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“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?” — Rollo May, from The Courage to Create
EXPRESSIVE WRITING CAN HELP YOU…
…relieve stress, clarify choices, and generate original material for personal projects. It can help restore a feeling of balance, alter moods, and bring emotional relief.
For more details about how expressive and reflective writing for insight, craft, and soul nourishment can enhance your life, visit https://www.inkwings.com/services/therapeutic-writing/
Consultations, workshops, and writing sessions are available by appointment.
December 5, 2020 – field guide additions to “Trees”
Writing adventurer, Patricia Kennedy, wrote after our session with some details about Witness Trees, a topic she tapped into during our writing sprints …
“Trees are such a broad topic for me…….but here’s the information on the witness trees at Union County College [NJ]. I met Dr. Tomas Ombrello by chance at Tennent Church in Freehold a couple of months ago, but a bit about the location. The church is located on the fringe of Monmouth (NJ) battlefield and was used as a field hospital while at the same time in range of the battle. There is a gravestone there that was hit by a cannonball and several gravestones of soldiers including a British soldier. Now, at noon, the church bells play patriotic music and it is quite moving to hear in that particular place. In front of the church was, until this past year, a witness tree. (see photo below) Tom asked us (my sister and I) if we knew what happened to the witness tree and it was at that point I realized it was gone!!! I have been there at regular intervals over the past several years, and missed that it had been removed as it had finally reached its final gasp. Tom informed us that he was looking forward to collecting something that would allow him to include that tree in his witness tree program at the college. At which point he gave me a pamphlet (a rather good sized one) explaining his student project to grow trees from seeds or bits he’d collected from other witness trees and invited us to contact him for a tour when covid eased up. If anyone is interested in contacting him for a pdf copy of the listing, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The pamphlet gives location information for the trees as well.”
November 14, 2020 – field guide additions to “Horses”
October 1, 2020
WRITING AS AN ANTIDOTE TO LONELINESS
“It may not seem possible to be able to write your way to better health. But as a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a poet myself, I know what the scientific data have to say about this: when people write about what’s in their hearts and minds, they feel better and get healthier. And it isn’t just that they’re getting their troubles off their chests.
Writing provides a rewarding means of exploring and expressing feelings. It allows you to make sense of yourself and the world you are experiencing. Having a deeper understanding of how you think and feel — that self-knowledge — provides you with a stronger connection to yourself. It’s that connection that often allows you to move past negative emotions (like guilt and shame) and instead access positive ones (like optimism or empathy), fostering a sense of connection to others in addition to oneself.”
—Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPHJeremy Nobel, MD, MPH
September 19, 2020 – field guide additions to “Knots”
“The bravest thing you can do is to accept, with gratitude, the world as it is….It is a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering, and there is no escaping that.”
— Stephen Colbert
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
― Jamie Anderson
English producer, director and writer
EASY RECIPE TO MAKE GARLIC KNOTS…
September 5, 2020 – field guide additions to “Work”
John Stevens: Beyond Exemplars and Ductus
John Stevens is a well-known and accomplished letter artist on the international scene, renowned for his versatility and skill as a calligrapher and letter artist and for a wide range of exemplary work. On November 19, 2019, John lectured at Letterform at San Francisco Public Library. Nearly four decades of letter-making have provided John with a comprehensive view of letterforms and design, having worked with classical letterforms, experimental letterforms, and personally expressive letterforms from the functional to the experimental. This talk will provide insights into form (and what is “good form”) – beyond the “form is function” model, the Universal Line, strategies to expand a letter designer’s vision (vs. so much copying), how visual literacy can expand one’s possibilities to see beyond “styles”, and a few models John has developed for visualization, ideation, and creation with letterforms. Enjoy this 90-minute presentation!
September 16, 2020 to October 14, 2020
Each Wed 1:15pm to 3:15pm
Book Arts with Mary Elizabeth Nelson
Miniatures Books Part ll
A never ending discovery of things small.
A book can be mysterious, it can be subtle or dramatic, bold or soft, colorful or monochromatic.
Join book artist, Mary ELizabeth Nelson, on this adventure.
University of Cambridge Digital Library has shared 235 magnificent pages of a parchment codex of insular half uncial created in Northumbria during the eighth century, C.E.
