Posted by: mew | October 29, 2009

touchstones

scarletglory

Aren’t these trees glorious?  I got the photographs by stepping out my back door and going for a little walk in the woods around the house.  Leo Chapo and Bootemius followed me there, and I got some especially good shots of Leo posing on the woodpile and Booty stalking something in the viridian undergrowth, his pale green eyes glowing.

A walk in the woods was just the thing I needed.  And it was also, coincidentally, on my new list.

outback

In Week Ten of The Artist’s Way, Julia (yes, we’re now on a first-name basis in my mind) asks us to make a list of “touchstones”, the little things in life that bring us joy, the little pleasures we can indulge in easily and often.  The idea, of course, is to continue treating ourselves like precious objects.  The items on the list might be small objects or activities we love, but that we might not ordinarily make the time or spend the money to do.  Part of creative recovery is learning not to squash and suppress and starve our inner artist, as many of us have been doing (guilty) but to indulge her whims sometimes, just do the things that give her pleasure, or put the things that lift her spirits in our everyday environment.

After you’ve made your list, you’re to post it beside your desk or wherever you’re likely to look fairly often.  And I must say, it is having an effect.  I made a preliminary list of about 60 things, kept adding to it over the next few days, and I’ve already acted on a few of the suggestions I’ve thus given my subconscious.

I’d like to encourage everyone reading this post to start a touchstones list.  If you’d like, you can post yours online, too, and put a link to it in the comments so I can come see it.  But definitely do hang it in a place where it’s likely to have an effect.

And now, without further ado, here’s my list:

DSC00116

  1. Leo Chapo (yep, that is him — isn’t he gorgeous?)
  2. Booty
  3. good stationery
  4. snail mail — especially long letters, sent or received
  5. fresh flowers
  6. garden catalogs
  7. an unread book
  8. a well-read book
  9. seeds
  10. lavender
  11. Clairefontaine notebooks
  12. small stitches
  13. turquoise and tangerine
  14. my super-sharp sewing scissors
  15. snails — when they’re not in the lettuce
  16. clean sheets
  17. white towels
  18. small boxes, even if they are empty
  19. cicada songs
  20. daydreams
  21. seashells
  22. nutmeg
  23. baby laughs
  24. F.’s accent
  25. harp music
  26. star-filled night skies
  27. my stuffed penguin, Zout
  28. jonquils (a.k.a. daffodils in Northwest Georgia dialect)
  29. sky blue with a touch of red
  30. walking in the woods
  31. sketching in my sketchbook
  32. getting my hands in the earth
  33. baking anything
  34. kneading bread
  35. cutting vegetables
  36. a pen running dry (another 2.5 kilometers of words written)
  37. watching (and hearing) someone play the piano
  38. a fire in the fireplace (as long as I don’t have to build it)
  39. Fraggle Rock
  40. Chapi & Chapo
  41. belly dance
  42. a really jingly hip scarf
  43. old-fashioned quilts
  44. a new paintbrush
  45. F.’s digital camera
  46. techno music
  47. belly dance music
  48. cleaning the kitchen while dancing (yesterday it was to this)
  49. lightning bugs
  50. Yellow Pear tomatoes
  51. Cherokee Purple tomatoes
  52. mason jars
  53. dried lentils (I know, I am very strange)
  54. my garden
  55. pretty paper
  56. fabric stores
  57. Fuchsia (the plant, not the color)
  58. Sam Flax (Atlanta)
  59. Dick Blick’s big dreamy catalog
  60. girls’ nights out (Girls’ Weekend Out coming up in two weeks!)
  61. my CSA
  62. squirrels
  63. freckles
  64. red hair
  65. green eyes (especially this one pair)
  66. apple mint
  67. linen closets
  68. fancy French soap
  69. hummingbirds
  70. my bone folder
  71. Art Nouveau anything
  72. Celtic knotwork
  73. taking a hot bath with bath salts and a good book (yes, I’m a carnal book-lover)
  74. bees
  75. overflowing bookcases
  76. oyster mushrooms
  77. peacock feathers
  78. overripe pears served with blue cheese
  79. creeks
  80. kudzu
  81. dogtooth violets
  82. thrift stores
  83. letter openers
  84. owls hooting
  85. ivy climbing brick
  86. really cheesy Regency romance novels
  87. Araucana roosters
  88. houses with white columns
  89. railroad tracks
  90. heat lightning
  91. the mournful sound of the train whistle at night
  92. a huge thunderstorm
  93. magnolia trees
  94. dogwoods
  95. old books
  96. dictionaries
  97. a long, flowing skirt
  98. cappuccino with nutmeg sprinkled on top
  99. my pearls
  100. accidental naptime
  101. going barefoot

pretty

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Responses

  1. Lovely photos and love the list idea. I keep meaning to work through Artists Way, but I have trouble getting past the morning pages commitment. You’ve inspired me to give it another try.

    Oh and Leo is a very handsome boy!! I have a yellow tabby of my own named Tucker.

    Blessings,
    Kelley

  2. You have reminded me that the Artist’s Way was going to be another one of my winter projects. Yay!

    Wow – what a list. The pup is at the top of mine. Lots and lots of good ones in yours! 🙂

    • Oh, Elizabeth, I do hope you have fun with the Artist’s Way. It has been such a revelation to me — and I’d gone through the course before, years ago! Of course Atlas has to be at the top of any list like this for you 🙂 I understand completely.

  3. […] stitches with a small hook, which regular readers may remember made it onto my list of touchstones.  I know it takes longer to create something with tiny stitches, but I can’t help it.  I […]

    • On the weekend, I spied a blanket throw at the market which had been crocheted in tiny diamond squares of double crochet using baby wool. I am going to make one once I figure out how the diamond squares were crocheted……I have a rough idea so will play around with my crochet hook and some wool until I perfect it. 🙂

  4. What a wonderful list, Meredith! I enjoyed writing out my Touchstones list too and I’m sure I will add more that didn’t come to mind at first.

    Dried lentils? You eat them dry or you like dried lentils cooked up?

  5. First of all, beautiful pictures! I just found your blog and I’ve been enjoying going through your posts on The Artists Way. I only made it to chapter 9, and then I started school (in addition to working full-time) and I completely let go of doing anything fun for myself. I’m ready to get back to it though, and just started doing my morning writings again. I actually made a small touchstones list without even realizing that’s what I was doing. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.


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