The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Featured Diarist: Angela Miller

Angela Miller, one of the diarists for Tranquility Taverna, gave us this inspiring interview:

1. What psychological differences do you find in writing in a physical journal and a blog?

When I’m writing a blog entry, I know someone else will read it so I try to balance negative comments with positive ones and to use identifiers such as my sister. I’ve been told my blog is ‘too personal’ and one former reader complained she felt like she was invading my personal thoughts when she read it but I’m less open on my blog than I am in my physical journal.
I also avoid using the blog as a place to write down story ideas. Some things are too personal to put on the internet.

2. In your blog, Introspection, you talk a lot about your wonderful, insightful children. How do your children inspire your writing?

It’s fascinating to watch my daughters interact with each other and with the world around them. They’re always calling attention to different things. One might point out a tiny purple flower while another calls my attention to an ant parade and the third wants to be sure I see the squirrel in the tree. They remind me to pay attention to details and demonstrate how strong sibling bonds can be despite different personalities. Those things come through in my writing. The girls are fun to brainstorm with, too. I give them a basic idea and sit back while they spin
tales for me. Their enthusiasm ignites my own and many times a word they use sparks pages of notes for a future story.

3. You’re an Angel to several soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. How did you get involved in that? How does your work as a writer help in your
support of the troops?

All my life I’ve listened to two of my uncles and my father talk about Vietnam. Every time they mentioned the war, they talked about how much a letter from home meant to them. Each one of them would name a comrade who never got mail from home and ‘just gave up.’ My uncle once talked candidly about feeling like nobody cared if too much time passed without a letter from
home. As soon as troops deployed to those areas, I knew I wanted to do something. I believe we should all do what we can and that we all can do something to make this world a better place. I found an excellent site for one time support ( http://anysoldier.com/ ) but I wanted to provide ongoing support so I kept looking. I admit I had a list of requirements for the org so it took a while to find what I wanted. I’ve been with Angels ‘n Camouflage (http://www.angelsncamouflage.org/new.html ) since last August. I can’t say enough good things about the organization or the other angels involved. The organization was started for veterans and expanded to include deployed service members, then veterans incarcerated and most recently made public a willingness to provide ‘adoptions’ for troops from the UK and Canada (where there aren’t any soldier support programs). I’m an angel to four veterans, three of them incarcerated, through Angels 'n Camouflage, too. As an angel, I write weekly letters to my ‘adoptees.’ People usually ask, “What do you write about?” Anything, everything and nothing at all once. Really. I don’t hear from most of my adoptees and don’t expect them to write but I never run out of things to put in the letters. I think that comes from being a
writer and finding inspiration in the smallest things. Out of the six soldiers I’ve supported during the past year, one has been in touch with me. It’s easier to write letters to her now but it’s never hard to write ‘my guys.’ I’ve described the view from my window just as spring crept across the Earth. I’ve written about things I did as a child like the table I built for a Girl Scout project and nicknamed “The Wobbler.” I’ve filled pages with writing updates or silly stories about my kids and, of course, I make sure each letter carries a message of appreciation for
all they’re doing (or have done in the case of my veterans). Each letter is written with the knowledge I may never hear from the soldier whose name appears at the top of the page. I like to think the letter makes them smile and that’s what being an angel is all about for me.


4. Was there a specific inspiration for your romance serial, When Fate Steps In? Would you share that with us?

While looking at pictures from a trip my husband and I took to Gatlingburg, TN I started thinking about what might have happened if the cabin we rented hadn’t been available that weekend or if it had been double-booked. The next thing I knew, I had written a couple thousand words of a story that continues to surprise me more than 400 pages later.


5. What advice do you have for women balancing writing and families, who worry that personal fulfillment takes away from their families?

