Scribble Diary: Week 4

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This week’s Scribble Diary page, has me tracking background noise and playing with the idea of saying something important.  With a month of pages completed, I can honestly say my perspective has changed for the better. I notice things I never did before, which makes even the most mundane things explode with vibrancy.

Scribble Diary: Week 4

My favorite thing about this page is the small memo I wrote in response to the prompt,”something that needs to be said.” I’m a big believer that real freedom comes living to expectations we set for ourselves, rather than those set by others or society as a whole. The concept of what “success” means to Western Society has trapped so many into a life that leaves them feeling empty.  We must be brave enough to follow our own path and reap the joy that comes from living on our own terms.

On a lighter note, recording the background noise of my favorite writing spot was fun. I’ve always been very aware of the music playing the conversations going on, but I never noticed how many people slurped their coffee or tea.  It’s loud and it made me laugh!

As for coin flipping, I let a quarter decide whether I would brave to coat racks at Kohl’s or attempt cooking a meal that involves using the stove instead of the microwave. Heads won, so I steeled my self-confidence and went clothes shopping. I’m in the market for a wool, double-breasted, grey or black peacoat. This would probably be a lot easier if I wasn’t looking for a style that borders more on casual than formal. No such luck at Kohl’s!

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For more on The Scribble Diary: http://www.thescribblediary.com/

Stay inspired!

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c.b.w. 2012

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

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Ai Wiewei first made a blip on my radar during the awe inspiring opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but he captured my spirit with his inspiring art installations.  Back in March, I documented my experience with his Sunflower Seeds exhibit at the Tate Modern, (see Seeds to Ponder) and since then I’ve continued to explore his work and life.

A documentary entitled, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, opens in theaters this weekend.  This remarkable film provides insight into the courageous and vibrant voice of a man that refuses to be silenced. Filmmaker Alison Klayman tracks everything from the artist bent on creating evocative works of art to the outspoken activist that has found himself detained more than once by the Chinese government. Klayman catches it all with a smart balance of unrelenting honesty and humor, which serves as perfect reflection of the man himself.

Watching Ai Weiwei fight for his beliefs ignites that little spark that burns in everyone.  At one point in the film he offers a statement that pretty much says it all:

Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart and no one can take it away.

Prepare to be inspired . . .

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c.b.w. 2012

Memorial Day Without Borders

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Memorial Day is a day where we all pause and remember those who have fought for their country. It’s the moment where regardless of where we stand in our opinions of war, gratitude and reverence are paid to those who gave up their lives when called to serve.

While Memorial Day is filled with American flags in my corner of the world, I can’t help but extend my gratitude beyond the borders of my country.  Throughout my travels I’ve come across memorials to people who fought for what they believed was right and were more than willing to lay down their lives for those beliefs.  When the world was at war or governments oppressed their citizens, these brave soldiers and civilians stood up to protect the sacred right of freedom. As my thoughts are with American soldiers who fought gallantly (like my grandfather), I am also remembering brave souls worldwide.  My sincere thanks goes to all who fought with so much courage.

The photographs below come from places that have touched me deeply as they are moving tributes to those who gave up everything in the hope that others could be free.

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Women all over the world lent a helping hand to the war effort and they deserve a huge thank you for stepping up and standing strong.  In London, a large monument along Whitehall commemorates the service of women in World War II.

The Women of WWII Monument on Whitehall, London. Photo by: c.b.w.

As Czechoslovakia became a battleground between democracy and communism, young citizens gathered in droves to defend their freedom.  And they did so knowing full well they may never return home.

This plaque appears on the enclosure wall of Prague Castle. Photo by: c.b.w.

I’ll never forget my walk through Wenceslas Square in Prague.  As the main site of the Prague Spring protests, thousands of people filled this square and risked their lives in the process.  Oppressed by an invasion and subsequently brutal communist regime, basic freedoms were denied and human rights repeatedly violated.  These strong individuals stood together even as the tanks rolled in and armed soldiers took aim.

