A ‘Good’ Match : WPC

This week’s Photo Challenge gave me too much choice. I scrolled thru my photos and mulled over my choices for a while. ‘Good’ is such a loaded word.

The colour of my neighbour’s ‘Tilly’ (Utility Truck) is pretty close to the blossoms on my Illawarra Flame Tree. Reds are hard to match.

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Last year I was keen to get a photo from the train going over my favourite railway bridge. Continue reading

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White Samite, Mystical, Wonderful

 

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This abstract image reminds me of a scene in the Grail legend, when the vessel, covered in white samite, is reverently carried aloft through the Great Hall.

The words, ‘Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,’ come from Tennyson’s poem Morte d’ Arthur , and was a line I heard but couldn’t see: something not of my time and wasted on me in high school English class.

Many years later, on a raw, winter’s day in Cornwall,  I stood at the edge of Dozmary pool, listening to Canadian Ed Kylie telling the story of King Arthur’s death based on Tennyson’s poem. This was the  place where Excalibur was said to have been returned to the Lady of the Lake. In my minds’s eye, I did see the glittering sword flung, turning, end over end through the air. The arm I imagined coming up was pudgy and chilled pink.  All I could see of the ‘samite’ was a draped, white, sodden bedsheet. I couldn’t see more of the story for the cold.

Wikiwand can give me interesting facts about samite. It was the most important silk weave of Byzantium, reserved for kings and church leaders. But, clothing is such a personal, fragile artefact. I like to feel fabrics. Mostly, it’s the colour and patterns, the warp and weft that draws me in. I have only poured over many fascinating remnants under glass in museums – from christening gowns, to shawls and mummies.

Visualising the colour and texture of fabrics and matching these to the clothing characters wear helps make them, and the story, more visual, more believable, more memorable.

The ‘fabric’ in this image might not only be white Samite, but also

  • a cloak for the wicked lead in Andersen’s ‘The Snow Queen.’
  • the stone horse’s hide in the Asian folk tale about a magic brocade, when the horse is magically brought to life.
  • Sleeping Beauty’s coverlet
  • the magic tablecloth Mannannan spread before Cormac when he was in the Land of Faery
  • a dress for the woman in the moon
  • What do you imagine?

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This week’s Photo Challenge was to turn the concrete and familiar into something new and mysterious.

Sources: Poem – Morte d’Arthur, http://www.bartleby.com/42/637.html

Wikiwand entry’Samite,’ https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Samite

All text (except that in italics) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Half-Light Stardust: Weekly Photo Challenge

Winter sunsets by the sea, here in Coolum, Queensland, often have a sugar-almond blush … before the stars come out.

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And now the purple dust of twilight time … 

‘Stardustwritten by Hoagy Carmichael, was one of the romantic songs my father liked to sing over the years. When it was his turn at family celebrations, he would stand in front of the fireplace. We all sat round our living room, hushed, expectant. Inspired by Nat King Cole, he’d smoothly slip into the song, looking at mum and she’d blush. The rest of us were held spell-bound there, till he raised his glass to her at the end, and we did the same.

All text, except those in italics ,and photos by Meg. Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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Sources: Stardust sung by Nat King Cole on Youtube :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VezW1PtDq5E

 

 

 

Giving a Fig for Storytelling

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Ooooooh fresh figs! Some years ago I planted a Brown Turkey fig tree just so I could celebrate February with this tangy, moist fruit. Right now, the tree’s laden with more figs than ever, which darken as they ripen. I’ve been giving figs away to neighbours.

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Once, a long time ago, an old man was planting a young fig tree when the king of that country rode by. He reined in his horse and asked why all the youngsters in his family weren’t doing such heavy work, planting trees. “After all,” he added. “They are the ones who will eat the fruits?”

The old man bowed and explained that he’d learned about growing trees from his father, and his father’s father. “Now it’s my turn to plant trees so my grandchildren will enjoy them.”

