Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Just a Little Oil for Your Lamp"

Today's lesson in my Design Class was about creating a photoshop brush.

Do you know Kate DiCamillo? She wrote some amazing Kids Literature, like Because of Winn-Dixie or The Tale of Despereaux? If you don't read Kids Literature, you might consider it. It's generally written by adults and the narratives can be quite absorbing, and quite delightful for the inner kid. But it's not her Kids Lit I wanted to let you know about. She has a really inspiring journal, with stories that are "oil for your lamp" which is an expression her Grandmother used. She would give Kate a gift of a little money and say “It’s not much, honey, just a little oil for your lamp.” Kate now uses the expression when she finds something beautiful, amazing, or moving.

In the month of July, Kate received oil for her lamp from the following things (just a few from her list):

***the poems of Hafiz (“Your heart and my heart/Are very, very old/Friends”)

***trampolines (big ones, bouncing on them with a five-year-old boy

***pesto (over pasta, consumed in the backyard of friends)

***the creek at dawn and the creek at dusk (always green and waiting, full of wonders)

***dragonflies (with complex patterns painted on their spines)

***the full moon rising (and then being lowered slowly, slowly, slowly)

***laughing with friends (whose hearts I have known, and who have known my heart, for a very, very long time).
And if I made a list about the oil I have received for my lamp, recently, the first thing I'd put on it would be discovering Kate's Journal. Then there's be "a girls' day out" with my good friend Brenda, with lunch at Jane's on the Commons and clambering through the best Junque Shoppe in Halifax to find old books and photographs. Many, many altered art possibilities! Thank you Brenda!

Another bit of oil for my lamp was from my friend Carol Greenlaw of NYC, who mentioned to me about a weekly photo contest on WNYC (The Brian Lehrer show) which has REALLY interesting photo shoots submitted by street photographers. AND you can find some great ideas and techniques here. I especially liked Joe Wigfall's technique of camera at chest level but actually all of these video interviews are pretty fascinating. You can get lost in the links here for a long, long time. Thank you Carol!!!

Cathy Malchiodi wrote an interesting blog entry on Writing as Therapy. is on the subject! Very moving. Oil for your lamp.

And finally do you want some book binding oil for your lamp? You can download a fantastically wonderfully inspiring pdf of Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's Spirt Books here. Breathtakingly beautiful!!!

That is a little bit of oil for my lamp. What have you received lately that is oil for your lamp?

PS - Here's the trailer for the film version of The Tale of Despereaux (Kate DiCamillo's delightful book)

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