All posts by McAennyl

About McAennyl

When not working, I write. I blog, post, link, tweet, facebunk. I edit, and review for authors, publishers and distributors (see https://RedPennReviews.wordpress.com) . When not working, I write.

memory lane


Memories flood back to me
on gusts of wind and gentle breezes.
I follow the lane of my early childhood days,
between tall, close windbreak trees
which provided welcome summer shade.
Away down there at the end of the lane,
on the right hand side, was our farm gate.

In summer’s school afternoons,
I would climb to stand on its lowest rail,
my arms over the top, and stand there
as my sister unlatched it and passed through.
Me, I’d wait till it was latched again,
enjoying the breeze in my hair,
as I’d stare at the view,
and climb over when I was ready.

I see the line of trees up the left side
of the gravelly drive. So old their trunks
had grown through the Number Eight.
One, fallen an age ago, bare of its bark and branches,
pulled down the wire fence it lay on.

The milk stand sat in front of the fallen trunk.
We would pass it as we wandered
up the gravelly drive to the farmhouse.

To the right was a slippery grass covered bank
down to the creek which separated
the horses’ paddock from the rest of the farm.
We stuck to the drive, or walked on its left.

The farmhouse, nestled behind a gated hedge,
its verandah, never sat on.,
its front door never approached.

We all used the side gate in the picket fence,
crossed the sea of concrete,
and came to the back door after stepping up
onto the quarter-circle porch, all painted red.

The building opposite the house–four areas in one.
The farm workers’ quarters–one room,
filled with the junk by previous owners.
The wash-house–its copper, two concrete tubs, and its mangle.
The tool shed–full of hand tools, gardening tools, and poisons.
The last, entered around the corner
out of sight from the windows–the out-house real,
with its purple squares of apple wrappers on a hook,
its candles waxed onto the dwangs,
spare torch batteries for the night’s walk,
and its broad, solid timber seat with that dire hole

ABC Challenge for 2018 – 2


Choose any theme, subject or topic you like, to match each letter posted each fortnight.

Ideas for ‘B”?

Brass, Biography, Brothers, Babies, Bores, Bands, “BarStewards”, Bars… but don’t feel restricted to these suggestions.

All I’d love to see, is the First letter in your post titles being the letter for the fortnight. Doable?

Publish your post for the current letter by January 28th, please.
Leave a link to you post in the comments below, and a “Ping-Back” to this post.

Agony and Anxiety


The agony of uncertainty while waiting for recovery fills your every day, chooses your every thought and every word you have to say. You sit beside your child’s bed, your mind chases what nurses, doctors said…

         ‘It won’t be long’ | ‘It’s too soon to tell’
‘A proven treatment’ | ‘In its trial phase’
‘We needed your permission first’ | ‘We had to go ahead without you’
‘A bit of a warning sign’ | ‘Nothing to worry about’
‘You can go in now’ | ‘We need you to leave’.

Anxiety , it peaks and ebbs like that brainwave pulse–up, down, up, down. Oh for a stable line on the former, a steady pattern on the latter.

     ‘Play favourite music tracks’ | ‘Don’t make so much clatter’
‘A calm atmosphere’ | ‘Mental stimulation’

You sit, as wallpaper, occasionally talking, anxiously waiting to start planning rehabilitation, while agonising on the question… how long before he’s walking?


image_A

This Post created for the ABC for 2018 challenge.
Comments & links to your effort welcome.

ABC Goal for 2018 – 1


Well, as there are 26 letters in the Alphabet,image_A
and there are 26 fortnights in a year…
I’ll be posting one post a fortnight,
following the alphabet.

I thought ‘Maybe someone else might enjoy this,
as a challenge during this new year’.

So here’s the first letter (obviously).
Choose any theme, subject or topic you like,
to match each letter I post.

Ideas for ‘A”?
Admiration, Adversity, Autumn (how out of timing is that!) Awards, Acting,
but don’t feel restricted to these suggestions.
All I’d love to see, is the First letter in your post titles being the letter for the fortnight.
Doable?

Publish your post for the current letter by January 14th, please.
Leave a link to you post in the comments below, and a “ping-Back” to this post.

Thank you, and Happy New Blogging Year.

