Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Write: A Letter to the World

One of the joys of zines is that you can publish whatever you want.  It doesn't have to go through an editor or an agent or a publishing house.  You do what you want, then you can go out and find a distro that works for you.  Or you can distribute them yourself.

Prompt:  What do you want to say to the world?  If you could write anything to anyone, what would it be?

I want to write what is inside me.  I want to let it all out - the trash, the beauty, the joy and sorrow.  I want to say everything and not care who I said it to.

If I want to curse, I'll curse.  If I want to tell the world what an awful, horrible place it is, than I can.  No worries about politics or opinions.  Just me and mine. 

I, with my shell and armor, will lay down my arms for just one moment to rest on my constant battle against everything.  I will lean against the wall and let my soldier tales fall on rookie ears.  Maybe some veterans of the culture war will share their tales and tell me what a rookie I am.  But that doesn't matter, I will be letting it out.

I will lock my monster in a closet and run for the hills, leaving a trail of words fading behind me.  All the No's and Don'ts and That's Stupids will be left behind, wrapped in a cord made of me saying Yes and I Can. 

I Can be who I want to be, if only for a moment, as my pen touches the page.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Inspire: Zines, Zines, Zines

I think I grew up under a rock.  I don't think it had too much to do with living in the middle of Iowa, but more with being raised by conservative country music folk.  I didn't know anything about any other type of music until around middle school.  We went to Arizona to visit relatives for x-mas and a cousin gave me a Metallica tape.  I was hooked.

I didn't really get into alternative, punk, or indie music until the past couple of years.

Maybe that is a reason I never knew about until recently. 

In January, I went to a zine workshop and I was hooked.  I had ideas floating around my head forever.  But I only just finished my first actual zine this month.  I made a mini zine at that workshop and I made another, but this was my first 'actual' zine.

I'm proud of myself for finishing it, but yet I know I could make it better.  And of course, I now have ideas for a couple more zines!

What is it that attracts me to zines?  I think it's that it doesn't matter what you put into it, it's yours and the only person who has a say about it is you.  You could do a zine completely about your dog, your emotions, or what sucks about your neighbors.  It could be a craft zine, a religious zine, or a music zine.  Take any idea you want, and you can make your own thing.

So our inspiration for this week is just thinking about what you have to say and how you want to say it.

What would you say?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Create: Carry an Acorn

Before my kiddo broke his foot, he had a habit of bringing home pockets full of acorns.  At least they are better than the playground pebbles he used to bring home when he was little.  This year's acorns are really big.  Granted, I think they are probably normal size, but they look big to me.  We found some earlier this year that had barely grown out of their caps.

Given this crop of acorns and the fact that the kiddo wanted one to carry around like a good luck charm, I stumbled on to this wonderful pattern from Resurrection Fern.  It's a crochet covered acorn!  Oh my goodness! Now the kiddo can carry his good luck around his neck.

It's actually been great for me.  I got to finally break into the box of crochet thread my great-grandmother gave me but I've been too chicken to do anything with.  How she ever made table cloths out of that stuff is beyond me.  I have problems finishing a scarf in regular yarn. 

But I've realized that it isn't that much harder and doesn't take that much more time to work with the thread.

I did have to change the pattern around a bit.  I'm not sure if I used a different thickness of thread, a bigger acorn, or if I just could figure out how to start the pattern.  Whatever it was, it just made a jumble out of the first couple rows.

So I increased the base row to ten and did it as a magic circle.  From there, the next row was 2sc in one sc, sc, repeat around.  That made it big enough to start my plain rows of sc. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Write: The Balance of Things

Sorry for the late post, guys, my kiddo broke three bones in his foot.  We're getting used to crutches, but we took an extra day yesterday to work on them before he heads out into the wilds of school.

Prompt:  Think about balance.  What is balanced in your life?  What is unbalanced?  As the day and night even out and hand over the mantel of power, what are you thinking about?  

On this day, at this time,
they greet as equals.
A passing of the torch,
the keys to the seaons,
the helm of the planet.
They greet as equals
on this equinox day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inspire: The Balance of Things

September 21st, 2010 is the Autumn Equinox here in the northern hemisphere.  For Pagans/Wiccans, the holiday is typically a balance between light and dark.  The day and night are equal, and the year starts winding down to winter's sleep.  It is the second of the harvest festivals, anda  time to look at what you have harvested and what you have yet to bring in.

In my personal opinion, it is also the time for Persephone to descend and head back to her Lord Hades.  She is not lost to us on Earth, but she waits, secure in her promise and offer of change, deep beneath the surface where she can nurture our seed until we grow again.

