The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.

2.27.2009

Three More Good Things (one word: Squam)

Despite a tiring, rainy day outside, I'm feeling happy and shiny in my soul because I'm off to New York this weekend for a long awaited visit with a friend. The weather forecast is calling for coldish weather, but the lows don't go below 20 degrees (Fahrenheit). After enduring single digit temperatures for a few weeks this winter, anything above the teens feels manageable. So while I'm gallivanting around Brooklyn and soaking up the goodness, here's your second tidbit of soul sunshine. (Don't miss the first part. It's a good one.)

I actually have three things to tell you about today.

First is for those of you who attended the Squam Art Workshops (SAW) last year.


Liz Kalloch (also known around blogland as Athena Dreams) has pulled together a wonderful opportunity for 2008 SAW attendees: the First Annual Squam Art Show: A Vision of Squam. This show is open to anyone who attended or taught at the 2008 Squam Art Workshops. "This show is meant to be the story of how your work may have shifted and grown, how your lives as artists were perhaps changed, how the experiences you had at Squam in 2008 may have allowed you to see your work in a different way, how each of your artistic communities have grown and expanded and finally, what kind of work came out of your experience," says Liz.

The submissions deadline is April 30, 2009. (That may sound like you have plenty of time, but don't be fooled. Mistress Spring has a habit of flitting in and out of the month of March, tempting us all to distractions like flowers, flirty dresses, and cupcakes. The end of April will be here before you know it. So get to it!)

The jurors for the show are Susan Schwake, Liz Kalloch, and Mary Jo Monusky. The show will be held at artstream Gallery in Rochester, NH and opens on September 1, 2009. All of the details about submissions and the show are available here.

Secondly, this is for those of you who attended SAW last year but may feel a little shy about entering work in a juried show. (Like me!) Liz has also put out a call for a Collective Media Submission. All 2008 SAW attendees are encouraged to submit something to this category. Here's how Liz describes it: "These pieces will all be hung in the gallery like prayer flags, like meditations on a moment, like beautiful memories, or maybe even like cocooning butterflies." Doesn't that just sound too lovely not to be a part of it? Submissions for the Collective Media Submission must arrive at artstream Gallery by August 1, 2009. Again, you can find out more here.

And thirdly, this is for all of you who didn't attend the Squam Art Workshops last year. What about this year? Want to try your hand at knitting, painting, or songwriting? How about a class on storyweaving, mixed media art, poetry, outdoor sculpture, jewelry making, or photography? There are even classes on tapping into your creativity and slots for open studio time.


There are two sessions of SAW this year. The Spring Workshops will focus on fiber arts (with a few other types of classes thrown in for good measure) and will be held June 3-7, 2009. The Fall Workshops are more multi-faceted and will run September 16-20, 2009. You really need to check out the website to get all the details. Because the goodness runneth over!

I had mixed feelings after attending SAW last year, all based on my own conflicted feelings and issues. The event itself is fabulous. Over the past five months, the experience has had time to mature and mellow, and to develop a nice patina. I've realized that despite my feelings of isolation while I was there, I was actually developing new friendships that continue to grow and deepen. So I'm looking forward to going back this September. In addition to spending time with these friends, I'm looking forward to playing with paints and words, all mixed up into one messy, thrilling experience.

If you're intrigued, I hope you'll dig a little deeper and consider attending. Registration has been open for a little while now, and spaces are limited. So if you feel this opportunity tugging at your soul, don't dismiss it.

Okay, that's the Goodness Report for now. I'll be back next week with tales from the big city.

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add to kirtsy | 1:09 AM | 2 comments

2.26.2009

You're invited: Be Present Retreats

February is nearly over. Spring has been edging its way into this last week of the month, but I don't expect her to last. She's such a tease; here one day and then gone the next. And March is a mean bastard, full of bluster and the cold shoulder. So I'm not putting away my winter coat for flirty dresses just yet.

If you need something cheery and exciting to keep you going until Mistress Spring returns, I have some goodies to tell you about. Read on for the first one and then come back tomorrow for another.


My friend Liz Elayne Lamoreux has cooked up a new adventure called The Be Present Retreats. "These were born from the belief that creating is a meditation of the soul," Liz explains. "Each retreat will be an invitation to pause in your life and gather in a supportive environment filled with like-minded individuals in a creative, playful, and meditative atmosphere."

The first retreat is June 10-14, 2009, and registration has already begun. The June retreat is called Self-Portrait Excavation and is a retreat centered around the journey that is the self-portrait. Gathering at The Lodge at Gearhart's Little Beach on the Oregon coast (about 10 minutes from Cannon Beach), attendees will immerse themselves in paint and mixed media, words, photography, and the beauty of our surroundings under the guidance of Judy Wise, Jen Goff, and Liz.

It sounds like an absolutely magical and lovely time, doesn't it? I wish I could go, but alas, I cannot. But you? Perhaps you can go! (Do you hear it? That whisper telling you that this is just what you need? Just what you long for? Listen to that whisper. It is wisdom and kindness.) At the very least, find out a more and ponder it.

(see you tomorrow for another soulful treat!)

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add to kirtsy | 11:41 PM | 0 comments

2.18.2009

That Loopy Feeling


I wrote a blog post the other night. In my head. While I was falling asleep. No worries, I remember it. I'm just too tired right now to spin that particular yarn. I'm still working on that project that I mentioned previously. It's nearing completion. But its end could mean just the beginning for something much larger. Am I being cryptic? Ah, but of course! (Say that last sentence in a French accent, s'il vous plait.) (I'm not sure why, but I feel like I'm channeling that lovely blue poppy Elizabeth tonight. You know her, oui? Ah, but of course you do! Or at least should. Go see her blog. She's funny. And charming.) (And for the record, I accidentally wrote "blue ploppy" the first time. It's fun to say. Say it.)

Anyway, I've got the Unnamed Project going on. And on top of that -- and this is the thing that's really sucking my energy -- there's a new project in my life. One that involves my alarm going off at 7:00 in the morning. If you know me even a teensy bit, you will know that this is, how shall we say?, le torture. I am a night owl. My biological clock tells me to go to bed in the a.m. hours and get up in the p.m. hours. So I'm all kerfuffled with this new project. It also requires me to drive a long distance to a real office and work around real people. I have to wear a bra and shoes all day long. It's exhausting. (Sometimes I slip my shoes off under the desk. I think it's only a matter of time until I start unhooking my bra and eventually furtively pulling it out through my sleeve.)

But the Far Away-Ass Early-Must Wear Bra-Project has some big plus sides. One: It's casual work attire. So apart from shoes and a bra, I can basically wear whatever I want. Two: It's good work. Good meaning: steady, well compensated, and pleasant. But wait, before you feel anxious, hear this: I am still a freelancer, people. This is merely a longer term contracted project. So don't worry your pretty little heads about me going corporate again. (As if working for one YMCA and two universities ever made me corporate.) I mention this last point for two reasons: One: To maintain my street cred as a creative contractor. Two: To point out that I'm still accepting additional freelance work. (Look at me, shilling for compliments and clients. Woot!)

So as you can tell by the tone and content of this blog post, Projects 1 & 2 are making me loopy. If, by some off chance, this post is not hilarious (as I suspect it is) and is actually annoying (for you) and embarrassing (for me), please let me know gently. Otherwise I might have to whip you in the eye with my bra. Or throw a shoe at you. Any excuse to get out of these damn things.

And now I'm going to go watch Le Lost. (That's French for Lost.) I bid you bonsoir!

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add to kirtsy | 9:44 PM | 4 comments

2.11.2009

Don't Fear Your Creative Genius

Dear Creative Ones,
Please watch this video. It might be just what you need.




"Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk." (from TED Talks)

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add to kirtsy | 5:30 PM | 2 comments

2.06.2009

Her Morning Elegance



I don't know what I love more about this, the lyrics or the video. The artist, Oren Lavie, is new to me, but feels comfortably familiar. This video seems to be sprouting up all over blogland. Treat yourself to a cup of daydream and a few minutes to soak this in.

Sun been down for days
A pretty flower in a vase
A slipper by the fireplace
A cello lying in its case

Soon she's down the stairs
Her morning elegance she wears
The sound of water makes her dream
Awoken by a cloud of steam
She pours a daydream in a cup
A spoon of sugar sweetens up

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
With a thought she has caught
By a thread
She pays for the bread
And she goes...
Nobody knows

Sun been down for days
A winter melody she plays
The thunder makes her contemplate
She hears a noise behind the gate
Perhaps a letter with a dove
Perhaps a stranger she could love

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
With a thought she has caught
By a thread
She pays for the bread
And she goes...
Nobody knows

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
Where the people are pleasantly
Strange
And counting the change
And she goes...
Nobody knows


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add to kirtsy | 1:31 AM | 3 comments

2.02.2009

Whiteout


Yesterday was bright and wet here. The sun came out, the sky turned blue, and all the snow started to melt. Everything was sloppy and sparkly, a real treat. Usually I hate to see the snow melt because I love the look of a winter wonderland. But it was so pretty outside yesterday that I didn't mind. Today we were back to the grey, grey skies of southwestern Pennsylvania. If you don't live here you may not know this, but we have a lot of overcast days. I think everyone I know has a Vitamin D deficiency.

On Friday, I found myself in the middle of a total whiteout. I've never driven in such strange conditions. The snow was coming down so fast that everything was white: the ground, the air, the sky. The road was covered and there were no visible car tracks. Visibility was so low that I couldn't see a school bus coming toward me in the other lane until it was almost upon me. For part of my trip, I saw no other vehicles. I felt like I was totally alone in the world. It was very strange, like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.

With everything in the same shade of white, I started to lose my bearings. At several points I literally didn't know where the road stopped and the abutting hillside began. It was like being in a shaken-up snowglobe. This sensation triggered my claustrophobia. I felt trapped in the big wide open. Maybe that kind of fear all comes down to a loss of control.

The whiteout was a good physical incarnation of how I've been feeling for the past few weeks. I'm in the middle of a large project that I care about very much. I was working furiously to meet deadlines last week. I was immersed. I was in it, you know? I could barely tell which way was up for a few days.

Things aren't quite so frantic now, but the project isn't done yet. I have my bearings now, so if it gets crazy again, I think I'll just pull over for a few minutes and enjoy the beauty of it all until the storm passes.

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add to kirtsy | 10:43 PM | 1 comments