Friday, February 24, 2012

The Written Word

Did you ever get news?  I mean NEWS that just surprised the heck out of you and was totally unexpected?  Nice kind of news, like a pat on the back or an amazing bit of, well, news!

I have experienced this joyful situation a couple of times lately, and it all has to do with the written word.  Let me tell you about what I heard today, because it effects a decision I have to make about what happened February 13th.  

I have been really busy.  Too busy to think let alone write.   It has been a long couple of days.  Warm weather gone, I trudged into the post office to mail show invitations.  One of my neighbors came in after me and asked if I had heard his "Announcement."  (Grandfather?  I started to say...)  And then I got the news.  I have lived down the lane from this man for over 16 years and if I were dangling over a vat of something vile and scorching hot, I could not have saved my own life by guessing what his wonderful news would be.  Never.  "I have written a BOOK!"  (Again my mind searched the wild range of possibilities.  Dogs?)  He said..."I'm a poet and I have just published my first book!"

What?  This bear of a man who plows out my snow covered drive so my family can get in for Christmas? What what what?  We went on to talk all about writing, about life and living out our dreams, and his wonderful book that we hope one of our other neighbors who drives a UPS truck might deliver that very day.  Hope.  I can't tell you how incredibly proud I am of this man, a retired school teacher and Humane Society volunteer, who has written what I'm guessing will be a tender collection of his poems called Whispers of Autumn, Love and Reflection.

This brings me to another evening, another tired Me sitting here after another long day.  A very good writer friend of mine Ginger Janda, had complimented me on my blog.  And then I was invited to read the latest post in hers, The Beach Writer.  Ginger is a wonderful writer, and used to write for and run the local newspaper.  She grew up in the newspaper business, and I suspect has printing ink running in her veins.  She and her family are now living in Jacksonville, Florida, where they are pursuing their creative dreams.  Being a poster child for such endeavors, I am thrilled with every post, beach picture and comment I see on facebook and in her blog.   I am proud of her for doing it.  Anyway, back to this blog post.  In it, she announced very proudly that she had won the Sunshine Award for her blog, and was required to follow certain steps in the acceptance of it.  In agreeing to accept it, she had to thank the person who gave it to her, answer certain questions, and pass it along to 10 more people.  In true Ginger creative fashion, she chose 5 instead of 10, and based it on the creativity of each writer, each person.  Now it gets exciting, now here is my NEWS:  she chose me as one of her Round Table.  I was amazed and quite overwhelmed.  I accept this honor now with great pride, and will attempt to obey (sort of) the rules.  

The Rules:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award.
  • Write a post about it.
  • Answer a few deeply personal and revealing questions.
  • Pass it along to ten people and let them know they received the award.

Thank you Ginger Janda for choosing me to receive this pretty flower and the award that goes with it.  Thank you for noticing my blog and is something that I do with the part of me that is left over after sculpting.  I enjoy it very much, and have written quietly for years.

The Deeply Personal and Revealing Questions:
  • Favorite colour: Rust
  • Favorite animal: the dog (what...not bunnies?)
  • Favorite number: 1
  • Favorite non-alcoholic drink: coffee
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
  • My passion: Creating.  Sculpting, building, crafting, landscaping, fixing, cooking, writing, painting, remodeling, growing, making.  I love making something out of something else.  I love nature, the outdoors and watching things grow.  I love sculpting my clay, but I love that my seven acres are a broader canvas for sculpting also.  
  • Getting or giving presents? Giving
  • Favorite pattern: solid colors please
  • Favorite day of the week: Saturday
  • Favorite flower: anything that begins with H.  Hollyhocks, hellebore, Hibiscus, Hyacinths and the grandaddy of my flower obsessions...Hydrangeas!
Pass It Along:
Ginger picked according to a theme.  But today, to tie this all together, my neighbor and his budding career gave me my idea.  I am going to hand mine out a bit at a time to aspiring writers and beginners just crawling out on the stage of literary notice.  I have a few friends who are just starting their blogs.  They are just sinking their feet into their words, or transferring their family newsletters into this internet format.  I will mention some here, and the rest will get their big surprise when they are ready.
First award, or course, will go to my neighbor who just published his first book, Buddy Hendricks.  He is getting ready to start a blog and I can't wait to read it.  Another take on Rabbitville Road!
Second, will go to Melanie Deckard, who is going to turn her entertaining, informative and delightful family newsletter into a blog. I told her it would be so much easier for maintaining email lists and sending it all out.  Melanie's family are dear friends of mine.  Their giving nature and hilarious stories in the midst of family illness and tragedy is legendary.  But then, her mom and dad ARE Mr and Mrs Santa Claus.  When I have the address of her new blog, I will post it for you.  
My third award goes to my good friend and former banker, Brain Rainey.  He has started a collection of posts and here is what I think is the first.  He is a very dedicated family man with a strong faith in God that helps him and his family through some very interesting times.  His sense of humor has gotten me through some rough patches.  Good guy, promising thinker and writer.

