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Today I have the great pleasure of taking part in a blog hop to introduce Wild Woman Waking, a book of poetry by Morgan Dragonwillow with photos by Tui Snider. The thing is, that statement doesn't come close.  This book is filled with deep, heartful poems that reach straight into our hearts and minds, expressing so much that we all think and feel.  And the photos are exquisite and rich and visual poems all on their own.  And at the end?  "Recipe for a Poet." I think I might have the ingredients! I love that this book is born of a creative collaboration because I love creative connections. Read Morgan's words on the journey to this book, and then check out the other links in this blog hop. And don't forget to grab a copy of Wild Woman Waking for yourself! (Grab one in March and Morgan will donate $1 of royalties for Women's History Month.)

The story behind the book:

How We Met

Tui and I met online during #Relish11, a blogging challenge during December to reflect on the past year, facilitated by Rebecca Murphy. I was looking for something to blog about because I really didn’t have a clue. Tui had a post talking about the different blog challenges for Dec. 2011 and I found her when I either Googled #Relish11 or found her tweet about it, not sure which. I of course fell in love with her photos and style of writing and began chatting with her through comments on her blog and in turn she visited my blog and shared comments. She let me know about the #commenthour chat on Twitter (that is no longer available) and I happily joined in to chat with other bloggers and to share my blog.

Teaming up to Write

One such chat we began talking about our writing and how most of us had books that we wanted to write but I don’t think any of us were writing seriously. Julie Jordan Scott mentioned the Row80 group of writers and I joined up as well as Tui.

Tui and I had a natural way of getting along and seemed to have many things in common, such as our quirky and eccentric ways; of course our creativity and writing was at the core of our similarities and both of us not always believing in ourselves. We were natural cheerleaders for each other. Thankfully we teamed up and became writing buddies helping to keep each other motivated in our writing endeavors.

Deciding to collaborate on Wild Woman Waking

I love photography and especially artsy photography. In my first book, Dancing within Shadow, I created my own art and photos to go along with the poems. I had discovered another poetry book that shared poetry and photos together and I really liked the idea. That book was created through collaboration and I started thinking about who I would love to collaborate with. Of course Tui’s artsy photos came to mind and, thankfully, she agreed.

At first she was sending me photos for me to write poetry but before too long she decided she would rather I choose from all the photos in her instagram. Some of her photos I created poems for and some I matched up with the poems I already had until I felt there was a flow that made each more powerful together than apart.

Learning not to listen to the Critics

It is a shame that so many of us that like to create and write, whether poetry or novels, have a history of others telling us why it isn’t possible, or telling us that we just aren’t good enough. About a week ago I reached out to someone that I thought I had a lot in common with. It didn’t turn out well because she kept trying to tell me what I wrote wasn’t poetry, that it was written from the ego, that I needed to learn to connect in and write from the universe. I fell apart. I began doubting myself, even as friends told me that she didn’t know what she was talking about. They told me that my writing was beautiful and that it was her narrow idea of what poetry “should” be, as so often others want to tell you what your art “should” be. I know that I write what I am guided to write. I connect in to my muse, my higher self, and the Divine in many different ways. In fact I have made an art of it long before this person came along and tried to tell me my words weren’t poetry.

Let your light shine!

If someone in your life has told you that your writing/creating isn’t good enough, look at what they aren’t doing because they are too afraid to even try. Or do they themselves feel inadequate and have to push you down to pull themselves up? And then tell yourself it doesn’t matter what someone else says, it only matters how it feels when you are creating. Do you enjoy it? Do you feel connected to your muse when you are in that moment and inspiration is flowing? Then please keep going, keep creating, the world needs your creations.

Hopefully you will find that special person or persons (if you haven’t already) that will cheer you on and your creativity. Someone like Tui, Julie, Beth (both of them), and all of the other wonderful women in my life that cheer me on when I am doubting myself and that I cheer on when they need a little love and support for their wonderful gifts and talents.