September 5, 2020 – field guide additions to “Work”
WPA Poster Collection
Library of Congress
A Treasure Hunt for Lost WPA Masterpieces
Artnet – April 22, 2014
Shakespeare at Planet Word
Natural Clay Paint, homemade with soil and wheatpaste: A cinematic venture
Lapis lazuli – From rock to powder
August 22, 2020 – field guide additions to “Shadows”
August 15, 2020 – field guide additions to “Time”
Recommended reading… From Robyn Cadwallader, author of the internationally acclaimed novel The Anchoress, comes a deeply profound and moving novel of the importance of creativity and the power of connection, told through the story of the commissioning of a gorgeously decorated medieval manuscript, a Book of Hours.
London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power – it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.
Rich, deep, sensuous and full of life, Book of Colours is also, most movingly, a profoundly beautiful story about creativity and connection, and our instinctive need to understand our world and communicate with others through the pages of a book.
Social Justice, an exhibit of work in Asheville, NC by calligraphers and other artists, exploring the themes of Black Lives Matter and Racial Justice. First shown at the First Congregational United Christian Church, the art includes weathergrams, artwork on brown paper that names the names of many of the victims of police shootings over the last 20 years, and texts written by scribes which bridge the gaps among the lives of the community. The church partnered with Mountain Scribes, western North Carolina’s calligraphy guild. Much of the work in this exhibit is the art of those talented scribes as well as work from Carolina Lettering Arts Society and other groups.
When Love Arrives
by Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye
(Transcript of Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye’s spoken word poetry)
I knew exactly what love looked like- in seventh grade.
Even though I hadn’t met love yet, if love had wandered into my homeroom I would’ve recognized him at first glance. Love wore a hemp necklace.
I would’ve recognized her at first glance, love wore a tight french braid.
Love played acoustic guitar and knew all my favorite Beatles songs.
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me.
And I knew,
I just must be searching the wrong classrooms,
just must be checking the wrong hallways, she was there, I was sure of it.
If only I could find him.
But when love finally showed up,
she had a bowl cut.
He wore the same clothes every day for a week.
Love hated the bus.
Love didn’t know anything about The Beatles.
every time I tried to kiss love,
our teeth got in the way.
Love became the reason I lied to my parents.
I’m going to Ben’s house.
Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor, but made sure we never missed a slow song.
Love waited by the phone because she knew that if her father picked up it would be:
“Hello? Hello? heavy breathing I guess they hung up.”
And love grew,
stretched like a trampoline.
Love disappeared, slowly, like baby teeth, losing parts of me I thought I needed.
Love vanished like an amateur magician, and everyone could see the trapdoor but me.
Like a flat tire, there were other places I had planned on going,
but my plans didn’t matter.
Love stayed away for years, and when love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him.
Love smelled different now, had darker eyes,
a broader back, love came with freckles I didn’t recognize.
New birthmarks, a softer voice.
Now there were new sleeping patterns,
new favorite books.
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else,
songs love didn’t like to listen to.
So did I.
But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly,
we found jokes that make us laugh.
And now, love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies.
But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack.
Love looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer.
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator.
Love knows where she’s going, it just might take her two hours longer than she planned.
Love is messier now,
not as simple.
Love uses the words “boobs” in front of my parents.
Love chews too loud.
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste.
Love uses smiley faces in her text messages.
And turns out,
But love also cries. And love will tell you you are beautiful
and mean it,
over and over again.
You are beautiful.
When you first wake up,
“you are beautiful.”
When you’ve just been crying,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t want to hear it,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t want to hear it,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t believe it,
“you are beautiful.”
When nobody else will tell you,
“you are beautiful.”
Love still thinks – you are beautiful.
But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget,
when you need to hear it most,
you are beautiful,
do not forget this.
Love is not who you were expecting, love is not what you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep, and you are in California, India, Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone,
maybe love is not ready for you. Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love looks older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays-
maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, and love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say,
“Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet,
“Thank you. Thank you for stopping by.”
August 8, 2020 – field guide addition to “Luck”
Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie performs her poem “Titanic” or “On This the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic, We Reconsider the Buoyancy of the Human Heart”
Sarah Kay reads “Titanic” or “On This the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic, We Reconsider the Buoyancy of the Human Heart” by Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie
On This the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic We Reconsider the Buoyancy of the Human Heart.
by Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie
What’s wrong? Titanic asked me this morning, when she found me lying on the ocean floor with all my suitcases strewn open.
