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Photo-writing challenge

writerIndeed…  ‘Tis me

Ok, so I said I was lousy at getting things written. I know how to write, but tend to sit staring at the screen for several eternities and still coming up blank. It’s not as though I have nothing to say and my head is buzzing all day long with… well… stuff. Trouble is, most of that stuff is not what I can write about (protecting the innocent and the not-so-innocent).

I was looking at some photos tonight and hit on an idea that might just work. Now don’t go placing any bets. My track record here isn’t exactly stellar, but let’s see if I can make it work.

I have absolutely tons of albums on my hard drive and really need to sort through the photos. That will entail going through each album to weed out the crud and make sure there are no duplicates. I’ve decided to take ONE photo in each album and write about it. I may allow myself more photos per entry, but I’m going to try to use words instead of more images to illustrate an event, person, idea, and so on.

Can I make this work? Time will tell…

write bleed

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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in photography, writer's-block

 

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Why

light at the end of the tunnel Is that really a light at the end of the tunnel I see?

Why is it that I can come up with a bucket-load of ideas for everyone else, but can’t put two words together on a page? I look around and friends are prepping for NaNoWriMo and I know they’ll do brilliantly. Here’s me, the wordless one. It seems I’ve lost myself somewhere along the line or is it that that part of me never really existed. Oh! Pah! Who am I trying to fool? I know I have the ability to write at least reasonably well. So where’s it gone and, more to the point, why the heck did it run off in the first place? Who gave it permission to go?

There was a time when I would churn out 3 or more blogs a day, often interspersed with creative writing and even art. Me? Create? Did I really? Even the most elementary of creativity seems to escape me now.

Forget wordy blogs. The idea of coming up with 140 characters for something like Twitter is even beyond me… or a line or two for a status update on the likes of Facebook. Pulling teeth would be easier. Friends ask for updates, but I have absolutely no idea what to say or how to say it!

What if I were to just write mindless drivel until the so-called ‘muse’ returns? Now there’s a way to get rid of the last few loyal readers! Do you know just how tempting it is to repost earlier blogs? There are new readers who’ve never seen them.

Or perhaps I should just write… It’s a bit like running, after all. If you don’t actually don your trainers, step outside and start putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll continue to veg on the couch… right? So, apologies in advance for any waffle that may follow. Hopefully a few gems will emerge from the ashes of my creativity.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in art, thought, writer's-block

 

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The indestructible spirit of the WWOOFer

A little while ago, I wrote an article for a magazine few people would get to read. It’s the WWOOF Ireland’s official magazine. I walked into the kitchen just the other day to find my own face laughing up at me. A goofier photo of me would have been hard to find! The photo was taken by a fellow WWOOFer, a lovely German girl with an bubbly spirit and a camera attached to her arm. She was relentless and the tiny hedges didn’t provide enough cover for me to hide behind.

Indestructable spirit of the wwoofer article - Corrianne sm

It was with mild surprise that I found they’d published my article. The article in question was inspired by news of one particular WWOOFer who’d moved on from the farm we were at, but it brought to mind many others I’d met and some of the incredible tasks they did with smiles and a healthy dose of fun.

The indestructible spirit of the WWOOFer
by Corrianne Lasevicius

Indestructable spirit of the wwoofer article - photo 2 small b&w

Long ago, when my friend suggested we try our hand at WWOOFing, my perception of WWOOFers was, at the very least, enormously different from what I have come to know of them. She described them as mostly young people who help out on farms. My imagination filled in the details of sun-kissed youth singing and chatting their way through apple harvests. Now, it’s not as though that never happens, but reality has painted a rather different portrait in my mind. We’ve been WWOOFing for just over a year now. The farms we’ve worked on have varied greatly, as have the hosts, but this article is about those busy ‘worker bees’ who flit though Ireland’s fields and gardens.

My thoughts go back to a German chap who was working with us at one farm. He had just left, but as happens among WWOOFers, we kept in touch for a while. He arrived at his new host, keen on the experience he’d be getting on that farm, as it was very different to the one he’d just left. The morning after his arrival, he went downstairs for breakfast to find the place empty. A note had been left on the table. The family had rushed in to hospital with the host who had suffered a heart attack after finding one of his sheep had been killed in a rather grim manner. The sheep had left behind a new-born lamb, which our intrepid WWOOFer had to care for and care for it, he did.

In what other field would you find a pair of young girls hauling logs that would make many men consider using machines and chains; all the while practicing their song they’d learnt for the local craic? There was the team of 3 who were instructed to empty the ancient glasshouse beds, the thin layer of soil hiding mostly very large rocks, then to fill them with the same plus a generous helping of manure and compost, only to be told to empty them completely for restoration.

