, desire & rage and finally quiet.

It makes me think of the wolf inhaling Little Red Riding Hood.

So how can we gobble beauty?
  • Literally gobble beauty at a fancy or quirky restaurant or bakery.
  • Go to an art museum. Go alone or with a very patient companion. Keep your eyes sharp and touch what you can. Bring a sketchpad or notebook to save fragments of the experience.
  • Your home is probably full of art and objects you once found beautiful. If that's not true, get to work on it! If it is true, treat your home like an art museum for a bit. Where did you get this? What did you save for, receive as a gift, or hang on a wall despite a partner's protests? Write down the story. Whhy did you first find this beautiful? Do you find it beautiful now? How often do you notice it? How can you feast on beauty right in view of your bed or couch?
  • Go to a gift shop and touch the most beautiful objects. How do texture and temperature change your perception of an object?
  • Add music to your workout, morning routines, and chores.
  • Watch fireworks. Listen to street musicians. Don't miss a single chance to consume beauty.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Clothes That Tell Stories.

I used to have to Disney princess T-shirts, pink and purple. I don't remember what was on them. But when a family member was ill several years ago, Josh brought these along with other clothes. I hadn't know how comforting having one's own clothes is, especially if the pieces represent something of one's personality. Unfortunately, they had been getting too small (my fault or the dryer's?). Nothing was going to fit quite right again.

My black, off-the-shoulder dress with the fuschia crinoline for a big flair is still in my closet. It looked great on me. I don't remember where it came from. I wore it for some important events many years ago. The crinoline irritated my legs. But a few years later, I wore the dress to my grad school graduation. I'd had to work especially hard to graduate. But I was certainly not the same girl who had worn the dress before. I was about five years older, I was married to a man who wanted me, and I was fighting to nurture my writing and creativity

I now have Mom's beautiful, silky emerald shirt that I'd loved for years. I wore it on loan for my public reading at Queens. It gave me confidence. Now, it's in my closet, ready to give me confidence again.

My current favorite jeans feel like mercy. They stretch so well to accommodate me.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Why Dolls?

My mama and I share a still-vibrant love for dolls...because they're awesome! They represent a small, calm, orderly world. They seem alive if they are very special. I love Emily in A Little Princess--all the description of her perfect little wardrobe and accessories. Dreamy!

I can still see myself dressing a doll, putting her to bed, worry about whether or not her coat were warm enough. Some people may think I'm regressing or working through the face that I'll never have a baby girl. Maybe. In some ways, I need to regress, to find and use childhood comforts.

I wish more dolls with full wardrobes and accessories existed. I'd love to have a Madame Alexander 10-inch Cissette. But of course, the Jo trunk set I want most is just gone. Mom could probably make clothes for a 10-inch doll. The doll could be anyone I wanted her to be.

If she wanted to, Mom could also make more clothes for Anastasia, a dark-haired beauty. A nightgown with lace, dresses in pink and purple...though she'd look lovely in red. Some American Girl accessories might not be too big for her. I could display the doll on my desks. I'd love to just to see what Mom would come up with. It wouldn't all have to be princess-worthy. It could include little T-shirts and jeans.

Mom has talked about our going to doll shows. Maybe I'd find a perfect doll that I never would have seen otherwise. And Mom could haggle.

I do love tiny, perfect things. I've wanted to be one.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Journaling Activities.

I'd like to take my journal, a fistful of colorful peens, and a small folding chair to the botanical gardens. I'd sit in ithe first area, describing the beauty, the imperfections, and the visitors. I'd pay attention to the soil and to insects. Then, I'd take my chair to the next area, considering the flow from one to another, remarking on pebbles and writing about the kind of people who must tend the gardens while no one is around.

It would be interesting to do a social experiment--staff and customer reaction to a young woman eating alone, to a young woman eating alone and reading, and to a young women eating alone and writing. What do people say? Do they seem curious or uncomfortable?

I could try following prompts from a book like Pencil Dancing, jumping to a new one with the first dries up. I've never been great about following prompts in books. But a story or essay might emerge.

I want to write in Mom's craft room--just catalog and describe the ribbons, the dolls, and the cut glass salt shakers of glitter. I'd capture the nourishing feel of the room. I'd write about what I would do with a room like that.