Oh, I dunno, I moaned, I was looking through National Geographic and saw some pictures of you, and thought I might come and chat. you looked great, by the way, in the pictures.
Me? No. Titanic smiled. If anything I seem to have become a Picasso. and I have a beard.
It was true; she looked more like a collage of a ship. Strangely two dimensional, in a crater of her own making:
French doors, boilers, railings every which way. And she did have a bit of a beard-rust icicles hanging in red strands from her iron engines.
Sitting up in my own little crater, I sort of blushed.
To be honest, i told Titanic, My honey’s leaving town soon and I’m afraid it’s gonna wreck me, so i dove down here.
Well come on in, Titanic said, but I’m not sure I’ve got what you’re looking for.
So in I climbed, through a window between two rust stalactites, and began to pace her great promenade (which would have been awesome, by the way -walking by the ghosts of all those waving handkerchiefs – except that I was in that feeling-sorry-for-yourself state where very hallway is the hallway of your own wretched mind, every ghost your own ghost, so I didn’t take a good look around.)
When I got to the turkish baths, I sat on the edge of a barnacled tub and watched weird crabs scrabble at my feet.
I was hoping you’d teach me how to sink, I said. You, who have spent a century underwater with 1500 skeletons in your chest.
I don’t know, said Titanic, I’m kind of a wreck.
Exactly! I said, Me too! I’m here to apprentice myself to wreckage. I’m here to apprentice myself to you! Great bearded lady, gargantuan ark, you floating hotel. With enough ballrooms in you to dance with everyone I’ve ever loved.
My heart has an iceberg with its name on it, I told Titanic, so i need some advice. Tell me, did you see the iceberg coming?
I did, Titanic said.
And you sailed right into it?
It was love, Titanic said.
And the band just kept playing? And the captain stayed at the wheel? What did it feel like to swallow seawater? Tell me, Titanic, how did it feel?
It felt like a hole in my side and then it felt like plummeting face first into the ice-cold ocean.
She’s a straight talker, the Titanic.
Alright, I said. Now let’s talk about rust. When my love leaves, I’m planning to weep stalactites from my chin. I will wear my sadness in longs strands. Like you, I will be bearded by it.
Then I made a terrible noise.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrkkkkkkkkkkk! I’ve been practicing the sound of wrenching metal, I told her, for when my love leaves.
But you aren’t made of metal. Titanic said to me.
I’m a writer, I said, I could be made of anything.
Well then, be a writer. She said.
Be a writer? I paused, anemones between my toes. Okay. When my love leaves i’ll start with SOS. I will Morse code odes as the whole world goes vertical. I’ll write nosedives as my torso splits in two.
And the next day i’ll write the stunned headlines,
and the next day i’ll write the obituaries, and the next day I will write furious accusations, and the next day I will write lawsuits, and the next day I will write confessions of my wrongdoing, and the next day I will write pardons, but i won’t really mean it, and the next day i’ll write sonnets, but they won’t fit the schema, and the next day i’ll write pleas, please, please come back. The next day I will write epitaphs, navigation maps, warning for future generations about the hubris of human love. I will write quotas and queries and quizzes, I will write nonsense, I will write nonesense, I will write nonsense all the way down and no diving teams will find me, no robot arms will retrieve me in pieces. never will I be reassembled in plein air. No, I will remain whole, two miles down, with my suitcases strewn open, and in 100 years i will still be writing about this feeling, though my heart be a Picasso, though my heart be bearded at the bottom of the sea.
The Titanic let me cry for a while, my sobs echoing off her moldy mosaics.
Then she said: Girl, you’re too young for a beard like this. You’re never gonna get some if you rust over now.
I sniffled a little and scratched my name into the green slime of the tub.
The trouble with you humans is that you are so concerned with staying afloat. Go ahead, be gouged open by love. Gulp that saltwater, sink beneath the waves. You’re not a boat, you can go under and come up again, with those big old lungs of yours, those hard kicking legs.
And your heart, she said, that gargantuan ark, that floating hotel. Call it unsinkable, though it is sinkable.
There are enough ballrooms in you to dance with everyone you’ll ever love.
That’s what the Titanic told me this morning, me, lying next to her on the ocean floor.
There are enough ballrooms in you.
