august 21, 2017

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“Simply knowing that God loves all people is not enough – it is the first step in allowing deeds of compassion, mercy and justice to flow from our hands.” ~ Rev. Katherine Redmond

 

blinded by the light

 

I stepped outside the office to view the eclipse and ran into lots of people I know like Catherine Brereton (above) and Deirdre Scaggs and Reinette Jones (below). The first time I saw the sun through the eclipse glasses (thanks to Stacy Yelton) it was totally amazing. I mean totally amazing. With the naked eye, and with my phone’s camera (carefully shielded by the eclipse glasses), there’s still a lot of light even at 95% totality. So, the glasses were a crucial part of the experience. It didn’t get nearly as dark as I expected, and the temp also didn’t fall as much as I thought it would. But none of that matters because watching the moon blot out the sun was seriously incredible. I feel like this was my warm up for the next eclipse due in 2024 north of here. I am so taking the day off (or I’ll be retired by then), getting an eclipse filter for the camera, and taking a road trip to the path of totality. What a glorious experience to watch the heavens work.

 

she sang total eclipse of the heart

 

ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone (snapseed)

 

dancin’ in the dark

 

dark side of the moon

 

july 30, 2017

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“Surround yourself with people who talk about visions and ideas, not other people.” ~ Unknown

 

bread friends (snapseed)

 

Here are a few friends that talk visions and ideas all the time; Catherine Brereton, Susan Stewart, Annie Bassoni, and Stacy Yelton. This morning we converged for brunch (deliciously prepared by the Brereton/Stewart family), a couple hands of Cards Against Humanity, and a wonderful visit on the porch. These women inspire me every day in a variety of ways, and we never fail to laugh when we’re together. We also never fail to eat well, and bread and/bread-like foods are usually involved. What amazing minds I’ve been fortunate to call friends. 

march 6, 2017

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“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” ~ Wendell Berry

 

stalker

 

This is Geoffrey. He’s the sweet boy that looks after Catherine and Susan. He’s got a curious look about him with huge eyes and a wonky ear that looks like a piece of wadded foil on the tip. He’s a small build with a mighty heart. Unlike many cats who shy away from visitors, Geoffrey joined the gathering in the kitchen for a time, and he was interested in my camera. I couldn’t get it to fire when he had his nose stuck to the lens, so I stalked him down the hallway until he did a pirouette in the bedroom doorway as if to say, “What do you want, human?” I was smitten with this kitten. 

march 5, 2017

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“Never forget yesterday, but always live for today, because you never know what tomorrow can bring, or what it can take away.” ~ Tiny Buddha

 

what a way to start the day

 

Stacy, Annie, and I were invited to Susan and Catherine’s for brunch in their new house. PJs were optional, but as you can see, we all showed up in casual wear. What a treat it was to spend a few hours with these smart, witty, funny women. The C&S team cooked some truly remarkable vittles, too. Susan had warned us about Catherine’s homemade cinnamon rolls, but her description didn’t do them justice. They were ridiculously good. We laughed, we talked, we shared our love of grammar and gravy. It was as gorgeous around that breakfast table as the bright blue sky outside. I’m so grateful for their friendships.

 

when the plates are cleaned the talking commences

february 14, 2017

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“Happiness isn’t getting all you want. It’s enjoying all you have.” ~ Unknown

 

editor-in-chief

 

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when Catherine Brereton dropped by my office for a special delivery of Solidago’s inaugural issue. The journal was all her idea. I’m constantly surprised that she asked me to be involved. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. She (and Susan-the-awesome-poetry-editor) is so easy to work with, smart, creative, and other adjectives. I’m such a lucky gal.

october 29, 2016

posted in: art, photography | 1

“Your face will change. Your body will change.
The only kind of beauty that endures is the kind that lives in your heart.”
~ Lori Deschene

 

the team
the team

 

BFF Catherine graduated from the first MFA Creative Writing class at UK back in May. During her last year she’d been Editor-in-Chief of Limestone, UK’s long-time creative writing journal. BFF Susan quit a tenure faculty position at Cornell (yes, that Cornell) teaching English some years ago because she hated academia (can’t blame her there). So, when I say that both women are exceptional writers, I’m really doing them a disservice because the word just doesn’t quite convey how gifted they are. Susan’s poetry is nothing short of exquisite, and Catherine’s fiction, and non-fiction, is second to none. Together, they’re a scary good writing team. A short time after Catherine graduated she asked if I’d be interested in being part of a literary journal with she and Susan. Of course I said yes. Who wouldn’t want to create something awesome with these two? We named it Solidago; Latin for ‘Goldenrod’, Kentucky’s state flower. We opened our bi-annual submission window for prose, poetry, and art at the end of July. It closes Monday. This morning we met formally for the first time since summer to discuss design and such. We also met our new social media intern, Sabrina Smith, a former student of Catherine’s. Her boyfriend was sweet enough to snap a photo for us to commemorate the moment (I’m sorry I didn’t get his name, but thank you for the snap, Sabrina’s Boyfriend!). We’ll have the first issue of Solidago available for purchase around Thanksgiving, and we’ve already chosen the cover for our spring issue. There are great things happening all around me, and I’m so lucky to be part of this slice of goodness.