The king agreed that figs were a most delicious food and thanked him for his work. As he turned to ride on, the ruler suggested the old man might bring some to to the palace, if the trees bore well.

IMG_8749It was some years, after careful pruning and tending, that the trees flourished and yielded a crop of ripe brown, pungent globes of fruit. While his doubting wife shook her head, old grandfather filled a small basket and set off for the palace.

The guards refused to believe that their king had asked for this crazy old man’s figs. When he pulled back the cloth and lifted the fruit to their noses, explaining, “Just say, that the old man he saw planting the fig tree comes bearing the fruit of his labours,” he was brought before the king.

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The monarch remembered their meeting and so enjoyed eating those figs that he had his Royal Treasurer fill the basket with gold coins. Beaming, the old man bowed in thanks and wandered home with a full heart. On the way, a nosy neighbour spotted a shiny coin as it fell from the basket. He rushed over and held it up to him. Aghast at the old man’s good fortune, he quickly invited him in for tea. There, he learned of the king’s fondness for figs.

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Just after dawn next day, the man had his wife fill her biggest basket with figs from their garden. When it was full, he staggered off to the palace gate and demanded to see the king. The shouting that ensued attracted not only a motley crowd but also the king, who was about to ride out.  The Gate-Keepers stood smartly to attention, and a hush fell over the curious. All listened to the fig bearer and their king, with shocked faces moving from each in turn. When king realised that the man wanted a reward for his figs, he drew in a deep breath, shook his head and gathered up the reins.

“No,’ he said, turning away from the demanding citizen. Then he declared, “Unlike you, the old man gave to me wholeheartedly, expecting no reward. Guards! Let him have his figs. Stand him against the wall and have the people throw them at him!” With that, he and his retinue galloped off, leaving the crowd scrabbling for their fruity missiles.

The greedy neighbour returned home a sad, sticky, splattered mess.  His wife giggled helplessly at the sight of him, saying that all he gotten for his figs, was figs!

“Enough of this, wife,” he muttered as he sat down. “I’ve been a fool … but a lucky fool…  lucky because it was soft figs they threw at me … not beetroots.”

Within the week, his story had spread through the city. His wife, meanwhile, boiled what figs they had left with sugar and made jam. As she spooned it thickly on her bread one morning, she sighed and looked husband up and down.

“Ah yes, dear husband,” she mused. “The taste of fig jam will always remind me of what a glorious mess you got yourself into!”

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 Sources:

Adapted from “The Figs” in Schram, Penninah. The Hungry clothes and other Jewish folktales. New York, Sterling, 2008: 22-4

http://museuconfitura.com/en/historia-de-la-confitura/

All text and photos © Meg Philp

 Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

 

 

 

Vibrant light: Weekly Photo Challenge

Vibrant colours capture the light. Even on a rainy day, Poinciana blossoms shine.IMG_1089

Nature does a good job of using vibrant colours to light up this dark cassowary.

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We humans can do that too, working long hours into the night to finish a project.

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The Peruvian Arpillera, below, is a women’s traditional handicraft, a wall-hanging which tells a story using everyday fabrics appliqued onto a burlap backing . This one was in a display of thread work at the Linnwood Library, Seattle.

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One Peruvian Artist, Eleodora Salvatierra, who has made many Arpillera, said, “Every colourful thread I use transmits the reality of my community and my people.”

In 1974, in Pinochet’s Chile, an ‘Arpillera Movement‘ was begun by the mothers of missing children. They needed help and to let the outside world know what had happened. For 17 years these women created images, sometimes with an additional handwritten message, of what they knew about Human Rights abuses, and the disappearance of their children. Made by the poor, who had no electricity, they had to sew in the early dawn light. Some used the fabric from the clothes left behind. A branch of the Chilean Church, the Vicariate of Solidarity, offered to help and mailed completed works overseas in packets of 4 or 5. Amnesty International then became involved. Some mothers haven’t given up hope. They still wait for news. (For more of this story, click green highlighted words)

[See also the preceding post, reblogged from Cachando Chile with more illustrations of the Arpilleras.]