I don’t know if I have any great advice but I do have a story to share. For five years, I devoted myself to being the best wife and mother in the world. I paid a high price for that. I didn’t even make time to read a book for my own pleasure and I certainly didn’t write. Most of my friends drifted out of my life and I started to depend on my husband more than ever. My increased dependence frustrated him and created more tension in an already difficult situation. The more I depended on him, the more he pulled away from me. He started to lose respect for me, my self-confidence plummeted and we quarreled often. My family took advantage of me because I didn’t have enough self-confidence to tell them no when they asked me to do something for them. One day, during a pity party, I got a glimpse of my future and what I saw left me
shaken. I saw my mother! From the moment she had her first child at 17, my mother devoted herself to her family. I never knew her to have a friend or a hobby. She wouldn’t even put together a jigsaw puzzle unless one of her kids was doing it with her. At almost 50, Mother is one of the most unpleasant people I know. She’s angry, bitter and her self-worth is still tied
to her children. I make up things for her to do at my house because she needs to be needed. The more I thought about it the more women like my mother I identified, women who gave up their identities when they married and had children and are now looking back at lives filled with regret. When I realized I was doing the same thing my mother and others had done, I started making changes. My self-confidence has soared and I’m happier now than I have been in a long time. It hasn’t been easy to get to this point and I’m still having to remind people about the boundaries. I won’t go back to the woman I was for anything. My daughters see a woman with her own interests and dreams, a woman excited about the future. They think a woman can do
anything she sets her mind to. I can live with that.



Thank you, Angela! Visit her blog, Introspection, and her serial, When Fate Steps In.


Want to participate? Email me here.
Want to post an entry? Send it to me here.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Featured Diarist: pattierwr

Pattierwr, who is one of the diarists for Thought Waves, was kind enough to do the following interview:


1. I was impressed by the letter you wrote to Waterbrook Press, pointing out the need for a reprint of Jen Abbas’s book Generation EX: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain. How do you think we, as individuals, can encourage that kind of social responsibility?

I don’t think I was truly involved in anything that could be described as socially active (outside of voting and giving blood) until the mid-90s. There was an issue in the state where we lived that had to do with education, and I started writing letters to my senator and state representatives. I just never stopped after that.

The situation you mentioned, regarding this book, is an interesting one. I had read the author’s blog and she had written about the possibility of her book not being reprinted. Being an adult child of divorce is an issue close to my heart. After I wrote to the author, she asked me if I’d be willing to write to the publisher, telling them what I’d told her. Even if the publisher doesn’t respond, they have my opinion in writing. I took a stand, and it felt good. I encouraged others to do the same, and it felt even better when others followed my lead.

I was taught, growing up, that if you don’t do something, you have no right to complain. There’s truth in that. If a person is unhappy with a situation, it is up to her to do something to make it right. Complaining may help her vent and get something off her mind, but if it isn’t followed by action, it’s just griping. I have taught my students that throughout the years, and I am teaching this to my two young daughters as well.

2. How did you become a community leader for iVillage’s Journal Board?

Last summer, I was searching iVillage boards for something about journaling, and I happened upon the board. I’d been a member of iVillage for many years, but with teaching full-time, I hadn’t had time to be involved. I sent in my Community Leader (CL) application and almost immediately heard back from one of the community moderators. I answered the questions they asked, and within a few days I was placed in the Journaling board as co-CL. A couple of months later, the other CL resigned and I became the only CL on the board. I felt funny about it because I was so new to the whole process, but it has worked out well. I love journaling and everything about it. I think it is a great way I can be involved in an online community promoting something I love.

3. What do you do when you feel overcommitted in your life? How do you decompress?

I suppose overindulging in chocolate and coffee isn’t the response you’re wanting? (Ha ha!) It’s funny you should ask this question, because I am struggling with overcommitment right now. Last spring I left teaching to stay at home with my youngest daughter in her last year before kindergarten, and I wanted to squeeze in as much volunteering and other activities as I could. I have found, however, that I have taken on too many responsibilities. Fortunately, many of the time-consuming ones are ending soon. I am learning to choose more wisely where I spend my time and energy.

When I need to decompress, I write in my journal. Writing always helps me feel better. I sometimes blog about some things that are bugging me, but the really personal things remain in my handwritten journal. I talk things over with my friends, too. Depending on the perspective I need, I will also talk to my husband, my mom, and/or my sister. Each of them has a different view of me, and they can help me see myself more objectively.