One more for now, and the rest I will hold like lightning bugs in my secret jar.  My lovely daughter, Allyson Baughman  is a writer.  She writes beautifully and is the Queen of Marketing for the Dunesland Chamber of Commerce up where she lives with her husband Brandt Baughman and the light of my life, their son Asher.  She has a blog called Air Baby.  I am awarding her this Sunshine Flower, because I want to encourage her to write in the one minute of free time she has each week.
Wow, this was long, or as my Dad would have said, "You sure had a lot of words tonight."  I guess I did.  To my award winners, please accept this flower, and post it if you want.  Follow the rules and pass it along.  I will be reading and enjoying, and I will smile from this poster for creativity and say, "Keep it up!"   You color the world with your thoughts and writing.  You represent what makes us human, our words.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Wee Folk

We write our thoughts in blogs.  Sometimes we write late at night, when it's quiet and safe enough to reveal our innermost feelings or suspicions.

I live in a woods.  There are very old trees, interesting rocks and hillocks of tufted grass and twisted briars.  I have planted flowers everywhere but I have kept the wildness as best I can.  And since it is late, and I feel safe telling you this, I think there are other small creatures living here besides me.  Mice, raccoons, coyotes, deer, possums, rabbits and wee folk.  This place is magical, so it doesn't surprise me to have things go missing and turn up in other places.  I grew up with an Irish / German mother.  I had Irish nuns as teachers in grade school.  So it follows that I believe in fairies, and being familiar with them, would want to make them.

I have sculpted a lot of animals, people, buildings, flowers, all kinds of stuff but the wee folk are a challenge.   The wings are the thing.  It is difficult to make them look transparent.  They must look like they can lift off at any second responding to any startling sound.   And boy fairies, or I mean elves, must be like curious little boys, full of mischief and turtles and dusty leaves.  I am really enjoying them.

Please let me explain something to you that I am sure you will want to know.  Animals, people, fairies, birds, um, well they hang around in my head till I make them.  I had a couple dance in my head one evening years ago making so much noise I had to get up and go sculpt them if I was going to get any sleep at all that night.  It is the same with these fairies.  I think that I have figured it out, though. Sometimes it takes me a long while to sort a sculpture out technically.  Often I can "see" it in my head, but I can't quite figure out how to make it stand up, or what it will be holding, etc.  It has taken me a many years to  understand how to sculpt a standing fairy.  But finally, the magic happened.

I am really pleased.  Her wings are folded down so she can stand.  She has a dragon fly perched on her head.  And boy she sure is smiling (and I suspect thinking) "Let me out of here, it is about time!"

So you see, wee folk do live in my woods, in my studio and in my heart.  It certainly pleases me  to help them cross over into this world.  They seem to be pretty happy about it too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strong Winds of Winter

The wind up here amazes me.  It blows off of Lake Michigan with a fury in the winter.  I love the moment I arrive and hear those dizzying breathes blowing through the pine trees.  I can hear the waves crash on the shore and I know I am here.  This is where my grandson lives.  And his mommy and daddy of course.  Three seasons of the year I love that sound, but in the winter it chills a bit.  Not much goes on outside at the dunes in the winter on a snow stormy weekend like this.  That wind that blows the snow takes your breath away.  So we find indoor pursuits to keep us occupied.  Last night we introduced baby to the magical world of bubbles.

He really didn't know what to do or what sound to make.  He sat primly in mama's lap for at least 5 minutes in awe of the colorful baubles that blew from mommy's lips and that yellow magic wand. They touched him and disappeared.  He grabbed at them and they were gone.  Oh that Nana gaga, she brings magic when she comes.
 Nana gaga makes waffles for breakfast too on cold snowy mornings.  She makes the batter right in front of baby in his high chair and pours it in that other magical appliance, the waffle maker. Out pops something baby really, really likes.  In fact, he loves waffles so much he shares them with his fuzzy, furry labradoodle pal, Leon.  Now that is real friendship.   Baby is growing up with puppies.  They walk around him, they sniff and kiss the top of his head.  He has learned to pat them gently on the head and leave the older dogs alone.  They all seem to understand that he is the new pink puppy, just one of the pack.   Could be because he shares his breakfast.  Doesn't matter.

Later, the wind is still blowing and it lulls baby to sleep for a nappy...and all those puppies, too.  Let the wind and snow blow all it can, we are tucked in safe and sound, peaceful and quiet.  Sweet.