Category Archives: writing

New Year and new focus

The door closed on 2016 and the sun rose on a new year a couple of days ago. We are conditioned to think that as one year ends and another begins we should reflect back on the happenings of the prior year and plan for changes in the new one with an emphasis on improvements and perhaps doing more.

I’m not immune to such thoughts. In the new year I will have a new focus as well – a focus on slowing down to allow myself more time to be creative. Slowing down to make time to think about what I want to create, and how, and in what medium. A new photograph? Something written? Some music played on my recently resurrected violin? Who knows? But, without slowing down and thinking about it, how can anyone truly be creative?

Although we are now in the midst of winter, the solstice has passed and the days are already becoming longer and brighter, although at a glacial pace so far, and it’s noticeable. For those of us that crave light, this is an unimaginable blessing. Although the coldest two months are still ahead of us, sunshine and more light in the morning and late afternoon makes it bearable. Even our dogs have to bundle up at this time of year!

So, with plans to write more, photograph more, make more music, the new year has begun with a focus on creativity. What do you have in mind?

Happy New Year!

 

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Coping

Everyone has his or her own way of coping with loss or drastic change. For me it means grabbing a camera, putting a leash on the dog, and going for a walk on a country road just to stretch and breathe slowly, letting the stress out with each deep breath.

Last vestiges of fall foliage

Last vestiges of fall foliage

Sometimes if you take the time to peek into the ditches you’ll find remnants of the amazing fall foliage colours the Maritimes are famous for – and it will make you smile in spite of yourself.

Not letting go

Not letting go

And at the edge of the road a loan leaf clings to the naked branch of a bush, its comrades blown away by the last strong wind.

After two weeks of travelling in to the hospital to sit with my mother, brothers and sisters while her life ebbed away, and another week of frantic activity after the not-unexpected 6:a.m. call, the hubbub has slowed and the exhaustion has set in. When you are sad it is hard to get motivated to bundle up against the cold and go outside, but Mother Nature offers solace, encouragement and the rejuvenation needed to keep coping and moving on.

 

Supermoon (Beaver moon) Rising

Supermoon (Beaver moon) Rising

Last night I had intended to go out and set up my gear to capture the rising of the Supermoon over the local hills. One of the side effects of grief and attempting to cope is the inability to remember things properly and motivate yourself in a timely way. Instead of preparing, I sat down and ate dinner with my husband, only realizing after the fact that I’d missed that moment of the moon appearing over the crest of the hill. The best I could manage was a quick snap of it rising rapidly through the naked tree branches across the road.

Supermoon setting

Supermoon setting

My alternate plan, since I’m an early riser anyway, was to get out this morning and capture the giant orb setting over the Town of Sussex to the west of us. Mother Nature played a cruel joke on my plan and hid most of the moon behind cloud cover, showing just enough to taunt me!

Look closely and you'll see the lights of Sussex at the bottom of the photo.

Look closely and you’ll see the lights of Sussex at the bottom of the photo.

Everyone has different coping strategies. For me it will be more walks with Harley and perhaps a camera over my shoulder too. It’s been a long several months and no matter how prepared for someone’s death you think you are, you aren’t. A death brings out the best in some people, and the worst in others. Hopefully those who cope by striking out against others will find their way back to those who support each other in coping with the loss of the linchpin that held it all together.

Also posted in appreciation, Autumn, BLOG, caring, death, emotions, Fall Foliage, family, New Brunswick, photography, rural living lifestyle, seasons Tagged , , |

Surmounting Obstacles.

There are obstacles that apply to any endeavour, but perhaps even moreso when it is something ‘artistic’. Sadly, there is less support and empathy for anyone struggling to create something – a book, a poem, a photography project, painting, sculpture – whatever – if it is not ‘traditional’ work.


Want to build a house? There’s support for that. Want to write a book etc.? You have to create your own support system – one that works for you – and that depends on, as this writer said “How bad do YOU want it?”

Check it out at: How Bad Do You Want It?

Also posted in BLOG, creativity

Listening to the dawn – and other lessons

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Nature Writing workshop with Deborah Carr. Our very first exercise was one of listening and truly hearing the sounds around us. Sitting on a chair in the woods near Trout Stream in the middle of Sussex it was a challenge to block out the roaring sounds of motorcycles, chain saws, dirt bikes and other people and hear the stream, the determined chirping of birds refusing to surrender to the sounds of civilization, and my own heart beat.

The second exercise involved viewing any found object in nature from the perspective of a small child. Since I spend a lot of my time with Hoover, for me it is easier to imagine looking at things from a dog’s perspective – and that adds an element of fun to the exploration.

When we walk together early each morning I try to grab a camera or at least my iPhone to gather memories of what we see. We are often out and about long before the sun peaks over the horizon, smelling the musty earth and waiting, with anticipation, for that firs glimpse of light on the horizon over the Picadilly hills. Once light appears, the mysteries hidden in the dark and mist are revealed – acres of dandelion fluff waiting for a breeze to send each seed forth on its journey – or into the house attached to Hoover’s long coat.

Sometimes, on our way home, as I glance back over my shoulder, the rising sun waves goodbye to us and invites us to return again early tomorrow – before the sounds of civilization intrude so once again we can listen to the sleepy chirping of the wakening birds.

