Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Monday, September 19, 2016

Colors by Guest Blogger Marilee Yeend

I’ve invited friend, artist, and fellow writer Marilee Yeend to share her recent essay as a guest blogger for The DayMaker.  

Marilee Yeend
Over the several years I’ve known Marilee, through writing classes I conduct in Coos Bay, I’ve observed how her artist’s view informs her written eloquence. She read her timely piece aloud in last week’s class, and when she finished, a collective gasp rose from the group. Painting pictures with her words, Marilee touched us all and made us think. She’s kindly allowed me to post her essay. Thank you, Marilee.

Mondrian painting (Internet)
   In the movie “Gettysburg” there were soldiers marching in a line, going toward the enemy line of soldiers, determined to break through.  I saw in my mind a Mondrian painting our teacher Steve showed us in Art History.  It had several black lines at right angles to each other, forming boxes.  Each line seemed to hold the others in place.  In some of the boxes there were primary colors, but they were held firmly in place by the interconnecting lines. They had no way of escape, no where they could go, no pathways to explore. They could not flow, could not touch another color to form something new.  A new color was prevented from being born because they could not interact with each other from the imprisonment in their respective cages.
   Another painting had lines also, but they seemed to be in constant motion, one flowing into another, interacting with each other in such a way that created movement. Rather than being static, rigid, imprisoning, there was a flow -- like a flag blowing in the wind.
   We tend to think of lines as being hard, crisp, unyielding; one side good, one side bad.  One side right, one side wrong. But upon closer inspection they become blurred, moving, one side blending into the other.  Both sides right, both sides wrong, both sides good, both sides bad. After much destruction, pain and loss, with neither side the winner, the line disappears for a while to re-appear yet again at another time, in another place, because the lines were not erased from their minds.
   We make up lines and form boxes around our thoughts.  One thought is not allowed to interact with another thought for fear it will destroy a belief.
   I see these lines in progression: opinion is thin and when not reinforced with many others, could be swayed in another direction, bent, or eliminated.  Judgement is a thicker line that helps hold opinions in place, and is not easily changed.  Belief is a thick line reinforced by many opinions and judgments, nearly impossible to change unless something very strong breaks through and allows freedom of thought.
   When will we learn to appreciate the differences, to accept them and not feel threatened by them?  When will we learn that who we are is not defined by what we believe?  Our safety and peace of mind do not come from everyone accepting what we find to be true for ourselves.

   Different colors woven together in a pattern make a tapestry that the eye blends into a beautiful whole.

Tapestry (Internet)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Writing Workshop Wonderment

Google Images

When the opportunity occurs to work with masters of the craft you’re striving to hone, you go. 

“A Glint of Light on Broken Glass” -- a week-long writing workshop taught by Ellen Bass, a poet, teacher, and person whom you admire and respect, along with author and teacher Pam Houston, whom you don’t know, but hey, she’s with Ellen Bass. So you check Pam out and discover she’s a terrific writer and a prof at UC Davis.  For sure, you’re going.

Lake Connamarra
You take two planes, stay over at a hotel, meet up with three women writers you don’t know and rent a car together. You drive to the mountains, two-and-a-half hours east of Vancouver, BC, to reach The Inn at Lake Connamarra.

Everything works out fine.Your travel companions are gracious and kind. Thanks to your trusty Google Maps phone app, the watchful eyes of your new friends, and a turn-by-turn set of directions from the rental car agent, you don’t get lost. You make it to your destination in time for dinner.

You and your here-to-fore unknown roommate mesh perfectly, both of you friendly, encouraging, and considerate of each other’s comfort. You like to shower at night. She prefers mornings.  Her name is the same as your sister’s.

The other writers, some, like you, first-time workshop attendees and others, veterans of this mode of learning, congregate in the dining room and introduce themselves. They are from Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, New York, and British Columbia. All of you are focused on the same goal: writing better. Slick as silk, thanks to an exercise orchestrated by Ellen, everyone knows everyone else’s name by evening's end.

You all understand the ground rules and structure. This is a generative workshop. You will create. You will be respectful of others’ right to write. If you see someone writing, you pass quietly, no need to engage them. If you see someone staring into space and holding a pen or a pencil or gazing at a blank screen, fingers poised above their keyboard, that’s writing. Keep going. When listening to others’ writings, you will “admire what is admirable.”

Learning Center
Your days in this beautiful natural setting glide by like a golden eagle. Your head and heart are filled with lectures, models, questions, personal stories, clever words and lines and twists. You are a witness to some of the finest, most honest writing from a host of gifted writers. Their example encourages, teaches, inspires.

During the week, you are schooled on intentional observation, using your surroundings as springboards, the power of writing for discovery, the importance of form, “nuts and bolts” like metaphor, tension, and tenses. You get a lesson on point of view – 1st person (I),  2nd person (you),  and 3rd person (he/she/they/it). You learn it’s OK to write in the “you.”

You stretch and grow your writing muscles, your concentration, your commitment to writing, and your friend list. You will miss these people, these week-ago strangers.

You leave filled with ideas for more pieces, filled with the satisfaction of accomplishment, filled with wonder at how much you learned. You bask in the warmth and brilliant light of your fellow participants. Before you can reach home, you are eager for the next time. 

~ xoA ~