In Gratitude for another year of red Ravine, with much appreciation to our readers and guests. You keep the community going strong and inspire me every day with your courage, grace, and humor. red Ravine was conceived in Taos, New Mexico, born on November 3rd, 2006, and launched as an Aries, April 7th, 2007. It seems important to mark the passing of time, to reflect and remember how far we have come.
I am one of those people who mines for specks of gold in old and burly mountains, drags silvery threads of the past forward. Lineage. Writers, artists, photographers. Process. Birth, death, old age. What makes something work? Like The Fool archetype in Tarot, it is with great humility that I embrace the unknown and begin again. Beginner’s Mind. I will miss ybonesy and her free spirited and vibrant creative fire on a daily basis at red Ravine, but I know I have to face forward. It’s one of the things she taught me — take risks. Move into the future. When you collaborate with a person who strikes a balance, one who possesses the qualities you lack, it’s easy to become complacent about that which needs strengthening inside.
I need a strong back, flexible muscles. I will build on the Bones of red Ravine. I have so many dreams I want to pursue; they have not gone away. I will have to be diligent. Courageous. Disciplined. It takes courage for ybonesy to leave to spend more time with her family; it takes courage to stay. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. There are days when the work of blogging feels like it needs a whole army of writers and artists to move it forward. But I believe in the mission and vision of red Ravine and am excited to steer her in a new direction. The winds may be stiff; I will follow the structure we put into place—teacher, practice, community—and see where red Ravine takes me.
I am forever grateful to Roma who walked up to me in Mabel’s dining room after one of the silent retreats, and asked if I wanted to write together. I would be returning to Minnesota, she to Albuquerque, 1200 miles between us. The Turtle in me had to give it some thought; not for long. The seed for red Ravine had been planted. Now this space is Home, a strong cottonwood by the Mother Ditch, in her adolescent years, still growing. But nothing can thrive without nurturing, play, attention, and time. I have to plan carefully, regroup. Thank you for standing by me.
Back to the moment. Time to feed Mr. Stripeypants and Kiev. Liz will be rising soon. We spent part of New Year’s Eve watching Lily and Hope on the NABC 2011 DenCam. They aren’t worried about such things as red Ravine. They are busy being Bears. I focus on my new practices for 2011: (1) a daily Journal entry 365 (2) a BlackBerry collaboration inspired by Lotus (one of our readers) (3) a year-long Renga collaboration. I’ll write more about these practices in coming posts. Happy New Year, ybonesy. Happy New Year to all red Ravine readers. Happy New Year, red Ravine. New Beginnings. The Promise of Spring.
-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, January 1st, 2011
It was strange to find myself sitting in the zendo at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, our teacher Natalie Goldberg urging us toLet Go. I had just a few weeks before made the decision to leave red Ravine, although QuoinMonkey and I had agreed to wait until the end of the year to make the announcement. Though not intended as such, the week in Taos could be a test of how ready I was to let go of this special virtual space that had inspired and sustained me for so long. It was in Taos, after all, that red Ravine was born. The year—2006. QM and I, having already written together for some time, are both participating in a four-season Intensive with Natalie Goldberg. This Intensive is part of a bigger plan I have for myself, a wannabe writer-and-artist withering away inside the body of a corporate manager and breadwinner for my family of four. I am bored and unhappy. I want to write and do art, but I can’t seem to motivate myself to do much with either except to dream about it. QM and I and a couple of others hatch red Ravine over intense working sessions in Taos and through the phone lines while back at our respective homes. Setting up a blog is hard work, but it is also real. For the first time, I am motivated to do more than fantasize about writing and making art. red Ravine promises to be the impetus to actually producing.