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A good friend I’ve never met

writes poetry. Poetry that reaches in and massages your heart. Poetry that makes you stop and pause, consider your world and sometimes, let a tear stray down your cheek.

This good friend I’ve never met writes words that reach out and pull me in. Heather Grace Stewart is an amazing poetess. She has written three major collections, the latest of which, “Carry On Dancing“, has just become available. But the first of her books that I bought was “The Groovy Granny” – a collection of silly and fun verses for children, illustrated by her daughter Kayla. I gave the book to my grandkids and enjoyed laughing with them a we read about gadget pants and so much more.

And then I read, and re-read, “Carry On Dancing”. It wrung emotions from me that I was sure were long buried – tied to events long over and I thought, forgotten. They weren’t.

In her Introduction to the book she says, “This is a promise to myself to stop and take good notice of something, or someone in my life, every day.” And then she issues her invitation, “I hope you’ll join me on my small adventure.”

There’s nothing small at all about the adventure that is “Carry On Dancing”. “Enough” rails against a society that creates expectations embodied in images, things, celebrities but ends,

“I am me.

And that is enough.”

Heather’s family is a constant source of inspiration to her. “She Drew Me a Sky” helped me, however briefly, to feel my father’s work-hardened hand on my shoulder one more time.

“Mommy,” she said,

“let me show you

what I think souls look like.”

….

“If you’re quiet, though,

some days —- some days,

you can feel them.”

And I did.

‘Lessons Learned’ evoked a different reaction – and I called a friend after reading

“Forget about being right, and forget about being perfect. Surprise someone with kindness. Use humor to dissipate anger. Take deeper breaths. Take them more often. Snort when you laugh. Look into their eyes. Listen harder. Hug longer. Eat dessert with your hands. Dig in! Send someone some snail mail. Stop waiting for the right time, the right words, the right tactic. Make it right. Do it your way. Do it now.”

I had to.

But, when I finished reading “When I Finally Make Starlight” my heart dissolved and I cried great tears thinking about the legacies left to me – and what I’ll leave my son and grandchildren someday – when I finally make starlight.

Heather’s lyrical words will touch you. She wrote “Should I Ever Become THAT Poet” about those intellectually arrogant souls who pontificate about what should be, according to them, And asked to be shot should she get that way.

No worries, dear friend I haven’t met yet. It will never happen. You write too openly, from your heart to others’  as nature’s song unleashes your words for us to savour.

Carry On Dancing!

Also posted in appreciation, happiness, Poetry Tagged , , , |

Why photographers and other freelancers shouldn’t work “for free” or “for credit”

I ran across the following article and really had to share it. The poster has made some excellent observations and points that apply to all freelance endeavours – photographers, designers, writers, artists and so on. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it.

Why not?

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#2 of 30 Choices

Life is all about choices. Choices that range from the critical (who to marry, to have or not have children, which career to pursue) to the mundane (strawberry or raspberry jam with that peanut butter?). Every moment of every day we are making choices among options that sometimes leave us considering what is the lesser evil.

On the upside, sometimes we also get to consider which is the greater good.

Cattails

As a photographer and writer I sometimes have to make those kinds of choices and it is never easy. But, if you take your time and think about it, there will always be one that stands out among many as being THE right choice – for you – at that moment in time.

One stands alone

Also posted in blogging, caring, creativity, gratitude, happiness, lifestyle, photography

Writing…

I am a glutton for punishment. I’ve signed up with NaBloPoMo and ‘promised’ to blog daily throughout the month of November. So this is #1 of 30. I usually blog a few times a month so this will be a bit of a challenge.

Today’s question was “what is your favourite part about writing?” Now there’s a tough one. I love words. I love the sound and feel of them, the sensory thrill as they tumble off the tongue or flow from a fountain pen. Even typed on a keyboard, words thrill me.

Why?

Because. Because they create images – beautiful, stunning, stirring verbal images that can, if well crafted, move others – to action, to sadness, to joy, to wherever the writer wants to point.

Yesterday’s blog about my wee hero, Nathan, and his family moved his mother to tears – hopefully of joy – so I have done my job!

Nathan and baby Jenna

Well worth the walk

Panoramic View from The Bluffs above the Waterford Valley near Sussex, NB, Canada - a six-shot, hand held panoramic.

Early this morning I set off with three friends for a hike up to the bluffs above the Waterford Valley. It’s about a half-hour walk, uphill most of the way. But we intrepid hikers, armed with cameras, water bottles and fruit had no problems.

The view up there is phenomenal. It was my first foray to the bluffs and it was most definitely worth it. Although it was a hot and muggy morning, up on the hill top the breeze was quite strong, keeping us relatively comfortable.

We all took several photographs and then enjoyed a quick snack before beginning the descent back to the cars.

What a wonderful way to spend a sunny Saturday morning enjoying the beauty that is all around us, even at home.

Also posted in accomplishments, appreciation, day tripping, farming, lifestyle, morning, nature, New Brunswick, photography, relaxing, rural living, rural living lifestyle, seasons, time off, walking, weather

To borrow a phrase from the A&E channel, it’s “time well spent”.

Also posted in creativity, photography, professionalism