Tuesday, April 15, 2014

poetic truth

Truth is such a rare thing, it
is delightful to tell it.
   - Emily Dickinson
How is National Poetry Month going for you? Have you discovered a special poem or two? Written some? The only thing difficult about it might be getting started. And I've got the antidote: two chunky workbooks by John Fox full of creative exercises, stories, quotes and poems that will inspire and delight you. And get your pen moving across a page. Fox believes that everyone is a poet, that we just have to find our voice and discover how to put what's in our heart into language form.  He believes that writing poetry is a way to know yourself better and that it has great healing power. He believes poetry is grace. I can't say enough good things about these two books, but Rachel Naomi Remen says it best in the preface to Poetic Medicine:
"Poetry is simply speaking the truth. Each of us has a truth as unique as our own fingerprints. Without knowing that truth, without speaking it aloud, we cannot know who we are and that we are already whole. In the most profound way, speaking our truth allows us to know that our life matters." 

Monday, April 14, 2014

just pay attention

This brilliant banner waved yesterday at my nephews' church in Wilmington. The children there follow a donkey around the block before the Palm Sunday service begins, symbolizing the triumphant parade that marks the start of Holy Week. Even though I know the story from beginning to end to beginning again, it never ceases to bring me to my knees. While on them, here is a poem by Mary Oliver to consider, which the minister shared:
Praying
It doesn't have to be the blue iris.
It could be weeds in a vacant lot,
Or a few small stones;
Just pay attention,
Then patch a few words together and don't try to make them elaborate.
This isn't a contest
but the doorway into thanks.
And a silence in which another voice may speak.

Monday, April 7, 2014

naming rights

Steve, Caroline, Charlotte, Julie, Italia. For seven days last summer, we woke to church bells, took the Spanish Steps by twos, drank wine with lunch, tossed coins into the Trevi Fountain and strolled ancient piazzas at midnight, gelato in hand. We studied the saints, wept in front of The Pieta, explored the secrets of the Vasari Corridor, lost ourselves in the Boboli Gardens. For seven days, we were Stefano, Carolina, Carlotta, Giulia and, of course, Italia. In some ways, I think we always will be.
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Friday, April 4, 2014

lamb-like

It seems like yesterday that I was trying to craft together a birth announcement for our precious baby daughter in the numb, dark aftermath of losing Dad. Then I saw these lambs and they conveyed a sweet peace and hope, same as she did. And does, twenty-one years later to the day. I tell her all the time that she fell right out of heaven and into our arms. Even though it was more complicated than that, with labor pains and a hospital stay, she knows exactly what I mean. My Easter girl.    

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

portfolio peek

Could be my favorite campaign yet by StewartMarr:
(click image to enlarge)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

van Gogh goodness

I am seeking.  I am striving.  I am in it with all my heart. - Vincent Van Gogh
It is the birthday of extraordinary painter and prolific letter writer Vincent van Gogh, born in 1853. He took his own brilliant and holy yet despairing life at 37, leaving us with stars and sunflowers, almond and olive trees, cypresses, flowering orchards and wheat fields to cherish for all time.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

{un}expected

My friend Jenny was critiquing a project recently and said, "This has a lot of power because it's unexpected." Wait, what? I'm baffled to admit that in all my years in advertising, while I may have at times backed into creating the unexpected, I've never consciously made a point to do so. I wonder if that's because I attached a negative connotation to the word unexpected. Linking it solely to bills and news and scary things happening out of the blue. When, in reality, the unexpected most often shows up in a wonderful way for me. Probably for you, too. Like turning a corner and seeing a favorite masterpiece chalk-drawn on the street. I'm going to start mentally cataloguing unexpected delight and be more intentional about purveying it. Expect an update soon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday faves

My favorite day is chai day, which is a Friday that includes chai tea.
(image)
A day when there's a new movie out that I've been pining to see,
this incredible tome to read, and
the potential for tortilla soup.
(image)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

pastel days

Tentatively, wistfully, hopefully. Spring arrives.

Almond Tree in Blossom, Vincent van Gogh, 1888.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

on birds and people

Such an interesting and beautifully written story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about a man, his art and the birds. Even more compelling to me than what David Sibley has done in the field of ornithology is his path to doing it. He's completely self-taught, having dropped out of Cornell after freshman year but continuing on in his job at the university's noted ornithology lab.

From the article by Ellen Gamerman: "New York book dealer Graham Arader ranks Mr. Sibley on a short list of ornithological artists that includes John James Audubon, the 19th-century naturalist known for his "Birds of America." He cited Mr. Sibley's skill in using gradations of color to create depth and dimension, adding: 'Many fine, different shadings can create something magical.'"

For me, there's another message in the story that goes beyond the binoculars, the birds and the drawing board: the many fine and different layers of a life create something magical, too.
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