“Circles in the Sand,” the spectacular labyrinths on the coast in Bandon, Oregon, are the brain child of Denny Dyke who created the paths “as a means of meditation, transformation and healing.” He and numerous volunteers create these unique walkable sandy paths based on historical forms so that everyone can experience the “benefits of taking some time just to be themselves.” Bottom right photo courtesy of Deborah Fisher, Bandon, OR. For more information, visit https://www.sandypathbandon.com/
August 1, 2020 – field guide addition to “Bread”
Published: November 8, 2006
The New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
NOTE: Here are two articles by Mark Bittman, food editor at The New York Times, with backstory, weight measurements, and variations for this delicious bread:
July 18, 2020 – field guide addition to “Fragrance”
“The Name of the Rose”
Pat Kennedy, photographer and storyteller of the old roses we enjoyed in our writing circle today, sent a note afterwards to let us know “the name of the rose is ‘Gentle Hermione’ – surely there’s a poem in just that!!!!!”
“Anonymous No Longer”
Gemma Black wrote to say that she found the author of the “anonymous” quotation in today’s field guide: It is always wise to stop wishing for things long enough to enjoy the fragrance of those now flowering. It is by Patrice Gifford. Gemma “discovered on LinkedIn that Ms Gifford is a Mental Health Therapist in San Antonio.”
July 15, 2020 – “TSO Daily Dose – Interview with Gemma Black”
Artist Gemma Black discusses calligraphy and the creation of apology documents with TSO Principal Bass Trombone, Mitch Nissen. This is followed by a performance of Ross Edwards’s composition “Yanada” by TSO Principal Oboe, David Nuttall.
July 4, 2020 – “TSO Daily Dose”
Members of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra perform short pieces to enhance our days.
Inspiring and beautiful!
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Sonata in G minor BWV 1020
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart(1756-1791)
The Magic Flute for Two Flutes
No 13. Der Hölle Rache
from an edition of 1792
Ed. Gerhard Braun
September 16, 2020 – Bucks County Classical Arts Center
Figure Drawing from live model every Wednesday night, 6:30-9:30PM, EDT, via Zoom. Hosted by Bucks County Classical Arts Center, moderated by John Murdoch
FEE is $10 SIGN UP HERE:
July 4, 2020 – Recommended reading…
World Reclamation Art Project (WRAP)
In Syracuse, New York, what was formerly the Nottingham Citgo #53, a fifty-year-old abandoned gas station, has been converted into a work of art, titled WRAP, or the World Reclamation Art Project, by Syracuse University graduate art student Jennifer Marsh.
United by this common cause, World Reclamation Art Project contributors range from professional artists to elementary school children, and their methods run the gamut from knitting to silk screening. Marsh sewed her submissions together, waterproofed the panels, and commenced the installation on April 12, 2008.
More than 600 yards of brightly colorful canvas cover the gas station, sectioned into 3,400 one-square-foot panels contributed by participants from 15 countries and 29 states in a statement on global dependence on oil.
Each participant created a small piece utilizing their favorite means of fiber expression to tell the world why they felt that society needs to lessen its dependence on oil. Then, all the individual pieces were sewn together to create this gigantic wrap for an abandoned gas station, for which the owner had signed papers allowing this art installation. Even the gas pumps were covered.
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June 27, 2020 – “Eco-Printing” – field guide additions to “Garden”
Gemma Black’s how-to article
See some of Gemma’s eco-dyed papers with writing here:
India Flint’s eco-printing inspiration
India Flint’s School of Nomad Arts
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June 13, 2020 – field guide addition to “Birds”
Michael Leunig, typically referred to as Leunig, is an Australian cartoonist, poet, artist and cultural commentator.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
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June 6, 2020 – field guide addition to “Fire”
Robert Frost reading his poem, “Fire and Ice”
which was published in Harper’s Magazine, 1920.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
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May 30, 2020 – field guide addition to “Roots”
George Ella Lyon reading her poem “Where I’m From”
published in “The UnThe United States of Poetry, 1996, Harry N. Abrams, pub.
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May 23, 2020 – field guide addition to “Hands”
written and sung by Bill Withers
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May 16, 2020 – field guide addition to “Kindness”
How to Make a Face Mask
See this web page for a PDF of instructions and a step-by-step video
“How to Make a Face Mask”
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May 9, 2020 – field guide addition to “Dance”
“Blessing 13” written and spoken by John O’Donohue