Does the creative intention of the work help make it more vibrant? Is it the emotional story behind it? Does it depend on who’s on the receiving end?

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Not only does Canadian Del Barber sing up a storm, he also tells (and sings) great stories. He blew me away when I saw him on the stage at The Woodford Folk Festival. No fancy shirt, just an entertaining solo performance – definitely an unforgettable, vibrant set.

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So we can see and hear what ‘vibrant’ is What’s it like to ‘be’ vibrant?

This solitary, early morning mushroom seems to glow against the dark ground. It came up overnight, after rain … and it’s still growing. Hmm … glowing and growing?

Click here to see others’ interpretations of the idea “Vibrant

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/vibrant/

Pumpkin Appreciation Society: Hodja No. 7

It’s Fall here in Washington State.

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It’s so good  to be out walking as the leaves drift from the trees and carpet the ground. It’s not just leaves dropping…

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There are pumpkins sitting everywhere in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

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Late one autumn afternoon, Hodja lay resting under a shady walnut tree. He had been working in his vegetable patch all day. He unwrapped his turban and a cool breeze sprang up to soothe his glistening bald head . He slowly breathed to the rhythm of the swaying branches above, marvelling at that majestic trunk and branches soaring above him.

“How stout and strong you are! ” he whispered to the tree. Spying the many nuts that would soon be harvested, he then wondered ” Why did God give you such paltry nuts?” Casting he eyes over his watered garden, he spied the rampant, spindly vine,  with glowing pumpkins ready for picking. “Why don’t you have large fruits like pumpkins? You could take the weight! You deserve larger bounty.”

Just then, one walnut dropped and hit him hard on the forehead. Rubbing his brow he looked up at the sky and said, ” Forgive me. Thank you for letting me know.”  He put on his turban and bent to pick from the spreading vine. Praising such a wise god, he carried the pumpkin home to his wife, shifting it from arm to arm, as he walked cheerily home.

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Photos and text by Meg. This Hodja story is adapted from the many versions I have read eg in

Downing, Charles. (1965) Tales of the Hodja.

Kelsey, Alice Geer. (1958) Once the Hodja

Character’s Clothes: Hodja No. 4

 To help the listener ‘see’ the character in a story,  it helps if I’m clear on what clothes each might be wearing : to know, at least, their shade and shape. Once upon a time, clothes were basically functional: allowed people to work in them. But the story’s setting (time, country, culture) and the character’s identity through action all come into play.

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*Early photo of Lana Turner learning to sword-fight wearing a tight corset in the movie At Sword Point (1952)

A recent exhibition in our city hall museum showed a collection of costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood. (What surprised me were how small the clothes actually were! I realised that, up on the screen, actors look enormous.) However, the workmanship, fabrics, designs and attention to detail was stunning. One of the conservators working on the exhibition said she thought this brought ‘the fairytale to life!’ Guess which actors played their part dressed like this?

A little red jacket over a long warm dress. Who do you think might have worn this? 1

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or this blue velvet jacket and jabot? 2

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Was she a sheer, femme fatale? 3

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Does the robe help show the character’s authority? 4

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Or is the dress is so plain … in order to show off how beautiful the wearer was? 5

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Or was that man devilishly handsome? 6

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Perhaps the clothes ‘made’ the lady? 7

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Here’s a story about how Nasreddin Hodja feels about clothes.

Sleeve, sup!

There was to be a great banquet in the town, and Hodja was invited. When the day came, it was such fine weather that he worked in the garden, before setting off for the palace.

Arriving in good time, he asked directions to the banqueting room. Several attendants walked past but did not help. They did look him up and down, as they went on their way.

At the huge table, when he found himself a seat, no waiter came near with refreshments.