Those first two years of creating red Ravine, QM and I worked our butts off and had a blast doing it. The blog was a perfect outlet for the deep, low creative growl that the Intensive seemed to unleash within us. Some days we posted more than once, and often we had to make sure that we weren’t publishing over one another. For my part, I was making art like crazy. After years of being fearful of the lack of control inherent in a brush (as compared to a pencil), I took a workshop at Ghost Ranch and learned to paint. My corporate job changed around the same time, too. I landed an assignment that took me back and forth to Vietnam. I bought myself a slew of different colored inking pens and began using the long trips back and forth as opportunity to take on a doodling practice.
QuoinMonkey and I worked surprisingly well together. We were both committed to the idea of a creating a space where we would each be inspired and where we might inspire others. She brought to red Ravine and to me her strong values around Community and Giving Back. Her thoughtful and thorough turtle complemented my quick and often irreverent spirit. (What animal am I anyway? The brown bird, I guess.) We found ourselves in synch whenever we wanted to try something new or make a change. We pushed each other to do our best. what I learned
One of the things I love about Taos and Mabel’s place is how they never seem to change. Here I am, early December 2010, and I’m crossing the same flagstone patio that I walked those years ago back when red Ravine was still an infant. Over the past several years, I’ve brought my daughters here, and my husband. I bring my father back each year after we clean his parents’ graves in Costilla, 42 miles north. One summer he laid some of these very flagstones,when he was about 16 and living on Morada Lane in a house with a storefront.
It doesn’t matter what I have accomplished, what roles I have taken on in the years since I’ve been back. Inside the zendo, Natalie reminds us to Let Go. For me this means letting go of my responsibilities, my ego, any self-assigned self-importance. Here, in Taos, I am zero. In my raw, stripped-down state I feel my sadness. It is deep inside me, under everything else I carry.
My heart breaks open.
Letting Go in Taos means being able to clearly see that red Ravine was, in fact, the catalyst for change in my life. It means being grateful for everything I’ve learned as a result of opening up to others. Because of red Ravine, I’ve had a place to publish my writing, to experiment with and share my art, to meet other writers and artists. red Ravine has been Muse, sounding board, supportive audience, friend, family, mentor.
I started a fledging business because of the creativity that flowed out, thanks to red Ravine. Because of this blog I’ve learned to commit to and follow through with my practices; to make jewelery; to turn unpolished writing into finished pieces; to put my creative self out into the world. I used to think I couldn’t finish anything; it took having this blog to realize that I’m an actualizer at heart.
Of course, there are downsides to setting and realizing intentions. Jim long ago gave up complaining when I’d spend hours socked away in my writing room. But I don’t take for granted any more, not since April of this year when he collapsed on the bed clutching his heart, that he will always be there waiting when I need to take a break. And my daughters—full-fledged teenagers! Just today I accompanied my oldest for nearly an hour while she drove us all around town, adding experience under her belt in preparation for graduating from learners permit to drivers license. I don’t have much time left to influence their lives.
At the December retreat, we walk the dirt trail out at the morada, just down the way from Mabel’s place. Natalie often takes her students there. The day we go, boys and men from Taos Pueblo run past us in the cold air. I feel alone and sheltered in my layers of warmth, and for a moment I am homesick for family and our traditions.
My parents are old now. They’ve passed from the stage of old-yet-mostly-healthy to being old-and-frighteningly-frail. I visit them every Sunday. All year long I struggle to keep up with everything I have on my plate. Some weeks it feels impossible to eke out even the simplest of posts.
QM is a rock. Her posts are—like her—consistently high-quality, thorough, and deep. I am honored to have worked with her for this long.
A good friend of mine who a few years back started up his own blog had this to say when I told him I was thinking of leaving red Ravine: ”Blogging has no exit strategy.” Which is another way of saying that unless you’re getting paid to do it, blogging is a labor of love. This particular labor has born much fruit.
It has so much more potential, so much yet to become. I’m going to be here, on the other side of the screen, cheering on QM to keep moving it forward. I know I’ll always be proud to say I was a part of creating it.
