Camera Lucida: Reflections

“There is, I believe, no person, however insignificant in the world, but, if an account of his life and adventures were committed to paper, would be entertaining in some degree: the follies of our own life, and those we are liable to be drawn into by others, will constantly afford matter for serious reflection.”
Henry Spencer Ashbee

Cohansey River Thaw- Photo: JoHanna Massey

If you are new to my website, Camera Lucida is a regular feature created by Julia at My Red Page where she inspires us to express our creativity through story and/or photo focused on a well chosen and often challenging theme. Camera Lucida is where the very hippest coolest of the bloggers are showing up to submit their work, enjoy,  and be inspired by their fellow Lucidites. I’ve been involved for several months now and it is not only great fun, but I have connected with so many talented people who support and encourage me to my best creativity.

This weeks theme: Reflections

It’s always interesting to look at reflections…are they really the same as the reality?

How many times did you look at your own reflection and wondered if that’s how the world sees you…?

This week’s theme is: Reflections…show us how we look at the world upside down…how we see ourselves from the other side…how water seems to be the borderline between reality and imagination…show us who looks back from the mirror…make this week your own and tell us a story that will make us reflect:)

This is the most perfect theme for me this week as I am sailing Sophia up the Cohansey River immersed in writing Connor’s Reach, and the images that are reflecting back at us from the breaking up of a very long novel writing freeze are exhilarating, and indeed hard work.

I’ll be over to visit with all the coolest of cool ones  soon to see what you have created for this week’s theme, and if you haven’t joined  Camera Lucida yet… we look forward to your arrival!

 

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real,
And you’re just a reflection of him?”
― Bill Watterson

Today’s Music: In My Life- Beatles

A Different Way of Looking At the World

Thought I would give the WordPress: Daily Post ..                                                  Daily Writing Prompt a try. Today’s Prompt is:

The New School : You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

The classrooms of the  Massey Global School have a small permanent physical campus set in Pontone Italy. There are three tiers of achievement featured at the Massey Global School :

Elementary age children learn the basics of reading, composition, a foreign language of their choice, literature, arithmetic, history, the arts, music, and sciences. There is emphasis on the humanities, and on the care of the students physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. There are life skill classes on economics, global travel skills, relationships, cooking, safety, social skills, and survival skills. .

The curriculum is integrated so that reading is taught based on and with the current sciences, literature, history materials being used. Composition skills are woven within the subjects, and history and include the music, literature, and art of the period. Integration is fluid and allows for individual teachers to individually design using the designated academic material to be covered. Out of classroom study/field trips/activities  are limited to within Italy during elementary study.

Use of computers and technology skills is taught one day per week only. There is  a science lab on site, an excellent library, a computer resource lab, a health spa, and an acreage large enough to provide students freedom to study, explore, and have a sense of place with a specific natural habitat over an extended period of time. There are no cell phones permitted on campus. Landline phones and access to phones are  available throughout the campus. All computer use and storage  is done within the computer science area. There is no television at the school.

There are several greenhouse and garden areas on campus where students study horticulture, food production, and ornamental plant growing. Much of the produce is consumed on site in the school dining room and leisure facility.

Additional recreational activities include Equestrian, Tai Chi,  mountain climbing, flight, sailing, and chess,  offered by highly skilled and certified instructors.

Once students have reached the age of thirteen, and mastered the elementary level skills both academically and socially, they have the opportunity to enroll in the Massey Global School’s Secondary Program where under the supervision of  two instructors per six students they travel to a variety of  countries where they are embedded  in a village, town, or city, where they study the language, culture, history, social, government, and arts, with hands on experiences as well as academics. Opportunities for learning photography, film, interviewing, cooking or skills specific to the country and culture are arranged. Study/lecture opportunities offered by available learning institutions are made available. Each foreign residence lasts six months. During this period, students are asked to consider what areas of interest they may want to pursue as a profession, explore those professions, and make choices of residential host country curriculum choices that will provide them experiences and opportunities to explore those interests.

