Each Wednesday (or thereabouts) I’ve been recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the previous week using these tag words: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing.Care to join me?
Continuing with chronological approach to reading through the Bible in a year.Trying to finish Drive, but, ironically, I can’t seem to get through it because I’m spending so much time driving my daughter to and from driver’s ed this week.
I once was in a writing group. A woman in the group wrote difficult, complex poetry that I barely grasped. She thought of herself as a lonely prophet living on the fringe of society, in a virtual wilderness, eating honey and wild locusts. In contrast, she told me I was like an inviting, cozy cottage where people were welcomed and found shelter in the warmth.I made a droopy face, feeling stylistically and intellectually simplistic. She conceded that my style was indeed more simple and encouraging than stark and difficult…but that it was good. People need a place to sit and seek comfort.Secretly, I wished I were more artsy and could sling metaphors and symbolism around with more confidence, but I eventually accepted that this is who I am, a bit plain, not only in my writing, but also in my basic personality.As a result of her intensity and intellect, the woman created stunning, lasting art. I think of her work as something like this:As a result of my simplicity, I create, well, conversations. Accessible and plain, I think of my work as something more like this:
Over the weekend, the Belgian Wonder and I drove our RV to a state park and spent the night.We hiked the canyon.The summer drought intensified by triple digit temperatures made us think twice. We almost didn’t go.But the canyon was cooled by a breeze that slid through narrow rock walls and over a trickle of flowing water.The northern part of our state is mostly flat; the southern portion boasts rolling hills. This small canyon is a topographical, ecological
anomaly example of “erosion in Mansfield sandstone from the Mansfield formation.”
This formation was deposited during the Carboniferous period at the mouth of the ancient where sediments collected and compacted. This swampy environment formed many coal deposits which were mined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collapsed entrance to a coal mine is still a major feature of the park.During the Pleistocene Epoch the Mansfield sandstone bedrock was carved into the current distinct formations by glacial meltwaters and their associated erosion. Turkey Run features many common features of glaciation, including glacial erratics, till, and scoured canyons from erosion by melting glacial waters. (Source: Wikipedia, an editorial correction 7/13/12 prompted by commenter Linda—see below—who offered a more scientific explanation for my consideration that I am now passing on to readers)
I’m sure my husband tired of hearing me murmur, “I love the way this smells” and “This is so cool!” and “I can’t believe this is just a couple of hours from home!”
This afternoon’s forthcoming article at The High Calling (Wednesday, July 11, 2 p.m. ET) is by Deidra Riggs, Managing Editor at The High Calling. She explores the question of whether or not women (or men) can “have it all.”It’s a response to the question posed in the cover story of the July/August 2012 issue of The Atlantic. I hope you slip over to read Deidra’s piece, perhaps weighing in with your own thoughts on the debate. (The High Calling link won’t work until after 2 p.m. ET.)
Would you like me to create for you a line drawing of an elephant holding an orange poppy in his trunk?
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All images by Ann Kroeker. All rights reserved. You may “pin” in a way that links back to this post.
A miracle has happened, and I finally participated this week! 🙂
I am curious about your canyon. It looks a bit like a similarly anomalous place near where we used to live . . . 🙂
Turkey Run State Park. Is that your anomalous park?
Nope. Ours is Ledges State Park. A random sandstone canyon in the middle of Iowa of all places. 🙂
Ann Kroeker says
Awww…well, wouldn’t that have been something? I’m going to google Ledges.
The signage at Turkey Run said it goes back to the glaciers moving down from the north and at this spot, it split and melted instead of continuing to flatten like a mammoth steamroller.
I thought this looked a lot like Turkey Run. It has been many a year but went there often when I was in college (DePauw).
You called this area an ‘anomaly’ which is defined as “Deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule”. Actually, it is not. The landscape of a large portion of the state of Indiana was created by the glaciers and this includes the ‘flat north’. (In the north, the rate of the receding glaciers left more debris for fill in of the crags cut by the glaciers. Moraines were left. The rate was different further south. Turkey Run is evidence of that.)
Thanks for bringing back good memories with your pictures of Turkey Run – one of my favorite spots in Indiana. (Another favorite of mine — the covered bridges.)
Ann Kroeker says
Thanks for the science lesson, Nancy. I carelessly grabbed that word in an effort to explain that I know of no other spot like it within a short driving distance from my home. I’m glad to learn a more precise definition of anomaly in relation to this spot. I’m not sure our new RV will fit under the old covered bridges! I’ll have to measure before exploring. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment!
Love your sense of humor:) The Sistine chapel vs the Elephant–I’m right there with you. I so wish I leaned more towards artsy, but I don’t and I’m learning to accept it. I love your writing. Always:)
Same with you, Kimberly. I really love where your writing is going, and I find it brilliant, fun, lyrical at times, yet accessible, too. I do like the image of a Swiss cottage all lit up, welcoming visitors, though.
Megan Willome says
I would like for you to draw a boa constrictor digesting an elephant, a la “The Little Prince.” But that’s beside the point. The point is that after you welcome your readers into the cozy cottage, you help them to see things differently. Or maybe just to see in the first place. They sit, they eat some of your food, they hear about the book you’re reading, see your recent photos, and things come into focus.
P.S. That state park looks an awful lot like the Texas Hill Country. Am I right?
I know that drawing! http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wIK3vGELUNY/T8Jipwxl9qI/AAAAAAAAMcE/_DuZYk30jTA/s1600/the%2Blittle%2Bprince.jpg
I love how your mind works, Megan. You do the same for me.
That state park is right here in the Midwest. Turkey Run State Park. Can you believe it? Or, “canyon” believe it?
Diana Trautwein says
Ann – I will take you cozy cottage any day over deep and abstract. PUHLEEZE do not devalue who you are and what you bring. And there is not one thing plain about you. Not one.
Ann Kroeker says
Oh, thank you. I do love the elephant drawing, so I’m not ashamed. Just realizing my limitations. 🙂
Also, I wish we lived closer. Don’t be surprised if I show up at your house in my RV sometime.
Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm says
Yes, we can have it all…just not all of it at the same time.
Ann Kroeker says
Sandra, that is a great point. I wonder what I have to look forward to next?
Michelle DeRusha says
I sometimes feel inadequate about being a concrete, plain writer, too — but then when readers tell me I’m accessible and relatable, I think, well, that’s something. Sometimes readers need that, too!
Love, love the canyon — that last image is divine!
Ann Kroeker says
Oh, Michelle, whatever you are, you are very, very good at it. Maybe we are communicators who seek to be artists with our words, instead of artists who are content even if they don’t clearly communicate. I would sacrifice art to clearly communicate; though, I hope to include both.
I have to work on my landscape photography. I can’t seem to get what I want, though that last one is my favorite of the batch, too.
That second image of the canyon – oh my! Did you jump in? And go for a swim?
Ann Kroeker says
Darlene, it was sweltering hot at that part of the trail, so the water was inviting…but…it was also super shallow and really mucky because our state is in a drought right now, and that water is barely flowing. It actually wasn’t as inviting as it was beautiful.
Amy Sullivan says
I giggled at the experience in your writing group becasue I had a very similar one. We were suppossed to critique each other’s work, but I truly had no idea what my fellow group member’s poem was about. Eeek. It made me feel less, but you know what? I like me. I’m not all flowery, and that’s ok.
Hey, thanks for leaving your thoughts about writing conferences at my place. Appreciate it and appreciate your “plain” words…although I think they are no where near plain!
Amy, I think one of the reasons you draw a big audience is your accessibility, sharing your experiences without pretense. Keep it up. It’s working.
And thanks for your kind words. 🙂