Thank you for everything you’ve done, QM. Thank you to the friends I’ve met here. So long for now. See you in Comments. 8)
It’s that time again. ybonesy and I are heading out for our annual 2 week blogcation. She’s got the Corrales Art Studio Tour coming up this weekend. And I’m gearing up for Art-A-Whirl 2010 at the Casket Arts Building, May 14th-16th. So, for the next couple of weeks, we’re allowing ourselves to be free from the pressure of posting on the blog. red Ravine turned three a few weeks ago, and in blog years, that’s a long time. We find it’s good for us to take a break from the work of blogging, to relax, and enjoy the hiatus from electronics.
We may check in once in a while. Or do a spontaneous post or two, but we’ll still technically be on vacation. Taking time to refill the well gives us a chance to revisit our goals for red Ravine and fine tune our vision. We hope to come back fresh and revitalized. In the meantime, Writing Practice goes on. ybonesy and I write together weekly in an online group. And I just returned from a retreat with my Midwest Writing Group down by Lake Pepin, where I nearly filled an entire spiral notebook.
I thought it would be fun to leave you with a few of the Writing Topics we wrote about last week in southern Minnesota (or you can choose from the Topics we’ve posted on red Ravine over the years). Thanks for reading and visiting red Ravine. Keep the pen moving, and we’ll see you in a few weeks. Ten minutes, Go!
On The Lake
A Childhood Dream
I Am At Peace When
All My Life, I’ve Tried To
What Holds Me Back
Driving My Car On A Lonely Stretch
My First Good Kiss
I’m Afraid Of (or About, or When)
In The Still Of The Night
In The Darkest Part Of My Heart
In The Garden
My Favorite Sandwich
Sitting Still By A Lake
The Tears Of A Clown
One Room Cabin In Tennessee
Plaid Wool Blanket
It was November 2006 when ybonesy and I started planning and writing for red Ravine, fruit from a seed planted in Taos, New Mexico at a writing workshop with Natalie Goldberg. In April 2008, red Ravine celebrated her 1st birthday with the post A Year Of Living Dangerously. When I saw that ybonesy and I were approaching our 3rd birthday, I went back and read some of the comments from 2 years ago. One of the most fun, from Sam, about red Ravine’s Zodiac sign (Aries) sparked a whole conversation:
QM, I looked up a make-shift chart for red Ravine. I went back to the April 7th post, and didn’t see a timestamp, so I used 9am, with San Francisco (WordPress) as the birthplace. That put the Moon in Sagittarius, Mars and Mercury in Pisces, and Venus in Taurus.
But I’m betting that you and YB have more accurate data. You should swing by Cafe Astrology for a free natal chart, AND you can get free compatibility readings while you’re there, too. Then, let us all in on the results.
In astronomy, the zodiac (Greek: ζῳδιακός) is the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the sky over the course of the year. The Moon and planets lie within the ecliptic, and are also part of the constellations of the zodiac. In astrology, the zodiac denotes those signs that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude.
When I was in high school, I belonged to a Tri-Hi-Y named The Zodiacs. My Sun is in Cancer, with Taurus Moon and Taurus rising. My ruling planet is the Moon. ybonesy and I haven’t done compatibility readings, but after 3 1/2 years of publishing red Ravine, I’d say our Gemini/Cancer combination seems to be working.
I thought it might be fun to take this opportunity to poll our readers (as ybonesy mentioned in the comment thread on the 2008 post) and see what signs they are. ybonesy thinks we have a high percentage of Gemini readers on red Ravine. But I’m not so sure. What sign are you?
In Gratitude: Here’s to another year of red Ravine. With much appreciation to our readers and guests. You keep the community energy flowing, and help us keep going. Special thanks to ybonesy, my blog partner, an inspiration. And to Liz, my partner in life (who also created the doodle in this piece). I could never have kept going on this project without the two of you.
