How many writers/poets also love creating visual art?

The idea for this question arose from a conversation I had with Chuck Litka, about typos.

I find typos very distracting when I’m reading as they seem to leap off the page at me. And I can’t ‘not see them’.

I hypothesized that the reason might be because I do digital graphics where I’m used to working at the pixel level. The more I thought about those typos though, the more I saw a pattern emerging. And it had nothing to do with typos.

See what you think:

Chuck Litka is a writer and painter.

I love words and digital graphics.

Diana Peach loves digital graphics too.

So does Audrey Driscoll.

Chris James is a writer and photographer.

Frank Prem is a poet and photographer.

Yorgos writes and draws.

Candy Korman is a writer, lover of art, and dances the tango.

Robbie Cheadle is a writer and creator of art with fondant.

And my crafty friend Anne is a botanical artist who paints and embroiders whilst also writing interesting posts on her blog…

And those are just the creatives I can think of off the top of my head. Apart from Anne and Candy, I believe we all create our own book covers, so there is an element of functionality about our art, but I suspect we’d want to be involved even if we weren’t DIY Indies.

So I’m throwing the question out there:

Is it possible that wordsmiths need to create some form of visual beauty in order to recreate it with words?

Or is there something even more fundamental going on?

Is it possible that wordsmiths are also into music? Or dance? Or food?

Food is such an elemental part of life. Do you have to be a good cook in order to write convincingly about food?

Lots of questions and not a single answer, so I’d really like you to share your thoughts in comments. And by ‘you’ I mean Indies, traditionally published writers, photographers, painters, graphic artists, musicians and cooks. If I’ve missed anyone please share that too.

-hugs-
Meeks


Howard Springs as ‘concentration camp’??

What a bloody nerve! I’ve come to expect all sorts of misinformation from social media, but this really takes the cake. Apparently, we Australians are ‘hunting’ down Indigenous people from remote communities and forcibly vaccinating them. Or locking them up in our own home-grown concentration camp at Howard Springs….

My thanks to Steve Bero for forwarding me the following article which refutes the nonsense going viral on the internet: https://quillette.com/2021/11/28/an-outback-conspiracy/

It’s a long article, but well worth the read, if only to counter the insidious and potentially lethal disinformation being spread by unscrupulous media personalities overseas. The Australian government deserves utter condemnation for its inaction on Climate Change, for blatant pork barrelling and a host of other issues, but this is not one of them.

Why? Because there are deeply committed Aboriginal groups who are doing everything possible to keep remote communities safe. The conspiracy theorists demean and insult the vital work they do.

Please pass the Quillette article on to everyone you know because the lies are literally killing all of us.

Meeks


Omicron may be the successor to Delta

I first heard about the Omicron variant last night, from Dr Norman Swann:

Little is known about the Omicron variant of Covid19, but it is being blamed for a sudden, sharp spike in new infections in South Africa:

Dr John Campbell explains what we know about the new variant, and what it may mean for the pandemic in this must see video:

The dot points I took from the video are:

  • Omicron has 32 mutations which may make it more infectious than Delta,
  • The mutations may allow it to elude the immunity supplied by vaccines [ALL vaccines],
  • No one knows whether Omicron will make you more sick or less,
  • It has already escaped from South Africa into Hong Kong and Belgium,
  • Most of Europe and the UK have just banned travel from South Africa,
  • The travel bans are to give scientists time to find out more about Omicron, and for Pharmaceutical companies to tweak existing vaccines to be more effective against the variant,
  • Both the US and Australia have adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude,
  • By the time we ‘see’ how dangerous Omicron can be, it may well be too late.

On a personal note, I’m booked in for my second AstraZeneca jab this Monday. I was hoping to enjoy a latte before Christmas, but I guess I’ll ‘wait and see’ how bad Omicron gets before the Offspring and I emerge from self-isolation. I really, really hope this variant does turn out to be a ‘storm in a tea cup’. 😦

Meeks


DOG BONE SOUP: Remembering Thanksgiving 1963

I’m Australian so Thanksgiving is not something that resonates with me, but I do remember the assassination of JFK, and how stunned we all were. I also remember how very much I loved Dog Bone Soup. If you haven’t read it I really, really recommend that you do. It’s simply brilliant.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

JFK by Norman RockwellNovember 1963

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is a story about those invisible people.

DOG BONE SOUP (An excerpt from Chapter 22)

DOG BONE SOUP collage #1“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries…

View original post 1,393 more words


Warrandyte, spring, and mowing

For newcomers to my blog, I live on 1.6 acres in Warrandyte, a hilly, tree-covered, fringe suburb of Melbourne [Australia]. It’s a glorious place to live, in winter. Over summer, not so much. Eucalyptus trees burn, and we have an awful lot of them.

