Preparation (and some art, too)

I am a person of projects. This means I seem to always live in a season of busyness, though change comes in what I’m busy with.

This time of year, I am grateful for preparations made in anticipation and watchful hope because in the act of laying out the best china, bringing in firewood, or wrapping presents, I’m taught the beauty of making ready. Continue reading

Fall, Change, and Other Fireside Thoughts

Here where I am, we have had the first few days of True Fall. The first snow of the season, so early and such a delightful morning surprise. The first long day of foggy sweater weather. The first day for gloves and the scent of a fire waiting at home. If you have read any of my posts here, it’s probably redundant to say fall is my favorite season. The changing leaves and brisk breezes bring out excitement and maybe even ambition in me, as if I, too, need to squirrel away projects instead of acorns.

I know fall isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s easy to think of autumn as an ending, a closing, the last bar of a song. One of the reasons for this is that it’s one of the times in the year when we really notice change. Continue reading

A Key to Writing

A typewriter is essential writing equipment. It doesn’t matter if the ribbon’s dried up or if it’s actually a teapot disguised as a Remington—I believe that if you are actively trying to put words together, it’s absolutely necessary to have one.

Even if it’s only a postcard or a newspaper panel of Snoopy typing on top of his little red doghouse. Continue reading

A Perfect Heart

It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day, and in the spirit of the occasion, I’ve decided to join in on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Writing Contest–With a Hopeful Heart! The challenge is to write a hopeful Valentine short story in poetry or prose for children all in or under 214 words. There’s still time to jump in before the 14th, and you can read the details here. Continue reading

The Element of Reprise

Here near the end of June, I really must admit that it’s summer.

In my mind, I was pushing back those calendar days as if I could hold it off until I felt like everything was ready and feeling 100% like summer.

You see, the return of summer comes with the anticipation of kids curling into a poolside cannonball, fans queuing outside movie theaters in flip-flops and tank tops, and novice gardeners like me staring at the ground for tiny green leaves. It’s the first time down the water slide, the tipping of a dripping glass festooned with a slice of lemon. It’s blazing blue skies and back porch sunsets. It’s the satisfactory thud of the classroom door behind you, even if you haven’t been in school for years. Continue reading

Atramentous

I need a title.

A new project I’m working on has outgrown its old one, and now I’m left with the task of naming it again. It’s because of this and other bits of life that have got me thinking even more about the impact of words. So here I am, trying to decide which words will set the stage, which ones have the right shades of orange and twilight lavender splashed with stars.

Like many people who love language—the sounds and shapes of it— I keep a list of words I like. Some of them are on the list for their meaning, and others are on the list because of their timbre. Often, it’s a mix of the two. Words are complicated, infinitely loaded with perception, context, and even your own experiences. Continue reading

Steampunk to Me: Be Mindful

Steampunk wraps itself in pinstripes, brass, airships, goggles, and patched brocade as much as it wears the marks of history. But while this subgenre utilizes appearances, it is steadfastly passionate about interiority, the inner cogs and workings of not only devices but of people also. It’s for this reason that I believe steampunk is more than an aesthetic or window dressing for art, music, or literature. It is a worldview and a lifestyle.Mindfulness

Evidence of this can be found everywhere. You’ll find steampunks crafting beautiful and useful things, asking all the important questions, and creating thoughtful works. The hands-on, DIY attitude of steampunk, if you let it, permeates every area of life, and because of this, it’s no wonder people have tried to draw up lists of what it means to be a part of this culture, this self-inventing civilization of worlds that never were. However, like a definition for this subgenre, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what makes a steampunk. Continue reading