Thursday, January 28, 2016

Noteworthy Links Thursday #3

My best web reads from the past week.

Enjoy!


Short Literary Fiction

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor gives insight into some dysfunctional dynamics of relationships between relatives who embark upon a trip and end up lost, accosted by bad men.  The story has the uncanny ability to reflect the dark heart of the human spirit.  There's also a surprise twist ending that you don't foresee whatsoever.

The Misfit kept scratching in the ground with the butt of his gun as if he were thinking about it. "Yes'm, somebody is always after you," he murmured.

The grandmother noticed how thin his shoulder blades were just behind-his hat because she was standing up looking down on him. "Do you ever pray?" she asked.

He shook his head. All she saw was the black hat wiggle between his shoulder blades. "Nome," he said.


And speaking of the nature of the human spirit, In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel breaks my heart just a little bit each time I read it.  It's a beautifully-written, heart-rending story of endings, of the truth that breaks you when you pause between the pages of life just long enough to really notice and listen.

I wanted her to be afraid with me. But she said, "I don't know. I'm just not."
She was afraid of nothing, not even of flying.


A Wintery Paradise:  Poetry & Online Journals

Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams as published at the Poetry Foundation is the perfect snapshot of the kind of evening we're having here in the East as the bare trees stand snow-covered and shivering beneath the waning light of a winter moon.

Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Winter Love by Linda Gregg drips an intermixing of simple solitude with just  a hint of loneliness.

I would like to decorate this silence,   
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain.


Bookworm-Worthy Reads for The New Year

Read what one girl learned by reading 164 books in 2016.  She also provides a spreadsheet of everything she read this past year.

"Reading is amazing; it shouldn't be a chore, and when it became one I stopped doing it."

Best Books to Read is full of some great recommendations and a variety of genres if you're 'to be read' pile is growing short.

"A well crafted book can help you to see the world in new ways, open up your imagination, teach you something new, or spark your creativity. All great things for bloggers. Plus, reading good books can help you nurture your own writing as you are inspired to try new things with your words."


Creative Ideas

If you're thinking about photography, or taking up a new/convenient hobby, you might want to check out How to Start at 365 Photography Project.  The article contains some helpful ideas and photography prompts for the beginning photographer.  And, surprise, you don't even need a fancy camera.  Your phone will suffice just fine!

"I wanted to take time to shoot for myself and create beautiful memories for my family and I. And let me just tell you, the entire process has been so rewarding!"

The article How a California School 'Cured Advanced Cases of Housewife Boredom' was a wonderful article that served a two-fold purpose for me:  a history lesson on societal gender roles of the 1960's and a resounding affirmation that yes, it is important that we stay creative!  Rather you are a stay at home mother/home-schooler (like myself) or if you cater to a bustling career, it seems everyone can benefit from some simple yoga poses and crafting projects.

"The Village offered classes in papier-mâché and sculpture, ballet and yoga."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Word List Wednesday #2

This week I challenged myself with some words taken from the poem Demographics written by Catherine Bowman as it appeared in Best American Poetry 1994.

Word List:

licking
November
palms
wallow
lips
noon
city-shift
underground
glare
river
cedar
hips
yellow
counter-currents


I was inspired by the snowy weather here in Eastern Kentucky.  We were gifted with an early snowfall this morning.  It actually is the first real snowfall of the year, which accumulated in several inches.





Breath on Snow

The snow is a city-shift,
Bare branches of cedars
And elms spread the landscapes
Wide like two empty palms
Awaiting to be filled with
The licking swipe of
Inner-tubes and make-shift
Snowboards made from
Summer’s last wood.
The air feels like a late
November noon in
Some other lifetime
Of myself as a child.
I watch the river play
Its hollow song against the
Late afternoon sun, yellow
Glare whose warmth touches no one.
I wallow in the ambient
Emptiness of an early-morning
Snowfall, all swaying hips
And lips too full of cold for words.
And I can’t help but feel
Someone else standing inside
The quiet beside me, an
Underground counter-current,
All warm-breath and full-cheeked,
The ghost who stands beside me.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Favorite Lyric Erasure Poetry

For the longest time, I have collected journals full of favorite songs/lyrics.  I simply write them in journals and colorfully decorated composition notebooks.  Oftentimes I write in the margins what specific lyrics speak to me of personal experience.  I also my doodle, add my thoughts, whatever tickles the fancy of my muse as I'm recreating the music on paper.