If I had time, I'd write about every quotation I write down. I'd record the context, why the words work out of context, what I think they mean, why they touch me, and how I can use them for creative fuel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What I'm Looking Forward To.

  • More daylight for walks
  • Enough daylight to walk to Bruce's for our walks
  • Falling asleep tonight
  • The Beauty and the Beast movie--2017!
  • Each day's mail--who knows?
  • Cabaret on Saturday
  • Two shows in May!
  • Going to TGI Fridays with Bruce again
  • Going to the Blue Moon Cafe again with Mom for more brie and honey creations
  • Mom's next visit
  • Writing another story
  • Drinking Sprite
  • Wearing a pretty dress to the theatre
  • Having some alone time with Josh
  • Listening to my iPod in the car
  • The next hug from Oliver
  • Hearing about Mom's cruise
  • Oliver's feeling better
  • Seeing my brother
  • Getting the Oliver and Company T-shirt Dad ordered for me. We're definitely the & co.!
  • Seeing my best girls eventually
  • Holding my first babies in heaven

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Celebrating Others.

This is something I'm trying to learn to do. I think one of the best ways is through words.

We can celebrate others by speaking kind words and offering encouragement. Try choosing someone you see every day. Commit to giving that person one compliment or some words of encouragement every day for a week. See if the person's mood or your relationship changes at all. See if you feel different.

Luckily, you don't have to do this face-to-face if you think it would embarrass one or both of you. Send an E-mail each day. Or buy seven cards, and write your warm words in each. Some people prefer objects like cards that they can keep and return to anyway.

Next, choose another person. Notice the differences. How easily did the words come? How sincere were you--or were you just being nice?

Then, do the same for yourself. Give yourself some compliment (allow it!) of affirmation each day. See if being kind to yourself makes giving kind words to others easier.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wit, Whimsy, and Effortless Elegance.

I saw these words in a Pottery Barn catalog. Wow. I would love to have all of these. I like the word wit. It's a bit of raw intelligence and a bit of sharp humor. Awareness.

I had to do something with this sophisticated and brilliant little collection of words. Can a person have all of these at once? I think so.

Whimsy sounds like what it represents. It makes me think of flying kits and blowing bubbles while wearing a white dress. It's such a sweet little word. How often am I whimsical? Not often enough. But I feel it in craft stores and swimming pools. I feel it around my favorite people.

Effortless elegance. I don't know about effortless, but I hope I've at least tried on elegance (like trying on a magical dress I could never afford!). When Bruce and I first saw Phantom, I could feel the elegance of the theatre, sets, and costumes, and I think that at least a bit of it dripped onto me.

So maybe I can absorb some of this wit and whimsy until they are quick and live in me. They seem well worth cultivating.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What Would Be in My Tender.

Clearly, I've watched too much Thomas and Friends with Oliver. But I like that the Sodor engines have tenders. I like the name--they tend the engine by filling up with coal or wood for the journey. Sometimes, my tender is my house purse with books, journals, magazines, and pens. A "tender" package full of what one needs to get through a day or a month would be a great gift. My metaphorical tender would have literature in general, and at the perfect moment, I'd get precisely the book I need.

In the last month, I've probably bought 7 or 8 books. All were pretty cheap ($4). Maybe that's going to be my impulse buy! It makes more sense (and is much cheaper) than clothes. The books just seemed so wonderful and necessary. I've got to keep one in my tender and try to read more books than I purchase! Maybe I'll get a new book after each time I read two books. That might be fun.

I need music in my tender too. Showtunes have been magic for me, helping me get motivated to get ready and do dishes. And maybe I'd include some of my favorite soothing movies like Little Women and God Help the Girl.

Every day, I chose a pen to use for my journaling. The color and the effect (metallic, glitter, plain ballpoint) both express and set the tone of the day's writing, so I'll need plenty of those too!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Twenty Things I Can't Do Well Without.

