Writing

Poetry Avoided

For nearly half a century I avoided poetry.  

three books against wood background

I have fond memories of rhyming verses in Mrs. Miggawa’s third grade class.  I wrote a published poem senior year in high school.  (Although, to be honest, the small pamphlet printed as part of my Catholic all-girls high school curriculum had a minuscule readership.)  And, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island of the Mind is one of my favorite books.  But somewhere between early enjoyment and today, poetry assumed an impenetrable guise.  I blame this on too many instructors asking “What does it mean?” then being dissatisfied with my blue book reply when the real question was “What do I believe it means?” and, having missed his, her, their personal interpretation, my exam response messed with my college GPA.

My version of The 100-Day Project with Suleika Jaouad will be to read poetry.  It may be a single poem each morning but I want discover (or re-discover) a poet every day.  I intend to banish the judgmental “What does it mean?” question from my vocabulary and let the poem simply rest on the page.  The poet’s meaning may leap off that page or remain mysteriously obscure, either will be fine.  

Writing

The 100-Day Project

Suleika Jaouad’s note to self for the next 100 days

A birthday post from 2020 introduced Knit+ Librarian as a new artistic outlet. In those early Covid days when we were wiping groceries before putting them on the shelves and quarantining the mail for four days before opening letters and bills, I took solace from reading Suleika Jaouad’s posts. She had just launched The Isolation Journals with a goal of kindling “creativity and connection in challenging times.” As someone who only dabbles in writing rather than breathing letters and words, then and now, I stayed on the periphery reading her weekly journaling prompts and writing only sometimes. Like a wallflower in a Julia Quinn ballroom watching the quadrille with curiosity but definitely not joining the dancers. 

As Suleika undergoes her second round of treatments for leukemia, her latest inspirational endeavor is The 100-Day Project and she invites participants to incorporate one creative act into daily life, everyday; something small that gives joy but which may also blossom. Suleika will “paint one small, simple thing and call it a day—a flower, a palm frond, or a pillowy cloud.” As I already knit and read each day (Oh the joy of retirement life!), I am still contemplating what creative act I will undertake in solidarity with this courageous artist.

Photo credit: Suleika Jaouad

Writing

Bloganuary?!?

Today’s whim – – join a blogging challenge.  I’ve done Squares times four with BeckyB of Winchester, reading challenges with The Uncorked Librarian and this month I signed up for Bloganuary.  (There is even a badge for participants!)  With a promise of daily writing prompts from WordPress, the challenge is intended to nudge writers to write.  Now, lest you worry you will be inundated with posts, I promise only sporadic musings.

With today’s prompt:  “What does it mean to live boldly?” Mary Oliver comes to mind.  While her poems, inspired by our miraculous natural world, might not on first reading seem audacious – they are. And, her advice in Sometimes is bold indeed. 

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
blue and white badge graphic denoting bloganuary 2022 participation
Gardening · Writing

Blueberries after a year & a month of blogging

First Picking – 2021

Inspired by Suleika Jaouad, I started Knit+ Librarian as a Covid survival technique early into our worldwide pandemic quarantine hoping to capture random thoughts and images.  Over the past year and a month, I never gave any thought to what might happen as topics cycled back through my life.  I knew the Knitting and Reading blog posts would stay fresh as there would always be a just-knit sweater or shawl to describe or a new favorite book to review.  But with today’s first picking of blueberries even while reveling in their dusty blue hues, I realized there may be some repetition in the Baking and Gardening categories whether I am describing the last rhubarb crisp of the summer or this season’s blueberries. 

There is a simple beauty in the natural cycles each following one after another, season by season which especially deserve our appreciation in this northern clime where we go from warm days of verdant greens to frigid, frosty whites and grays and back again.  And, I am certainly in good blogging company, as Christina Campbell on The Healthy Knitter shares monthly posts about each full moon and Solène Le Roux at Knit Pause leads meditative knitting retreats focused on nature.  As I celebrate the ebb and flow of the seasons in our garden sans any exotic varieties and filled with plants I can only describe by their common names without knowledge of scientific nomenclature, I will simply enjoy “playing in the dirt” and you may see a similar but never identical new post or photo.

