Another Bunch of Days Flown By

The other day I pulled out my scraps of fabric to stitch together. I wanted to add a piece to the Gathering Book that I like to work in when I know my old basket friends in Australia have gathered to make baskets and do some stitching. So I pinned two pieces together.

The little brown house went into the Gathering Book to be seen through a window I cut under the drawn needle of the previous page.

Knowing the basket makers were all gathering at a beautiful historic place where I was lucky enough to teach many workshops over the years, I decided to do a drawing of it to put opposite the small stitched house.

I drew in some palm inflorescence because it is a favorite material of so many of the basket makers there. I love working in this book when they are all gathered together and believe I can hear them catching up and sharing…Australians have always been such good sharers.

The other patched piece is using almost all of my contemporary Japanese scraps of cloth. It is for another project I will get to later.

I made a slight shift in my seating with the men in the morning. I moved off to a separate table to still hear them but also get some writing done in the listening. It gives them one more chair around the table for when other friends come in, and keeps me out of some of the many conversations.

I am still handy for one on one visits but not stuck in the middle of conversations from two or three sides.

And the other day I took myself to lunch and found the best quiet spot right near the doorway into the bar part of the restaurant. A small table for two that I can easily put my notepad on for writing while waiting for lunch. I might do this once a week as a treat. My builder with a couple of his workers came in and offered to buy my lunch if I joined them. I declined. And another person came up to introduce herself and say she remembered me from my many years teaching at the folk school. She was employed in the craft shop where some of my work was sold. Nice to be remembered. And I really liked my corner.

The walk to the gym yesterday was very nice. But also very wet.

And the volleyball court.

And I finished the editing on Kind Gestures, a novella. It is now available with the other three books on Amazon. I can see why people pay for professional editors. No matter how hard you look and are familiar with the story as an author, you still miss things. After Short Stories was published and I received a copy, I noticed that a whole paragraph was in italics. I might be dragging a finger over the bar that has text options and not noticing that I bumped italics or that dreadful shadow line option. Anyway it is what it is at this point. And I am through until I get a bunch more new poems written for Inner Navigations, Vol. 2.

Regarding the Kind Gestures story, someone asked years ago why I preferred the company of men. The question made me wonder why that was. Off the top of my head there seemed like a slew of reasons, but the fact was, I did not know many women in groups like I did men. So I decided if I wrote a story that involved several different women, at least I was making an attempt in listening to what they had to say.

I only needed to spend one twelve hour day to get to know them, so structured the story over those hours and the women who were showing who they were in that time frame. When I finished telling the story, I realized that I never put more than two together at a time. No groups.

And the character, Margaret, was so me when I wrote about her. Her short experience in a book club is a version of my only time in an all women’s group. I have used Margaret in other works as well. Loose Threads in the Short Stories book and other places. I seem to count on her continued companionship and think she will be around as long as I am.

Because I have the time this morning, I will show you what I did with the Japanese scraps patch. It is an artwork that I will get framed for friends who house was lost to fire. They are building a new house now. I asked for some of the burned wood at the time to use in an artwork for them.

I took out a large piece of printmaking paper and tore it in half. Now with a 22″ by 30″ I could begin placing pieces. After laying the fabric patch where I thought it should be, I drew a section for a rock foundation. I knew there would also be a drawn tree to the left. I was thinking how we just redo what we need with what we have…starting over and making do in new places.

At one time in my putting in and taking out process, I found a perfectly colored wood block print I did of an owl. I liked him for a bit coming out from the top of the patch. And then I didn’t. I went for a circular cloth stitched moon instead. The burned pieces of the old house are fitted here and there with the cloth and drawing. I will admit that when trying to explain what I was doing to an artist friend, it occurred to me that I might need to get ahold of myself. Was I getting too much on the page. And then I remembered that many years ago this young woman’s grandmother bought a piece of mine that had a large woodblock print, scraps from a building we owned (thin red barn wood pieces) and a worn and torn bit of Japanese fish kite making up a large work that still hangs in the dining room of what is now her daughter’s house.

So no, this is fine. It is me conveying thoughts through cloth, artwork and found object. It will be going to the framers soon. And if they do not like the work, there is always the guest room. So much of what simply doesn’t make the cut ends up in guest rooms.

But my god, it sure felt good to stitch and draw. Now what!

Til later….

I Have Been Buried in Books

Back into my illustrations for the Burke and Wills story. As I am now doing the writing, I notice more drawings are necessary.

It has been a good deviation from what I hope is the last editing of Kind Gestures. I have ordered another proof so I can look it over before telling Amazon to publish. I changed the cover photo to start…the other one seemed too dark. this is better, I think.

At least I think it is. I am keeping all covers illustrated with my own artwork. Before publishing the short stories, I changed the photo to this.

There has yet to be any Amazon reviews of my three, soon to be four books. Maybe some will come.  The poetry groups that I meet with are most encouraging about my efforts and their enthusiasm makes me want to continue.

I did take a few minutes to draw a robin in the Meadow Book.

I don’t like the drawing very much but figured he is in the book now, and it is better to do a bad drawing/painting than to not even try. Next will be better, I’m sure!

Another trip to the gym picture. Starting to get a bit darker at the hour I head off.

The front yard mulch had this wonderful “scrambled egg” fungus that only lasted one day.

And I did a ‘clean out refrigerator dinner’ two days ago.