  1. Running water
  2. Pens
  3. Paper--especially journals and notebooks
  4. Books
  5. Blankets
  6. Dr. Pepper
  7. Intimacy
  8. Reading glasses
  9. Bookstores
  10. Shows
  11. Showtunes
  12. Swimming
  13. My bed
  14. Fantasy and magic realism (forms of fairy tales)
  15. Quotations
  16. Wikipedia (quick way to find out almost anything!)
  17. Francesca Lia Block's books and future books
  18. Texting--easy contact grounds me
  19. Fun makeup
  20. Brie and honey
I would also really miss stickers!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Strengthening the Imagination.

When I was growing up, I had a vivid imagination. I worked it like a muscle, and the strength of it rescued me from sadness and boredom. I created and observed families; I thought through how one could survive in various situations. American Girl gave me basic settings and details. I could be anyone anywhere. I could chew on one "story" for weeks.

Now, I visualize when I'm nervous about something. I envision a good outcome. And I think reading is a lot like daydreaming. We supply the images. But my imagination has, I'm sure, atrophied over the years like any muscle. How can I make it strong again?
  • Read more, especially in genres I don't often read.
  • Listen to music more. In my mind, a song is full of color and imagery. I create new playgrounds in my mind.
  • Relive happy memories and include as many details as possible--or make them up!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What a Great Life.

I wonder where I got this phrase. A little string of words will catch me, and I follow it later. So what is so great about my life?

The three of us are here, and everyone is quiet. No one is angry or throwing up. The sun is out.

I've got stacks of books to read--many of which could, in some way, make me a better person. I can scribble for years and never run out of pretty volumes to use.

Food is in the kitchen though we're due for a grocery trip. Josh brought me a Dr. Pepper back from the gym.

Love surrounds me--both through present people and through gifts others have given me. Love is in the robe I'm wearing, the journal I'm picking up.

My husband gets excited when I blog, write, or read. He is always reading at a great pace. I admire him for that. We encourage each other, especially to read.

Soon, it will be summer, and Josh will be home more. Bruce and I may start swimming again.

Someone calls me beautiful or pretty every day.

I have a deep, pink-ink ridge on my middle finger: evidence that I've been writing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ancient Curiosity.

Natalie Goldberg is full of interesting phrases. Ancient curiosity: out of context, what does that mean?

I wish I were more curious. I get curious--intensely and temporarily--about very specific, often strange subjects. Is curiosity something one can cultivate? If so, how?

I love how the hunt for information on one subject leads to many fascinating branches. A few minutes of Wikipedia or IMDB put me right in that flow, and I could end up anywhere.

But what makes a curiosity ancient? It must be deep, old, changing but permanent. I can see that in my passion for musical theatre. I've had that since before I was 10. Nothing had given me such joy, such a thrill. I avoided it for a while because my feelings and reactions overwhelmed me. But I'm back in it now, exploring.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Holes in My Education.

This phrase is from Ann Patchett's book Truth and Beauty. 

Some of these are my own fault for not reading what was assigned to me. Luckily, I read nearly every book in my MFA program, no matter how intimidating they looked. I wish I could I have lists of what my required reading was; then, I could make it up.I have looked at reading lists from other universities though.

I feel the lack of abnormal psychology class--I was a psych minor! And the class would certainly be relevant now. I'm glad I got a cast-off textbook at work. I've learned a lot from my own reading in the last two years, but I still have so much to learn.

I used to have nearly no contemporary poetry knowledge. I went back and back to the same little poetry section at the library, and at least for a while, I felt as if I were familiar with contemporary poetry. I need to read more poetry. We have plenty waiting in the house.

This is to say nothing about math and science, but those don't top my list. I might like to learn about marine biology.

I try to pay attention to names and words I don't know. Life-long learning is daily, sometimes bit-by-bit and sometimes in wild gallops.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Reading Life.

Doesn't that sound wonderful? A reading life requires that books are a priority, that reading is a daily practice like running or playing piano.

To be "well-read," one must read a great deal, and people expect a wide knowledge of the canon.  I think it is best to sample many genres and do so often to see how the genre transforms over time.

Two well-read people deep in their reading lives may have almost no books in common. It's about the pursuit of literature--knowledge, reading stamina, bold reading, discovery, and adventure.

