Sunday, July 31, 2011

vine time

i spent a good deal of time yesterday trimming vines. everything green it seems is sending out shoots. problem is, many of them were just in the way (blackberry thorns, anyone?) and not producing anything. careful to only cut the ones without flowers or berries, i hoped the energy would go back into the plant. sometimes this world is too loud for me. a word-lover, yes, but one who likes to milk the meaning out of phrases for a long time; mull them over. words can be a barrage of noise with not much substance. language use needs pruning. the vines of vocuabulary making room for communication's lasting fruit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

*poetic medicine

kudos for bravery! one of my friends just sent me five poems she'd written at a recent poetry workshop and they are wonderful. the facilitator started them with prompts: "by walking i made the road", "first word", "a time of despair and being met", "a summons", and "i wanted".
bravo, poet, bravo! *for the book of the same title, see "poetic medicine: the healing art of poem-making" by john fox.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


one of my favorite local coffee shops always posts a word of the day. today's is "legerity". definition: physical or mental quickness, nimbleness or agility. etymology: 1555 Middle French "leger", from the Latin "leviarius". synonyms: alacrity, celerity. alert readers, i adjure you, add to your legerity by going forth to use it in an ordinary everyday sentence.

lectio divina

i've known about the practice of lectio divina for several years, since a class in seminary. just recently i have come to really appreciate it, as i rest from over a decade of being on staff in church ministry. lectio divina is the "reading, praying with scripture in order to more deeply ponder and listen...which can lead to rejoicing and even singing from scripture within the soul". the point is to commune more deeply with God in an experiential knowlege of His Word. it can be done alone or with others. i appreciate the group that i sit with. a leader will read a selection of verses twice through slowly and we will sit in silence for over forty-five minutes together, reading over our paper copy and sharing only as we feel inclined to the benefit of the group. (of the fifteen or so gathered, maybe only two or three individuals will speak). no one is overly eager to hear themselves talk, and once they do it is extremely rich and thought-provoking. the time ends with prayer requests, applying the scripture to community/world concerns and we simply go home; on with our days carrying the truths with us that we shared together.

get lost!

i enjoy asking people, "so what have you done recently that you just got absorbed in?" you know, when you seem to step outside of time? answers have varied (design, music, dance, learning new video skills...) sometimes they just look at me as if to say, "you know, i have no idea....let me think about that some more" or "i used to really love to _____". this "creative zone" is important; it is why play is a serious job for children and something we should strive to retain as we grow. i've come to rediscover my love for drawing. not because it's a job, but just for fun. here's today's "get lost" from my pencils to you. "hanging baskets: francis square, newberg". so, when was the last time you got lost in something and what was it?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

what have we learned? (part le deux)

i've learned that: Micron 01 brand pen (thank you, you know who you are) is my favorite for sketching and i plan to carry it with me everywhere i go along with an old tin of colored pencils... there is nothing so deliciously simple as a margarita pizza...that sketching the flowers and outdoor strings of light while waiting for said pizza at The Firehouse is even to make lavendar wands and the way it makes your hands favorite bookstore chain is going out of business which makes me want to open a small new one at the coast...The Bucket List is a funny, poignant movie...combining candied ginger icecream with mexican chocolate is delicious, especially on free sprinkles day at Ruby Jewel...only in Portland can you stop by the side of the road one day to take pictures of round hay bales and go to a downtown concert featuring Vagabond Opera the next (fantastic local band) many kinds of salt there are and how to taste them at The can kayak from Cedaroak boatramp under I-205 to the falls and see a bald eagle...hammocks are great for sleeping in under the stars...i'm more french than american (according to "entre nous: a woman's guide to finding her inner french girl" by debra ollivier)...lychee sorbet is quite refreshing on a warm summer can't have just one order of roasted cauliflower with lemon creme fraiche...adults should have play dates like kids do (can so and so come out and ride bikes with me?)...blueberry buckle from morning-picked berries makes you want to eat it for dinner too...and if you think something might take a couple of hours to really enjoy? give it an entire day, you won't regret it. so many doors, take your time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ella minnow pea

l. m. n. o. p...want a quick, fun romp through distopia? "ella minnow pea: a novel in letters" by mark dunn is a fun one for word lovers in particular. "a love letter to alphabetarians and logomaniacs everywhere" says fan maya goldberg.


i found these hearts on the sidewalk, at the beach and in the garden!

you might also really like the book "focus: love, a look through the photo-sharing lens" by lark books (

look up!