I've had songs touch me.  Enlighten me.  Songs with lyrics that have truly spoken to me, that have resonated with me on some deeper level than mere audible experience, and I've carried the lyrics of those songs with me for years.

I've always wanted bring these song lyrics a new life, or perhaps what I wanted was to apply my own life experience to them.  To pull out of them exactly what they made me feel, the emotions they evoked, the messages they conveyed.  To create my own art from them.

And now, thanks to the lovely idea of Amanda Oaks (a poet I recently discovered via her Tumblr) I have found a way to do so through erasure poetry.  Sure, I have known of erasure poetry for years.  I have even written a few of my own.  I just never thought to use my favorite lyrics for them until I read Amanda's recent book Where'd You Put The Keys Girl, which was actually inspired by the lyrics of Tori Amos.

Oh, I know, be still heart!  Tori Amos...one of my absolute favorite musicians.  Doubled with lyrics and erasure poetry and new ideas.  I haven't told this Amanda Oaks girl how much she's inspired me yet, but I surely plan to!

Anyway, back to my lyrics and poetry.  I'm a fan of Jewel, she was probably the first serious musician  that I could really sit down and listen to and feel I was being transported into the eye of someone else's experience.  I've had others do this for me:  Sarah McLachlan and Ani DiFranco (to name only my absolute favorites).

                      

So it's no surprise that I decided to do erasure lyric poetry on Standing Still, one of my favorites by Jewel.

I created the image for the feel of an erasure effect.  I actually used a magnetic poetry app to create it.  Although I did first use a journal,  I like the clean cut image from the magnetic app best, though.   I also included the poem in typed form below.

I had an awesome time playing with this and hope to do many more.

Enjoy!  Maybe you can even try your own.





                                                         Darkest night
                                two headlights
                                                clear
the twilight
                dead end
                  Burning
                     Insight
I want you
I stand          still
on the stoop
In
    This hot summer night
I
Feel broken
like I need you
   You
Said
    You love me
Like
                                A darkened sky
                The scenery
You pass                              by
You

Are                         passing me by.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Wisdom Makes Me Long For Random Things Lost

I have no idea who the artist is, but this vintage painting reminds me very much of the one I speak of in this poem.



There are things I wish
I had taken from my fathers
House before the move.
Funny how the mind can
Mature in a span of four years,
But here I am reassembling
A life I tried to forget:
A country community of
Late 80’s mom and pop resurrections,
Tiny grocery stores with paper doll books
And a summer’s worth of
Movie-watching for wide eyes,
Moon eyes my mother would call me
When, at the age of 12, I exchanged
Sleep for books and film.
I am a mother now and
I miss the innocence that childhood
Loans us in those few short years
Of finger-painting and doll-dressing,
The magic-come-to-life kind of way
I used to watch the cornstalks
Sway in farm fields until darkness fell
And they became boneless ghosts
To dance their rituals beneath a hangnail moon.
I miss pulling straw from my hair,
The adventure of bath-time play and the
Voyages that, in make-believe, I made
From soft couches and too-fat pillows
That rocked me like a rowing boat,
And the games of chess and porch-talk
With the neighborhood elderly, old-timey
confederates who missed the old days.
I miss time spent dreaming on a soft-shag rug
While gazing into a vintage painting at
Some snowy winter scape, a place I could
Lose my wiles for hours without worry.
The thing I’d want most, now, out
Of all those boxes of strong china and silverware,
Of wineglasses, old bottles of cologne and aftershave,
Of the grade school cheerleading uniforms,
Nor even a cassette tape collection galore could
Pull my hands from the delicately-smeared
Acrylic of an ideal winter, were those moving boxes here.



I guess this poem is really about growing older and beginning to realize the important things...like old vintage paintings that hung across the walls of your childhood home before it was sold.

It is true, on sweltering summer days I used to lay on a soft, shaggy rug and gaze into the wintery snow scape that hung on the wall to the left of our front door.  The inside-wall air conditioner sat snug in the wall across the room behind me so that if I laid in just the right position, I could feel the cold air caress my body.  I'd lay there for long periods of time during the boring days of summer break, gazing into that picture, feeling the cool air land across my skin....imagining that scene.  Was it real?  Imagined?  Had someone sat by a window and painted the outside scenery on a winter day long before I was ever born?  When I gazed into that old painting, I felt almost as if I were touching history, momentarily transporting myself to another place and time.

