Friday, October 26, 2012

Steal Like an Artist

The older I get, the more introspective and introverted I become. Tonight is no exception. The last few weeks have been taxing on my mind, body, and spirit, so I retreat from the world,escape to the comforts of home, don my favorite flannel pajamas, curl up under the covers with a mitten kitten, disconnect from the virtual world for awhile, and read a few books cover to cover. My goal is to read 100 books in 2012. I'm in the 50-something range, which is still more than in past reading challenges, but the year is winding down.

While I was waiting to pick up Steve, I sauntered into the public 'bary and picked up a book entitled Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. The title piqued my interest, as my professor in my D511 Magazine Writing and Editing has been advising us to steal the words of writers shamelessly for the writer's toolbox. (There's a difference, mind you, between stealing ideas and plagiarism.) With plagiarism, a person is lifting someone's work directly and passing it as one's own. Using ideas and writerly techniques is completely fine. Writers do it all the time. Every time I use the word saunter, I am giving a literary nod to Thoreau.

Austin Kleon wrote a book of poetry called Newspaper Blackout and he has a website: I'm going to check out his other book and his website. I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Dress A Day

This book evolved from a blog called A Dress A Day. Marisa Lynch took a bad situation (she was downsized from her job) and turned it into a blog and a book. I also like the fact that all of her clothes are recycled and made into fresh new designs. I would like to try out some of her designs. I do like the fact that adhesives and glue can be used in lieu of the sewing machine. (I always had trouble threading the bobbin!)

I highly recommend this book, and I am happy for Marisa and her continued success!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ryan: A Tribute

October 16, 2012
My heart aches today. One of my dear friends lost her brother today. His name was Ryan. He was my friend’s younger brother. Although he was only thirty-one years young, I suspected that he was an old proverbial soul who had a lot of wisdom.

September 28, 2012
Steve and I met Ryan at our friend’s rehearsal dinner. Ryan was an ordained minister, and Ryan was unique. When Steve and I attended the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant called Cheddar’s, we stood in front of the future bride and groom’s booth for just a moment. We were then guided to the booth behind them. I scooted in the booth next to a quiet, slight, tall man with reddish-brown hair and a long reddish-brown beard to match, and light-colored eyes that sparkled with both introspection and mischief.
Ryan intently read the messages on his phone, and soon after I realized that Ryan was not being aloof, but was checking his messages because he was working—Ryan worked as a radio personality on 103.9 WRBR. His radio personality moniker was “Reverend Ryno”, and as he spoke with a deep voice like aural velvet, I understood why he was on the radio. The seemingly quiet man had a powerful voice—not only because of the tone, but of the message his voice conveyed.
Ryan started talking, and those of us in the booth started giggling. When Ryan started doing impersonations, we started chortling. Ryan said that he hears voices in his head and that he can convey them accurately with his words.
By the time Ryan had entertained us with his words, my laughter intensified into rather un-ladylike snorting and howling. Tears welled up in my eyes, smeared my mascara, and fell down my cheeks. I almost fell under the table. My stomach actually hurt.
As Steve and I drove home, I stated that “Ryan really has a gift. I haven’t laughed so hard in so long.”
Steve responded kindly, “I know. It’s been a long time.” Thank you, Ryan, for your comedic timing and gifts to make me, and so many others, experience joy again, a laughing-from-the-gut joy. And for that, Ryan, I will be forever grateful.

September 29, 2012
P & D’s Wedding Day

Although Ryan threatened to don leopard print pajamas for the occasion of officiating the wedding, he appeared in appropriate reverend of God and of classic rock—black pants and a black top. Ryan informed us that as he was going out the door, he bent over and his pants split. He had to make a dash to the store to purchase another pair of pants.
During the ceremony, Ryan provided an atmosphere of calm and humor for the bride (his sister) and groom. There was even playful bantering about the rings. After a short and lovely wedding, the guests retreated to the reception, which was literally held in a barn just a few feet away. Ryan seemed to enjoy himself at the reception.
After the wedding party closed down the barn, about a dozen or so of us ventured to Fiddler’s Hearth, and Ryan joined the party. He was joking with his sister, and we heard laughter and giggles from that table while the Irish music played. Ryan was doing his magic again, bringing laughter and joy to those around him.
Soon after that wonderful, whirlwind weekend, I tuned into WRBR and Reverend Ryno accompanied me to work.

October 16, 2012
I found out that Ryan died this morning and my heart ached. It was a different kind of ache than the ache in my stomach at the rehearsal dinner. Before we left the night of the rehearsal dinner, Ryan said, “I don’t want to be known just as Reverend Ryno.”
Dear Ryan, I was privileged enough to have met you and know the real you. And for the short time that I knew you Ryan, you inspired and touched hearts around you, in person and on the radio waves, and most importantly, you brought joy to a stressed-out world.
I’m honored to have heard you, for your words will always touch my heart, and your voice will always resonate, along with my laughter, in my spirit.
Thank you, Ryan. Godspeed, Ryan.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Butterflies in Autumn

My mind is swirling and butterflies are twirling in a nonsensical fashion in the pit of my stomach. So I grabbed my digital camera and Ipod and ventured out in the neighorhood to capture nature on a balmy, rainy, autumn day, exercise, relax, and train the butterflies to flutter in a circular, or at least in a more orderly fashion, so I can accomplish my tasks for tomorrow. Now that I exercised and managed the butterflies a little better, I need to tame the swirling mind. Gotta love ADD. (ADD keeps my creativity going, so there are benefits. I keep reminding myself that on days like this.) So, Steve assisted me and wrote down a list of thoughts that are spinning (much like the butterflies) in my head. And now that I am armed with a list, I will practice what I preach to my students: freewrite to clear the mind clutter. So this is what I am doing. I am clearing the mind clutter. Yay for writing. Now I am just waiting for the mind and the stomach to at least flutter in synchronicity.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Writing and Freerice

It seems that I have been writing everywhere except for here. I’m over 41,000 words into my novel, teaching four English courses at two different colleges (I’m crazy, I know), and taking an editing and writing class. It’s been an immersion of words; I’m enjoying living the writerly life.

In my literature, reading, and writing courses, something that I do in every class is play It’s a non-profit website published by the World Food Programme. I learned about this website at a conference. Basically, there are multiple choice questions in different subject categories. (We usually choose English and vocabulary.) A word comes up on the screen and people yell out the answer. For every correct answer, a little grain of virtual rice (ten grains) appears in a virtual wooden bowl. After 100 grains, a little rice ball appears on the right hand side. After 1000 grains, a larger rice bowl appears on the right hand side. We play up to 1000 grains in my associate level courses; we venture into 2000 grains in my bachelor level courses. No matter what happens in class, when we play, we are paying it forward and expanding our vocabulary.

The website is (Warning: it’s highly addictive. You can also download the app on your phone.)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Java Turns Fourteen

Moshi (left) and Java (right).

I glance over at Java, who is sleeping on the grey living room couch with her tail curled over her face, and I realize that it is October. Java was born fourteen years ago in October, and to our surprise, she is still with us. Java has experienced a few illnesses in her feline life, including an abscessed fang, arthritis,and kidney disease. But with changed food (organic), meds for pain management, and unconditional love from both humans and felines, Java continues to thrive.  I must add, though, that Java's resilience is why she still currently resides on the couch beside me, sleeping deeply with her grey tail still covering the top of her grey nose, with her quiet strength and will to carry on.

National Lampoon's Garden Adventures, and Last Thoughts on 46

Update on Sake Sakura: We will be making an appointment to get Sake's MRI. It's been really hot and our schedules have been nuts,...