words, writing

words

The words we write are part of who we are. That was my motivation, I think.

I decided early this year to work on collecting my bits of writing in some sort of permanent way. Not to publish it, but to have it for myself. Also to have it for those in my life who might care to read it, and maybe keep it.

My goal was to assemble it all in a way that would make turning pages a pleasure. Something with sturdy covers, good quality paper, etc. Nice enough to wrap in tissue paper and hand to someone as a gift.

It started old school with printing copies and storing my work in a three-ring binder. Functional, but certainly not gift worthy.

Eventually, I decided to use the formatting from one of those companies that produces photo calendars, photo cards, and photo books. And chose their simplest style 8 inch by 10 inch photo book product, which includes stretchable text boxes.

I selected about 25 of my written pieces and some of my photos, and set to work. It was tedious. There was no ‘cut and paste’, so it took a lot of ‘delete and re-type’. Start overs, and of course, proofing. It was a project to make everything fit and have a sequencing and flow that made sense and looked good. I enjoy that sort of work, but it’s not something you can throw together in a couple of days.

Ta da … I completed one collection in the spring, and I just finished another for the winter. This isn’t an ad for photo companies, but their production and the paper products they use were more than I hoped for. Coffee table book quality materials, glossy pages, attractive covers, and nice binding. It optimized what I had to offer.

The costs were reasonable, and I’m happy to have a personalized keepsake to gift this Christmas.

For me, for myself, I get to leaf through the pages and feel like the words I write matter. And see that they have a little bit of permanence.

creepy, spiders, writing

one night

[Warning: This is about bad dreams and scary spiders, and yes, I really did have this dream.]

I had this dream some time ago, as a teenager, or maybe as a young adult. A dream that I had to kill a spider. I don’t like to step on bugs, while I’m awake and apparently in my dreams, especially if it’s a bug that has some ‘crunch’, that is, any bug bigger than tiny. It gives me a creepy, shuddering feeling. Well, the spider in my dream seemed like the kind of spider that had some crunch. But I also knew, in my dream, I had to kill it. For whatever reason, I had to.

I guess I hoped I could just step on it, and it would die in a negligibly quick painless second. So I lifted my foot and stepped down, fully intending to smash the spider. Unfortunately, I lacked the full-fledged commitment, or fortitude, and it turned out to be almost but not quite a step. When I lifted my shoe back up, I hoped there had been enough pressure applied, the spider would be dead, and that would be the end of that.

Ahh, if dreams could be so kind. Not only was the spider still alive, but it started to grow.

It grew and it grew, this slowly expanding creature in my dream. And this was no daddy long-legs. No. This guy had long, thick, furry legs. I’m sure the dream-like state that was me felt more horrified by those scary legs than whatever threat posed by any other part of its body. It continued to grow, until it was almost as big as me. I sensed the spider was enraged, furious with me, or out of its mind, whatever type of mind it is that spiders have.

Fortunately, the dream ended there.

Just thinking about all this makes me want to shake it off. Get up, get something to eat, take a nap, take a walk.

Take the words I typed here, select them all, and click ‘delete’.

Creepy.

coping, life, writer's block, writing

you gotta fight for the write

March 24, 2020, 1 am

Tonight I felt like I just had to write.

I don’t write everyday, just when I have something to say. Maybe that’s not best, but it’s me. For a while now, a week, maybe two, since all the virus quarantine social distancing non-stop 24/7, I didn’t want to write. I get like that when life’s too much. I feel a little shaky, my stomach jittery, my brain lazy. Maybe I should fight the malaise and the brain freeze, but I almost never ever do.

Eventually and inevitably, it happens. In a snap. In the time it takes for the brain to wake up. The writing bug kicks in, and I know I have to write.

For me it usually happens with a song, a great song, great words, one of the great song writers. And I always, always, think the same thing — I wish I could write one great song. Well, I can tell you that will never ever happen. The next thought is pretty much always the same — I need to write. Just like that. Not I want to write. I need to write.

So….

About what?
About what?

Hmmm….
Hmmm….

Tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’ll find something to write.

nature, pileated woodpecker, writing

tat-tat-tat-tat

I lifted my eyes toward the treetops, and took in the jagged black and white underwings of a large bird. It flew below the canopy, but high among the branches, then landed halfway up a tree trunk and started drumming. It was about 50 feet from me, and I was happy to stand there for awhile to admire. Look up, listen, watch, marvel. Pileated woodpeckers are so impressive.

The sound of the woods is always wonderful. Quiet and still and noisy at the same time. There are crows cawing, some little bird sounds…the tweets and the chee-eeps. And often woodpecker sounds. The familiar drumming gives your eyes a direction to search, but the pileated woodpecker is still hard to spot. Some say it’s shy. This time, though, I could see it. I could watch that incredible crested head nodding to pick at the bark.

After a minute or so, the surrounding noise of the woods tugged my attention, and I recognized there was a second woodpecker. Louder, closer, somewhere behind me. I wondered, almost subconsciously, if the two were communicating with each other. My curiosity got the best of me, and I turned.

Ah-hah!

Another one. It was standing upright as woodpeckers do, easily balanced on the side of a tree, not far at all from me. [the one in the photo]

What magnificent creatures.

Photographed March 5, 2020

nature, photography, pin oaks, prose, writing

pin oaks

Pin oaks are odd. They keep some leaves til spring. The leaves are ugly, more like tree clutter than adornment. Limp lifeless dull rusty. Nevertheless, on a February day, when the sky’s gray, and everything around you feels dreary and quiet, the wind picks up a bit, and there’s a soft rustle up above. High above.

It’s something like a hiss.

Like frozen crystals brushing by in an icy snow, tick, tick, tick, tick.

Or maybe the scraping a towhee makes when it’s tossing sticks and leaves under brush on a summer’s hunt.

A little softer than the crunch of fancy tissue we bunch around a gift for someone’s birthday.

Yeah, the pin oaks shiver. And then they whisper to the wind.

___________________________________
photograph from january 18, 2020

essay, life, nature, writing

dormancy

photographed january 21, 2020

I know some of you don’t like winter. You’re ready for spring.

But me, I’m like a bulb, or a tree, that needs some cold. I need a dormant period. We know who we are. I know other people like me. Yep, some of us…we have to have some winter.

I do a lot of fall photos. Changing leaves, pretty scenes, all the colors. Lovely.

But honestly, I don’t like fall.

9/11.

Other painful stuff.

Fall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Like I’m trying my best to hold on to summer, and it’s hopeless. Like I’m not ready, I’m stubborn. Refusing. Refusing to turn my head. To what? To what lies ahead, I guess. Like a little kid who won’t take the medicine. Mouth shut tight. The head jerks left, then right.

That’s fall.

But winter to me is fresh. It’s snowed in and pulling on the heavy blanket. It’s sloppy clothes and old movies. It’s night-time, and it’s dark, and it’s sledding down a hill with nothing but worn-out bell-bottom jeans and a floppy piece of card-board between your butt and that cold frozen ground.

It’s necessary.

december, nature, photography, writing

a winter tale

photographed december 27, 2019

What can you say about the woods in winter? It’s soothing, beige and gray, muted. Soft, gentle on the eyes. Patches of living green scattered here and there, the ivy, the pines, the hollies. Fallen trees on the ground where they came down. No one comes out to straighten up in the woods, to pick up the leaves, to clear away the thorny bramble. It’s solid and calm. It’s tangible. It’s genuine.

________________________
etikser

All photos and images here are my own.
They may not be used elsewhere or reblogged