Finding our true voices

Falling and getting up and falling and getting up

Falling and getting up and falling and getting up

The other morning Pam (Roughwighting) and I yakked on an early morning phone date.  We’ve connected with our voices on the telephone on and off for a couple of years now.  We talk about creativity, writing, mothers, dreaming, jobs, books and Hawaii.  Plus 2,021 other random things.

Pam’s taught creative writing for years.  Since I’ve never even taken an official creative writing course,  I’m fascinated about her insights.  She shares about how she guides her students to find their writing voice.  She says many folks think that writing involves thinking about what they’re writing.  Au contraire.  The opposite can be true.  One ceases to think actively and allows the gates of the mind to open and the words to flow out of the hidden recesses.  One discovers his or her voice through this process of opening and allowing the words to hatch, like fuzzy yellow baby chickens.  (Disclaimer:  Pam did not say this at all.  She never once mentioned fowl or hatching, but I am paraphrasing what her words sounded like to me.  Never fear, I’ll email her this paragraph for approval before publishing.)

I, of course, have been talking about the “typing fingers” for years.  How this process of writing involves the backward step of emptying the mind of thoughts and letting the typing fingers have their way.  Whereas in journalism and scientific writing one might attempt to frame sentences and participles in neat and rational order, creative writing takes off in a new and fresh direction.  It dashes outside the box and attempts to create something new, lively, fresh!

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Hi ho silver & let them eat caviar (Cowboy Caviar, that is!)

Dear friends,  I can’t help myself.  Barry and I stumbled upon this post from 2010 yesterday morning at 6:30 and totally cracked up.  (Well, he may have left for work, rolling his eyes!)  I insisted upon reading it aloud to him, every Cowboy word.  Honestly, people are still reading this post eight years later, probably those who have innocently Googled “Cowboy Caviar”.  Heaven forbid–what must they THINK when they come upon this?  

If you haven’t read, please continue…you, too can wonder what was going on in this blogger’s mind when she was writing! (This blogger is wondering, too!)

P.S.  The Universe obviously laughed along with us.  A few hours later, an ad for “Cowgirl Boots” came on my Facebook pages.  Then this ad appeared in snail mail:

"Tails of the Old West"

“Tails of the Old West”

Please enjoy this “old” post–and yes, make some Cowboy Caviar, too!

Welcome to the Old West, you cowfolk.  I hope everyone is hungry.  Someone get the grill going.  How ’bout if you play your guitar?  Something like Home, Home on the Range?  Gracias, amigo.  Now, some of you want to come into the kitchen and make some Caviar?  A special recipe just for Cowboys.  That’s what Lori said.

Who’s Lori, you ask?  Lori works with me at the school and last week she brought us buckaroos a bowl of Cowboy Caviar.  We eyed the “caviar” curiously.  She supplied tortilla chips.  We dug in.  We ate, and continued to eat, and chimed in “Hey, Vaquero!  We want the recipe!”

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Missed Perceptions, right, Pam?

Pam's red feet--and her grandchild's bare feet

Pam’s red feet–and her grandchild’s bare feet

Pam, also known as Roughwighting, also known as blogger extraordinaire, also known as my Switcheroo (we switched blogs back in 2013; please read here if inspired), also known as a spiritual buddy, also known as a phone companion at times, also known as a published authoress, just lured me over to her latest blogging post today.

It’s called Missed Perception.  Do take the time to read it.  It’s the story of one of her latest nervous flying trips up in the sky.  It’s the story of how she perhaps misjudged her seat mate.  It’s the story of how two strangers can end up crying together, bonding, finding commonalities.  It’s the story of how we all–far too often–miss out on meeting a special person because of our missed perceptions.

I was going to type a long commentary response about one of my own flying missed perceptions, but decided to high-tail it back to my own blog and share it with all of you.  So that you, too, could think about and share one of your own missed perceptions, if you like.

My story isn’t as amazing as Pam’s.  It involves no tears.  It happened on a flight in late July, 2015.  (Where was I headed?  One moment, must check the magical journal referred to in last blog.)  Ahhh, yes, I was flying from Houghton to Chicago to Portland, Oregon to visit my precious daughter.  The date was July 22nd.  I had just quit blogging for an extended spell the previous month.

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Two weddings, a dam, a journal, death and family photos

Journal in the snow

Last January, just before I quit blogging for ten months, I wrote a post called “The world’s best journal“.  The journal is one of the things that makes me unconditionally happy.  To read back over the years and to remember what happened in 1982, 1997, 2009 and 2014.  (This memory is not stellar, so it’s good to have it all written down in one handy place.)

Every January, no matter what’s happening, I faithfully record all the year’s joys and sorrows.  All the biggies, and a few smallies as well.  What hatched and hollowed in the lives of family members and close friends.

We use this journal to consult whether something really happened when we think it happened.  (This of course leads to certain family members insisting that the journal is wrong!)

I have now finished the 2017 entries and happily stored the book in its treasured space on the rolltop desk Barry crafted for me back in college.

This morning, walking in the drizzling cold January rain up our back-country road, I thought of how some commenters suggested that their blogs did the same thing.  Recorded the year’s highlights so they could return and read and remember.

This morning I am going to highlight our 2017 to share with you here.  Since I wasn’t blogging most of the year, you possibly missed some of our highlights.

