ANOTHER ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 38

I’m not entirely sure what make a photo odd any more. I just have photos. So here are a few. Odd? I don’t know. But  whatever they are, I’m fond of them and I can’t figure out what else they might be.

The first are my stained glass wolves on my living room window, the second a pot of marigolds in a flower box in Hyannis. The third is the old bread box I bought at a yard sale long ago.

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Hyannis flowers shop

old breadbox new bread

SOMEWHERE IN SUTTON

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Kaity and I went shooting today. We haven’t done that in a long time and it was a pleasure spending time with this young woman who is my granddaughter.

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It was not quite as bright and beautiful as it had been earlier in the week … but it was neither raining nor snowing.

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At this point in the seasons, a day which isn’t bitterly cold and when precipitation isn’t falling from the sky, is a good day to be out and about.

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Monday Garry and I are off again. Me to Amherst to stay with friends, he from there to Amherst to Long Island, then back to pick up the luggage (me). And home.

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I’ll try to get some pictures while I’m out in the western part of our lovely commonwealth.

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These pictures were taken somewhere in Sutton. A farm, a pond, a few bright leaves.

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We met a big (probably) Greylag (domestic, not wild) goose who was taking a break from the farm and failed to read the signs reminding us not to feed the geese. I hoped I was seeing a rare goose, but suspected, when he walked out of the water and stood there looking cute, he was probably domestic.

I have dogs. I know begging when I see it.

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WATER BIRDS AT LACKEY DAM

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I haven’t seen any swans around here at all in months. The local ponds, rivers, waterfalls were all  dry, with their muddy bottoms showing.

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Kaity tells me she’s seen a lot of swans, but not in the usual places. I assume they went to deeper water. Before the rain started in October, you could walk across Whitin’s Pond.

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The ponds are full again. Full of water, full of ducks. I’ve never seen so many ducks. And today, down by Lackey Dam, one swan … and a lot of ducks. The leaves around the pond are dark red to bronze and so, by reflection, is the water.

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A fine day for waterfowl.

NEVERENDING AUTUMN – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Not only has this been a particularly beautiful Autumn, but it has lasted longer than any in my memory. It started in September … earlier than normal … and it has not quite left us yet.

On our way back from the mall in Millbury, we left Route 146 via Lackey Dam road and when we got to the pond, Marilyn spotted a flash of white. A swan!

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I found a place to pull of the road and we took our cameras and walked the short path to the pond. The leaves were russet and red, the sky bright blue. Reflections were perfect mirrors of the sky with crisp leave floating like boats across the surface.

It was a John Ford afternoon. I could hear the music softly in the distance …

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LINES AND ANGLES – BLACK AND WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Lines and Angles

Lines and angles. Everywhere you look. Buildings lean in at you, closing off the sky and forming strange relationships with the earth below … inhuman but of our own making. Wires stretch across the sky forming patterns and the simple porch of a farmhouse becomes a study in form and shape.

Black and white farmhouse

black and white wires power lines

BW Worcester Tower

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

A friend asked me why I do this, why I blog. So I asked her why she plays golf.

We do what we do because we love it, need it. Or both. Because, despite the fact the many bloggers pretend they “write for themselves,” it’s untrue. We blog because we want other people to read our words, to connect with our ideas. If we wanted to write “for ourselves,” we’d keep a diary.Garry - Writer Christmas Day

Why are bloggers so coy about wanting an audience? Is it because they aren’t getting a good response, so instead of trying to figure how to bring in more readers and followers, they say they don’t care whether or not anyone reads them?

And then when one of us is moderately successful and popular, they get all squinchy-eyed and moralistic, as if  we’ve ruined the purity of the blogging experience.

Really? Seriously? When did we achieve that lofty spiritual level where we are above worldly concerns … like popularity and success? The hypocrisy of it takes my breath away. If that is how you really feel, you shouldn’t be blogging.

We all care. Anyone who says otherwise is lying — probably to themselves and definitely to us. We all want to be read, to be seen, to have an audience. If we take pictures, we want people to look at our images and say “Wow, that’s amazing.” Because we want to be amazing.

Writing is like breathing. If I don’t write, I suffocate. My friend?  She needs to compete. To play golf. Or she will suffocate.

TELL ME HOW TO WRITE

I can’t begin to count the number of people who tell me they want to be writers, but don’t know how to start.

That they ask the question suggests they will never be writers. Writers write. No one has to tell you how or when. You write and will keep doing it because it’s not what you do, it’s what you are. You may not write brilliantly, but you will write. You’ll get it right eventually. Doing is learning.

I started writing as soon as I could read. Putting words on paper was the same as speaking, but took longer. I didn’t mind the extra time because I could go back and fix written words. Being able to change the words and keep changing them until they said precisely what I wanted them to say was the prize.

I was socially awkward and my youthful verbal skills not well-suited to my age and stage in life. I wasn’t good at sports. No one wanted me on the team. In retrospect, I can understand it, but when I was a kid, it hurt.

Games and other social activities let you become popular, make friends, and do those other things which matter to kids. I couldn’t do that stuff, but I could write. And read. I might be a klutz, but words let me build worlds.

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If you are going to be a writer, you know it. Practice will make you better, help you understand how to build plots,  produce books publishers will buy. But writing itself is a gift. If you have it, you know it.

Writers have words waiting to be written, lining up for the opportunity to be set on paper or in the computer. It may take a while for you to find what you want to write about. But you will write.

Talent comes in an endless number of flavors. If you are a musician, you’ll find a way to make music. The same with painting, photography, drawing, running, hitting a baseball or throwing one so that it just skims that outer corner of the plate at 96 miles per hour. Mathematics, engineering, architecture … creativity and talent are as varied as the people who use it.

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ADVICE FOR THE BEWILDERED 

My advice to hopeful writers is simple. Write.

Don’t talk about it. Do it. Write a lot, as often as you can, even if most of it is crap and you won’t show it to anyone. Sooner or later, you’ll find your way. If you don’t write, it’s your loss, but it may also be the world’s loss. You never know how good you can be if you don’t try.

This blog is my outlet for the millions of words stuffed in my head. Yes, I really want you to read it. It matters to me and I see no reason to pretend it doesn’t.

On the other hand, I hate golf. Can’t figure out why anyone would want to walk around an enormous lawn hitting a little white ball. I can’t think of anything more boring, but I know a lot of golfers. They live for it. The rest of the week is just a pause between tee times.

So, if you don’t get why I write, that’s okay. You don’t have to get it. That I get it and can do it and other people read it … that’s fine.

You do your thing, I’ll do mine. And we will all find happiness doing stuff we love.

LIVING ON

By Hand – What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.


Garry and Divot

Garry and Divot

I’m not sure what to say. You mean, the lumpy ashtrays kids make in school? The kids don’t even think much of them, but we all ooh and aah over them like we have a budding Rembrandt in our midst. Because buttressing the egos of our fledglings is our job.

96-Garry-618Of course, both the nascent Rembrandt and his/her admirers know it ain’t so, but we appreciated the sentiment and good intentions.

So I’ll go with the concept of “not store-bought” as the major factor in this story.

One bright Christmas, Garry had a pictures taken of him and our two dogs, Divot and Pagan. He signed it, and had it framed. Both dogs have long since passed and Garry doesn’t look like that any more, but that was the best gift.

It captured a time and a place that would soon be gone, but because of Garry’s gift, lived with us for decades longer.