In addition to academic proficiency and a minimum of three -six month periods living in foreign countries, each Student must compete 200 hours of Community Service in their country of origin to  have completed the          Massey Global School Secondary Program.

At the age of eighteen, a student who has achieved a Secondary Education Certificate from Massey Global School, are invited to choose an area of professional interest and receive all of the global resources available to       Massey Global School to further their study, attain employment, sponsors, research funds, internships, apprenticeships, whatever their next step is to succeed whether in the arts, science, business, or humanities.

All teachers   have a minimum of a Masters Degree in Education, a specialized area of expertise and study. Our teachers are well compensated and valued, have a full health and benefits package, and are provided housing for themselves and their families at no charge on the main Pontone Campus. There is a six students per teacher ratio on campus and a two teacher per six student ratio off campus.

Massey Global School currently has 200 students total. There is a full boarding or day attendance option.  There is currently a waiting list than spans twenty years out including future born children. Ability to pay is not a consideration for enrollment.  Tuition is free due to the generous multi-billion dollar legacy  of the JoHannaMassey.com Foundation.

A Board of Regents oversees the School’s operation. This consists of six  Massey family members with lifetime appointments, who chose their successor.  In addition,  one faculty representative from each of the three level of study, one community representative, and one employee representative from each division of operation. Each non family member holds a  three year position as a Regent to be decided by their peers. A majority of Massey Family Members of the Regents Board must agree to any decision before the Regents, and all Regents must vote.

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Evolved Class of 2015 Graduates

What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.                           Chuck Grassley

Today’s Music: Brick in The Wall- Pink Floyd

Summer’s Out of Reach

 

“Nobody on the road. Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house, but you’re not home”

Boys of Summer- Don Henley

 

Two red tailed hawks looking down as I pass.  I pretend not to notice. They remain on their cottonwood fence posts.   Barb wire clipped, rusted, curled and forgotten creates spiraled sculptures back-lit by the arrival of the sun. This arroyo bottom I walk is mostly dry after yesterdays monsoon,  and everything is clean, crisp and the air is charged with the change. Oh there will be a few more weeks of hot weather, but the punch that is summer in the desert is gone. The mesquite trees are dropping their pods, the cypress becomes more fragrant, the sky gets that cobalt blue. The southern hummingbirds gorge at the feeders preparing to migrate. Long sleeves would have done nicely this morning.                                                                                  Taken by surprise, I recognize Summer is out of reach.

DSCN0366
“The Shaman”- Bill Worell                                                                             Photo:  JoHanna Massey       (view more photos of my very first Gallery taken later this very day by clicking here)

By the time I returned to sidewalk, I was seriously unsettled. No matter the Autumn Equinox is weeks away, I have felt the shift of a summer spent.

Started a new MOOC (Massive Online Open Class)  last week: Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens. Offered by the University of Melbourne in Australia through Coursera I am just thrilled for this opportunity. The course offers basic journalism skills, but applies them to the evolving fast paced changes taking place in what is termed the ‘new media.’ How news, views, opinion, and information is researched, documented, and published today. Writing skills, interviewing, ethics, law, accessing public documents, and the basic investigative skills as they apply to our Brave New World is passe′ planet. Taught by Dr Margaret Simons (Journalism at the Crossroads – Crisis and Opportunity in the Press Scribe 2013. What’s Next in Journalism? Media Entrepreneurs Tell Their Stories) and Denis Muller (Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age Scribe 2014.), this is a most needed class for me as I strive to create an  excellent website, one that not only functions well, but is relevant and interesting. I am half way through  the second week and I am feeling optimistic that I will be able to keep up with the majority of the students who are way more tech savvy than me, that at the point where people want their planet returned to them to begin healing it that the means to do so are available for activism, and I have so many new curiosities  to get answered which is always exciting. A go to class for me that is  bringing together through lectures, excellent materials and  the timeless rules of writing all these new gadgets.

