This morning, at my daily workout with my trainer, I finished the session with my usual back-stretch over the large red ball, with arms and legs extended and head dropped back. I stayed in that position, for about a minute, relaxing with my breathing and feeling the satisfying tug on the psoas and lower back muscles. Instead of closing my eyes, I fixed my upsidedown gaze on a large photo print, sitting on the floor, propped up against the wall. Beautiful, dark blues, greens, and lavenders filled my vision. But what am I looking at? Once I distinguished mountains, trees, rocks and water in the composition, I realized I was seeing confusing images. Am I seeing double? I hope my eyesight isn’t deteriorating along with other parts of my body.Read more
There is not always just beauty while enjoying nature. Occasionally we come across something disturbing. Far as I am concerned, the worst is caused by humans. One such incident occurred several years in a small paradise off the coast of Georgia.
Thirty-six years ago, for our honeymoon, my husband Pebble introduced me to a place he called “magical,” Cumberland Island. It didn’t take me long to agree with him. Even today, we are drawn there for a week-long stay every November and April. Welcomed breaks from the winters of Maine.Read more
“Are you kidding? That can’t be done. No way,” the construction manager blurted out. Hands on his hips, he shook his head while looking up at our beautiful
thirty-plus-foot tall oak. I looked at him as my thoughts hung on “can’t be done.” Oh yeah? Just watch me.
When we moved Moss Inc to Belfast, Maine, my plan was to add onto the existing facility, a large and high enough open inside space to build and set up the growing demand for larger tension fabric exhibits. The oak tree stood right in the middle where the new structure needed to be erected.
Trees have had a role in my life since childhood. I climbed them in Appalachia and used them as refuges and hideaways or sat under them to read in the shade. Or swung on them.Read more
Awaking to a day of frustration embroiled with lack of focus and an inability to get back into writing, I lay in bed, my mind surfing into crevices, trying to find another trick to release me from a stuck-in-sludge zone. As the welcomed cool breeze from our open windows washed across my bare arms and face, I thought of Helena, an instructor at the Spalding Writers’ Retreat in Buenos Aires. Like this stimulating air, her lecture on writing and being a writer had been refreshing. This gorgeous, shapely, stylish, figure at the front of the room had the ability to empower us all. From South Africa, her accented, soft, articulate voice filled the room and our minds.Read more
Should I call an ornithologist? That’s the logical thing to do. Nah. Too much trouble and would interrupt the cherished moment. I would rather stick with my intuition… perhaps denying tutelage? My nuthatch hangs upside down, perfectly comfortable. My theory, to get his circulation moving into his digestive system before he swings right-side-up to eat at our birdfeeder. Or maybe to shift the gastric juices into the correct pocket for the approaching food. He performs this ritual every time he comes to dine, but doesn’t repeat it with every bite. Whatever the reason, he is an entertainment.Read more
Not many people get a golden egg for his or her birthday. At least not that I have heard of.
If you have received one, please relate your story here on my blog.
I did. Recently, on the anniversary of my birth, after dinner, my husband, Pebble, placed an unwrapped box in front of me on the table. I removed the crushed newspaper concealing the contents and peered inside. A strange shape, color and texture filled the box. I started to use one hand to lift out the “thing,” soon discovering I needed two hands. It was very heavy.Read more
This love of animals, or as some might label this eccentricity, (a friend says I’m crazy) began when I was a child. My grandmother and mother soon learned that reaching their hand into my pants’ pocket was risky business. A live frog or a snake or tadpoles or lizards or small turtles or earthworms, were often trapped in my pockets, hoping for rescue. After a human scream, the escapees would quickly disappear under couches, beds and chests. Sometimes not discovered for weeks. Sometimes never. My mother’s anxiety level would escalate at night, when she went to bed, certain that a snake would be curled up under the sheets.Read more
We have been more, seven, in the past, but never with three large dogs at the same time. Introducing Elfi to the family was a bit rowdy at first. After a while, each dog took their time getting to know her.Read more
A few weeks after Kahla arrived, I got a phone call from Seattle. I had put my name on lists with several national, highly regarded German Shepherd Dog breeders at the time that I was pursuing finding a female puppy. “Marilyn, this is George Stern. Are you still interested in getting a female puppy? We have three litters due in January.”Read more
Done. Well, at least until someone along the process to publishing sends me more editing work. “Homeward: From the Appalachian Mountains to the Camden Hills.” 38 chapters. 336 pages.100,469 words. All finally in the hands of an editor in NYC, because of a dog.Read more
Welcome back, for those of you who haven’t given up on me. I am embarrassed to see my last post was November, 2016. A few surgeries and lengthy recoveries seized those eight months and, okay, I admit it—procrastination.