This year I seem to be mourning the passing of summer more than any other.  Typically, I'm very happy that it is finally fall.  But this year has been way to rainy and I haven't gotten to finish all the things I want to.  And without a car, I'm really dreading the snow and cold. 

But yet, summer's hectic dance is over and I feel it is time to slow down and take a look around.  It's time to balance out fun and work, work and creativity. 

What do you need to balance?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Create: Peace Begins with a Smile

At my last spirituality group meeting, we made collages.  That got me thinking that I haven't been doing much physical art lately, and I can't remember the last time I made a collage.  Bookmarks are one thing, but not actual artwork. 

I am slowly starting to consider myself an artist, but not in this realm.

But, with my fortune cookie paper in hand, I offer my interpretation of what a peace starting with a smile looks like.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Write: Peace, A Prayer

Prompt:  What prayer would you say for peace?  What would you say to the world about peace?

Will there come a day
where peace is not a prayer?
Will there be a time
when we smile at each other?
The world is vast,
but the mind is narrow
and divided by hatred,
party lines, and religious mummery.
Can there be a moment -
a millisecond, a thought -
where we can recognize
the divinity of every person,
every enemy, every being
on the planet
and live in peace?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Inspire: Peace Begins with a Smile

September 11th, in addition to it's other anniversary, was the first day of the 11 Days of Global Unity here in Ames.  As such, I feel it is a perfect time to share with you my fortune cookie wisdom:

Peace begins with a smile.

Yes, this is an actual fortune cookie fortune.  And it is our inspiration for this week. 

Awhile ago (several years but I can't remember how many), I decided that no one smiles at each other anymore.  When you walk down a hallway, everyone has their heads down and no one bothers to see the other human beings in the area.  But every once in awhile, some random stranger would do something nice, like open the door or say hi or smile at me as I passed by. 

And you know what?  It felt good to make that random connection.

So I decided to start doing it as well. 

I've always kind of considered it to be going back to tradition and the 'olden days' but it could be my punk side trying to do something different. 

Whatever it is, it feels good and peaceful to smile at a random stranger who may be having a bad day.  It feels even better when they smile back at you.  I know I've been brought out of crappy moods by a random smile.  It is great to be able to return the favor.

After all, it isn't the big things that bring about peace, it's the small thoughts and actions.

Go smile at someone today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Extra! Noumenia, A New Month

Welcome to another new month, dear readers!  The moon is growing and visible again.  And it's time to go over goals achieved and make new ones for the coming month.

Am I a slacker?  Yes, I am. 

Daily tasks/goals:  I am still not completely following my schedule.  I will make an effort to this month or at least rework them so that they can fit.  I tend to currently do about half a week, then I forget about them.

No Plastic:  I am at about the same point I was last month.  I did some back sliding when I ran out of syrup and forgot to buy new when I went grocery shopping.  So I had to run to the store quickly and the store I went to didn't have glass bottles.

Meatless Mondays:  Uhm...  Yeah, it didn't happen this month.  I haven't been making any sort of dinner planning lately.  As I stated, I want to have at least one meal a week without meat, instead of definitely being Monday, but I'm still stuck in the 'oh, I don't have to do that on Monday' attitude which translates to doing nothing.  Bah.

My goal for next month?  To have my living room unpacked.

Create: It's On Me

My jewelry choices are normally pretty plain.  They are small, typically glass and cord.  Every once in awhile I wear something on a chain or something that sparkles.  Although, lately my lack of sparkle has been put aside for my bangles - very thin, mostly antique or vintage, bands of silver.  They don't sparkle so much as tinkle.

And so my craft this week for going out of bounds is this lovely necklace and bracelet set.

Why is this stepping out for me?  Lots of colors, lots of randomness as nothing in it is uniform. 

It actually reminds me of a lot of the popular jewelry right now or in the recent past.  But mine is all glass.  Even the seed beads are glass.  I guess my way of reminding myself to be out of bounds is a symbol of what's popular in the mainstream?

But being out of bounds isn't just out of society's bounds.  It's about breaking yoru own bounds so you can achieve what you truly want.

This jewelry reminds me that I don't have to hide, that I can stand up and say whatever I feel like saying.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Write: Out of Bounds

Exercise:  Think about one of the two questions below.  Take ten minutes to answer in the form you choose.  It could be poetry.  It could be an autobiographical story.  Or it could be a sci-fi piece set two hundred years in the future.

What does it mean to be a woman out of bounds?
or 
What are the boundaries hedging women in place?


I am a woman.
I will not be forced into a corner.
I will live, love, and laugh
a woman.
I will raise children, raise a roof,
and raise a fuss at the glass ceiling.
I will not allow myself to be fenced in,
forced to fit, or faint at adversity.
I am a woman.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Inspire: Women Out Of Bounds

I recently received my first requested book from Paperback Swap.  It is Women Out of Bounds, a book about historical women who broke out of the bonds that held most women of their age.  It includes women such as my favorite pirates, Anne Bonney and Mary Reed, as well as a female human cannonball, a woman who sold winds to sailors, and a woman who ran for president of the United States.  And no, I'm not talking about Hilary Clinton.

This book, although I've only leafed through it so far, has introduced me to some amazing women.  These women didn't just stand up because they wanted to flout the authority of men.  No, they did it because they wanted to be themselves.  I'm amazed that these women haven't been given more notice.  In fact, a good majority of the American women in this book I've never even heard of. 

As a feminist, of course, I enjoy this book.  I think that any woman should enjoy this book.  Of course, I think that any man who believes that women are his equals should enjoy this book.

But this book also resonates with me on a different level.  Not just 'we are women, here us roar!' and 'Equality!' but as a person starting to really understand what it means to be herself.  As I have mentioned previously, I have spent the majority of my life hiding from notice beneath a thick shell.  I have been frightened of doing what I wanted because I felt someone would laugh at me, someone would say that I wasn't good enough, I wasn't bright enough, I wasn't enough. 

But I've been changing.  I've realized that I am myself, and no one can put me down unless I let them.  I am talented, and bright, and creative, and joyful.  This book has not told me 'how' to find myself or how women should stand up for themselves.  It just relates the women in the past who were in such difference places than I am, and they did things their own way.  They didn't care what others thought.  They didn't care what was normal or proper.  They just went out and did it.

This attitude, this feeling of knowing oneself, is something that everyone should have.  Female, male, orangutan.  Know yourself and do what you feel is correct.

Who are you?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Create: Stationary by Envelope

Have you ever stopped and looked at the designs inside your security envelopes?  Aren't they awesome?  They are all different kinds and colors and types, all to make sure that your personal information is not seen by anyone who isn't supposed to see it.

I received an envelope the other day, as I was contemplating my lack of stationary, that had a wood grain design.  Now, I seriously thought about going to a store and buying stationary because it's thicker than the printer paper I have.  But I decided that I should take that pretty wood grain and make use of it.

So I made stationary.

For the top sheet, I used the flap portion of the envelope on top and the same angle for the bottom.  So it looks like the top 'arrow' is going to descend and fit into the bottom.  Like Tetris.

The second sheet has wood grain around all four sides.  I like how it looks like the writing will be in a frame. 


Once I had my design cut out, I used my handy dandy glue stick and stuck them in place.  Then a quick visit to the copy machine gave me a stack of stationary to use with my pen pal. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Write: To Whom It May Concern

Exercise:  Write a letter to a person you choose.  It could be a friend, a relative, or a complete stranger.  It could be to a fictional person or a character you are writing.  Or, come up with a list of questions you would like to know about your character and have them write you a letter with the answers.

It is up to you if you want to mail the letter when you are done.  The exercise is just about writing it.
Enjoy!


Dear Crystal,

Thank you so much for your letter.  It is always nice to know that someone finds history interesting enough to ask questions.  Through my long years, it seems only scholars and hero-worshipers have been interested to know what I have seen.

I was born in Nassau, in the beautiful islands of the Bahamas.  My mother was English, and my father was Spanish.  Between the English and the Spanish, they tore our island apart, but my mother managed to stay safe and sound, raising my older brother and I while my father was off to sea and war. 

I always say that my father was the reason I took to the sea when I was older, but he was only  half the reason.  As a young girl, my mother would let me tag after my brother, running to and fro on the soft sands, running errands for the sailors, and making mischief.  The sailors were great, but the pirates were fascinating. 

 Being able to throw off the shackles that told me I'd only be a wench serving beer?  Being able to say no to the highest goal of wedding the tavern owner?  There was no reason for me to serve, hiding my true sex, toiling under harsh orders with no gain when I could be myself earning enough to buy a tavern of my own as a pirate.

How did I, a child of sun and sea, turn into a vampire?  That is a question with a many shaded answer.  I could tell you that my Master was lonely, and it was slightly true, but he had a whole court of vampires with him.  I could tell you that I was sold to him by a jealous sailor who didn't think women should be in a position of power, and that was true but not all.  My reputation had reached my Masters ears, and he went searching for me.  Was there an offer?  Did I go willingly into the deepest night? 

Maybe those questions will be answered in the next letter...