In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?



The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens - G.K.C.

"Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It's enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it." --Claude Monet

I've been experimenting with art these days, in different forms and mediums. I've never been much of a hand at drawing, haven't tried painting much; if I'm in any sort of hurry my pictures look like a three-year-old's. But I wondered what I could do if I took my time and just enjoyed myself; setting a leisurely pace, trying things out to see what I could do, and having fun with it. And I decided to inspire my first attempts by my love of stars, and add appropriate quotes.

I didn't actually plan this all out in advance. My idea for this theme came while in the process of embroidering this. I had such fun I thought I'd share them.

This next is my favorite art-form. I'm not even sure what you call it... layered paper art, I suppose. I've been making these as long as I can remember; inspired first, I think, by the show Little Bill, and the child's picture book Feast for 10. But I had never tried to mimic any famous works. As you can see this is a rough representation of Van Gogh's magnificent 'Starry Night', with Sarah Williams' "I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night".
Here's my try at sketching for under watercolor.
And here's my watercolor. 'Second to the right and straight on till morning' -James M. Barrie


The last few books I've finished
"If you cannot read all your books at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them--peer into  them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let the at any rate be your acquaintances." --Winston Churchill

"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home." --Anna Quindlen
my current stack--Prince Caspian is, of course, a re-read
I've been fascinated by first lines as of late. The beginning words of a book open the door to a whole world, as yet unknown. Some are commonplace enough. Some excite every fiber in you. And once you are attached to a book, the most menial of phrases can vibrate with intensity or make you laugh with delight. Sometimes, the first line catches my eye right away, but often it is only afterward that I go back and appreciate the opening phrases, and with the knowledge of the book in my mind, each word has more meaning. So I pulled a bunch of books off my shelf a few nights ago, and out of the piles on my floor, to read their forgotten first lines. Each one brings a smile for me, and I decided to share some of my favorites here. Perhaps these lines will make you want to read the books in full. I hope so! They have afforded me much enjoyment. At any rate, I hope they bring a smile.

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
--Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling

"'It may be only blackmail,' said the man in the taxi hopefully."
--The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allingham

"Anyway, I said savagely to myself as I tried to lift a large and very clumsy suitcase down from the baggage rack, anyway, it is my father's old home, and I've always liked antiques, and I suppose an ancestral house is always more interesting than--'Oh, drat it! Ouch!'"
--The Sherwood Ring, Elizabeth Marie Pope

"The Friday before winter break, my mom packed me an overnight bag and a few deadly weapons and took me to a new boarding school."
--The Titan's Curse, Rick Riordan