How do we forgive ourselves
for all of the things
we did not become?
~ David “Doc” Luben
How do we forgive ourselves
for all of the things
we did not become?
~ David “Doc” Luben
The weight of my old dog, Hattie –
thirty five pounds of knocking bones, sighs, tremors and dreams –
just isn’t enough to hold a patch of sun in its place, at least for very long.
While she shakes in her sleep,
its slips from beneath her and inches away,
taking the morning with it –
the music from the radio,
the tea from my cup,
the drowsy yellow hours –
picking up dust and
dog hair as it goes.
~ Ted Kooser. December 14. Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.
Walking by flashlight
at six in the morning,
my circle of light on the gravel
swinging side by side,
coyote, racoon, field mouse, sparrow,
each watching from darkness
this man with the moon on a leash.
~ Ted Kooser. November 18. Cloudy, dark and windy.
Using models’ faces as canvas, Russian make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan recreates famous paintings in collaboration with photographer Alexander Khokhlov and expert photo editor Veronica Ershova. Kutsan Valeriya is a stylist, image-designer, hair-dresser, make-up artist and international class master. She was born in Tomsk, Siberia (Russia). She was a make-up artist – from 1996. A Hair-dresser – from 1999. An Image-designer – from 2011.
Check out more of her amazing “2D or Not 2D” collection at her website: Kutsan Valeriya – Weird Beauty.
And don’t miss this video of Kutsan Valeriya as she works in her studio:
Napoleon Dynamite Source – Chicagonow
Smart, the company behind the original smart car, has devised a clever way to help pedestrians wait for the walk signal and keep the streets safer — a dancing traffic light. By projecting real movements from people nearby, the dancing traffic light entertains people at the intersection until it’s a safe time to cross the street. The company built the signal at an intersection in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this summer. (Source: Mashable)
Can you keep your feet still?
Source: Weighty Matters
At first light,
The bare trees sway,
but not together.
Shifting their weight from side to side,
they are like a crowd
that has waited all night for a gate to open.
~ Ted Kooser. February 13. Breezy and pleasant.
Source: Themetapicture.com (Thanks Susan)
For most of my adult life, I have read, like E. I. Lonoff in Roth’s The Ghost Writer, primarily at night: a hundred or so pages every evening once Rae and the kids have gone to bed. These days, after spending hours on the computer, I pick up a book and read a paragraph; then my mind wanders and I check my e-mail, drift onto the Internet, pace the house before returning to the page. Or I want to do these things but don’t, force myself to remain still, to follow what I’m reading until I give myself over to the flow. What I’m struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly just a series of disconnected riffs, quick takes and fragments, that add up to the anxiety of the age. How did this happen? Perhaps it’s easier to pinpoint when. Certainly, it began after the fall of 2006, when I first got high-speed Internet, which I had previously resisted because I understood my tendency to lose myself in the instant gratifications of the information stream. [...] It all felt so immensely freighted that to look back now is to recall little more than the frantic blur of stimulation, the lab rat’s manipulated jolt at pressing the proper button, the junkie’s temporary relief at the fleeting fix.
~ David L. Ulin. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.
In fair weather,
the shy past keeps its distance.
Old loves, old regrets, old humiliations
look on from afar.
They stand back under the trees.
No one would think
to look for them there.
But in the fog they come closer.
You can feel them there
by the road as you slowly walk past.
Still as fence posts they wait,
dark and reproachful,
each stepping forward in turn.
~ Ted Kooser. February 16. An early morning fog.
…I’ve never seen anything as strong or as stubborn,” he says.
And I think,
how do you tame a wild tongue,
train it to be quiet,
how do you bridle it and saddle it?
How do you make it lie down?
~ Gloria Anzaldua, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue“, From Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, in Learning How to Exert Self-Control:
…Self-control can be taught. Grown-ups can use it to tackle the burning issues of modern middle-class life: how to go to bed earlier, not check email obsessively, stop yelling at our children and spouses, and eat less bread. Poor kids need self-control skills if they’re going to catch up at school.
…Adults can use similar methods of distraction and distancing, he says. Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table. In moments of emotional distress, imagine that you’re viewing yourself from outside, or consider what someone else would do in your place. When a waiter offers chocolate mousse, imagine that a cockroach has just crawled across it. “If you change how you think about it, its impact on what you feel and do changes,” Mr. Mischel writes.
…He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.
…Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills
Read the rest of Druckerman’s column here: Learning How to Exert Self-Control
Find Mischel’s new book at Amazon here: The Marshmellow Test: Mastering Self-Control.
Image Source: Foodspotting
…soon will the winter be on us,
~ Sara Teasdale, from “September Midnight”
This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings or even midnight.
Each has its portion of the spectacular.
But dawn — dawn is a gift.
Much is revealed about a person about his or her passion, or indifference,
to this opening of the door of day.
No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it,
could be a stranger to me.
— Mary Oliver, from Long Life: Essays And Other Writings (Da Capo Press, 2005)
Good news: Our friend Mr. Polar Bear is taking us on a soothing, rhythmic swim in the frosty arctic waters.
Less good news (and defeats the entire zen purpose of this post: Climate change is pulling the sea ice out from under polar bears’ feet, forcing them to swim longer distances to find food and habitat. Long-distance swimming puts polar bears at risk of drowning due to fatigue or rough seas.)
Source: Kangaroo sleeping and eating via biomorphosis
How important it must be to someone
that I am alive and walking,
and that I have written these poems.
This morning the sun stood right at the end of the road
and waited for me.”
~ Ted Kooser. March 20, The vernal equinox. [Read more...]
Rabbit Island in Japan (via Themetapicture.com). Read more on Rabbit Island at the Guardian: Rabbit Island: A Japanese Holiday Resort for Bunnies
I saw the season’s first bluebird this morning,
one month ahead of its scheduled arrival.
Lucky I am to go off to my cancer appointment
having been given a bluebird, and,
for a lifetime, having been given this world.
~ Ted Kooser. March 18, Gusty and warm.
Preface of Ted Kooser’s “Winter Morning Walks: One hundred postcards to Jim Harrison“:
In the autumn of 1998, during my recovery from surgery and radiation for cancer, I began taking a two-mile walk each morning. I’d been told by my radiation oncologist to stay out of the sun for a year because of skin sensitivity, so I exercised before dawn, hiking the isolated country roads near where I live, sometimes with my wife but most often alone.
During the previous summer, depressed by my illness, preoccupied by the routines of my treatment, and feeling miserably sorry for myself, I’d all but given up on reading and writing. Then, as autumn began to fade and winter came on, my health began to improve. One morning in November, following my walk, I surprised myself by trying my hand at a poem. Soon I was writing everyday.
Several years before, my friend Jim Harrison and i Have carried on a correspondence in haiku. As a variation on this, I began pasting my morning poems on postcards and sending them to Jim, whose generosity, patience and good humor are here acknowledged. What follows is a election of one hundred of these postcards.
The agonizing plasma consciousness can be.
Slab of stone.
—C. K. Williams, closing lines to “Stone,’ from Repair
Credits: Poem Source – A Poet Reflects. Painting by German Aracil. Aracil is a contemporary Spanish artist, born in Alicante, Spain. In 1985 he began his studies at the San Carlos School of Fine Art in Valencia, Spain. See more of his work here: German Aracil.
Source: Madame Scherzo
…after a long day, you need to hug a big kitty.
and don’t miss a look at this fella’s paws. Incredible… [Read more...]
I confess that I consider life
to be a thing of the most
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
[...] There was no such thing as caught up; there was, at best, keeping up. To step away from e-mail, news feeds, texts, chats, and social media for even a moment was to allow their deposited information to accumulate like snow in the driveway, a burden that grew every second it was neglected.
I spent most of my daytime hours shoveling digital snow. The core of my job—researching, thinking, writing at greater-than-140-character length—I could accomplish only in the middle of the night, when things calmed down. I spent more and more hours working, or at least work adjacent, but got less and less done.
Meanwhile, my mind and body adapted to the pace of digital life, with its ceaseless ping ping ping of notifications and alerts. I got twitchy if I was away from my phone for more than a few seconds. I felt it vibrating in my pocket when it wasn’t there, took it with me to bed, even to the bathroom. (I got pretty good at tweeting while I peed, to my enduring discredit.)
All my in-between moments, the interstitial transitions and pauses that fill the cracks of a day, were crowded with pings. My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram [...]
Don’t miss the rest of the story here: Reboot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox.
Image: “Crackphone” from Saltywaffle.com
This morning, I shared a gif of a parrot taking a shower.
I then check my emails and receive this message, the first of the day.
