Tag Archives: writers

“Deep Peace of the Quiet Earth….”

I have a lot on my plate; most of it is unpalatable and indigestible which means I have very little energy to write my blog posts. This is unfortunate because a couple of weeks ago, in a moment of hubris ( hubris in the sense of excessive self-confidence), I agreed to accept  Sheri de Grom’s nomination for the Travel Blog series.  And this means that, today, I should be  answering 4 questions about my writing process and passing on nominations to 3 other bloggers, as well as linking back to Sheri.

Now the latter instruction requires minimal effort and can be easily done. Many of my followers/readers will already know Sheri who writes from the literary and legislative trenches with passion and compassion for so many issues and so many people. And you will also know that her plate is almost always more than full. But, no matter how heavy, or over flowing, her dish is, Sheri always finds time to encourage and support other bloggers. Thank you Sheri .  I am also wishing you a good, steady (no speedy, please!) recovery from your latest setback aka as an unexpected tumble on to a concrete floor.

Lacking Sheri’s fortitude, ( but taking on board some of her relaxed attitude to blogging ‘rules’) , I am going to leave my travel blog commitment at this point. When I regain some verve, I will return to follow-up on my participation.

In the meantime, here is a photo taken on Saturday, when we took time-out to enjoy the tranquility of the Groynes.  We were in an area where visitors are asked to be quiet, so there is a wonderful aura of deep peace which blankets all who enter that space.

The Quiet Life

The Quiet Life

 

Deep Peace…..of the quiet earth to you.

© silkannthreades

 

It’s all turned to custard….. remix

From Time by Ursula Bethell

“……….

Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wistaria
Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.

Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say ‘One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once.”

[Warning! Post 301: some maudlin thoughts involved.]

Some months back, Seth of  Sethsnap asked this question, What “sound”(i.e. legacy) do you hope to leave?

It’s an intriguing question but certainly not new, for it belongs to the ages.  It is also not an easy one to answer. One of the hardest, I am guessing. Yet, assuredly, it will call to each of us, at some stage, in our life’s journey.  Will you be ready to reply? I have only the merest tinkle of a response running through my mind.

Here is  what I am hearing ~

For some, like Seth, their legacy may be in their  photography. For others, like   Sophia (teamgloria) or Juliet or  Vickie or  Helen (Tiny), their legacy may reside in their books; in their written/spoken words. Yet others, like Lynley and Kerry, may leave us, and their families, the richness of heirloom garments and quilting. Still others, like Lisa, may bequeath us their creative art and special ‘thank you’ smiles. Legacies exist in a myriad different forms.

Just as each of us has our own instantly recognisable swish of sound ( the one the dog hears, the cat knows and your loved ones sense  as you try to creep upstairs in the dark of night), so, too, do we each have a legacy that is only ours to give. It may be intended and specifically chosen, or it may be accidental and unplanned, but we all have our unique envoys/legacies that will carry us forward into the millennia in some form or other.

Since I am unlikely to leave a legacy of beautiful poems, as did  Ursula Bethell, or a treasured  Writer’s Residency  in my name,  I may have to settle for something more modest  ( though, potentially,  equally valid ); something like Everyday Kindness; the kind espoused by  Stephanie Dowrick , in her book of that name.Everyday Giving

Wouldn’t that be a lovely legacy? ” Here lies Gallivanta~ known for her everyday kindness, (especially to caterpillars 😉 ). “  Mmmmmm…. though carved in stone,  a little ephemeral, perhaps? But I like it.

I also like the slightly more tangible legacy opportunities given to us by archives. In November 2013 Ruth mentioned, in this  post ,  her Deed of Gift to the Canterbury CEISMIC  project.   I thought this was a wonderful idea and, after making some enquiries, discovered that some of my blog posts were suitable for gifting too.  Just prior to Christmas, and after much hard work by CEISMIC staff, my work was uploaded to the digital archives. And I received this letter

Legacy in a letter

Legacy in a letter

from the University of Canterbury CEISMIC Co-ordinator.

To say that I was thrilled barely scratches the surface of my feelings. I was moved to tears, and beyond tears, that my experiences, my life mattered; that someday it might, just possibly might, matter to someone else. And not because I did anything great and famous, but simply because I existed, and I let my existence be heard.

Now, although, I was lachrymose in the extreme, on account of  this one small legacy of mine, I did have to laugh, once I had wiped away my tears.  Because one unintentional legacy from my digital whisper, (not footprint, please, my imprint is  more delicate than that ), is that if,  in years to come, someone looks more closely in to my archives they will find that, of all my posts , the one which receives the most views, on a regular basis, is this one, “It’s all turned to custard”.

I find that very funny. And, as a legacy, even funnier; ” Here lies Gallivanta whose life all turned to custard.”  Considering how much I love custard that could be a good thing. Or not. But to return to  Seth’s question, “What sound (i.e. legacy ) do you hope to leave?”. Perhaps part of the answer, in my case, will have to be  ‘Custard’.[ Just for fun…google “It’s all turned to custard” and see what you find…..bet I am near the top of the page! ]

By the way, what sound does custard make? ;).

creamy

Favourite creamy custard

Envoy
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam 

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,  
    Love and desire and hate:  
I think they have no portion in us after  
    We pass the gate.  