The potential fire danger in Warrandyte has been a recurring theme almost from the moment I first started this blog. In fact, one of the very first posts I ever wrote is called ‘2012 – practical tips to protect life and property from bushfires‘. This year’s post is going to be a visual treatise on why mowing is vital to reduce fire danger.

I’ll start with the area directly behind the house. It faces northish, pretty much on the top of a hill, and is the most likely direction for a bushfire. I have a roughly 15 metre space between the house and the trees:

A relatively flat terrance stepping down the hill

This is how every inch of my block should look. Now for the reality check:

The dividing line

This shot is of the next terrace down. You can see exactly where the mowing stopped.

And on the other side….

Some of you may recognize this area from the blog banner, or the cover of Miira. In the foreground is a gently sloping terrace held back by large field stones. The next terrace down is half mowed, and again, you can see the dividing line between mowed and not mowed.

In this screenshot you can see the same area from the side:

A gentle slope, Warrandyte style

The unmowed grass is so tall, it makes the slope on the left of the pic look ‘flat’. It’s not. About a metre further down the terrace drops to another level.

So why is the mowing taking so long? And why am I soooo exhausted? Well, I’m mowing every inch of this block with an Ozito battery driven lawn mower:

My Ozito battery powered lawn mower

I LOVE my Ozito. This little mower is not supposed to mow blocks like mine. It’s supposed to be a lightweight solution for little old ladies mowing pocket handkerchief lawns. You know what I mean, the pretty ones that have real grass instead of field grasses and weeds. And yet, this amazing little mower is getting through grass that’s almost knee high.

In my own defence, I have to say that I started mowing as soon as I finished burning off the piles of dead wood that had accumulated over winter. Unfortunately, I’d barely done half of the front of the block when we had a massive storm that dropped some very big branches and a shitload of smaller ones. I paid to have the big ones cut up and carted away, but I had to deal with the little ones myself. [Little as in under 2 metres long].

As a result of that storm, mowing had to stop while I walked up and down 1.6 acres picking up dead wood, putting it into piles – roughly 8 – and burning it all off again.

But it’s Spring, right? So while I was busy doing other things, the grass was busy growing. So here we are, Ozi and me, desperately trying to catch up because once that grass dries out, it will be like kindling to any fire that decides to come through.

Warrandyte is a wonderful place to live, but enjoying the ‘serenity’ is not enough. We have to maintain our properties so that they will be less likely to burn when the inevitable happens. And on that note I’d better grab the batteries and get out there.

Stay well,
Meeks


Popcorn foam!

If you thought this was going to be a post about food…sorry. It’s a tech post about an innovative way of creating foam packaging [amongst other things] out of, yes, popcorn. 🙂

Georg August University

You can find the full article here: https://newatlas.com/environment/popcorn-expanded-polystyrene-foam/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=b2daaabfa4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_11_18_11_54&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-b2daaabfa4-92416841

Climate change is too big for any one person to do much about, but if we all demanded non-plastic packaging, we might clean up those garbage patches in the oceans.

I’m still getting supermarket stuff home delivered [about 4 weeks until I’m fully vaccinated], and the thing I hate the most is that the packer puts each kind of fruit and veg. into a separate plastic bag. Back when I did my own choosing, all my fruit and veg went straight into the trolley or straight into one of my own bags. I know that’s not possible now, but… -sigh-

Anyway, I’m looking forward to edible packaging. 🙂

Meeks


Covid19 – no herd immunity any time soon

The numbers are in: neither natural infection NOR vaccination will provide herd immunity in the near future.

Why? Because herd immunity implies permanent immunity, and it ain’t happenin’. BOTH types of immunity wane within a matter of months, not years.

Antibodies are produced after your body either fights off a natural infection or is immunized via vaccine. The numbers show that well over 90% of people 18 and over [in the UK] have already produced antibodies against Covid. As the vaccination rates are nowhere near that high, those figures must include people who have developed natural antibodies as well.

Yet infection rates are soaring.

Clearly herd immunity has not been achieved. Herd immunity describes what happens when a virus can’t spread because it keeps bumping up against people who are already immune to it. Those people provide a barrier between the virus and those who are not immune…the fresh meat.

We’ve known about the vaccines’ immunity waning since early 2021 when information started coming out of Israel about Pfizer, but we haven’t had definitive proof that natural infection waned as well. Now we do. Both types of immunity:

  • reduce the likelihood of death and/or severe disease,
  • but neither will last forever,
  • and neither will permanently stop the spread of infection:

In the video, Dr John shows that both UK health and the CDC in the US have admitted that herd immunity is most unlikely, at least in the near future. Covid19-Delta has become ‘endemic’ amongst all populations. We can hold it at bay, but strategies based on the concept of ‘herd immunity’ will fail.

What does that mean? It means that:

  • Covid19-Delta is here to stay.
  • Getting sick or getting vaccinated will only be a ‘Get out of Jail’ card for a short time – 4 to 6 months.
  • The fully vaccinated will require boosters for the foreseeable future.
  • The unvaccinated will continue to be at risk of serious disease and death because they will NOT be protected by the immunity of the herd.
  • Not immune people can be both the UNvaccinated and the FULLYvaccinated. The difference is that the FULLYvaccinated are much less likely to die.
  • Not keeping up with boosters is likely to dump people into the as-good-as-unvaccinated group when it comes to infection, hospitalisation and death.
  • Masks in high risk settings are likely to remain necessary.
  • Lockdowns in areas of high infection will become necessary as hospitals are overwhelmed.
  • Social unrest is likely to escalate.

It is disappointing. Very. Disappointing.

It’s also scary because the people who have been brainwashed into believing Covid is just some kind of global conspiracy will say “See, I told you it was all a con. They said the vaccines would make us safe and now they’re saying they won’t.” Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxers will say “See, vaccines don’t work!”

The truth is rather more nuanced. Vaccines do make us safe, but not permanently. I think of it as a maintenance issue. When we first get new brake pads fitted to our cars, they work perfectly. With time and wear and tear, they work less and less well. If we don’t have them replaced, they’ll eventually wear out completely and then we’ll have a potentially fatal accident.

Sadly, that may be too logical an argument for those who’ve lost faith in public institutions. And science.

I’ve often wondered what it must have felt like in the past, when civilizations unravelled, when dystopia happened for real. Now I really don’t want to find out.

Meeks


A Bear called Frank

No, this is not a post about a personable grizzly – we don’t have any in Australia. The closest we get is the legendary ‘Drop Bear’.

<<cue hysterical laughter>>

<<cough>>

No, this post is about my good friend Frank Prem and the Beechworth Bakery Bears he has come to know and love. Frank is an Aussie poet-storyteller who brought me to tears with his stories of the Black Saturday bushfires that killed so many in our state. This time, however, Frank has created a beautiful book about teddy bears:

These gastronomic Bears greet customers in the Beechworth Bakery, Victoria, Australia

I love teddy bears and have a whole shelf full keeping me company in my office, so I fell in love with the Bakery Bears at first sight!

In the latest Bear book – Waiting for Frank Bear – Frank gives voice to these cuddly Bears and shows us their Bears-eye-view of the world, both the good and the bad. Coming out of the pandemic, we need books like these, books that bring this topsy turvy time into perspective and help us rediscover what it means to be human.

A peek inside the hardcover book

‘Waiting for Frank Bear’ will be released on November 14, 2021. That’ll be tomorrow for those of us in Australia, the day after for the rest of you? You can pre-order now though. 🙂

Amazon links for Waiting for Frank Bear :

In Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/Waiting-Frank-Bear-heard-Beechworth-Bakery-ebook/dp/B09KG4Q8K6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1636774991&sr=8-1

In the US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09KG4Q8K6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

If you’d like to know more about Frank, you can find him on his blog: https://frankprem.com/

Or on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvfW2WowqY1euO-Cj76LDKg

You know that ‘Resistance is futile’ [Doctor Who, 1963] so do it! lol And to all the Star Trek fans out there – I watched every episode of Doctor Who as a kid and that phrase was most definitely in use long before the Borg apparently used it in Star Trek. I also watched every episode of the original Star Trek, which is why I’ve never been able to watch the new generation re-make.

Live long and Prosper!

cheers,
Meeks


Last video…promise!

The reason I’m posting this short, 1 minute video is because I’m thrilled with my new editor – the Videopad video editor. I’m only using the free version at the moment, but I will be getting the paid version very soon.

So what does this editor do? Well for starters, it allows me to:

  • create separate video and audio tracks,
  • add in still images,
  • do voice-overs after the fact,
  • add groovy transitions [I didn’t in this one, but I will next time],
  • add multiple tracks – e.g. video, music, narration etc,
  • and slow the audio and video down to an absolute crawl so I can cut stuff out at just the right moment!

Honestly, after just a few hours of concentrated play, I’m loving this editor! My thanks to Dawn for recommending it. 😀

Oh, and here’s the video I did all my learning on:

Comments are off coz I don’t want to push our friendship tooooo much. lol

Hugs,
Meeks


18 subscribers – THANK YOU!

I have a confession to make, and an apology – I’ve never had a Youtube account before so I had no idea that so many of you had channels as well. I’ve just visited all my wonderful friends on Youtube, but I thought a general apology might be in order. I wasn’t ignoring you. Just sheer ignorance on my part.

Thank you one and all. Your support has made me enjoy this Youtube experiment even more. Huge hugs!

love,
Meeks


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