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Archive for the category “Creativity”

We Are

I just want to share these beautiful and heartfelt words with as many people as possible. Thank you, Connie.

Sorting it Out

flowers 2We are flowers, reaching, reaching, napping in the September sun, warming our skin, unwilling to say good-bye. How many more days before it has travelled too far south to impart even an ounce of warmth?

We are the moon, hanging orange and low and pregnant, keeping quiet company in the dark, waiting for birth, for daylight, whispering that you were conceived in love and brightly shining hope.

We are the wind, invisible, lonely, unable to stay in one place, unaware of our power, at times troubling, at others soothing, at others yet fanning the coals of a cooling fire.

We are cloud and rain, watering and cooling, then pooling back into ourselves.

We are bright bursts of electricity and light; we are loud unsettling rumbles of thunder. We are weeping willows and whispering pines; we are raging hurricanes and crushing surf.

We are, you and I in turn, the grandeur…

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Mandala #5

It’s been a year since I started this blog, which I’ve been neglecting of late. Still, Happy Anniversary to me.

On the first day of fall last year, I decided to choose a keyword and a theme song for the season. The keyword I chose was velocity and my theme song was Glad Tidings by Van Morrison. The result was kind of amusing, but the idea was a good one.

Yesterday morning, I heard Terry Gross interviewing Elton John on Fresh Air ahead of the release of his latest album, The Diving Board. He talked about his music, his years of drug and alcohol addiction, and his current life, which he described as being brilliant.

Brilliant adj full of light; shining; very bright and radiant

What a wonderful way to describe a life! Who wouldn’t want to have a brilliant life? Or who believes that having a brilliant life is unattainable, too splashy or flashy, or not a serious or respectable enough goal?

I think brilliant is absolutely the best possible kind of life to have. So that’s my keyword for fall. To go along with it, my theme song is Elton John’s version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

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Helvetica: heart it or hate it?

Example of the Helvetica typeface. Image creat...

Can you spell boring?

I love type and typography. And I’ve been fortunate to have had several jobs that involved working with type, thus allowing me to pour over font catalogs, spend someone else’s money to amass a good-sized library of Adobe fonts, and fool around in Adobe Illustrator and Quark Xpress until my eyes glazed over. I even did a bit of freelance graphic design.

he who dies with the most fonts wins

I know there are numerous variations of this slogan, but this is the one that seems truest to me. So of course when I came across the video animation below of the history of typography, it was love at first sight.

People’s type tastes vary. Some people don’t even pay any attention to type. They can’t distinguish Bodoni from Bookman. If they use a Word Processing program, they just go with the default font.

Which brings me to the over-used default font of choice in the Western world: Helvetica. There are only two fonts I roundly despise, and the other one is Courier which I once removed from every single PC in the office where I was working (because someone actually went out of his way to use it; obviously, he had to be stopped).

There’s a wealth of sans serif fonts in the universe, including Univers, all of which are preferable to the dreadful Helvetica. I hate Helvitica. If you heart Helvetica, well, I’m sorry but we just can’t be friends anymore.

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a poem a day, that’s all we ask

logo-napowrimoIf you are a poet, maybe you’re already participating in NaPoWriMo—National Poetry Writing Month—an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month now in its 11th year.

If you don’t know about NaPoWriMo, the intention is for people to commit to writing a poem a day for the 30 days of April. Yes, we’re two-thirds of the way through April already; nevertheless, the site has much to offer for poets and appreciators of poetry.

There’s a fresh new prompt each day for poets. And both poets and poetry readers can find links to the websites of hundreds of poetic participants—a treasure trove that is definitely worth checking out!

With the links to those sites, participants can see what other people are doing with the same prompts (the prompts being optional, of course). That’s a very cool aspect of NaPoWriMo. Thanks to Maureen Thorson for getting this great project off the ground in 2003 and making a difference by keeping it going each year.

word pictures

There’s so much creativity happening on the internet. I love this site called Tagxedo, where you can take the contents of, for example, a blog post and make a graphic design element out of it.

This one is from one of last month’s blog posts,  just driving:

just driving tgx

You can see many more examples on their Facebook page.

OK, your turn to go play now!

this is what the whole thing is about

National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry month, two poems from a poet I just discovered, alas long after his death. William Stafford was born in 1914 and died in 1993.

He was born in Kansas and received a B.A. from the University of Kansas in 1937. A pacifist, he declared himself a conscientious objector and did forestry and soil conservation work during World War II. His first major collection of poetry, Traveling Through the Dark, wasn’t published until he was 48. It won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1963.

when I met my muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.


just thinking

Got up on a cool morning. Leaned out a window.

No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held
for awhile. Some dove somewhere.

Been on probation most of my life. And
the rest of my life been condemned. So these moments
count for a lot–peace, you know.

Let the bucket of memory down into the well,
bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one
stirring, no plans. Just being there.

This is what the whole thing is about.



Stafford’s poems are often deceptively simple. Like Robert Frost’s, however, they reveal a distinctive and complex vision upon closer examination. Among his best-known books are The Rescued Year (1966), Stories That Could Be True: New and Collected Poems (1977), Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer’s Vocation (1978), and An Oregon Message (1987).

This is a great post from Container Chronicles on using keywords to help you focus and to mark the transition from one season to the next.