Put a few cups of salty water in a shallow sauté pan. Add Raman noodles that will soak up most of the water.

Chop last of green onions, last few bits cauliflower, broccoli. toss in with cooking Raman.

Shut off stove, toss in cut up fresh spinach (the last in the bag)

Add some precooked and thawed shrimp.

Some garlic and lemon juice.

Squeeze in some pesto sauce…decide it needs more color and add a good splash of V8 tomato/vegetable juice.

Check to see if anything else is about to go off and if not, and the water is all absorbed…

Add handful of grated parmesan cheese and stir while mixture is still warm.

Plate up and add some lightly salted peanuts and a bit more parmesan.

Pour a glass of white wine and have a seat.

It was delicious and made enough for three meals.

Next morning I went out and replaced all the veggies I had used up.

Not much else new…

Think I will go for a walk.

Til later…



Four More Days Gone

I have spent the last several days re-editing the novella, Kind Gestures. I requested one proof to look through. And that came in a few days.

Made a few changes and requested another proof only to be informed that it was ruined in the mail and they were refunding my money. So I used the one above to go through to check for noticeable errors…you know, the ones that even the smarty-pants proof reader who lives in the computer, just waiting to pounce on spelling and grammar, missed in their diligence.

The big thing was that the cover just gives the title. No more. Silly, isn’t it? Kind Gestures could be a book about, call your mother, treat someone to a beer, etc. So now it has a subtitle of (novella). That should help.

It has been a while since I read this and was not sure because it being an older work, that I wanted to add it to the other S. Webster books. A little bit of rearranging background information on one of the women characters, and I found I liked the story. So as soon as I see this next proof (Wednesday I’m told) and find nothing else out of order, I will publish it as well. Then their will be just the four books, all similar in size, until I create enough for volumes 2 of the first three and/or write another novella.

Time now is being spent on writing poetry and working on Burke and Wills.

It is still quite hot and humid here. A relief when it rains but brutal when the sun comes out afterwards. Sadie just stays low.

I know my basket making friends are gathered again this weekend in Tasmania, so to feel I am with them, added another drawing to the Gathering Book. It is of a Mahdi Chandler clay pot that has been contact printed with leaves and then coiled on the top. She is brilliant!

I met friends for lunch today at a local food truck/brewery and had one of my favorite local beers with a lobster roll that is only available on Sundays.

I was told to check out the bathroom and was certainly happy to step inside just long enough for this shot. too funny!

My short stories and novella are no longer on my website.  My web person is so good to deal with. He knows exactly what I am saying even though I do not have the correct words. Can’t beat that.

On another topic, I was noticing that what I am missing is conversations with the creative, passionate, strongly driven people that I got used to in my quest for BFA and MFA, then with students who were needing to express feelings in a visual form. My Australian regulars for master classes were so inspiring in that way. Meticulous, deliberate steps to arrive at what needed to be said. We stay in touch, and I am so grateful for that, but what i wish I had was that person that you meet up with to just talk art, not other life issues…just art. And I mean idea driven art.

When I was going to Asheville regularly, on my way out of town, I would meet Gwen Diehn, and she would haul her work into Trader’s Joes or show me in the parking lot outside before we headed in for breakfast and a good talk. She and I talked art for many years and I just supposed there would always be someone like that in my life.

Now I spend more time writing my ideas. And attending poetry reading groups. The words and poems that get to me are the ones that seem to come from those places that art did. The words need to be released in the same way the idea fixed in form does. It is not healthy for some of us to keep it all inside. Drawing in sketchbooks and writing are my way through this time of solitude. I am good company for myself and I understand what I am saying/thinking and that is good enough. I am getting used to myself. Not a bad idea to have a good talk and share a scotch with yourself.

Til later…..


Fast Week

Beautiful morning walks to the gym. The other day all of the grasses in the field I walk through had been mowed down.

Then quickly rolled into hay bales that were taken away. All I could do was draw and paint the memory in the Meadow Book of what occurred there.

Couldn’t help adding those pesky Trifids in the background.

Then when not reworking the last of the small books for Amazon, I was busy watering over-heated plants out back. Just had to take some detail shots out there to remind me what flourishes and what wishes for more shade.

And today the first of two separate author proofs came in the mail. I can already see another adjustment I need to make before giving approval for publication. This book is thicker and gave room for a spine title/author. It costs a bit more to produce so price slightly higher than the other three. All can be found on Amazon under S. Webster.

Now I am working on the story of Burke and Wills. Writing in rhyme is fun so far, but several more drawings will be needed.

The monthly poetry meeting is this week and I have done more writing for that.

I am getting the hang of being alone and managing my time effectively. I miss doing artwork but with no place to put it, have gone back to writing.

Back in undergraduate school I remember having a hard discussion with my advisor. I told him as an artist, I am accountable for whatever the artwork is. Whether sculpture or works on paper/canvas. The artist is the work and vise versa.

BUT being a writer, the doors are wide open to be whoever I want to be through the characters in the story. There is such freedom in that way of creating. It is a good place to occupy right now.

These four small books by S. Webster will be enough for awhile. Burke and Wills will be using Sandy Webster as the author. (I actually still have a Sandy Webster artist page on Amazon because of my Earth Pigments book from years ago.)

That is about all I have for now. The novella, Kind Gestures should be available next week and slightly modified from how it appeared on my website.

Til later….