with my first batch of kale chips baking in the oven and calligraphy practice pages drying on my art table, i step back and ask myself, "so, what have you learned so far this summer that you didn't know before?" i've learned...the definition of the word "intaglio", assembly of red cruiser bikes complete with fenders, tide rhythms of the ocean, how much i love to draw, gocco printmaking, several ways to make salads of unusual size using leftovers, how to relax-receive-rest, the scoring behind tour de france jersey colors, new combinations for suntea, how to change a flat on my own bicycle, design for pocket neighborhoods, the process for respite care with the oregon department of human services, the work of a modern viola composer, the longest distance i can spit a cherry pit, the best place to buy "curly girl" and "positively green" brand greeting cards, the times of local farmer's markets, categories of aesthetics, that it is possible to walk from ecola to indian beach at low tide, the grape-type/percentage/acreage of four graces winery, how to loop rope for a boat anchor, the best process for installing hangers for red cruiser bikes, hours of coffee shops at cannon beach, the origin of ashland's shakespeare festival, a new poem by gerard manley hopkins, a bit about reflexology, how to resize digital photos, that blurb is a great site for making books...and the importance of looking up!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


grandpa was always a man of his word. (he loved words too, memorizing poems that took well over ten full minutes to recite.) a stroke stood in the way of him keeping his word to me about fly fishing together on the rogue river. not being so much of a "stuff" person, i am content to already have his favorite leather hat, the one with a feather in it from JC Penney. today, however, i was given a very cool early birthday present. one that almost made me cry: grandpa's creel. contents inside the worn leather strap: marshmallows (20+ years old? had to toss those out), jar of fish eggs, five different sizes of bobbers, old line and his pocket knife. the creel fits well over my shoulder and i couldn't have received a better present. his hands touched it and it symbolizes that he will be able to keep his promise yet, if God lets us fly fish in heaven, that is.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


and yes, i will keep the "try" alive in poetry. just sent a poem off to the Oregonian which, by the way, is so simple i could hardly believe it. you can email your submission; thought it would be fun. never give up sharing the words you've been given with the world...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the prime of miss jean brodie

we wordies (like foodies only for books) always say "the book is better than the movie". well, it is with fondness that i remember watching this movie in one of my classes (starring none other than revered dame maggie smith). having just read the novel by murial spark, i put it down, sighed and said, "what a strange little book". no offense to murial or the brits of course. (i have thus moved on and am already highly in favor of "major pettigrew's last stand" by helen simonsen. if you are put off by books on the best seller list, well, in this case don't be. it's smart and pithy with characters clearly and endearingly defined from page one...whereas i found ms. spark's tome to be of haphazard plot line and chronologically in need of a good ironing out.)

midnight in paris

after three entries of 19th century verse, i thought to dash off some quips and quiddities by an actual living person. enter stage: woody allen. this film was a delightful romp through history peppered with fun, unexpected literary and artistic twists. (if movies dated, that would be wrinkle in time meets sabrina=midnight in paris.) it's summer, go see this already & tell me what you think! *disclaimer in the chick flick department: there was a very nice couple sitting in the theater who had been to paris several times; the man seemed to enjoy the movie too. **disclaimer to the disclaimer: the wife was quoted as saying, "paris is for women."

quotable g.m.h.

to continue the gerard manley hopkins quest, here are some great lines without typing the poem entire:

"look at the stars! look, look up at the skies! O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!"--from the starlight night

"for Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not His to the Father through the features of men's faces"--from as kingfishers catch fire

"because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."--from God's grandeur

the windhover

i once memorized this poem (also by hopkins) as a gift for my grandfather, not even knowing that the origin of his own name meant "falcon".

the windhover: to Christ our Lord

i caught this morning morning's minion, kingdom
of daylight's dauphin, dapple dawn-drawn falcon in his riding
and of the rolling level underneath him steady air and striding
high there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
in his ecstacy!
then off, off forth on swing as a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend:
the hurl and gliding rebuffed the big wind
my heart in hiding stirrred for a bird--the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

brute beauty and valor and act, oh air, pride, plume here buckle
and the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion times told lovelier,
more dangerous, my chevalier!

no wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine
and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
fall, gall themselves and gash gold vermillion.

powered by memory

one thing i would like to keep well-used is my memory. besotted with instant information, what is a brain synapse to do? after a refresher (it's been since college) here is "pied beauty" by gerard manley hopkins from memory...

glory be to God for dappled things
for skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow
for rose-moles in all stipple upon trout that swim
fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches' wings
landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow and plough;
and all trades their gear and tackle and trim.

all things counter, original, spare, strange,
whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
with swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

praise Him.