A Cool Twist on Sharing What You Know
There are so many ways to share what you know. It's one of the reasons I love what I do. And with each project, I learn something new.
Now, you may or may not be a fan of winter. I get it. Ice and shoveling after a snowstorm are my least favorite winter activities.
But the morning after a snowstorm?
It's just about as beautiful as it gets. The air is crisp; the sky is blue; rooftops, streets, and trees are frosted ... and there's a hush over the landscape.
Today I want to share with you two infographics I created for winter activities ... because the best way to get through winter is to get outside.
Well, getting outside is always a good idea, regardless of the season.
Anyway, here are two winter activities that will get you outside: making a snowman (or winter beauty as I call them) and ice fishing. Though truthfully, I'm all in on the first, not so much on the second, but I loved learning more about it.
I'm sharing these today to remind you that sharing what you know matters. And it doesn't always have to be in a long-form book.
You've got insights and knowledge other people are interested in ... insights and knowledge we need.
Share what you know.
If you've been thinking of a writing a book. That's a great idea.
But maybe a book seems too daunting or not the right format. Consider an infographic, a workbook, a timeline, or a web page where you can add links and resources.
It's time to share what you know, how you did it, and why it matters.
I know, it can be difficult to know where to begin, so let me help. Together we'll figure out how to share what you know ... and put it in a form that fits.
Just remember: People love stories, and you've got some good ones.
Call or write today to get the help you need to get started.
As I experiment with combining collage and story, I occasionally (who's kidding, I OFTEN) find myself frustrated and ready to give up.
I’m so accustomed to editing my words and designs on the computer where I can hit the delete key or use a combination of keys to undo what I've done. When I work with my hands that's not possible and I am, at times, derailed by a layout or word that doesn’t match what I had in my mind’s eye.
Like running out of space at the bottom of this heron piece.
I wanted to add more but there was no room. Seeing that I wasted so much space at the top I was frustrated and wanted to fix it. But there's no key for that, not when you're working with paper, glue, and ink.
I'd gone too far to start over, so I had to work with what was there.
When that happens, I take a deep breath and know this will pass. When I see it again, long after the fretting is done, I know it will look different.
So I go with it …and all the imperfections. Accepting them as part of the process. And in doing that, I also see things that work.
I recognize that because I stayed with it, I’ve got something to show for my time and effort. A record of an event along with some collage and writing practice, too.
So yes, this heron was chill. The otters were swirling and rolling, diving and chattering and the heron didn’t seem to notice them. Or maybe it did but didn’t want to attract any attention.
So be like the heron.
Stay with your writing and your storytelling. Yes, it can be discouraging. But starting and keeping at it is where you'll make progress. Where you'll see glimmers of where you're going. Where it IS working.
You'll see things you didn't see when you were just thinking about writing. It's in the doing and the writing where you'll make progress. And mistakes. But keep going.
One story at a time.
Is it worth it?
Have you ever gotten to the point where you're nearly finished with something, almost done, and you get an idea to change or improve that thing?
But it means more work. Maybe a delay.
That's what happened to me with my nearly finished book, Things I Notice When I Walk The Dog. A short-story memoir of walking my dog Agatha. The collage work is done, the text is complete, and I've got it set-up in page spreads in book form.
And then ...
I wondered if it wouldn't be better if I hand-lettered the text. Mind you it's a picture book so it's not terribly long, not a novel ... but still.
So I tested the idea and did some hand-lettering on the text, and guess what?
There's no way I can go back. I have to letter the entire text.
So what's the big deal?
Each sentence takes about half an hour to write. And that's only if I don't make any mistakes, or decide I don't like the look of that letter ... or this one ... or the entire sentence.
Or, if like in the example above, I'm so caught up in what I'm writing, I drop a letter like I did with the "l" in sidewalk.
And then there's the whole idea of perfection. Because even though I like the feel of the hand-lettering, it's not perfect and that generates a bit of anxiety for me.
Is it good enough?
Yes it is. The whole point of hand-lettering the text is that it's not perfect, that it adds a level of imperfection that's more inviting.
At least that's what I'm hoping people will see and feel.
What do you think?
Today is Extra Mile Day and it occurred to me that's what I'm doing with the book. Even thought it's my choice, it means I've added another level of work to the project. But I'm committed.
I'm going the extra mile.
Sometimes it's a good idea, other times not so much. Is there something you're doing or thinking about that means going the extra mile?
But does it hold water?
I can't remember the name or subject of the class, but when I was in high school, one of our assignments was to give a demonstration speech.
One boy brought in a hockey stick and explained how to put a curve to the blade. It was a hat-trick* presentation ... 1) he was prepared, 2) he delivered his presentation with enthusiasm, and 3) with before and after hockey sticks on hand, he had relevant, engaging props. Even though I've never played hockey, I enjoyed the presentation.
When it was my turn, I initiated a hands-on origami exercise. The class followed along and we all folded a square sheet of paper into a cup. I recall some murmuring and a few moans and groans when I passed out the paper, but I won them over when I poured water from a pitcher into my cup and demonstrated that it would in fact, hold water.
It was the start of an origami obsession.
My next goal was to fold an origami crane and when I had that figured out, I challenged myself to fold one without looking at the directions. Still can.
Today is World Origami Day. If you want to ease into the art of origami, learn how to fold a cup that holds water, click here.
*In hockey, a hat-trick is when one player scores three goals in a single game. That kid put it in the net.
The Day Things Got Squirrelly
It was this time of year. I'd just returned from a walk and wanted to be outside for a few more minutes to enjoy the late-breaking, almost-setting sun at the end of of a moody, gray day.
Propping my elbow on the banister, I leaned to the right and faced the sun. Standing in a near meditative state, quiet and still, I took a deep breath.
Despite the cooler temperatures, the sun was warming and it was relaxing to breathe in the clearing air.
Until I felt something on my left leg.
It was down by my calf. There was a light touch to the movement, but there was definitely something clawing at my pant leg.
Alarm didn't register immediately because I thought it was the mini poodle across the way coming to visit ... reared up on his hind legs in greeting, clawing and pawing for attention the way he would.
But when the clawing gained traction, raced up my left side and caught my sleeve at the elbow, I knew it was not, could not, be Tippy. (The neighbor's dog wasn't named Tippy, but my grandmother had a miniature poodle named Tippy and even though I never met the dog, I imagined this dog was much like Tippy.)
As panic began to register, I knew. It was not Tippy running up the side of my body.
I let out a squeal, the squirrel squealed, and with a reflective ear-to-shoulder tuck and swift flick of the arm, I tossed it off.
Shivering against the chill of the crawl, my breath caught, and I watched the squirrel race up a tree.
Stopping and turning in defiance to face me, it delivered a triple-tail flick, a double bark, and another for good measure. Its heart pounding as fast as mine.
A full-body shiver took hold of me and in my own act of defiance, I barked back.
Now it's your turn.
If you've signed up for the Calendar of Days, each week you get a week's worth of writing prompts.
This week Squirrel Appreciation Month is the prompt that caught my attention.
Maybe you have a pasta story (Monday) that includes a family recipe, or something about that time your pet gecko, snake, or lizard got loose ( Friday).
Some of you, I know, participate in Inktober (Tuesday). What are you drawing? What have you learned from almost a month of drawing?
Share what you write .... because people love stories and you've got some good ones. One story leads to another and once you've got a few, well, you've got a Short Story Memoir!
And if you want, send your story to me. I'd love to read it.
Did we go too far? This is where we sat to catch our breath after hiking up a steep trail this morning. Where the two arrows meet is where the flat rock ends and the trail drops.
It's also the spot where I started to wonder if we'd gotten ourselves into a bad position. Well, that's not entirely true. I had wondered earlier if we might want to call it quits and turn back. We both did. Even asked one another, "Should we stop?"
No, let's keep going.
Despite the fact that each step meant we had to hoist ourselves up over rocks and bare roots, it was exhilarating to be out in the woods. When we reached the bare rock we wondered again about turning back.
We carried on.
With each step, albeit steep, we had solid footing.
And for both of us, there was something about the challenge that made it too compelling to turn around, to quit.
But here we were facing the downhill climb.
I'm no thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail, but have done enough hiking to know, it's always easier going up.
I was worried about going down.
But once again, we watched our footing, took our time, and looked ahead to find the right path on the trail.
Maybe that's the secret. Measured steps even when we're skittish. To keep pushing, even if it's hard.
Because even though it was worth it to push through our fear to reach the top and take in the big view, we also got to hear the high wind rustle just the tallest branches on the trees, the footfall of what we think was deer in the ravine, and the reward of knowing we did it.
Is there a time you pushed yourself to continue even though you were frightened or uncertain? Would you do it again?
Write about it ... and share it. With me or a friend, or both. I bet it's good.
Are you a collector? There are a few things I collect and a couple of things I've learned about collecting from the collections I have.
That's how many I collected before had to stop. When I started my typewriter collection it never occurred to me how much space they occupy.
Let's just say nine is enough ... and it's a rotating collection. Most are stored away and I display one at a time.
What's it worth?
My collection isn't worth a lot ... and that's the second thing I've learned. Most of us collect what we collect because we like whatever it is we collect.
Sure, some collections are an investment, but for most of us, our collections are valuable for different reasons. I've seen collections of torn ticket stubs from live concerts (proof they were there), heart-shaped rocks (memories of beach walks), baseball cards (childhood dreams), and cranberry glass (handed down through the family).
October is National Stamp Collecting Month
At first I wondered, "Do people still collect stamps?" Yes, they do. And it's a popular hobby.
And, no wonder.
Miniature works of art. From landmarks to monuments, animals, politicians, celebrities, sports, culture, and history, each stamp tells a story.
What do you collect?
And what's the story behind it? Share the story and your collection becomes more valuable because it provides provenance ... the history behind the collection. Who owned it before you? Where it was made? Receipt of ownership (yours and previous owners) and any other documentation you might have adds value.
Do you make your bed? I know my mother encouraged it when I was growing up, but it was my grandmother who found a way to make it happen ... and I still think of her when I change the sheets.
There was no pestering or pleading, she simply set the scene ... with new bedding. It was the best after-school treat I never imagined.
It was mid-afternoon when I arrived home from school and found the mismatched jumble of pillows, sheets, and blankets I'd left on the bed earlier in the day replaced with perfectly plump pillows and coordinated sheets tucked under a matching comforter.
I was spellbound.
Nothing but the bedding had changed, but there was new order to my small room, and I was all in.
The 11th of the month is Make Your Bed Day (get your calendar of days writing prompts here). Some do, some don't ... some only when company's coming. But there's evidence that suggests it might be a good idea. It was also a key point in Admiral William H. McRaven's popular commencement address delivered to the 2014 graduating class at the University of Texas.
"If you make your bed every morning," McRaven says, "you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another."
He goes on to say that even if you have a miserable day, when it's time for bed, you will be reminded that you did in fact accomplish something that day ... you made your bed.
I made mine. Did you?
Tucked or untucked?
p.s. The same could be said for your writing. I like to write first thing in the morning. That way it's done before there are so many other distractions. If you do, that will be at least two things you will have accomplished for the day. Try it and let me know how it goes.
The Story Line blog is where we share short story memoirs, writing tips, and more.