Rainy Few Days

I took no walks these past few days. Rained every day! So I baked some more and read a book.

Pecan/apricot scones to take to a neighbor’s yesterday to have with our coffee and chat. It was a good visit. Also had a phone visit with someone I hadn’t seen in years. That was also nice to catch up and hear about friends we had in common.

Nothing looked so good in the dreary dampness as a lit fireplace and an easy chair.

So I started the latest book from Australian writer, Jane Harper.

Her books are very hard to put down and this morning I asked my daughter how I could get the movie made from Harper’s first book, The Dry. Then I settled my cats.

Made a bowl of popcorn, poured a glass of Aussie white, paid my $10 and got comfortable.

I had read the book so knew the story but so enjoyed getting sucked into the vast landscape of northern Victoria. The crookedy forests of Eucalyptus are the best. The weathered lined faces and shear meanness of the bad ones played against the confused kindness of the good ones. Jane Harper writes a good story and when placed in her native Australia where landscape is a main character, it is the best alternative to a super bowl ball game.

Aside from that, I was noticing a lovely old ikat-dyed briefcase I have had for years that was shoved in with books on a shelf here in the studio. When I unzipped it, it was filled with handwritten notes from books I had to read in graduate school and artist statements from exhibits, and more.

So to tidy things up a bit I pulled them all out, I opened my laptop and started a document titled, From My Notes. Now that entire stack of loose handwritten sheets is in the bin and I have several typed pages of what I was all about.

How about this beauty?

“Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for an echo.” – Don Marquis     Actually I think it is more like blowing the puffs of a dried dandelion into the wind. But that could just be the difference in our poetry…..

And I must have loved putting phrases in cursive as part of an artwork like, “so much clearer here – so still – so unbothered..”

And this: I looked it up. bereft means deprived. 

And several from James McConkey’s Anatomy of Memory  – an anthology.

“Memory is responsible for our identity; it is the faculty whereby we perceive connections between past and present, thus enabling us to make sense of our surroundings; it underlies our creative achievements.”  – Patricia Hampl, the Writer and Her Work Vol II

Several on memory and memoir…nice I took the time to write them down.

And several from this piece done for exhibition, titled, One Year Away.  A running dialog between myself and the writings of Gaston Bachelard and Anne Morrow Lindberg. It was all about home and a need to be somewhere else. I would write down something they said in my journal and then my response to that with a drawing from where I was at the time…..”Alienation has a freedom”...

And from an artist book I made many years ago titled, Is the Journey Really Better….“So is the journey really better? Is the state of longing a better condition than holding the longed for in our searching grasping hand? Is the journey really better?

Anyway, there was quite a bit in that old case. Now it holds just poetry, mine and others who sent their words on to me. I will carry it to the poetry meetings.

Then the final one that I found was this one….and have no record of who said it, but has a ring of truth to it.

“You can discuss anything with people who know.

You can discuss anything with people think they know.

But you cannot discuss anything with people who believe.”

Tomorrow is going to be a sunny day, so back to walking. For now I have found a scone recipe for ripe bananas with nuts and a maple drizzle frosting. I am going to bake them for the boys tomorrow morning….and have another wine with Jane Harper and her latest.

Til later….



Full Moons and Old Ladies

What a full moon can pull out of me…..an abundance of noticings.

“Noticings” – observations that require another glance, ones demanding awareness.

So here they are….

I look older, but not feeling older. Just more comfortable in the space I take up.

I am getting more cautious. Caution not only in where I step,  but who I want to talk to,  listen to,  share my time with.  I don’t want the company,  the chattiness that invades a quiet space and time I am guarding like it is in limited supply.

I don’t want to answer questions that start with “why”. If you have to ask a seventy-eight year old woman “why” – don’t.  Just make up your own answer and keep it to yourself.  Leave her alone.  Don’t put her in a position of trying to find an answer that suits,  or worse yet,  gets her lost in trying to remember why.  You are wasting your time, and even worse, wasting hers.

Keep me out of a room full of people talking.  Put me in a room with heads down working on private matters,  thinking,  writing,  making art.  With not one of them needing their neighbor’s comments or approvals.  If it has to be a room full of people,  have them all lost in the company of themselves,  having conversations with no interruptions.

The full moon reminds me that another month has likely gone by.  And I am looking around to see what I accomplished in that time – not much.

Okay. More baking. There is little that can match the anticipation of what is about to come out of an oven.  And I will completely clean the kitchen in the time it takes to bake something.  Whatever it is, needs to be brought into a place prepared and ready to receive.  I guarantee it will taste better if the kitchen has been cleaned up.

I didn’t make any promises to the moon I saw a month ago. So there is no guilt – only a tallying up.

I baked.

I met two new people, no probably one.

I laughed a bit more. And it was out loud.

I don’t know if the laughing made me feel comfortable afterwards but it just slipped out.  I soon got back to quiet.

I like my cats.  They are experts at taking care of themselves emotionally and ask little of me,  except when I walk past the treat jar and don’t open it. They sit on my pillow every morning at 5:30 a.m. and ask if today will be like yesterday.  I assure them it will.  They seem relieved to know that, and we all go about getting the day started.

I may have to switch to white wine or a more expensive red.  Older women can get a bit of acid reaction to some of the cheaper wines.  And by the time I take an antacid so as to have a second glass,  I think maybe a good single malt would have done the trick.  Besides, wine wants cheese and crackers.  Scotch just wants my company and stays around longer to hear all I have to say.

I would like to take myself out to dinner.  Just me.  But it’s a small town.  What happens if someone says, “May I join you?”  Could I really say, “No, but thanks for asking.”  Yes, I could.  I could do that now.  At seventy-seven I likely would have said, “Sure.” and then hoped they ate more than they talked.

The moon also reminds me of the work unfinished.  Drawings not made,  words not written,  needles not threaded and ready to jab into cloth.

I miss seeing the full moon shoving its way into my bedroom at night, through un-shaded windows. But now I have the shades and curtains in front of them – blocking sun and moon. It is a good thing that the moon now comes through the living room,  sneaks into the hall outside my door and waits for me to waken.

He is an old man looking for company and I wander out to watch and listen to his stories of what he saw on the other side of the world.  And his anticipation of what he will see next as he moves away from me.

He probably does not want to listen to a disgruntled old woman.  He has heard enough from them these past several hours and likely prefers the murmurings of young lovers.  Too bad.  This is all he gets from me.  No wonder he sneaks off into darkness and waits a month before calling me out again.

I must have been in this mood when I wrote the following poem.  I know I was seventy-eight – not seventy-seven.

If You Looked

If you looked

you would have

seen it in her face.

The way she looked

just now.


A glance in your direction

before she looked away,

back at her hands

holding onto each other

in her lap.


You would have noticed

how much was said

just then

in the way  she would not

return your gaze.


And saw how

her mouth was set,

her shoulders tensed,

how she pulled back

when you spoke.


If you looked

you would know

that you will stay on

the other side of the wall

and out of arms reach.


Leave her now

and let her go back

to the place

behind the door

that has no room for you


She will not look back at you

and does not want to hear

what you remember.

And you would have known that

if you looked.


S. Webster


I understood this woman from the time she popped into my head.  And left her alone as soon as I put her into words.

It is time to get something done.  Or at least started.

I’ll take a walk, and watch my step.

I’ll take a picture of something starting to come alive.

I’ll talk to someone I meet more than I will talk to their dog.

That’s my plan.

And I did go for that walk……

I must not be a rolling stone because I gathered more moss for my little moss beds on the bench. AND I did talk to two different people more than I talked to their dogs. Some improvement here in practicing social skills.

An Amazon order arrives later that will have cat litter, a cross cut shredder, the latest novel from Australian mystery writer, Jane Harper, and some personals. So much easier than having to find a store.

I think this is quite enough for now…..I sense a slight influence of Helen Garner’s essays in “Everywhere I look”. She is over eighty and totally honest in point of view. Brilliant Australian writer and worth looking up.

Til later…..


Floating on Too Many Surfaces

The past several days I have been making an effort to finish something…anything. I went back to Burke and Wills in hopes of wrapping the story up. Three more drawings have been added,

So if these are the pictures, fourteen in all, then what are the words? And shouldn’t the words be in rhyme form? The pictures say, “children’s book” so easily read lines in vertical rows seems right. The pictures do not look like paragraphs should be next to them  So, I am trying to rhyme the story. It is not easy. In fact it is a pain in the backside to make it look as easy as children’s books usually are. Maybe I will put this on hold and dig out my children’s books to see how the writing is paced and spaced. Shel Silverstein would have gotten to the point with one picture and very few words that make the reader smile. Did Beatrix Potter write in rhyme? I will check the book shelf to see. Anyway I need to pause on this. But for me, once an idea pops into my head, I act on it. With no thought that it will have to be wrapped up somehow. A somehow for another time.

Later this afternoon I go to the poetry meeting. I will need to make copies of another one from the Trusting the Tether Line book. They appreciated the one I read before and seemed interested in more.

Yesterday I went to visit and tour the art department of Young Harris College. It was so good to be surrounded by artworks that mattered enough to to be completed. And visit with a few students busy making and building forms that tell their story. I found myself looking for more, but was reminded that this college offers a Bachelor of Arts degree – not a Bachelor of Fine Arts where more in depth study and producing is given more time.

But there was an etching press in the printmaking room with a couple of wood blocks. Tools are minimal. The classes are designed to be introduction level only. Senior year students have more exploratory time for what they were introduced to earlier. But in the meantime there are other classes that are required to get that degree and their time is divided. For me, it felt good to be in the spaces of art making and seeing a couple of permanent pieces from former art group members.

So back to laundry…maybe the vacuum. It only takes 15 minutes tops to vacuum the floors here, After the poetry meeting I think I will get a new bottle of wine. It seems to be the only thing I am short of right now after baking more scones for the freezer and a nice quiche.

Fresh farm eggs from a friend needed to be photographed. Such a luxury to have beautiful large eggs.

No walks this week due to endless days of rain.

Til later…..