Thursday, April 17, 2014
It's hard to believe I haven't posted in three days. I compose in my head all day long, be it letter or be it a post, and lately I've been living up to my hype. I write. Okay, I type.
At least I write. Right? I think: Tea on the patio will make answering a letter from-you-to-me as easy as writing can ever be. I know! It's poor rhyme, but give me a little time! Two cups in a pot, I'll have it outdoors and writing what I'm thinking won't feel like a chore. It hasn't happened all week! It's so humid the paper curls. Ink bleeds. Tea cools too soon. But I am on a mission. Plus I figure the right atmosphere is conducive to relaxed letter-writing. It did not work today, so I hit the trail. It took me fifty-six minutes to walk two point six miles. I took a new route today. I took note of each and every step. I discovered a new avian resident fishing in the bayou. Note to self: Google "adolescent blue heron." Take advantage of Cornell Lab of Ornithology while at it. Membership comes with privileges.
Aha! The right tool. Problem solved?
Not quite. I have to re-learn how to write. If you've had to read my chicken scratch lately, you know what I mean. Blind-woman-writing is how it seems! Shaky, snaky, scribbled loops. Too many scratch throughs and plenty of "Oops!" Such a mess of words I make. Even I have to bow my head in shame and shake-shake-shake it in dismay. Learn how to write again I must. It's re-learn, type forever, or go bust. Use it or lose it! So sad but true.
Okay. Enough. Here's the deal. My penmanship really does look like chicken scratch. There's a type of physical therapy for everyone. For real. So, I am on a mission to . . . Dang it! Jimmy Fallon is on. I can't type for watching. I try not to laugh because it makes me lose my train of . . . Shucks! Commercial please?
The Magna Carta hit Houston! Hey, Anna? It's here. And that Italic handwriting is simply contagious. You make it seem effortless but I know better. I know better 'cause I'm learning how to write all over again. Well, kinda. I'm into the ABCs of it. The 123s of it. I am on a personal Mission Possible. Mission Re-Write. How far have I gotten? Well . . . See that pencil? It's like we're going steady. We're like hooked at the hip. Maybe fingertips?
Write on, write on! I've done at least a letter a day since this month rolled in. It's easy to do, so I hope you will too. What's your tally sheet like? And don't forget Earth Day! And Jimmy Fallon! Write on.
Monday, April 14, 2014
This is the view through the window behind the desk in the room where I write. Everything is low key and drab on this Monday afternoon. It's been this way all day. We've had intermittent rain, gusts of wind and thunderstorm warning. I'm just grateful for the water.
Being confined, I thought I'd write up a storm. Instead, between beating a path between the front and back door, I've bent a few slats in the Venetian blinds like a kid looking for the Easter Bunny. I know it's futile, but still and all, I am expectant. I checked the mail at twelve fifteen, and behold! There was mail. So I sat myself down with pen and stationery and . . . Nothing. I cannot seem to concentrate. Can't focus. I want to go outside. In the rain. It took a single bolt of lightning to dissuade me. So here I sit when I should be starting dinner. It's forty-seven degrees in Katy. I can make vegetable soup but I don't feel like cooking. I am cooked-out. Do you ever wonder how many meals you have left in you? I do. It makes me want to scream.
Okay. A letter a day. Will a postcard do? I chose Dore's "The Gnarled Monster," thinking it was a bird in need of a manicure. Besides, it looks like I feel. Funny. Not ha-ha funny. Well maybe just a little. That human represents the world looking back at me. Now that's funny! No. Sorry. The man with the sword is common sense looking at me, and the owls are the world looking and not understanding. Yes, that's it. I should do something before those tentacles wrap around me and squeeze.
So look! This is an amazing postcard from Elle. She sent it awhile back. I couldn't archive it just yet. It's from Sugar's Wood Crafts, USA.
It's wood! I'm tempted to weigh it but won't. It is one of the loveliest things. Thank you, dear Elle. I thought of this yesterday when I saw a monarch butterfly back from its vacation. If I ever make my time capsule this will be included.
Again. Three pieces of mail in three days. Plus a box. That's not bad, right? I have a good excuse for not penning today. It's the weather. Do your pens act up when the humidity is ninety-four percent? Mine do. Not a good excuse? Hmm.
I'm surrounded with prompts. Okay, I'll try. I will write now because it's so natural and easy. But wait! The rain has stopped! The sky is bright! There's a dove on the lattice just outside my window. Wait again. This just in from Doodlemum: He-Man passed on. He's gone. Now I want to cry. Poor, poor chicken. I wonder if he ever met the Fat Chick. I'll write all about his passing in tonight's letter. *sigh* Maybe I'll write up another storm.
P. S. Who else saw "Game of Throne's" major surprise last night? Hmm. The sun is shining! How bright is my world? It's the brightest! Oh! And don't forget to watch the moon tonight!
