Wednesday, October 9, 2013

401K


Do you remember turning the pages of your books when you were a child? Each was to be savored and the choice of when to touch the corners and pull was a weighted one, met with a springing delight of discovery slipping down the spine. "Frederick" by Leo Lionni had this effect on me like no other. Do you know the story?

The introduction describes it well: While the other field mice work to gather grain and nuts for winter, Frederick sits on a sunny rock by himself. “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days,” he tells them. Another day he gathers “colors,” and then “words.” And when the food runs out, it is Frederick, the dreamer and poet, whose endless store of supplies warms the hearts of his fellow mice, and feeds their spirits during the darkest winter days.


While trying to lasso my thoughts and photos this morning, I stared at the screen, this screen, until my glassy eyes latched on to a figure dangling from a side column. "Number of posts published: 400." Four-hundred? Four-hundred. After the initial bounce subsided,  I was pleased as punch to realize that I had passed that benchmark while writing about the serious joys of a simple rose.

And so this post is number four-oh-one. 


A few months ago, my friend Judith Ross asked about interviewing me for a column in Talking Writing magazine. I enjoyed the exchange that followed tremendously and I hope that you will appreciate Judith's wonderful perspective as well. Living in France, where the word blogueuse (the feminine version of 'blogger') is pronounced with a sneer, I am absolutely delighted to have been featured as a writer in a magazine for writers. Thank you, Judith.


My life, while full of good things, is unusual. My future is so open-ended as to be not exactly secure. Sans filet, they say in French. Without a net. At times, my worries of "what if and what then?" threaten to overwhelm me. But perhaps, like Frederick, I am doing something helpful in making this blog, in storing up colors and words for the unknown path that is spooling out in front of my feet. Lost in Arles just might be my 401k plan.


To read Judith's column "When Blogging Becomes Art"-- please click here.

And to discover her own beautiful blog, Shifting Gears -- please click here.

Some of my photography has also been featured in the Fall Issue of Talking Writing, to see them and discover a fine magazine -- please click here.



To listen:

PS. James Vincent Mcmorrow's cover of "Higher Love" is on the album "Silver Lining" -- all of the proceeds of which go to Headstrong, an Irish charity for youth mental health.


As always, thank you so much for being here...

31 comments:

Suze said...

People who sneer have no business influencing our ingenious 401K plans.

Sending you love and thanks.

puppyfur said...

As always, thank you so much for being THERE! I'm afraid, seeing the date it was published, that I was in high school by the time Frederick came along. But how enchanting he sounds.

Lorrie said...

How lovely to see your writing recognized for its beauty and insight by extending its reach. Frederick sounds like a good role model.

Loree said...

Congratulations for the feature Heather, you deserve no less. Well, they can sneer, but who cares? I never thought blogging can be so rewarding in itself. But it is. People like you just make it that much more special.

simpleimages2 said...

Congratulations.

The examined life: “My life, while full of good things,is unusual...storing up colors and words”. “I am doing something helpful in making this blog” ... “feeds their spirits” echoes the reflection of the ancient Greek philosopher.

From time to time one looks back and trace how one is faithful in finding fresh ways to new discovery.

I’m very grateful.

I Dream Of said...

Heather, I think that a life lived a bit differently has riches beyond what most people experience, and I strongly believe that you are doing a beautiful job of making your way in the world. I don't know Frederick, but he sounds like my kind of field mouse! Congratulations on Talking Writing, 401 beautiful posts, and a life that most people can't even begin to dream of! XOXO

Glamour Drops said...

As Suze says above, "people who sneer" simply don't hunt beneath the pretty pictures to find the words and thoughts of people who have a lot of wisdom worth listening to. To be fair, there are some superficial blogs out there, but that is not to discredit ones like yours which are anything but.

This mouse sounds like a fabulous fellow. Haven't heard of the book, but I sure like his attitude to life.

robin said...

Oh, how can you remember "Frederick"?? That was a great book, and you are like Frederick - giving us so many gifts that you have stored up! What a wonderful interview and tribute to you, and congratulations on 400 posts!! I am sooooo proud of you and all the beauty you are bringing to the world..

Heather Robinson said...

Well said, Suze. Time to install an inner sneer guard. :)
Sending love and thanks right back to you in your leafy bower...

Heather Robinson said...

I believe the book was published in 1967, puppyfur. But like all good stories it is timeless. You would appreciate him definitely. On Amazon, you can read most of it, I believe.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you so much Lorrie! And I had no idea how much that book had influenced me but it really did.

Heather Robinson said...

People like you too, Loree and the connections we have. I love seeing your world through your eyes. Now I have a friend on Malte--who would have ever thought?

Heather Robinson said...

