Romper, stomper, bomper boo.Tell me, tell me tell me do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play? I see Kathryn and Jennifer and Laura and Johnny, SisterCoyote and Judith and Bethani and Mary and Jalene and Kathleen and Robert and Anne and Mary Jo… And I see YOU, too.
Anybody out there remember Romper Room? I do. I especially remember sitting there at the end of the show when Miss Nancy picked up the Magic Mirror and looked out at alllllll the children who had gathered that morning to watch the show.
I’d press up as close as I could to the television without getting heck from my mother. I’d press up and sometimes I would wave but mostly I just hoped….and hoped…. and hoped that this would be the day that Miss Nancy saw me.
She never did.
I bet a lot of you have a similar story.
When I was grown and talking about Miss Nancy and her magic mirror with a pal, she said, “Did you ever write in?”
I didn’t know that writing in was part of the deal. You could write a letter and say hello and tell Miss Nancy your name and then… the Magic Mirror could see you.
I never flipped the switch by making CONTACT.
And, apparently, no other Pams did either. Heh heh.
As some of you know, I spend my Friday mornings over at The Oasis with Jennifer Louden and a great bunch of women (and men). Last week, Jen asked us to drop her a line on that week’s forum about How and When we Oasis.
I hadn’t been hanging out on the Oasis forums much for a few weeks and I was missing it. A big part of why I joined the Oasis and why I am playing this year in NaNoLand is that I really enjoy the feeling of being IN COMMUNITY – even if the community is online.
I decided to slip on down to the Oasis and respond to Jennifer’s request.
I Oasis each Friday from 10-11 AM. I like having a certain time that I come to the call each week. I’ve found that it is much easier for me to show up for things like – live calls / webinars / classes than it is to just… sit myself down to do the things that I KNOW will feed me.
Over the summer, I actually invented a 5 week class for myself, led by ME. Heh heh.
Each Wednesday from 7-8:30, I would retreat to my “writing burrow” (a wee trailer in the back yard), following a basic format much like the Oasis:
– a short meditation
– an invocation
– writing/drawing prompts
– a gratitude practice
– a closing
I decided to gift The Oasis to myself this year as a way to strengthen this weekly practice IN COMMUNITY and with Jennifer.
Each Friday, I make a cup of tea and settle myself into the Oasis with a sense of being in a cozy cabin with you all — scribbling, giggling, and sometimes weeping together.
For the past few weeks, I haven’t spent much time on here online. But I want to drop in more often throughout the week. Just to keep in touch and strengthen this sense of community/connection that I so yearn for.
Thank you all for your beauty and wisdom.
Each Oasis features a call/recording — that I experience as time spent with Jennifer and the rest of the gang. I love this time.
Jennifer started a new thing, last week, where she gave Shout Outs to members of the community who have posted on the forum. Things that tickle her, move her, members who might need some extra support in the coming week.
This morning….. I GOT A SHOUT OUT!
Can you believe it?
Jennifer talked about how she liked the image of all of us inside the Burrow together. That it made her think of Mary Poppins’ handbag – so much bigger on the inside…
I felt… so warm and wrapped round with love and then it REALLY REALLY did feel like everyone was here with me, sharing the warmth of the wood fire, sipping tea and coffee, meditating together. Ahhhhh. Lovely.
Even as I attempted to let the love ooze into my body, my brain-monster started yelling, “Well don’t get USED to it, Missy! Don’t go trying to garner attention all the time. That isn’t…nice.”
Throughout the call, Jen had us working through various writing prompts with the following in mind…
Knowing I am seen and loved for what I am…. [insert question to explore]
It was…. wonderful and thrilling for me.
I shan’t go on…I must go on… I shan’t go on… about it. Other than to say how grateful I am that I decided to give myself the gift of the Oasis this year.
As for my NaNoLand adventure today…. yes, it had to do with Romper Room and places that are “bigger on the inside.”
Some Fun Links:
Creating The Writing Burrow: https://pambustin.com/2013/07/04/creative-spaces-my-studio-trailer-revamp/
The Oasis: http://jenniferlouden.com/the-oasis/
A very cool blog by an Oasis compatriot who is on a two year motorcycle trip with her beloved: http://www.jalenecase.com/knowingourselves/
And last but not least… The Lovely Miss Nancy:
Have a great day everyone!
go easy ~p
Today I wrote a sad story.
About this fella (who I named Sam) and why he is alone…
…here in this room with the wallpaper that reminded him of home and his own beat down mother.
I wrote… a fragment… of Sam’s story today.
And spent some time with T.S. Eliot because I kept hearing a certain refrain….
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/44212
Yes – yesterday I saw a frog and she served as my inspiration for today’s entry in the notebook. It is a sprawling entry, playing about with various frog facts and musings on various frogs that have shown up in my life.
In the end, I reached towards a poem.
I still have a strange fear of poetry – my own, that is.
I took a class once with the wonderful poet, Louise Halfe. She called the class “Writing Through Fear.” It was a gooder and I met some great poets in that class. Since then, I’ve played with poetry now and again.
In my blunderings, I yearn for…. the conciseness of a good poem or a great song. The way of saying things that poets have – the STICK WITH YOU way.
Because part of what I want to do in the coming year is…share more of my work with folks, I offer up this raggedy gem.
I’m having a heck of a time getting the thing to SPACE properly in here, but after 1/2 hour of playing with the danged formatting…. I shall leave it be as it is. (take THAT perfectionist critic!)
Listening to Frogs
On the road today, I saw a large brown frog.
I crouched down to watch her move over the gravel
—quartz bits and granite pebbles—
through curling leaves and past a fallen spruce twig.
She was slow and heavy on her way to winter’s rest.
I wondered if she would burrow into the earth like the toad I used to visit in the Frozen Pond exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Regina.
Or if some rocks, a log or even a pile of leaf-litter might be enough for her to make her winter home.
Or was she trying to make her way down to the river
where she could dive to the bottom
where the water never fully turns to ice.
How much would she need—for shelter.
I’ve learned that some frogs survive the cold by upping the glucose in their organs.
The small amount of water in their bodies freezes but the glucose acts as a cryoprotectant and keeps large ice crystals from forming.
Imagine that. Being able to protect our vital bits from the cold times—with sweetness.
When I was twelve, I spent a summer with my auntie on the farm.
I remember—a freedom.
The first week, or maybe it was just the first few days,
I ran outside after drying the breakfast dishes and spent the morning wandering in the fields
and crouching on the edge of a small
just up the road.
There were frogs there and it seemed that I sat with them for hours. Listening.
That was before I realized (or remembered) that I should stay inside and help auntie with the chores.
That I was there to keep her company and to help her with the kids.
She had four by then, and all of them under five.
My uncle worked away, that year, on the rigs in Alberta.
It was their last summer on the farm.
Though I didn’t know that, then.
I snuck back to the pond a few times
in the afternoon, when auntie and the kids all fell asleep in the living room with the tv on.
But it wasn’t the same.
And now… it’s time to load up the laundry and head into town.
Have a great day~p
Hello hello hello. We are here to do a bit of a November experiment.
I am feeling so fricken awful these days. Like I don’t DO anything. Like I will never finish anything (writing wise) ever again in my life and so… Of COURSE I decide to sign on to participate in NaNoWriMo – because –
Look a month long challenge that you will be able to MEASURE and get a prize for at at the end! (even if the prize is just braggin’ rights)
So it goes in this brain/heart of mine.
My project for the month is titled you do not have to be good after the wonderful poem Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. Always an inspiring poem for me that has offered me…solace.
A new layer of wonderful was added to this sense of solace when I heard an interview with Mary on a wonderful podcast I follow called On Being. She reads the poem — which is so so SO wonderful. I love hearing work in the author’s voice. But she also says:
“This is the magic of it. That poem was written as an exercise in end-stopped lines. Period at the end of the line. Not every line is that way. I was trying to show the variation, but my mind was completely on that. At the same time, I will say that I heard the wild geese. I mean, I just started out to do this for this friend and show her the effect of the line end is — you’ve said something definite. It’s very different from enjambment. And I love all that difference. And that’s what I was doing.