It wasn't until recently that I remembered the picture.  Perhaps a few days ago as I watched my daughter dance beneath the first snowfall of the year, small and short as it was.  

The painting is long gone, now.  Sold in a garage sale, I was told.  I only hope that wherever it is, it's found a warm, safe home.  And that, just maybe, some kid, somewhere, may one day gaze dreamily into that work of art instead of the blank, shiny face of an ipad.  

And that's really what the poem is about...the old days.  The innocent, interpersonal time before technology stole so many precious moments from us.  This poem is reminiscent of my childhood, back in the 80's and early 90's.  And I'm so happy I was able to live mine without high tech gadgets and screens kids have lost themselves in these days!


This poem was inspired by the visual poems of Maria Wulf as showcased in a  prompt at Imaginary Gardens.  I enjoyed all the videos, but was particularly inspired by the snowy scene and the corn stalks waving in the wind.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dear John Letter From A Broken Man (A Persona Poem)

Untitled by Frank Horvat (1962)



Don’t cry over me, girl.
In these modern days
There’s a cover-up for every scar.
I wrote these words myself,
A melody to rise and fall
Inside your mind, and then I was gone.
The days keep spinning us along,
Two visionaries whose eyes have
Grown too weary for travel,
Or maybe I walked too far ahead
While you chose to stand among
The proverbial field of wildflower.
Either way, Im already gone.
I sit in a room alone, an empty box
Surmised of dusty curtains and fireplace;
It’s just me and the cigarettes I smoke.
There’s no soft skin around my neck
The way I wanted your arms to rest.
There’s hardwood floors with scuffs,
A vague roadmap unreadable,
too-cold feet, dark sky between
The window blinds, and a forlorn feeling
That maybe you can forgive me
Although you probably won’t:
The goodbye was a brutal unending,
To say I once loved you for the things
You carried, smiling eyes, bright soul.
Then ask you to forget my number
In the same month of sex-filled Sundays,
To cause us both to miss a memory
That only really ever existed between
Fantastic walls built of the sweetest words.
But when you’ve been hurt,
And girl, I have been hurt too much,
You’d rather miss the world,
You’d rather lose the only girl
Than to fear the brow-beating
Of another symbolic father;
Than to be afraid you’d beat her brow too.
Understand me when I say
I did love you, and that is why I had to leave.
There’s no shady blow, no nighttime smoke
In this room where the only companion
Is the sad truth of an undoing of two.
The only thing left in my lap are two
Nervously-wringing hands, hands that could
Have touched you in all the wrong ways
Had I allowed them certain freedom to throw
The stones my heart carried.  Such heavy things,
An apothecary of unrealized dreams
To bow the ribs of my chest,
Medicine-bottle shelf for a broken man.


I wrote this poem with the Persona prompt at dVerse but didn't link up in time.  Still wanted to share it though.  :)  

I tried to write from the viewpoint of a man who has told a woman goodbye, but with reason that he was afraid he'd hurt her.  Perhaps he had demons in his own past.  Perhaps he was callous when he said goodbye.  Maybe he told her he never wanted to speak to her again and she just didn't understand why.

Maybe I excavated my memory for this, maybe it's not personal experience at all.  Maybe someone, somewhere might find it and read it and think it's about them when it's not.  Maybe it is about someone else altogether...or no one at all.

Or, maybe the muse just struck me.  And I wrote.

I suppose that's the mystery in any piece of poetry.  The words could be real.  They could be fantasy.  They could be lies, truth, something lived inside a dream.  

What matters isn't how it's written or what's said...but in what the reader finds inside their own interpretation of it.

Noteworthy Links Thursday #2

Welcome to my weekly installment of Noteworthy Links.

For the longest time, I have made it a daily goal to read at least one short story, one self-development article, and one poem per day.  In celebration of all the free education and resources available via the internet, I try to make sure that my daily reading material comes from the internet and is freely available for any and all to read.

I aim to choose literature and poetry from talented writers as well as informative articles that educate and promote self growth.

This is a collection of my best reads this past week.

Enjoy!


