Merry Christmas!

happy christmas!


That which is unseen…

…is such an appropriate topic for October!  Although the take on it in this animated video from TED Ed is more amusing than frightening.  May it be an insteresting spark in your day…


Go make a mess!

Ok.  I found SuziBluTube a while ago when looking for something fun and creative to do.  So let me share…

You can find her YouTube videos here.

I love acrylics and mixed media and ink.  I’m not so hot on the smudgy stuff:  pastels, graphite, charcoal.  The smudgy stuff makes me hate it for the same reasons I hate foundation makeup–it clings to my skin with a terrible film.  And, yes, all the things I love make messes just as well as the dusty stuff…

Mess is important.  Mess is a sign of wildness and passion.  Mess is art.

I have yet to meet a rigidly mess-free artist.  Any art space is filled with clutter–even if that clutter is put away after the project is finished–the doing of art is not neat.

Go find something that inspires you to make a mess today.  Heck, grab a piece of paper out of the printer and make flowers with the stack of pens and highlighters in the cup on the desk.  Make little hand turkeys like you did in kindergarten.  Get some plaster and cast your footprints.  Bend a bunch of paperclips into a sculpture and dress it in sticky notes.

Have fun!

Asking too many questions

My favorite question in the world is “Why?”  It drove my parents and my teachers absolutely crazy, but the simple truth is that there has to be a reason behind everything (at least from my viewpoint).

Curiosity can take us places that maybe no one has ever been.  It can lead us to new possibilities.  It can lead us to new connections.

Today, I was watching this video–which is a 2 min introduction to two other videos–but it brought up the idea of asking questions we don’t have answers for.  I really liked that.

And then I started thinking about John Scalzi’s Big Idea posts where authors can discuss the moment of inspiration for their book.  All of the writers have interesting and funny things to say, but many discuss stringing together sentences of possibilities that begin with the phrase “What if….”

Though my grandmother often warned me about curiosity killing the cat, I can’t help asking questions.  What will humans evolve into?  Why are people more prone to dislike that which is different?  Would I survive in a post catastrophe world?

Even if my questions have no real answer, can’t I just make one up?  After all, I am a writer.  Wouldn’t it be cool if my fictitious potential solutions led to actual solutions?  Don’t scientists and engineers sometimes pinch ideas from writers?

So go on–ask any question you want.  And find your answer…even if you have to make it up!

Challenge the world around you

Kelli Anderson’s TED talk

I really enjoyed this video because she is asking you to challenge what you see and how you use the world around you.  Nothing is “as is.”  For example, she turns a wedding invitation into a record player!  Seriously.

So if the reality of the objects we expect can be subverted, how would you create your life?  What does that do for your writing?

If your descriptions are a bit blah, find a new way to look at the world around you.  Discover something unexpected.  See something in a new light.

The dark and the light

Lucianne Walkowicz talking at a TED conference in Nov. 2011.

I’ve always had a thing for stars.  Unlike the speaker, I grew up in the Midwest where I experienced what I thought was a sky filled with stars.  Silly me.

When I went to grad school in rural Idaho I finally experienced what a night truly was meant to be.  Holy crap.  Night was black!  I don’t mean dark like you can still see your hand in the ambient light from the mall kind of dark.  I mean BLACK–as in your brightest headlights make no more impact than a single candle in an auditorium.  You cannot see your hands in front of your face; you can’t see the thing that’s about to eat you either.

The one beautiful thing about such a darkness is that stars wheel in thick smears across the whole sky.


I love the idea of these citizen science programs!  I always thought if I could have a d0-over I might choose astrophysics as a career.  [Don’t look at me like that!  I can be a super genius if I want.]  But these programs could allow me to be an armchair-scientist (kind of like an armchair traveler, but with science).

Imagine as a writer what you could learn…


Good grief.  This site is addictive!  Filled with endless pages of eye candy for anything you can imagine…

  • Art
  • Food
  • Crafts
  • Clothes
  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Photography
  • Books
  • Shoes
  • Beauty

If you need to reinvigorate your creative spark, grab an account and begin to pin.  You will find wonderful dreams and ideas everywhere!


Insatiable curiosity

I ask questions.

My grandmother used to tell me that “curiosity killed the cat” when, as a child, I would pursue her with endless strings of questions.  Why are buggy horses only trotters or pacers?  Why do I only have “a wad” to spend at the dime store?  Why does this fern close when I touch it?

My mother was one of those women that just expected things to be done once the task had been handed down.  Just do it and that is that.  I always asked “why?” and “for what purpose?” until it drove her nuts.  I also had this problem with my teachers–particularly in math and other hard sciences.  And like it was with my mother, the answer often came down as “Because.”  [Because, just because, and because I said so don’t actually satisfy my curiosity–they do, however, make me feel very contrary and non-compliant.]

Now I like to find out how things are done.  Here are a few things on the top of my Need-To-Learn list:

  • How to make cheese.
  • How to can/store enough fruit and veggies for the winter.
  • How to make practical dishware (plates, bowls, cups, jugs).
  • How to spin yarn on a spindle and a spinning wheel.
  • How to shoe a horse.

Why would I ever need to know these things?  The truth is absolutely irrational:  what if civilization collapsed and I suddenly needed to know how to do a ton of practical things by hand (without the help of electricity or the internet)?  I, like all the women in my family, always think about the worst scenario and try to be prepared.

I read books on knitting and gardening and Google information on how to build things.  I watch YouTube for demonstrations on just about anything I can think I might need to see!

Sometimes what I enjoy is less practically motivated:  folk tales, history, linguistics, fiction, astronomy and astrophysics, geology, poetry, religion.

I wish everyone as much curiosity in their life as I have in mine.  And, if I’m that cat…well, at least I will die happy.