Wreck This Journal: Garden’s End

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After more than three months of growing and blooming, my garden has finally succumbed to the heat. Flowers have bloomed and started to wither, vegetable seedlings have sprouted and produced an amazing crop. A few stragglers continue to hang on, but the process of letting go must start now. Such is the cycle of life, green must eventually turn brown and return to the earth.

A page in Wreck This Journal has given me a place to memorialize my garden, while also giving me an excuse to play in the dirt.  As per instructions, I grabbed a clod of dirt and rubbed it into the center of the page.  This is the same dirt where my zucchini took root!  I added some sketches of little leaves and flowers that remain in my yard, despite a steady stream of 100+ degree weather.

Playing in the dirt is still fun!

I may be a grown woman, but I will never grow tired of digging around the dirt. A little dirt under my fingernails reminds me of being a little girl in the woods!

In the couple of weeks, we plan on pulling all the summer plants out (which will be super crispy very soon) and begin tilling the ground for a fall garden. We’ve got a compost pile started and a menu of seeds sorted.  Pumpkins, melons, onions, and perhaps another batch of sunflowers will hopefully brighten our back yard.

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c.b.w. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Two Roads

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Throughout Wreck This Journal there are a number of blank pages that serve as spaces for random creativity. While working on a collage for another project, I came across some advertisements in a magazine that inspired my muse to fill one of those pages.

Give me a dirt road and I shall happily travel.

The tree root backdrop came from a National Geographic Traveler, while the letters on this page came from an ad for a car (I think). I simply cut out and rearranged the letters until I got a phrase that made sense.  Then, I finished the thought along the right edge.  I must have had Robert Frost on the brain when I filled this page as it alludes to one of my favorite quotes:

Two roads diverge in a wood and I –

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference

Recently, I met with a friend who asked me an interesting question about how I came to be confident in who I am (including the weirdness).  Her question took me by surprise and I wasn’t sure how to answer it until I came across the above page in my journal.

The truth is I’ve never considered myself to be an overtly confident person, but rather accepting and content with who I am. I’ve always been a little different and I’ve always embraced the idea of walking a different path.  Even as a child, I knew I didn’t want to blend into the group.  I can distinctly remember thinking how boring it would be if everyone was the same. Perhaps, my “confidence” stems from never being afraid of exploring the unpaved path or one which has no footprints.  After all, the grandest adventures come from daring to go where no one has gone before, (Star Trek wisdom rocks).

Of course, spending a large part of my childhood in the depths of the Northwoods also might have something to do with my attraction to unpaved roads.

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Stay inspired!

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Don’t forget to cast your vote in Poetry Poll #1. So far, “Force of Nature” has the lead, while “The Guardians” is in second.  Thanks so much for your participation!

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c.b.w. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Newsprint

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One of my favorite things to take home as a souvenir is a local newspaper from the places I visit. This goes for Northern Wisconsin as much as it does for Beijing, China.  Headlines, opinion pages, and even obituaries give a vivid representation of the culture and atmosphere of any given place.  So, when Wreck This Journal gave instructions to glue down a random page from a newspaper, I was ecstatic!

I got so excited I actually ended up using four pages in the journal to paste down various parts of The Daily Telegraph from London.  I clipped the title, interesting tidbits, and a few other little things to bring back some great memories of the U.K.  Who would have thought my Wreck This Journal would also serve as a scrapbook?!

First up, I clipped out the iconic title The Daily Telegraph.  I even added the price block of 90p, of which I always keep that much handy in a bowl on my nightstand.  It’s a nice reminder of how much I always kept in my pocket, so I could buy a newspaper each day to read in the park.  I tried to draw the Union Jack as the backdrop, but it turned out a tad odd!

The Daily Telegraph tries to hide a lame drawing of the Union Jack!

Next up, I attached some clippings that are so English they really capture the essence of London. Quirky headlines, the BBC schedule, and a spot of trivia are in every newspaper.  This particular issue of The Daily Telegraph is one of the older ones I have, dating back to 2009, (hence PM Brown). In the bottom corner of this page, I tried to document where and when I got this edition, but as you’ll see my memory got a little fuzzy, (I had to whip out my journals to find the date)!