Container Chronicles

Four Seasons

Wednesday was the first day of spring, and in keeping with my commitment to seasonal keywords, I am ready to announce my choice for spring. The habit of using seasonal keywords has provided me with a way to visualize my short-term goals in an effort to free-up the future. I want to have more time for pursuing the things that give me meaning, but my schedule has been too hectic, a condition that is a direct result of a lack of awareness. If this practice and focus have done nothing else for me, they have shown me that I have been moving through my life on auto-pilot, responding to distractions without having a solid compass that leads me back to true north, or my authentic self.

For each season, I choose a keyword. Then I look for a visual representation that helps me keep these keyword in sight…

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accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger award


Thank you, Debbie and Container Chroniclesfor nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. (I can hardly contain myself!) But seriously, I’m really pleased and grateful for the nomination and to be able to share it with other bloggers.

there must be rules

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

there must be 7 things about me

  1. I named my cat Naima after the ballad John Coltrane wrote–and named–for his first wife (it’s on the album Giant Steps). Naima means “tranquil,” which is probably why my cat refuses to answer to it.
  2. The first time I tried to leave home, I was 3. Then I laid low till kindergarten before making another attempt to escape.
  3. My favorite foods are raspberries, ginger, and cilantro. Coffee is essential. Dark chocolate makes everything better.
  4. For a few years, I was the firm administrator for an accounting firm. I created the Accounting Academy Awards to get us all through tax season.
  5. I’ve been writing and telling stories in one form or another from very early on. In my pre-teens, for example, I wrote over a hundred plays on lined loose leaf paper. Each completed “work” went into its own card stock report cover with the title handwritten in the little rectangle on the front.
  6. In the 70s, I had a job where I went to work barefoot one day, and the only question anyone asked me was, “Aren’t your feet cold?”
  7. If I only had one day left to live, I’d want to spend it hiking in Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

there must be sharing!

Here are 15 fellow bloggers I’m nominating for this award. Please check them out and see for yourself how good they are.

  1. Sorting it Out
  2. LUGGAGE Lady
  3. Meaningful Life
  4. Under the Blue Door
  5. Xenogirl
  6. K.L. Wightman
  7. Internal Evolution
  8. It Started with a Quote
  9. Courage 2 Create
  10. The Running Father Blog
  11. My Life in Color
  12. Flashlight City Blues
  13. Hege Nabo
  14. The Happsters
  15. Land of Enchantment Blog

Thank you again, Debbie, and thank all of you inspiring bloggers for doing what you do. Being able to peek into so many different worlds makes my world that much richer!

turn it up!

The Band, Hamburg, May 1971. Left to right: Ri...

The Band, Hamburg, May 1971. Left to right: Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Richard Manuel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Band was part of the background music of my life for a while, but at the time I couldn’t have distinguished one musician from another. I wasn’t really paying attention until Robbie Robertson released his first solo album, Robbie Robertson, in 1987. Loved it the first time I heard the first track; love it still–especially the mesmerizing “Somewhere Down the Crazy River.”

Much later I came to appreciate Rick Danko. His voice is the one in my head when I think of The Band. Danko recorded this beautiful acoustic version of “When You Awake” in 2009. It seems even more moving and powerful than The Band’s version.

One of the songs Levon Helm is best known for is “The Weight.” There are a lot of versions of this song, but this one from the documentary The Last Waltz is so good.

Van the man

The Last Waltz has been called the best music documentary ever by some critics. I haven’t seen them all, but it’s definitely my favorite. All the music is fantastic, but the performance that tops the rest is Van Morrison doing “Caravan.” It’s worth watching the whole thing just to get to those five or six minutes. It’s too bad there’s no video available, but this audio gives a sense of the electricity in the auditorium. Turn it up! Little bit louder. Radio!

And then, of course, when we did “Caravan,” which was something that we really just wanted to play together, and I wanted to play some guitar on, and we wanted to do that. And we did this. And we had the horn section and the whole thing, and the way the song built and it built and it built. All of a sudden, at the end, when Van starts kicking his leg up in the air, we were like, “What’s happening here? This is the most wonderful out of control I’ve ever seen him.” And it was just magical, you know, just that whole song, and the performance of that. When we were finished playing that song, when I turned around, you know, to the other guys in the band, and I was like, “Okay,” you know? We were just feeling so good at that moment.

— Robbie Robertson, VH-1 interview on the making of The Last Waltz.



“I would but find what’s there to find,
Love or deceit.”
“It was the mask engaged your mind,
And after set your heart to beat,
Not what’s behind.”
–from The Mask, William Butler Yeats

Masks have always fascinated me. People have been making and wearing them for thousands of years. The earliest ones found are over 9,000 years old.

The only piece of art I’ve ever regretted not buying was a teal colored plaster mask of a woman’s face on display in a booth at the Sausalito Art Festival many years ago. The mini installation above consists of a leaf-shaped fan I’ve been carting around for years, an elaborate dream catcher my partner and I got from an artist at the downtown farmers’ market in San Rafael one summer evening, and a paper mache mask he made of the upper part of his face before I met him (and before his deviated septum was corrected).

I’ve always thought it would be interesting to make a mask from a mold of my own face. For a while, I knew of a local artist who taught mask-making classes, but I never followed through. I might yet do it, though. I found these detailed instructions on how to make a paper mache mask. It’s a messy process and seems like the kind of thing that would be more fun to do in a group.

Beyond being fun, making a mask can be a more meaningful, even a transformational, experience:

Artists use a wide range of materials for the masks they make. Spokane artist Annie Libertini makes gorgeous leather masks. Click the link below to check out how she does it and what her creations look like.

Watch Transformational Masks on PBS. See more from Northwest Profiles.

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