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Posts Tagged ‘writing topic’

I Feel Most Alive

I Feel Most Alive, Droid Shots, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2014, photo © 2014 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


I saw this blackboard outside of a church in St. Paul and thought it would make a good Writing Topic. Who wants to do a Writing Practice with me. Get out a fast pen, paper, or keyboard. I Feel Most Alive When…10 Minutes, Go!


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

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The Honeycrisp Apple - 108/365

The Honeycrisp Apple, Archive 365, Droid Shots, The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, Minnesota, September 2012, photos © 2012-2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Apples were a crisp, healthy snack when I was growing up. The apple varieties I was most familiar with then were Red Delicious and Granny Smiths. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was introduced to two apples I had never tasted before: the KIKU and the Ambrosia. If you draw a thermometer and add a scale from sweet to tart, here’s where they fit in:  SWEET — KIKU, Fuji, Ambrosia, Gala, Jonagold, Cameo, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Kanzi, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Granny Smith — TART.

Apples are closely linked to place, and many of us are familiar with the Gala from New Zealand or the Fuji from Japan (both developed in the 1930s). In the history of the apple industry, the three varieties I favor are relatively new to the world. The Ambrosia originated in the 1990s in the Similkameen Valley of British Columbia, Canada where the Mother Tree still lives. Local favorite the Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota and introduced in 1991. The Honeycrisp is a cross between a Macoun and a Honeygold (the Honeygold itself a cross between the Golden Delicious and Haralson). The KIKU came about in 1990 when Luis Braun, the South Tyrolean apple expert, was traveling through Japan and discovered a branch in an orchard, which a few years later would become the sweet KIKU apple.

What’s your favorite apple?




Where does your mind go when I say apple? Is it your first bite of a lunchtime snack, a trip where you picked orchard apples with your family, or the smell of fresh apple pie right out of the oven (check out this great apple pie recipe from ybonesy: 1-2-3! Apple Pie Gluten-Free!). Are you reminded of a computer company? Or perhaps a certain snake and the precursor to the Seven Deadly Sins (another good Writing Topic). Do you believe the adage, An apple a day keeps the doctor away?

Let your mind wander to all the places where apples grow, and capture your impressions in a Writing Practice.

Apple, 15 minutes, Go!


APPLE 3 2013-03-03 09.35.16

The KIKU Apple, Archive 365, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2013, photos © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




RESOURCES:

History of the Honeycrisp AppleNew Kid On The Block at Wood Orchard Market

History of the Ambrosia Apple Ambrosia History at Ambrosia Organic

History of the KIKU AppleStory – 20 Years at Kiku Apple


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, March 3rd, 2013


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Heart & Soul, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   

Heart & Soul, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, on the hill behind the zendo, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


My sister-in-law told me about a book she’d recently received as a gift, The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. It’s about the ways individuals express love. And the ways they like to have love expressed to them. What makes you feel loved?

On a recent 62 degree November day, I was taking a walk by the Susquehanna River with my mother, and we started talking about the subject of love. The lively discussion led to many questions.

What if the way you are able to give love is not appreciated by your partner or spouse? What if your partner or spouse doesn’t know what makes him or her feel loved? What about friends? Isn’t it important that they know the things that make you feel appreciated?

According to Chapman, there are 5 primary languages of love:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch



          Heart & Soul - Inside Out, Mabel Dodge House, through the zendo window, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved    Going The Distance, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved 


Think about the things that make you feel loved. Are they acts of service. Thoughtfulness. Gratitude. Is quality time high on your list. How deep is the well. Half empty? Half full? To love we need to be able to both give and receive. How do you like to receive? How is learning to receive different than taking?

If you’re having a hard time answering, Chapman provides some clues, questions to ask yourself to help determine your primary language:


Contemplation, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved


 1) What does your partner or spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply. The opposite is probably your love language.


After The Fire, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, along the path outside the zendo. Taos, New Mexico, February 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  






2) What have you most often requested of your partner, spouse, or friends? That thing is the thing that will probably make you feel most loved.


Meditation Heart, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved






3) In what way do you regularly express love to your partner, spouse, or friends? That method may also make you feel loved.








After answering the 3 questions above, pick up your pen and do three, 15-minute writing practices:

I feel loved when…

What hurts me the most is…

I know my friends care about me when…



 Heart Of Taos Mountain, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, outside the zendo, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   Sheltered Heart, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

    

The journey is discovery. Where would we be without love?


