Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

So I was lucky enough to have Hollywood make a mix for me. And is it one of the best mixes, I've ever heard. Well, I should say so far. Because I've only listened to four tracks. And have replayed them over and over. I'm slow sort of listener and like to savor my music and then move on with time. Anyway, it's a fabulous mix and I look forward to the time ahead as I slowly listen to everything and think it all over.

I have to say though…it's odd listening to a certain sort of music anymore. I loved it when I was in college because I resonated with it so well and I still love it. But the resonation isn't there anymore. I think there's a song on there from the group Xiu Xiu's La Foret and they're really tight and really good and they have that sound. I'm trying to think of another band that has the sound of I'm thinking of but I'm not quite sure- it's a feeling that runs under lots of bands, and bands that are very different from each other. Like at the drive in and radiohead and Death Cab (sometimes) and Pinback (at times). There's the tight feeling that comes from good music but under that, there's a turmoil. A tight sharp turmoil. Very pretty, very well done.
And while I still enjoy that sound, my heart isn't there anymore. And I find that somewhat of a shock and almost odd.
Now that I have the time and the love to be at home and do things, I find that these things are helpers to the condition of myself. Knitting, drawing, gardening, writing, cooking- all these things, which I do nearly everyday and improve in every day, all these things mend, resolve, evolve the state of myself.
And the turmoil…it just seems to pass away. I sit on a bench and draw a teahouse, using brown and green pencils and the inward grind slows and relaxes. I cook with green and red peppers and they come out wonderfully- things loosen inside. Break down and come apart and I eat in rest. My words march along swifter and smoother and everyday they march, my seedlings in the kitchen break through the soil and start to grow, just all these things, everyday, they change everything. Everytime.

**There is perfection nowhere but everyday there is improvement. I think that must be the life of an artist- this improvement. This ascension. I don't want perfection. I just want to improve. And that is possible everyday.

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Life Lessons from a Cardinal

Outdoor living is coming in fits and starts now that it’s June. Last week it was in the 90’s (30C) and today it is gentle and cool with thunderstorms passing by north and south, bringing coolness in the wake of their stormy skirts. The sun shines but the thunder rumbles nearby and my cats retreat farther indoors to snooze on chairs instead of near windows.

It is tempting to join them. The heat break means that deep good sleep is possible again. Even with air conditioning, I sleep poorly when it’s hot. I sleep best when it rains.

And it has been raining at night but in great torrid thunderstorms where the house shakes and the windows rattle. Sometimes I lie in bed as the thunderstorms march by and wonder at the fate of all the creatures and people living outside.

It is summer and I have no arguments with it. It’s too hard to argue with the seasons. On the beautiful days, I sip my breakfast tea outdoors and watch the birds and squirrels to start my day. There’s always a drama playing out in the backyard. My favorite is the cardinal who walks along the deck rail, casting his bright black eye here and there and then breaks into song until a robin kicks him out. When the coast is clear, he returns and does the same thing all over again. Despite my nearness, he doesn’t mind me at all and I adore his bright red plumage and courageous laughing heart. His song cheers my soul and I’ve come to recognize his particular song. It falls under the same lines as all cardinals but it has a bit of improvised trill at the end. I think he’s been hanging out with song sparrows and got Ideas.

He’s a hard individual to photograph (all flash and movement) but I’ve shared a photo of a cardinal from National Geographic so you can get the idea. He’s hard to ignore and is a permanent on the robins’ blacklist. I aspire to such a level of happy insouciance.

How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.