Memorials commemorating those who died in protest of the oppressive occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Photo by: c.b.w.

Sometimes memorials are unintentional, as is the case of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.  No monuments exist for those who so bravely filled the square in protest of corruption of the Communist government and cried for their voices to be heard.  The protests of 1989 are remembered by those who watched them unfold, but forcibly forgotten by a government that opened fire on innocent people. The photograph below is the People’s Heroes Monument meant to commemorate those who fought in China’s civil war on the communist side, but after 1989 it has inadvertently come to represent something quite different.  The monument is roped off so people can’t get close enough to see the bullet holes still lodged in the stone.  For those who know where to look, the ropes can’t hide the damage.

People’s Heroes Monument, Tiananmen Square, China. Photo by: c.b.w.

May we never forget those who gave up everything in the name of freedom and the preservation of basic human rights.

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c.b. 2012

Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids

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While paging through my Wreck This Journal, I came across the “Test Page” where there are instructions to use the space to test out crayons, paints, and other art supplies. The test page reminded me of something I always did in my coloring books as a kid and now as an adult. As a five-year-old and a 34- year-old, I’ve always created color swatches on the inside cover before coloring anything on an actual page.

Scribble, scribble!

Yes, I still color.  Even though it’s an activity mostly reserved for children, I find immense joy in the practice of filling blank spaces with color whether it be Garfield or an intricate Medieval tapestry.  I love how the image changes when color is added, the smell of crayons and colored pencils, the swishing sound of a crayon going back and forth, and the feeling of accomplishment when the page is completed.  The process is very relaxing and cathartic when real life threatens to turn everything black and white.

My drawer is filled with at least twenty coloring books.  Some are brand new while others have been with me since I was a little girl.  The oldest one I have is a Bullwinkle and Rocky coloring book I’ve had since I was about eight years old.  My juvenile scribbles scrawl across half of it, right beside the pages I colored just last week.  Yup, I still color Bullwinkle and all his friends! The inner child in me rejoices, (and she really giggled when I bought a new Smurfs coloring book a few months ago).

Garfield, Barbie, and Bullwinkle are relics from my childhood, but I still color in them on a regular basis. The Smurfs coloring book is a brand new addition to my collection!

Last week’s coloring creation.

When I’m looking for a challenge, I delve into my collection of Dover coloring books which contain highly artistic plates ranging from intricate tile patterns, butterflies, Egyptian art, and complicated geometric designs.  My muse is always challenged to come up with interesting color palettes to fill in all the blank spaces.

Dover coloring books offer unique and artistic images.

From my Medieval Tapestry Coloring Book. It probably took a total of 4 hours to complete.

I stock a wide variety of coloring supplies and I’m always a sucker for something new.  I have everything from crayons (regular, glitter, metallic, variegated,), colored pencils, markers (fat, skinny, classic, bold, and bright), Twistables, glitter glue, and metallic gel pens.  Every time I sit down to color, I make a huge mess and lay out all my coloring utensils.  The possibilities are endless and I love the sense freedom that comes from all those colors.

Part of my collection of coloring supplies.

Once I’ve chosen what coloring book to play in and what image to color, I set about finding the color combinations.  That means making color swatches on a piece of scratch paper or on the inside cover.  After a while, the swatches make for an interesting piece of art in and of themselves.

With all the colors chosen, I let myself get lost in the moment.  If the image is particularly complicated, two hours (or more) will easily fly by without my knowledge.  I’m totally absorbed and the outside world just disappears.  All that matters is color.  No one is ever too old to bask in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Go ahead and grab some crayons.  You know you want to.

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Special Note: Due to some changes made by WordPress, be sure to uncheck the box that says, “Notify me of follow-up comments via email,” if you do not wish to receive e-mails for every new comment on this post.  At the moment, the box is checked as a default, (and I can’t fix it).

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c.b. 2012