About the creators:

Morgan Dragonwillow Head shot

Morgan Dragonwillow is a shadow poet and recovering perfectionist that strives to inspire other poets and writers. She especially enjoys helping those that have had trouble letting go of the fear holding back their words from landing on the page. It thrills her to her marrow when her words inspire someone to write; it is one of her greatest joys. Morgan released her first poetry book, Dancing within Shadow, in March 2013. She is intimate with shadow and dances into the heart of it. She believes that diving into what most people try to avoid makes great fertilizer for all types of creativity, especially writing and poetry. She writes poetry to be able to say things, feel things that she can’t seem to express or feel anywhere else. Morgan lives in Marietta Ga. with her partner, their Pekinese, and their long haired Tabby. She loves creating of all kinds but words are her passion. You can connect with Morgan from the links below:

Morgan Dragonwillow's Amazon author page
Morgan Dragonwillow's Shadow Poet & Author Page: Dancing where others fear to tread.
Facebook Author Page
Pinterest
Twitter

sm-head-shot-tui Tui Snider is a writer, travel blogger, and photographer specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cultural traditions, and quirky travel destinations. Her articles and photos have appeared in BMIbaby, easyJet, Wizzit, Click, Ling, PlanetEye Traveler, iStopover, SkyEurope, and North Texas Farm and Ranch magazines, among others. She also wrote the shopping chapter for the “Time Out Naples: Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast 2010” travel guidebook. Unexpected Texas is her first book. For Tui, travel is a mindset. Her motto is "Even home is a travel destination," and she believes that "The world is only boring if you take everyone else's word for it." She has worn a lot of hats in her life - literally - and is especially fond of berets. Her first book, "Unexpected Texas" is a guide to offbeat and overlooked places within easy reach of the Dallas - Fort Worth region of North Texas. You can find Tui all around the web.  Feel free to say hi!

Tui Snider's Amazon author page
Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel blog
Facebook author page
Instagram
Pinterest

 

Don't forget to check out the blog hop: And click here for prizes! We have prizes for you as a thank you for participating! Morgan will be giving away personal poems, soul messages (you can read one here), and paperback copies (which aren’t for sale yet) of Wild Woman Waking! The Winners will be announced on Monday, March 24th, 2014. Enter for your chance to win!a Rafflecopter giveaway

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In my last post, I mentioned how my delightful friend Jo of Tanglefrost sent me a beautiful necklace, and I was making her something in return.  I was so excited to be doing this because I love my necklace so much, and Jo has been a lovely presence in my online life this past year, and I was also rather thrilled to be sending something to England as I've never sent anything off the continent before.

I started a mixed media painting.  I wanted it to be oh-so-special so she would know how much I love my necklace and how much I love this real world connection idea.  I started another painting.  I gessoed over that one.  I put my things aside and played online.  I took out my canvas.  I looked at it and walked away.  I don't think I hit a wall.  I think the wall hit me.

I spent several days worrying about taking so long with my painting, about it not coming out right, about my gift not being good enough.  And then Sunday evening it hit me.  I was being a goofball!  This wasn't at all about making something perfect or out of the ordinary or anything like that.  It was about making one of the paintings I love to play with and create and then sending that little piece of my happiness and enjoyment to a dear person to share the fun.

So now the painting is almost ready.  I think two more layers will have all the pieces on it I want, and I've been having lots of fun playing with colors and patterns and papers.  And I think that will show in the final product.  And this will be exactly what it was supposed to be all along--fun and happy and friendly!

So take note--don't try too hard.  Do what you love.  The joy will show through, and those who experience what you've made will know that they are in touch with a little bit of your heart, and it will be a good thing all the way around.

Go out and enjoy your creating!

