Friday, October 19, 2012

This week's highlights

It's been a good week for a lot of reasons. Here are three:

REVIEW: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

I'm a reader/writer/lover of narrative nonfiction, so the chance to read Behind the Beautiful Forevers made me very happy. The book itself stirred me, as did a survey of the reviews. Read more here.

FROM THE NOTEBOOK: The country road

There are downsides to driving in the country:... trying to pass a rickety hay wagon as it weaves from shoulder to shoulder.

... potholes that eat front ends and separate mufflers from exhaust systems.

It's easy to complain, but "The country road" offers a short, different perspective. 

I'd love to read your thoughts: what do you enjoy in your everyday surroundings?

And finally,


A stat I'd like to see: how much of a bump do the online NY papers get from Detroit fans reveling in the Yankees' collapse?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Order, Beauty, Abundance

New post is up at Twig and Rivet. I'm looking forward to considering this in more detail:

So often we think in terms of economy: the language of money, the language of sparseness. I want to turn away from home economy and toward home ecology. How might we flourish and thrive?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So I've mentioned my new blog, Twig and Rivet.

While I continue to work as a freelance writer, and continue to develop content for a future business venture, this site has nothing to do with all that. Twig and Rivet is not-for-profit, dedicated to exploring the ideas of beauty and place.

In my first post about this, I mentioned that In My Little Town would become a companion site to Twig and Rivet. I may change my mind. I'm still learning the Jux platform, and I just figured out how a reader may comment directly on that site (click on an individual story or picture, then hover the mouse or your finger near the top of the screen. You should see a dialogue icon, it looks like an oval with a bird beak pointing southwest). I'm not sure what that means for this blog. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, here's a thought from my latest post, Art and Place:

Sometimes I think our consumerism and our global connectedness get the better of us, sapping our creativity and our immediacy and our physical ties to this place in which we stand. I want to do something about this, but what? We are not going to undo what the Internet has done for us, so I'm starting here. I hope to end, though, in concrete places where I live and work and worship. 
What do you think? Can art ever be separated from your lifestyle? How does our ability to easily consume art from around the world impact the art we might make? 
See the rest here, and leave me a note here or there. I'd love to consider your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Twig and Rivet - Origins

Beauty and place occupy my mind, sometimes as independent ideas, more often interlocked. What is it we hope to create and grow in our homes, our communities, our churches, our schools, our world? How do the concrete spaces help or hinder what we desire? What works well? What stands in our way of creating and growing the things we value? What cheap substitutes do we accept? Beyond the money, how might we think about investing in these places? Why does it matter?

Here's a excerpt of a piece I wrote earlier this year:
...I want to better our space. This year in particular I’ve been thinking about ways to alter our environment, but I’m torn. So many ways to approach a house, so many ways to handle your money. How do I determine the best ways to use and/or change the house we have?
I dwell sometimes on efficiency. We need the space to work, to contribute to our purpose. I think about shelves and storage and baskets and a bigger kitchen. Other times I yearn for for something less utilitarian. How can I bring a sense of beauty into our lives?
Our culture chases me with ways I might spend time and money on my home. I don’t always like what I see. Magazines bait me to buy more and more things. Somehow, this ever-expanding list of essentials is supposed to make life more simple. Television shows exalt glossy customized rooms–beyond customized. Does everything have to enshrine us?
I want to create a space were we, family and friends, thrive. How to do that without falling into desperate consumerism and self-indulgence mystifies me, in some ways, but this summer I’ve realized that I manage one space that works.
Read the rest here.

File:Trinity Cathedral blueprint.jpg
Original blueprint of Trinity Episcopal Church, Davenport, Iowa
What makes a place beautiful? Why does it matter?

In My Little Town is now a companion blog to Twig and Rivet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Changes in Direction

Hi! It's been a while, hasn't it?

I'm not good at transitional chit-chat, so ... here's why I'm posting. I'm making some changes. In the next few weeks, the focus of this blog will shift. For the next year, I want to explore some ideas I have about beauty and place, but I have a problem.
Thumbnail for version as of 06:32, 6 July 2006
I find the blog templates on Blogger limiting and not beautiful.  This runs counter to my interests, so I began looking at other platforms. It's important that the site is lovely, ad-free, and low- to no-cost. I found a near-perfect place. Hooray!

The downside? It lacks the opportunity for conversation. I really want to have a conversation about some of these things; it's why I'm writing about it online and not (yet) in a book. So, this site will move away from my brief and occasional thoughts about life and toward the specifics of beauty and place.

I hope you'll join me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rained Out Haiku

Clouds bode a downpour,
but I rejoice in downtime--
unexpected gift.

Today is haiku day in Blogathon 2012, and rain out day for my family's sole scheduled activity. Hurray!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Letter to the Tooth Fairy

The tooth hangs by a strand of flesh. Last night it brought forth enough blood to simulate a vampire movie, but alas, it remained. This spawned great weeping; for how, the child conjectured, would funds be gathered and applied toward Disneyland without the immediate benefactor-y of the Tooth Fairy?

Sorrow continued past bedtime, but then, quiet ... and finally... Eureka! Glorious light! A vision, a solution!

The child descended the stairs in haste. Gathering paper and pencil, the wee one perched at the dining room table and penned the following:

Translation (as read to the child's father):
Dear Tooth Fairy, 
I am sorry I didn't bring a tooth. But it didn't come out. So give me a surprise next morning. I would like to have 2 more dollars. 
Is this the first ever Tooth Fairy IOU? If accepted, what sort of credit debacle would that be?