(Peace) Party like it’s 1968

I’ve been digging into the backstory of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and I have a new appreciation for Lady Elaine Fairchilde.

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image courtesy of Neighborhood Archive

She comes from Planet Purple–who knew? And in Episode 0008, the neighborhood friends throw a Peace Party.

Lady Elaine arrives dressed as a dove of peace and suggests that the party be about peace and noise, not peace and quiet.

from The Neighborhood Archive–All Things Mr. Rogers

This speaks to me. Creating peace is noisy and messy and active. Promoting peace isn’t an act of avoiding conflict, but rather heading straight into the heart of it. Lady Elaine is totally on point.


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Just a few thoughts for today, sparked by a couple of stickers I put on my fresh bullet journal. I’ve about wrapped up my fancy blue one and have tweaked to add more function and less fancy. Details to come.

Now I’m off to do some planning.

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Quote for today’s work

“Coffee falls into the stomach . . . ideas begin to move, things remembered arrive at full gallop . . . the shafts of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similes arise, the paper is covered with ink . . .”

~ Honoré de Balzac

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Photo credit: Kartlkay Sahay. No changes have been made.

5 Ways Keeping a Nature Journal Will Improve Your Writing

Once upon a time, drawing was considered an essential academic skill. Necessary to explain visually the concepts being explored, the ability to render an image allowed a teacher to explain or describe a subject in more depth. Of course, the invention of the camera changed things, and the inclusion of drawing in school curricula fell by the wayside. These days drawing is considered a frivolous activity, yet it is anything but.

 

The act of observation married to the act of moving a pencil across paper leads to an increase in brain activity. According to Milton Glaser, author of Drawing is Thinking, “When you draw an object, the mind becomes deeply, intensely attentive, and it’s that act of attention that allows you to really grasp something, to become fully conscious of it.

 

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Add in the nourishment that the natural world offers, and nature journals become a winning hobby. Here’s how keeping a nature journal can give your writing projects a boost:

 

1. You’ll learn to see the details in what you are looking at. Over time, you will become attuned to the branching vein patterns of leaves, the rounded edges, and the nuances of color in overlapping leaves in the canopy overhead. Selecting colors to represent the reality of what you see becomes an exercise in precision and decision-making.
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2. You’ll learn to determine scope and scale to suit your page and purpose. Will you zoom in and draw a blossom on a tree? Or will you back out and draw the entire tree? Either way, your thought process will involve planning and composition. How much do you want to show? Is a piece of the whole enough to represent your experience? These choices apply to writing as well.

3. You’ll learn how to see what is truly there in front of you, without bias. When you draw what you see, you learn to distinguish between what you actually see and what you imagine. Pay attention to the parts of the leaf that folds down, the flower petals that are chewed or misshapen. If you want to draw the ideal, then you’ll be making a composite of bits and pieces, but if you want an unbiased rendering, draw just what you see.

 

4. You’ll see small narratives playing out in the natural world. Squirrels chase each other and cardinals splash in the bird bath. Pollen floats in the air and rain dribbles down tree trunks. Try making lists of verbs. In what may seem a quiet ordinary scene, you will be krzysztof_coloredpencilssurprised to find plenty of action.

 

5. Changing the channel and switching creative media can jump-start your creative juices and feed your writing projects. Sometimes it helps to take a break from a writing project and think about something else. Especially when you walk away from screens.

 

There is something about the natural world that refreshes the mind and spurs new ideas.

To start a nature journal, you don’t need anything fancy, just some blank paper and a pencil. The important part is the doing. Happy drawing!

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