Lens-Artists Challenge # 115: INSPIRATION

There’s a beautiful gallery of inspiring photos on Travels and Trifles.

What gives self inspiration? Flowers. And books.

These blue flowers are so pretty. Every year, they come back, and this year the blooms have been especially profuse. They wind through the branches of the cherry trees and drape the sidewalk. No one seems to mind.

Front yard, September 2020

Self is a writer. As a writer, she finds inspiration in books. These are a few books she recently checked out from her local library:

Finally, a very special place, one that self would spend every moment of every day in, if she could: the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury. When she sees the orange couch, she knows she’s home.

London Review Bookshop, November 2019

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sunday Read: American Rose (Magazine of the American Rose Society)

Self decided to join the American Rose Society this year, and was so happy to receive their magazine.

The July/August issue has a very interesting article about Memorable Rose Gardens by Mike and Angelina Chute.

“All great gardens are dynamic, constantly changing over time . . . “

She’s never heard of any of the gardens. There’s one called Roseraie de L’Hay, “in the municipality of Val-de-Marne, five miles south of Paris, and only 30 minutes by train.” From the train station, it’s “a short bus ride to the little rose garden.”

There’s one in Rome, Il Roseto, “located on the slopes of the Aventine Hill, a short walk from the Colosseum. Il Roseto is built on a site once home to a Jewish cemetery. In memory of the cemetery and those that had been buried there, the garden’s paths are laid out in the shape of a menorah.”

There’s Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park in northwest London (also home of the London Zoo) and there are “approximately 12,000 roses on display.”

And there is Austin Roses in Shropshire, “an agricultural area in England’s West Midlands.”

Next time she’s in Europe, she’ll make it a point to see some of these fabulous rose gardens.

In the meantime, there’s a pretty fabulous rose garden in Filoli, less than 10 minutes’ drive away. And here are a few pictures self took of her own roses:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Just For Fun, 10 Latest Bookmarks

Pastel Colors from the Garden

Still working off Cee Neuner’s current Fun Foto Challenge: PASTEL COLORS.

It’s a really fun way to pass the time: walking around the backyard, snapping pictures!

Selfie! Sylvain Landry Year 2 Theme 1

Sylvain Landry’s blog is a meeting place for photographers. Self loves participating in his photo challenges. The first of his Year 2 photo challenges is: SELFIE.

Self hates posing for pictures, but not when she’s taking a selfie. When she takes a selfie, the inner imp emerges and self’s smiles are always big as big. Thank you, Sylvain Landry, for the start of another great year of sharing!

This selfie is special for another reason: She bought the jacket from an Edinburgh department store, and the dress from a Tesco, the year she did a residency at Hawthornden. She was there June 2012. And that is where she met two British writers who ended up being fast friends: the poets Jenny Lewis and Joan McGavin.

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Self wearing her Edinburgh jacket and a dress she bought from TESCO: 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Something That Stands Out From the Everyday”

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is RARE: Post a photo of something you regard as “scarce and singular.”

Here are some rare things:

Dedication from a novel by Irish writer Maeve Binchy:

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To “dear good Gordon . . . such a supportive and kind person”: That degree of love and support and respect is indeed rare.

Here’s a one-woman press from Boston, MA: Kattywompus Press. It takes guts to run a press, anyone can tell you:

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Independent Publisher, AWP Book Fair, Los Angeles Convention Center: March 2016

Finally, a must-see for book-lovers everywhere. It’s called The Last Bookstore, and it’s on S. Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles. Part of a vanishing breed. Their logo says it all: “What are you waiting for? We won’t be around forever.”

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More Than a Bookstore: A Magic Trip

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Another Basho Sentence

Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, tying a new strap to my hat, and applying moxa to my legs to strengthen them, I was already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima.

— from The Narrow Road to the Deep North, translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa

1689, Basho made three major journeys in his lifetime. The Narrow Road was the result of the third and last. He was 50.

Stay tuned.

THE LONELY CITY: Edward Hopper

The Lonely City, by Olivia Laing, is a work of nonfiction.

It’s a collection of essays about lonely people.

Self’s on Essay # 2, “Walls of Glass,” which delves into the work of painter Edward Hopper and one painting in particular, Nighthawks, which can be seen at the Whitney (one of self’s favorite New York museums).

The painting is something the author returns to, again and again, during a lonely fall. She followed a lover to New York and it didn’t work out. Something about Hopper’s painting resonates with her.

Self decided to throw in a photograph of her own. It documents her enduring fascination with windows, her fascination with glimpses of other lives. Photo after the excerpt:

All photographs are silent, but some are more silent than others, and these portraits attest to what was by all accounts Hopper’s most striking feature, his gigantic resistance to speech. It’s a different thing from quietness, silence; more powerful, more aggressive. In his interviews, it functions as a barrier, preventing the interviewer from opening him up or putting words into his mouth. When he does speak, it’s often simply to deflect the question. “I don’t remember,” he says frequently, or “I don’t know why I did that.” He regularly uses the word unconscious, as a way of evading or disclaiming whatever meaning the interviewer believes to be seeping from his pictures.

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Windows are portals. When self looks through a window — any window — her imagination takes flight.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Connoisseur of Loneliness

Self is only on p. 12 of The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone but already she’s come across at least 12 passages that she thinks are worth quoting. (Who is Olivia Laing? Writer for The Guardian, The Observer, New Statesman and The New York Times)

The only thing self disagrees with Laing on is her disdain for social media as a tool for getting over the loneliness. Ms. Laing, social media gives self a reason to stay home! Locked up in her room! And feeling happy about it! It does wonders for self’s state of mind! You better believe it!

Self would rather be on social media than out there, on the street, fighting for every possible scrap of attention from salespeople. She’d rather mail-order than go to a store where she’ll waste precious time just hunting for parking or getting shoves from impatient people. She might be a super-slow walker but she’s an absolute Demoness of the Keyboards!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Quote of the Day: John Muir

Writing about Mount Shasta:

When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.

— John Muir, Letters: 1874 – 1888

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