Sophia Connor doesn’t seem to want to return to the not quite solid ground of the Cohansey River marshes. To say I am struggling with Connor’s Reach        does not touch describing this experience of novel writing. I have three separate draft versions of the second chapter, each told from the perspective of various participating characters. All that needs to be accomplished in this chapter is a days worth of sailing from one tributary to another. A sail that in reality I have actually done many times in my past. So what is the issue? You might think I was attempting to write about a  successful Mars Expedition and Settlement project  in first person narrative.

It’s Sophia causing the trouble.  Not content to stand on the bow and enjoy the Scanjourney, she has entered into me with a Vulcan Mind Meld form of possession, and declared she will not only use me to tell her own damned story thank-you very much, but give me no peace until she does. I am  drifting off  considering her motives and impulsive behavior forgetting to add yeast to bread mix,  not hearing Terry reminding me I am due at the dentist in twenty minutes, or throwing a very nice dinner party for a dear friend who is leaving for Nicaragua and spend what may our last evening together behaving like a serving wench,  eavesdropping with Sophia’s ear, because SHE is on her way to work in a boarding house.

I am as a child who spends her days playing with her imaginary friends. Realizing that I must get out of Sophia Connor’s way and let her dictate to me this now fourth  draft of Chapter Two.

It is a time when my peers are experiencing illness. One in the hospital for twenty-five days with ‘complications’, another having surgery this week. Yet another is recovering from a fall that broke an ankle. This is the part of being old that frightens me and I do not want to know the details, feel self conscious and apologetic in their presence because I remain strong and healthy. I consider the time I  invited my Mother to bring her entire Sunday school class to go sailing on the Schooner Pioneer. They had an old broad  rioter’s good time. Ten years later, on a shared walk around her block ,  she told me that she was the only one still alive from her entire church class. She has since passed and I am now the sturdy old Grandmother in the family.

“Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.
A little voice inside my head said:
“Don’t look back, you can never look back.”

Boys of Summer- Don Henley

Indeed, The Summers Out of Reach, and we ( Terry, Sophia, and I) are taking this day to go visit The Exposures Gallery to take some inspired photos in their sculpture garden to bring back and share with you.  Please join us. Entrance here.

"The Symbol" Bill Worrell

 

Today’s Music: Don Henley- Boys of Summer

Peace and blessings to all.

Oh The Places You Will Go! Sunday Blog Visits

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Good Sunday Morning to everyone. Indeed, as Dr Seuss reminds us,  we all get to choose where we will go. Especially on the internet. Whether you are looking for thought-provoking, challenging, mouth watering, or inspiring ideas,  our fellow bloggers have much to offer.  Here’s a few gems I spent time with this past week:

Much chatter going on about Writing Conferences, and if you stop by 10 Minutes of Words : An Unedited Look Into The Mind of Hayden Trenholm,  you can hear his take on his recent participation in When Words Collide.  Titled  Conversation, he speaks with a succinct clarity about the similarities and differences in how we interact with one another when sitting elbow to elbow in person rather than screen to screen in  cyberspace. Another favorite of mine on his site was The Persistence of Vision, the story of his trip to The Tea Farm, where he meets a young couple who infuse him not only with their home grown tea and edibles, but with their enthusiasm and energy to embrace and make real their goal and vision. What I enjoy about Hayden Trenholm’s site is that he is keenly observant, has an abundance of insight and opinion about a big variety of topics, and he has mastered the art of the word count. Creating short and very succinct posts where not a word is wasted.

