A Story of . . .
Portland, record albums, comic books, handbags, dancing, dining, and diets
City sidewalks, where anonymity meets adventure. Where walking alone is accepted and walking into open doors not only expected but encouraged. Last Saturday I walked the length of Congress Street (well, really a portion of Congress, from State Street to Elm Street), and was intrigued by all the sandwich boards along the way. After treating myself to a slice of pizza at Otto's I did a bit of window shopping, visited a few galleries and made my way to the library. Here's some of what I saw . . . some bargains, some love, and a tasty invitation.
AT THE LIBRARY: Travels With Charley
John Steinbeck’s travelogue of his 1960 journey across the United States in a small camper alongside his dog, Charley. Although Steinbeck was well known by the time he took the trip, he was confident that most people wouldn’t recognize him. And they didn’t . . . just a man and his dog traveling down the road.
This is a Calendar of Days post, it’s Library Lovers’ month.
Innovation Day - Always a Project in Progress
For the true hobbyist, dedicated artist, innovator, and explorer, there is always a project in progress.
Today is Innovation Day and I have an idea.
A new feature for this blog: Always a Project in Progress. I found three great books at the library today and am inspired to start something new. The books include one on sewing, one about magic, and another with some sophisticated decorating, storage, and ultility projects.
I’ll select one project from each book, and talk about the next move. I want to pick just two projects, and work on them with parallel reporting. I'm optimistic that the book about taking great photos will help me document my progress.
Follow along as the projects are selected, as we gather information and materials, and talk about the challenges and discoveries we find along the way. What does it really take to get it done?
In the next post I'll list the the books pictured above.
Do come back for updates (and be sure to sign-up and join us for other announcements, too).
This is a Calendar of Days post: Library Lovers' Month
There is a brick and mortar library in the neighborhood, but still, just five blocks away there is a Little Free Library, a “take a book, return a book” book exchange.
Started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, to honor his mother, the concept spread and now there are “over 36,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 countries around the world.”
Though book exchanges are not a new idea, these are maintained and registered through a community website.
The project has inspired readers and carpenters alike—the libraries are as varied as the towns and cities where they are installed. There is a delightful gallery of images on their Instagram site.
If you’re interested in knowing whether there is one in your neighborhood, the Little Free Library website includes a map page where you can look up your location. That’s where I discovered there are three within just a couple of miles of my home. The one above, I knew about. I found two more on the map and will search them out this week and will take and post photos of them, too.
UPDATE: found a lobster trap library!
Maybe there's one in your neighborhood.
This is a Calendar of Days post: February is Library Lovers' Month
Ever since listening to The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, I’ve been drawn to quilts and quilt patterns. I’m not interested in sewing quilts, just the patterns. Not floral patterns, but geometric patterns. To satisfy my interest, I’ve borrowed lots of books from the library, and my favorite to date is the first one I selected: The Quilts of Gee’s Bend
The book chronicles the work of a community of African-American women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and their more than two-hundred year tradition of quilt making. It was the first quilting book I looked at after finishing The Invention of Wings and it inspired the drawing below.
When I pulled the image above from the archives for today’s post (Puzzle Day), I considered using it to represent the concept in two ways:
1) The arrangement. It was a bit of a puzzle to position the utensils as they are, and
2) Putting together a collection can be puzzling, what belongs, what doesn’t?
This is a Calendar of Days post: National Puzzle Day
Don't Write, Read!
Don’t write, read . . . about how to write. While it’s true that practice makes perfect, practice alone won’t make your writing better.
These books are three of my favorites.
When I started writing my book Postmark, A Guide to Writing More Letters, Cards, and Notes, I re-read these books as I wrote. Just a chapter a day. As I read and wrote, I became more aware of structure, word choices, punctuation, tense, and rhythm.
Writing is a lot of rewriting. Tedious? Sometimes. But without it, readers will get confused and they won’t stay.
One way I like to practice writing is by writing letters. I start with a piece of scrap paper and draft my letter— scribbles, arrows, crossed-out words and sentences fill the sheet (it would be a terrible waste of stationery otherwise). When I’m ready to rewrite on better paper, stationery, or inside a blank card, I’m more confident that my writing is solid, easier to read, and more interesting.
Sure, write a letter to your mum and she’ll probably read every word. But if you’re writing a blog or a book, sloppy writing makes a poor impression. Make it the best it can be. Hone your skill by reading and studying the work of great writers, read books about how to write, then write, and rewrite.
Athletes have coaches and actors are guided by directors, why not you? Take a course, join a writing group, find an editor, or grab a how-to book at the library. It will make you a better writer.
If you're going to be a writer, be a good one.
What are you writing? How do you edit and review your work? How do you hone your skills? Got a tip? Share it with us, we want to know!
This is a Calendar of Days post - today is Opposite Day.