COSTA RICA Day 5

There are large windows on all sides of this upstairs room at the For Julia and David art community, except the one I share with the next door apartment. This great triangular window follows that slant of the ceiling, starting at ten feet and ending at perhaps fourteen feet, directly across from my bed. A long narrow window continues the view across the top of highest wall. Two 6×8-foot windows form most of the lowest front wall. I am in a bird-and-butterfly bowl. Or, at night, a lightning bowl.

2017 Memoir Project: Mine (and Yours?)

I am so excited about my new 2017 memoir project that I have decided to share this 12-month project with anyone interested in writing his or her own: You can do your memoir as I do mine! To read more about my 2017 one-year memoir project, or to read entries already posted, go to 2017 MEMOIR Mary’sTo have my entries sent to your email box as I post them, hit the SUBSCRIBE button above the right-hand column. Feel free to share this link with anyone you know who’s been hankering to do some sort of autobiography but can’t seem to get going.

Come on! Let’s do this! You can send me your stories via my Contact link. I promise not to share, edit or publish anything without your written permission.

 

 

The Write Life: Finding Your Memoir Voice

Spring 2014
For several years when I lived on Beaver Island I offered workshops in writing and memoir-writing. The most popular was called The Ten-Foot Life, where I gave each participant a ten-foot piece of paper and their own table upon which he or she traced, visually and verbally, a variety of subjects across various life periods. It was amazing how this process brought up long-forgotten memories and helped focus the work on something other than “I was born….and then….and then.

Date:          A weekend in March or April
Schedule:  Friday 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00-Noon, 1:00-4:00
Sunday  10:00-2:00 p.m.
Place:        My studio or another good place in Bay City, Michigan
Fee:           $200 for the weekend, which includes Friday night dinner.
Limit:         Five participants, allowing for plenty of individual attention

So many of you have asked me to repeat this workshop that I’ve decided to give it a go. If you live at a distance, Bay City has excellent accommodations, a wonderful river walk and plenty of restaurants. CONTACT ME (see above link) for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing/Painting Workshop starts January 5

Our first session will address the scary blank page. Putting pencil to paper, whether as writing or as a line in a drawing is about as scary as creating gets. We have some tricks to side step that obstruction. Come and join the Bay City group….give us a call or email to sign up for the first or any of the $20 sessions: 989-894-5925 OR mblocksma@yahoo.com. January workshops meet in Bay City on Wednesday evenings, from 7 to 9 p.m. on January 5,12,19, and 26, 2011.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Don’t miss these fabulous recent books!

The most important book I’ve read in a long time is Half the Sky, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It’s not an easy read, but I read it all, through all the rapes and abuse and violence and murder that women suffer around the world. Okay, I have always known that women suffer, but I have never really understood in what numbers, and how blazée the news media and international governments have been about it. Women are treated as if they are invisible.

For example, when 100,000 girls are being routinely kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, we never hear about it. When a prominent dissident is arrested, however, it’s international news. “The global statistics are numbing,” state the authors in the preface. “More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in routine ‘gendercide’ in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”

The answer, say the authors and many experts, is education and microloans. Educating girls is the most powerful way to reach economic and political stability, in addition to doing justice to half the world’s population. Small loans empower women in the Third World.

Please. Read this book. Even small steps to help can have extraordinary results.

My favorite fun book, which I just finished, is Hot House Flower and the 9 Plants of Desire, by Margot Berwin. This is a wild tale about a New York ad writer in her 30s, just divorced, who finds herself on a wild journey through the jungles of Mexico after becoming seduced by both plants and plant-lovers. Since I have been a house-plant person for years, I especially enjoyed the exotic plant information that goes along with the adventures. Sexy and wise and hard to put down.

The most beautiful literary fiction I’ve enjoyed recently is The Lieutenant, by Kate Grenville, a historical novel based quite closely on a true story. It follows an astronomer sent with the first shipment of convicts from Britain to Australia in 1788. This page-turner offers a fascinating look at the first contact between the British and the aborigines. Kate Grenville won the Man Booker Prize with her previous novel, The Secret River, also about convicts sent to Australia, so I read that one, too, but I didn’t like it as well as The Lieutenant.

Cartooning Lymphedema

One of the possible side effects of a sentinel node dissection and the removal of underarm lymph nodes can be a condition called lymphedema. Go to Mary’s Breast Cancer Blog for March to read my blog entry on this adventure. Find here my graphic account…I got my hand wrong—I’m right-handed, not left—but hey, you get the idea!

I’m still working on the name for my graphic blogs, as well as a particular style. But it’s fun! You can email me any suggestions.

Click on the image to enlarge my illustrated version.

Mary Finally Leaps into 2007!

After finishing three Beaver Island commissions before Christmas as well as a three-week trip to Florida, I’m busy finishing a sequel to What’s On the Beach, another easy intro book to Great Lakes nature for kids (and clueless adults) called What’s In the Woods. I’ve finished most of the art and am now writing and doing layouts. With luck and a little less procrastination, I’ll have it ready by June.

The Florida trip got me started on another book idea: What’s on the Beach in Florida! I’m hoping to get that finished by Christmas. But I may have to postpone that project if I end up doing a third poster in my Lake Effects series this summer (Lake Effects I and II cover fall, winter, and spring, but not summer).

I have been sending out a few flyers to folks interested in those 36-views-from-the-same-window posters to see if someone with a good Lake Michigan view would be willing to extend me access to summer digs and a weatherproof window workplace in exchange for the 36 original watercolors that will become Lake Effects III, the last poster in the series. I’ve gotten an interesting response recently, so my artist-in-residency may dominate my summer.

Meanwhile, if you want to know what’s happening with me from the tight focus of a breast cancer survivor, pop onto my blog at HealthCentral. I’ll keep up better with this one too—a lot of art is happening that hasn’t yet been uploaded.

The painting (click on it to enlarge it) is an acrylic on paper, done for Ray and Nina Cole, owners and operators of the Beaver Island Lodge and Nina’s Restaurant on Beaver Island, Michigan.

Click If You Love Mammograms!

There are so many hoaxes out there that perhaps this one has been suspected as well. However, according to Channel 5 KOKO in Oklahoma, this one is the real thing. Snopes.com, a website that attempts to verify the virtual virtuous and warn against the viral, has the story on the mammogram click program.

The email tree–the send-this-email-to-ten-people sort of thing–which has been used to popularize this site, isn’t my thing. I hate email trees. But I’ll happily put this on my blog:

All you have to do to help provide a free mammogram to a woman who can’t afford one is click on this link: http://thebreastcancersite.com. The hype, however, much like those airline “miles” issued by credit card companies, is a little misleading. It takes not one click but 45,000 clicks for just one mammogram to be donated. Furthermore you have to click not once but twice–once to get to the site and then click on the mammogram donation button, which sends you to a page of ads.

It’s not so much to do anymore, since the Internet speeded up. Unless you’re on a clunky connection, two clicks a day may be tolerably worthwhile.

Imagine That!

So I’m putting in the first version I couldn’t stand, and now the second version that I really like. I thought I couldn’t alter the early one, as I had varnished it, but after a good sanding, it took new paint just fine. Then I added a little something playful and changed the title. Voila.

Matted and framed, the piece measures 12 x 16 inches. Click on the images to enlarge them.