Good morning. I am very sorry to tell you that Birdie passed away this morning. She had been just fine until about 6 months ago when she began having occasional seizures. We are assuming she had one last night. Jessica found her at the bottom of the cage this morning and it seemed like she was hanging on for her to get home. She died shortly after Jessica picked her up. She spent most of every day on Jessica’s shoulder or inside her shirt during the winter months. Jessica is devastated. She lost her best animal friend.
In case you missed the original post on the background of Birdie and our family, you can find it here: “I Miss Birdie.”
Sad Day. Yet, what incredible joy this little creature brought to our family.
All the variety,
all the charm,
all the beauty of life
is made up of light and shadow.
~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
R. Dass: “Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
6:31 am. September 6, 2014.
76° F. Humid.
He’s wearing black shorts, above the knee.
He has two bands on his left wrist. Both black. A Garmin GPS, tracking time and distance. A Vivo Fit, another Garmin tool, tracking his step count. His head bobs, no, it tics, checking progress on his devices every 30-40 seconds.
His shirt is canary yellow, sleeveless. The sweat stains are darkening his shirt, spilled black ink creeping down his chest.
His running shoes are off-the-shelf new, with hyper-green florescent laces, tied with symmetrical bows on each foot.
His head is down but for the presence of oncoming traffic, when he’ll steal a look up, and offer a wave to the driver who gives him wide berth.
He’s heavy footed. Solemn. A hulking, Dutch plow horse, blinders blocking out peripheral vision. The furrows behind him, turned and plowed over and under and over again. [Read more...]
Why must people kneel down to pray?
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do.
I’d go out into a great big field all alone or
in the deep, deep woods and
I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky
that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I’d just feel a prayer.
— L.M. Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1875-1942) was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents. She was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery’s early life was very lonely. Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.
Beyond the First Draft” is a collection of essays about writing. Because they are about writing, they’re also about reading. For John Casey, as I would judge for most good writers, it’s difficult to separate the two activities. One feeds into the other, and the process is repeated in reverse. No doubt there are exceptions, because there is scarcely a rule to which there aren’t, but it is rare to find a writer who wasn’t first, and for a long part of his life, a devoted and compulsive reader, though not necessarily a discriminating one.
[...] This is just what John Casey does in these essays, encouraging us to look more closely and intelligently at what we read and even at what we may be trying to write.
~ Allan Massie, in a review of John Casey’s “Beyond the First Draft”
John Casey, 75, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and the University of Iowa. His previous novel, Spartina, won the 1989 National Book Award for fiction. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he is Professor in the English Department at the University of Virginia. In Beyond the First Draft he offers his essential and original insights into the art of writing—and rewriting—fiction. Find his new book on Amazon here: Beyond the First Draft.
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Your Eyes Blaze-Out
Source: Mme Scherzo
Walter, a lab, loves the sea. And he’ll stop at nothing to get there. The footage was captured on the coast of Siracusa, Italy. (Source: GrindTV)
One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.
~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle
Carole Cadwalladr, ‘Vincent Deary: ‘Are you living the life you want to lead?’
At the age of 40 Vincent Deary jacked in his job as an NHS psychotherapist, sold his house in south London, moved to Edinburgh and locked himself in a small room for two years to write a book. Or, more accurately, to think about writing a book. He spent the first year mostly writing Post-it notes. By the fifth year, having turned 45, he finally finished it and called it How to Live…
…What comes across most strongly in How to Live is just how bloody difficult it is to change. Or, as is more often the case, to handle change. Deary had a choice – to stay in London or to go – but many of those he cites in the book don’t have a choice. Change has been thrust upon them – partners leave, work dries up, people die. “There are many ways our worlds can end,” he writes in the book. “It may start as a distant rumour, a noise outside your small world, or an unexpected intrusion within it… sooner or later your current world will change, the present season will end.”
And even the perfect people of Facebook, with smiling kids and sunny skiing holidays, are not immune. “They will fall for their lover, their dog will die, they’ll have to move house, they’ll go bankrupt, they’ll die, they’ll age and if they stay the same their circumstances will change so their old responses won’t produce the same response from the environment. So even if they stay the same, that will mean change.” The problem is that we are “habit machines”. We suffer from “character sclerosis”. “Left to [our] own devices, the result will be the downhill slide of a life dictated by whatever happened last, by happenstance and habit.”
Read entire column at The Guardian
Source: …Just Saying