Almost Autumn Sunlight

•September 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Today is the last day of summer, and the weather has been indescribably sunny and lovely all day, after two days of heavy rain. I opened all the windows in my bedroom and my chihuahua Fernando decided to take a nap in the sunlight. Fernando busted down a sliding patio screen door trying to chase a cat earlier today. I guess that wore him out.

“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.” ~ Louis Sabin

 

A Cup of Tea

•September 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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Chinese tea, found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yocca/8166992303/

Tonight I find myself wanting to write a new post, but with very little inspiration. So since I happen to be drinking a mug of hot tea, I thought I might expound a little on the virtues and traditions of tea, in case anyone cares. I may be the only one but I’m quite bored right now and at least it’ll be a little entertaining to write about.

I know for sure, that among its many other benefits, a cup of hot tea has been quite helpful to me while painting, drawing, reading, writing, studying, etc. It seems to help a person think somehow.

So according to George Orwell, I drink tea all wrong. I have a big metal teapot that I believe is sometimes used for campfires, and I fill it with water, throw in a large teabag and put in on the stove until it starts to steam. Judging by his profound respect for tea in the essay “A Nice Cup of Tea,” (found here: http://www.booksatoz.com/witsend/tea/orwell.htm) Orwell would probably be appalled at such practices. It may seem a little ludicrous to love tea to such an extent, but it is relaxing to have a cup of tea while you’re reading a book or sitting on the porch or having a nice conversation with someone.

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My tea. I’m doing it wrong.

As we know, the English have an ongoing tea tradition that is centuries old, and most of England today still seems to share Orwell’s love of tea, as do many Asian cultures, and a large number of other cultures throughout the world. Earlier I was wondering what caused this age old fascination with tea, but really I think I can understand. It’s relaxing and good for you, for starters.

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British tea, found here: http://blog.freepeople.com/2012/09/love-british-high-tea/

Here is a little about tea traditions throughout the world: http://www.itoen.com/cultural-tea-traditions

And a little about the many health benefits of drinking tea: http://www.itoen.com/health-benefits-of-tea

I live in Texas, and here it’s all about the over-sweetened iced tea, but from what I’ve heard they drink a lot of hot tea up in the northern U.S. I wonder if they serve it Orwell’s way, the British way, and most likely the right way to drink tea.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~ C.S. Lewis (goodreads.com)

From a Spider’s Web

•September 14, 2013 • 2 Comments

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Spider photo by Stephane Viau, from Wikimedia Commons

For the last few months a spider has built a web in the same spot every night, on the eaves of the house where I live. I got kind of used to having to watch out for the web as I came up the stairs in the evenings, as it got bigger and bigger as the spider grew. Being the kind of person who gets attached to things easily, and who grew up wanting to be an entomologist, I developed a fondness for this spider and made sure no one ever squished her or tore down her nightly web.

Maybe about a week and a half ago she quit building webs and would hang around limply at night from a couple of strands. I figured she was approaching the end of her short life, and I felt sad for her. This morning I looked up to the little corner of the porch where she usually sleeps during the day and she wasn’t there. And tonight she wasn’t hanging around in her usual spot. I think she’s finally gone.

She must have been old for a spider because she was getting to be huge, the kind of spider that would terrify most normal people. But I’m a big fan of nature, and that includes spiders. I think they’re beautiful, in a lonely, grotesque sort of way. They’re quite underappreciated, except perhaps by people who study them, or maybe a few thinkers or artists who understand them a little. And me. I’m not sure what kind of spider she was. She was medium sized and orange colored, and made a really nice web. Her little egg sac is still hanging from the eaves. I’m going to make sure no one messes with it.

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” ~Pablo Picasso

Post script: After some time I’ve noticed that my spider seems to still be alive, but moving around to different parts of the porch for the first time in months. Maybe she’s looking for a new place. I’m quite happy she’s not dead. :) I know so precious little about spiders. I’m going to study up.

The Lonely Dreamer

•September 7, 2013 • 2 Comments

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Sundowner Lake Sunset, photo by Delene Allen, 2013

Never growing up is an art, an ambition in itself. It’s never quite as simple as it sounds in story books. There’s no Neverland to fly to, no fountain of youth. We get older and the world kills our imaginations and our wonder. It tries to explain everything. Holding onto our innocence and wonder in the face of the world becomes impossible, because we lose our faith in the impossible. Living life as a dreamer, and holding onto the things you dreamed about when you were young often makes a person the subject of judgment from those who would consider themselves more mature or worldly.

People live life at different paces. You may not have a perfect marriage, or children or a career as early in life as you’re supposed to, but instead only faith, childish imagination or unrealistic dreams. Hanging onto such things might make you feel foolish, but it’s less foolish than letting them go. Most of the best aspirations are somewhat silly, and they may never be successful, but they should never be forgotten either. Life is not all about making dreams come true, but much of life is indeed about never selling out. None of us have to live the way our societies tell us to, and we should never have to apologize or make excuses for our dreams and beliefs.