Friends were surprised to see Hodja suddenly leave the table. He returned some time later, wearing his most elaborate robe. As platters were brought to him, he was seen to dip his sleeve into each dish, simpering “Do have some of this. How do you like that sauce, then? Mmmm.”

The other guests began to mutter that Hodja had surely gone mad.

Hearing this, Hodja laughed and said. “Oh, no, my friends. I’ve simply learned that, at this table, my robe is more important than I am.”

Costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood

Actors who wore them. 1. Katherine Hepburn in Little Women (1933) 2. Cary Grant in The Howards of Virginia (1940) 3. Claudette Colbert in Cecile B. DeMille’s Cleopatra (1935) 4.Richard Burton in Cleopatra (1965) 5. Grace Kelly in The Swan. 6. Yul Bryner? Marlon Brando? 7 Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl.

All text and photos (not *)  by Meg

Sleeve, Sup! adapted from ‘Eat, my fur coat, eat!”  in  KABACALI, Alpay. Nasreddin Hodja. 1992: 32.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Diving Into Life

There are certain times in my life when I’ve had to dive right in … can’t hold back  …  and with no idea of what will eventuate.

That feeling of trepidation reminds me of the Grimm’s tale, Mother Holle, a significant story told to children as part of their Steiner (Waldorf) education.

A woman had two daughters, a beautiful step-daughter who was helpful and hard working, while her own daughter was ugly and lazy.

I imagined I was the good step-daughter diving in to retrieve the spindle I had dropped down the well. Here I go head first.

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The good daughter wakes up in a beautiful meadow. And it is here in the story,  that a strong part of me, says “Enough! This isn’t my story. I’m nobody’s household drudge” Just like the ugly daughter! (See Grimm for the remainder of their tale). In truth, at this point of my life, I am feeling lazy; part of me has always loved to be lazy!

I want to stay in the simple pleasures of the meadow. I need to daydream.

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I have loved meadows and wild fields,  since I was a small child. Wading through swishing, long grass pied with flowers, to the sound of bird song, was like being in a dream .

IMG_2476 Spring was my favourite season: buttercups and apple blossom.

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I’ve wandered through clover and dandelions in different countries accompanied by an Exaltation of Skylarks.

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I have sighed over fields in each season of the year.

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I have delighted in wandering again along familiar paths made by other feet.

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I remember being thrilled to get really close to the ground.

IMG_2536Being close to Nature, makes me feel I’m home. I think part of me will always be a Happy Wanderer, no matter where I am.

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Where is it that you feel most at home?

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Sources

GRIMMS’ tales for young and old. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New York, Doubleday, 1977.

All photos, art and text by Meg

 Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

 

 

Australia Colours the Tale

As a storyteller, I do my best to see the story unfold in my imagination as I tell. A well-known American teller, Gioia Timpanelli, once said to me, “If you’re going to tell as story about an eagle, make sure you’ve had a real close look at one.”

Looking closely here in Oz, it’s colours that are especially striking –

Ficus Tree Pink, a sign of new growth.

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Sunset Mauve Flame, the colour of the Flame Child’s dress in Jospeph Jacob’s ” My Own Self”

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Aquamarine, on the edge of the sea, the place the farmer retired to in “J.Percy Cockatoo” by J.Bodger & M.Philp.

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Kelpie Cattle Dog Red in many a faithful, farm dog, tale.

DSCF0029Ancient Grass Tree Green.

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Soft Pelican White, where ‘his beak holds more than his belly can.’

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 Guava like watermelon – juicy, sweet-smelling tucker.

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Eucalyptus Speckle Bark on the “Galah Tree” where those pesky birds roost  in Jean Chapman’s tall tale of the same title.

IMG_1561 Silver Quandong Fruit Blue, the colour of the new eyes Vulture finds for Jaguar, in M.R. Macdonald’s “Little Crab with Magic Eyes”

IMG_1280Sugar Almond Sundown, the end to a perfect winter’s day.

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