July 2007

Summer Retreat

I am alone at my mother’s home-by-the-water, having put her on a plane to Italy early this morning. She asked me if I would like to be going with her, and surprisingly I said that I would rather not. I am glad to be in this empty house, with the grey-blue water out the window, tending to things. I am on a little “business” retreat.

There is much to plan for Small Meadow Press in the days and months to come-deciding what items to keep making and what needs to be let go…envisioning a new design for my website …continuing to try to find truly recycled and tree-free papers to take the place of the ones that have been recently discontinued….pondering how to keep it all fresh and meaningful after five years in business.

This is one of my Ribbony Notebooks (I shall offer this design on the website soon-the “ribbon” is some vintage corset-making material, part of a big lot I won on ebay in my constant search for alternatives to petroleum-based ribbon). These notebooks are amongst my favorite offerings as they are so versatile and friendly and inspire creativity. I have spent a little time this summer and hope to spend more,gathering articles and pictures that I have gleaned from magazines of summer activities, food, possibilities (cutting and pasting-mmmm). I taped in an accordian-folded set of my calendar pages for the summer months and have been writing down the summery things we do. So often, I find, a season can be over and it is all a bit of a blur and I am not sure that we did “enough” of the things that make that season Itself….I am hoping that this little record will help me to look back happily. I also paper-clipped in a list of the tasks I hope to get to (we shall see!).

Now, I really must get to thinking and also to being quiet and receptive to new ideas and directions. I would also like to ask for your contributions to my “refurnishing” of Small Meadow Press. I know what is pulling me these days, and without going into details at the moment, it has to do with not creating unnecessary things, things that will just sit in a drawer unused. It has to do with watching the way the world and our way of being in it changes and accepting that to a certain degree and creating lovely things that serve us today. It has to do with wanting what I make to strike a better balance between the machine-made and hand-made. It has to do with wanting to make things that help us with all that is most important to us-staying connected with loved ones, crafting a sweet daily life, taking care of business….things that are simple and meaningful and helpful.

I would be interested to hear if there is anything paper and inky that you have imagined, but haven’t found…anything that you have wanted to make for yourself to fill a need but just don’t get around to making…anything that might be fun for me to think about. I will tell you that I am sorely tempted to make a true calendar/planner, but have yet to think of something both widely useful and doable for me to fashion in quantity, in my studio. So we shall just have to wait and see about that. Pour out your paper hearts to me in the next few days, it will be so nice for me to check in to see what you have sent! And as this is an ongoing project, beyond these few precious days alone, just add your thoughts here whenever they come to you.

Magical Interlude

On Friday evening we went to town and watched the movie, then waited in community for our copy of the book. On Saturday morning I continued to re-read the sixth book while my youngest son continued with the seventh and last book that he had begun the night before. It would have made a funny, silent movie to have filmed us in all the many places we draped and curled ourselves to read and read the whole day long….tho’ the porch sofa was the spot I returned to most often. And of course, we had to have reading-meals because we couldn’t talk to each other for fear of letting something slip. Still the day was full of cosiness and shared smiles over the edges of our books.

…and wonder at the thought of so many people across the world reading along with us. I came quite late to knowing Harry Potter. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it, not being much of a fantasy reader. But I was convinced last winter by my children’s pleasure in the books to give the first one a try. I spent a delightful few wintery weeks reading the first six books-one after the other. It was a rich, savoring feeling knowing that I had another book just waiting for me when each one was finished. And how neat it was to be able to ask my sons so many questions that came to me while I read and have them tell me their thoughts and insights.

On this stay-at-home Sunday, I gave the sixth book that I had finished to my husband (who had yet to read it!) and my son gave the last book to me. This time, my husband and I would have made a funny, sped-up film as we read together …sometimes toes touching in chaise lounges facing each other, or side-by-side on a quilt in the woods, or on the porch. My youngest son appeared now and then, especially for the reading meals and we even talked on the phone with eldest son who is traveling across country and had acquired and finished the book already….and still none of the story had been revealed….just an excitement shared…to be partaking in it together.

I made the living room inviting with fluffed-up pillows and lit candles and prepared to read long into the night to finish the book….but I got sleepy and went to bed with it only half-finished. This morning and afternoon I did all that I should, including filling orders for several hours. I did read a chapter during lunch and have been reading steadily (on the porch sofa again) all the evening.

So, our interlude is nearly over. I have two hundred pages
left to read. I just got off the phone with eldest son and we

were oohing and aahing over the depth of feelings expressed in the book….how bright the happiness, how dark the despair….It brims over with goodness…and its opposite. And the struggles in the book, the losses, have even helped me with my own-as I get used to the world without my father in it. Look at the quote I discovered on the first page:

“Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.” -William Penn

This has been said before, but he said it so simply and beautifully. And I am so grateful to have this…and so much more from these good, good books.

Tomorrow will see me back to everyday life and the wonder of this story will be past its first bloom for me. But its message of love will color my days, I hope.

Now it is time to put the kettle on and light a few candles
and kiss my family good night and settle in for a last few hours of enchantment.