Category Archives: writing & reading

my relationship with writing & books

Reader’s Choice ’12: Poetry Slam Party

Like poetry, Corey Turner is an old friend of mine.

Corey Turner

Corey Turner

Corey’s quip about turning 40 inspired last year’s most-read post, I Like My Bike. He’s a poet the same way I’m a poet—unpaid, part-time, hobbyist. We have a thing for words.

It should come as no surprise when I asked him for his Reader’s Choice post, Corey delivered it along with the words for its introduction. And so I yield the floor to the gentleman from South Carolina.

Aimee and I shared a classroom once, a rogue’s gallery of earnest and earnestly irreverent undergraduates who each of us thought perhaps we might have something to do with Poetry. Someday, anyhow.

But in the intervening years, many of us from that classroom have fallen sadly out of touch with the stanzas that spoke so powerfully to us when we were younger.

April of this past year stood duty as National Poetry Month. And via the magic of the internet, that month rapidly became something of an opportunity to reconnect with those all manner of old familiar friends on the page. Aimee’s post here was part and parcel of that, her readers sharing poems that had leapt off the page for them.

Long ago, some. More recently, others. Regardless, it was immediately apparent if they had ever leapt once, they are still leaping, those poems.

And so sharing good poetry is still, as it always was, a dangerous game. What leapt for one reader will often strike another. Sometimes in unexpected, usually in exceptional, and almost always in provocative ways.

But then again, that’s why we read and share these sorts of things in the first place, isn’t it?

Save the date, everyone. Come April, you’re all invited to a party. Corey’s Reader’s Choice is:

Poetry Slam Party

poetry sign

click to read Poetry Slam Party

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Dear Mr. Zuckerberg

Brooke Clay is having the time of her life.

Brooke Clay

Brooke Clay

Brooke is the travel writer and social media manager for a hopping site called Canvasing Chickasaw Country. That’s Chickasaw as in Oklahoma. And that’s hopping as in more than 22,500 followers on Facebook alone.

Then last week, Brooke got engaged to her Dreamboat in New York’s Central Park.

This may explain Brooke’s selection. It involves someone who can relate to her situation. He’s young and smart, he recently got married, and he commands the largest social media network in the world.

Brooke’s Reader’s Choice is:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid, creative commons license

click to read Dear Mr. Zuckerberg (photo by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid, creative commons license)

readers choice

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Advent

Growing up, I couldn’t talk without my hands. 

tis the season

tis the season

I had to animate to express my words. Ask my childhood friends; they’ll tell you. If I wasn’t allowed to use my hands in a conversation, the conversation ended. Can anyone else relate to this?

For almost two years, I’ve been learning to talk with my blog. 

The phrase “don’t blog about it” is the kiss of death. It feels very much like a challenge. Don’t blog about it? Oh, yeah? We’ll just see about that!

This past year I wrote about a lot of different things, including some subjects nice, Christian, mommy bloggers normally avoid: abortion, terrorism, politics, Chick-fil-A.

I fear I’m not finished yet. The stream hasn’t run dry. 

My mind is crowded with stories waiting to be told. They stand in line like patrons at the post office in December, restless and impatient. There are inspiring stories about attorneys who become novelists, dancers who become designers, soldiers who become entrepreneurs. Stories of devotion and loss and the able hand of Providence for people who are often overlooked.

self-portrait

self-portrait

There are more words to remember. More verses to consider. More characters to meet. More humor, I hope. More surprises, I’m sure. More Grace (much more Grace) and more Love (much more Love) to cover a multitude of sins. More meals to cook; I didn’t forget our recipe series. Autumn just unsettled me a bit and bumped me off track.

But now we’re entering winter.

Perhaps it’s good to be unsettled. It spurs me on to pursue Peace. To find a way to get the words out.

Maybe there will be snow this winter covering the ground like a clean, white sheet of paper. I imagine the endless folds of the Flint Hills flush with snow against the backdrop of a smooth, clouded sky. White, white, white. Punctuated by wind, wind, wind.

What words will be written on your winter? What stories will be told in the new year? Huddle together by the fireplace and drink a cup of kindness with me.

We’ve so much left to discuss. 

“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings…” Malachi 4:2 NLT

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

Joyeux Noel

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
Thank you for being part of this community.
Please join us for Reader’s Choice 2012 and a look back at some favorite posts from this past year. 

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A Letter From Her

Do you write Christmas letters? We used to, but these days I use most of my words here with you.

letter

Blogging is a lot like writing a letter. This is electronic stationery where I inscribe a little of myself each time I publish. As with a letter or a book, the reading can be strangely personal and removed at the same time. And, although the response may be immediate, the reader and the writer may reside miles apart.

Will you send Christmas correspondence this year?

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Color Theory

Carole Jackson is my hero. She wrote Color Me Beautiful

Had I been born a decade earlier, odds are I’d have bounded into the 80s as a spry 20-something yuppie with color swatches tucked safely under my right elbow. I’d have been ready at a moment’s notice to whip out the swatches and illuminate women to their correct seasonal palette.

fuchsia

fuchsia

In case you don’t know, Color Me Beautiful is the most successful of all color typing books. First published in 1980, Color Me Beautiful is to color analysis what The Godfather is to mobster movies. All subsequent books advising women of their best colors owe their existence to Ms. Jackson’s four seasonal palettes. Depending on the combination of your hair and eye colors and your skin tone, you are either a Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall. The colors that make up your seasonal palette are the colors that look best on you.

Modern fashion advisors (Stacy and Clinton) try to buck the system and deviate from Ms. Jackson’s palettes. They say you can wear any color you want as long as you choose the right shade. This is America; you can wear any color you want. Some colors that aren’t in your seasonal palette may even look good on you. But you and I and Ms. Jackson aren’t interested in good; we want best.

We want to wear the colors that look best on us.

As Paula Reed writes in Style Clinic, “Find out what colors light up your face, bring out the color of your eyes, and flatter your hair and wear them—all the time.” Touché!

Ollie Jean Owen

Ollie Jean Owen

Ms. Jackson and I have been together now for years. My mom picked up a first edition Color Me Beautiful book at a garage sale. Mom was a Bargainista before Bargainistas were cool, but that is another post. Prior to my mom, the book belonged to Ollie Jean Owen. I know this because Ollie signed the inside cover. I wonder if she read the book. Maybe color theory didn’t stick with her or she thought she’d mastered it. For whatever reason, Ollie’s copy landed in the garage sale pile. Little did she know she sold a diamond for a dollar that day. If she’s still around, I hope she’s wearing her palette.

Mom color analyzed me, a teenager, as soon as she acquired the book. I was and still am a Winter. Mine is the only palette that includes pure black and white. Orange is dead to me. My yellow is lemon. My browns are limited to chocolate so dark it looks black (also my favorite flavor at Baskin-Robbins).

Although I’ve known for close to three decades what colors I’m supposed to wear, staying within my palette has been a process. Four short years ago my closet was an overflowing mess. Nothing to Wear? by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo initiated the detox. It remains my favorite closet purging book. It’s So You! by Mary Sheehan Warren was a godsend, as was I Don’t Have a Thing to Wear by Julie Taggart and Jackie Walker.

paint swatches

pick your palette

Sheehan Warren offered an updated color chart based on Ms. Jackson’s palettes. So did Garza and Lupo in their 2008 book Life in Color. But you know there ain’t nothing like the real thing.

For wardrobe color correction, I returned to Ms. Jackson’s pages.

Today I love and wear every item in my closet, and every one is in my palette. Well, almost every one. I keep a favorite mistake, purchased on a shopping trip to Chicago with my BFF. She’s a Spring. The blouse spoke to me from the rack with its vibrant reddish-orange, stained-glass design. I HAD to have it. So while my fair-faced friend bought two black dresses meant for a Winter like me, I bought a shirt that should be worn by a Spring like her.

With the exception of that blouse, the rest of my closet sings of navy, true red, fuchsia, blue, indigo, emerald, black, and white. It’s been a good year for jewel tones. Ms. Jackson would be proud, and so would my mom.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet. Proverbs 31:21 NIV

My Yellow is also Coldplay with their strange, mesmerizing song.

What’s your best color to wear?
What’s your favorite mistake?

This post marks our 300th. Thank you for reading!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

Words to remember for the week: 

The verse ends, “…for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Bittersweet to me.

Bitter because not all circumstances naturally produce gratitude. Some circumstances seem to have no redeeming qualities.

Sweet, and I cringe a little as I write this, because if God asks us to be thankful, there must be in all circumstances cause for thanksgiving. The sort of gratitude we cannot conjure up by ourselves. The kind that relies on another verse, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

I’m taking a blog break and plan to be back next week.

Until then, I pray God reminds me and you of those things for which we can be thankful no matter what. Things like life, breath, and peace with Him through Christ. What others come to mind?

Thank you for reading. I am honored that you do!

Happy Thanksgiving from everyday epistle.

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Autumn’s Smile

December may argue with this quote, but autumn does hold a special beauty.

What are your favorite things about this season?

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