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My Green Velvet Life

Where everything sticks.

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writing & poetry

Scratching on Green Velvet

You will turn over many a futile new leaf till you learn we must all write on scratched-out pages.  – Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983), American writer

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Well here I am.  I apologize for my lack of attention for nearly 4 months.  In addition to the lame excuse that I’ve been busy, I have another reason for avoiding you.  I have been trying to make decisions on what I want to write about, and rather than bravely blogging my thoughts and ideas, I have chosen to simply clam up.  Actually, maybe it’s a good thing I’ve saved you from my ramblings.  If I’m going to drive you away I guess I’d rather it be due to my silence than because of what I write.

I won’t attempt to bore you by cramming 4 months of self-indulged scrap-blogging just to make myself feel better.  I will attempt to give you a brief view of where my heart and mind are these days.

New blog?  I have been tempted to start one.  I’ve been saving a list of clever names and tag lines, just in case I go through with it.  In the meantime, I’ve decided to “write on scratched-out pages” here on My Green Velvet Life.

Twitter.  You may have noticed I hang out there a lot.  It is a great place to become skilled in The Poetry of Concision and quickly share endless articles and helpful resources.  But I must admit it leaves me feeling impatient with traditional writing.  Did I mention it is fun and addicting?

Pinterest.  Pinners, I know you understand.  Non-Pinners, just imagine having the entire world as your wish book.  As you giddily pin your life away you realize your one true wish is to simply have time to pin all of your wishes . . .

State of the world.  If you know me or if you read my tweets, you know that I am a Christian, pro-life conservative who is deeply worried about the United States and the entire world.  We are not protecting life and freedom.  Why are we allowing leaders to trash the U.S. Constitution? This perfect human rights document should be an example for the entire world.  Not because Americans are better than anybody else.  Because free people are the only people capable of making our world a better place.  Weren’t we all made to live free?  Whether or not you believe in God, can you deny your innate free will?  Would you deny it in others?  Have you ever read James Otteson’s Moral Case for Capitalism?

The story of God & us.  Have you been watching The Bible on The History Channel?  An interesting comment I’ve been hearing is how people don’t like the violence in the stories. There seems to be a growing need for more understanding of God and the stories in the bible, yet a shrinking ability to find time for church, discussion, or even debate with people who don’t believe in God.  Going forward, I will try to share more of my deeper thoughts.

For now, I’ll leave you with a few tidbits:

Deeply Messy Topics (doesn’t mean they can’t still be fun)

God:  The picture that makes me smile.

Bible for the Clueless:  Stupid = not to. Practical = how to.  Miracles = do too! Jesus = listen to.

Free Will & Evolution: Why God made them perfectly messy.

Religion:  Trying to put God’s love into a box.

Free Speech & Humility:  Why social media is a spiritual tool.

Sin:  It’s anything that _____.  (My pre-school Sunday Schoolers could get this.)

Technology:  Discover what it really is.

Revelations:  It’s about seeing not waiting.

Perfectly Fun Topics

Recycling:  More cards and art projects of course.  Plus, Granny’s Never Ending Art Project . . . if I can find time to actually start it.

Brilliant Advice:  You’ll be an all-star if you take this handy item to your next spectator sport.

Recipes:  I’ll probably never top my fabulous Ode to Jergens Lotion Bagel Spread. But I’ll try!

Thank you for visiting,

jt first SMALL

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Little Tweets

Thought I’d start adding some of my original tweets on here since not everybody follows Twitter.  Please excuse the basicness of the graphics–I just broke out my dusty my ol’ Photoshop–and now I remember why it is such a dangerous pastime. Because it’s PASTIME for bed . . .

 

Where Will Words Take Us?

