Despite my tumultuous year, I still managed to touch the sun this year for a brief, glorious moment, but like Icarus my wings melted.
I intend to keep aiming for the sun, but in the meantime, as I repair my wings, I am following my curiosity. I am enjoying my three horticultural related courses—Plant ID at the University of Guelph, Eco Art at the Guelph Arboretum, and an Exploratory Herbal Mentorship with a part Indigenous healer—all three which I recommend.
I also have started to write again. Hurray!
Here’s my wrap up for the month:
Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.
None this month. Not sure I’ll get the challenge done.
Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.
“Gathering Moss: a Natural and Cultural History of Mosses” by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Written earlier than “Braiding Sweetgrass” (see last month’s wrap-up for a brief review), this book is also more scientifically focussed but still chock full of insights that can be applied to your life. Who knew that mosses were so fascinating?
My favourite chapter is “City Mosses”, which had me walking around my corner of the city, checking out how many of my local trees had moss on them, an indicator of low air pollution. The good news is that I live in an area with lots of moss covered trees, and thus lower air pollution. I also have been reconsidering my “moss garden” in my backyard after reading that chapter.
“A Cheyenne Elder of my acquaintance once told me that the best way to find something is not to go looking for it. This is a hard concept for a scientist. But he said to watch out of the corner of your eye, open to possibility, and what you seek will be revealed. The revelation of suddenly seeing what I was blind to only moments before is a sublime experience for me.”
Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.
“dancing at the Pity Party: a dead mom graphic memoir” by Tyler Feder
I always want to read about the experience of others whose mom died young when they were young, something that happened to me. The book was created 10 years after the author’s mom’s death. I did see myself in several of the situations, but I found that I could not relate to the depth of the author’s sadness. However, I wonder if that’s because my mom died over 30 years ago. I think that if it had only been 10 years after, the book would have been far more poignant for me. I do recommend reading it, as it has some good advice for coping with grief and helping other to cope with their grief.
“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
I had no idea this was a spiritual book. Book One and Two were just OK, but Book Three was brilliant.
-self vs. ego
-why we fear we will succeed
-territory vs. hierarchy
Favourite quote (regarding territorial vs. hierarchical activities): “Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”
Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.
I have been working on my novel in the form of a 30 day world building challenge, initiated by my daughter.
I have also been revising one of my stories and writing some poems. Maybe not 15 minutes a day, but at least I am getting back into a routine.
Read related literature to my novel writing.
Not so far.
Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month.
I have become fascinated by “hermit crab” essays, and so I am focusing on them.
“On Lyric Essaying and Casting On” by Chelsey Clammer
Love this! Clammer explores the question “Can I write an essay that looks like knitting?”
“The Professor of Longing” by Jill Talbot
Brilliant! A hermit crab essay written using the structure of a course outline.
Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.
“An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution” by Russell Ayto
What I like:
-Sounds familiar and very relatable: “But Neo doesn’t notice. He is too busy playing video games.”
-main character realizes something can be done, even if it’s something small
-other solutions are suggested
“Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki; illustrated by Genevieve Simms
It’s been a long time since a picture book made me cry, but this one did.
What I like:
-the main character is biracial/bicultural
-an intergenerational story that revolves around a Japanese garden
-the reality of aging is explored in a delicate manner
-the gifts that the main character gives her grandfather and herself are touching (and very appropriate)
Submit one story to a contest per season.
I submitted the creative non fiction essay I wrote about observing nature on a bike to the latest WOW contest.
I also got the results from the latest NYC Midnight contest. I placed 11th in the second round in my group. With my 8th place finish in the first round, it wasn’t enough to put me into the next round, but you know what? I placed top 15 in both rounds writing fiction stories in two genres—romance, mystery—that are completely out of my realm. So yay me!
Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)
“From Hermit Crabs to Talking Skeletons: Playing with form in CNF” (Darryl Whetter, hosted by CNF)
I am totally fascinated by the hermit crab essay form, and I intend to play with it in my own essays!
Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)
I finished my marketing writing course.
Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)
I have done that.
Blog at least twice a month.
I wrote 4.
100 day challenge:
This is helping me get through the books that I want to read besides those I read in my book club, so I will continue this.
Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler