Grumpy hummingbird in a local cemetery. Appropriate.
This is the time of year when it’s dark when we leave the house and just about dark when we arrive home. Very little sun to be seen unless we make a concerted effort to get outside on breaks (and if it’s not raining). So thoughts turn inwards. It’s an understandable time for the development of All Hallows Eve (Halloween), Samhain, Day of the Dead. Also, we might be coming down from yesterday’s overbought-for-the-trick-or-treaters sugar high. And of course the election is next week. Yep.
For truly wallowing in the experience, provoking some thought, and then moving on better for it, I recommend:
Listening to Leonard Cohen’s new album, You Want it Darker. He’s 82 and acknowledges he’s winding down but seems to be at peace with that. Haven’t formed an opinion of the album yet beyond being glad that it exists. His voice, never strong, has lost some of what was there. Doesn’t matter.
Reading appropriate poetry such as T.S. Eliot’s “Animula.”
Carving out time for the full length read, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty.
Remembering both Tempus fugit and Carpe diem.
Not one item above is morbid. Accepting, moving on, and DOING SOMETHING with the time we have. Yes.
Almost twenty years ago I was doing research for someone in old 1930 newspaper–the tangible, paper kind bound into unwieldy volumes–and became fascinated by a series of reports about the discovery of a young woman’s body along the Redwood Highway in northern California and the subsequent search for both her killer and her identity.
I went on to do my own research and painstakingly copied down everything I could find from the newspaper. Later on I visited various archives and found more related documents. These days you can find much of what I had to dig for without leaving your the comfort of your own home. The story has not left me. True crime isn’t my jam but I haven’t been able to turn it into the novel that I thought was there either.
So, I’m releasing the idea back into the wild. If you can use it, let me know. If you think you’d like to make it a joint project, drop me a line or leave a comment. What I’m going to do is write a series of posts quoting (not reproducing the entire articles because I believe they’re still under copyright by the AP) the series of articles that originally intrigued me. Perhaps they’ll intrigue you, too!
Inspired by this 29 Ways to Stay Creative video (and certainly lacking creativity lately), I compiled a list of creativity boosters. Many of these are taken verbatim from the above-mentioned video. Others I found online. The remainder have worked for me in the past. To inject an element of whimsy, I printed out one idea each on business cards and made myself a 52-card deck. I’ll choose one each day or each week–whatever I’m in the mood for–and work on that idea. Couldn’t hurt. Do you have suggestions to add to the list?
- GO FOR A WALK
- GO FOR A RUN
- DOODLE OR DRAW
- PLAY A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
- READ A BOOK BY A NEW-TO-YOU AUTHOR
- TAKE A NAP
- HANG OUT AT A COFFEE HOUSE
- TAKE A BATH
- START A NEW PROJECT
- FIX SOMETHING THAT’S BROKEN
- NOTICE COLORS
- WRITE WITH YOUR NON-DOMINANT HAND
- GO FOR A BIKE RIDE
- EAT SOME FRUITS & VEGGIES
- SOLVE PUZZLES (SUDOKU, ANYONE?)
- MEET NEW PEOPLE
- TAKE A NEW ROUTE
- FIND SOLITUDE AND/OR SILENCE
- CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
- LEARN SOMETHING NEW
- BREAK A SWEAT
- PLAY A GAME
- INDULGE YOURSELF WITH SOMETHING TODAY
- MAKE LISTS
- CARRY A NOTEBOOK
- FREE WRITE
- TURN OFF YOUR SCREENS
- TAKE BREAKS
- DRINK TEA
- LISTEN TO NEW MUSIC
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CREATIVE PEOPLE
- GET FEEDBACK
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
- MAKE MISTAKES
- GO SOMEWHERE NEW
- COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
- BREAK THE RULES
- READ A PAGE OF THE DICTIONARY
- CREATE LIMITS
- GOT AN IDEA? WRITE IT DOWN
- CLEAN YOUR WORKSPACE
- HAVE FUN
- FINISH SOMETHING
We have just a little over a month to go until 12/13/14 (see this post). If you have any suggestions on how to make it a memorable day, please leave them in the comments. This is turning out to be a particularly rough month for me–next year remind me to hibernate through November–so I need something to look forward to. All suggestions considered; I lack inspiration.
When given the opportunity to wander around the gardens at The Huntington not too long ago, I ran across someone who is definitely following his vision, using his hands, and being a master craftsman. He’s not using machinery and his entire project is time-consuming and, obviously, a labor of love. Terence Eagan is painstakingly restoring the faux bois works (arbor supports, etc.) that were created at the Huntington in the 1920s and have since been decaying.Luckily for me, he stopped his work and graciously posed for a few photos and told me about his project and how he worked so hard get the restoration approved and funded. Fascinating! And just the kind of thing we advocate at QSB.
See videos and articles on his website. Also, the Huntington is well worth a visit if you find yourself in southern California.
No faux bois in this particular part of the Huntington’s gardens.
From Heracles by Euripides, translated by William Arrowsmith:
All is change; all yields its place and goes;
to persevere, trusting in what hopes he has,
is courage in a man. The coward despairs.
You may have noticed (I hope you noticed) that spring came and went without a new issue of Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine. And, summer is marching on. What can I say but that the writer’s block is just starting *knock wood* to melt away a drop at a time. My block is/was made out of ice, you see, and I have been frozen in front of the keyboard.
A long vacation with The Taste Tester helped. And, I’ve been reading a ton–replenishing the well, I guess.
Here’s some street art I ran into the other day (I had to look way up) and appreciated. Perhaps you will too. Climbed any utility poles lately?
I’ll be talking to you again…hopefully sooner rather than later.
Do you have a personal motto? They can be inspirational or representative. I like Steinbeck’s Ad astra per alia porci which literally translates as “To the stars on the wings of a pig.” There is some controversy about the use of alia in this case rather than alas (alia could be “garlic”). However, it does appear that Steinbeck, for better or for worse, truly used alia. Steinbeck’s Pigasus is also awesome. A winged pig!This leads to a silly story (ooh! another tangent). When I was very young and someone would say something like “When pigs fly” with the clear meaning of “Never,” I would be terribly confused. Because pigs can fly–at least “weather pigs” do. Where did I get that idea? A mishearing of a line in Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” You can read the entire poem here but the relevant stanza is:
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
I thought it said weather and that it was a declarative statement rather than a question to discuss. Also, the possibility of winged-but-flightless piglets never crossed my mind.
Anyway, back to the idea of a motto. I want one. It should be in Latin and at least a little bit original. Ideas welcome. And, if you have your own or have heard one you like, please share. I’d like the inspiration. I already know about Semper ubi, sub ubi.
I know how I slow down and relax (going outside and taking picture of bugs is one way I do it…to each her own, eh?). And I know what we’ve said in Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine about ways to slow down and relax.
But, what do you do and how do you do it?
And now for something completely different…
I pack my camera around with me almost everywhere. It’s led me to notice things that I hadn’t before. Now I’ve read a book and watched a movie that have done the same thing for me regarding fonts. The book:
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield.
Helvetica, released 2007.
Even if you didn’t know anything about fonts except the ones available on your word processing program, I guarantee that you’ll be noticing fonts all over the place after reading the book and watching the movie. FYI: Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine uses the Perpetua font family for no reason other than the Editor likes it and it’s pretty easy to read.