4. What is your favorite thing about teaching?

I think my favorite thing about teaching is connecting with students as writers. Sometimes I think of myself more as a writing coach than teacher. I much prefer guiding students into better writing, rather than standing at the front of the room, lecturing and saying, “This is wrong.”
At its best, teaching energizes and invigorates me. At its worst, it drains me. I am thankful I had this past year off from teaching (after almost ten years in the classroom), but I am also excited about my new venture as part-time instructor of English Composition at our local university.

5. Describe how writing with your favorite pen (you mention in your blog that you have a collection of pens) affects your writing.

Oh, I have so many pens that I am constantly discovering new ones I forgot I had! I was at the office supply store with my husband the other day, and he had a new package of pens in his hand. He sheepishly said, “I have a weakness for pens.” I laughed and said, “Oh, so do I!” Different colors, styles, and even free ones fill the pen mugs on my desk.

Different pens give me different handwriting and in a way, a different way to write. When I write with a ballpoint, for example, I tend to be neater, as if I were in school. I am more careful with my words. When I use a liquid gel pen, my writing is faster, but less neat. Fast pens are great for high-speed venting. I have found the “perfect” pen in a particular roller ball, which I find works best for journaling: the perfect mix of speed and neatness.

Oh, and I rarely grade papers using red ink! I prefer green or purple.

Thank you so much, pattie! Visit her site, Pattie's Place.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tranquility Taverna Entry From Eileen

July 24, 2005

The Chinese characters on the cover of the “Tranquility Taverna” journal that I am contributing to represent tranquility, clarity and harmony. It is possible that Chinese characters appeared as early as 8,000 years ago.

The character tranquility can be translated into one who is unaffected by disturbance. As early as 3,000 BC, courtyards were designed and built to offer Chinese families a private place for rest and rejuvenation. Without tranquility, we experience chaos and violence.

The character for clarity is qing, and can have different connotations, depending on other characters that it is used in combination with. This character is also related to the heart sutra in that the individual who has obtained clarity has gone beyond and is enlightened. Conversely, without clarity, one lives in a haze of unclearness. Thoughts and feelings can be obscure, distorted.

The character for harmony represents agreement. When you have harmonious relations with others, daily life can become less stressful and more peaceful. Alternatively, when we have disagreement and dissonance, life presents greater difficulties.

These characters speak to me on a personal and a global level. We live in a fast-paced world. Chaotic events, whether they are natural disasters, famine or war affect all of us. The challenge for peace loving individuals is to work fro the aspects of tranquility, clarity and harmony in our own lives, and then from a place of being centered, tranquil and clear we are better positioned to work towards peace and harmony in the world.

From the Tao Te Ching:

Intelligent people know others.
Enlightened people know themselves.

You can conquer others with power,
But it takes true strength to conquer yourself.

Ambitious people force their will on others,
But content people are already wealthy.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Featured Diarist: Sharron

Sharron, who is one of the diarists for Thought Waves, was kind enough to answer a few questions.

1. The photos on your website for your Bed and Breakfast are beautiful. What made you decide to run a bed and breakfast, and what made you choose the area you chose?

Thank you! Our first Bed and Breakfast experience was when we were in Mendocino, California over 20 years ago. We stayed in a beautiful character home there and loved it. We talked often after that great experience about how much fun it would be to run a bed and breakfast one day. Finally the opportunity arrived after a young friend of ours asked if she could help us fix up our workshop and then rent it from us. She helped insulate and add on a bathroom and then to her surprise and ours, a man entered her life and she no longer needed to rent our little cabin. So we proceeded to finish it and set it up as a Bed and Breakfast. We chose our acreage over thirty years ago, dreaming the self sufficiency dream of the seventies, so a bed and breakfast just fit in as yet another way to stay home and make a living. Nothing is more satisfying then having a dream and making it come true.

2. Running a B&B is time-consuming, not to mention all the wonderful guardianship you obviously do with your property. Yet you write poetry and your husband paints. How do you keep it all in balance?

Balance, what's balance? ;-) Neither of us are very balanced so our lifestyle fits in fine with our philosophy and outlook on life: Do the best with what you have and share it with others when you can. Keeping up the garden and yard gives us pleasure but there is even more incentive to keep it up when we can share it with others. We are basically lazy gardeners, weeds and dandelions are just as beautiful to us as planted flowers and we do not use chemicals on our land so bugs and slugs are welcome too. Not to mention nibbling deer and marauding squirrels.

