Journal Jam

IMG_1094_2 My sister-in-law Gretchin and I are putting together a series of joint art and writing prompt classes that we are calling Journal Jam. We will be announcing the location of the first workshop shortly. In the meantime, we have both been working on our own journal pages. One of the prompts I love to offer comes from a book by Tristine Rainer called Your Life as Story. In it Rainer gives a prompt on How to be ________. The writer than offers a list of criteria describing how to be ______. Gretchin and I plan to use this prompt in our class and as an example I tried my hand at my own.

The night before I had been visiting Gretchin's house where my three-year-old niece Ellie was dancing around in the buff. I decided to write How to Be Three-Year-Old Ellie Dancing. Here's the result:

How to Be Three-Year-Old Ellie Dancing

Be Stark Naked

Lift Your Arms in the Air


Mold Your Hands into Tight Little Fists

Roll Them One Over the Other

Do Your Magic

Stare Up Into the Sky with a Smug Look of Satisfaction

Burst Into Song

Sing the Theme to Frozen

Twirl Again

Lose Interest

Walk Across the Room, Strutting like a Drunken Supermodel

Turn and Walk Back Toward Me

Shout "Hey Bee, Look at This!"

Twirl One Final Time.

I then went to work on my own journal pages, but as so often happens the preliminary sketches seemed better than the final result, so I experimented a couple of times.

One of the things I love about digital collage and one of the reasons I turned to working in that medium is that nothing every has to go waste. You can always use a "bad" photo or sketch and transform it into something else. I started to do so with one of the iphone pics I took of my sketch.

I had an older picture of Ellie and when I put them together it seemed as if the two were dancing. I am still working on the collage. This is just the preliminary piece. I'm calling it Shadow Dancers or Fairytale 699.

blog shadow dancing

I'm hoping to add a version of this to my journal pages as well.


Room 226B

Sunset from Entrance to the Office Building first night Shh…I’ve been keeping a big secret for at least a week now. Okay, I know the blog has been fairly quiet in general for a while, but that’s because I haven’t quite worked out the art of daily blogging with the art of daily living especially when so much is happening in the living department. So, I’m opening the door a crack, so you can see what’s been going on in the living department lately.

I have a space of my own. No, not a house, but an office. An office outside the home. And, not just a table at the local café or bookstore. I have a real office with my name on the door, a desk and phone, privacy and access to a conference room where I can teach. Yes, its true I’ve had a home office for years – one with frequent interruptions by family members, needy pets, and household chores. I’ve claimed a table at Books-a-Million and made friends with the baristas there, but none of these places have been private or mine.

More Sunset

For years friends and fellow writers have encouraged me to find a proverbial room of my own and I have smiled and nodding, knowing I should do so, but not knowing how to make it happen. Last month, my uncle told my father about some office space available in a small business incubator location. My father told me and the rest is history. I am still a bit shell-shocked. It seems to good to be true and it is such a powerful thing; something perhaps not easily appreciated by those to whom space has come easily. I have had little to call mine. Aside from a bedroom and a small home office, the closest I have ever gotten to space of my own was a single dorm room my sophomore year of college. One with such paper-thin walls that I could hear my best friend watching Oprah in the next room and we could gossip simply by sitting close to the wall and chatting.

Moving In

I love my family, I love my friends. I even have enjoyed the company of the other lost souls setting up makeshift workspace in first Borders and then Books-a-Million’s café, but having a workspace to call mine is so novel, so different, I am having a hard time believing it. I moved in last week: hung my photographs and diplomas on the wall, watched the sun set a brilliant shade of red over the parking lot, purchased tulips the lightest shade of lavender and placed them in a vase in my window. I set up my printer on my own and even hung the Biography and Memoirs sign that I purchased when Borders was going out of business right above my bookshelf above a picture of me showing Alfie. The Borders table I bought at the same closeout has found a home in my new space as well.

Now, that I’ve told you about it, perhaps it will seem a bit more real, though I think it will take some time for it to truly sit in. I find myself rushing through interviews and appointments just to get a chance to work in my new space, room 226B.

Me in My Office




Writing Projects

Blog Abby I haven't been blogging much lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing. I had three articles due by New Year's -- one on real estate sales, one on Rutland Regional Medical Center and one on the things we do for our pets. Each is either finished or almost so. I also had my friend Joan's (Waffles' breeders) annual Christmas letter to get out to all the people who had received puppies from her over the years and I've been working on a short story. Inspired by my work last year with the Hubbard Hall Writers' Project, I decided I needed to get some of my own writing projects out of my head and down on paper. The story isn't done yet and on the face of it isn't the most cheerful of subjects -- about a man who runs a pet crematorium -- but I think it has soul. I hope it will be one of many dog-focused stories and expect the follow-ups to be about happier themes. In the meantime, I have begun exploring the option of turning some of my photo collages into Kindle covers, I hear there's a market for them and many people have commented that my collages already remind them of book covers. My first attempt will be a collage to go along with the dog story, but I needed a Labrador model. I'm hoping to still take some more photos of some other friends dogs in the next couple of weeks to get a variety of shots to use, but one of my friends from my photography classes offered me the opportunity to take a picture of her brother's dog, Abby, who is a partial Lab. Today, I visited my friends house and got a number of shots to use for the collage in addition to this pretty portrait. I think she enjoyed modeling. When the collage and story are done I will let you all know.