I was trying to do a certain kind of construction. Nevertheless, once I started writing the poem, it was the poem. And I knew the construction well enough that I didn’t have to think about, just if I need an end-stopped line here or… It just worked itself out the way I wanted for the exercise. That’s kind of a secret. But it’s the truth. It was there in me. Yes. Once I heard those geese, and said that line about anguish. Where that came from, I don’t know…”
I love that this wonderful wonderful poem that has touched so many came to her as she was working on CRAFT. She was doing and exercise and also listening to the world.
I want to do that this month.
I see this as a way of re-invigorating my writing practice with the added bonus of playing “in community” with other writers in NaNo land.
My plan is to take up inspiration wherever I find it and… let myself run with it for a few hours each day.
The “end product” won’t really be a “novel” pers se but I had the idea that a woman finds these scribblings, this notebook, somewhere … like on a Greyhound Bus and she reads it and then… she leaves the notebook somewhere for someone else to find and begins the same sort of notebook for herself.
As I begin this work, I recognized my growing frustration with the way I am always… chasing of my tail, trying to round things up and pin them down, save them for later.
The way that I spent hours the other day down the “playing with apps” bunny hole. My aim was to find a simple, elegant, way to … REMIND myself of something. Some wisdom gleaned from my weekly adventure with Jennifer Louden over at the Oasis. Jennifer provides us with lovely worksheet pdfs each week to DO JUST THIS. I don’t need to re-invent anything at all. I was just looking for way to… not just fill in my form and file it on my computer and …not look at it again.
An Oasis companera mentioned that she takes a pic of her weekly wisdom on her phone so it is always at her fingertips.
Great idea, right? Sure. Except that this week, instead of filling in the lovely form Jennifer sends us, I made a big sprawly drawing entry in the Scrib and I couldn’t find a way to take a picture that would show the whole thing and be readable, so… I thought, “Well maybe I can use an app to make a nice picture…” and THAT sent me down the bunnyhole of playing with Phonto and Evernote and finding old things on apps I no longer use and … “oh oh oh remember when I was doing that? Remember when I tracking the things that make my life wonderful and making notes in The Book of Me on the Paperless app to remind myself of these things. Because… I am always forgetting always forgetting always forgetting” and when I looked up… hours had slipped away and I still didn’t have a damned picture/reminder.
I do this ALL THE TIME.
I turn my life into lists and reach for apps that will keep things at the forefront of my mind and really really really all I need to do is… listen. To pray in the way that Mary Oliver prays in her poem The Summer Day.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver (from New and Selected Poems, 1992)
To be idle and blessed. To pay attention. To fall down into the grass.
Oh yes please.
My aim is … To carry the wisdom of both of these poems with me all month and to write from this place. This sacred, wonderful place.
Let’s see how it goes.
PS – if you are playing in NaNoLand and want to find me – look for MulliganStew
The Oasis with Jennifer Louden: http://jenniferlouden.com/the-oasis/
On Being blogpost: http://www.onbeing.org/blog/mary-oliver-reads-wild-geese/5966
Mary Oliver reading Wild Geese:
When the mind is aswirl and will not rest…
Will not settle to the work at hand…
What to do
What to do
What to do
There is always work at hand.
And there is, within me, so often resistance to the work I think I SHOULD be doing.
Like today/this week…
I have such a yearning to find my way to a new draft of a story about where we learn grace that I wrote last year for a Geist contest. Cuz I think there is something there. But oh oh oh this work feels so … heavy and hard to me right now.
I’ve been contemplating a return to NaNoWrimo Land this year.
A bunch of my pals from the 3Day Novel Contest are regular NaNo participants and I always like the feeling of working in/with a community, so I was thinking of signing on as a NanoRebel and using the month to work on revisions to already existing work but…
This morning, my heart leapt up and offered me something else.
The thought of maybe doing something brand-spanking new and using November’s NanoWriMo world as a spur to do it.
I had a vision of…. a notebook.
A writer’s notebook.
A notebook filled with ephemera and stories. Various bibs and bobs pasted in and surrounded by words. Story. Dialogue. Poetry. Whatever.
I saw…a fun way to spend November.
Finding my “inspiration” in…. I dunno yet… maybe just my world of the day before (or the morning OF the day), like gathering an idea/quote/picture and then just … free falling into a story/poem/whatever.
If I was in a city and wandering around during the day I would grab things, like… found treasures from… the ground or posters or whatever that I could paste into a notebook and then… riff off of.
Since I don’t tend to wander through the world in quite that way right now, maybe I will stumble across things online or whatever. That could work as well.
So I plan to create more of a … virtual notebook.
Jumping off of…
And I thought…
Hey, I could also play with this a bit in BlogLand – not posting the entire thing each day but maybe the … inspiration… and a wee excerpt of the thing I write or something like that.
As a way to…. restart this ole blogThing and also stand up to this awful awful awful loud CRITIC that is screaming at me all the time about how bad all my “work” is.
Because here’s the truth — this critic monster is KILLIN ME. Entirely. I see so many… possibilities in drafts of stories sitting, so long neglected on my hard-drive. But I seem unable to … bring the possibilities OUT. I know know KNOW that there are pieces I want to work on next year with an eye to … sending them out into the world somehow. But right now—everything I touch is crumbling beneath my hands.
So I gotta switch gears.
There will be time time and time to work on these pieces. Ha – even as I write that I can hear the monster panicking –
NO NO NO you must stay here with me and slam away at these pieces until the gold is revealed. If you don’t do this, you will never finish ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!!!!!
I see you monster. And I acknowledge the fact that, yes, there be gold in them thar hills but… I’m still missing something that I need in order to get to it.
I need to kick things up and make some new stuff right now.
I need to peel some bark off to get to the core.
I need to stoke the fire.
I need to get back to the playful in my writing practice and this idea feels FUN.
Am I just avoiding the hard work of revision?
But… so what if I am?
I stare at that question.
Right now, no one is… waiting on anything from me.
I’ve got no contracts on the go.
This idea might just just be…. foolish and goofy but… at least it is CREATING something, right?
And that feels… hopeful.
So… yeah… I’m gonna hop on over to NaNoLand and create a new project for this year.
And maybe even a new board over on Pinterest to play with.
Do you have any plans for fun creative work in November?
I hope so.
go easy ~p
Doing a lil promo for a pal….
The fabulous Arthur Slade is launching a new ebook today.
He is an award winnin’ writer with…um… I think about 18 books out there (traditional publishing).
He is self-publishing this one and blogging about it. I thought this might interest some of ya’ll. Here’s a link to a blog post…
Because today is launch day – you can get the book (ebook version) for .99 cents over here…
And… last but not least…Here’s a bit about the book:
AMBER FANG ENJOYS LIFE’S SIMPLE PLEASURES – A GOOD BOOK, A GLASS OF WINE AND, OF COURSE, A GREAT MEAL.
Raised to eat ethically, Amber dines only on delicious, cold-blooded killers. But being sure they’re actually killers takes time… research… patience.
It’s a good thing Amber’s a librarian. Her extraordinary skills help her hunt down her prey, seek out other vampires, and stay on the trail of her mother, missing now for two years. One day she stalks a rather tasty-looking murderer and things get messy. Very messy. Amber, the hunter, becomes the hunted.
And then, from out of nowhere, the perfect job offer: Assassin. She’d be paid to eat the world’s worst butchers. How ideal.
Until it isn’t.
Amber Fang is the first book in a new action and adventure vampire series by bestselling author Arthur Slade.
Join Amber Fang’s adventure today – simply buy this book!
I, for one, just can’t resist jumping aboard to meet Amber.
The 99 cent deal for the ebook ends at MIDNigHT tonight.
And for fun… a classic librarian video….
Go easy ~ p
Today on Facebook a friend and fellow writer, Bethani Jade, tagged me in a post inviting me to share in a “self-love” writing challenge that she is doing. It brought up all sorts of….nasty sticky goo for me around my writing practice.
One of the things that ZOOOOOOOMED to forefront of my reptilian brain was … this blog. This silent, looming, blank day by blank day thing that I created and am now… neglecting.
Before I lose my nerve.
And before my over-active perfectionist gene kicks in and makes me write a whole DIFFERENT blog post… I’m just gonna copy in my reply to her…
She wrote about how she loves her OWN way with words. I especially love this …
I care more about writing bold, fluid, active lines than for form or structure. The lyrical quality of words is also far more important to me then the exact definition. I pay attention to how the tongue wraps around, and how the mind rests on each syllable.