Sunday, April 13, 2014
April 13, 2014
This is my day off but you are with me even now. I'm trapped indoors because it's an aggravating-weather day, and all I can do is read the paper in front of the window before my little desk. The panes are smeared with just enough rain to make things look obscure and distorted. I wish it would go on and rain. What's sticking to the glass cannot even be dignified by calling it a drizzle. Hey! Mom Nature, get it over with! We need every drop that's missing.
Still and all, a disagreeable day allows me to linger over the paper and a mug of tea. I google words and titles to expand my understanding of stories and words that are unfamiliar or intriguing enough to warrant investigation. Reading the Sunday Times can go on for hours. I don't necessarily read the entire thing through in one sitting, however. I peruse the Book Review first thing. Always. It's like eating the inside of an Oreo first. I promise you it is just that good to me. Although I gave up Oreos. Again.
Today's Book Review is a SPECAL ISSUE. Oh, but I am savoring it like I would a double stuf Oreo! Oh! It's called stuff! Well, stuf. It's man-made so they cannot call it s-t-u-f-f, 'cause if they did they might have to tell us what's in the stuff. Please don't let it still be Crisco and powdered sugar. Mmmm! Gagging gently.
My favorite read in todays Book Review is SKETCHBOOK, Heads or Tails, by Chris Ware. He is the author of the graphic novel, Building Stories. I have clipped several of his stories and slip them into envelopes I glue to a page of my current journal. Do you ever make a mess addressing a lovely envelope and cannot bear to waste it? You do? Here's what I do.
Adhere it to a page of my journal. Such a lovely envelope. Could you toss it? See that bit of tape up top, with the blue heart? It's a leftover from the previous page. Waste not, want not, yes?
Inside is just as lovely and it's the perfect safe-keeper for secrets and special bits. Moisten the flap and glue your secrets if that's what you prefer, otherwise gently tuck it inside the body and you can revisit your treasure as often as you like. Tuck a token inside. I often include a dried flower, ticket stubs, photographs and whatnot.
Wish I didn't have to fold today's treasure because creases just are not right for Ware's masterpiece. Still and all it's better than nothing and this story took me a long way back. It took me back to when I was a little girl, and getting a penny was such a big deal. My parents taught me about wheaties. Bet yours did too.
I felt so special when I became the owner of a shiny new penny. One penny bought a lot back then, and they made a safe, satisfying thunk when they hit the bottom of a piggy bank. Before I decided to save it or spend it, I clutched my new acquisition with a death grip that made my palms sweat and cramp until I had to give in to Mama's "Do you want me to hold it for you? I can put it in my pocket book." I refused at first but always, always gave in eventually. I taste that coppery smell of a wet penny right now, even as I tell you about it. Isn't memory a funny thing? I want you to awaken your memories of pennies, and think about how close and connected we really are through memories. Stories are powerful things, and graphic novels are stories on steroids. Read on. And why not drop Chris Ware a little thank-you note for the trip down memory lane? Here's a link:
Write to Chris Ware here:
P.O. Box 48056
H2V 4S8 Canada
P.S. When you were young and had to flip a coin, did you use a penny? We always used a nickel since most of us rarely chanced having a quarter in our pocket. Sometimes one of us rushed inside to grab a coin but we would never risk losing so much money!
Friday, April 11, 2014
I did it. I wrote a single letter last night. In fonts larger than fourteen points it came to three pages, but I reduced it to the comfortable twelve points and ended up with two. It was fun. It practically wrote itself because it's not handwritten. My penmanship has suffered this year; it is much worse than last year but my signature is still legible. I am grateful for my Pages word processor and printer. Hallelujah for fountain pens though! They make everyone's writing look better.
I like my little props. The health stamp is part of a trio I bought a few years back. I wish everyone good health. The pen is my first really nice fountain pen. Erin gave it to me over eight years ago for my birthday. I didn't use it for close to a year. I was so intimidated! It's heavy and needs a strong wrist. My hands still cramp if I don't use it frequently and I like it even more than the first day it became mine.
The blue moth represents the luna pupa I sacrificed this afternoon, quite accidentally, and rescued (what was left) from the horrible ants that ate it some it it from the inside out. I uncovered it in the raised cedar bed when I weeded around the potatoes, thinking I'd take photos and return it to its rightful place. Well, the wind blew it to the ground and I put it in the bed with the irises. Ants attacked while my back was turned. I am sorry enough that I might write about it in tonight's letter. Be forewarned!
I might write about my good friend, Alex as well. We talked through the fence again today. He's been banned from coming over for a while, and as part of his punishment he can talk to me for only two minutes at a time. No matter. In less than two minutes I was able to pass him a new dinosaur skeleton through a space in the fence. Oh. A less than ripe blackberry. And a fortune cookie!