july 12, 2016

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“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” ~ Frida Kahlo

 

Leo approves (snapseed)
Leo approves (snapseed)

 

Today has been all about publishing I guess. I got home from work to find a copy of The Bible Belt Almanac in my mailbox. BFF Catherine Brereton has a piece about Mamaw in it, which includes some of my photos. Catherine was inspired by my exhibit at First Presbyterian Gallery back in October. (I absolutely love it when art inspires art.) It’s a story that’s happy, sad, tragic, loving, faithful, funny, and much more. It’s pretty amazing that she was able to wrap all those emotions into a short story. Of course, I was thrilled to pieces when they wanted to publish the photos along with it, but more than that, I was honored that Catherine found Mamaw’s story worth writing. It means more than words can say really. Then, I checked my email and learned an article Judy Sackett and I wrote is being published next month. Like I said, I guess today is all about publishing. Blessed beyond measure is what I am.

may 8, 2016

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“I am not who I was nine years ago. I will never be that person again. I am stronger, yes, but the most significant aspect of the me I am now is that, through the loss, I have learned–know–truly, completely, without doubt or question, the limitless, eternal, and unstoppable power of Love.”
~ Mary Carroll-Hackett

 

true love
true love

 

Greg Davis was dressed as a Southern Gentleman for the Derby. His wife Vanessa Oliver wore her traditional Derby Day pants. The pants are very 70’s, and so much more entertaining than the traditional Derby hat. Though I didn’t take a lot of photos during the Derby garage party, the ones I got are either good, funny, or both. I’m only sorry I didn’t pop off a close-up of Annie Bassoni. I love all the expressions. I am just so blessed to have each of these people in my life.

 

candid camera
candid camera

may 7, 2016

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“In the end only three things matter, how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ~ Unknown

 

sorority pose
sorority pose

 

I’ve been so busy that I almost didn’t have the annual Derby gathering. At the last minute, I dragged the TV to the garage and fired up the grill. Most everyone had plans, but fortunately, I wasn’t alone in my last minute throw-together-cookout-idea. I couldn’t ask for better company. The food was delicious. The horses ran without incident, and Nyquist remains undefeated. The rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and a lot of laughs were had. I’m glad we were able to be together. We sure did miss Sandy Davis, though: love and miss our Miss Kentucky Derby. Otherwise, a good time was had by all.

 

the bringers of Derby pie
the bringers of Derby pie

april 23, 2016

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“Never let those that don’t like you become more important than those who love you.” ~ Unknown

 

keep an eye on this one
keep an eye on this one

 

If you recall yesterday’s post I said the day was full of awesome. The second part of awesome Friday involved Catherine Brereton’s reading from her MFA thesis at Wild Fig Books. Two years ago I was in Gurney Norman’s inaugural MFA class with many of Catherine’s MFA contemporaries. They’re all wonderful writers and beautiful people. Catherine, however, is extraordinary. That’s not coming from a place of friendship. That’s coming from someone who loves writing, and someone who is increasingly hard to keep focused if the story and its delivery isn’t just so. Some years ago she asked me to read one of her stories. It was beautiful, of course, but I was so focused on the intricacies of her sentences that I lost sight of the beauty in their weave. I told her I loved the work but I preferred short sentences. A fool thing to say. Reading her work over the years made a liar of me. I don’t prefer short sentences. I prefer good sentences. In truth, I’d become accustomed to reading mediocrity such that I was blinded by her brilliance. Catherine, through her generous spirit of letting me continue to peek at her works in progress, taught me that. She raised me up. That’s what good writing and good people are supposed to do. Her wordsmithing is at once grammatically superior and inextricably captivating. It doesn’t matter the subject, her stories will jump off the page, grab you by the throat, and hold you until the last printed period. After yesterday’s reading I was reminded that exceptional writers also tend to be exceptional readers. It’s not just her delivery on the page that’s exquisite. Her delivery to an audience elevates a story into an experience. That is a gift unto itself. A bad reading can ruin a good story. No one will ever be able to accuse Catherine of being a bad writer or a bad reader. Mark my words, Catherine Brereton, America’s adopted daughter, will be one of our most treasured writers before you can say “God save the Queen.” I am honored to call her friend.

 

being a good reader of writing matters
being a good reader of writing matters
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