2015 pic totally unrelated to this post, but my media library search button isn’t working and this one caught my eye as I scrolled down the archive
(Audio recording coming tomorrow; sorry; asthma is kicking me a bit today.)
Whew! I’m climbing out from under a convergence of big projects. Cybils are over for another year; I’ve wrapped another issue of the Quill; I finished a hefty freelance assignment that takes over my February every other year. And I’ve taught Finding the Volume of a Cylinder for probably the last time.
I even made it to the eye doctor and ordered a new pair of glasses for the first time in years.
And then of course there’s the podcast! Instead of linking to individual episodes here, let me send you over to the Brave Writer Podcast home page where they’re all collected. Today’s episode is extra fun—a look at our favorite kinesthetic games and activities for learning grammar and math concepts, and more.
Julie and I recorded another episode today, an interview with reading specialist Dr. Marnie Ginsberg. I loved every minute of the conversation. That one airs in a couple of weeks. Immediately after we finished, I changed back into pajamas because it is snoooooowing here—first real snow this year. It’s a doozy. It’s a pajamas-in-the-afternoon kind of storm. Cocoa and a big sweater. A big, if I can wrangle my post-Cybils brain into a decision. Or better yet, a cozy mystery on audiobook while I do a bit of stitching. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Of course that means I have to choose one. Fun decisions: my absolute Achilles’ heel. I know I have a list of cozy murder audiobooks somewhere, but by the time I find it and see what’s available on Overdrive and actually commit to one…it may well be time to take these pajamas to bed.
I saw the first snowdrops yesterday. Crocuses seem a bit late this year—usually there are many in the yards of our neighborhood by this point. The photo above was taken at a local park the last week of January, the year we moved to Oregon.
I took photos like mad that year—that first incredible Pacific Northwest spring. Funnily, I’ve hardly taken any pictures at all in the past few months. I think that without noticing it, I’ve hit a point where I’ll look at something beautiful and think: I’ve already got a photo of that somewhere. It’s nice, quite peaceful really, feeling like the seeing alone is enough.
I’m now wondering if this shift is related to my increasing immersion in needle-painting. The time-scale is so different: you can snap umpteen pics a minute, or you can spend months laying stitches with single strands of floss. Both art forms spark great joy. But I think right now I’m more nourished by the slower one. Now I only seem to take a photo if I think I might want to stitch it at some point.
Even now I’m staring at those petals and stamens and imagining what colors of thread I might choose. Those delicious lines of dark purple against the lighter shades. The deeper orange-yellow of the stamens that are farther from the lens. The way you could drop in just a stitch or two of the gold in the center of the more distant crocuses. The question of focus: would you try to recreate the mist of flowers at the top edge of the photo? Or zoom in close to the few up front?
In one of Eric Maisel’s wonderful books—I think this was A Writer’s Space, but it might have been Fearless Creating—he suggested an exercise to help give clarity about what you really truly want to do. He said to dream big, just imagine the grandest vision possible involving the art you wanted to create. Like, say, giving an acceptance speech for a major award for your novel. And since this was when I was becoming really obsessed with embroidery, I started to imagine a gallery wall with my original pieces—but the thing is, the vision immediately shifted to a small mountain cabin, quiet, a tumble of floss skeins, a chair with good light. I understood in a flash that my embroidery ‘dream’ was simply time and space in which to work.
That was a good little epiphany. Apart from the mountain cabin, there was nothing in the vision that isn’t within my reach nearly every day, if only for a few minutes.
I’m so excited to share this news with you. Julie Bogart of Brave Writer has asked me to come on board as her co-host for the Brave Writer Podcast. Julie’s incredible podcast about homeschooling, lifelong learning, critical thinking, parenting, and so many other excellent topics has been going strong for eight seasons and millions of downloads. Which: wow! I was a guest on the show many years ago, and now Julie has invited me to share the mic as her ongoing co-host. We’ve recorded three episodes so far and I am having the best time. Yesterday we recorder was an interview with SUCH an interesting guest, and I enjoyed every morsel of the conversation, and it has me so excited for this new endeavor.