“…So here’s hoping you’ve faith in impossible schemes…” ~Jethro Tull, Reasons for Waiting

Fantasy vs. Reality

•August 6, 2013 • 9 Comments

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“For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I picked up a very pretty illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Barnes and Noble yesterday, and I’m only on page twelve but I’m already enjoying the imaginativeness. It’s going to be a fun little read. When life is boring or difficult, I guess it’s nice to be able to jump down a rabbit hole and into a world that is not better than your current one, but perhaps more entertaining at the moment.

On that note, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fantasy and escapism. I wonder about the merits and purposes of a good story. What does escapism really accomplish? I wonder if it’s right to run away from our lives and troubles instead of facing up to them immediately; if it’s okay to replace reality with imagination sometimes. When I’m lonely, I want to read or write stories about good friends or romance, when I’m sad, stories about happy people, and when I’m bored, stories about adventure. I suppose there’s no harm in it but I wonder sometimes if it’s really the best thing for me, or for anyone, to mentally run away from reality when it gets to be a little difficult.

J.R.R. Tolkien said:

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? . . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” (goodreads.com)

But does fantasy help us deal with our problems, or prevent us from doing so?

The thing is, I want to publish stories that help people escape, but also I want to remind my readers that reality really is incredible, and its problems are not always easy, but endurable. I don’t want to do any injustice to that fact. Just study a little science; step back and take a look at the world, the universe, and it’s obvious that we live an awesome existence. But the boring ruts we fall into in life make us forget how great it all is. Maybe good stories help remind us of that.

I suppose good, helpful fantasy reminds us that reality should be lived honorably and right. Maybe it helps us become better people. If it doesn’t, then I don’t guess it has any real purpose. I think that fantasy must honor reality and reality must assist fantasy. Perhaps we need both, or God wouldn’t have given us imaginations. Our imaginations are pretty powerful, and it’s kind of a big responsibility to use them the right way.

Anyway, I’ve been kicking these thoughts around in my head for a little while now, and I’d like to know what other people, especially writers, think about it. Do feel free to comment.

 “Too much fantasy loses reality, too much hope may seem somehow empty.”

~ Akira Toriyama (goodreads.com)

Misty Morning Mushrooms

•June 16, 2013 • 8 Comments

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Walking outside this morning I came across a pair of rather large and interesting looking mushrooms. I’m no expert on mushrooms, so I have no idea what kind they are, but they’re kind of pretty. I took these pictures with my cell phone, so they’re not terribly high quality, but I have to say I appreciate the fact that my little phone is small enough to fit underneath a mushroom and take a picture from below. That’s a virtue I can’t overlook. A big bulky camera couldn’t do that.

There’s something kind of profound and poetic about mushrooms. Some of the prettiest ones are found growing on dead trees and in dank, dark places. They’re peculiar little forms of life for sure. They’re not traditionally pretty, like flowers, and people don’t make bouquets out of them, but they show a different side of beauty, like life once again sprouting out of death in a strange, new form. Or something like that. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos. They would probably look better with a little Photoshopping, but for now I’m leaving them as is.

A Long Night

•June 14, 2013 • 3 Comments

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’m feeling alone tonight, for many reasons, and I guess it’s led me back to writing, something I’ve had much too little time for lately. Lately I’ve been forgetting to take the time to be creative, to write, and to really stop and think about things. My blog has become kind of comatose. It was nice to log back on and see that I’ve been given the Inner Peace Award, which is a nice, feel-good, inspiring award. I pass it on to all my followers, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorite inspiring blogs later in this post. Tonight inner peace is something I can really appreciate.

Every now and then, and especially at night for some reason, hope seems to wane away and our thoughts turn to all the friends we’ve lost, all the relationships we’ve botched and all the weaknesses, shortcomings and fears we have. And they all seem much worse than they really are, and the night is particularly dark and heavy and feels like it’ll never end. And you need to talk to someone, but there aren’t very many people who want to discuss this stuff at 2 a.m. This is kind of where I am tonight, but I guess it’s mostly only bad feelings that will pass in a few hours. Then the sun will come up on another day and another chance to do things right.

A big thank you to Nadyess for the Inner Peace Award.

http://wordsandroses.wordpress.com/

inner peace award

Here are some blogs that are really inspiring. There are so many I love, it was hard to pick a few out. :)

http://inadifferentplaceblog.wordpress.com/

http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/

http://crystalnuding.com/

http://photographyartplus.wordpress.com/

http://ks3nia.wordpress.com/

http://thefutureispapiermache.wordpress.com/

http://www.recollections54.com/

http://readinginterrupted.com/

http://alifeintheshire.wordpress.com/

http://giddysap.wordpress.com/

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” ~Psalms 30:5

 
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