Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

February 1, 2011

AE Inspirations | Early February 2011

READING | On Writing by Steven King: I’ve had people recommend this book to me in the past and I have to admit that I’ve dismissed them. I wouldn’t call myself a Steven King fan – not really a fan of anything scary. But, but, but I have to say that I love this book. LOVE in all capitals.

ALSO READING | The Most Important Word For You To Learn This Year AND How You Really CAN Tell All Of Your Photo Stories both from Noell Hyman. Both these articles are really interesting – definitely some good ideas about different ways to approach your photos. I found them to be inspiring.

ALSO READING | Grow Great Grub as I look forward to spring and summer (more on my outdoor adventures below).

SITTING | My laptop computer sits on a desk-like spot along our kitchen counter. Lately I’ve been starting my day there and have found that it’s the perfect spot to be greeted as the sun rises. It gets so bright that I have to close my eyes and at that moment usually take a deep breath and let the sunlight wash right over me.

LISTENING | In early December I bought a new bird feeder. I love it. Lots of little birds filling up at our feeder (I’d like to pick up a book about birds in our area so we could do some identifying).

One day last week I opened the windows as the sun was out and the temperature was approaching 60. I was surprised to hear so many birds chirping away. These aren’t likely only the birds that were visiting our feeder – it sounded like so many more. I heard them again yesterday when I opened the door to let the dog out and was stopped in my tracks by their song.

CHECKING OUT | Crate Paper’s new collection Portrait. Love.

EXPERIENCING | This is our first winter in this house and I’m patiently waiting to see what will come up in the yard. We moved here this past August and were able to experience the height of summer (oh so green). I’m excited for the next season to be knocking at our door. There’s something so very cool about waiting to see what things have been sleeping under the earth since last spring.

Part of my light journey this year is to create a practice of spending more time outside. What I really want to do is make our backyard a living space rather than just a space we pass through or look out at from inside our house. I’ve also got big plans for some vegetable beds (hence I’m reading Grow Great Grub).

HELLO FEBRUARY | A new prompt is up in the One Little Word class at Big Picture Classes. There’s still time to join if you’re interested in a support system and simple monthly reminders related to keeping your word visible in 2011. If you’re in class and didn’t receive a welcome email for February please contact to troubleshoot the issue.


  • 1.
    dawn said…

    I can relate to most of your items here and am loving them too. Now that we have a puppy who loves to be outside running I’m right along with him soaking in the few sunny days and all the pretty white snow and even the bare trees still seem magical. My husband is a huge huge fan of birds, the one reason he’d retire now is to just sit and watch the birds all day and night. He has said this many times, he only has Sundays off and you can find him up early by our back window watching them and bringing him joy. His other passion is his garden and you will have so much fun with yours especially with the kids. Just a tip is that every year your garden gets better once you understand the soil, the sun, etc. sometimes the first couple crops aren’t as successful as you hope. Just keep trying and you will get it. I enjoyed reading what your enjoying now thanks for sharing.

  • 2.
    Monica said…

    Oh, what an exiting time you will have exploring your new garden as spring and summer comes! Lucky you!! Good luck on growing vegetables, that is so much fun, but not necesseraly easy.. But it is a wonderful feeling when you see that you can do it. I sure hope you will show us how it goes.

  • 3.
    Kathy said…

    Love your post….one of my goals last year was to start a veggie garden (here in Brisbane, Australia). It was the best thing I did. My garden was small but manageable 2 wooden boxes with no bases 1.2 mt x 1.2 mt in length. I put weed matt down first to stop the grass growing and filled it with organic matter layered to have my “no dig garden”. We grew lettuce, cucumber, chinese cabbage, corriander, schalotts,basil, thai basil, it was just fantastic. Because it was contained in the boxes so to speak there was no weeding required. It is fantastic for the kids to grow stuff. Look forward to reading some of the other articles you mentioned. Might even send you a photo of my little veggie garden by email. It makes me so happy my little veggie garden. Regards Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

  • 4.
    Deb said…

    so jealous of the view of your backyard. Mine won’t look like that til April or gah! May…
    So cold here right now.
    Thanks for your inspiration, as always.