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:  
    Out of a misty dream  
Our path emerges for a while, then closes  
    Within a dream.  

[The title translates, from the Latin, as  
'The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long' 
and is from a work by Horace] 
Ernest Dowson 1867 -1900 http://worlds-poetry.com/ernest_dowson/vitae_summa_brevis_spem_nos_vetat_in
```````

© silkannthreades

Winners in my book

In my previous  post   I wrote, amongst other matters,  about baking delicious, crunchy rye crackers, using a  recipe  by New Zealand caterer, Ruth Pretty.

Rye Crackers

Rye Crackers

I mentioned that ” I had to  bake the crackers about 15 minutes longer than suggested, to get the degree of cracker-ness that I like..” and I said “…. but, my goodness, they are good.”

And, my goody-goodness, within 24  hours of publishing my post, I found this comment in my inbox…

ruth pretty November 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Hello and yes they are lovely crackers. You mentioned that you needed to bake them 15 minutes longer than recipe said. They look much thicker than how we make them so that will account for the longer time. Ours are thin and crisp. I will try them thicker as that will be an interesting change. Keep cooking!

Yes, a comment from  Ruth Pretty herself!!!! … with helpful advice as to why I may have needed to cook my crackers a little longer than her recipe suggested. Now, I am an iddy biddy blogger in the middle of itty bitty  nowhere, so I nearly choked on my cracker crumbs to see Ruth’s comment on my blog: a) BECAUSE SHE NOTICED; and b) because she CARES enough about her recipes, and her work, to follow what is happening to them on the blogosphere.

In my world that makes Ruth Pretty AWESOME. I can’t tell you how many times I have  commented on author/poetry/artist websites, because of my genuine interest in someone’s work or book, and received no feedback; none, not a bite, so I give up, disappointed, and wondering why said persons even bother with a web presence.

Sophia Stuart,

Sophia Stuart

writer, photographer and award-winning digital media advisor in her article, New Hollywood (Digital) Dating Rules  for the Huffington Post, writes “You need real people to manage your Social network presences. Try not to outsource. It won’t be your voice. This is too important to farm out. And if you engender real loyalty from your audience, not only will they follow and friend and respond to you and your brands — they will tell everyone they know (many more people than you know, when you add up the network effect) and this is the best bit — they’ll do it for free (but only if they really like you). There’s no substitute for a true relationship.”
Her article should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to establish a digital presence. ( And just so you know, she follows her own advice to the letter….communicating with  Sophia [or her IL persona  teamgloria ] is a delight, a true delight )

I am not sure who directs Ruth Pretty’s digital strategy; perhaps Ruth herself but  she clearly  knows how the relatively new internet world/market works.

I am not currently in the market for a new recipe book  but, if I were, I would definitely be looking at one written by Ruth Pretty. For one thing, I now know that the recipes will be accurate (v. important!), and, should I have any difficulty , Ruth is  willing to help me get it right.

So cake tins and chefs’ spatulas off the bench, and raised, to Ruth Pretty.

And now it’s time for my cuppa and a Rye Cracker slathered  with my favourite manuka honey.

Crackers, Ruth, Sophia, manuka honey, teamgloria; all winners in my book; oops blog. 🙂

© silkannthreades

The real world of the bedtime story

When I see our little cat cuddled up and snuggled up in her warm place like this,Snuggled

I always think “Snugglepot “or “Cuddlepie”.  Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are the main characters in a classic book from my childhood. They are not cats but fictitious Gumnut  babies. The book is The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, written and illustrated by May Gibbs. A Classic

So, why does a sleeping cat make me think of  Gumnuts?  I am not entirely sure. My mind works in strange ways, but there are three possibilities.  The first is the cuteness factor. Here are Snugglepot and Cuddlepie sleeping in their” second-hand houses”.Snuggled and Cuddled

And, here, they are overlooking a busy highroad. Snugglepot is helping himself to a grassroot bun. Secure

How cute are those illustrations!

The second possibility is to do with comfort, or a type of security blanket factor.

My siblings and I were lucky to grow up with  the comfort and security of bedtime stories. I don’t remember Snugglepot and Cuddlepie  being read to me but I do remember being cuddled up next to my sister, at bedtime, and reading it to her.   I associate Snugglepot and Cuddlepie with sweet and gentle times and the notion “That all will be well”.  Just as the sight of a peacefully resting cat reassures me that there must be a rightfulness to life, even if I can’t always see it.

The third possibility is the joy factor.  Both cat and book make me smile for the sheer joy of their existence. How can one frown at the sight of a sleeping cat? How can one not be amused and entertained by the humour and sensibility  in May Gibbs’ text. Here is an example of her writing; ” Gumnut Editors generally write backwards, because they say it takes longer to read that way, and the people think they are getting more news.” (Even back then the Press was trying to pull the wool over our eyes!)