Mud, mud, glorious mud! It isn’t just hippo’s that enjoy wallowing in the mud. Ask any Irish farmer and you’ll hear about last year’s rains. WWOOFers waded through it, turning the soil, planting, weeding – an especially delightful task in the mud. None of that came even remotely close to the sheer pleasure of chasing stroppy pigs through mud. For some reason, the same mud that sucks your wellies off has no effect on a prancing pig! We strongly suspected that the pig was enjoying watching the tiny band of WWOOFers struggle through the mud to get to her, knowing it was a futile task and we’d ultimately resort to bribery with juicy beets. Still, you’d often find the WWOOFers stealing a few moments to chat to the pigs or feed them tasty treats from the kitchens.

Indestructable spirit of the wwoofer article - photo 1 sm b&w

In keeping with the theme of Irish weather, the story must be told of the team of WWOOFers who were digging out an entire formal garden to be replanted. In the space of an hour, the weather changed dramatically every five minutes, quite literally. One enterprising WWOOFer decided to time the changes. In that hour, the ever-creative Irish weather threw sun, rain, hail, wind, then more rain, sun, hail and wind at them. It was a source of great amusement and entertainment to that team of workers.

I watched a diminutive Japanese girl overcome her horror at picking sawfly larvae off thorny gooseberry bushes to the extent that she eventually made it her personal mission to eradicate every last one of them. As she went to war on the sawfly, her attacks grew more creative. She bore her scratches by the gooseberry thorns with pride. You have to admire the spirit of the two Italian boys who dug a trench the entire length of a field with trowels. No, we don’t know why they chose to do it with trowels, but we do know that they had plenty of energy to go hiking afterwards.

One of the reasons we opted for our current farm was the goat milking. Having worked with goats before and loved them, sweet darlings that they were, I was keen to befriend another goat. Wait! This one has horns and knows how to use them. If just the right leaves from her favourite tree aren’t offered, she’s likely to use the horns on you. I learnt that the hard way. Day one left me with bruises. Day two left me without milk in the bucket, though the dogs enjoyed the spoils on the floor. I’m pretty sure that it’s the WWOOFer spirit that drove me back to her side for another go on day three. We’re friends now… at least, on days when all the stars are aligned.

Is there any other ‘career’ where the workers drag themselves home at the end of the day, exhausted and bone-weary, but rise to go back to the same work with a spring in their step, chatting and singing all the way… voluntarily?

Indestructable spirit of the wwoofer article - photo 3 small

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Farming, Garden, Ireland, Writing

 

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Whatever comes next

So many years ago, when I took my reading training wheels off and graduated to ‘grown up’ books, one of my first books was "Moonraker’s Bride" by Madeleine Brent. I was so excited. I had spent a fair amount of time in the children’s section of the library gazing longingly across at the adults’ section.

he book was, in many ways, an eye-opener for me. I learnt of a strange new world, China, of Boxer rebellions, missionaries and how, in a day, a heroine’s world can be turned upside down by a twist in fate. To this day, I love Madeleine Brent’s books, though, sadly, there aren’t many. Each one takes me to a different world and is relaxing pleasure that requires little thinking.

Going back to that one book, there is a part where the old lady who looks after our heroine and the mission is busy dying. They were struggling to feed themselves and the orphans in their care. The old lady’s advice was, "When you don’t know what to do, just do whatever comes next." With all the arrogance of youth, I thought that was rather a stupid thing to say. If you don’t know what to do, how on earth would you know what to do next? How can you do something when you have no idea what to do?

Thankfully, though, the advice stuck with me. I’ve had many opportunities to remember it when the storms of life have seemed to pick me up like a piece of flotsam and toss me down onto the rocks. When my mind is buzzing with problems and 500 solutions, none of which seem to be the answer, it is this advice I turn to. Simply doing something… anything, however mundane… is often the catalyst that moves me into solutions. It is a peculiarly mind-clearing action.

On the subject of mind-clearing… What do you do when your mind is clear – too clear? As a writer, I have a very up-close and personal relationship with that status. Blank screen, blank page, blank mind. A frustration that reaches deep when I know I have so much to say!

"When you don’t know what to do, just do whatever comes next."
When you don’t know what to write, just write whatever comes next. This is when I delve into the mundane if I have to and mundane is something I have plenty of. The thing with mundane is that defies my attempts to keep it mundane. It is the most remarkable thing. I would start out simply describing my day, a remembered scene from long ago, an object, a character in my book and before I know it, I’m embellishing those thoughts with flights of fancy and sometimes not-so-fancy flights.

Isn’t this a little like those word association games we used to play? Shall we call it thought association?

By Corrianne Lasevicius (aka Tint)

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in books, review, Writing

 

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