  • 5.
    Leslie A said…

    My husband is an aspiring writing and I purchased the King book for him for Christmas. Then before Christmas we were with friends discussing books and he was talking about how he wasn’t really a King fan. Inside I was thinking oh great. There goes that gift! Well, he loves it!! I think it has really changed his opinion of Stephen King and I think he has just enjoyed it overall. I liked reading that you’ve had a similar experience.

  • 6.
    Debbie P said…

    THe birdfeeder is fun! If you learn what birds you can get what type of seeds they like the most. This helps attract more. I think they tell the others where the good food is :) I love ours.

  • 7.
    Meghann said…

    Thanks for sharing these books! I always forget about “scrappy” books, and I’ve never really read one. I hope your backyard transformation goes well. We have a lot to do on ours too, as we just moved in last May.

  • 8.
    Sarah*H said…

    On Writing is one of my top five books of all time. I’m not a big Stephen King fan either but some of his short stories are exceptional. Different Seasons is a good book to try as it has the novella on which the movie Stand By Me was based.

    Oregon looks so wet and green and expectant in your photo. Spring seems a million miles away where I am but it looks like it’s just around the corner for you.

  • 9.
    kimmy said…

    It’s funny how we assume a book by Steven King will be scary — he has earned that reputation for sure… but so many of my favorite movies and books are by Steven King… I will pick this one up for sure. Thanks for the recommendation… ~ kim

  • 10.
    Megan said…

    don’t ask me why, but I was tickled to see you mention the dog. :) Also, since you are doing a veggie garden, you should get some chickens. They make great pets. Feed them flax seeds, and they will give you Omega-3 eggs. :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I would love to have chickens – Chris says no :) .

  • 11.
    Debbie S. said…

    You have a DOG??? How did I miss that? :D

    I too love the winter garden and the anticipation of Spring. In San Diego, winter is SHORT, but I like the look of everything asleep and waiting for spring. I can see from your photo that whatever that is draped over the fence, it’s going to be vigorous. Do you know what it is? I just bought a bunch of seeds at the local nursery…that’s fun to see what pops up, what works and what doesn’t.

    Good luck with your garden! And dog!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yep – Lily – she’s nine ;) .

      That’s a very crazy wonderful clematis along the fence.

    • ….
      Debbie S. said…

      Ooo, clematis! Lucky!!

  • 12.
    Cinnibonbon said…

    Hey HI –did I ever mention that my hubs calls you “my enabler”!!! LOL

    I’m a huge SK fan and I just read a few editorials on the book you mentioned…umm. I’ll have to go off and get it.

    I heard birds today..which was odd since we are freezing over here today. So much so that we knew since yesterday that getting to work was not going to be fun. I’m fortunate enough to get to telework today!! Shhh..on that I took a break to sneak over to read your blog!!! LOL

    Okay–you have a dog? I don’t quite recall that either…lol

    Hope you have a nice day.

  • 13.
    Cinnibonbon said…

    PS..evertime. I say–oh well Ali said…so and so…and she suggests…..

    He just chuckles!!

  • 14.
    Stacia said…

    I listened to On Writing a few years back in the car, so heard it in Stephen King’s voice too – fabulous! I’ve never read a single thing he has written :D but I love his writing *style* and the way he talks about writing. Thanks for reminding me what a great book that is!

  • 15.
    Linda said…

    I’ve read and re-read both of Noelle Hyman’s articles and enjoy them as well.

  • 16.
    Amy Grendel said…

    Hey Ali – my hubby and I were also thinking of starting a veggie garden in our backyard – will you be sharing about your garden more on here? I hope so! I also loved those articles by Noelle Hyman ~ agree very much with them be inspiring!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I hope to Amy – hoping to share the process :) .

  • 17.
    barb in Edmonton said…

    Just have to add to the Stephen King discussion. Like you, I am not a fan of horror, so tended to shy away from Stephen King. Then somehow I heard about his book, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, about a 9-year old girl described as “his strongest kid character yet, wholly believable and achingly empathetic in her vulnerability and resourcefulness.” It is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. I will never be a fan of horror, but since reading this book I am definitely a Stephen King fan.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’ll have to look into that one -

  • 18.
    noell said…

    Thank you for talking about my articles, Ali! I’m so happy you got something out of them.

