this day in image and quote

                                                           snapshot from a journal page

"These are the transitional times when I am not what I was nor am yet what I am becoming. In limbo times, I must live with alert attention to my feelings of vulnerability. I must guard against hasty choices and rushed decisions. In limbo times, I must learn to simply be. Soon enough, life will move me onward. Today I practice the action of loving non-action. I allow my life to alter organically and without unnatural haste. I trust the tempo of my unfolding." --- Julia Cameron

I love these words, feeling that they express perfectly how I've been feeling as of late. Each time I read them, I feel reassured and at peace, my breathing deepens and slows. Thank you to the friend who shared them.


Photo Friday {Soft Light}

The theme this week is "Soft Light."

Penny and Olivia soak up some sun and rest before ballet class.

Penny loves to make herself at home on my art supplies. There she is in the photos below, cozy on a 24x24 panel, one that I was getting ready to prep with book pages as a companion piece to the hummingbird-inspired one from a few posts back. I didn't have the heart to move her, instead I decided to work on a found poem at the next table.

It’s always a treat to get to hang out with Tiffany Trent. She drove into Roanoke on Saturday to talk about the revision process at the downtown library. Of course, I went. I felt a bit lousy but managed to pull it together. I’d already missed several outings with other friends and hated to keep adding to that list. So glad that I did. I have missed that girl!

She’s a fantastic speaker, giving lots of great tips and at the same time engaging the audience in discussion. I was a proud friend. One of her tips triggered a writing session on Sunday morning where I had a bit of a breakthrough.

Other writers were there. Becky Mushko, Amanda Cockrell, Kathleen Foucart, Amelia (I wish I had gotten her last name). It was great to talk about writerly things. Even though I’m not as far along in the process as the others, it was nice to be immersed in that world for a bit.

There was also a tasty lunch at Alejandro’s with lots of laughter and more writerly talk which was heaven. A ballerina pickup and then a trip to Black Dog Salvage. Have you ever been? You can wander around there for hours and not see everything. I love the old (and enormous) stained glass, doors, and mantels. My want list was long by the time we made it back to the marketplace area. In the midst of all the cool, vintage offerings there were paintings by local artists- a gallery and antique stored rolled into one! Joy! Oh, and there's garden statuary outside. Lovely pieces-birdbaths, stone benches graced with rabbits and ornate gazebos. Really. Very fairytale-like.
Here's a pic of Tiffany and Olivia just inside the store.

And then there was tea and more goodness. We were so sad to see her drive away.


There has also been a recent celebration of ballet accomplishments. This was the day we found out that a sweet friend made it into Junior Company at ballet. Olivia received her acceptance letter the next day which means another year of fun and hard work and growth. I couldn’t be more proud.

And thinking of dance, I never did share any photos from The Nutcracker, did I? Here is one of my favorites of Olivia.


A bit of luck on this Friday the 13th.
There's a five-leaf in there. It's there on the bottom right, I promise, though in the image one leaf seems to be in hiding. Olivia found that one. I read that five is for long life. When I was a little girl I had photo albums full of clover, my prize clover being an eight-leaf.


Hummingbirds-part 1

Hummingbirds! Oh, I love them. Did you know that these winged creatures are found only in the western hemisphere? Or that when the pilgrims arrived on our continent they met Native Americans wearing hummingbird earrings? In Mexico, kings were known to wear cloaks of hummingbird skin. I shudder to think of the how many sweet hummingbirds it would take to make an entire cloak, beautiful though it must have been. I prefer to imagine them instead as they were in the fairy tales, riding on the backs of swans or zipping along secret passageways to the underworld.

This is the second piece I’ve made including hummingbirds in the last few months. The first was created using a vintage image transfer and it’s hanging in my kitchen. I will make time to photograph and share that soon. The one below I created as the first of three pieces for our bare downstairs hallway using a photograph that I took of my daughter a month or so ago.

Along with hummingbird imagery, I was inspired by this quote by Norman Vincent Peale: Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities - always see them, for they're always there."