While it appears I’ve spent the last few weeks goofing off until all hours of the night, I’ve really been studying the miracle of our collective knowledge via the gigantic melting pot of Twitter.  We are quickly entering a stage of unpleasant growing pains.  We’ve put ourselves out here.  We can chitchat only so much before topics get serious and we must unveil our deeper selves to millions around us.  I pray that we learn to brave the power of our own words.  They can take us anywhere.

About Facing (It’s a poem.)

Friending!  Dolls tucked inside cropped boxes pose on shiny shelves where smiles are Shopped and tears are Liked.  We poke through crispy windows to pull-string happy words.  Children can’t be trusted long with unopened toys.  Ties untwist. Tiny pieces roll under the bed.  Hairs rat.  Pull-strings snap. Stop Looking at Me!  Bored, some of us go outside to play Do You See What I See? until cry babies say we have to play Who Can Be Quiet the Longest.  Tired adults agree. They make everybody sit on the couch while bullies trash our dolls and laugh from the other room.

With Thanks to Nobody’s Hero

Don’t ever under estimate the power of you.  One look or touch.  Or poem or prayer.  You can make a difference for someone.

I cut this little poem out the newspaper when I was 13-years-old.  I can’t say it is what sparked my interest in poetry.  At that time I had already been writing (and thinking!) feverishly for over a year.  But it did make me think a lot about perspective: The voice of  someone who spoke for one who could not speak.  And about finding beauty even in death and sadness:  Somebody loved this poor cat for the sheer reason that nobody else did.  Loved him enough to write a poem.

For a busy world, the poem was a quick-awe-isn’t-that-sad-but-sweet enough.  For a very serious young poet, its message was deep-deep-deep enough.  I’ve kept it all these years–folded and stuffed into a very special old book.  Every time I read it, I take comfort in knowing our world will never be too big or too busy for us to stop and simply love.  Nobody’s too small.  Somebody cares.

That’s a lot of something.

 

Heaven Can Wait . . .

Stretching his hand out to catch the stars, he forgets the flowers at his feet.  — Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English jurist, philosopher & legal reformer

The Memory of Dandelions
If tomorrow we lost
little suns at our feet.
Yellow till
white fairies danced.
White till
they quietly flew
skipping away
on the dew.
There’d be today
I’d wish you knew.
 

A Hole in the Box: One Shot Wednesday Poem

Thought I’d crawl out from my cold-gray-days induced hibernation and share my One Shot Wednesday poem.  Cuz when you’re feelin’ blue, no other color will do . . .

 
 
A Hole in the Box
 You let me wax.
Carnation Pink.  Blue Violet.
Gold and Sepia too.
 
You on the other page.
Outlined firmly.
Colored softly.
And Sipped Coffee (a color in my book).
 
Somehow growing up.
I colored my life.
Spring Green.  Magenta.
Midnight Blue.
 
Somehow growing old.
Still scribbling.
Granny Apple Green.
Now outlining.
Silver and Bittersweet.
 
Always looking.
Forever missing.
That perfect hue.
That Mary Evelyn Blue.

 

This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth. — from the Japanese statue of Sadako

our folded hands
fly like warm cranes of comfort
spreading sacred shawls

 

The people of Japan need our help in so many ways.  If the only thing your circumstances allow you to do is pray, do not feel helpless.  A wise friend once told me, prayer is not the least you can do for someone;  it is the most you can do. 

Have you ever heard the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadako_and_the_Thousand_Paper_Cranes

Making paper cranes would be a meaningful activity to do with your kids as you help them deal with their sadness and worry over the tragedies in Japan.  Here are instructions:

http://www.wikihow.com/Fold-a-Paper-Crane

Fold your hands.  Send the Japanese people your love and peace.

Know Any Sassy Queens?

I feel rude and one-dimensional lately.  I’ve been ignoring my blog all week, and here I am barging in with another poem.  I promise I’ll get better about not hiding myself.  This is just a tiny poem, which hopefully fits snug right into your overloaded day!