    Izzy and I read On Writing when it came out and loved it! I’ve been meaning to re-read it over the past month or two since I’ve been working a lot on my writing over the past couple of years. We have the hard back so I just need to grab it off my shelf. Now that I think about it, it’s a good time right now since I just finished a novel and hadn’t chosen the next book to start.

    Again, much appreciation for talking about my articles. This subject is really important to me.

  • 19.
    sarah said…

    ali, this is an excellent bird book: they also have one for our whole state. both are awesome and so easy to use.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh cool – thanks Sarah!

  • 20.
    Courtney Walsh said…

    Love “On Writing.” What a great book. I’m getting ready to read “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott, another great book my writer friends recommend!

    I so want to grow my own veggies. Something about it terrifies me! :) Can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Loved Bird by Bird. She’s a great writer.

  • 21.
    Cindy McDannold said…

    Isn’t it wonderful to realize the life that goes on daily in your own back yard? I remember familiarizing myself with the squirrels that frequented my feeder that my husband put up when we first moved here. I recognized them and in time met there extended families. After forty years of watching them we had to have our “squirrel tree” cut down. I cried, much to the dismay of the men who were cutting it down. My squirrels were confused and had a hard time adjusting to there new surroundings, but all is well…the corn flows again.

  • 22.
    amberca said…

    That photo is breathtaking!! I also am like you in that we moved into our new house in July, and I am curious about what Spring will bring. Please keep us updated on what you learn about vegetable beds, I am very excited to learn about different methods.

  • 23.
    Nancy said…

    I love reading your posts. My favorite bird book is “Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Western Region”. Now I’m interested in reading “On Writing”… thanks for the tip.

  • 24.
    Jackie Wood said…

    We signed up for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Project FeederWatch to help get us more familiar with birds in our area. It is a great family activity.

  • 25.

    Thinking of a garden is almost incomprehensible (but nice) as I sit here in the middle of a Kansas blizzard. Just took some pix through the windows. I’m not about to go outside! And thanks so much for the links to Noell’s site. I wasn’t familiar with her and have spent the past couple hours reading her informative articles. I have that King book someplace in the basement and not sure I ever read it——probably for the same reasons, though I’ve had it a long time. Maybe I’ll try to find it.

  • 26.
    madeline St onge said…

    Ali I so love getting outside and playing in the dirt. I can’t wait for it to warm up and see what will come up out all I planted last spring/summer/fall

  • 27.
    Phaedra said…

    So funny, I just grabbed Grow Great Grub last week- with great imaginings of my garden this year. I see lots of comments on Stephen King and I’m glad you picked up On Writing because it’s fabulous. (I don’t read the horror genre anymore, but Stephen King is an amazing writer & i have always felt that his truest calling is the short story-)
    I’m going to have to check out those other articles mentioned.. i’m always newly inspired by things you recommend & since my word is RENEW… I’m all about something that will help feed my soul in creativity.

  • 28.
    Taylor B. said…

    I love to hear that you’re reading On Writing. I was assigned that book in a college photography class at Oregon State and unfortunately never read more than the first few pages… but I kept the book in hopes I’d get a chance to read it after college, when I could actually enjoy it, because I’ve heard it is so good. I’ve been out of college for a few years now and haven’t started it yet, but you’ve inspired me to take it off the shelf and start reading it!

    I love checking in with your blog every few days. Thanks for all of the inspiring photos, ideas and words that you share with us, your loyal readers! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us this spring!

  • 29.
    Tammy B said…

    Oh how I wish I had a sunny morning spot. Especially right now – the sun is shining today but it is very cold. I have to wait until the afternoon to get the sun in a happy place but it only lasts for about 30 minutes and then it goes down. *Deep breath* Spring is coming!!

  • 30.
    marisa said…

    That Portrait line is awesome! Love the colors the best! My kind of line!