 

5 Areas We Need Permission for Success — Kristen Lamb


permission Granted

Permission. This might seem an odd word to discuss when it comes to success, but we need to hash out some dos and don’ts before January 1st. New Year’s resolutions are often more about taking freedoms away instead of permitting new ones. In my opinion, this is why a lot of well-intended changes fail to…

via 5 Areas We Need Permission for Success — Kristen Lamb

I’ve not reposted this because it may win me a free critique.

I’ve reposted this because, while struggling with the dreaded “BLOCK”, I discovered a powerful tool for developing and releasing one’s inner artist. As writing is art, I have purchased and am following The Artist’s Way (author Julia CAMERON). In her book –intended for the visual, physical, musical, and language artists among us all, the basic principles encourage us to recognise the source of our creativity.
The first week’s readings encourage us to face our demons, to revisit our hindrances, and to allow ourselves to create.

How timely to discover Kristen Lamb’s post! Enjoy reading Kristen Lamb’s full post.

 

Four Books Of Impact.


Words of wisdom and wonder, which change lives…

Many of us – most of us – have a portion of our life filled with regret. Or worse…nothing.
The feeling of being empty? That is worse than the feeling of sorrow, whether for loss, for past decisions, past actions, or past words. We look for answers, from “someone”, or “something”, and may find a temporary shift in our mood or being.
A guru here, a life-coach there, a member of this or that church, a friend, an elder relative…we turn to any or all of them. We go to our medical practice, to a counseling service, a retreat, a clinic…we seek what we need in any or all of them. We distract ourselves from our real needs by filling the void with people in groups or clubs in which we have no real interest; we go on a shopping spree; we go on a drinking binge – alone, or with other people…we try to find what we’re looking for anywhere.

Does it work? Do any of them work?
Some do, whether by coincidence – a connection between the ‘source’ and our situation, or real effect. Some don’t – from a lack of connection between the ‘source’ and our situation, or lack of a real background of applied theory.
Me? I’ve not had a lifetime of settled emotions, nor of constant good health. I’ve had times when I’ve faced misery, misfortune and misjudgment. Having a vivid imagination hasn’t helped keep my head clear of disruptive thoughts (“stinking thinking”, as it is known in some circles). I’ve blame-shifted. I’ve grown my resentment by never expressing it to anyone who mattered. I’m guilty of having at times expected more than was possible of myself, and worse, of others in my life. I’ve chased my own ‘gurus’ of one type or another. Neh – hasn’t worked.

Time for a change! Time for a kick up the proverbial. And I have to be the one to do it! I got myself into this mess – and that being unknowingly, does not change who’s responsible for where I go to from here. I have to make the change – me, myself, on my own.
But…but where to start?
Books.  Why not? A one-off price, available at any time you need, the facility to return to earlier sessions and review what you’ve faced, learned, or wondered at. Portable. Permanent.  You can annotate them, highlight, turn corners down to mark great passages (hold that ‘gasp’, please – bear with me here… Oh, alright, you can tuck a card bookmark in them). And now, the question arises :: Which Books?

cover_King james BibleWell, the Holy Book is a start.
Christian or not, I’ve lugged my Bible with me wherever I’ve lived. Firstly a small version of only The Bible, now a fully annotated King James Version. I hear a quote, and check the whole Chapter. Maybe even that before and that after the one I’m reading.
Please take note: the Christian Bible is not the only Holy Book.
The Torah to those of the Jewish faith, and the Koran for those of the Muslin faith, are of equal significance to their people. All three religions are collectively known as the Faiths of The Book – and not for nothing.

For me, coming back to The Bible arose from a most unusual inspirational book. For my last year (to my shame) I had spent my non-learning moments at a Catholic Convent Girls’ Boarding School – as a “day girl” – denigrating the Catholic beliefs. This for the spiteful reason of denigrating the school, inadequate as it was. But the nuns (and my parents) had more patience (tolerance) than I had realized. I could not get myself expelled for any reason. So, because of my determination to “strike” during my whole last year of compulsory education, I never did qualify.
{Grumbles to self – “All that work for nothing!”

cover_Mr God This is AnnaThe book which brought me back to the Bible was an unusual one. A tale of a London dock-worker who late one night on the street befriends by accident a four-year old child. At home, his mother and the rest of the household discover the child has been a victim of physical abuse. She never leaves their home, but attaches herself to the writer.
He in turn is educating himself, and as the girl observes his gadgets being created and working, and as he observes her “way” of interacting with other dock-side people, and questioning Sunday Services and other people’s interaction, each helps the other come to understand life…and God.
Even in the sadness of the final scene, there is a moving message.
The book is Mister God, This Is Anna, by Fynn. Look for editions which include the Foreword written by the then Archbishop of Canterbury. This is the book which made me do more than drop in on the Bible, but read it – a continuing process.

Now, what brought this post about…I am struggling with artist’s block. And I’ve been looking all around the wide, wonderful web, at blog, self-help and writers’ help sites, reading how other writers deal with this. If I’d saved everything I’d read, I’d fill an external hard-drive. Then, I found mention of firstly, “Morning Pages”, and then of a particular book. Reviews on Amazon, and blog posts describing and recommending it, led me to the author’s website. As soon as I read the website’s content, I shot back to Amazon, and purchased it.

cover_Artists WayIt is The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. Mine is the 25th Anniversary Edition – that alone helped me decide it was worth a shot. When it arrived, I browsed the contents (read the T O C), and began with the Foreword and Introduction. There arose a glimmer of hope.
This is more than an artist’s self-help book. It is a life book! Ms. Cameron’s guide to self-examination is presented as weekly readings, with probing self-analysis, questions to ask oneself, and suggestions for finding the answers. Hers is the concept of “Morning Pages”, of which I’d begun written a few while awaiting delivery of her book—albeit not every morning.
The Artist’s Way applies to all the arts, design, and creativity in general—and writing is one of the creative arts. I began Week One, and within only two days discovered something important bout myself and my artistic efforts in the past. (I continued through the first week’s Tasks, and am writing this as part of the end-of-week Check In.)
My discovery about my past art attempts has led me to renew my interest in visual art. Which leads me to the fourth book of impact.

cover_Drawing With ChildrenThe fourth book? Back in the 90s, I was laid up recuperating for plastic surgery for metastatic melanoma. Well, not really “laid up” – being in that state was to wait for the late 2000s – but resting each day in a LazyBoy chair, leg raised. I had a book in a back room which I’d bought for using to teach drawing to children, but never at that point opened and read. I asked for it to be brought to me, and a pencil.   By reading through the beginner activities in Drawing With Children *, by Mona Brookes, and trying some of the tasks (drawing in the wide margins) I found I could draw. I drew a self-portrait, from my reflection in a nearby wall mirror. I drew a perfect drawing of my jacket which had been left for days draped from the back of a chair, in such a way that both the outer side (dark blue, with metal studs for fasteners) and the lining (a broad tartan) in view.
So confidant I felt after creating those drawings, I began using Brookes’ method in my Junior Primary classes, for three years. Moving on to HOD of the Intermediate division of a secondary school, I applied the techniques there as well.

Sadly, I decided to quit teaching. Nothing to do with the job—more to do with the ridiculous over assessment required under the most recently deployed new curricula.
Even more sadly, after graduating in IT, I “culled” my teaching books collection, and tossed the Brookes’ Drawing With Children.
But, since beginning to read The Artist’s Way, I have bought a later edition of Drawing With Children.
* (My first copy was the edition with a child’s drawing of an elephant on its cover.)

All four of these books have given me inspiration, understanding, and courage. I am so grateful to have all four beside my bed, to read and refer to regularly.
I would strongly recommend any of these as a “must have” in your book shelves.

Please, share your views on any one of these books, or any other book you have found inspiring to your artist.

 

No Classroom “Rules”…


Here in NZ, our current Curriculum encourages allowing children to find their own way to explore their interest, to allow them the opportunity to use teacher feedback to plan their next goal (in all areas of the curriculum).

We’re encouraging “inquiring minds”, “thinking like a scientist”, “ownership of learning”…

So how great to read this teacher’s post at Edutopia.org on
“Why I Don’t Have Classroom Rules”

No Classroom rules
Click th’ Pic for the article