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Twelve points on the wall of possibility

Lamp at the Landmark Inn in Marquette.  Where we stayed for an overnight Christmas visit.

Lamp at the Landmark Inn in Marquette. Where we stayed for an overnight Christmas visit. (Photo is slightly cattywampus, but I still like it!)

  1.  I may be over-doing it blogging lately, but, gosh, it can be fun. Some day, perhaps, the writing will cease again–but for now, it’s alive here.
  2. It can be especially fun when it’s cold.  Something to do, you know, in a Little House in the Big Woods.
  3. It was warm today–almost 15 degrees (-9.4 C, right Sybil and Nicole and Bonnie? Did I get the celcius right this time?)  Unfortunately, the wind blows incessantly. I spent five minutes watching a brown frozen oak leaf fall from the tree onto the deck.  It looked like magic as it twirled and fell.  I recommend watching leaves fall in the wintertime, if you’re lucky enough to see one skitter and prance on the wind.
  4. Good news for ice fishermen like my husband!  Lake Superior may freeze all the way to and from Canada this year.  He’ll catch 100 lake trout and burbot, and we’ll eat fish all winter.  (OK, disclaimer, he may catch zero.  But I’m being optimistic, because it’s more fun.)
  5. Should a person go to Florida and visit her mother in February?  That is the current decision.  The freezing cold temperatures prompt one toward a positive response.
  6. Vegetarian pizza for dinner tonight.  Organic frozen broccoli from the garden.  Add green pepper, red pepper, red onions and mushrooms.  Shall I take a picture for you before it’s cooked?  Please scroll to the bottom.  I cannot seem to interject the photo here, alas.
  7. I am so enjoying comments on the blog.  I am enjoying replying to comments.  Don’t be afraid to comment if you’re so inclined.
  8.  I wrote a post yesterday about not making resolutions.  It didn’t say quite what I intended.  I have been *almost* addicted to making resolutions in the past.  (The 365 day outdoor blog was one.)  These days it’s more relaxing to take a more relaxed approach.  That’s what I wanted to say.
  9. So often we blog what we ourselves need to hear!
  10. Today I went to town, mostly for something to do.  What did I do?  Visited my husband’s place of work and saw some of my favorite people.  Stopped for a latte at Java by the Bay, thank you, Michael for that whipped cream!  Banked.  Grocery shopped.  Returned home within the hour.
  11. It is time to put the vegetable pizza in the oven.
  12. And tomorrow is another day in a cabin in the middle of the woods.  What will happen?  How will Life express itself?  What new and exciting twelve points will be written on your Wall of Possibility? Will your twelve points be enough to make you happy?
Oven's pre-heating...

Oven’s pre-heating…

Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

How not to make a New Year’s resolution

Heart of the matter

Heart of the matter

Just sayin’, New Year’s resolutions usually don’t last.

On January 1, 2018, all over this round multi-faceted world we’re stating resolutions.  We’re pleading, begging, praying, insisting, intending and focusing.  We’re gonna nail it THIS year.  We didn’t nail it in 2017, 2016, 2015, or 2014, but THIS year we shall succeed.

We shall exercise more.  Weigh less. We’ll get on the scales in February and weigh ten pounds less!  We won’t be bad and drink and those extra glasses of wine, shall we?  We won’t eat all those cookies, will we?  We won’t lose our temper as much, get angry at politics or fail to give to charity.

We’ll self-improve, darn it, we will!  We know all those disturbing elements of ourselves that get in the way of being a 100% (or 73.2%) good person.  Darn it, if we could just curb our excesses we would be happy!  We would die delighted on our death-bed, nodding, saying, yes–we succeeded in being the kind of human we wanted.

Just sayin’, dear reader, New Years resolutions usually don’t last.

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Posted in January 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

A hullabaloo over cattywampus

Her hair!  Cattywampus, indeed.

Her hair! Cattywampus, indeed.

Little did you know that Detective Kathy has been on the job–working hard just for you–searching around the corners of this round globe for answers about a very mysterious word!

Journalist Kathy has scoured the amazing Internet, interviewed hapless and wise friends, and listened to etymologists! (An etymologist, just in case you’ve forgotten, studies the meaning and origin of words.)

Here’s how it all started.  On December 22, 2017, a lovely phone conversation ensued with Nicole.

Nicole, for those of you who don’t know, lives in Hamilton, Ontario, just across from the blue waters of Lake Huron. Once I drove across the bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia and motored many kilometers to visit her.  And wrote a blog about it, of course.

Nicole and I were chatting away on said December 22nd, when I must have said something like, “That was totally cattywampus.”  Or perhaps, “Kind of sounds cattywampus.”  Or even “Hey, cattywampus!”

Nicole and a cattywampus banana split!

Whatever cattywampus word burst from these lips, a silence ensued on the other end of the phone.

“What word did you say?” she asked.

“Cattywampus,” I replied.

She seemed clueless.  To one of my favorite words on the planet!  She requested spelling.  (Perhaps she thought your blogger was making up a word, as, admittedly, she is prone to do at times.)

I proceeded to attempt a definition.  “You know, off-kilter, kind of crazy, a bit twisted, off-balance.”

She had never heard of the word.

That’s when Sherlock came on the job.

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Posted in December 2017 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments