Creativity

Creativity

What’s at the Bottom of Your Heart?

Dear Reader:

I attended a half day writer’s workshop yesterday…you know the routine. After the facilitator reads inspiring works of literature, you are given a writing prompt and 30 minutes to record your thoughts. Usually, I’m not fond of the prompts, but I liked this one, so I thought I’d pass it along to you.

At the bottom of your heart…

At the bottom of my heart, there’s a mess

A beautiful mess

There are stacks and piles, bits and fragments,

Bright colors and blurred lines

All collected over more than half a century

It is a painful and joyous mix

It is particular and general

Fanciful and serious

It is, I imagine, not so different from what is at the bottom of every one else’s heart

And, yet it is uniquely mine.

There is the face of my very elegant third grade teacher who seemed to approve of me in the way I wished my mother had and often simply wrote “tres bien” at the top of my papers.

There is the memory of the summer day when I drove my shiny new olive-green 1967 Mustang down the street and the handsome guy stopped in the car next to me at the red light shouted out his approval.

There is a small herb garden just outside the kitchen door at my Nonnie’s house. I’m picking and she’s cooking just inside.

There is the note I’ve left on the counter for my grandmother 35 years ago stating that “Tom has picked me up for dinner and will return me at around 8 or 9 …. Or “maybe never” scrawled in his horrible writing below mine.

There is a smile that stands out from the rest. It’s the smile of a darling boy who grows into a very handsome young man but never has the chance to grow old.

There is an angel, Mary. Once a week for that horrible year, I came to her and spilled out my life. She helped me find my strength.

There is the Mexican family who served us dinner for years in their tiny restaurant, and also opened their hearts to me and my family.

There are the faces of neighbors and friends who have come and gone but will always remain.

There is the doctor with the heavy German accent, the stylish blonde hair and the sensible brogues worn with fashionably simple black under her white coat. I trusted her with my daughter.

And my daughter, so difficult in birth, yet so easy in life. My joy.

There is a push and a pull at work in this very messy heart. It can be difficult to leave the door open. It is not without pain or risk or effort. But it is not yet full.

I’d love to know what’s at the bottom of your heart, dear reader!

Sincerely,

Michele

 

 

Creativity, Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

How to be Hot…Not!

Dear Reader:

I’m in my final phase of blog instruction…yippeee!

My technology specialist, Kristin, says I’ve “mastered” the basics (I’m proud!), and it’s time to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is just a fancy way of saying that I’m looking for readers who might enjoy my content.  Basically, I’m learning how to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, in the form of keywords, that will lead new visitors to my site.

I had my first lesson yesterday. It began when I innocently searched the phrase “women over 50.” I would love to have readers of all ages and both sexes, but primarily I’m speaking to women in the baby boomer generation, so I wanted to see what results this search would yield.

There was good news and bad news.

The top ten articles involved advice on the perfect hairstyles for the mature woman and lists of the sexiest women over 50.  A couple of articles combined both topics to give advice on how to look “hot” after 50. This was very good news for me, as this is not my niche. If I wanted to dispense beauty advice from my pink shed, I’d have a lot of competition.

But, really?! I love a good tutorial on how to make the dark circles under my eyes disappear or a pictorial of beautiful pink dresses. (See my post entitled The Pink Dress). I love perusing Vogue magazine, “playing” in my closet and trying the latest shade of lip color. This is one small piece of the whole that makes me who I am. This is the antidote to real life worries: fun. But if age brings wisdom, then we understand that holding onto our lost youth will not bring happiness or fulfillment. Sometimes, I feel pleased when I look in the mirror and sometimes I don’t. But I’m always happy when I’m reading or writing, dining with friends, hosting a party, volunteering my time or talent and thinking about my lovely daughter.

So, if you’d like advice on how to be hot, there’s plenty of it out there! You will not find it here! However, I do believe that I have the key to achieving the perfect hairstyle at any age:  find a great hairdresser! Now you don’t have to read those articles!

Have a wonderful day,

Michele

 

 

Creativity, Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

Anonymous

Dear Reader:

I googled you with no results reads the poster in my pink shed.  Below the words, there is a beautiful silhouette of a woman who looks as though she lived in the Jane Austen age. I hung this poster up a few months ago …that resembles me, I thought! I pictured myself in my pink shed reading books, writing cards and letters to my friends and family and simply relaxing with my dog in my lap. I did not see myself practicing my computer skills, launching a blog or setting up a Facebook page. But, March has ended and I’ve done all those things!

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I’m reminded of the old saying that: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It seems I am capable of learning new tricks, and, as for my dogs, well…we couldn’t teach them any tricks when they were young! I hope you’ll enjoy reading my posts from the pink shed and I hope you’ll share what’s on your mind, too!

All the Best,

Michele

P.S. Dachshunds are notoriously difficult dogs to train…really!

 

 

Creativity, Family, Friends and Neighbors

From a Scrap of Paper

Dear Reader:

I found a scrap of paper! You must have some, too!

 for my daughter

my prayer is that you know

know that you are loved

and carry that love with you

wherever you go

reach for it when you are glad

call upon it when you are sad

and, in return, that love will

strengthen you when you feel weak

warm you when you feel lonely

celebrate with you when you succeed

and envelop you all your days

Mom

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Creativity

Inspiration!

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Dear Reader:

 

I woke up feeling lazy today! Thank goodness Andy Warhol wasn’t lazy. He left a wealth of whimsical, extravagant, bold art for the world to judge. His work has always both delighted and inspired me, but today I particularly appreciated his words of wisdom because I needed a kick in the lululemon workout (lounge) pants! As you know from my About Me page and previous posts, from the pink shed. com is my first foray into social media. WordPress provides me with the tools I need to monitor my readership and it can be tempting to linger on the  STATS Page focusing on my numbers, rather than writing, reading or researching.  It is also so much easier to ask my technology consultant to make a change or improvement rather than to learn to do it myself.

I write because it’s fun to play with words and it’s also a great challenge.  As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  My heroines have always been writers: Joan Didion, Louisa May Alcott, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Madeleine L’Engle. I am not a woman with that depth of talent, but I have stories to tell, friends to introduce, opinions that insist upon being heard and, just now, I have the time!  I will continue writing and working to boost my readership and improve my technical expertise!

Thank you for being one of my first readers! Please continue sending me your comments and ideas.

Sincerely,

Michele

Creativity, Family, Friends and Neighbors

Maui Time

Movie Star, Maui, big sunglasses, travelDear Reader:

While there is no bad time to go to Maui, my husband and I have discovered a truly good time to visit the island. Last year, a couple of days after Thanksgiving , we loaded the suitcases with books and magazines, threw in our suits and shorts and escaped the holiday rush.

We walked every day along the beach paths and in the sand. We slept in late and began each day with a mimosa. We didn’t rent a car. We didn’t watch the news.We enjoyed sudden bursts of tropical rain. We sang along to “Frosty the Snowman” in the hotel lobby as we enjoyed Kalua pork sandwiches and mai tais. There is something particularly satisfying about having nothing to do for a whole week, especially in the month of December. (Our daughter was appalled: we had not only gone without her, but we were there while she was taking finals. We sent pineapples and chocolate covered macadamia nuts to her and her five roommates!)

My reading list for the week was diverse, and heavy! I have simply not made friends with readers, and so I hauled my heavy load from lobby to pool and back again throughout the week. I began with the book my sister-in-law had recommended: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I am not a person who has to be convinced of the power of non-fiction. But, even I was struck by how moved I felt at the stories of those who lost their lives in such dramatic fashion in 1915. I followed that book up with something lighter:  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I knew I had to read the book when I heard  that it was a novel by a blogger and that the central character was a 59-year-old curmudgeon. My husband is not yet 59, but in three years he will be a 59 year old curmudgeon. The book was charming, as is my husband. For my third book, I read Delia Ephron’s: Sister Mother Husband Dog : (etc) . I’ve always admired the work of the Ephron sisters and I enjoyed the mix of autobiographical essays that had me alternatively chuckling and near tears…a true representation of life. The last book I read  Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Deangdeelert Cho was an inspiration. I read it once; then I read it again while taking notes; then I read it again because it was fun. I felt energized, afraid, motivated, excited! After tossing around the idea of a blog for several months, I suddenly knew that I was going to become a blogger. Joy had convinced me!

On our last morning, as I packed up my large tote with my books, my husband called for the bellman. He arrived shortly after and looked at me and said, “You look like a movie star…or, maybe a writer.”

His comment seemed to me to be a good omen. Clearly, I do not look like a movie star! But, yes, I’m a writer. I must be. I look like one!

Aloha,

Michele

* Note to those who want to look like a writer or movie star: Throw on a pair of jeans and a black tee, top with a long cardigan, drape a colorful scarf around your neck, carry a large tote filled with a computer and books, and WEAR A MARVELOUS PAIR OF SUNGLASSES!

Creativity

The Pink Shed

Dear Reader:

It’s fun to feel like a little girl again…at 56! That’s how I felt the morning I met the truck in my driveway that held the makings of my shed. I didn’t leave the house that day, but instead kept a close eye on the progress, snapping photos and offering water to the builders.  By day’s end, I had my shed, as promised!

The next day, I selected a contractor to put in electricity, walls and floors.

“It’ll take two weeks,” he estimated. I am well-versed in “contractor-speak,” so I thought, ok, a place of my own in a month …or so!

Three months later, he was done and I had a place for my desk and books!

A few photos for You:

 

Michele

Creativity, Inspirational Women, Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older, The Color Pink

Thanks, Kristin!

Dear Reader:

If you’re in my age group, you’ve heard and read that the key to staying young is to learn something new. Apparently science can now back up this theory. I’m not sure that I feel any younger than I did several months ago when I started working on my blog, but I do feel happy and energized! It has been so much fun to learn how to use technology to express myself creatively.

My partner in this journey has been Kristin Guidi. She is the friend of a friend and does not typically tutor older women who need computer skills to set up their blogs. She works in web and app design and development and can be found at 17MileCreative.com. Suffice to say, she is highly overqualified to be my blog assistant. But, I am so glad she agreed to help me get my blog launched. She is one of those people who functions beautifully using both sides of her brain! I so admire this, as I am basically a right-brainer creative type. Kristin not only offered me the technical instruction I needed, but she also inspired me. She offered her opinions about color and design and tone and even content, and all of her advice helped make my blog more beautiful and useful.

Today, she brought doughnuts to celebrate my launch…how sweet!

Mmmm,

Michele

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Creativity, Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

Hello

Dear Reader:

Throughout the process of unpacking, downsizing and remodeling, my husband and friends often asked me, “So what’s next, Michele? What are you going to do with yourself?” My answer was always the same: I didn’t know, but I wasn’t worried. I felt strangely and strongly confident!

It is not completely unexpected that I’d make my way back to the page, as I’ve been a writer and reader for as long as I can remember. In 1976, when “All The President’s Men” was released, I was 16. Just in case you don’t remember the movie, it was the story of the Washington Post reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Mind you, I made it a rule to see any movie that starred Robert Redford, but this one had a lasting impact on me. I was young and idealistic and I wanted to believe that anyone (even me) had the potential to change the world. So, I studied journalism in college and later worked in television news and public relations.

It was not until I had my daughter, at the age of 36, that I realized my reverence for writers and words came long before Woodward and Bernstein. I remember the day I read aloud a favorite poem from my childhood: Edward Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat…” My darling baby smiled. We shared so many more books in the years that followed. And, after that, I created a reading list for parents to share with their children and lectured through community centers and education and recreation departments about the importance of reading to young children.

What is surprising is that I am here...in the cloud. I do remember my typewriter, fondly. I have a great deal more life experience than computer experience, and so this endeavor scares me a bit. My technology consultant, Kristin Guidi, has helped me establish this home. I formally thank her and ask you for your patience as I become more proficient in my new medium.

The doors to my pink shed are open and I welcome you whenever you’d like to stop by. I’d like you to feel as if you could sit in my guest chair, with a blanket and/or dog on your lap, sipping coffee, cocoa, tea or bubbly. I’ll start the conversation and tell you a few things about me:

  • I have, 3, yes three, long-haired miniature dachshunds
  • I collect cookbooks, but I don’t really like to cook
  • For 40 years I’ve recorded favorite quotes in random notebooks
  • Oh, my goodness, I’m a kid about Christmas
  • I married my high-school sweetheart
  • All of the writing doesn’t happen in my shed, a lot of good ideas come to me at 3 a.m. when I regularly wake with night sweats

 

Hope you visit again soon,

Michele