Unmarked Trails

August 21, 2011

This week I received delivery of my new wicker furniture in my downtown space. It feels extravagant. For years I have been claiming that possessions are burdensome, and that I want fewer, not more. So why this burst of material consumption?

I think of these furnishings as a means to an end, though I’m not sure yet what the end might be. I believe it has something to do with connection and hospitality. (It’s a conversation grouping, after all.) It has something to do with creating beauty. And it has something to do with having a room of my own.

Roethke said, “I learn, by going, where I have to go.” I suppose this is an experiment in moving toward the unknown, following unmarked trails, doing something entirely different. My hope is that it will jump start my creativity.

What have you done lately that is uncharacteristic, that shifts your perspective, that challenges your habitual preferences a bit?

Soul Adventure

July 31, 2011

Today, I discovered the delightful Fridaville. I was prompted by a search that showed up in my blog stats for Nikki Hardin, which led me to a comment she made on one of my posts here back in 2008, which led me to her blog. So funny that her tagline is “where my imagination rents a room.”

I visited my new un-virtual room yesterday. Tomorrow I will go and clean in preparation for…what? It is strange and wonderful to not know what I will do with this room. I have some vague notions: listening to myself, inviting poets and friends in, wicker, beauty, play, tranquility, possibility. But mostly, it feels like a grand soul adventure.

What is your latest adventure–or your next adventure to be?

Busy Summer

June 2, 2011

Summer is here. Over 90-degree temperatures expected for several days! For me, it promises to be a busy time. Here are some of the things I have going on this summer. I hope to maintain equanimity in the midst of all this activity.

Teaching: I am co-teaching a class (with Kathleen de la Peña McCook) for Valdosta State University’s Master of Library and Information Science program. It is called “Community Building” and it’s all about how to build community through public libraries. I believe this is the future for public libraries if they are to stay relevant and essential. In this blog post, “What Is a Library(an)?” architect Philip O’Brien says that librarians at the 2011 ALIA Information Online Conference in Sydney, Australia, had this to say about the future of the library: “a physical space, complimented by online space, a place of connections; between people and information, and between people and community, a community gathering space, and a social, cultural and learning hub, where people can find information, or create their own information.”

Consulting: (1) I am working with Stephen Spohn of LYRASIS to help Wayne County (PA) Libraries with an exciting project called “Redesigning the Public Library: A New Model for a New World.” (2) I am continuing to help a local nonprofit, the Community Helping Place with their strategic planning effort. (3) And I am doing some library board training.

More teaching: In fall (in addition to another section of Community Building), I will be teaching a continuing education class for North Georgia College and State University, using Julia Cameron’s (The Artist’s Way) suggestions for creative clusters. So I am also tuning in to anything that I can use in that class. Any ideas for me?

Other: This is in addition to yoga three times a week, monthly poetry group meetings, and a fair amount of time spent playing Rummikub online!

How’s your summer shaping up? And what will you do for yourself that keeps you grounded?

Same Site, New Name

February 12, 2011

Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is the only moment.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Hello, quotesqueen readers. You’ll notice my new blog name, “Only Moment.” The URL has not changed. It’s great to be back!

This present moment I am sitting in the sunshine that is pouring into my kitchen. I have just come in from the back deck, where I heard lovely birdsong I don’t usually hear–a lot of melody, a varied repertoire, not at all like the squawky, fussy noises of the titmice, chickadees, and goldfinches that throng our feeder.

I am about to finish Julia Cameron’s book, Finding Water, and I have proposed a 12-week class through North Ga. College & State University Continuing Education to explore creativity using The Artist’s Way. Cameron offers guidelines for “Creative Clusters” here. I am hopeful that the class (if accepted for the fall) will result in a continuing group. But even if it doesn’t, we should have fun going through the 12-step program Cameron outlines for “creative recovery.”

How do you nurture your own creativity? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Things That Make Me Want to Write

August 5, 2010

I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to earth. ~Pearl Buck

Lately I have found myself not in the mood to write here, forgetting that this blog was supposed to be a writing practice. It is time to get my mind down to earth. I could list many excuses, but where would that get me? Instead, I think I’ll make a list of things that make me want to write.

The new fancy, retro pen I bought today (photo above) * the fact that I finally got a refill for the other fancy pen I was given many years ago * getting comments on my blogs * my 3-page-a-day “morning pages” practice * the joys of air conditioning * reading other blogs about writing or with examples of writing * rereading my own blog posts * getting comments on my blogs * actually writing * talking to writers * remembering dreams * reading about writing * having something else I should be doing (I know, this is a negative-positive, but what can I say?) * going for a walk * hearing writers read from their works * getting comments on my blogs * emotional intensity * not playing computer Scrabble (another np) * watching butterflies * reading classic literature * attending my writing group meetings * getting comments on my blogs * waking gently * learning new words * people-watching * oh, and did I mention getting comments on my blogs?

What makes you come alive? What inspires you to do whatever creative thing(s)  you are meant to do in this world?

Praise, Blame, and Failure

June 28, 2010

This has been going on through the ages.
They criticize the silent ones.
They criticize the talkative ones.
They criticize the moderate ones.
There is no one in the world who escapes criticism.

There never was and never will be,
nor is there now,
the wholly criticized
or the wholly approved.


Fall down 53 times. Get up 54.
~Zen slogan

This morning, walking down the hill to my mailbox, I stepped onto uneven pavement or slipped on loose gravel, twisted my ankle, and fell with all my weight onto my left palm, which now has a nasty cut that won’t stop bleeding. Then about 10:15 I had a call from my doctor saying I was supposed to be at her office at 10:00, a missed appointment that I will have to pay for. In my earlier morning pages,* I reflected on haunting missteps from my past, resolving to move forward with what I have learned, rather than dwelling on what I should have done differently.

So it felt like a personal message from the universe to open my email and find these quotes and other wise words from Margaret Wheatley, an excerpt from her new book, Perseverance. You can read her brief excerpt here. (Be sure to click the arrow on the first page, “Praise and Blame,” to get to the next, “Failure.”)

Wheatley says praise and blame are two sides of the same coin. I couldn’t agree more. For my take on that subject, see a previous entry, “Judgment.”

And now I’m going to get my hand stitched up. May we all walk more mindfully, with acceptance that we are human, and with compassion for ourselves and others.


*If you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t need the explanation that writing three pages in the morning (“morning pages”) is a technique for enhancing creativity described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way

Book Arts

May 31, 2010

Why should we all use our creative power and write or paint or play music, or whatever it tells us to do?  Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.  Because the best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it.  And what is the purpose of existence Here or Yonder but to discover truth and beauty and express it, i.e., share it with others?  ~Brenda Ueland (If You Want to Write, Graywolf Press, 2007)

I have just returned from a wonderful creative weekend at the John C. Campbell Folk School. My teacher, Joyce Sievers, embodied what I feel all good teachers possess: some ineffable combination of inspiration, acceptance, and equanimity.

I notice I am again choosing a Brenda Ueland quote. Seems to be my theme for May, so perhaps it is time to reread her classic, If You Want to Write.

Meanwhile, am reading a fascinating novel by Olga Grushin, The Line. I loved her first book, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, and had hoped her second wouldn’t disappoint me. Instead, my attention is riveted, and I am loving her beautiful prose and her ability to weave a story that is compelling and surprising.

What are you reading? What are you creating?