Yup! It’s still Me.

I recently returned home from a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It was the most freeing, liberating vacation I’ve ever taken. That’s not saying it was a leisurely trip. In fact, my husband labeled it as boot camp with extremely good food. Some days we were up at 4am after dining until nearly 10pm the night before. There were giant tortoise to see, walks above the treetops, trees to climb, and snorkeling with penguins, mantra, sea iguanas and more. There was so much to see our group of nineteen was on the move nearly every minute of every day. The most downtime we had was when we were sitting on the bus. I didn’t have time to think about blogging.

After returning home, I didn’t feel like engaging in social media. I had experienced a shift after leaving it behind for a while. I really had enjoyed the physical activities of travel. And wanted to get back to simple pleasures like collecting firewood, going on long hikes, or walks in the woods, laughing with my husband, playing with my grandchildren, and meeting friends like you (at least those of you that are within driving distance).

One of the ways I found to free up a few minutes was spending less time sitting alone with my computer! So, I simplified my blog. For a while I’m going to try this new way of blogging. Instead of spending time with my computer writing and rewriting and rewriting again. I’m going to post a painting. Some pictures will have a caption or even a short description. Other times I’ll let you draw your own conclusions to what you see.

So, here’s my new blog! Most of my artwork is geared towards intriguing children and adults alike. The illustrations are from my new children’s book that’s coming soon. Please let me know what you think about my new kind of blog.

The Ants Escaped

You’ve heard the old saying, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Well, I took this quote one step further and added two eyes and two hands to the mix. Which gives me the perfect excuse to spend more time creating things.

My husband has told me on several occasions, “You can’t turn off those creative juices. Can you?” He’s right! However, I’ve had help along the way. It doesn’t matter if I’m painting, sculpting, or writing, these ideas, all come from real life experiences. Thank goodness the world is opening up again. Because it seems, the more I’m around others, the more creative I become.

The idea for these two poems in this blog, came to me after listening to a friend tell me of a dilemma, he faced in a poetry class. He described how he had toiled over critiquing a short four-line poem about a bunch of ants escaping a box. The assignment was to decipher the meaning of the poem. To better understand it, my friend studied the period in which the piece had been written. But his research and hard work was all to no avail, because it was word art. He admitted, “I never thought about arranging words to create a picture, a second level of meaning. And I was so surprised by how that structure was just sitting in plain sight, just a simple shift in the organization of the lines.”

Well, I guess you could say a visual poem is a mixture of poetry and art. And since I love art and poetry so much, I decided to grab my pencil and give it a try.

A Frame Of Mind

 

Coming up with word patterns for visual poetry, is a lot like working on a crossword puzzle. Instead of filling in designs of coloring books, I doodle. And I love sharing ideas with others.

So, please drop me a line in the comments. Let me know if this blog has inspired you to make a visual poem, or a painting, or maybe create a new cookie recipe. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear what you are doing.  Thanks for stopping by.

Fabulousness Is Like a Flower

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” ~Van Gogh

The Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh is among my favorite artists. His bright colors and bold textures inspire me to paint. I promise you; I’d never compare my paintings to those vivid beautiful artworks that Van Gogh created. However, this quote helps me to remember even though Vincent is a huge success, now. He too struggled to make quality art.

I don’t believe “fabulousness” just happens. Fabulousness is like a flower. It doesn’t magically appear. It starts from a seed. Then sprouts and grows. The plant blooms after a long struggle against the winds of time. Fabulousness is created by those who are willing to take the time to sitting down, to work, to learn from failure, and to keep trying.

Van Gogh kept trying. In about seven years he created over two thousand works of art.

So, when I wiped my canvas clean last month and wrote about my struggles, that was not the end. I picked my paintbrush back up and started again. And well, I thought I’d share this creative journey towards fabulousness with you. So, here’s my new painting. I’ve still got more to learn. But I’m enjoying the steps along the way.

Thank you for visiting my blog site. Please feel free to share these thoughts and artwork with others. Keep watching for my new children’s book The Unbelievable Topsy Turvy Day! Coming soon!  Leanne M Benson .com

Just Breathe

Have you ever felt intimidated by the wonderful thing’s others are posting? And after browsing the internet, you place that piece you’ve created in a drawer, where no one will ever see it.  I think, at a time when most of us don’t see many people or enjoy fun conversations, these little posts are important. So, let’s chat…

 

Breakfast with a French Horn

Oh, the places you travel when taking a trip. I came to find out, that it’s not just the spaces. It’s also the faces of our present and past.

The morning sunlight peeked between the roadside trees and flickered through my windshield. It mesmerized my thoughts as I sat watching the long white fences fade off over the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Envisioning a morning long ago, I could almost see these roads as no more than two five-foot wide buggy wheel tracks with grass growing in between them. Quickly the years flashed before my eyes. I saw women and men raising the sidewalls and facades on each of these buildings alongside these roads.

My trip continued over history hill to an old school where I could almost hear the echo of children’s laughter. I began to wonder how many stories those walls held. Stories of children learning to read, write, and get along with one another.

Shadows grew across a street dappled with two and three-hundred-year-old houses. Images walked before me. I saw a woman standing beside her affluent husband, as he smoked his pipes. And then a sad vision of a woman that sold herself to stay alive. But, then a much more vivid image appeared. The women and the men, darkened with sun and dirt from the fields and the factories walked through my mind. And I understood a little better, the contribution and sacrifices they made for our country. I jumped back into the present moment.

Our seemingly huge RV was now smack-dab in the heart of Center City, Pennsylvania. My husband and I sat on pins and needles at the red light because we were out of place lumbering through an area built in another era for more compact forms of travel. Small cars lined the streets. Bicycles whipped by in their own personal lane. Pedestrians squeezed through every open space. The light turned green for us. There were no arrows or extra lanes set aside for turns. As we began our left turn from a one-way street to another, the traffic stopped. The car ahead of us decided to park on the corner. We were stuck! We couldn’t back up, nor could we continue our turn without running over this parked car. I was nervous, wondering how long before a police officer gave us a ticket.

For just a second or two my mind shifted back to a time when only poor men rode horses and ate lobster. How different from the present where eating lobster and having horses is a luxury. I looked out the window and saw the drivers of the two parked vehicles running out of a restaurant. They moved the vehicles up onto the sidewalk and we were able to make the turn.

Let me tell you, neighborhood roads on the east coast are not designed for nine-foot wide and thirty-six-foot-long motor-homes. It sure would have been easier if our RV had been hinged in the middle.

So, you may be asking yourself, why would someone drive nine-foot wide and thirty-six-foot-long motor-home through City Center, PA? Well, you see, my stepson was moving out east, and we wanted to help in any way that we could. We felt transporting all his belongings was something we could do. So, we packed all the different size boxes into each compartment. It was a bit like playing Tetris. When everything was wedged into place, I turned to find, this French horn. After a long look, I tucked it safely under the dinette table inside. And there it stayed throughout the trip. I guess, at that point, you could say,” it was no motor-home, it was a moving van!”

Sometimes our job as parents is simply being there for kids as they walk across the stage on graduation day. And, at other times it’s traveling with a French horn under your table. No matter how big or small the event, there is always joy and satisfaction in helping them. This adventure was no different.

I hope to live long enough to share many, many more life experiences with our children and grandchildren.  Magical ordinary moments happen all the time, noticing and appreciating them is the key to a fulfilling life.

Side note: Visiting the area where the liberty bell sits, it dawned on me, that Dolly Madison Cupcakes were brought to you by yellow fever. I mean, doesn’t it make sense? Dolley’s first husband died of yellow fever. Dolley then married James Madison who later became the fourth president of the US. It may be spelled different. But I did check, and the baker admits using this well-known name from this sweet first lady. And well, I guess… the rest is history.

Please share your stories with me. Comments are often enjoyable and fun to read. Feel free to share this blog.