Do you have a book that feels like a wise, old friend? Do you revisit it year after year? I do, and it is still relevant and important to me after reading it over and over since 1969. A book this well written and deeply considered never wears out. That is why I am so happy to share this vintage hardbound copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's book, Gift from the Sea, with my loyal followers and readers. It is a small thank you that I hope will enrich your life. Just leave a comment in the comment section of this posting. Also, if you are a member of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club, you'll receive a bonus gift. If you have a book you wish to share, well, now is the time to tell me (us) about it.
Oh, I should mention that most of the shells in this photo were picked up on Captiva Island, which is where Anne was staying when she began this book. The Spirula spirula (looks like a ram's horn), the two baby ears, and the worm shell and sand dollar are all finds from my walks. I use a micron 005 pen to write on the back of each shell with the date and place they are found. It is a wonderful way to remember where you had adventures.
November in a corner of the patio. Jeff says he will divorce me if I make him move that huge boulder again, but I don't believe him. I love puttering around the containers in my garden. Mini worlds of pleasure. Can you see the little cherry tomatoes in the left hand corner? Amazing. The tomatoes and basil are still thriving.
November tapestry of Zinnias, nasturtium, geraniums, and succulents. Texture in a garden is one of the most important features.
A tattered and wind-worn Painted Lady on a glorious Bog sage.
I picked a trug full of fruits from my garden. Brown turkey figs, Feijoa (we call them pineapple guava and they are the BEST), pomegranates...
...and the last of the apples to be picked for pies, applesauce, and crisps.
Salvias are blooming, Nepeta is getting ready to bloom again, and 8 out of 10 of the artichokes are flaunting their sculptural beauty.
I spend so much time alone (my version of solitary confinement) when I am writing, or simply dreaming of writing a new book. Weeding, walking, cleaning, day dreaming, ironing, all these diverse threads of time and thinking are woven together in the fabric of your dreams and schemes. You may not actually be setting words down on paper or stitching an appliqué onto a friendship quilt, but your brain is working, organizing, and accomplishing way more than you could ever dream. Speaking of dreaming...I have actually dreamt entire passages in my books, also solved some problems during dreaming, and came to the title of Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots in a dream at 2:30 A.M. Your brain is active all the time. Even if you don't remember.
I have an aversion to the telephone, so sometimes I'll go for four or five days without speaking with anyone except Jeff (and I see him only at meals and in the evening). The phone jangles me out of my reveries, so I turn it off and concentrate wholeheartedly. Even doing drawings takes full concentration.
Here is your recipe for success...no fudging, no walking away from a project, no matter what your creative bent, just set your heart to it and work, work, work (and enjoy the process). And if you do it wrong...do it over, and over, and over until it is right. Until it suits YOU. A labor of love to be sure, but you already know that, right? You do the same thing when you quilt, or draw, garden, cook, or create anything.
This illustration didn't make it into my new Random House/Delacorte Press book, Running Out of Night (to be released Fall 2014), but I still learned lots from working on it for so many hours. I'll use it when I do school visits and talk to groups. My grandchildren gave it a two thumbs up for true creepiness, which is the mood I tried to convey.
Never trust anyone who works in an organized, tidy space.
In answer to your questions about where and how I work, a video is worth a million words. This video shows my studio at our little house in San Luis Obispo, California.
(Due to a technical glitch, this video doesn't show up on some browsers. Click this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbXDlx1HNa8 to go directly to the YouTube video.)
Be sure to leave a comment on this posting so you can win the vintage copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea.
Love across the miles,
P.S. If you are in the San Luis Obispo area this Saturday, November 9, join me for a free talk and slide show at 10:00 a.m.. E-mail me for further information.