Poetry, Prose & Online Poetry Journals

I loved the poem Leisure by Charles Rafferty  for it's bare simplicity.  His words could be anyone's morning, especially mine.  The poem appears on one of my favorite websites Poetry Daily.  You'll find a new poem and author biography every single day on Poetry Daily.  I've discovered quite a few wonderful poets via their daily posts.

I also found a prose-feature essay on Poetry Daily (they have an archive of these free for the reading!) titled Just to Watch Them is to Feel Again:  Film and Poetry, Time and Image by Troy Jollimore which takes into account his reflection of the cinematic shot as compared to the poetic line as a type of entertainment that allows one to transverse dimensions as well as be entertained.

"at home I lie in bed turning Ezra Pound’s pages, finding there, too, a delicious weirdness, words I don’t recognize, words keeping company with words that seem to come from different neighborhoods entirely, if not different worlds, fragments of thought and language that seem somehow to have survived from a different era, pre-T.V., pre-consumer goods, pre-suburbs, pre-everything I am familiar with."


"The dream-life of reading poems could barely be distinguished from the dream-life of watching movies; to experience either was to go into a kind of trance, to exit through the invisible portal that, it turned out, was always hovering just to the side of one’s field of vision, into a symbolic realm whose refusal to make straightforward sense made more sense than anything conventional existence offered."

I thought it was kind of ironic that I found an essay on this topic since one of my new years resolutions this year was to lose myself in great film and read more books.



Short Stories

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin had a surprising twist to the ending that I thought was rather karmic, as the main character was met with the news of her husbands death with a sense of freedom.  Though I didn't find it alarming that a married woman might feel trapped, nor was it unrealistic that she'd view her future as prison willed to her partner as relationships can become rather stifling.

"And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!"


The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury is an oddly realistic tale of how a population calmly reacts to the eerily quiet news of an apocalypse.  It seems uncannily appropriate that they don't do anything, they go on as they always did, dinner rituals and all.  

"They sat and read the papers and talked and listened to some radio music and then sat together by the fireplace looking at the charcoal embers as the clock struck ten-thirty and eleven and eleven-thirty. They thought of all the other people in the world who had spent their evening, each in their own special way."

The moral of the story seemed to speak to me that everyday life need not be grand of lotto winners or riches or big huge experiences...that the little things are really the big things.   That's what  I took away from the story, anyway.  Read it for yourself and draw your own postulations.



Personal Growth and Self Development

Really, I am Almost Enlightened by Jerry Stocking over at the amazing Elephant Journal really drives home the point that if we want to be, we can be happy right now.  Rather or not everything is okay really is a matter of thought rather than external components.  

"It really isn’t nearly as big a deal as I sometimes imagine it to be."

I think the most important component to developing a Buddha mindset is in learning that it is us who govern our own thoughts, which are a direct result to whatever emotion we decide to identify with at any given moment.  So, yes, we can choose to be happy or sad....everything occurs inside the thought!



And if you're one of those people (like me) who often struggle with making meaning of daily tasks, or maybe you feel stuck in the groundhog day kinda ritual, I think you'll really enjoy the article How to Enhance Your Day in Seven Minutes, Daily by Diana Mae Fernandez.  

"By taking out seven minutes in your daily routine in the morning for self-care, you'll be able to jumpstart your day while improving in seven sections of your life that needs nurturing - only a minute each area."

And while I agree that her ENHANCE theory is an excellent method, I cannot find myself to implement each of those steps in less than an hour.  Maybe it is me, as I love to think, reflect, really plan...and then demonstrate that plan immediately after.  My morning ritual also includes Silent Time, Meditation, Yoga, and Reading some uplifting material.  But, the idea does give a good start to a morning ritual that can change one's life.

"You have to both take care of your body and your inner self.  YOU ARE A PRIORITY."



Hope you enjoyed my week's favorite internet picks!  Until next week, I hope you find some of your own reading gems.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Beauty.

Cloud Breaks
“hark, now hear the sailors cry, 

smell the sea, and feel the sky 
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...” 
― Van Morrison


Created for the Beauty challenge at Take A Word.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Noteworthy Links Thursday #1

Welcome to my weekly installment of Noteworthy Links.

For the longest time, I have made it a daily goal to read at least one short story, one self-development article, and one poem per day.  In celebration of all the free education and resources available via the internet, I try to make sure that my daily reading material comes from the internet and is freely available for any and all to read.