To resume the same theme, “Why Create?” for my blog, I looked back at my first post to refresh my memory. The following were in my comments, urging different women artists to contribute their stories.
Why do we write? Why do we paint? Why do we compose music?
Probably for as many different reasons as there are writers, painters,
sculptors, composers, etc. But yet, there are many of us who create
for similar reasons.
I feel certain you enjoyed and were inspired by reading the different artists’ statements as much as I.
At that time, never would I have thought of anything as unusual as a photographer whose passion is active volcanoes—anywhere and everywhere. As soon as her phone rings with the news of an active volcano, Meg Weston is planning her flight itinerary and packing her bag and camera. When I asked for one or two photographs, the beauty and the explosive spectacle immediately nailed the date in my mind for the post—July 4th, 2017. And what a celebratory way to reopen my blog.
I hope you agree.Read more
Writing Your Life: A Workshop in Creative Memoir
I highly recommend this class to writers of all levels of experience. I studied with Richard Goodman at Spalding Univerity's MFA program. He is a thought-provoking and inspirational teacher. I learned many tools in my work with him.
How can we not admire and respect those artists who are creating to reflect the culture of the time? How can we not applaud the artists who use their talents to support orenlighten us to the needs, injustices, inequalities of our society, and raise awareness of our endangered earth and animals? Suzanne Dean, most recently, is using her creativity to do just that.Read more
Dear Blog Reader,
This next creator is quite different from the prior artists. Instead of an individual, solo experience, Paola Prestini, a musician and writer, focuses her creative talents in collaboration with other artists. This is a woman who not only plunges into the unknown, but also prefers risks. She has courage and trust in her instincts...Read more
My next contributor is Celeste Roberge who has been working as an artist for about forty years. Her creativity evolved through figurative sculpture and drawings to materials in the natural world. To call her just a sculptor would be equivocal. For Celeste, the answer to WHY CREATE lies in the process that drives her creativity and the process “…compels [her] to create.” You will be fascinated by her thoughtful and profound comments that explain what that process is, and what and why the choice of materials she uses.Read more
This incredible photo of Agnes de Mille occupies the entire right half of my large computer monitor. I work on the other half. I look over at this woman’s joyful face as she leaps high in the air with grace and agility and read her quote out loud to myself.
The artist never entirely knows--We guess. We may be wrong but we take leap after leap into the unknown.
When was the last time I took a “leap into the unknown?” Or took a risk? Or tried something new? Or just moved out of my comfort zone? ...Read more
If you met Pat Oleszko only briefly, once in your lifetime, you would remember her, probably even through the dementia of your later years. Six feet tall, darkish shoulder length hair, stunning, handsome face with a huge smile. Add another three to six inches on either end with heels or platform shoes, and a scarf wound as a tall turban or other exotic hat creations on her head and you feel as though you are looking up at the Eiffel Tower...Read more
Entering Sandy’s house, I immediately knew I was in the presence of creativity. The house itself, situated on a rolling hill overlooking a cove, was the result of a collaboration between her and an architect. Every detail approached with an esthetic and artistic eye for art and the setting.
Paintings and collages, made with her hand or by those of artistic friends, are placed with care on the walls. Sculpture comprised of seaweed and other unusual textural materials catch and hold your eye. The stairway led me up to the next level and into her writing area. It was here, on this desk, I saw Sandy’s exquisite little hand made books...Read more
The video posted below is one I found on Facebook today. Nina's remarks reflect the objective of this series on my blog. I couldn't resist posting it and hope it stirs up discussion. Her point is well taken...Read more
I met this lovely woman in a small writers’ group. Besides writing poetry and nonfiction, she taught at a nearby college. Our group would get together weekly to read our works-in- progress for each other’s feedback. Michele’s readings at the time consisted of personal memoir chapters that revealed a little of her background—adopted, a teenage runaway, who then put herself through college and law school while attempting to find her blood relatives. All her stories filled me with admiration for her determination and capabilities. A couple of the stories alluded to violence in the past. But, there was nothing that prepared me for the violence and the deplorable living conditions this quiet, soft smiling woman had survived. Her memoir, Walk Away impressed upon me how courageous she was in her childhood how courageous she was in her childhood, and how courageous she is now to write and share her story.
This author is the next blog guest. Upon finishing her book, I immediately wanted to ask Michele to share her comments for my “Why Create” series. Did her misery in earlier life drive her urge to create, as we have learned was the case for so many of our famous creators?Read more