To have experience wonder is one of life's great kindnesses to us, isn't it Edgar? I too am grateful.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Jeanne--that means so much coming from you--someone who has taken very brave, risk-taking steps in living authentically. You inspire a lot of folks yourself, Jeanne with your generosity and unerring sense for all things beautiful.

Heather Robinson said...

Merci, my friend. I do believe that Frederick would fit right in as a member of your fine family! :)
I don't know if I have any wisdom to impart but I sure am happy to share the beauty of what I see...
Gros Bisous!

Heather Robinson said...

Oh Sister--thank you!!!! And I remember it because he was so important to me. I think that might have been my very favorite book when I was little. :)
I like to think of all the beauty that you bring in your work, instilling creativity in little ones like growing a garden! Amazing.

Mumbai said...

Heather (Frederick) , I think you have already acquired so many outstanding properties wherewith you can enrich many peoples life .

silkannthreades said...

Oh, I remember Frederick. He's gorgeous. I think there was a small film about Frederick that was often repeated on Nickelodeon when my children were little. I thoroughly enjoyed Judith's article on you and your blog. I think blogueuse sounds great; much more elegant than blogger which sounds terribly clumsy and clunky. Congratulations on 401 posts :)

Gina said...

Dear Heather, Congratulations! 401 beautifully written posts. It is wonderful to see credit given where credit is due. ox, Gina

david terry said...

Oh, Heather....thank you so much for that link to James McMorrow's cover of "Higher Love"; Just now (and this would be twenty years after I was dancing to Stevie Winwood's 1980's version of the song he wrote), I like McMorrow's cover much more. It's one of my favorite songs. I didn't know of this beautifully austere version.

And?....having read this posting of yours, and at the risk of seeming more than usually oblique in my references?......you should know this poem (if you don't already):

"The Fascination of What’s Difficult"

The fascination of what's difficult
Has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent
Spontaneous joy and natural content
Out of my heart. There's something ails our colt
That must, as if it had not holy blood
Nor on Olympus leaped from cloud to cloud,
Shiver under the lash, strain, sweat and jolt
As though it dragged road metal. My curse on plays
That have to be set up in fifty ways,
On the day's war with every knave and dolt,
Theatre business, management of men.
I swear before the dawn comes round again
I'll find the stable and pull out the bolt.

----William Butler Yeats (1865–1939 )

So, pull out that bolt, Miss Heather.....

---david terry
www.davidterryart.com





Laoch of Chicago said...

Being featured is very cool: well done. I think security is mostly an illusion, sadly, but I have faith in your talent.

Heather Robinson said...

That made me smile so, thank you Mumbai.

Heather Robinson said...

It is true! Blogger sounds like "logger" and we aren't chopping wood around these parts now are we? ;) And I remember the film too. So sweet. We need sweetness for sweetness sakes these days.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Gina, I really appreciate that!

Heather Robinson said...

David, I think that you know that I love Yeats and yet did not know that poem (even with my swiss cheese memory, that is not the sort of thing that one forgets). I keep reading it over and over and am not certain yet that I understand it all but from what I do understand, I can respond that I am gathering strength that I once so completely took for granted.

And hooray! I am so glad that you appreciated this beautiful version as I do. And yes, I danced to the original as well but this is just serene. I have been listening to it over and over...

david terry said...

Dear Heather, I could play skoolmarm and cough up a little explication de texte of the Yeats poem for you,but I won't (I used to be underpaid to teach, and I don't, at this stage of the game, intend to begin doing so again for free...particularly for folks who haven't asked that I do so).

Suffice it to say that the poem's much like the following song, to which a longtime, older friend (he taught at Yale Darama, but you seemed tohave missed his tenure there) introduced me.

The central, invaluable lesson that the father taught the daughter in the song was:

"...But you stand right up there;/That's the Business of Art."
go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85IxNVwpKrs

Recall the lyrics to Sondheim's "Putting it Together"...."bit by bit, piece by piece, part by part....and THAT'S the 'state of the art'....." (I'm sure there's a version available on youtube).

fondly as ever,
Uncle David
www.davidterryart.com

Heather Robinson said...

I thank you for that, Mr. Laoch as I do believe that you have a quiet vision of both sides of said coin.

D A Wolf said...

Visiting here is always like stepping into some other world where time slows, the eye focuses, the hear can pick out individual strains of music in so many registers.

Lovely.

And thank you for bringing the concept of "gathering rays of sun for the cold dark winter days" is delicious.

Loved the piece by Judith about your work!

xo

Joy said...

Congrats on the great featureI think not always knowing what may be around the bend is part of the fun! Enjoy!

Clare M said...

Congratulations on 401 beautiful posts!

Love this tale of Frederick. Just gorgeous.

Clare x

breadispain.me said...

Love this little story. I think it can be hard to remind ourselves of what we are doing since it is not really recognized as a "job" in the conventional sense. I look forward to reading your interview!