I aim to choose literature and poetry from talented writers as well as informative articles that educate and promote self growth.

This is a collection of my best reads this past week.

Enjoy!


A New Year, A New Start.   Let's toast to 2016.

52 Fun Things:  Try a New One Each Week of the Year
If you're anti new years resolution, but you do welcome some positive change, then this article is for you.  Full of some fun, stress free and innovative ways to enrich your life in small, weekly installments of merely one easy-to-do task per week.  I love this list!

However, if you want to try your hand at some new years resolutions and are unsure of where, or how, to start, this awesome Playlist of TED Videos are sure to spark a fire in your resolve to better yourself this year!


Self Development & Personal Growth

"Be a Buddha" is one of my personal life commandments.  It's a helpful mantra in trying times.  I have been practicing Buddhism since 2009.  I always try to explain to people that Buddhism is not a religion, it is a philosophy of the inner self.  It is the study of peaceful and content being in the world.   So I'm always happy to find an article like A Ten Step Journey Into Buddhahood that contains a thorough investigation of the Buddhist philosophy.  It's a great beginner's resource for those interested in pursuing a Buddhist experience.

I found the article Behind the Scenes of Wonderful Instagram Photos To Make You Rethink Social Media to be highly insightful.  The author sheds light on the idea that social media is a concept, rather than real life...a place where the imperfect is made to be perfect.  Yet the article also has a deeper, more meaningful message pertaining to the exaggerated perfection of cropped photo images on Instagram:

 "...allowing us to understand that there is beauty in everything. Even ourselves."


Poetry, Literature, & Online Journals

Late Hours by Robert Gibb reminds me of the deeds unfolding and of days well-done.  It brought me into a train of thought concerning my own late hours, how the evenings seemingly unwind themselves, day after day, one after the other...all the same, but different unto their own ways.

"In the meantime a single light is burning in the house 
Beneath the last hard carbons of the winter stars,"


New Years Poem by Margaret Avison intricately details a New Years Eve evening with her calming, meditative observances.

 "The Christmas twigs crispen and needles rattle
Along the window-ledge.
             A solitary pearl
Shed from the necklace spilled at last week’s party
Lies in the suety, snow-luminous plainness
Of morning, on the window-ledge beside them.   
And all the furniture that circled stately
And hospitable when these rooms were brimmed
With perfumes, furs, and black-and-silver
Crisscross of seasonal conversation, lapses
Into its previous largeness."





Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hearts!

“Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.” 
― Anne SextonThe Complete Poems



Created for the Hearts challenge at Three Muses.

Word List Wednesday #1

I love a good writing challenge, particularly the ones that work like word puzzles or fill-in-the blanks.  I also love being inspired by the poetic works of others, so I have designed a sort of prompt that will allow me to do both!

Each Wednesday I will post a list of words pulled from favorite poetic works of other poets.  I will then use my compilation of words in order to write an original poem all my own.  You are always welcome to join me in my challenge and write your own poem.  If you do so, leave a link so I can read and comment your work!


My word list for this week was taken from the poem Difference by Mark Doty, as it appeared in the 1994 edition of Best American Poetry:


parasol
disguise
ectoplasm
chiffon
binds
shape-shifting
transparent
undulant
alien
ballet
balloon
unfettered


And my resulting poem:


Beating on the Vault

Undulant as an adams apple,
His words were a cough
Caught in the throat.
I disguised my fear with
Acceptance, began to listen with
The dead half of my heart.
I listened, too, to the promises,
Letters that blended into the
Background of my mind,
A sort of parasol against
The gray rain of lonely mornings
At the back door, black coffee.

Sweet midnight nothings
Sweated my brow, moistened my
Skin like the slick lick of chiffon
And then it was born:
A niggling feeling that permeated
My pores like ectoplasm
In multiplication.  His ideas became
A shape-shifting breed to
Bind me to some make-believe.

Stupid girl, stupid dream,
It was all transparency,
Ballet-shaped silhouettes, an
Escape space where we could
Pirouette between the real meaning,
A balloon of prefabrication that
Someone had to bust with
Cupids arrow sooner or later.