Art · Knitting · Writing

Project Peace – part 2

Chihuly: Nature of Glass – Desert Towers, 2008

Each morning a smidge of peace arrives in my mailbox; just a click away from a longer meditation.  From December 1-21, in addition to a wonderful knit-a-long pattern, Christina Campbell shares daily reflections on her 2020 theme “peace in place”.  Her creative writing, landscape photographs, and peace building challenges are inspirational.  I am writing more and reflecting on her definition of peace “…cultivating right relationships with self, others, and the Earth”.  

While Phoenix is not our stay-in-place place in these Covid times, I remember a quiet walk through the Desert Botanical Garden.  The trails wend through flora exotic to my Midwest field and forest eye.  The garden offers brilliant pops of color against the subdued desert backdrop, as well as sculpture placed so artfully so as to merge with the landscape.  Certainly what Chihuly intended with his Glass Towers.  In another era we might have asked:  Is it live or is it Memorex?

Join me on this peace filled journey at the Healthy Knitter.  Knitting not required.

Knitting · Writing

YoP – A Year of Projects

I consider myself a fastidious Ravelry user.  I have taken pictures and recorded new yarn in my motel room within hours of visiting a yarn store and project pages are a must.  Maybe there is a secret cataloger lurking in me that desires to keep an orderly record or it could be that with 154 projects (to date) my memory can get a bit fuzzy about what I have knit when and with what yarn. 

Not surprising with over 13,000 Ravelry groups some so small they only include 2-4 people and others with memberships well into five figures there is a discussion forum for bloggers.  A Year of Projects blog-a-long offers a framework to keep track of what can be a chaotic mix of actual works-in-progress (WIP) and those that are only dreams; while encouraging writers to write all with the added bonus of a built in audience among the participating bloggers.

Having just re-joined the blogging sphere in May, I have yet to suffer from prolonged writer’s block and who knows if Knit+ Librarian will continue beyond this pandemic sequester but A Year of Projects could be useful as an online writers’ group.  As I am joining the group mid-year, my list of projects yet to be tackled (with or without an accompanying blog post) includes:

  • Hortensia Mitts and Hortensia Hat from Solène Le Roux – WIP
  • Project Peace 2020 KAL with Christina Campbell – awaiting yarn
  • River of Dreams Bedrunner – WIP
  • Selwyn a Knit Camp KAL with Marie Greene – WIP
  • New Knit Camp patterns as they are released monthly by Marie Greene (specific details to follow)

Other items of interest · Writing

Migrating

I have resurrected my long dormant WordPress skills to recreate this new personal website. While I have never been a real writer (unlike someone such as Elizabeth Klein who said that for her “writing is like breathing”), I tend to periodically dabble. In the immediate pre- and post- retirement days, I wrote to capture the swing of emotions as I left my professional days behind. And, since I preceeded a good friend into this next chapter of our working lives by six months, she had requested I share any insights. She claimed my musing were useful although I am still skeptical.

At the onset of our Covid-19 confinement as days merged totally undistinguishable into one another and spurred on by The Isolation Journals, I thought to capture some of the emotions of these unprecedented times. And it worked – sort of. But, never having taken a creative writing class, the daily exercises felt artificial. So another nonstarter.

But nagging at the back of my brain was the fact that my Raverly profile included a link to my long-abandoned Tumblr account, The Bead Working Librarian. This site was initially created in December 2013 as Thing 1 at the launch of 23 Mobile Things (the mobile edition of 23 Things on a Stick). As the title suggests, my artistic focus at the time was still on beads but the individual posts reflect my switch to fiber. My first thought was to simply migrate all the content to its own page within this new site so as to not loose the thread of my early knitting experiences. But, having gone through the painstaking work of migrating content several times for the SELCO website, my earlier writing simply did not merit that amount of time and work. Hence the content will stay at The Bead Working Librarian until Tumbr or this link disappears into cyberspace. What I will migrate from Tumblr is the crisp formatting that fits my writing style – – lots of pictures with short descriptive phrases to describe the current events in my life.