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I've been trying to write this post for over a week.  I've started it so many times in my head, and a few times on paper, but I keep feeling as if I'm missing the emotion I want to get down on the page.  I'm just going to stop trying.  I'm going to write up the bits and pieces, disjointed as they are, and put it out there for you all to see.

The story started when I was a young girl, in my teens.  I inherited my great-grandmother's knitting bag.  It had been around the house before then, but it was put away somewhere.  My mother ran across it, and it became mine because I was the only one in the family who would be likely to have a use for it.  Plus, I love (ridiculously, madly, unreasonably) bags.

I didn't really use the bag, but I kept it because I loved the vintage look of it (I loved "old fashioned" things decades ago, before the current vintage craze was a glimmer in a hipster's eye), and I loved that it belonged to a woman that my mother and aunt and all of their cousins spoke so fondly of.

There was an oddity about the knitting bag, though, and no one could explain it to me.  Inside the bag, although there were no holes in the lining, a safety pin was pinned to the fabric.  No one knew why it was there, but they left it there because their Baba had put it there.  So I left it there, too.

Fast forward to this May.  I took a beginner sock knitting class because I've always wanted to know how to knit socks (I'm told my great-grandmother could knit socks and sweaters without a pattern!).  I didn't use her knitting bag because the fabric is starting to come loose from the wood, and I don't want to ruin the bag.  Someday I'll figure out a good way to repair it, but until then I just keep the bag as a cherished memento.

I bought my own brightly colored, pyramid shaped bag:

And I learned how to read the pattern.  And then I got to a part of the pattern that called for marking a row with a safety pin.  I bought some fun, anodized metal pins in different colors and thought, "I think I'll pin these inside my bag so they don't get lost in the bottom."  Light bulb!  After all these years, suddenly I knew why that safety pin was there.  It was her row marker just as the brightly colored pins inside my bag are mine!

I told my mother and my aunt the story, and they were touched the same way I was.  It just gave us a warm, tender feeling in our hearts, this connection I found with a woman they loved so dearly but I never met.

This brings me to part two of my connections, and it's not about knitting at all, but I'm going to include it in this post because it's sort of related.  The same week I made the safety pin discovery, I found out I'm going to be going to Faerieworlds.  And I remembered that my friend Jo of Tanglefrost, someone I met last year online who showed me so much kindness and encouragement, had a beautiful leaf necklace in her shop, just perfect for a faerie gathering.

I contacted her, and some magic happened, and a gift of an amazingly gorgeous necklace has arrived in my hands (I cannot express how exquisite the work is on this necklace--it is delicate and ethereal and simply amazing and I seriously encourage you to gift yourself with one of these or one of her other works--you will be stunned by how much more beautiful this is in person even though it is already so beautiful in the photo!).  And with it came a real world connection between us even though we have never met.  The work of her hands is now held in my hands, and a small piece of art I am making will be headed to her this week.  And suddenly the friendship that was just online has stepped out of the virtual world and into the physical world.  My heart is so full with the joy of this connections!  I didn't even know I was missing this sort of connection until now.

So through the connection with my great-grandmother and the connection with my distant friend came an idea.  I love it that we can meet people and become friends with them online.  But I realized that there's nothing that can really replace real world connections.  I realized that I keep in touch with almost everyone on the computer.  I realized I don't actually have the addresses of most of my friends.  Sure I know how to get to the homes of my local friends, but I couldn't send them a card or a gift without having to spoil the surprise by asking for their addresses first.

My idea, formless as it is so far, is to find a way to make real world connections in our lives.  I'll be writing more about this as I come up with more of a plan, but if anyone wants to participate with me, to make connections, share things off the internet with each other, and tell each other about it, let me know.

There it is, all my disjointed rambling about connections.  I hope I've conveyed a bit of the feeling I wanted to share.  I hope I've planted some ideas in your heads about connections you can make for yourself.  Let me know what you're thinking, and together we'll move this idea forward, off this computer screen and out into the world where it can see the light of day.

 

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