-posted on red Ravine, in celebration of her 3rd Birthday & Blogiversary, Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
I loved the badges they handed out in Girl Scouts for doing things like embroidering (they looked so cool on your sash) but I hated embroidering. In places like Oregon, I admire how the traffic flows so well with those red-light-green-light on-ramps, but I reject the notion that I have to be told when to merge onto the freeway. (You should see me hoot and holler and sing “Oh Fair New Mexico!” when I run those on-ramp lights.)
And I absolutely cherish receiving blogging awards, but I struggle with the requirement that we link back to the person who thought up the award to begin with (who, in this case, we don’t even know) and then dole out exactly five awards to other bloggers.
So, I am going to rejoice in the fact that QuoinMonkey and I recently received The Superior Scribbler award from Sharon Lippincott (aka ritergal) over at The Heart and Craft of Life Writing—who, by the way, we’ve been following for over two years and who we enjoy immensely—but I’m not going to re-post the rules of the award nor do the linky-link thing nor bestow the award (I hate bestowing anything, unless it is a wart) to five bloggy friends.
(I sure hope this doesn’t land me in Blogger Award Jail, or worse, Blogger Award Solitary Confinement, where no awards are ever bestowed on me again, because, by golly, I’m a poor winner. Dang.)
But in the spirit of doing awards ybonesy-style with a big heap of QM thrown in, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight fellow bloggers who scribble awfully well and photograph like the dickens and make us laugh and are just plain nice people:
First, Sharon-slash-ritergal is a Superior Scribbler. She wrote and published the story of her early life in New Mexico (you gotta love that!) and gave a blow-by-blow of how she did the publishing part. And at the end of almost every post, she includes a “Write Now” prompt, motivating readers to not just read her stuff but write their own.
Bo over at Seeded Earth has inspired us for a couple of years with her photographs, not to mention I got to meet her and Mr. Bo in person (and they are lovely people), but Bo recently redesigned her website, and man, she is rockin’. Role model, friend, fellow lover of nature, all-around wise soul.
Another photographer, Stevo at Asian Ramblings, wows us with the way he documents his life living as an expat in China, plus he’s a friend on Facebook, which means I get to hear what’s really going on in his head. Kidding.
If you’ve never visited Jules over at Thinking About…, you have missed some great book and film reviews and a most excellent chicken parmigiana recipe, which, by the way Jules, I made last week and had my family believing that I had been returned from an alien abduction with superior cooking skills. I have since shattered their dream.
Corina at Wasted Days and Wasted Nights is another person you must visit if you haven’t already. Her posts are often based on memoir, and what memories she has, not to mention she’s about to become a grandmother. And given that I grew up on Freddy Fender, I was hooked the moment I saw her blog title.
You’ll notice we’re drawn to photographers, which leads us to Robin at Life in the Bogs. Excellent photographer and finder of the perfect quote to go with the photograph (although that’s her other blog–Bountiful Healing) and on Bogs we get to share in Robin’s life and her love of nature, especially her ever-changing pond.
Heather, Heather, Heather. What can we say about Heather, except, my God, that is one freakin’ funny woman. And she is entering her hour, which is to say, she is the Queen of Hallo-Ween. So if you keep an eye on Anuvue Studioduring the month of October, chances are you will see the transformation of her home into a full-blown folks-otta-be-paying-for-this-but-Heather-would-never-make-’em event. Oh, another stellar photographer to boot.
So these are the folks we’d like to shine a light on—today. Visit them, comment, relish, noogie, Snoopy dance, high-five. You won’t be sorry.
Oh, and we will do this again, hopefully not before too long, since there are others we’d like to point out and since ya shouldn’t need an award before it dawns on you that the blogging community you’ve been hanging with for a year, two years, some going on three years now—they’re awfully talented and pretty darned special.
We’re back after a 2+ week blogcation. How time flies. On Sunday ybonesy sent me an email titled: Getting Back in the Saddle. We both agreed that the vacation from blogging was refreshing; we needed it. We also took a hiatus from electronics, with the exception of learning a bit about Twitter. It’s a whole other world that moves at lightning speed and (like blogging) has its own protocols, courtesies, and idiosyncrasies. But there are some good, smart people on Twitter including a whole slew of writers and artists.
We’ll keep using Twitter for updates, to stay in touch from the field, and to add links we find of interest or that relate to red Ravine. So keep watching our sidebar for the latest Tweets. If you see an RT, it means we picked the link up from another Twitter user and are giving them credit. Oh, and the bit.ly and tiny.url link shorteners we use are perfectly safe. We test them first and wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction.
Her talk in St. Paul did not disappoint. She was there to promote the new book, Home Ground – Language for an American Landscape from Trinity University Press. The book is edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney and contains an A to Z history of words about the land written by famous writers like Terry Tempest Williams, Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Hass, and Franklin Burroughs. Lopez gave each writer a list of words for which they wrote a definition using a combination of research and wordsmithing; the result is over 850 terms—from `a`a to zigzag rocks—defined by 45 American writers. It’s beautifully written with pen and ink illustrations by Molly O’Halloran.
Hampl explained that Barry Lopez had asked her over a glass of wine if she would be interested in participating in the project; she agreed. And after being initially uncertain about the words she received, she ended up loving the project. In addition, each writer was asked to choose the place they considered to be their “home ground.” Patricia Hampl chose the North Shore of Lake Superior, womb of the earth, a Minnesota landscape completely different from the urban setting of her home in St. Paul.
What place do you consider your “home ground?”
Home Ground – Language for an American Landscape is a historical map drawn by writers — word geography with cairns that weave through centuries of the American landscape. Liz and I fell in love with the book; she purchased it that evening. When I took the photograph at the top (that’s Liz’s finger holding the book up), Patricia Hampl had just walked out of the library and we chatted for a few seconds about the bloom of Spring on the Minnesota landscape and how well the book sold that night. I’m certain it will find a prominent place on our reference bookshelf.
Thanks for hanging in there with us on our red Ravine break. Thanks for reading. We’re back in the saddle and I’m going to wrap it up with a little taste of Home Ground. There is a short essay on saddle written by Conger Beasley, Jr. where he refers to the twin summits of the Spanish Peaks outside of Walsenburg, Colorado (though it’s closer to ybonesy, I did eat dinner there one evening on a drive to Taos). According to Beasley, because of their resemblance to the torso of a woman at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Spanish Peaks are called Wah-to-yah, “Breasts of the World,” by the Ute Indians and locals refer to the saddle as “the cleavage.” Conger Beasley considers the beautiful and nurturing Spanish Peaks his “home ground.”
Here’s a final excerpt from a word near and dear to our hearts:
ravine Ravine is French for mountain torrent, and comes from the Old French rapine, or “violent rush.” Larger than a gully or a cleft but smaller than a canyon or gorge, a ravine is a small steep-sided valley or depression, usually carved by running water. The word is most often associated with the narrow excavated valley of a mountain stream. A rarer usage denotes a stream with a slight fall between rapids. In A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, Isabella Bird writes: “After descending about two thousand feet to avoid the ice, we got into a deep ravine with inaccessible sides, partly filled with ice and snow and partly with large and small fragments of rock which were constantly giving way, rendering the footing very insecure.”
-Kim Barnes, from her home ground, Clearwater Country in Idaho
Hello red Raviners, lurkers, and those who stumble upon us quite by accident!
QM and I have been working hard for what feels like a long time, keeping this blog full of interesting tidbits and more, and, well, it’s time for a short vacation.
I’m heading to Vietnam, where I hope to take photos and eat exotic fruit that I dream about. (Oh yeah, and work. In fact, mostly I’ll work.) QM’s going to putz in her garden and write and get ready for an art event at her studio.