We both seem to go through phases of creativity and then phases of being lazy and just maintaining until another wave hits and off we go, writing, painting, taking photographs, crocheting pretty and useful things, making jam and jelly, renovating our house or making new trails through our woods. We love where we are and what we do so there is always something to be immersed in. I guess that is one quirk of both our natures, we feel we are playing in the woods or garden rather than working. We perceive serving our guests as a gift of something valuable we have to give, rather than work. We believe each person who finds us and visits us is part of our life for a day or two and we enjoy watching the tight lines on their faces relax and the smiles loosen up as they breath our clean air and unwind under our care.


3. If there was one thing you could change about your life now, what would it be?

My husband says, high speed internet, which isn't available to us yet. ;-)
We really do love our life right now. My daughters are grown and in happy relationships; our six grandchildren are great fun to have visit and watch grow and learn from. Sometimes we get the urge to head further into the bush as development gets closer to us, but then again we think we'll stay here till we die. I guess change will happen and we'll change with it but for now, we are content.


4. If there was one thing you could change about the world now, what would it be?

Now that is another story. Our world, as in nature, is the most beautiful place I could imagine and yet we who live here take it for granted and abuse what has been given to us to enjoy. If I had the power to change anything other than myself, I would open the eyes of every person in North America so that what they look at daily would be filtered through the eyes of someone who has never seen what we take for granted. I would pour wonder into them again and gratitude and I would figure out a way we who have so much could share it with those who have so little. I would pick up and hug every unloved and uncared for child and hand them to someone with empty arms desperate to hold the heart of a child. I would find a way to stop wanton waste when so many are in need. I would pray for those who have so much and are yet so unhappy and I would put an end to greediness and hatred. Oops, I see you said 'one thing' ! There is so much that needs to be changed in our world, but all I can do is change myself and I work on that every day of my life. I ask myself why I think I need another pair of shoes when I can only wear one pair at a time, why do I think I deserve more food than I need three times a day, what can I give to someone else today that would make their day better, that's all I have the power to do.

5. Where do you go on vacation (if you ever actually get one)?

Our life is a vacation. We live where people pay to come. We don't really feel like we have to vacate our life in order to appreciate it when we get back. BUT - we have a dream - which we hope to make come true next year. We want to drive across Canada, see our country from coast to coast. We want to see and experience Canada and we have come to realize if we are ever going to do it, we need to do it now. So that will be our adventure. I guess it will be our vacation. But we aren't vacating so much as expanding our life. We do take time off from play to explore our coast by kayak whenever the weather is suitable. Ken takes photos on our excursions to use as subjects to paint or make cards from.

Thank you Sharron!

See her B&B homepage at: www.hardtocomeby.com

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project Potential Logo #1



I've posted some potential logos for the project. I may mix and match them, depending upon the need.

My concern with this one is that the black type is small and makes it too busy. But larger type looks even worse.

NONE of my photo programs allow me to add captions, which is especially frustrating. The ideal would be to have the image with the title of the project above it and the link below it. I'm going to see if I can figure out how to do that.

Meanwhile, take a look at all four and leave a comment!

Thirteen Traveling Journals Potential Logo #2


The lettering pops more.

Thirteen Traveling Journals Potential Logo #3


Something a bit simpler.

Thirteen Traveling Journals Potential Logo #4


This is yet another potential logo.

Roads of Inspiration -- Journal #4



Roads of Inspiration -- Journal #4, which is on its way to Canada in preparation for its UK journey.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Journal #4 – Roads of Inspiration and Updates

Journal #4, Roads of Inspiration, left this morning via air mail to join Rhythmic World Bridger as he travels to the UK.

I’ll post pictures as soon as I can.

Have a wonderful trip!

Journal #2, Fronds of Thought, arrived safely in Edinburgh.

I’m working on more questions for the “Featured Diarist” section and will send them out this week. Many thanks to Heather and Colin for being our Featured Diarists so far!

