I love looking for great books at low prices at places like Goodwill, Thrift shops, and used book stores. I love buying a hard back novel for less than $2 or a recent bestseller paperback for less than a dollar. I also love taking them back to the store again as a donation if I don’t think I will want to ever read that certain book again.
I do not, however, like the fact that I sometimes have to put up with underlined passages, highlighting or even comments written in the margins. Unless it is a book I really, really have been wanting to read for a long time — I usually pass on buying a used book with any markings at all. The marks bother me, probably more than they should.
I find myself trying to figure out why someone would underline that particular passage or word. I almost feel like I’m reading someone else’s journal or peeking at their notes or journal without permission.
Imagine my surprise at finding a website called “The Pages Project” that is devoted to preserving specifically this “marginalia.” The “about page” says that “the goal of the project is to demonstrate the layered expansion of meaning and insight that occurs through the marginalia left by ordinary people within printed books.”
If you have pages to share, follow the steps given under the “Submit a Page” tab.
By the way, a great source for buying good quality used books is Thrift Books. Most books are $2.99 or less and shipping is FREE! They have a pretty comprehensive list of search categories, but for some reason one must check “hide out of stock items” when searching. Why show items that are not available? That makes no sense to me.
I’m reblogging your inspiring post. So many of your reasons are my reasons for writing, too.
I’m reblogging it also so that I will be reminded to write my OWN reasons for blogging.
Thank you for a great, thoughtful and thought-provoking post!
A few days ago I read a blog post discussing the reasons that people blog. The main point that I took from the post was the poster likening blogging to Facebook and accusing those who blog of showing narcissism through their choice of what they post about.
Whilst I understand this person’s reasons for blogging are to raise awareness of issues in the world, I believe that they overlooked the fact that by highlighting these issues, they were in fact highlighting their PERSONAL opinions of these issues thereby negating their argument. However, it is that person’s right to blog about whatever they wish – just as it my right to blog about whatever I wish to also.
I have to admit something. More than one somethings, actually.
I would love to open my Tromp Queen page some day to find that one of my posts is featured as FRESHLY PRESSED. This unspoken (and most likely unreachable) goal has been in my head ever since I first noticed the Freshly Pressed area here in WordPress land. I’ve written some pretty deeply personal posts — as well as some humorous, some insightful, some crafty — hey, why not me? (I so humbly ask of myself).
I also post photos on Flickr occasionally. I would love to find one day that one of my photographs is featured as an EXPLORE image. (Go to Flickr.com, click the Explore then on the drop down menu choose Recent Photos.) Hundreds are featured each and every day, why not one of mine? (I so humbly think to myself). People tell me they really like my photography, that I have a “good eye” — surely it could happen some day, right?
I’m a musician, too. A professional pianist, in fact. I don’t like to admit it even to myself but — I do not like to miss even one single note when I play. If I’m not perfect, it is hard to let go of that one
(or — gasp — more than one)
error. I know the journey and the process are supposed to be the most important, but deep down inside I want each and every performance to be stellar: perfectly beautiful in every way. How’s that for putting pressure on yourself?
How does one balance these incredibly unrealistic expectations?
I tend to rely on my old favorites of denial and avoidance.
I make it more difficult on myself by not even admitting that I truly have these hidden goals. How can I be disappointed if I never admit to having such desires? Denial. Works nearly every time.
Avoidance? Don’t post. Don’t tag. Don’t upload photos. There. No chance of being disappointed if you don’t try.
Then I hear the voice of my sensible self reminding me of the JOY I experience of just making music, of taking photographs of things that interest/inspire/awe me, and of writing/organizing my thoughts whether anyone hears/sees/reads any of them or not.
I recently read a journal that I was required to keep as part of my student teaching training semester (30 years ago now!). My supervising teacher told me to always keep high expectations, to never give up, to make the students work to reach my expectations. She said (this was referring to middle school choir students) that you have to PULL it out of them. Be strong. Make your voice heard.
Thankfully, these are the words that I carry in my heart. I don’t give in to the desire to lower my expectations but I don’t let perfectionism rule my life. I will not worry about whether or not I’ve reached my goals. I’ll just keep puttering along — working and dreaming — singing and playing.
I’m thinking I may need to take a hiatus from my Joy 365 project posts. I have enjoyed the challenge and the attention I’ve had to spend to notice joy, gratitude, inspiration, etc. But my life has become much more complicated in the last couple of weeks. I will see how it works in the next few days, but I may need to revise the parameters a bit. (Since it is my challenge to myself, I declare that is a valid plan!)
I recently started a new job. I’m a long term substitute music teacher at two elementary schools (for the regular teacher’s maternity leave). I am teaching K-8 general and choral music. I travel between two schools three days a week and spend the whole day at one school the other days. I plan for many classes each day, including a 70 voice middle school choir and a 6th grade music appreciation class!
I’m greatly enjoying this new opportunity and challenge, but it will not leave much time for blogging, I fear. I’m also still accompanying the Milwaukee Children’s Choirs (Girl Choirs East and West).
Another issue is that I miss creating the posts I used to write. The posts that were longer and more thoughtful about topics I mulled over for quite a while before sharing. I have nearly 28 drafts that I have worked on for various amounts of time, and I want to focus on those drafts when I have time to write. I also miss answering comments and questions. I feel a bit disconnected from readers and followers.
For April, I will post photos from the Art in Bloom exhibit — hopefully one per day (since I’ve figure out how to schedule posts for the future!) This recent exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art was beautiful and VERY inspiring to me on many levels. I hope you find inspiration, too.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
image by NichoDesign via Flickr CC
image by nichodesign via Flickr CC
image by ThruMikesViewFinder via Flickr CC
image by lexie.longstreet via Flickr CC
image by GenBug via Flickr CC
image by NichoDesign via Flickr CC
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop. She worked on this poem for 15 years!!!
This fact boggles my mind.
The words and message of this poem speak to me. I assume this is because I got a lot of practice in the “art of losing” last year.
I can’t decide if Elizabeth is urging us to hold loosely onto the things of this worlds (keys, watches, houses, cities) — to hold onto only the things that matter, though sometimes we lose those things, too. Or if she is trying to convince herself that losing all these things, including the things she loves most, is no big deal. Is she saying, “We enter this world alone and leave it alone?”
I prefer the view I’ve spoken about before: It hurts because it matters. Saying goodbye to things you love is painful, but taking the risk of loving is worth the chance of being hurt. I’d rather have things/people who break my heart to leave behind/say goodbye to/lose than to feel alone in the world, unattached and unloved.
A few more thoughts: I enjoy the rhymes she makes with disaster. Faster. Vaster. Gesture. Fluster. The repetition of the word disaster adds interesting structure and emphasis. Each stanza has three lines, except the last which has four. Hmmmm. Not sure what that means, but if she worked on this for 15 years, she must have had some intention behind it? Don’t you think?
I’ve gathered a few more of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems. I’ll share them in future posts.
from Writer’s Almanac Feb 8 2014:
Poet Elizabeth Bishop, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts (2-8-1911). Her father died when she was a little girl. Her mother had an emotional breakdown from grief and spent the rest of her life in various mental institutions. Elizabeth spent most of her childhood moving back and forth between her grandparents in Nova Scotia and her father’s family in Massachusetts.
She was an extremely slow writer and published only 101 poems in her lifetime. She worked on her poem “One Art” for more than 15 years, keeping it tacked up on her wall so that she could rearrange the lines again and again until she got it right. But she was an obsessive letter writer. She once wrote 40 letters in a single day. She said, “I sometimes wish that I had nothing, or little more, to do but write letters to the people who are not here.” A collection of her letters, One Art: The Letters of Elizabeth Bishop, was published in 1994.
I’m not sure if Haiku is the same singular and plural or not. I’ll have to check that out. I’m lumping two days together in this post.
Saturday was a lazy day. Sunday we visited a large contemporary church and then attended a Music of Munchkin’s concert at our local HS.
Our daughter is in the HS orchestra and this event is both outreach and fundraiser for them. Elementary and younger students come early to the concert and get to try playing all the different types of string instruments, make crafts, and have their face painted.
Then the orchestra plays a 30 minutes concert complete with skits and a car chase! The theme was The Great Mouse Detectives. Believe it or not, the plot started with a couple of thieves stealing a Stradivarius! Several detectives (twists on famous movie and TV characters) worked on the case.
The orchestra played many of the detective’s theme songs — Pink Panther, James Bond, Maxwell Smart, Mission Impossible, Scooby Do and more! It was great fun, and the young ones were thrilled. The older students put on a great show. At one point the little guy sitting in the row in front of me was bouncing up and down — turned to his Dad and said, “I LOVE this!”
The “Strad” was found, and the car chase consisted of the actors and children running up and down the aisles of the auditorium with cardboard steering wheels.
Saturday, February 8
Slug mode. Time slips by. One of “those” days: nothing’s done. Inertia enshrouds.
My goal this month is
to write at least one “Happi-
ness Haiku” each day.
Feb 1: Cool, vintage storefront Korinthian’s Violins worth the snowy drive
Bejeweled violin on display in the window, pressed-tin ceiling painted white
Estate sale fiddle, Green-light for creative craft. Let it go! Have fun.
Frozen flotsam flakes at times falling as if poured, then, every which way.
I visited a wonderful violin shop today. I met the very interesting proprietor, Korinthia. She is a violin maker and mother of three. We chatted a bit while she looked at my daughter’s two violin bows and at the violin I found at an estate sale. The verdict on all three was — not good enough to repair.
She told me her family was planning a road-trip vacation to Florida in the near future. Their mission is to collect as many Mold-a-Rama figures as they can on this trip. How cool is that??
We borrowed three bows on loan from the shop so my daughter can try them out at home. I can’t wait to go back to hear about the Mold-a-Rama road trip.
Read K’s thoughts about the recent Milwaukee Strad theft here: Stealing Beauty from Us All.
I was going to post all the Haiku at the end of the month, but I just decided to post them as I am able. Some may come every day, some may come in spurts. I’ve got to keep the creativity flowing and don’t want to be bogged down by rules (even if I am making the rules myself!)
Please take a few minutes to read this incredibly moving story. Yes, it is a TRUE story. I encourage you to read through the comments, too, if you have time. Some of the young woman’s family and friends respond to this blog post. Keep listening to that still small voice — be aware, listen closely and act accordingly whether you want to or not.
Read his follow up post here. This post was written 12 days after the first one and is called “on being Freshly Pressed and going viral.”
I thought you were sleeping. It seems silly now, but you must understand, when one sees a person slumped over inside a parked car, the most reasonable conclusion is rarely that the person slumped over is dead. It was the lights from the dashboard that caught my eye. If it weren’t for the lights, I would have missed you completely, and – who knows? – you may still be lying out there, unknowing of the legions of addicts drawn to the verifiable Mecca of caffeine. You’d remain oblivious to the following day’s massive local windstorm and the city’s collective anxiety, followed by elation, when our beloved Seahawks won the big game. You might still be slumped awkwardly over your console, and I suppose your car would be run dry of gas by then, but folks would not be any more observant.
White chimney smoke hangs
frozen — mid-air hovering
held in blue stillness.
Morning glows behind black branches
holding my breath: iced, entranced.
poem by Jill Hasker
One morning recently — one of those really really cold ones — I walked outside toward the car to take my daughter to school.
I looked up toward the sunrise and stood quietly for a moment to contemplate what I saw.
I should back up a bit. We live in Wisconsin, so during most of the winter students go to school when it is still dark.
The sun was just beginning to peek above the horizon but was still behind the row of houses across the street. The bare branches were silhouetted against the soft colors dawning in the sky.
But the thing that caught my eye was this: the white smoke was hanging in puffy shapes above the chimneys. I looked at the several houses within my field of vision. The small clouds seemed inert, motionless, frozen.
I recently found out about #5lines on Twitter, and since then have been thinking about trying to write some poems in this form. Because I still have this vivid image in my mind several days later, I decided to give the frozen chimney cloud scene a whirl as a 5 line poem.
creative commons image Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr
creative commons image Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr
Christmas Sunrise; image by lorentey via Flickr CC license
Dawn’s early light; image by Jason Jenkins via Flickr CC license
sunrise over Dundee; image via Flickr brockvicky CC license
Patrick Nouhailler, Geneva Dawn; via Flickr CC license
Sunrise over the Columbia River near the Washington-Oregon Border. U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-11357; David Falconer
Sunrise on the flats: Key West, Florida. via Flickr CC
Sunrise over Black Mtn. U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-14135; Jack Corn via Flickr CC
Steam Rising Form the Frio River at Sunrise on a Cold Day near Leakey Texas, and San Antonio 12/1973
I want to share some of my very favorite websites and pages with you!
1. That Tree:This project started in the area of my old hometown! Mark Hirsch took a photograph of an old oak tree every day for a year and posted the photos on his Facebook page. The beauty and artistry (and his perseverance) attracted a wider and wider audience as the year progressed. The project is now internationally famous. He has published a beautiful book and has done many national interviews. He continues to post photos of That Tree frequently, but not every day now.
(Note: I am actually IN the book! I was one of the people who gathered in the field on that cold, snowy day last March to celebrate the final day of the year of photographs. We are all in the book with That Tree.)
2. Historical Pics: This site has off-beat photographs of historic events, people, and random things galore. For instance:
3. Holstee: “Holstee exists to encourage mindful living. We hope to change the way people look at life by designing unique products and sharing meaningful experiences.” This is the blurb from their website. The company is cooler than this blurb sounds. They have some great free inspirational downloads.
4. Brain Pickings: This site has a continual stream of quirky, artistic, off-the-beaten-path, intelligent, and inspiring articles and illustrations. One of my recent favorites is a list of New Year’s resolutions from people like Woody Guthrie and Marilyn Monroe! Read it here. Take some time to browse their archives, though, if you can. Enjoy!
5. Do you know about Humans of New York? This link takes you to the Facebook page, where a photo is posted every day with a short quote or conversation. I find it incredibly moving. I got the book as a Christmas gift and just love it!
6.Colossal:The tag line says “art and visual culture.” Their blurb says this: Each week you’ll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. There are frequently posts about things far out in left field, but generally Colossal is a reminder that in this digital age there are still countless people making incredible work with their bare hands.
You’ll see things like this:
GORGEOUS and so beautiful!
7. Another site I can spend quite a while browsing in is: Laughing Squid.Their website “about” blurb: Based in New York City, Laughing Squid is a blog featuring compelling art, culture & technology as well as a cloud-based web hosting company with a focus on WordPress hosting. For more info see our FAQ and Wikipedia.
Here are a few very memorable examples of the odd-ball kind of things you’ll find at Laughing Squid.
8. Letters of Note: This site publishes letters written by various famous and not-so-famous people. It is intriguing, amazing, engaging, humorous, and full of information.
“In our age of email and texts, letter-writing seems set for extinction. But millions have been flocking to a website to pore over the correspondence collected by blogger Sean Usher.”
Click here for a wonderful example of historic correspondence Letters of Note highlights. (This links to a series of letters between Ford Motor Company and poet Marianne Moore as they discuss various car names). Here is a link to the Letters of Note “best of 2013” list. This one is from a Dallas hospital administrator in 1963. Letters of Note recently published a book as well.
9.Noisetrade:This site has gobs of free music. Tag line: Free music from thousands of artists who would like to meet you. You can sample, listen online and request a download code. If you like what you hear, you have several opportunities to leave tips for the artists. I have found this a great avenue for discovering new music to get me out of my listening ruts. There is a limit to the number of downloads per day (something like 8 or 10? not very limiting really).
10. Word Porn: I love obscure and interesting words. This site has many that I never heard of or even imagined existed!
I’d love to hear about some of YOUR favorite places to browse around on the web. Please share!
Sometimes the strangest things strike me as possible blog post material. I usually don’t have any trouble coming up with ideas to write about. I have 23 drafts sitting in my post area waiting for my time, energy and interest to gel at the same perfect moment in order to complete them.
Maybe I’m too opinionated or maybe I am a deep thinker. But I think my ability to think creatively stems from being a curious person.
Very early in my elementary school years, I realized I needed to work at keeping myself interested in learning. Listening to other students read out loud sometimes felt like torture! I learned how to read ahead while keeping one ear alert for my name (and for where the reader was).
Some things, like spelling for instance, came easily to me. I understand that spelling is difficult for some, but my difficulty came in trying to remember to do the workbook because I already knew how to spell all the words! But I digress.
This desire to learn more, to expand knowledge, to ask “why?” — is why I’m enjoying writing blog posts so much. I can find out more about things that interest me, making connections and discoveries along the way — and then put it out into the blogosphere for other curious souls to enjoy and discover.
This is how the topic of “tags” inspired a blog post.
I often look at the Daily Prompt Challenges (both writing and photography). I also read many of the “how to” posts from wordpress.com if I have time. In one of these I found a list of the most popular wordpress.com tags:
I don’t know if this idea was part of the article or if it is mine but here it is: Use new tags to break out of your writing rut and/or comfort zone.
For example, here are several tags I do not believe I have yet used in The Tromp Queen posts (and are not very likely to use much): Featured, Lifestyle, National, News & Gossip, Shows, Subject, Syndicated Local, Technology, Truth & Rumors, TV, Watch & listen.
I noticed there are several “general” tags: Blog, Blogs, Thoughts, Musings, Random, Opinion.
I also noticed many tags that I DO use quite often: Art, Beauty, Faith, Family, Friends, Love, Life, MUSIC, Photography, Quotes, Poems, Poetry, Recipes.
If font size is a clue to popularity, then NEWS is the most popular wordpress.com tag followed closely by Music, Top Stories, Photography, Travel, Holidayguide and Life.
One tag sparked my curiosity: Yolanda Adams. (You can follow the link to find out who she is and what she has to say!)
Also, I never considered tagging my posts with “2013.” Huh. I’m not sure why that would be helpful.
While I’m on the topic of breaking out of comfort zones and ruts — consider using the media gallery (Zemanta) and recommended related articles as you are writing (look off to the right and down a bit where it says “recommendations”).
I have found that these tools often lead me to interesting topics. I also seem to gather new followers and readers when I use the related articles feature. I always click-through to read the article before I “click to insert” to be sure that it really is something relevant that I want to share with my readers. Some article suggestions are completely off the track and/or poorly written.
I would love to hear YOUR ideas for breaking out of ruts and for expanding writing horizons. Please share your ideas in a comment.