And here is a piece from Snugglepot’s story. “Down, down, down he tumbled, right through the window into an Ant’s house. A tired night-nurse saw him coming, but before she could do anything he had crashed in and killed several babies. This was a blessing for Snugglepot, but it was sadly hard on the baby ants. “I’m so sorry,” said Snugglepot. “It can’t be helped,” said the Nurse. “What will their mother say?”, asked Snugglepot, brushing tears from his eyes. ” She won’t know,” said the Nurse, ‘ we have three hundred babies in the house.”

And I love the request from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie at the beginning of the book which reads ” Humans, Please be kind to all Bush Creatures and don’t pull flowers up by the roots.”

May Gibbs( 1877-1969)( http://www.nutcote.org/) was Australia’s first full-time, professionally trained children’s book illustrator. She developed a uniquely Australian fantasy world . The first book about Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was published in 1918. May Gibbs not only brought great stories to children but, in her will, she remembered them by bequeathing the copyright from the designs of her bush characters and her stories to Northcott Disability Services and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance of New South Wales, Australia. The rest of her estate was left to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Creative Genius

Yesterday was the sort of sublimely beautiful, fair-weather day that makes me want to drop everything, hop in the car and  drive forever. Maybe not quite forever, but at least for as long as it takes me to explore my country from end to end and side to side.  But, being the annoyingly responsible person that I am, all we managed to do was a couple of hours of wonderful exploring of the Styx River, and, then, we dutifully came home, in time to bring in the laundry, make the dinner, feed the animals, wash the dishes, dry the dishes and turn the dishes over….actually, we have a dishwasher but that doesn’t make the domestic routines any less domestic or routine.

Normally, or nine times out of ten, I can find a way to be unbothered by the mundanities of housekeeping but, after our gallivanting, I found myself in an unusual, one time out of ten state of grumpiness. My grumps were brought on, not so much by the curtailment of my freedom-travelling aspirations but by reading about a prolific, long dead male composer. (The reading done, between potato boiling and fritter frying, and on top of  a week of reading about  famous, male writers). And I thought,” Yes,Mr Composer, your music is awesome. You are a creative genius BUT your creativity flourished because someone fed you and cared for you and allowed you to be what you needed to be. Someone like me, Mr Composer. So what if you wrote 50 symphonies and 10 operas, or whatever. Given the right conditions, I might have done the same (that’s seriously, seriously, flawed thinking), but, instead, my oeuvre, my mistresswork is some 30,000 meals, 21,000 loads of washing, hundreds of cakes, dozens of biscuits, thousands of shopping lists and exquisitely made beds, multitudes of beautifully pressed shirts……..so score that Mr Genius Composer, if you can! It will take you thirty years or more, especially if you have one hand stirring the porridge and one eye in the back of your head watching the children. Then, just when you think you are done, you’ll find you have an unfinished symphony because Mother has fallen and needs hours of gentle nursing, AND you still haven’t taken out the rubbish for the umpteenth time. Put that in your fiddle and play it, Mr Composer, you!”

So, having traversed that hump in my grump, I sat down and listened to the sublime music of Mr Composer (truly, truly, I can never equal your genius)  and started to research where our little gallivant had taken us.  Our first stop was  the Janet Stewart Reserve on the Styx River; a destination I chose on the spur of the moment, as we were leaving our driveway. This was our first visit to this Reserve.Janet Stewart ReserveIt was created as part of the Styx River Project which has, amongst its aims, the creation of a source to sea experience and the establishment of a viable spring fed river ecosystem.The Janet Stewart Reserve, covers land which runs parallel with the  Lower Styx Road for approximately a kilometre. It also borders part of a very busy main road; Marshlands Road.

The Reserve is home to a specially designed and planted harakeke garden. Harakeke is a type of flax which is used for Maori weaving. The garden is considered a taonga, or treasure, for the Christchurch weaving community.The Harakeke Garden

At the entrance to the garden there is a fascinating woven sculpture.Woven Sculpture

When you approach the sculpture you realise that the story of harakeke is crafted into the structure.  Welcome

As you read, you can hear traffic in the distance but the dominant background music comes from the birds, hidden in the bushes and the thick vegetation on the banks of the river. Birds, where are you?Wetland

The Janet Stewart Reserve is a place of creativity, conservation, calm, beauty, nourishment, renewal and responsible stewardship. Who then is Janet Stewart whose name honours this place. A politician, a composer, a musician, an opera diva, a writer? Nope, not all. Janet Stewart was that greatest of all creative geniuses; a Mother.Nothing more, nothing less.

When Edmond Stewart died in 1993, he bequeathed his land to the City Council for the purposes of creating a reserve to be named after his hardworking, resourceful mother, Janet Stewart.   The Janet Stewart Reserve is a son’s loving tribute to his Mother.  A living symphony of sound and light and wonder, and music to my ears. Next time, I have the grumps I will remember Janet Stewart and her Reserve and all will be well.