Memorabilia fills this page along with a snappy shade of purple.

A newspaper just isn’t complete without mention of the weather.  The weather is a moody thing in the U.K. and I love how people talk about it as if its a member of the family instead of a natural phenomenon. The rain isn’t just something that waters the garden, but rather a temperamental cousin that makes you carry his umbrella.

During my last trip to London, I became quite reliant on the weather section in a free daily newspaper, The Metro.  I  actually started to learn the Celsius standard from experience rather the relying on a converter.  I knew 18°C and partial clouds meant I needed a hoodie and an umbrella.  As is happens, the same goes for 27°C and sunny, (sometimes the “cousin” makes surprise visit).

Hmmmm . . . looks to be a hot day in London.

Finally, I clipped the enigmatic crossword puzzle.  No day is complete without at least trying to crack the clues and complete the puzzle.  Strangely, I have better luck on U.K. puzzles than I do with American counterparts.  I haven’t completed the puzzle I clipped, but I will someday.

Just in case I get stuck on the Tube with nothing to do!

I’m already anxious to go back! Meanwhile, I’ll be living vicariously through my television during the Olympics later this summer!

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Sadly, newsprint is starting to go out of style, but I have hope that it will never completely die out. How else will we:

  • do paper mache
  • make origami hats
  • have cheap placemats
  • protect the table from a painting project
  • save clippings for a scrapbook
  • potty train puppies
  • pack fragile items (shredded padding or wrap)
  • lift ink with silly putty

What else should go on the list?

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c.b.w. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Poetic Whimsy

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Sometimes inspiration is a subtle little creature that wanders through your subconscious.  This was the lesson I learned after completing a Wreck This Journal page that instructed me glue down a page from a magazine and circle the words I like.  I dutifully finished this page a long time ago, but the significance of what I had done didn’t hit me until this week.

Grab a highlighter or a pen and start circling words that speak to your muse!

I literally followed instructions and circled words I liked without really thinking that they could or might fit together.  And there they sat for months until I read through them the other day.  To my complete surprise, the words I circled actually fit together to create two interesting little poems.

experience antique country
passion beauties
character past
roamed feisty skies

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symmetry beautiful
flowing array
authentic faux
enable discerning
create luminaries
learning

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Granted, these aren’t perfect lines, (my inner editor wants to revise so badly), but they still have something interesting to say. My voice is there and speaking very loudly!  To me this little exercise really showcases the power of random association and free-writing!  If I’ve learned anything, its the importance of shutting off my filter every now and again in order to explore new possibilities.

Stay inspired!

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c.b. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Free

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Today is the last day of school.  My students are long gone, finals are graded, the gradebook is done, and my classroom is locked up for the summer.  When the door closes behind me it feels a bit like this:

Summer Break feels a lot like bright, wild scribbles!

Every year, just before I leave, I set aside a moment for reflection. I stand in the middle of my classroom and marvel at how fast the year has gone.  I close my eyes and hold the memories close. This is how I say goodbye each year.  My classroom is full of so many trials and triumphs.  It’s been a difficult year full of change (many of which have me questioning where public education is headed), but it’s also been a year of eyes lighting up and creative minds finding their voice.  While the atmosphere outside of my classroom leaves me demoralized in many regards, my students are the reason why I can still say I love my job.

For the next two months I’m free to “scribble” with reckless abandon. Well, more so than usual!  I’ll be writing, creating, and listening to my muse with zero distraction.  The feeling of total inspiration is a lot like making those vibrant scribbles in my Wreck This Journal.  There are no rules and the release is exhilarating!  I’ve repeated this exercise a couple of times because it is so cathartic.  I highly recommend it for anyone with a stressful job or those who enjoy making a mess of color!

Happy Summer!

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Try it!  Make a page of scribbles and post the picture on your blog.  Put the link in my comments section so we can all share in the joy of wild scribbles!

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c.b. 2012