Today marks the second guest post for the Good Aunt series. I’d like to introduce you to my friend Tracey Finck and her gem of a book called Love Letters to a Child. She’ll encourage you to tap into your inner Jane Austen (an aunt who loved to write books but also wrote loving letters to her nieces and nephews).
Tracey Finck, photo by Beverly Johnson
To all you good aunts out there, this book makes a great gift for parents and grandparents, but pick up a copy for yourself, too. Finck’s suggestions and wisdom can translate to nieces and nephews and other important children in your life. You may even feel inspired – as I have – to keep a journal for adults who need to hear your “love letters” to them, too.
Just a reminder that the “Thank your good aunt” contest is still going on, and if you win, you could choose to receive Love Letters to a Child as your prize. So get those entries in that describe a wonderful woman in your life who deserves a letter of love from you. And now, here’s Tracey:
My friend Kathy vividly remembers a particular day – way back in junior high – when she was going through a miserable stage of life. It must have shown on her face, because a friendly teacher scribbled a little note and secretly handed it to her during class. The note simply said “Choose to smile.” Kathy glanced up at the teacher and saw sincere encouragement smiling back at her. Kathy did smile, and it actually helped her feel better. That small act of loving attention meant so much to her that Kathy has held on to that note – red pen on yellow paper – all these years.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It can change the world. And it can change the way a child or teenager thinks.
One way to be a good aunt and bless a child you love would be to write a note or a card or a letter. You might even keep a notebook or journal celebrating a special ongoing relationship with a niece or nephew. Continue reading →
Back in March, I wrote about why I love paper and real books more than e-readers. In that post, I shared some of the artwork of a book artist, Brian Dettmer, who takes a scalpel to books and transforms them into works of art.
This past weekend, I got to see Dettmer’s work in person at Pulse Miami, just one of many art festivals that took place in the Miami area as part of a larger celebration of art, Art Week Miami.
Now, I love art, and experiencing art is one of the ways my life flourishes. But I don’t generally love ultra contemporary art, and since Pulse Miami is billed as a contemporary festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As my husband and I walked through the expo halls, we were wowed by some of what we saw, unimpressed with other works and horrified by others that seemed nightmarish or vulgar only for the sake of being nightmarish or vulgar. Continue reading →
As promised, I’m continuing this week’s discussion about paper and my love of it, especially when it’s bound together with other paper to form a book. A friend posted an intriguing link to Facebook earlier this week, showing some of the artwork of Brian Dettmer, a book “surgeon.” And I was instantly entranced!
|“Webster Two Point Oh” by Brian Dettmer
Eugene’s Blog beautifully highlights these works, and another blogger followed up yesterday with an interview with the surgeon/artist himself – showcasing more of his work. Dettmer takes books (and other media) and carves them into intricate sculptures. You can see a gallery of images at Dettmer’s site, his flickr pages, or the blogs. It’s definitely worth taking time to browse through them.
Looking through his artwork reminded me of a discussion I first had several years ago in a class in grad school (a debate played out over and over in the media). E-readers were a newly-emerging technology at the time, and our professor wanted to know whether we thought printed books would die out because of the new readers. I’m an unapologetic bibliophile, and so the thought of books all converting to electronic form made me panicky then, and still causes a little flutter of concern in me today. Continue reading →
“You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart … You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-6, 9
Writing on your doorposts
A few weekends ago when my husband and I were in the mountains, we strolled through a little art gallery, and there I saw a stunning mezuzah case. Mezuzot came about to fulfill the requirement in Deuteronomy 6 to write God’s words on a house’s doorposts, and as you might imagine, there are lots of rules about who writes the parchment and where the mezuzah goes. And while the words on the parchment are the truly important part, mezuzah cases come in many different shapes, sizes and styles.
Not being Jewish, I passed up the mezuzah case at the gallery, but I haven’t stopped thinking about that beautiful little case and what it will someday contain. I also keep wondering what words my friends and family might say I would be most likely to write on my doorposts.
There’s a growing trend in home decorating to put up words as art on your walls. You can even stop by your local Target and pick up some stick-on words that’ll go up with ease: big, small, curly or simple, whatever suits your decor. But what words would you choose to put on your doorposts, especially the front door where your friends, family, guests, and even a stray salesman can see? I’m talking about the words that you live by.
What are the words that truly represent what’s most important to you? Now: where will you write them? Continue reading →