Wednesday Words 1.20.16: A creative recipe

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Take bits and pieces of one poem (“For You, Friend,”) from a favorite book:

Ted Kooser's Valentine

Add a favorite photo:

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And a stir with a set of thrift-store letter stamps:

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The photo is of my grandmother.  Of course, I never knew her when she looked like this–and yet, this image is as iconic to me as any I’ve seen of Bowie or Rickman in the past week. Something to remember, I think, as we collectively mourn:  That we are surrounded by those who stroll along on the outside of time. They don’t have to be famous for us to bask in their light.

19 thoughts on “Wednesday Words 1.20.16: A creative recipe

  1. Marian says:

    This is really lovely, Rita. It almost looks as though the photo was meant to have words placed above it (the person who took the photo composed it with such a vast sky above). I can see a distinct family resemblance between you and your grandmother — you have the same smile. And I wondered, initially, if this was perhaps the grandma who knit all those marvellous sweaters, but checking back in my comments, you said your grandma doesn’t knit anymore (speaking of her in present-tense), so I’m assuming this is not the same grandma…

    I often think of my grandparents, and quite love the idea that they are “strolling along on the outside of time”. (I also, coincidentally, just finished reading Liesl and Po to my 10 year-old son, and this idea is its central theme). Thank you for this post, Rita.
    Marian recently posted…Kingston and Kondo and Seeing StuffMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      Thank you. There is definitely a line of resemblance that runs from my grandmother straight through to my daughter, which I love. This grandma was a knitter, too, although I think her preferred needlecraft was crochet. It was my other grandma who knit the marvelous sweaters; she will be turning 99 in just a few weeks! I feel so lucky to still have her in my life. I miss the grandma in this photo so much. Photos like this remind me to try to live as fully and presently as I can.

      I’m not familiar with Liesl and Po. Is it a novel?

      • Marian says:

        Ah, sorry — yes, Liesl and Po is a children’s novel by Lauren Oliver. Liesl is locked in an attic by her cruel stepmother, and Po, a ghost, comes from the “Other Side” to help her.

        Your other grandma will be turning 99?!?! Wow! I imagine/hope there will be *quite* the celebration for that 🙂 .
        Marian recently posted…Kingston and Kondo and Seeing StuffMy Profile

  2. t says:

    I love that book of poems by Ted Kooser.

    I really appreciate your posts lately – have been going through a hard time myself as I have a sibling with mental illness experiencing some struggles; trying to listen, be supportive, and do what I can. Community helps.

    • Rita says:

      It sure does. Mental health issues impact a whole family, don’t they? I’ve worried as much about the child who doesn’t have any issues as I have about the ones who do. Glad to know there’s another Ted Kooser fan out there. I like the story of that book almost as much as the poems in it.

    • Rita says:

      Thank you! I printed it on regular 8×10″ photocopy paper and stamped right on that. Now I’m thinking about hanging it on the wall in my new project studio. Maybe I’ll make a series? Just for fun.

  3. Stephenie says:

    What a beautifully creative idea. It gives the photograph a whole other life, and gives her a sense of mystery and romance that I am sure existed in her real life during that time, given her snazzy and sophisticated look. I adore old photographs, and whenever I look at ones like this I love to think of what life was going on in them. Really lovely.
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    • Rita says:

      You’ve really hit on why I had such fun with this little project. I also love old photos. I love imagining the story of them. And I’ve also long loved the interplay of word and image, and seeing how words can make us view an image differently.

      I have no idea, really, if there was mystery and romance in her life then. Probably romance, for sure. 🙂 I just love this photo because she looks so young and vibrant and full of beans. When I knew her she wasn’t young, but she remained vibrant and full of beans until almost the very end–which made her a wonderful grandma to me.

  4. Kari says:

    This is a WONDERFUL idea and I will steal it.
    My mom would love this Valentine.
    Well, not THIS particular Valentine but one of her mother who passed away eight years ago but is always on our minds.
    I am adding it to my list.
    Kari recently posted…KonMari, Muther EffersMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I think so, too. There are some photos of my daughter in which she looks so much like my photos of my grandma at the same age. I just love that.

  5. Sarah says:

    Oh, this is wonderful. I love the idea of our private icons. Certain photos of certain family members, and also certain lines from certain poems, act that way for me. Love how you have married the two together here.

    And there is something absolutely iconic about a grandmother who is full of beans. Not all of them are but when you’ve got one who is — or was, I guess, but somehow the present tense seems more appropriate for what we’re discussing here — of course she becomes a lodestar.

    I see the family resemblance, too, in your smile!
    Sarah recently posted…Weekending: 2016.4My Profile

    • Rita says:

      She’s so much in my thoughts lately that present tense seems fitting. What I loved about this grandma is that she always took all of us kids along for the ride. I hope I can be like that if/when I have grandkids.

  6. Shannon says:

    Oh I love this so much, Rita. My favorite thing I’ve seen all day! I feel the same about old photos as you mentioned in a previous comment…that you love imagining the story of them. This is a great photo of your grandma, thank you for sharing it and providing me some inspiration. I’ve enjoyed all your posts lately, as I always do. I’ve been wading through a bit of a rough patch lately, so I haven’t commented much, but please know I’m always here reading and enjoying, even when I’m not being a good blog friend and showing my appreciation and support with a comment. 🙂
    Shannon recently posted…Christmas Decorating: Dream vs RealityMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I’m sorry to hear things are rough right now. I know a bit about those patches and how they zap your energy for things you normally like to do. No worries at all about the whole commenting thing. I always enjoy “talking” to you, but hope it never feels like an obligation. I’m glad you’re here, too. 🙂 I hope things start to shift soon for you.

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