He and I share a mutual interest in dinosaurs. Okay, it borders on obsession with him but I'm fascinated and buy those gum ball eggs with dino skeletons inside. There's an interesting article in today's news about the T-rex on its way to the Smithsonian. I want to say I can't wait for the Smithsonian Magazine to publish a grand spread about it, but of course I can wait. I saved the news story for Alex though since he has a hard time waiting for anything. I'll print it and give it to him tomorrow. There's an awesome shot of the skull I know he'll think is cool.
I mailed eleven pieces of mail day before yesterday. I wrote one letter last night. Another one goes down tonight. One a day is easy. So much to say, so little time to say it in!
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
. . . and lots of letters to everywhere! Which means I've been as busy as two bees. I bought my avatar stamp several months ago, before Archiver's went out of business. I bought it at Hobby Lobby when stamps were on sale for forty percent off.
Did you know there were no bees in our America before they were brought over by Europeans? Did you know the honey you buy might not be pure, but could contain corn syrup or other sweeteners? I like to buy local honey with some of the comb intact; I imagine the bees that made the sweet sticky stuff collected from the flowers and clover in our backyard. One can pretend, especially as one sips tea sweetened with white honey from Canada, while affixing postage to too-long-over-due replies to steadfast pen friends.
I try to write a letter a day this month, but one leads to two--then a third or fourth. This is the second batch. These pretty butterfly and flowers notecards make it easier to pen a little news and good wishes for a lovely spring. I might add a favorite new photo and before I know it I've written a neat little pile of mail. It goes faster if I sit on the patio and sync my writing rhythm to that of the symphony of the birds and bees and planes that drone overhead--until I am distracted by new sounds: children's voices. Oh, there's music in the air and lots of laughter everywhere! As I write on.
Have you broken out of hibernation, too? Yes? Then, write on! Write on.
Am off to the post office.
Monday, April 7, 2014
I am supposed to be watching Abe Lincoln Vampier Slayer, for the umpteenth time, while reading the Sunday Times. There was only time for the Book Review today. I did not have the leisure to enjoy of filling the bed with inked pages and cats, so I saved the "news" for after the Bletchley Circle, Game of Thrones, and Shameless. I do wish I'd gotten to it earlier though. Lighting is poor at night in my little room but I want to share this with you now, then you can read it tomorrow over your Monday tea or coffee break. Here's the link:
Do you watch Jimmy Fallon? I do. Or I do now. Initially, I was a Letterman watcher but lately he seems to be more of a crotchety old dude who needs a glass of warm milk and an early bedtime than a late night entertainer. Oh? He's always been like that? Hmm. Never cared for Kimmel, Craig Ferguson is often just too silly-giggly, Leno was unlikable, and Conan still scares the heck out of me. I feel about him the way some people feel about clowns. He reminds me of a cockerel that comes to life in the closet when the lights go off, so when I cannot sleep and my book isn't helping, I watch the late night "funny men." Fallon's foolishness makes me laugh out loud for real (lolfr). When I get it. And he's talented. Entertaining. That's the best word for why I catch his routine when there is nothing else . . . Okay, moving on.
The lovely bicycle thank-you notes are from my lovely friend, Angela. Aren't they perfect for spring? Is also a reminder to ask for a bike on my birthday. And a helmet.
So, I fell for Fallon the first night I watched him write his thank-you notes. He won me over with that little skit. And the fact that he "uses" a lovely pen. What has me up this late is the title, "The Found Art of Thank-you Notes! Hallelujah and Amen! My sphincter muscle tightens every time I read or hear about the LOST art of writing with pen and ink, and using a stamped envelope. The arts of communicating with pen and paper are lost to those are lost. We, the letter-postcard-thankyou note writers are never lost. Are we?
Remember back when Ellen asked her viewing audience to write to her? Well, I wrote the show and asked when was the last time she wrote a letter. You know I never received a response, right? It gets my goat when I hear people who don't even write checks these days to weigh in on what we do so well: Correspondence and mail art!
Back to Fallon again. I am so anal, I fret over those wasted thank-you notes he uses as props! Laugh with me, at me, okay? 'Cause some of his notes are funny enough to make me forget it's just humor. My favorite here is "Thank you, cotton candy for making my grandmother's hair look delicious." I especially like his wind-up before putting pen to paper. That, my friends, is funny.
Go on. Read the piece and tell me what you think. I won't spoil anything for you by sharing more quotes from the article. Read, and let's have a discussion. Then we must write to Mr. Fallon. We must write him thank-you notes in return!
Oops! I slipped. I'm signing off with this special quote:
Where messages in an inbox look little different from spam, a tidy square in a mailbox crammed with bills commands attention. So does the vision of that other anachronism: penmanship.
Hold on to that word penmanship.
Now, write on!