Over my lifetime, I've had many periods of time with very little reading. It made me feel sick and disconnected from myself. Experiences like that remind me that I am supposed to lead a reading life.

*GoodReads is a great way to organize your reading life and challenge yourself further.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Writing on Location.

I've written about this before, and I havaen't been great about doing it myself lately. But when I refer to writing "on location," I mean taking your notebook or your drafts out of your typical writing space. This will let you use your senses in a new way: all will be a backdrop to your writing, and you'll also learn to write anywhere despite distractions. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Go traditional and write at a cafe (tip well if you stay long!), a library, or a bookstore. Feeling books all around youwill make you feel both supported and excited.
  • Write in the car (when someone else is driving!). Write about funny city names, street names and pull at you, animals you pass...
  • Write in some beautiful place, such as botanical gardens, a museum, or an aquarium.
  • Starting small? Write in a different room. Inhabit that room and describe it.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Intricacies and Fascinations.

This phrase is from Marisa de los Santos's The Precious One. I love what these words suggest, totally out of context. Even the words themselves sound so royally opulent. What do those words bring up in us? What desires or delights come to mind?
  • Gold pens. Finding the best one takes time and experimentation.
  • Gold dots on white, black, or pink. This is my favorite pattern and trend.
  • Some of Francesca Lia Block's books like Necklace of Kisses.
  • Madame Alexander's detailed, darling dolls.
  • Certain music, perhaps of the Pure Moods variety. 
  • Fancy desserts, like the Chocolate Dream Cake at Carrabbas.
  • The silky emerald blouse my mom handed down (insufficient phrase) to me.
  • Any discovery of art supplies in the house.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Favorite Words.

See how these words make you feel. I love most of them just for their sound. But many of them do have beautiful associations for me.
  • case
  • jewel
  • rosette
  • ostentatious
  • aquamarine
  • glisten
  • sparkle
  • sparkler
  • ink
  • gem
  • stone
  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • daydream
  • crystal
  • glimmer
  • glint
  • glance
  • wrist
  • bracelet
  • locket
  • emerald
  • ruby  
  • chime
  • clasp
  • firefly
  • glean
  • shatter
  • seam 
  • blackberry
  • gorgeous
  • stunning
  • glow
  • violet
  • wild
  • journal
  • diadem
  • tiara
  • trunk
  • willow
  • crisp
  • frost
  • ice
  • script
  • pewter
  • pencil
  • trellis
  • bright
  • brilliant
  • shine
  • scone
  • jar
  • denim
  • pop
  • peach
  • stack
  • space
  • pensive
  • sift
  • create
  • ravenous
  • voracious
  • duchess
  • paramour 
  • sculpt
  • embrace
  • trinket 
Just writing down or typing your favorite words can put you in a better mood!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Want to Feel.

  • Oliver snuggling against my back on the futon.
  • The shift and shimmer of bath bubbles.
  • Oliver willingly holding my hand as we walk.
  • The smoothness of my clear skin.
  • The surprise of looking down and seeing my prettily polished fingernails.
  • The sun warming me during a sunshine nap.
  • The perfect weight of our ivy comforter.
  • My pants sliding on with no struggle.
  • The excitement of getting replies about my writing---even if they didn't pick it, they probably read it.
  • Competent and knowledgeable.
  • The sense of mentoring someone in my own way.
  • Sinking into a bathtub full of Gelly Rolls and other great pens.
  • My mom's presence when I'm afraid.
  • The smooth beads and charms of my necklaces.
  • The easy satisfaction of reading a whole magazine at once.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ways to Relish Life.

  • Pay attention to the color you need to wear and carry with you. I have pink days, purple days, and green days most often. 
  • Don't eat something you don't really want. It's not worth the calories. But when your donut craving goes wild, eat the donut.
  • Think kind thoughts about people and tell them the thoughts. A few months ago, I prayed, "Let me think only kind thoughts," and that makes saying something nice much easier.
  • Evaluate what you love about your home, your family, your self, your life. It's easy to focus only on what you need to fix, and that's draining.
  • Sketch, doodle, or do some lettering. This is a discrete way to be creative and to escape a bit.
  • Take a nap at that point when you aren't bone-tired but rather deliciously sleepy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How I Can Spread Glitter.