  • 31.
    Kristie H said…

    One of my favorite parenting books is “Heaven on Earth” by Sharifa Oppenheimer. It has a great chapter on the outdoors as a play space, with wonderful ideas for living (with kids!) outdoors. You should check it out!

  • 32.
    Kim Bolyard said…

    Steven King lives in my neighborhood…he shops at my grocery store just saw him the other day….and I have never read any of his books…way to heavy for me


    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh cool Kim. This one’s not heavy at all – it’s a non-fiction book about his life and his writing process.

  • 33.
    Sue said…

    I also enjoyed King’s book,except for one thing: his claim that you cannot be a serious writer unless you devote a minimum of six hours a day to the craft – a luxury (and a discipline) I wish I had! You have a lovely blog!! So glad I found it.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yeah, I don’t agree with that either :) . I guess it depends on your definition of “serious writer.”

  • 34.
    Jackie Bremer said…

    Hi Ali, I intended to leave you this site a week ago, but now with your comments it is a must. It is a live hummingbird cam – in CA so the time is the same as yours. It is incredible to see mama putting her long beak into the two babies mouths – with the cam on you can hear sounds in the yard AND the buzz of mama coming in to feed her babies. Chec k it out:

  • 35.
    Kimberly said…

    Always inspired by these posts. It reminds and encourages me to pay attend to the every day things around me.

  • 36.
    Petra from NL said…

    To tie in with with what Kathy said you could Google this: Square Foot Gardening. You will find lots of information on the system she mentioned.

  • 37.
    Karen in VA said…

    Oh, I really like Stephen King’s book too. I find it especially fascinating how he never knows where the story is headed when he starts. Another book on writing that was very good listening in the car was Janet Evanovich’s book “How I Write”.

    I always enjoy your blog! Thanks!

  • 38.
    Jen K. said…

    I LOVE the photo in this post…gives me hope for spring here in MN. Today at the bus stop it was -2 with a windchill of -20. The snowdrifts at the end of my driveway are as tall as my hubby; he’s 6 foot 2. I am just excited that this month we gain almost 1.5 hours of daylight here in the frigid north…believe me, that knowledge helps.

  • 39.
    Amanda S. said…

    Another beautiful photo!! And Portrait was hands-down my FAVORITE collection wandering the floor at CHA last weekend. I must have all of it!!

  • 40.

    Thanks for mentioning a gardening book. Last summer’s garden (my first) was a bit of a flop and I was just thinking I needed to find a good book to read up on gardening. Since I want to have an organic garden, I will give this one a try. I was thrilled to see that my library had a copy.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I really like her writing style – simple and easy to understand – like chatting with a knowledgeable friend.

  • 41.
    Erica Hettwer said…

    Love Stephen King. His characters are so real and his grasp of pop culture is amazing. He’s the only “horror” novelist I read. My husband’s favorite movie is Shawshank Redemption and that is also based on a novella from the book “Different Seasons”. My favorite books/movies of his are the ones about the monster within and not real monsters.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I always forget his connection to Shawshank – that’s one of my favorite movies.

  • 42.
    Holly T. said…

    Agreed. I read this a number of years ago and loved it!
    Not a Stephen King fan….and was shocked how impressive it was!

  • 43.
    Kath said…

    After you finish Grow Great Grub, try Steve Solomon’s Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. The book is available through Amazon and Territorial Seeds. While it can be a little dry sometimes it is a great resource for our wet climate.

  • 44.
    Danielle Taylor said…

    Stephen King’s On Reading is one of my favorite books of all time! Enjoy!

  • 45.
    marnie said…

    On Writing is a book that I treasure. I’ve read it atleast five times and learned something every time through. I love how genuine and candid King is with his autobiographical stories and his advice. Whenever I write something now, I always think of his recommendation to make the first draft for yourself and the second one for your reader (I’ve condensed that quite a bit, but you get the idea). Wise and clever–would love to pick his brain for a weekend!

    Oprah’s new network has a series that I’ve been watching called “Oprah Presents Master Class.” Diane Sawyer was very impressive and Maya Angelou is so very lovely. You might want to check it out.

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