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March 2018

It's Not So Hard to Make Magic

Loudoun rock

Just about a month ago, my lovely daughter and I hit up Luckett's to do a bit of dreaming, meandering, and hopefully snagging some bargains during their annual "Groundhog Day" sale. 

With an armful of successes tucked into shopping bags, Kara headed for the car to do a quick drop off; we'd meet up inside the store itself. My knees absolutely hate steps at places like this; the inclines are steep, and my knees protest the goings on. So, I stopped to mentally tell myself it really was no big deal - and it isn't! - and took a few seconds to just look at the treasures lining the steps and porch.

If you know Luckett's at all, you know that stuff is everywhere. 

Good stuff. Junky stuff. 

Stuff at incredible bargains right along side stuff that makes you wonder who'd ever buy it. 

I can, and do spend, hours photographing all the stuff. Little vignettes are everywhere, and I never know where to look first.

Thank you, Luckett's, for letting me do this; far too many places don't.

So, back to those steps. Girded for battle, I reached out to grab the railing, and came eye to eye with the neatest little rock ever.

And, I knew exactly why it was sitting on that railing. 

I had found...insert drum roll here...an honest to goodness Loudoun Rock! If you clickety click on this link, you'll see that Loudoun Rocks have been dubbed the new Pokémon Go. Folks living in Loudoun County, VA, get themselves some rocks and some paint, sit down and decorate the rocks, and then go out and hide them all over the county. Just for fun. Just to make people smile.

If you're lucky enough to find a Loudoun Rock, you can leave it alone for someone else to find, or take it, and then hide it someplace new for someone else to find.

I tucked it into my pocket, smiling at my new little treasure.

Full disclosure: it's now sitting on a shelf in my dining room. It probably will never find its way back to Loudoun County again.

I don't know who painted my rock. It might be part of a family project, or maybe a youth group. It might have been a teen or a housewife.

But, whomever painted it; they made some magic for me. They made magic with just a bit of time, paint, markers, and a rock. No big bucks involved here.

A connection was made from one person in Loudoun County to one lady from Fairfax County. We most likely don't know each other, and I suspect we never will. But someone took a few minutes in their day to create smiles in mine. 

An online friend of mine digs up tiny old bottles, cleans them up, adds a poem and a flower to them, and then " releases them into the wild." Take a few minutes to read John Greenwood's posts here on "Raining Iguanas." Wouldn't you love to find a tiny beauty like this? Pure magic and joy, yours for the taking. Again, it cost little in the way of cash, just a bit of time and ingenuity. A spirit of generosity. I know that John's created a ton of magic and joy.

And, then there's the Art Abandonment Project, where all sorts of people leave treasures for others to find. Guaranteed joy. Guaranteed magic.

We need more of this; we just do. 

Connections made, one person to another rather than labeling, name calling, arguing and more. 

Strangers touching each others' lives in the best of ways.

So, make some art and release it. Write a postcard or letter to someone for no reason at all other than to create some magic. Leave a book somewhere with a note inside, telling its finder that it's theirs to keep and enjoy.

As John would say, "Be the reason that someone smiles today."  

 

 

 

 


Never Ready, Never Done

Bowl on table

This morning, I listened to a "Love Letter" from Meghan Genge, cohost along with Jamie Ridler, of Love Letters, a series of 32 messages on creativity and more. I have to confess that I've gotten really picky about these free events, since way too many of them end up promoting what they have to sell more than anything else. Jamie is a different story...she generously shares so much good stuff.

Meghan's video chat drew me in immediately; her message one that I've heard many a time in one form or another. But, it never hurts to hear it again, to be reminded of what I know, but I too often forget. 

"You're never ready; you're never done."

I can be the master of excuses at putting creativity off. My mind has so many tabs open: photography, writing, slow stitch, mixed media. I can't begin to tell you how much I've created - in my mind that is. I wake during the night composing a blog entry, working out a photo, and more. Trouble is I'm way too good at finding reasons that I'm not ready. I need my dslr, not my phone. I need my "To Do List" to disappear, because what's on there is way too important and really should be done first, done before I sit down to create. I get in my own way. 

Never done. I do this one well. I love to learn, to research, to explore. As I finish up something, another idea pops into my too many tabs opened mind. It might be a "better" way to do what I've done. It might be something brand new. I'm not idea challenged, but when I sit down to write, the little gremlin, aka inner critic, whispers, "Really? Why bother?" and then gives me a laundry list of why I shouldn't bother, and oh, yeah, remember all that stuff you need to do? Like laundry?

Meghan's advice: Just begin. Just take one step. Then, take another. Yeah, I know this, but again, it's just good to hear it, to be reminded.

I've been working through a mindful photography course with Julie Fischer MeCarter, whose work never fails to inspire. One assignment this week asked us to take a meaningful object and photography it outside of its normal surroundings. I chose my mother's blue bowl, aka the "Cookie Bowl."

Bowl on path

Julie asked us to go with whatever popped into our heads, that it would be the right choice. 

And I thought, that cookie bowl is too big to be lugging around. Besides, it's too cold to go outside.

Sigh. That damn inner critic.

So, yesterday, I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise and the most beautiful light outside my window. Out I went in a fuzzy blue art making stained bathrobe, my phone, a pair of slippers, and at the very last minute grabbed the bowl. 

Exiting through our back room door, I stopped dead. 

Well, crap, it's morning rush hour and I live immediately off of one of Virginia's busiest roads. Not only are there thousands of commuters driving by, but the middle school busses passed by as well.

And, I was the crazy lady in her bathrobe making photos of a bowl. Well, if nothing else, I'd provide a bit of conversation for a lot of folks. 

Bowl in leaves

It's not pretty outside right now, not unless you happen to love brown. I happen not to, finding it a pretty depressing color. Looking around I spotted a grungy looking moose (dog toy), also brown. A few tennis balls, the toy car the twits drive, but not one thing I could see to do with the bowl.

I wanted my dslr (never ready!) but knew if I went back inside, I probably wouldn't come out. I knew I'd get some great shots if I laid flat on the ground...uhm, no. Not going to happen. Virginia's commuters and middle schoolers already had enough to talk about. Besides, that ground is cold!

Leaves. I had lots and lots of leaves. I also had a meandering stone path that would make for great leading lines. 

I went for both, and quickly at that. When I'm shivering, it's hard to get things focused the way I like.

In the end, despite the not readys, I ended up with some cool shots. I can only imagine what my mom would be thinking. You filled the cookie bowl with dead leaves? Girl, you need to see the doctor. 

I love this bowl; it holds memories more than leaves. 

I love my shots; I know what I'd like to try next (never done!), and it will involve lying on the ground and my big girl camera. 

I love how I learned to look at the bowl differently; placing it out of context does that.

I love the stories my photos tell.

I like that I did some thinking "outside the box." 

Most of all, I like that I didn't just write this in my head.