Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fooling about with paper and other thoughts

Well, cardstock.

Recently, I've been making cards. I like cards, even though I don't like the waste of the ways they are usually done. So I've found ways of doing them differently. I use the recycled paper cards from 10,000 Villages* or I use a card and put my note and signature on a separate piece of paper so that the card can be reused. Or I craft my own card - doing my best to not be a resource hog with my crafts. And most of my cards have an envelope or pocket in them somewhere to hold whatever note I want to put in, and then any note the recipient wants to put in afterwards. And so on and so forth

To one person who seemed to really like some of the imagery in my writing, I gave a bit of my poetry. My latest thing is pop ups and moving bits. I took some cardstock and created a really cool Art Deco thing as a practice piece, and I kind of think it's nifty.

Anyway, I've been making cards and I think it's a good thing. It's a way to reach out, to make a pretty thing in this world with so much ugly (some of my stuff is even made with stuff that would otherwise go to more ugly.) Or maybe I do it because the scoring tool feels so good, just sitting there in my hand, solid and smooth, shaped both for its purpose and for my hand. And it's something to do with my hands that I can finish before my muscles start protesting.

Did you know that Matisse turned to papercutting as he grew older? I've seen some of what he did and was astounded.

And of course, aside from the joy of creating, there is also the happiness of sending a message to another person in this world, and some of hearing back about it. Of knowing that one friend enjoyed the fish and the boat, that my husband's grandmother took so much joy in the butterfly I made for her that it sits out on the shelf right in the entry to her home. There is the joy of giving, of sharing, of knowing that the more I give of the skill of my hands, the more skill those hands have. That's a pretty incredible thing, actually.

There's the joy of being uncertain. I have drawn and painted before, folded origami and done other arts, but these cards are my first attempts at making "pop-up" structures in my cards. Even if it's not perfect, it's better than I've ever done before, and that's fun, too. Plus, it's colorful. Tonight, I made a red pop-up flower and drew similar flowers all around it. I made a peace crane that I'm thinking of sending out into the world, and I don't know to whom yet.

Any suggestions as to where this beautiful white paper crane (with little flecks of silver and gold - I used my Washi paper for this one.) should go? One thought I've had is to give it to a friend who does this geo-cache thing and have her leave it in one. I've also considered sending it to various politicians. Any other ideas?

* http://www.tenthousandvillages.org


Blogger Little Black Car said...

Ooh, I would geo-cache it. I'm not completely clear on the rules of geocaching but maybe you could make an arrangement where by it got passed around amongst geocachers. Sort of share the love.

I think the politicians NEED it more but . . .I don't know. Maybe it's just Monday and I'm feeling particularly cynical.

I have to add that I am completely awed and impressed by your dedication to your blog. I'm trying to practice not writing a lot of garbage when I really have nothing to say, but it makes for sparse blog entries.

6/12/2006 9:37 AM  
Blogger Paula said...


I too am so impressed with your blog. I have wonderful essays in handwritten notebooks, a new design and ideas to publish, a new focus and intent to speak more clearly the message that burns within...and a clock that just won't cooperate. I must be realistic and know that I can't do it all. Moving my family 200+ miles is an important task that must be treated with respect...but I want to write! Please keep writing for me - I'll lovingly tuck your language into a homemade envelope and tuck it next to my heart for the days when I long to speak, and can't.

Could you send me the crane? I'm finally learning that peace cannot co-exist with violence and that I am a violent person. Not an easy lesson to learn.


6/12/2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Paula, the crane is yours. Email me your address and I'll try to get it out.

And I disagree with you: everyone has an impulse to violence. It's there in our lizard brains. When I was a child, I once hit my brother so hard that he bled, as much out of being startled as anger. We have long since made peace, but the incident still serves to remind me of what I am capable of. For me, I can't say that I am innately mild-tempered. I'm not. But I've learned to harness that fierceness into words, rather than the flat of my hand. Any time, however, that I'm tempted to be self-righteous on the topic of peace, I have the reminder that I have seen the red mist of rage - that somewhere inside me is the bersark of old.

As for my writing, for me, it's not a matter of dedication to the blog so much as it is a case that I needed a forum to get the words out of my own head and heart, and I wasn't being left alone until I did something about it.* Right now, I feel a bit as though I'm simply the nozzle in a fountain - it's not me, but the Pump putting all the water in the air through me, if that makes any sense.

* As a friend of mine noted in his live journal recently, "When you gotta art, you gotta art."

6/12/2006 6:08 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

My brother and I get along great now but we beat each other up on a regular basis when we were kids, and I have to confess that I almost always hit first. I bloodied his nose with a Cabbage Patch Kid once. I always had the shorter fuse.

We always fought hardest when we were stressed out, which I think is pretty much true of violence on any scale.

I've mellowed considerably in the past 10 years, thank goodness. Or maybe I've finally grown up a bit.

6/13/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

As to stress and violence, my mom used to say that whenever we began squabbling in the back seat on a trip, it was time to get out, stretch our legs and maybe have a pb&j or some granola. If it was about mealtime, she would let us out to stretch, and tell us how close we were either to the absolute nearest place to eat or to one of our traditional stops. (Along I-70 in Indiana, there used to be a family restaurant in a giant A-frame where there were toys in the gift shop and the waitresses were good with kids. We were typically willing to wait an extra couple of exits to "go to the triangle".)

Also, I have to admit that I try very hard *not* to think too much about whether I'm blathering "a lot of garbage". Professionally, I'm an editor, and that can really interfere with writing, as my editing self constantly second-guesses my writing self. The more I write, the more I understand why some writers don't like editors. (Mind you, IMO, they're usually writers who could really use a good editor, but that's another story.)

6/13/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Thank you for the offer of the peace crane. I will send that e-mail later.

I was angry at my brother and picked him up over my head and through him across the room intending to throw him out the window to kill him. I was no older than 12 so he would have been 8. We were so shocked that after that day we never fought again but instead bolstered each other against the fighting around us.

I've only recently come out in public about the violent childhood I've lived and my mental health challenges as a result. Even though I have had a clean bill of mental health for over a decade I find I am still struggling to learn peace - and have never been so motivated to do so. If I can come from a place of violence to a place a peace then perhaps there is hope for those who don't feel it's possible - if that is my role. I don't know yet.


6/13/2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

What was I thinking?

I threw my brother, not through. Too involved in content and not in the details!

Yikes. I need an editor.

6/13/2006 12:43 PM  

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