Monthly Archives: June 2014

Lynn Whipple’s “Best Ideas Ever” Jar

I love this unique take on affirmations and inspiration!


Hello! While we were in Florida shooting Lynn Whipple’s “The Joy of Collage” class, we also were able to shoot Lynn talking about this brilliant little project, a “Best Ideas Ever!” Jar. I hope you enjoy it!

(And if you make one, be sure to leave a comment with a link to an image… we want to see them!)

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Type Rider 2; the Tandem Poetry Tour kicks off tomorrow in Boulder. Here’s a couple of photos from Patti Digh’s DYL Camp last year where I met Maya and Amy. Patti’s camp this year is Life is a Verb Camp – you should check it out.

If Type Rider 2 happens to pass through a your home town it would be very worth while to go meet Maya Stein and Amy Tingle.



Mabel Magazine

If you are a creative sort and you haven’t yet, check out the new Mabel Magazine. It’s a wonderfully vivid small magazine printed on finger and eye friendly matte paper. The inaugural edition is fittingly focused on the theme of beginnings.

After the first couple of articles I was afraid it was going to be a bit too “woo-woo” for my taste, but there’s a good mix of the spiritual, mystical, practical, pragmatic and funny.

Contributors include Amy Tingle and Maya Stein with a tiny view of their upcoming (starts this coming Sunday!) Type Rider II, tandem poetry tour. Mary Ann Radmacher’s poetry as well as a view into the becoming of her recent book “She”. There are also many artists and resources that are new to me.

I have high hopes for #mabelmag.





















I recently spent a wonderful week with my parents. We are at a point in our lives where things are changing. My mother is getting frail and they talk about slowing down, making the garden a bit smaller, traveling less, and taking less on.

As usually happens lots of stories were told. Old, well-worn stories that just about anyone in the family could tell with the same word choice and inflection, but also new stories. We realized that some of the stories were close to getting lost as memories age and details become fuzzy so we have been working on a family history project. I began to dabble in genealogy last year (my father is an expert) and I started to archive family photos and documents for future generations.

I find that my perspective is changing. People I have known and loved my whole life have entire lives that I have never heard or seen. How our family became what and where we are is a little different than I may have understood as a child. Talk is of caring for parents, not being cared for by them. It is fascinating how the same stories, the same lives and people can be seen so very differently as we age and perspectives change.


For writers backstory is important. Knowing what happened in the lives of your characters before they showed up on the page matters. It makes for richer, more realistic characters. Backstory can also be a trap, like research. Only a very small percentage of a character’s backstory ever appears in a book, but building the backstory can be a refuge from writing if you’re struggling to get words on paper.

For the last few days I have been thinking about a different kind of backstory; the story behind the book or song and whether knowing it enhances love of the book, movie, song or poem, or whether it detracts. What prompted this reflection was (finally) watching the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”. I loved the movie although I wanted to shake Mrs. Travis more than once as she grouched and griped and abused those around her, albeit quietly and with great English understatement. I mentioned how much the movie appealed to me to a friend who stated emphatically that she hated it! HATED. IT. Not only that, it ruined Mary Poppins for her forever. She couldn’t watch it with the same joy knowing it sprang from a sad place.

Hm. Not my reaction at all.

For me the backstory makes the Mary Poppins movie richer and more nuanced and that tends to be my reaction to backstories. My family loves the Jarrod Neiman song “Lover Lover”. A couple of years ago I found a story online about how the song was written. According to this source (which I can no longer find so perhaps the story was wholly untrue…) the song was written one morning when the songwriter awakened late to find that his wife had taken his little daughter out for a walk. And left no coffee in the pot. From that came:

Well the truth, Well it hurts to say
I’m gonna pack up my bags and I’m gonna go away
I’m gonna split, I can’t stand it
I’m gonna give it up and quit
Ain’t never comin back
Oh but before I get to goin’ I got to say
I know you used to love me
But that was yesterday
And the truth I won’t fight it
When the love starts burnin’ you got to do what’s right

Oh, lover, lover, lover
You don’t treat me no good no more
Oh, lover, lover, lover
You don’t treat me no good no more

For me the whimsy of a break up song (a really good break up song!) written tongue in cheek because of an empty, cold coffee pot adds fun to the song and makes me smile every time I hear it, even if the story isn’t completely true. For others, the banality of an empty coffee pot would ruin the more traditional meaning of the lyrics.

So what do you think? Do you like knowing where stories, songs, movies that you love sprang from or do you want to apply your own meaning to what you read or see?