Sunday, March 17, 2013

Margie, Diane and Mary

Within a three-day period last week, I received an equal number of gifts.  It was not my birthday; I had done nothing noteworthy to warrant such kindness.  None of the gifts came wrapped, no fancy paper, no curly ribbon.  In fact, I never held two of them in my hands and may never see them in person. They arrived via email; the other, in a letter.

Each from a friend.
Each an original creation.
Each took my breath away.

I asked the three friends if I could share their work.  They graciously agreed.

Margie Beedle's Art Quilt 

The assignment for a class she's taking was to make a fabric "shrine," depicting something she'd like more of in her life.  Margie chose walks in the woods.

Diane DeSloover's Poem

My grandmother's hands
were beautiful.
I watched as they fashioned comfort
and mouth watering delight
from a spongy mound of dough.
I held the sticky, sweet goodness
in my tender palm
and began to imagine the wonder
of my own untried hands;
hands that would gather
a plenitude of days
and slowly, awkwardly mold then
into a living work of art.

My granddaughter's hands
are beautiful.
I watch as they fashion fantasy
and heart lifting laughter
from a lumpy ball of dough.
I cradle the lopsided creation
in a well worn palm
and feel the strength
of my yet willing hands;
hands that grasp
this miraculous day
and gratefully explore
each full, precious moment.

© Diane DeSloover
January 2012

Mary Toland's Handwoven Towels and Haiku 

Sitting at my loom
Over, under, warp and weft 
weaving hopes and dreams

Women honoring their creative spirits!
Thank you.  You inspire me.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Joy of Books - 18 Miles of Them!

Are you a book lover?  Excited to simply be in the presence of books?
You soak in the possibilities stretching along the shelves, hardly know where to start.
Ah. . . this cover, that title, a beloved author.

It takes me a few minutes in a "regular" bookstore to regain my balance after I walk through the door.
Imagine the sensation when I walked into The Strand.

18 Miles of Books!     18!!

 I can totally relate to Super Bowl fans, now, especially those lucky enough to actually enter the stadium.  Just the sight of so many books in one place sent me reeling, searching for a chair on which to perch, catch my breath.  Some smelling salts, perhaps.

I already felt rushed.

But who could have asked for a more charmed scenario.  I had an entire, rainy afternoon, alone, to browse.  As I regained my senses, I remembered that I came with an agenda. But that could easily fly out the window if I got distracted, if the books led me down a narrow corridor and whispered for me to "slow down."  What might I discover?

I headed to the travel section in the "Underground," a destination that sounded like I might need a flashlight.   Luckily, it was well-lit, free of mossy dampness, and busy with fellow browsers (most in the "Self-Help" section.)

I was searching for ideas, not specific titles.  I'm writing a book that involves a personal journey - the travel piece - and labyrinths.  (More about this soon in an up-coming blog posting.)

How had other writers formatted books about their journeys?  What makes a book inviting, personal, draws me into the story and keeps me turning pages?

Then, there it was, on a bottom shelf.  An inspiration.

                                                          Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift

Although the book has nothing to do with my topic, it (coincidentally?) does contain a lovely watercolor of the Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth by the author.

The humorous writing, interplay of text and illustrations, personal typesetting, the author's emphasis on details of life - as well as art - create a welcoming atmosphere, a joyfulness, every time I open the book.

Little, perhaps, that will translate directly to my book; yet it causes me to think, imagine.

And isn't that what all of us book lovers hope we'll find when we enter a bookstore?

(Strand Book Store is located at 828 Broadway between 12 St. and 13 St.  It is open 7 days a week.)
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