Ever wished you knew exactly where the Seven Sisters of Pleides are in all that wonderment of sky above you? Ever considered that you share that sky with anyone who ever lived on this planet and that many created stories and myths to explain not just the sky but life itself?  Get yourself over to La Audacia de Aquiles (Audacity of Achilles: Visible World is Only A Pretext.) Maybe your curious about Sigmund Freud, Centaurs or Zeus’s wife Hera.  This is a smart,  visually stunning, and wonderfully lush website. I enjoy  being there for the well written and researched text and the accompanying artwork.   The site has a wealth of  links and citations.  Literature, Science, History, it is all here and time at La Audacia de Aquiles is an adventure, an inspiration, and an opportunity to grow intellectually. Thank you Aquileana. 

Lynze has lived one of those lives that shouts movie material. She relocated from the Northwest United States to Saudia Arabia,  living with and without electricity, in luxury and out of  luxury. She cooked her way through life there for sixteen years, raising nine children, sharing recipes and skills with people from India, Morocco, and the United Kingdom. She is back in the United States now and has created Lynz Real Cooking. Sharing memoir, photos, and of course recipes. I made the Kufka which would have been a familiar meatloaf except by adding cinnamon, cumin, and allspice in Lynz recommended amounts, it turned the taste to something new. Think it is hot where you live? Read Weather In Saudia Arabia  from someone who lived there.

One of the joys of blogging is the  opportunity to connect with people from around the globe and learn about their lives, lifestyles, culture, and perspective. Between Two Tides offers poems, pictures, and stories from L’Entre Deux Mers France, done with such grace and attention to wide angle time thinking. In Forests of France you learn about the history of forestry practices and the  regrowth of France’s forests, and for me it was the moment of considering that learning to value ecosystems has been and continues to be the global learning curve. Golden Leo Days, offers up stunning photos of summer colors of haying and sunflowers, accompanied by intimate prose expressing universal experiences. Just a lovely, interesting, must follow website.

What unfolds when a high school principal, an Irish Priest, A Southern Baptist Minister, and  An Aspiring Writer play a golf Tournament as a foursome? I have no interest or knowledge of golf and adored The Perfect Game. Or how would your adult daughter feel if you tape recorded your conversation with her as a lesson on listening? Break the Silence says a lot about all of our listening skills.

You might think An Aspiring Writer , after 27 years in law enforcement, might have a difficult time with retirement. Not true.  Claiming that his new lifestyle reminds him of when he was a child having gone outside to play, when not  kayaking, hiking, traveling, this  Aspiring Writer has surrendered to his creative voice. Embracing WordPress wholly, whether with Flash Fiction,  Short Stories, or Photography, his blog flows smooth, entertaining,  and interesting. His  responses to the WordPress Prompts which he is using as warm ups before work on his novel, reveals so much of the light heart and keen mind of a life being well lived and shared.

Like lots of bloggers, Mark enjoys traveling,  taking photos and writing flash fiction. His mission on Coloring Outside of The Lines is not to show us all the popular places we have on our Life Lists, but to take stunning photos of out of the way places, and details of life that we will pass over. Often accompanied with some of his quirky and thoroughly smart  Flash Fiction. Mark wants other bloggers to succeed; creating and participating in Challenges, or through the re-blogging of some excellent reads he found.  And don’t miss his Health Phase.  Pop on over right now and enjoy a cup of his newest healthy brew.

I encourage you to stop in and visit with these interesting folks, and if you like what you find, support them by choosing to follow them and return often.  And let them know JoHannaMassey.com sent you!

Peace and blessings to everyone.

Today’ s Music: Boz Scaggs “Lowdown Live 2004”

 

BIG BLOG DEALS

Big Blog Deal Happily I announce  205 followers for my blog. This is truly something to celebrate and I just want to say thank you so very much. And what a following it is. Writers, students, artists, mechanics, mothers, music men, IT people, farmers, science geeks, ministers, travelers, photographers, athletes, pilots, teachers, chefs, and comedians. Flung far and wide around the globe from New York City, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Kenya, and everywhere in between.  Crossing over gender, age, politics, faith,  demographic distances and differences that demonstrate just how positive an impact for peace and unity that the WordPress Community is. Your support and encouragement of my blog is so appreciated, and I learn so much, and have so much fun  each time I visit with you, and you inspire me every day.  Thank you. Another BIG BLOG DEAL

Original Artwork by Lori Preusch

Lots of people have them, whether they travel in their heads, hearts, or are stuffed away in attics, bottom desk drawers, or Misc Archived Files. They are the half considered yearning to be …. stories and novels, paintings, videos, sketches, jewelery,  sculptures ,collages, any and all of our creative ideas and yearnings that we keep stuffed away.  Our blogs are a true example of bringing our creative power out into the light …worldwide light of day. My life long desire  is contained in a red trunk as bits and pieces of memorabilia, notes, photos and family documents. This story  has sat in my heart wanting out for a long time. I have to say that this blogging community has really given me the confidence, and my recent lifestyle changes the opportunity, and there is in me such a sense of urgency… that if it is to be told, it’s now or never. And so I take a deep breath and begin.  Connors Reach is now in progress! This is just so exciting…no exhilarating is more like it. There is also a fair amount of anxiety about writing this novel , but it’s power is waning as I embrace my characters and let my imagination out to play. Feeling kind of bold and breathless in the decision to post as it progresses, but I am thinking sharing the creating with you will help me tremendously.   Your ideas, input and continued support is valued and requested. Thanking everyone.

 

The GREAT STUFF PURGE is officially over. It has now been one month since we moved into the townhouse. The car went into the garage for the first time yesterday.  This may not seem like a big deal to most, but even after literally shedding over a ton of stuff before the move, we were still downsizing from approximately two thousand six hundred feet of living space to thirteen hundred, brought too much stuff across country,  and Terry has many jokes now about me being a ‘specialty hoarder.’ That is a hoarder who selectively hoards books, shells, photos, fossils, and rocks. I admit that while I can offload a ‘valuable’ Chippendale chair, or an oak  dining-room set  without a second’s thought to where I will set my bottom  or dinner plate, I will defend my chunks of marbled petrified wood from Arizona, bright pink conch shells from Nevis, a bit of pottery from Civita, and thousands of photos from thousands of days, people,  and places. And yes I did keep ninety percent of my books, even the entire collection of hardbound Anne Rice vampire books.  For my Granddaughter of course, to disappear into this summer. So relieved and happy to be past this part of the path to  that lifestyle of Elegant Simplicity I keep yakking about and striving for. The trick now not to haul home more stuff. Here we go!

Sunday Blog Visits

Sunday Blog Visits

These are just a few of the creative and innovative websites I have visited this week that inform, entertain, challenge, and inspire. Some I have featured previously.  Stepping out into new creative projects from their blogs, I find their new ventures to be incentives for me and I am sure others to consider the blog as a springboard, and for those new to blogging to see the different directions blogs can take.  A few I have included  are new to me and I encourage you to drop in for a  visit and see for yourself the high quality and diverse content being produced on these blogs.

James Clear writes “What I Do When I feel Like Giving Up.” A no surrender voice that will quickly get you out of any desire you have to quit any project or goal you are invested in.  His information and ideas are always backed by solid research and where to find it, and his writing is personable enough that you can identify with his situation, or  ponder how he knew exactly what you needed to hear.

I follow Andrew’s View of the Week largely because there is not one shred of pretense or pretend to it. He also  kindly encourages those bloggers he follows, which I am grateful to be one of.  The quality of his  post this week on his own personal General Writing Rules explains why he is celebrating his 500th  follower and being asked to write  a column for Today’s Author.  Congratulations Andrew.

It was surely a laugh out loud at myself moment when I received a response to a comment I had written to ElizaBerrie about                                                          ” And They Lived Happily Ever After The End”  a short story she wrote on her website Looking Back From 50.  She had written this very detailed slice of life recounting of a babysitting gig she had years ago and the wisdom of a six year old. When she replied to my praise with the news it was fiction..totally made up …I hit the follow button to her website. It is filled with so many stories and her site is so well organized and easy to navigate. She can and does personify the belief that fiction is the closest to truth and reality we can get!