I can do this literally. At 16, I often sprinkled glitter into my bad, books, and journal. I've done that a little recently, and I want to do more. I've spread a little around the bedroom in general. I need some in my purse. Just seeing those glints in random places (oh, how they travel!) reminds me that life is worth living and that wonderful experiences an objects exist. When it get on Bruce, he has cheerful thoughts of me.

I think I also spread figurative glitter for Bruce by taking him to shows. They sparkle, and they add sparkle t our lives.

One recent night, I woke my wonderful-smelling marshmallow body glitter. I feel beautiful because I was sparkly and sweetened.

What else? I could send letters. I could make more glittery collages. I can use Gelly Roll Stardust pens more often. I can dress in a way that sparkles.

I have a small white box that contains my glitters in little jars and tubes. I can pick a glitter for the day and send it off like a kiss.

Monday, April 4, 2016

How I Want to Travel.

I recently had the great idea that Mom and I should go to Paris someday--just us. She would be braver and more informed than I. We could skip this and spend forever on that. I wish Paris trips were not limited.

I got to see Phantom twice in one year! Shows can feel a lot like traveling.

I used to be kind of obsessed with the idea of time travel.

I'd like to do a road trip of sorts...focused on bookstores (chain and independent) and aquariums. I would buy at least one book in each state, and I would scribble or even write stories in each aquarium. I don't know who would want to join that. But maybe Josh would. Maybe we'll feel more like active best friends again when Oliver goes to college (or not). That's a long way off, but it kind of doesn't feel that way.

I used to enjoy packing. I loved selecting what I'd have with me on a plane or in a hotel room. Even when I was quite young, I had to have a notebook. That's still true.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Messes That Suggest a Full Life.

  • A dashed stack of books suggesting that someone tried to add one book too many or upset the stack while removing a certain volume.
  • A spread or pile of pens--someone has been admiring a collection or searching for a certain color and texture or effect to use for that moment's writing.
  • Glitter on the counter from making a miniature relaxation jar.
  • A spread of rejected clothes for a safe, meaningful job.
  • Family mess mixed in with personal creative work, like a photo amid design clippings.
  • Sticky notes, notebooks, binders, pens, highlighters, index card--a mess from working to learn.
  • My "house purse" spilling magazines, markers, sticky flags, clippings, books...the rations for my spirit and mind. I have plenty of stores to replenish the bag, so I don't need to save anything.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

What Excites Me.

  • Rock concerts...including the anticipation
  • Shows--costumes, orchestra tuning up
  • Oliver's voluntarily cuddling with me
  • Josh's tickling my arm or back
  • The text message sound on my phone
  • The crack of opening a soda can
  • Sonic--those big drinks!
  • Recognizing an actor I've seen elsewhere
  • Updating Bruce on everything
  • Going out to shop or explore with Mom
  • Seeing someone open a gift from me
  • Seeing books on writing
  • Fairy tale retellings
  • Playing on GoodReads
  • Getting the mail
  • Doctor Who
  • Starting a movie with Bruce
  • Going to a movie at Cinebarre with Mom
  • Shirley Temples
  • The intro to the songs "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Beauty Underneath"
  • The upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie
  • Most Disneyness 

Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Nourish Magic.

The artist Tasha Tudor said that magic is for any age, but we have to nourish it. Adult life can so easily crush it. Here are some ideas:

  • Absorb art, including and maybe especially fantasy art. Amy Brown, Jessica Galbreth, Josephine Wall, and Maxine Gadd are some good starting points. Get a few books online or from the library and let the images tell their stories. This will keep fairies, mermaids, and elves on the outskirts of your mind, ready to play. Of course, fantasy can be dark (which is not necessarily evil) too, and this can offer a kind of compassion and solace when you face pain that seems completely alien. 
  • Absorb theatre. Costumes, makeup, scenery, music, and effects make any good show a breathing fantasy. 
  • Invest in your mind, imagination, and suspension of disbelief--three of your most magical and precious possessions. 
  • And why not explore Tasha Tudor's art? My favorite pieces are her illustrations for A Little Princess and The Secret Garden.