Author: Keddy Ann Outlaw

Rock, Shell, Bead and Brick – Easy to Make, Free Gifts

Rock, Shell, Bead and Brick – Easy to Make, Free Gifts I needed a little break from collage so I picked up my pliers and wire and started wrapping rocks. Call them tchotkes, doodads, fetishes, what have you, I don’t care — I’m on a tear. Earlier in the year, I blogged about finding finding a bunch of beach brick down in Galveston, most of it likely to be remnants of hurricane Ike, which manifested its horrible self here on the Gulf Coast during September of 2008. The bricks’ humble shapes spoke to me, softened as they are by...

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Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper

Books: Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper Major meow-wow! Within a few pages, I knew Gwen Cooper had done the impossible — made me believe I was hearing the authentic interior monologue of Prudence, the rescued cat who is the major star of this novel. But not to worry, Prudence doesn’t have to carry the whole book. We also lap up chapters by Sarah, the woman who originally rescues Prudence, as well as her somewhat estranged daughter, a lawyer named Laura. Living on the lower East side of New York City, Prudence and Sarah have had a deeply...

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Collage: a Theme Evolves

    At a meeting of my small Artist’s Way group last Sunday, we talked about why we value making art, be they stories, painted chairs or collages. One person said she had discovered that she likes herself when she is caught up in writing a story, laughing at her own words and the characters that come to life. My first response was to say that art brought what was in me to the outside, a rather inarticulate statement. I know I like taking scraps of this and that, be they images or words, and weaving them into some new...

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Round Trip Travel

What do we learn when we travel? I’ve heard it said that we travel to to strange places only to learn it is we who are the stranger. Don’t we tend to see ourselves more sharply against unfamiliar backdrops? I think so. There are several truths about travel which come back to me every time I venture out into the world. First off, as soon as you leave home, shortly thereafter you will be in need of everything you left behind. A roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, food, bathing facilities, etc. Such basic elements of...

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Three Good Novels

I just finished A Good Hard Look (Penguin, 2011) by Ann Napolitano. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, since there has been a lot of buzz about a book daring to introduce writer Flannery O’Connor as a fictional character. But actually she is not on stage in this novel very much, crippled by lupus, homebound at her mother’s farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, writing her novels and stories, sitting out on the front porch surrounded by her raucous brood of peacocks and other birds. Instead, the main characters are mostly townspeople, some who have regular contact with Flannery, some none at all. Yet their lives very much resemble one of her short stories, full of tragedy and rare moments of grace. Although I couldn’t totally buy some of the goings-on pertaining to these characters, I very much admired Napolitano’s portrait of Flannery. Her stubbornness, bluntness and lack of sentimentality are a few of the characteristics that really rang true for me. Although I have found reading O’Connor to be something like a daunting, scream-filled roller coaster ride, years ago I went through a stage of literary curiosity where I dipped into The Habit of Being, O’Connor’s collected letters, so I know enough to say that Napolitano truly called forth the writer’s essence. Never mind the other characters — my favorite scenes involved Flannery and her peacocks. “The birds soothed her; their bright...

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Poetry as Balm for the Soul

I’ve been dealing with some eldercare problems related to my 92 year-old mother today.  I found myself browsing through my poetry files. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was a teenager, and then again when I was about age 35 – 45, and just every once in awhile since then. This poem was written in my early 40s (wish I kept better date files). I lived in an apartment then, so I did not have much access to nature. When the weather was tolerable, sometimes I escaped my four walls by driving to Hermann Park, where I...

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