October 23, 2014 § 2 Comments
October 22, 2014 § 2 Comments
My evening swirled around two events ideal for aesthetic-loving nuts like me.
A friend invited me to a party celebrating Shelter’s tenth anniversary and its new digs in Northeast Minneapolis. Shelter is a funky architecture firm that has designed such great spaces as Icehouse and Bauhaus Brew Labs. And the party was pretty happenin’ too.
Next I sped back to my own neighborhood to attend a handwriting workshop at Christine Hoffman’s Foxglove Market & Studio. Wendy Brown from Brown Ink and Gina Sekelsky from Gina Sekelsky Studio led us through exercises to prep our imaginations for creative ideas that would help us resurrect the old-fashioned way of staying in touch. After an hour or so of practicing, mingling, snacking, and oohing and aahing over examples of beautiful handwriting, we ended the night penning our own cards and popping them in the mail.
When next in St. Paul, stop by Foxglove on Grand Avenue, and keep an eye open for other events offered at the shop. It’s an original gem that offers vintage and new furnishings and household goods, and it specializes in organic flower arrangements, stationery, and a whole array of eclectic, colorful, and beautiful gifts.
October 21, 2014 § 3 Comments
Hamline University is a small private college in St. Paul where I earned my undergraduate degree and spent my formative years trying to shake my shyness and become something more than the sweet, smart, quiet girl I was in high school.
The shyness eventually fell away but I didn’t quite figure out the “something more” in those early years. I rarely knew where I was headed, and I didn’t feel comfortable with the choices I was making. I considered pre-med but suffered through organic chemistry. Eventually I hid behind an English major, but wasn’t quite sure how I arrived at that decision. I loved and did well in English, but never thought I was particularly good at critical thinking or creative writing, although I knew I had a strange and clever imagination that held stories waiting to be told.
In school and for many years afterward, I never called myself a writer and never thought I was particularly good at the craft other than the basics like grammar and structure and fact documentation. I was sure my career would never evolve beyond business or technical writing.
And so far it hasn’t. I earn my living writing speeches or presentations or articles or white papers or process documents about complicated financial products or hotel customer service or truck hydraulic systems. I like it. I’m good at it. But the desire to write without barriers, for those who appreciate a good story, hasn’t abated.
Approximately 10 years after graduation, I stumbled upon The Loft, nestled on the edge of downtown Minneapolis and one of the best writing centers in the country, and I’ve continued taking classes there for nearly 15 years. Earlier today I finished a fantastic and challenging class on flash fiction, a genre that fits my weird imagination, condensing all my wild thoughts down into small, mysterious, funny, sad, succinct narratives. For days I fretted over the last story I wrote for class, but my instructor’s and classmates’ responses and comments allowed me to linger in that “maybe I am a writer” space for a few fleeting hours.
Hours that found me back at Hamline where all those dreams of one day calling myself a writer but never believing it began. I returned to my old college library this afternoon, a place where I’d spent many a day and night fretting about chemistry formulas and philosophies while trying to craft papers on symbolism in Toni Morrison’s fiction.
Every so often I’d find myself peeking out the third-floor window, gazing across campus to my old dorm and watching the current students passing underneath, wishing I had the chance to start over again with the knowledge and confidence I possess now but lacked 25 years ago.
But then again, why go there? What is life (and, for that matter, what is a story) without struggle and indecision and despair and doubt, especially in those early years? I guess that’s what the journey is all about. If everything was crystal clear that early in life, we’d stop searching and growing and coming back to where it all started, looking to see how far we’ve come.
So I’ll continue to go back to The Loft and Hamline and other places that remind me of where I’ve come from but that continue to give me hope that I’m headed in the right direction. And with each visit, I’ll try not to look back with anything other than gratitude, for there’s much to celebrate since those tentative, thrilling, confusing, exhilarating college days. And why would I want to miss out on the present and future my experiences at these places continue to grant me?
* * *
One can’t go back to campus, of course, without bringing one’s camera. A few pictures from my afternoon at the place where I began adulthood.
October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
October 18, 2014 § 1 Comment
Last spring Mom suggested I take more photos of colorful flowers. I reminded her I had lots of photos of flowers. She said, “You can never have too many pictures of flowers.”
Today we were on a walk. She pointed ahead to a brilliant red bush and said I should take a picture. I said I already had so many photos of leaves. She said, “You can never have too many photos of colorful leaves.”
Right again, Mom. You have to enjoy the beautiful times of year while they last, for they are fleeting.
Note: She also suggested I take a photo of the leaves looking through her Jackie O. sunglasses. Cool.