Here’s the basic idea behind our vacation:
From May 11-26, we’re allowing ourselves to be free from the pressure of posting several times a week on the blog;
We’re also likely going to be absent from other blog-related stuff, like reading and commenting on friends’ blogs (although I’m going to miss you guys, and I’ll probably lurk, and what the hey, I bet you one lonely night in Saigon, I’ll even comment);
If we start having withdrawals from red Ravine—itchy fingers, twitchy keyboards, cameras run amuck—we’ll do a spontaneous post or two, but we’re still technically on vacation;
We will tweet now and then, QM from her garden and me from Saigon, so watch our new Twitter widget, which is down the right-hand side of the page;
Mostly we’re going to relax and enjoy the hiatus from electronics.
In the mean time, consider this an Open Mic on red Ravine.
If you’re a regular reader and commenter, a part of this community, drop a line about whatever moves you. And if you’ve never commented before (maybe you worried that we were a bunch of hoity-toity writers, which surely by now you know we’re not) then venture out and let us know you’re there.
One of the things we’ll be doing while on hiatus is thinking about where we want to take red Ravine. So we’d love knowing that you’re out there and hearing what it is that floats your boat.
It’s kind of cool when someone you know gets recognized for a job well done, and someone we know has done something pretty darned impressive: stevo from Asian Ramblings has become a finalist in the 2009 Bloggies!
The Bloggies are to bloggers what Addys are to advertising folk and the Emmys are to TV-biz folk. More formally known as the Weblog Awards, they’ve been around for nine years, and the winner is chosen not by an academy of blogger hoity-toities but by you and me.
So check out stevo’s beautiful photo-blog. He is an expat teacher in China, married to a Chinese woman (mrs. stevo) and he documents everyday life with unusual and often striking photographs. In this way he gives his readers a sense of what it’s like to be one among literally millions in that dynamic and fascinating country.
Then, if you’re so inclined, vote for Asian Ramblings. It would be awesome to see a truly unpretentious guy win this prestigious award.
The other reason to do it is so you can vote for blogs in the other award categories, such as “Best Kept Secret.” (I’ll tell you which one I picked if you tell me which one you picked.) There are well-written, well-designed blogs that I never knew about before today.
So if you’re at all interested in what’s considered the best in this bizarre medium of “weblogs,” check out the finalists. You won’t be disappointed. But voting closes Mon, February 2, at 10p Eastern, so don’t delay.
Oh, and just a quick logistical note on finding the categories to vote for:
QuoinMonkey: I can’t believe it’s been a year since we launched red Ravine!
ybonesy: Me neither. It’s felt more like ten. (laughs) Just kidding. But I am amazed at how much energy it takes and how some days I have the energy and other days I don’t. Fortunately, one thing I’ve learned is, what goes out eventually returns.
QM: Yeah, I know what you mean. The blog has become part of our practice, and just like with any practice, sometimes you get fried and have to refuel. It’s nice to be in it with a partner. When you’re down, I’ve got your back. When I’m down, you’ve got mine. Could you ever imagine doing this on your own?
yb: No way. There’s the daily or near daily posting and maintenance of the blog, and then there’s the whole putting yourself out there part. For me, that exposure is the piece I might not be able to deal with if it weren’t for the fact that you’re out here, too.
QM: That’s so true. Hey, I want to say that I really I appreciate you. Even though we are different people and have different styles, we work well together. And I value our differences.
yb: Thanks, QM. I appreciate you, too. After a year working together so closely, I’ve come to value the time you take with things, the quality you put into everything you do. Now when I do a post, I take more time with it. I look at the spacing and layout and wonder, what would QM think about this visually?
QM: I do that, too. I’ll post something because I think, ybonesy would do it now. And you take risks, which encourages me to take risks in areas I might not otherwise.
yb: One year later I can honestly say, I’m glad we did this. You’re right — it is a practice. It keeps me moving and producing every day, every week. It inspires me creatively. I have to say, it’s even influenced me in terms of getting my writing room together and thinking about my personal style more seriously. What do you think? Are you up for one more year?