Curtis Bausse is busy. Get yourself on over to Journey of a Blogvelist right now before you get left behind. He has his neighbor’s curiosity as he sports bloody knives, wine bottles and a determination to get the cover for his novel One Green Bottle to be truly representative of the tale within. You can read the first four chapters on his blog. It’s excellent. He also is now publishing the Bausse Gazette that you can subscribe to at Journey of a Blogvelist. Delivered by email, I read a few of the stories online and was so excited by the quality of them that I printed out the entire first edition and it is excellent bedtime reading.  Normal people having normal days that turn on a sentence in directions you never saw coming. Go now..and subscribe.

Spiral Sun inspires me because Kim has created a peaceful intelligent space and the quality of her writing and artwork keeps gaining strength and becoming more powerful and refined simultaneously.  Her musing, her book reviews, and her sharing her day to day efforts to explore and grow into the best person she can be are so heartfelt.  It’s a feminine space,  where Kim is asking the big how and why questions of our roles as humans on the planet and being genuine in her search for the answers. She is tracking down the good books, reading them and sharing what she finds. Her latest book review   ‘Zen and the Art of Making a Living’ by Lawrence Boldt offers up sound and soul based advice on what does and does not work when working for money, and her Meditations on Walking post is a mere sample of her ability to write in a genuine voice with photos to tease you into believing you took that walk with her, and enjoyed every moment.

Nothing makes me happier than finding a new science based website.        The Science of Illustration : All the Science That is Fit To Illustrate                    This site could well make science nerds out of everyone, something I believe is our best hope for saving our planet. Try out                                                         Vacancy at Emerald Ash Borer Motel .  There is a man walking down the street and he sees purple boxes hanging from trees. Aside from the humorous cartoon illustration is the story behind the box, of the millions of trees destroyed by this insect, written in language to make you care and links to verifiable science to back it up. Don’t like bugs? Try Fishy Art. Did you find yourself thinking about bats the last time you were buying bananas? There’s a reason for that. Matt Miller explains all on his well illustrated and most excellent diverse topic science website. Thank you Matt!

Looking for some very cool visuals about writing and words to match? Drop in on Smiley Like I Mean It. Smiley Yearwood received a                                          On Repeat Blog Tour Award and his response to it was just so much fun to watch, and his words ringing so true for anyone struggling to balance their 9-5 job life with their true creative calling.

That’s it for the Wednesday edition of Sunday Blog Visits.

 

Wearing Big Girl Panties

Blogging 101 Reloaded: Day 2                                                                                      

Assignment: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline

I initially chose and will continue to claim my own name for my blog. I really needed to do this on a physical, mental, physical,  and most important spiritual level (where I strongly suspect a name means nothing!).  Somewhere in a long stretch of  years and the many names, titles and persona’s I was assigned and accepted I had relinquished telling my own story. And what an amazing good life I have had, so many places and people and experiences along the way and so many stories to tell.

This is who I am, what I think and feel and did in this life. And even when the story is a fiction it is coming from my voice. And the truly wonderful thing that has happened in this claiming my name is how it spilled out off the blog and I began to know and say out loud what I wanted and needed, and put full tilt boogie effort to making it happen.  I am home now, with boxes of memories about my feet, and still long lists of details that come with these major geographic relocations.

Returning to my blog and loving it all over again. Energized and ready to go forward and part of that is in having said my name out loud. The energy coming from the freedom of it, and the amazing amount of creativity and community I found at WordPress.

This is what I said about using my own name as the title and Walt Whitman as my tagline in January 2015.

“It simultaneously makes me feel a sense of lightness and grounded in my truth. Reminds me to write using my own voice.”

Now I need to get my big girl panties on and write the stories!

My very best to each and everyone.