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, November 20th 2007

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The Haunting, All Hallow's Eve By The Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 31st, 2006, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Haunting, All Hallow’s Eve By The Fire, one year ago, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 31st, 2006, photo © 2006-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Maybe it’s the time of year — Halloween and Day of the Dead nearly upon us. Nights grow longer. Frost kills the plants, and another season is put to rest.

Or maybe it’s our era, so many things to haunt us. We seem to be troubled, melancholy. Is the world crying, or is it just me?

I believe in ghosts, and not just the kind that might spook one cold, dark morning. (Who just caused the book to fall in the room next to me?)

It doesn’t take much to be haunted. Something someone told you that you can’t shake. Or something you saw. Experiences can haunt, and the specter of disease can haunt, and memories — my, how they haunt!

Is it bad to be haunted? Or is the ghost only as menacing as we allow it to be? (Remember Casper, anyone?)


In the October 1, 2007 issue of The New Yorker, Philip Roth said this about the inspiration of ghosts and haunting for his novel Exit Ghost:

‘Haunted by the past’ is a commonplace phrase because it’s a commonplace experience. Even if one is not, strictly speaking, ‘haunted’, the past is perpetually with one in the present, and the longer it grows and the further it recedes the stronger its presence seems to become. I agree with the Chekhov character who, when, in a crisis, he is reminded that ‘this, too, shall pass’, responds, ‘Nothing passes’.

What do you think of when you think of haunting and ghosts? Are you frightened? Or do you regularly revisit your old ghosts?

Write about ghosts and haunting. You can write about the ways you are haunted figuratively, or write about your real experiences with the supernatural. The topic is rich. Write more than once.

At the top of your page, write these words: I am haunted by … and then for three or so minutes list all the things that haunt you. Just like in Writing Practice, don’t stop to think about your list. Just click off each item.

When you’re finished, pick one of the “ghosts” on your list and write about it for ten minutes. Pick another and write for ten more. If you’d like, send us one of those writing practices to post on red Ravine. We’ll publish as many as we can.

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April showers, winter melting. Earth Day pops up this weekend. There is green the color and there is green the movement.

Think about green. Take a walk, look at blooming trees and daffodil stalks. Look around your house and see how green you live. Do you have good recycling habits? Do you eat green eggs and ham?

Green is money and envy, the grass on the other side of the fence. Airsickness. Riding your bike to work, driving a Prius. Lettuce and unripened tomatoes.

Think green but don’t think too hard. Just write. Green.  Greening.

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Li Ho (791-817) was a T’ang poet who, according to Five T’ang Poets, Translated by David Young, “….has a reputation as a gaunt and ghostly enigma, summoned on his deathbed by a heavenly messenger riding a red dragon. A common phrase for him is Kuei-ts’ai: demon talented. And his literary influences can be found among many subsequent writers.

One of them, Tu Mu, a 9th Century poet, was asked some 15 years after Li Ho’s death to write a preface to his collected poems. He tells us that he fudged and evaded the assignment, out of a sense of inadequacy. When he settled down to it, though, his enthusiasm took over….”

______________________________

Here is Tu Mu’s preface. Steal a line and run. Let your mind go wild.

Clouds and mist, mingling softly, cannot describe his manner; endless stretches of water cannot describe his feelings; the green of spring cannot describe his warmth; the clarity of autumn cannot describe his style; a mast in the wind, a horse in battle cannot describe his courage; earthenware coffins and engraved tripods cannot describe his antiquity; flowers in season and beautiful women cannot describe his intensity; fallen kingdoms and ruined palaces, withered grasses and gravemounds, cannot describe his resentment and sorrow; whales yawning, turtles dancing, oxghosts and snake spirits cannot describe his unreality, wildness, extravagance, and illusion.

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

-related to post, Among Ruins – Li Ho (791-817)

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Taos is on my mind. One from our group will be there soon for a week of silence. The three of us convened in Taos for a week in July of 2004, genesis for our relationship today as writers.

From my notebook during that July retreat I’ve selected six phrases. Some were topics we used and others came out in my writing. Pick one of the phrases. Don’t write on it right away. Hold it in your belly for two or three days. Then write. No word limit, but base your post on a practice of at least fifteen minutes.

Here are the phrases:

  • The last time I was in Taos
  • What’s good in my life
  • It was Fiesta weekend
  • Let it come to you
  • Sirens interrupting the caws of ravens
  • Pickles

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