Feeling the ARTitude through music

Music is a vital part of my creative life. I listen to a VERY eclectic mix of music from across the globe and time. The stuff I stay away from is today’s TOP 40. Nothing creative about that packaged noise created by a group of people focusing on dollars over content. Every so often something decent slips through, but not often enough.

I look for creatively composed music, lyrics that communicate ideas, feelings, dreams…this is what speaks to my inner muse.

Pandora and movie soundtracks are my two main sources for hunting down music. One group I discovered after hearing their tunes in an indie movie is Dengue Fever . Click on the title to go to their website. They are an American band making Cambodian Pop mixed with psychedelic rock. Their music energizes me, my creative ideas expand while I’m listening to them. FYI – They’re a fun band to listen to while cleaning house.

Check out their Pandora channel Dengue Fever Radio. It is pure delight! Very unique, plenty of great variety in the featured bands. Great housecleaning music too!

There are lots of music artists I want to share with you, but one at a time. Okay? Better to savor each independently to see how you feel about them.

Dengue Fever = Music with ARTitude


ARTitude in Flight

Behold! My favorite children’s poem by Brod Bagert:

I planted bird seed in the ground

and wild weeds sprouted all around

I know it sounds a bit of absurd

But I didn’t grow a single bird.

Soooooo…I folded me some birds instead. HAH! How do you feel about that crummy birdseed! 

To start, I purchased one of those mobile picture holders. Then I looked through oodles of origami bird examples. None satisfied me. Not to be stopped, I took an example from a French language website I couldn’t read, studied the pictures, made a few changes, and VOILA! I made the the first of many birdies.

FullSizeRender[6] I used two-sided printed paper for a more interesting effect.

I added a green, pre-made, paper ball for a pop of color to the top, and inserted a butterfly (can you spot it?) in with the birds to delight people who take the time for a closer look.

FullSizeRender[5] ARTitude in flight!


Larn’n’ Writ’n Dagnamit!

This gal young’n was slow to larn to read. Writ’n won’t any easier.

“Ann is unteachable.” Said my first, first grade teacher. We moved. I got another first grade teacher who simply said I daydreamed too much.

I was saved by my love for books. My childhood picture books, many of which I have today, were beautiful to me.  For hours I’d stare transfixed by the pictures, noting every detail. I’d remember the story read to me, then I’d add to it letting my daydreams lead the way.

Sometimes, I drew in my books pretending to be an illustrator. 

This is how I develop my stories for museum artworks to this day! I take a good, long look at the art, noting every detail; colors, textures, shapes, what is shown, what is not, how I feel when looking at it, does anything remind me of something else? I mentally note all my initial responses and connections. Then, I read what the artist named it, what information is given about the art, the historical history around it… pertinent information like that. I link all these threads together and see what is woven.  Generally, rather quickly, I arrive to a story, or at the very least, a direction to go in search of one.  Sometimes, I even write a free verse poem that gets me going in the right direction.

Coming up with stories is the easy part. Writing them is another thing all together. My “larn’n” disability rears it’s ugly head.  I figured out early in life that learning by “seeing” was the way to go for me. I gained the grammar rules necessary for writing by reading the writing of published authors, by consciously seeing how they wrote their sentences, NOT by the grammar lessons taught in school. That stuff baffled me and would not stick in my brain! I passed tests (often with A’s!) by deciding what looked correct, sounded correct to my inner ear. It is an imperfect method that works for me. I prefer to write like I talk as much as possible, because that’s the kind of writing I enjoy reading. Well…except for poetry, nobody talks like that in real life.

I am a wee, tad envious of people who get grammar. That stuff is like a foreign language to me. The other day, someone said, “Give me an adverb.”  Er…I was like, “What’s that again?” Embarrassing, but when I heard an example it came flooding back.

Look at this 1886 grammar book I had to buy last week. It’s beautiful. The handwriting examples are an art unto themselves. I especially like what the first owner wrote inside.

“Don’t steal this book for fear of shame for here you see the owners name.” Henrettie Bilyue

Grammar baffles me, yet I write. I write because I LOVE words. There is power in words that move mountains! I let that love be more important than being technically correct at putting them down. Hopefully that is enough. For now.

FYI #1: I prefer the words Different Learner over learning disabled.

FYI #2: Practicing ARTitude is something ALL learners can do. Now, isn’t that beautiful!

Melting Away in McKinney, TX

I don’t do heat well. Never have. Didn’t notice my lack of tolerance for temperatures above 90 degrees until my family moved from Minnesota to South Carolina when I was nine.

The first several days following our arrival to Charleston, I would wander outside to explore my new surroundings so unlike anything I’d known before. What was this weird land we’d journeyed to?  The bright red, sticky, clay earth was so very different from the black soil back “home”.  The new fauna and flora was intriguing too. I wanted to explore further, but was stopped by two things that had me quickly heading back indoors.

  • One – It was late August, the days were muggy and tortuously hot. I had never experienced such hot weather and detested it immensely.
  • Two – The annoying, loud, droning, machine noises that NEVER seemed to let up. It unnerved me. Finally, I ventured to the end of our townhouse complex to locate the source. Before me stood an array of metal boxes. Air-conditioners I was to learn. Egad! Their noise blocks the best of nature’s outdoor symphony! They are seriously annoying machines, but dammit!  For most of my adult life, I’ve lived where these cooling boxes are needed spring, summer and fall. Sad face. I have had to rely on them for comfort and a good nights sleep ever since.

For me, being outside is vital for my soul. Time outdoors feeds my soul in ways that nothing else can. I can tolerate very cold temperatures, but not anything above 90 degrees for long. Above 100 degrees and I’m suffering big time. I had heat stroke when I was 22 years old, and ever since, I’m even more sensitive. If I get overheated, I can be ill for days – achy, weak & listless. So…summer in Texas sucks for me.

Hopefully, this background better explains the poem I wrote this spring while sitting on my back porch – my favorite place to be.



The insufferable is approaching!
I feel it’s searing breath
Prying into the bright
Springtime light.

Soon now the insufferable
Will rob from me
my joyful step.
Hold me back.

The insufferable will force me
Into sealed interiors
cooled by machines.
Isolate me.

The world will be out there
While I shall be caged in here.
All because of the insufferable,
Texas summer heat.

A new ARTitude art project I’ve begun is the creation of “Biography Blocks” representing my journey through life as a creative being. They are the Building Blocks of ME.

The block representing this poem also references my thankfully brief childhood fascination with placing crayons in hot places (like the back window of my Grandpa Torgerson’s car!!!), then gnawing and chewing on them afterwards. Hold your finger wagging! This was VERY IMPORTANT scientific research you must understand. Did different colors or different brands melt differently? What did yellow taste like? Blue? Practicing ARTitude requires a healthy dose curiosity!

And me, I was expressing ARTitude before I ever had a word for it.  So there.