On my mind : words.


[ photo taken in Charlotte, North Carolina, part of an installation called The Writer's Desk : words from Rolfe Neill, publisher and writer of The Charlotte Observer October 1975-January 1998 ]

I am a reader. I always have been and most likely always will be.

At many times in my life reading has been my refuge. It has given me knowledge, comforted me, inspired me and challenged me.

As many of you know I truly believe in the positive power of words to make a difference in our lives. To make connections. To enchant. To heal wounds. To celebrate life.

Here's a look at some recent things with words that touched me in some way, making me want to share:

1. Kelly Rae's thoughts on becoming.

2. Amanda's ten things list. I think I will do one of these this week (would also make a great scrapbook page or minibook).

3. Kate's journey on sweet | salty.

4. Leo's Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness + Productivity.

5. I am planning to re-read My Antonia by Willa Cather (the words from this book still live with me even 15 years after reading it the first time). Thinking about it makes me miss my literature classes in high school and college. I miss the discussion and the dialog and the prompting. I miss sharing the story with others. I miss the level of understanding that comes from deconstruction and conversation. Sounds like I need to take a class or join a bookclub.

6. The thought provoking words and unanswered questions in the movie Lions for Lambs.

7. Time's What The World Eats. A collection of photos from around the world showing what a family eats (and their cost per week).

8. An interesting essay about blogging from The New York Times Magazine (by Emily Gould).

9. Recently I have been reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. I have actually been reading it for at least a couple months now (I can't remember the last book I took this long to read + that I stuck with even in the parts that were not as interesting to me).
In the beginning I lovingly referred to as the "corn book" because of
the in-depth information about how much corn (and corn derivatives) is
in the foods we eat. It is one of those books where some days I will
read a whole bunch and then on other nights read just a few pages before bed. I am captivated
by this book about where our food comes from. It's educational and
instructional and pretty much like a really, really long magazine

10. Information on the history of Memorial Day. And Andy Rooney on Memorial Day (from 60 Minutes).

And the questions on my mind lately: What is my response to a recent call to action? What am I afraid of? How is my value alignment? Am I doing enough? What am I doing with" my one wild and precious life"?


[ Coming this week: Three Things, Q & A regarding album organization, and more. ]

36 thoughts

  1. Amy

    2008-05-26 12:28:00 -0400

    I love the new quote in the today section! It is so wonderful when images come back to you out of nowhere. I had seen on Oprah recently where she had someone on talking about hypnosis allowing you to remember back very far, as well into past lives. I don't know about the past life stuff, but it's an interesting thought, to go into a form of meditation and be able to remember more, details forgotten from childhood. I think we could all use some time to quiet our minds these days.

  2. katie

    2008-05-26 12:47:32 -0400

    Too funny you are sharing emily's article. I just read that. Thanks for the other links.

  3. Amanda

    2008-05-26 13:00:55 -0400

    Thanks for sharing these Ali :)

  4. Susan Wilson

    2008-05-26 13:08:13 -0400

    Ali, such a beautiful, introspective essay. Here's another poem by Mary Oliver that you may enjoy. She's one of my favorites.
    Wild Geese
    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.
    Mary Oliver
    Born 1935
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
    Winner of the National Book Award
    Susan Wilson

  5. Alex

    2008-05-26 13:09:22 -0400

    All these yummy links! You got me busy now :P

  6. Maureen

    2008-05-26 13:30:51 -0400

    Thank you so much Ali for the thoughtful posts you make. Even if the subject is 'just' plain scrapbooking, you add a depth that is profound.
    Your final statement has been on my mind for several years...when do I take more than a mental stand on an issue, and what fears are holding me back? "If not now, then when?" Thanks for reminding me of this appropriate message on Memorial Day. Maureen

  7. annie

    2008-05-26 13:48:13 -0400

    My book club just read "My Antonia" in January. It's been a wonderful experience discussing themes and ideas with people who have thoughts different than my own. AWESOME to hear about other perspectives and compare to my own. I love being able to be kept on my toes.

  8. M.D. Richardson

    2008-05-26 15:22:49 -0400

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I come to your blog specifically for the inspiration - for life art - but more for you. You - Ali - are the inspiration!!!!!

  9. NYchick

    2008-05-26 15:55:50 -0400

    Ooh, I'll have to read "The Omnivores Dilemna". I'm just reading Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" and would definitely recommend it. Along the same lines, Jane Goodall has a book "Harvest for Hope" that is a must read. I learned a lot from that book- and now I shop much more mindfully. And for some tough love, "Skinny Bitches" really makes you think about what you're putting in your mouth. I can't wait to check out your other links!

  10. ady abreu

    2008-05-26 16:10:46 -0400

    You are an incredible, inspiring woman... Thank you for the constant knowledge you share with the rest of us.

  11. LWalker

    2008-05-26 16:17:47 -0400

    First off, love your blog. I have been a Stampin' Up demonstrator for a few years but have yet to start scrapbooking. I just couldn't get into it and could never figure out why. Until I read your blog! I totally connect with the way you scrapbook. I have kept a journal (though only sporadic at times) since my kids were little plus I take lots of pictures. Now I have the inspiration to put the two together, simply and beautifully. Thank you!! Plan on getting your book soon.
    I'm also reading the Omnivore's Dilemma. Have prided myself for year's on being a mindful shopper/eater. Then I went back through my pantry and really checked labels. Imagine my surprise when I found HFCS in my whole wheat bread! Ugh! Glad you mentioned the book on your blog.

  12. Terri Paulson-Sasaki

    2008-05-27 00:27:53 -0400

    Thank you for the links to the Memorial Day sites. We sometimes forget why we have this holiday. It is not just a three day weekend, but a day to remember those that have served this country and their ultimate sacrifice and their families. Thank you. And to Nora, thank you.

  13. Sharron Heys

    2008-05-27 00:34:42 -0400

    Just made me think of one of my fave books of all time- thank you! I need to galvanise my M.I.L. to send it over to me.... thanks for the reminder! 1 of those books that, for some reason, 'changed' my outlook on life, the universe and everything!

  14. Sarah

    2008-05-27 00:53:22 -0400

    Ali, I think we are pretty much on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but you make me think so much. I love reading your blog, how you are so respectful of everyone and ideas. I appreciate that you don't just give us scrapbooking thoughts, but thoughts on making our lives so much better. Thank you for sharing. I am inspired by you in several ways, and I appreciate it.

  15. Jessi - 'tis herself gal

    2008-05-27 02:39:03 -0400

    Just thought that I would share my inspirational reading list because I love when readers share their list with me!
    Hugs, Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
    House of the Spirits, Isabelle Allende
    Walden, Thoreau
    Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    and...I will stop at five
    Pablo Neruda's poetry

  16. Gina

    2008-05-27 03:06:32 -0400

    Love the poem that Susan submitted above, looking forward to checking out the links in your post, and lingering on your final thoughts. (I dwell a bit on the notion of Am I doing enough?) Meanwhile, if you want to follow up your current book with some gentle reading, I would recommend:
    The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
    Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
    I love to read (and am a painfully slow, detail-visualizing reader) and last year had the goal of reading only books recommended to me by others. This summer I am planning to re-read my favorites, including My Antonia, which is already on my dresser.
    Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone with all my questions.

  17. scrappinseminole

    2008-05-27 06:31:52 -0400

    Thank you for sharing, Ali! Now I will share one with you. I have been following the inspirational journey of Angie and her family for a little while now. Kate's journey reminded me of Angie's. You will want to start from the beginning with this one and make sure you have a box of tissues handy. Even if you don't have time to look over the whole thing now, bookmark it for later. It is worth the time.

  18. Tona

    2008-05-27 08:14:58 -0400

    I really like the 10 things idea. I'm going to give that one a shot. Speaking of shots... following your lead I've been taking a lot of "looking up" photos. I even did a scrapbook page with some of them. That led to me asking my husband to bring me my camera when I was up on the roof, (of a 2 story house), so that I could take some "bird's eye view" photos. Obviously you have me looking at my surroundings in a different way. Thanks!

  19. Jen Lee

    2008-05-27 09:37:46 -0400

    I'm just now reading Virginia Woolf for the first time, and it's blowing me away. Willa Cather is another writer I haven't yet read, so I'm now adding My Antonia to my list--thanks!

  20. Artful Yogi

    2008-05-27 10:15:18 -0400

    Thanks for the links. Did you hear Michael Pollan on Fresh air with Terri Gross? His The Omnivore's Dilemma sounds fabulous. I've been reading labels for corn diigently this past year. It is weird to think of how much it affects our economy especially now that it is used for fuel. I'm rading Al Gore's The Assault On Reason and it is just making me so mad. I think i'll take a break from it and return later.

  21. Kristi

    2008-05-27 13:02:40 -0400

    If you are interested in learning more about CORN in everything, you will want to see the documentary King Corn about two college guys who move to Iowa, plant an acre of corn and follow the entire process from beginning to end. It goes into how it is in everything and even had their hair tested and it showed up there.
    We raise beef on no grain, only grass and hay. The entire grassfed industry has grown tremendously since Michael Pollan's book came out.
    If you can't find information on King Corn, I would be happy to email it to you.

  22. jeanne

    2008-05-27 13:11:39 -0400

    love finding new sources and links through others. thanks for sharing.

  23. joyce

    2008-05-28 05:32:53 -0400

    Your class at Windy City is already full(and I just learned of it while reading your blog today, unfortunately!). I'm told there are several names on the waiting list - any chance you'll add another session? Would love that!

  24. mary rogers

    2008-05-28 07:34:21 -0400

    thanks for sharing all of this Ali! excellent post.....

  25. sweetsalty kate

    2008-05-29 10:10:59 -0400

    thanks Ali... I'm honoured, and totally blown away by your creativity.

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