 Sassy Queen
Trails of frosted crystal
blow from green glittering breezes.
The great queen shivers and sings:
Flannels my butt!
I’m wearing diamonds to bed!

One Aboard: One Shot Wednesday Poetry

Yay! It’s already time for One Stop Poetry’s One Shot Wednesday!  This week there is no photo challenge or theme so I picked my own Photoshop creation.  This is a poem I did a few years ago so don’t go thinking I just whip this stuff out by the minute (could if I had absolutely no other responsibilities but would never wish for that).  If you enjoy poetry you really need to check out their site.  It’s fun to see what other writers submit.  Hint: writers love to hear from people (that’s you)!

I have One Shot Poetry’s link on my list to the right.

One Aboard
One Aboard
 I ride on images and yesterdays
A frequent flier beyond my years.
Searching.  Forgotten souvenirs.
 
I read instructions, maps of where to go.
What to see.  Squabbles of digi- lines
become my truth of shapes and signs.
 
I sort through flat attractions
to find bargain moments.  Memories
find my fingers like piano keys.
 
Bumpy rides home.  I shove trinkets–
the coins of love’s greedy toll–
down clinking pockets.  My catch-all soul.
 
I arrive at the station.  Quiet.
I hug the arrival of myself.
 
Crumpled clothes.  No time to unpack.
I am where I am, but now I’m back
stepping onto this noisy train,
saying good-bye to me again.
 

Journey Signs: My First One Stop Poetry Picture Prompt Challenge

Hello Friends!  I had fun playing with poetry this afternoon.  Below is my very first Picture Prompt Challenge at http://onestoppoetry.com/.   This cool picture is courtesy of iPhone artist Iquanyin Moon.  You can read her interesting story at One Stop Poetry. 

Okay, I did it.  Now you can too.  Find your poet within, that is.  Go for it!

 "Footprints" courtesy of Iquanyin Moon
Journey Signs
Each childish line a fractal.
Each awkward step a blistered portal.
Each golden shadow a shady meadow.
All the distress of life a medium of perfection.
What is this olden mystery?
Of feet and life and sand?
Maybe all God knows
is that we leave a beautiful patina.

The Stuff of Life is Glitter

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.  —Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), Lebanese American artist, poet & writer

Happy Birthday to My First Lady
 
She is the little girl who dreamed
she would grow into life–
The comforting, beautiful shell of life.
But she grew so fast and so big
she shattered the fragile glass.
She could glimpse horizons
beyond today.  But not today.
Today she’s too busy catching
the lovely, falling glitter.
 
 — ©2010 poetgranny
 

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year for pondering the purpose in our lives and the stuff cluttering our lives.  Yay!  Do I sound too perky?  Yes?  Probably because I love to organize.  It’s therapy for me all year long.  I actually feel a bit haughty, like the lady who shows up at church every single week and then has to put up with the clumsy holiday-goers a couple times a year.  Yeah. I’m so ahead of you clueless-plastic-bin-shoppers-at-Target!  Surely heaven has reserved special-plastic-bin-angel-wings just for me the faithful!

Seriously, this time of year I’m on to more serious stuff, like fine-tuning my picture organizing.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about pictures and life lately:

  • The big picture of my life.  I turned 50 today.
  • Playing with pictures, aka altered art.  I’m learning Photoshop Elements, which is the non-pro version of Photoshop.
  • How a seemingly meaningless object in a picture can wrench a heart with its story.  I posted what I thought was just a baby picture of my niece K. on Facebook.  Well it was so much more to her.  To her it told the special story of her Lamby, a favorite toy given to her by her Granny.

Yet even the most beautifully organized and displayed pictures cannot begin to tell the messy stories of life.  If our days and minutes were indeed as neat as our photos we’d all be, well, just flat.  And boring.

So I am paying homage to my 50 Years on Earth with my Very First Lady.  My very first digitally-altered (Photoshop’d), vintage photo lady, that is.  If you are not familiar with altered art check it out!  Think doodling, glittering and tattering old pictures and text (“real” or digital).  I have several links on my list, including http://www.artchixstudio.com/shop/home.php?dir=home and http://www.timholtz.com/.

I’d like to thank Jane at http://pixie-gypsy.blogspot.com/ for her inspiring artwork.  I happened upon her blog a few nights ago and haven’t been the same since!  She’s now on my list too so visit her any time.

May Your Shells Be Broken and Your New Year Blessed with Glittering Goodness!

The Water’s Fine

Three months of blogging today.  I have bravely waded in the online waters.  My feet are wet and I’ve even stomped through a few mud puddles.  To date I have not drowned or gotten stuck in the mud . . .

So what do I know so far?

Blogging is about giving to others.  On the surface, writing a blog may seem self-centered, but the best bloggers are all about sharing (granted it might be as simple as showing off your awesome taste in clothes or spouting your bad hair day).

It is hard work.  Clicking away at the keyboard every thought that speeds through my head is easy.  Clipping away at the 85% that the world doesn’t care to hear about is a different story.  Trust me.  There is a very fine line not to be walked by the insensitive.  Only the truly talented can cross the line and get away with it.  There is also of course the technical part of editing, which is an impressive yet extremely undervalued skill in my opinion.  I am brazen.  I break grammar rules all the time.  There is nothing any expert can say to make me afraid of a comma.  This is what happens when you spend a lifetime mastering a skill.  You become the master.

Writing a blog is more about reading than writing.  As any good writer knows, the same is true for writing itself.  You must be a voracious reader and soaker-upper to be an effective writer.  Soaked would describe my life these last few weeks.  Most nights I spend hours on my blog.  If not writing I am checking out sites and reading blogs about writing, blogging and just-about-everything.  There are so many amazing bloggers out here!  The subjects are as endless as people’s personalities.  I highly recommend doing a little blog surfing once in a while, especially if you’re feeling a little jaded.  It will renew your faith in the human spirit.

There is a LOT of competition.  This is very helpful to remember when my daily reader count falls below 10 views.

A little progress is exhilarating!  You cannot imagine the feeling of knowing that I have somehow reached those 10 people.

Blogging is about bravery.  It’s scary to put myself out here. Period.  You might be thinking, how hard can it be to talk about painting cardboard?  Well, try it some time.  And it’s especially scary when I ponder all the things I really want to talk about eventually.  Messy things like God (yeah God I think you’re a huge, perfect mess), politics (aka taking part in the leadership and well-being of our world), the mysteries of our universe (like how math is the language God gave us to figure it all out, and I mean ALL out–messy but infinitely clever), and of course all the chaotic people issues . . .

What I’m not so sure about?

Focus.  As many of us do these days, I have serious ADD issues.  One day I will die of explosion (not a bad way to go).  I want my every second to explode with creation and love of life.  If there was a drug that would keep me awake and productive 20 hours a day I would buy it.  Oops.  There are drugs for that.  They are illegal and very bad for you.  Horrible idea . . .

Structure.  It’s really hard to structure what you can’t focus on.  But wait.  If I structure first would it help me focus?  Should I keep my one kitchen-sink blog or branch off into nine sharply-focused blogs?  Should I keep it light and fluffy or dig for the uncomfortable?  Should I write my blog entirely in poetic form?  Today I bought new jeans / a size up / Ugh / Tonight I’ll eat no beans.  Should I add annoying music?  Should I buy a better camera in the interest of looking more professional?  (Yes it’s on my list).  Should I add the link of lovely-appearing charities?  (I don’t have time to research every single fact about any of them.)  I really need to work on reader interaction.  Will I sometimes hurt the feelings of someone I love when I write exactly how I feel about an important issue?  (Most likely yes which makes me sad.)  Should I change my blog template so I can use fonts I really like?  Should I tell everybody what I’m making for supper?  Do my friends and family think I’m a spy, just waiting to exploit their every move?  Should I blast to the world my anger at yet another newly purchased glue stick that doesn’t work?  How will I find time to create my new art project?  How will I find a foot of space for it on my art room table?  Will people think I’m a lunatic if they see my messy art room? Should I add the polling feature to my blog?  (With readership patience at about 3 seconds, a technical mishap could be fatal.)  Hmm.  That line of sensitivity.  Maybe I should cross it once in a while?  Or move the line?  Wait!  I am all-powerful out here. Maybe I should just go ahead and define it.  Maybe I could learn to actually draw a straight line (daughters laughing).  Should I Twitter?  Maybe I should just go to bed because I’m being self-absorbed.  Maybe the world doesn’t want to hear from me?  Surely other bloggers have these feelings.  Hey.  I could write a blog about that.

So . . . even if you come across an eh . . . blog, please at least appreciate that most of us are cutting out our hearts and brains and eyeballs behind the scenes.

What I love?

As a blogger I am a real live published writer.  I’d like to think if my parents were still living they’d be emailing and stumbling around in Facebook, embarrassing me with their blatant bragging.  I am also an  art director, a counselor, literary agent, editor, photographer, teacher, community link, brand manager, product manager, business manager, copy writer, retailer, Web specialist (hubby laughing), entertainment commentator, reality star, granny-to-all and public relations specialist.  I am in the driver’s seat of my own organization.  Every decision is made by me alone, which also means I can take me down fast (lots of responsibility which I also love).

I love that (usually) at least 10 people are counting on me each day.  I try to put myself in your place every time I write a post or add a new link.  I try to think about the things we all think about.  The things that connect us.  I want to share all the goodness in my life; my much-tested, almost-50-year-old wisdom, thoughts and passions (yes our passions are tested); and my nice collections of information.  But most of all, I want to create a little place where you can relax, get a few ideas for supper or something fun to do, enjoy pictures and poetry and maybe a laugh; and sometimes even think hard on tough issues.  But always leave with the sound of your warm heart beating in sync with this beautiful project we call life.

What’s the next brave thing I do?

Ask for your feedback.  Yikes I’m jumping off the high dive . . . What do you think?

The School of Life: You’ll need glue.

Of this our true individual life, our present life is a glimpse, a fragment, a hint, and in its best moments a visible beginning.  — Josiah Royce (1855-1916), American philosopher

We visited a friend the other day.  She has Alzheimer’s.  I am ashamed that it took me many months to gather the courage to go.  Very lame.  But I finally went.  It certainly helped to go with other family members.  Now I know that it doesn’t matter how scared I am.  It just matters that she feels loved and cared for.

On our way home, we all wondered, does someone with Alzheimer’s really not recognize people?  Do they really not know what they want to say?  Or do they know, deep inside, who you are and what they want to say, but simply cannot express themselves outwardly?  At first, everything she said seemed bizarre.  She stared away and showed no emotion.  But as we sat and listened for a while, some of her still very fragmented statements started sounding familiar.  It seemed like she was trying to tell us certain things but could not organize the words.  It was if she were trapped in her own body, desperately trying to catch and toss to us the pieces flying about inside her heart and mind.  A terrifying thought.  It would be much easier to believe that she’s simply living in a happy fantasy land.

It seems like we are all slightly trapped at times.  We have the input spinning around with our thoughts and emotions but sometimes find it difficult to express ourselves effectively. Or perhaps worse, we believe we are communicating clearly but those around us are wondering . . . Each of us is limited by our language, opinions, emotions and our bodies.  Even with Google, how could any one of us understand everything?  How amazing that we very often actually manage to say or do exactly as we intend.  And when our words fumble or hurt, well, that’s when real friends love us anyway.

After visiting my friend I knew the perfect art project for this post.  I save foil candy wrappers.  Holidays are the best time to get different colors–I keep a special “wrapper basket” next to my candy dish.  These tiny bits of color flying around (at my house they literally fly around), so often discarded, can be made into shiny paper mosaics.  You can make paper ornaments, greeting cards, banners, fridge magnets, etc.

I made a couple of greeting cards.  Please keep in mind I’m not nearly as talented as most kids!

Directions:
Coat your paper with glue and quickly press torn bits of wrappers onto the paper to make your picture.  Then, if desired–while the glue is still sticky–sprinkle with glitter or sand.  You could also do on cardboard, wood or whatever.
 
If you’d prefer to go a little slower, you could glue your wrappers on the paper, then coat the glue around the wrappers for the glitter.  I’m lazy so I do it the faster way.
 
For greeting cards, try using sandwich-size zipper plastic bags for your envelopes.  It’s a little kooky and will be much easier for the receiver to open the card without tearing the paper or causing too much glitter to fall off.
 
I added stickers, and on the first card below I added a little bit of leftover Christmas garland.
 

 

Thank you friend for a perfect lesson in listening, patience and friendship.  I will visit you again soon.

I’ll catch your fragments.
I will paste them into my
own fine mosaic.

         — poetgranny

True Poems & Summer Flee

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee–
                            — Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet

August.  Most of our social demands start winding down.  No more graduation parties, softball games or weddings.  Finally, just maybe, a Sunday to hang out, read a book and let the kids get gloriously dirty playing outside till after dark . . . then . . . wham!  Back to school.  It’s already happened in some parts of the country.

I just want to know: Summer, where are you going?

A Willful Girl
Summer is a dancing flirt.
She throws loud parties and long naps
while crickets and frogs wink from the sill.
 
Summer got lost yesterday.
She forgot her candle, and left
us so many mosquitoes to kill.
 
Summer is forgetting us?
She took the wool blanket last night
and left us in snormonious chill.
 
Summer is moving away.
She took down her lacy curtains
and left the sun to burnish the hill.
 
Summer is saying good-bye.
But as she walks away, I know
she’ll drop her crumbs like Jack and Jill.
 
(oops.  like Hansel and Gretel.)
                                     
                                             –poetgranny

Make Room for Your Convictions

Words are the voice of the heart.  — Confucius (551-479 BC), Chinese teacher, philosopher & political theorist

Do certain words just rub you the wrong way?  I certainly I have my little list.  I cannot stand to hear one more person on HGTV say  “I just love what you did with this space”.  Since when did a room become a space?  (I suspect since interior decorating shows hit the big time.)  Are we too regal for a few cozy walls?  Is room a bad word?  Too plain?  Too corny?  Hey, I like plain and corny.  It’s solid and vivid. Space is just . . . space.

Here’s another on my list: window treatments.  I’ll try to be clever here with an illustration of my point.  I hope the spirit of Charles Bukowski understands that I’m not mocking him or his poem:

 Curtain Window Treatment
the final curtain window treatment on one of the longest running
musicals ever, some people claim to have
seen it over one hundred times.
I saw it on the tv news, that final curtain window treatment:
flowers, cheers, tears, a thunderous
accolade.
I have not seen this particular musical
but I know if I had that I wouldn’t have
been able to bear it, it would have
sickened me.
trust me on this, the world and its
peoples and its artful entertainment has
done very little for me, only to me.
still, let them enjoy one another, it will
keep them from my door
and for this, my own thunderous
accolade. 
 
—Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), American poet, novelist & short story writer

 

And it’s not just words.  Have you noticed a common, spacey tone of speech in the last few years?  Taylor Mali has:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmLE2bliXCI&feature=player_embedded

Speaking with conviction isn’t just about making speeches on important issues.  It’s about being yourself and speaking from your heart.  You can be strong yet respectful.  Colorful yet simple.  Use your own words.  Your own voice.  Your own tones.  The world wants to hear from you, not another space cadet.

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