QM: (laughs) Yep. One more year, one day at a time. I gain so much from our faithful community of readers. Creatively, the practice of keeping an art and writing community blog going, fuels my individual creative projects. Count me in. What about you? One more year?
yb: Absolutely! I’d miss the blog and our blogging community — and working with you! – if I didn’t have it. Hey, the other question I have is, What two or three things would you like to accomplish in Year 2?
QM: I’d like to integrate red Ravine into the rest of my creative projects, move it to the next level — with our readers out on the Internet, and with my teaching, writing, and art on the ground in Minneapolis. I’d also like to take more public risks in my writing. We know who our readers are – the same people who will be reading our books. So I’d like to take more risks, while still honoring the mission and vision we set for red Ravine. What are your goals?
yb: Similar ones. The integration with the rest of my stuff — that’s key. And taking to the next level both the blog and my own writing and art. Oh, and speaking of taking risks, this might be the year to figure out what to do about our identities. Do I become ybonesy, or does ybonesy become me? Can we be interchangeable, and how do I assuage concerns I have about safety and Internet identity? Lots to figure out.
QM: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about identity, too. Especially as I’ve been moving into the new art and writing studio and want to share what I’ve learned on red Ravine. I’m open to clarity. If we stay as committed as we are now, and continue to treat this work as a practice, the answers will come. We won’t be tossed away.
D. from “Joe Felso: Ruminations” wrote an entertaining post on the strengths great writers need. (Entertaining because he started the post with some history of how memes came about and what they are, and along the way he managed to mention one of the so-called world’s sexiest men alive: Richard Dawson of Family Feud fame!)
At the end of the post, D. (aka Joe Felso) tagged us at red Ravine to list our five greatest strengths as writers (or the strengths we think great writers should possess).
Before QuoinMonkey and I divulge our respective lists, we wanted to take this opportunity to belatedly acknowledge bloggers who tagged us this past summer, not with memes but with awards:
Our apologies for taking so long to acknowledge the awards and to thank all three of you for honoring us this way. Each of you inspires us, makes us think, and provides the kind of community we hoped to find through blogging.
Part of the reason we took so long to ”accept” these awards was because we struggled with the customary passing-of-the-torch to other bloggers. There are many superb blogs; in part we feared excluding some when what we’re trying to do is build community.
In the end we landed on the notion that the way we esteem other bloggers is by adding them to our Blogroll, which we update every couple of months, and by regularly reading and commenting on their blogs.
That doesn’t mean we don’t love receiving awards. We do! And it doesn’t mean we don’t want to participate in memes. We enjoy that, too, although it usually takes us a while to pull together a joint response.
Toward that end, here are our respective five greatest strengths as writers: QuoinMonkey’s Five
Perseverence — Even though I sometimes feel like it, I don’t give up. I’m in it for the long haul.
Sensuality — I write from the details of the senses. I can’t help it; I’m a Cancer. I want the whole package. I want to taste, touch, smell, hear, think, feel, and see. I want it all.
Curiosity — I’ve always been naturally curious about everything. I am NEVER bored. I love learning. I ask a lot of questions. It drives my friends and lovers (and now my partner) crazy. But I see this as a most valuable trait for a writer.
Slowness & Deliberation – I am slowmoving and deliberate in most everything I do. I take my time. I am thorough and detailed. I don’t give up until something is done and done well. These qualities are also my greatest weaknesses. Isn’t that just life?
Gratitude — I am extremely grateful for everything around me that supports my life and my writing. Friends, family, partner, old lovers, teachers, mentors, bloggers, other artists and writers. I sense them around me every day. This feeling that I am supported keeps me going. And I want to give it back to other writers. I think #5 circles around to feed #1. And the cycle continues.