Devon

Want to participate? E-mail me here.
Have one of the Traveling Journals and want to post an entry? Send it here.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Featured Diarist: Colin Galbraith

Colin is the Starter for Journal #2, Fronds of Thought, and he gave us this mini-interview.

1. How do you feel that writing and music inspire each other, if at all?

To me, writing and music compliment each other throughout the entire creative process. It can all start if you need to hear a particular piece or genre of music in order to enable your mind to get into the mood to write. Or perhaps I want to write a certain scene and a particular song will provoke the desired emotions to be able to get the best first draft from that scene. This leads into the story itself, and quite often I find myself associating scenes to music and thereby unwittingly providing the soundtrack to the story.

If I go back and read something I have written in the past, very often the music associated during its writing will spring back into my mind and I'll have to go and dig out the track to put my mind at ease.

It goes deeper as well. One of the reasons I read John King novels is because it is very obvious from his work that he has a deep love for music. His knowledge and passion comes through into the work itself and much of it is centred round the kind of music that I grew up with; punk, ska, rock etc.

And so a piece of fiction without any kind of 'internal jukebox' is lacking until I can find music to go with it, however obscure or centred it may be.


2. What impacts, both positive and negative, do you think the Internet has had on both music and literature?

I may find myself contradicting myself in answering this so I'll have to tread carefully with my answer. I'm an old-fashioned guy when it comes to music. I like to go into a record shop and browse through records. I like to look at the covers and feel what I am about to buy in an attempt to connect with it. This stems from a time when music was music. I would go into a record shop and not just browse and feel it, I would remove a vinyl record from its sleeve and hold it up to the light, scan its surface, smell it, read the groove notes. In those days record shop owners would talk to anyone who came in and you could be in there for hours talking about music with people who just loved to own a record shop.

Nowadays the record shops are gone; replaced by conglomerates who tell you what to buy, in what format, and sold by part-time students who run a check on a computer for you to see if they stock a record by some band they've never heard of. It's not the same, and this is the reason I think the Internet has had a detrimental effect on music. It has provided the conglomerates with another avenue with which to exploit the record-buying public by providing music via retail downloads. This, I believe, will finally see the death of record shops and we will all end up living in cyber-land.

However, the Internet has also allowed me to network with other fans of music I like to listen to, some of whom have become very good friends over the years. It has also allowed me to get my hands on very rare vinyl and unlisted CD albums that would otherwise have missed my grasp thanks to the likes of Ebay. The advent of digital technology has also meant I can now listen to bootleg gigs that are of such good quality, you would think them studio recordings.

Overall though, I don't like it and I feel it is another step in the wrong direction for the music industry.

The literature industry is another kettle of fish though. Again, I love nothing more than browsing for books, looking for gems or flicking through reference sections. Part of the joy is being able to hold a book in your hand and smell the pages, feel the paper and connect with it, much in the same way one might with a vinyl record.

However the audience is declining, and unlike the record industry, demand is harder to create than with music. More money is spent on a unit basis promoting a book for smaller returns and very often the casual reader is cast aside by the industry for the quick sale of high-turnover novels.

In this day and age, it is a sad way for the industry to go, but I think the advent of e-books and the ease at which books can now be bought or downloaded over the Internet, could be the saving grace for the industry. It has sparked new interest and new channels for people to buy and what with the technological edge, it looks to be increasingly popular with the technical-minded kids. Reading is becoming more trendy and accessible thanks to the Internet, although perhaps a certain Mr. Potter can take much of the plaudits for that also.


3. Where did you get the inspiration for your book of poetry and photos, Brick by Brick?

Brick by Brick comes from a lot of places. The idea initially came about when Rick Lupert of the Poetry Superhighway 2005 Giveaway was looking for people to make up their own e-books of poetry and then distribute then through his website. This could be as simple or professional as the poet wanted, but the aim was simply to make as much of people's poetry available to everyone else.

I was sitting on a pile of poetry at the time (some published, others not) and I thought I'd give it a bash. But I wanted it to be more than just poems on white pages; I wanted substance, thought, imagery and a real-life connection. So I included photographs, which allowed me to delve deeper into the words of my poems in photographic form; giving them visual support and a new expression.

The selection of the poems themselves are not linked and so the inspiration behind them comes from different moments in my life; a period of uncertainty at my day job, an argument with my wife, objects lying around the house, the sources are endless and varied.

The creation of the e-book was a very liberating process to work through and it has opened up the possibility of doing more of these in the future. Indeed, the Brick by Brick project has spawned more ideas as a result, which when you get to question 5, I will elaborate further.

4. Have you thought about revisiting Jackie, your protagonist in Hunting Jack, let’s say in five or six years and seeing what he’s up to?

Oh definitely. Jackie McCann is the one character I have developed who came to have a major impact on my own life and as a result of his presence, really means something special to me.

His journey through the serial, Hunting Jack, was as unknown to me as it was to him, and very often when I tried to influence it he told me to go back off away and allow him to do his own thing. Right up to the end I was in the dark about a lot of things and how they might turn out and I found I just had to let Jackie make his own mistakes or get himself out of trouble. As a result, I feel strongly about him.

Certainly, his life is not simple and it is not without its complications, and so in five years he will be 21 and the new Millennium will have just past. Without giving too much away to those who haven't reached the end, his life will have totally changed, but to what extent, I can't say. And so yes, the thought of going back one day in the future and seeing what he is up to is something I would find very hard to resist.

I doubt I will wait five years to write about it. He's only just found himself and often I am reminded of something that happened to him when I walk along a certain street in Edinburgh for example. So can I wait 5 years before looking in? Perhaps not. I'm too curious.


5. Are there creative projects on your horizon that you can talk about? Or are they all still in that delicate stage?

I have several in mind at the moment, all of which are at the embryonic stage but talking about them (on paper) sometimes helps me to clarify what I'm trying to do and help my decision process, so here goes.

On my immediate to-do list is of course the project to which this is connected; the 13 Travelling Journals Project. This has excited me greatly and the possibilities seem endless and I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into it!

I also have my monthly GDR goals, which I approach more as a kind of Business As Usual project. Managing the time is the most important thing for me. But as well as these things I like to keep ideas on the horizon; things to ponder about in quieter moments or scribble quietly into my notebook.

I want to do something that involves a new character. I have to (want to) be able to really connect with this person so that I can get right inside their head. I want it to be in the form of individual short-stories, poems or works of photography that are separate to their own but are each connected through the one character. Different places, interactions, adventures or misadventures are all things I can incorporate, but the only thing holding me up is it has to be with the right person.

I am constantly looking around me thinking about it, watching people in the street or looking at portraits or pictures in magazines to find this person but as yet, they have alluded me. I want him or her to be strong but also with weaknesses. This person may have a life but perhaps not entirely happy with it; normal, insignificant, but with a special quality.

This project doesn't have a name yet, but I have referred to it as Project X in my blog.

Another project currently swirling through the grey folds of my brain is the contemplation of self-publication of more e-books. This is as a direct result of Brick by Brick.

One of the things I noticed when taking part in the Poetry Superhighway Giveaway was that many of the authors have written, designed and produced their own chapbooks, which are then made available on their own websites. I like this idea though it is not something I would consider for a full novel.

One of the authors who does a lot of travel poetry included a CD-ROM with the chapbook. It included random thoughts and observations recorded while on their travels as well as readings - sometimes recorded live at poetry slams - of their poetry. It included music and other funny titbits and this is something I want to do soon because it interests me and I reckon I could do it well. I can see photography embedding itself more and more into the work I do in the future.

Bio

Colin Galbraith is 31 and lives in Edinburgh with his wife and daughter. He has had a string of short stories and poems published, and he writes a popular e-serial for American publisher KeepitComing.net. His story, Hunting Jack, won the Editor’s Choice Award in February 2005.

http://www.colingalbraith.co.uk
http://freedomfromthemundane.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tranquility Taverna Entry

Tranquility Taverna (Journal #3) arrived in Albuquerque and Eileen sends us this beautiful entry:

July 16, 2005

“Suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

A D.J. on Virgin Radio U.K. announced that she was going to play just about the “greatest song ever”. That is a bold statement but a few seconds later “Stairway to Heaven” came lilting through the speakers of my computer. Every time I hear “Stairway to Heaven” -every single solitary tie, I’m a senior in high school again, dancing safe in the arms of John, my high school sweetheart, on a crowded dance floor in a church hall in Citrus Heights, California. I didn’t need a stairway to heaven. I was in heaven.

I graduated from high school 28 years ago. I have a 25 year old son, Samir and a 19 year old daughter, Bridey. I raised both of them on my own. My son attended Bella Vista High in Citrus Heights. He even had the same guidance counselor that I had. I sang in Madrigals and my son did, as well. He works in corporate America these days, is an active blogger/writer and takes part in the struggle for social justice.

I had hopes for my daughter being a cheerleader and wearing a uniform with her name on a patch that said “Bridey”. Bridey wears a uniform with her name on it – a mechanic’s uniform. She recently remodeled a beautiful three bedroom home in Albuquerque. Bridey enjoys gardening, traveling, scuba diving, art and is an accomplished cook (in spite of the fact that boiling water is challenging for me).

I had the challenges of living with a profoundly ill mother. My father had passed away when I was very young. Because I was given and had taken on many of the responsibilities of being a mother to a mother until she passed away, as well as being a single parent, and maintaining demanding work in the corporate arena, there was never a lot of time or energy that I could devote to discovering myself.

When I was growing up I wrote stories based on “Star Trek” characters. I was fascinated by “Star Trek” because it happened in another universe, far removed form the one where my mother was curled up in the other room crying as she so often would. I could create a safe place to visit in my stories, with my words. I developed a love of writing and won a writing contest in the 6th grade. I was an avid reader and an enthusiastic author.

After living with a major depression and a number of health problems that I endured my entire adult life, thanks to the inspiration of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, I found my way back to my creativity – a creativity that was originally sapped away by a mother who gave me so much and taught me about music, art and writing, who wanted me to be utterly successful, but at the same time was determined to undermine anything that I undertook in life because she was suffering from schizophrenia.

J.R.R. Tolkien saved my life.

Now I’m learning how to write again. I’m writing fanfiction, one of the true loves of my life. I’m learning how to draw again. I’m learning how to be the Eileen that I was in high school – sharing, writing and drawing. I’m learning what I need to know to be the writer that I want to be the one I dreamt I could be when I was a little girl.

In a world that is increasingly covered in darkness – one that is in no way as simple as it was when I danced in John’s arms to “Stairway to Heaven”, I’m re-dedicating my life to sharing what joy that I can with the world through my creative efforts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The First Journals Begin Their Journeys

Thought Waves, Fronds of Thought, and Tranquility Taverna were mailed from my hometown New York post office this morning. They are on their way!

The diarists immediately receiving them have been notified, as well as the people just after them on the list.

The books should take about a week to reach their destinations, and then the diarists have up to a month to work with them before sending them on.

I’m very excited, but I was surprised at how hard it was to actually let them go. And yet, I know it is a joyous project and a way for many of us to connect, and letting go is part of the journey.

Have a good trip, journals!

A positive side note: The people working in the post office were interested in the project – they asked about it, and I gave them the info for the site and promised to keep them up-to-date on the progress. I thought that was very sweet of them – and a positive sign!

And, diarists, please feel free to keep us up to date on the progress, share entries, etc.!

Devon

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Three Journals Preparing For Their Journey



Here are Thought Waves, Fronds of Thought, and Tranquility Taverna, tucked into their Travel Packs and . . .almost ready to start their journeys.

Fabric For Travel Packs


Here's a detail of the fabric used for the travel packs for the journals.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Featured Diarist: Heather

Heather, one of the diarists on the Tranquility Taverna list, recently answered these questions, giving us a chance to get to know her better.

DE: Who is your favorite bluegrass performer and how has this person’s music affected your writing and your work?

H: My mother. When I was growing up, my mom and stepdad often sang in bluegrass bands. At the time, I hated it. They would practice while I was trying to sleep, and I could hear the guitar, banjo and mandolin all the way at the back of the house. I thought it was stupid and embarrassing. But, inside, I was proud of my mom. I still love to hear her sing, and I have a tape of one of their bands that I listen to when I am feeling lonely. Her voice transports me back to childhood. I can hear the pick against tight strings and feel the vibrations of everyone around me clapping and tapping their toes. The feeling bluegrass music gives me is the first memory I have of feeling God.

DE: What was your favorite theatre role?

H: I played Ophelia, my senior year of high school. It was just a small school production of different scenes from Shakespeare, but it was so much fun to step into a role that I, at that time, identified with so strongly.

DE: If you could revise the Dewey decimal system, how would you change it?

H: Honestly? I have no idea. I know very little about it for someone who'd like to be a librarian someday.

DE: As both a stepmother and a stepdaughter, what insight about being part of an extended family can you share with us?

H: It's always hard. No matter how civil the divorce was, the aftermath is never pretty for anyone.

DE: What is your favorite part of the novel Rebecca?

H: I love Rebecca herself. She is this dark beauty who manages to hold everyone's attention long after she is gone. The entire book is named for her, and she never even makes an appearance. She is dead before it begins.

A big thank you to Heather for this mini interview. Visit Heather’s website, madame rubies for more insight into her work and her life.

D.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Quick Reminder

This is just a quick reminder that I need BOTH the contact information sheet AND the Letter of Agreement in order to fully sign you up for the project, add your links, etc.

The Letter comes as an attachment to the response to your initial request. The contact info is in the body of the response.

If, for some reason, the letter has not come through to some of you, please let me know so I can resend.

I’m getting the contact information sheets back quickly, but quite a few people have only returned that one sheet. I need both.

Many thanks,

D.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Address updates

If you’re interested in joining The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project, click here to ask for more information and/or to sign up.

To send excerpts of your entries that you would like posted, click here.

D.

London in our Thoughts

We’re holding a good thought for the safety of our friends and colleagues – and everyone else -- who live in London or are currently visiting London.

D.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The First Three Journals



And here are the first three journals and a pen, preparing for their trip around the world.

Tranquility Taverna



Here's Journal #3 -- Tranquility Taverna.

Fronds of Thought



And here's Journal #2 -- Fronds of Thought.

Thought Waves



I'm just learning how to do this, but, if this loads properly, here is the photo of Journal #1 --Thought Waves.

A Name for Journal #4

Journal #4 is christened as “Roads of Inspiration”. It will travel with Rhythmic World Bridger to the UK this summer before continuing on to the other diarists. It’s one of the larger journals, unlined.

Questions are slowly going out for the “Featured Diarist” section. I’m looking at participants’ websites or at the bio info they gave me and trying to come up with unique and individual questions.

No one is required to do this – I just thought it would be fun to share some of our points of view.

I’m working on the Travel Packs, so that I can get the first set of journals out soon – after all, today’s the New Moon!

Press releases about the project are out and about. I’ll let you know when and where specific articles post as get the information.

D.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day and Diary Cozies

Happy Independence Day to all of us who celebrate it!

May we always think independently and act independently with humanity and compassion to make the world a better place.


Journal #1 – Thought Waves
Diarists on the show wrote their entries and pasted their photos over the past few days. I hope to get Thought Waves in the mail by the end of the week.

I drove to the fabric store this morning to find the fabric for the journals’ travel packs. Of course, what I ended up with was quite different than I’d originally envisioned, but it feels right. It’s a kind of a muted green, a simple cotton (we want to keep those mailing costs down) and quite lovely. I bought what was left on the bolt, although I doubt I’ll need it all for the covers (friends at the show have nicknamed them “diary cozies” as in “tea cozy”).

I wanted something simple without being too cute or too busy. I couldn’t find either the trim or the buttons I wanted, but that’s what NYC’s garment district is for, right? So I’ll go in to work early tomorrow and hit my favorite trim and button shops.

I also will go through my own button stash – I might even have exactly what we need.

Links to the left have been updated, and I’m coming up with questions for the “Featured Diarist” section.

As people sign up for journals, it’s interesting to see how responsive they are to titles!

Have a lovely day!

D.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

First Press Release

July 3, Part II


Here’s the first press release for The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/7/prweb257176.php

D.