She invited me and the fabulous Carla Atherton to join her in the self-love writing challenge.
And I responded….
Hey Bethani – oh how this makes me smile. Thank you for the invitation (and the challenge of it).
Wow… As I sit here, my stomach knots and I begin to sweat.
I am not feeling the self-love on the writing front these days at all at all…
I ask myself– why? I continue to write, each morning in my Scribble book and I am playing with a reVision on a story I wrote last year that I quite love. This is true—yes?
Yes this = true.
But the very thought of …. expressing self-love around my writing brings to my front brain all the writing I am NOT DOING or feel like I have FAILED at — the blog that runs silent, the novel that refuses to be written….. ouch ouch ouch.
I stop, take a breath and… Offer kindness to my sore writer self. And I see something. It is small, but it is alive.
The best I can come to, today, is that I continue to… Begin Again.
Every time I … lose my way, get lost in the weeds, I allow the piece(s) to rest and myself to rest (ha ha) and then… I begin again.
I blow across the ember and re-kindle the fire.
Sending a big wave of love and gratitude your way. May tasty words continue to thrill you.
Go easy ~p
Yep that is what I wrote and so …
I spent some time today working on that story and…
Here I am, beginning again with this blog thing.
And for today, this is ENOUGH.
And you can find Carla Atherton doing all kinds of wonderful work over at http://lotushealthproject.com
On we go ~p
I begged God to let me know, if it were His will, could I please stop writing. Why? Well, I know I am just as weak and undeserving–and more so–than I was thirty years ago when God commanded me I should begin.
When I said to our Lord, “Can’t I please stop writing?” He showed me a little sack in his hand and said to me, “I still have healing herbs.”
I said, “But Lord, I don’t know any of those herbs.”
The Lord answered me, “When you see them, though, you’ll recognize them alright. With these, you can refresh the sick, strengthen the healthy, wake up the dead and bless the good.”
That’s why I don’t dare claim credit–no, not at all–for anything I say about love. It’s God who reaches through me faithfully and makes empty hearts full.
–Mechtchild of Magdeburg–
The Flowing Light of the Godhead.
Sometimes… All times… the universe sends us exactly what we need, the trick is in the learning to hear.
Another documentary for you with a special shout out to all my poet pals. I’m glad I know where YOU are.
Me and the Raggedy Man watched this one yesterday and quite loved it.
I was especially thrilled to learn about Phyllis Webb, a poet and ground-breaking broadcaster who worked for the CBC back in the sixties. It was an archival copy of an episode of her television program about poetry (Extension) that piqued Lee’s curiosity and sent her on a quest to find the savvy woman with the amazing bee-hive. On a side note…Webb was also the creator of IDEAS – one of my favourite CBC Radio programs.
I am so glad that Lee was able to contact her and to hear that she now painting and is about to have her first exhibition out on Salt Spring Island.
I was also happy to see poet Liz Howard, who I have never met, but hope to… one day. Word is she’s from Chapleau and that makes me smile.
The doc also features poets BpNichol, bill bissett, Stephen Collis, Shad, Irving Layton, Samantha Bernstein, Ronnie Clarke, Vivek Shraya, Lena Suksi, Elana Wolff and Malca Litovitz.
The material on Malca Litovitz is especially touching.
It also aired on DNTO on March 25th as a radio doc, so you might be able to find a podcast version as well.
Here’s the blog post by Stephen Collins that led Sook-Yin Lee contacting Phyllis – Phyllis Webb at 85
And a Short Interview with Liz Howard by rob mclennan.
Here’s to more poetry in our lives.
go easy ~p
Stumbled across this wonderful gem this morning…
Volume Directed by MAHALIA BELO and written by ANNA INGEBORG TOPSØE
Beautifully shot and oh oh oh I loved the writing–clear and true. So much said/shown, so simply.
When you have 30 minutes… sit and watch this one.
Volume is streaming on VIMEO: https://vimeo.com/133130486
Also found a fun article that features Belo and a few other directors you might like to meet: http://www.cafebabel.co.uk/culture/article/young-european-directors-you-can-spot-a-french-film-a-mile-off.html
Happy viewing. ~p
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