The hummingbirds represent the possibilities. The quote is written again and again around her body in the hopes that she will always remember the words.

Along with the photograph, book pages, acrylics, graphite and cold wax were also used on the 24x24 wood panel.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I've been a bit neglectful of my blog, for one reason or another finding it more handy to post life things on FB. I will try to be better about that in the coming months.


Collecting Names

            When I was a young girl, I named things that most others I knew didn’t, things like favorite trees and sitting rocks, our family car. I spent a lot of time in the choosing of the names, believing as I do now, that a name is incredibly important and has the power to shape how someone or something is viewed. It was a shame that I wasn’t too fond of my given one. Patricia. Or Flatty Patty as one horrible little boy on our elementary bus liked to chime way before I even knew what he meant. Then, as if I needed a solid reason for disliking my moniker, there came into our classroom an article printed in our local paper about baby names and in it there was a heading halfway down the page with the title of something like “ten worst girl names in the history of all time.” Guess what? Patricia was on the list. I remember being completely mortified. I think I was in fourth or fifth grade at the time. My classmates had a field day with that as you can imagine. Eventually I made the switch to Tricia, only I wasn’t so crazy about that either.

I started a name journal. It was a sort of wish list for myself (I tended to gravitate to names like Camilla and Clare) and then when Olivia was born and I began to dabble in writing and painting, the name journal became an excellent resource. I should also mention that she called me Mimi before she could say Mommy and that name stuck and around the house I am Mimi and I love it. It fits. Sometimes I am called just Tee and I like that too. In the last few years, I’ve even begun to finally feel a strong connection to Tricia and even Patricia, though if asked why the change, I couldn’t say.

I still collect names. Graveyards are especially good for this. And they are good, quiet places to walk and think. Last week I walked a hill inSalem, Virgina. The sky was grey and the air, chilly; the stones were weathered and round and mossy. Perfect inspiration for a nice Gothic novel.

Mary Kyle. Theodore Hale. Can’t you imagine what they must have looked like, what adventures or drudgery they experienced? It’s a fun creativity starter. Names really get my imagination going and sometimes a story comes straight away. I’ve put my novel away for a bit (a very short bit—two weeks perhaps) and am working on a short story. The main character is Chanterelle. The story didn’t come until after the name. With the novel, the main character’s name has gone through three changes, hopefully with this last to stick around.

I met several people on the cemetery paths that day, one with a notebook in his hands. He was quickly jotting things down, names perhaps? I wanted to ask but didn’t; I just gave a nod to Fred, Bill, or Evan, maybe Wayne, and walked on.


Tiffany's Book!!!!!

Oh, how proud I am of my dearest friend, Tiffany Trent!

Check out this fabulous description (!!!!):

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

When I saw that she'd dedicated the book to me, I cried. And I will cry again, with little doubt, when I hold the actual book in my hands. Tiffany was a true friend, a rock, during my cancer journey and I know it couldn't have been easy because I have a way of retreating into full hermit mode whenever things in my life get rocky. I have a difficult time talking about this chapter of my life so I will just share this:

There was a day when this story saved me. I had Tiffany's manuscript with me when I was in the hospital with stage 4 cancer and a serious infection from a failed skin graft. I was alone when I was told I needed to "put my affairs in order", to find a school for Olivia, because truth was they said, (believing the cancer was in my brain and bone and more than the part of the lungs we already knew about-we were at the time also waiting for scan results), I wouldn't be on this earth much more than a few months. I cried and cried some more. I wrote in my journal. I prayed. I got pissed. And then I did what I used to do as a child when I needed to escape-the one thing that never failed me-I read. Tiffany's story got me through that day and night. I will be forever grateful to Vespa Nyx and Syrus and of course, my soul sister, the talented and all-around awesome human, Tiffany Trent.

What joy to still be on this earth and see for myself this gorgeous cover, to celebrate with Tiffany all of her hard work coming to light! Go, Tiffany!!!! xo

The book is on shelves in August but until then, you can follow this link to Tif's blog where you can enter a contest to win lots of fun steampunky goodies!