Hateful rain, the world is a liar,
His heart a lair for displaced
Beginnings that never really began.
And who is he but a piece
Of prize litter, debrees unfettered,
An alien thing to me. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dogwood Winter




Winter is only a word,
The sun refuses her seasonal salutation.
I am awake and eager,
All arms and elbows,
Backbend and triangle pose.
I am sun-bleached book covers,
Blank journal pages and
Colorful magazine clippings
Glued across a notebook at random.
I am insatiable of words and sugar,
Oatmeal and black coffee,
Parker and Rilkes and Sandburg.
Besides, what else would I do
With a rainy eight a.m.?


Posted for the Tuesday Platform at the Imaginary Gardens.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Winter Wind Blows North

Charing Cross Road, 1937 by Wolfgang Suschitzky
This photo really reminded me of the bleak, rainy winter we are having.  Of the lonesome black and white colored boredom that almost always shows up during these desolate, short days.


The wind is alive tonight,
I hear it hum a gentle tune
Between the roughneck blare
Of west-highway big rigs and
The quiet whimpering of
Steadily-dying front-yard hedges.
The moon is waving between the
Stiff-backed edges of frosty clouds,
He tilts against the stars,
A one-toed tap dance.
Everything is alive tonight,
Brick of my apartment undulating
Like a labored chest-throb,
Spinning in the circular breeze
Of this one-horsed town
Where singles roll toward cheap bars
For lukewarm beer like tumbleweeds.


Written for a photo prompt at Magpie Tales.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Post Holiday Recap!



I know I don't post as much as I'd like to lately, but here's a Holiday Recap:



One of my favorite ornaments!  I actually received this one as a Christmas gift a few years ago.  The irony!  Our tree was white.  Second year with a white tree.  Thankfully, this tree already had lights attached so no fighting with a tangled string of lights for this girl!

We watched the city parade in town.  I was lucky enough to find a huge Christmas tree in front of the courthouse, which made for some exception photos.  My girl enjoyed herself.  The streetside popcorn vendor was a real win.

Taking a small break from festivities for picture time with my girl.  :)

Post-Christmas date night...black is my favorite color to wear, unless no one has noticed yet.  (smile)

No gala celebrations for us on New Years Eve.  I must be getting old, or maybe I was tired out from whatever stomach bug I've suffered from for weeks now....but I got some cheesecake at Bob Evans, my awesome BK mocha iced coffee and chilled in my favorite recliner to some Netflix.  Ah, it's the simple things.

*****


Despite being sick all through Christmas (seriously, is there some unwritten code that all the funk has to spread around during the early winter months?) and the untimely death of a beloved family member, I managed to have a somewhat decent holiday.  Sure puts a dapper on your mood when you're sick physically, and hurting in your heart.

We did lots of fun things....since I homeschool, there were lots of crafts (a gingerbread village and a decorated stocking made from construction paper and scrapbook elements, to name a few) and yummy food/snacks.  My favorite gifts tied in at an adult coloring book and a whimsical wax burner that says 'imagine.  dream.  believe.'   Really, I think that ought to be my mantra for the in-coming year.

I don't know, maybe I'm growing wise, but this year The Holidays was more about rejoicing in the life that  I was given, and the gift it is to share our lives with those we love.  I taught my daughter this Christmas, that Christmas is, indeed, about exhibiting a heart full of kindness and love, of acceptance and gratitude.  If I can just instill those virtues in her, I feel her path with alight to a more peaceful and loving way in this cruel world.  It took me years of meditation and Buddhist practice to really begin to resonate with the simple principles of loving kindness.

Of course, we had all the regular gift exchanging, the dinner and the family gatherings.  However, the material things weren't what brought me the most gratification.  That gratification was derived from my appreciation of loved ones and my gratitude for the gift of merely waking up to live another day.



*****


I haven't been writing nearly as much as I'd like to (going to work on that this year), but I did actually pinch in a little bit of creative time with Photoshop!


"Seriously, Where's Santa?"



"Late For The Party"



"Home For Christmas"


I actually created the digital art dolls for each of those.  As a child, I was fascinated with dollhouses and dolls.  Now each time  I go to create with Photoshop, I sort of get to revel in that childhood interest and use that as inspiration for my art hobby creations.


"Woodland Friends"



"Lonely Winter Eve"



"Fall Evening Lone"



*****



I'm still, as of yet, working on my new years resolutions.  I'll be sharing those ideas in a future post.

I sincerely hope all my writer friends and fellow poets had a charming holiday!  I'm wishing you the absolute best for the coming year!