Honesty — I write what I feel and what I believe. I don’t divulge everything, but once I decide to divulge something, I take it as far as I can.
Curiosity — Me and QM, two curious cats.
Reverence & Irreverence — I am superficial almost as much as I am deep.
Story-telling — My friends tell me I know how to tell a good story. I’m not sure that translates into writing a good story, but I suspect it does.
Drugs. Just kidding. Voice. — I don’t know if it’s true, but I believe I have my own voice. I know when I fall into it, and I know when I don’t.
Many of our fellow bloggers have already listed their writing strengths, but if you haven’t or if you don’t have a blog on which to list yours, we’d love to hear what YOUR top five writing strengths are. And if you don’t write or you don’t want to talk about yourselves, go the “Joe Felso” route and list the strengths you believe great writers possess.
We started red Ravine with the vision that all writers break through to the writer within and create room in their lives to write: a place to sit in silence, a practice that feeds them, and a community that holds them. Over the five months since we publicly launched red Ravine, we’ve worked every day to make red Ravine that place, that practice, and that community.
Now in an effort to take our community and our blog to the next level, we are making a call to writers and artists to consider submitting your work to red Ravine. We realize that by making this call in such a public way, we are opening ourselves up to a lot more work, potential criticism (for accepting some pieces and not others), and possibly more headaches. Yet, this is the direction we want to go, and so we persist.
We’ve created a Submission Guidelines page where you can find all the information about how to submit your piece of writing or art to us for consideration. We want to make it clear that we will not be in a position to publish everything that comes our way. And we want to make it clear that we won’t always be able to say exactly why some pieces won’t fit. But, we’re willing to take the risk, and we hope you are willing to do so as well.
Take a look at our guidelines. If you have feedback on them, feel free to send us a note (an email address is included at the end of that page). And if you’re ready to get started, launch right in. We’re waiting.
Hey, for the past day-and-a-half, red Ravine has been featured as “Blog of the Day” on FuelMyBlog, a fairly new directory of blogs.
FuelMyBlog is one of our favorite blogging social sites, and not just because they gave us some free press. The blogs registered there are from all over the world, many newcomers to the blogosphere. So far, there are no so-called “A-list blogs” like there are on other blog directories, such as Technorati.
FuelMyBlog has a fresh feel to it; if blog directories had a zen-ness to them, FuelMyBlog would be ”beginner’s mind.” (In a good way. A very good way.)
So, if you are so inclined, we’d much appreciate if you would go out to FuelMyBlog and fuel our blog. You’ll need an account, which is EASY to get. There’s a form to fill out, but you only need to input the account name, password, and your email address. Everything else is optional. You can vote once a day for our blog.
While you’re there, check out and vote for other blogs, too. There are A LOT of good ones, many in the Art/Design category, as well as Literature and Photography. Keep going back; new blogs are added daily. And by all means, if you have a blog, register it! And then let us know so we can fuel your blog, too.
This weekend red Ravine passed the 10,000-views mark and, well, we wanted to shout out to all you readers: Thanks for clicking! We went live on April 7, and we’re having a blast.
What all this has to do with Back of the Napkin? Nothing, except I happened to doodle on one. But that’s the beauty of blogging. It’s ours to make up along the way.
We really do appreciate you if you’re out there reading this. We especially love the commenting, but lurking is fine, too. We did that for a long time ourselves before speaking up. Hope you’ll eventually speak up, too, if you haven’t already.
QuoinMonkey has followed Lily's journey since January 2010. She drove to Ely, MN July 2010, 2011, 2012 to visit the NABC, meet biologists Lynn Rogers & Sue Mansfield, & photograph the Black Bears. She hopes to return in 2013.
Learn more about the wild bears of Shadow's Clan at the Wildlife Research Institute website & view Black Bears Ted, Honey, & Lucky on the 24/7 Live Webcam at the North American Bear Center: