Flickr Group Update

Hedgerow Flower

After a spectacularly busy weekend, I thought I’d give a quick update on how the Flickr group, Photography Less Ordinary, is getting on.

To date there are 60 members, 30 photographs in the photopool and 3 active discussions. I am so pleased how enthusiastically so many have embraced this extension of the Lives Less Ordinary community! It has been just wonderful to watch as the photos are contributed, the membership grows and the conversation flows.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have already joined and lent your support to the group 🙂

If you haven’t joined yet, and you would like to, check out this post and then add me as a Flickr contact.  I will send an invite to all those who do so.  Why don’t you come on over, and check it out!

Have you joined yet?  How are you enjoying it so far?  Do you have any suggestions future Photography Less Ordinary projects?  Themes? Scavenger hunts? Challenges?

P.S. If you click through to view the above flower photo on Flickr you can read more about it and the editing process used to produce it.

May 26, 2008. Photography. 8 comments.

Links Less Ordinary 5

Ox Alice Open

Can you believe that this is the 5th edition of Links Less Ordinary already? Where does the time go? The weeks pass by so quickly, but thankfully they bring with them some truly inspirational writing. Here’s what I came across on my internet travels:

  • The lovely Miss Gala Darling always writes such fantastically upbeat, passionate, positive posts that visiting her blog is like stepping out into the sunshine. This week was no exception when she shared a wonderful piece called The Constant Gardener:

Allow the Universe to be your gardener. Sit back & have a cup of tea. Watch as new seeds are planted in the fertile earth. Your gardener is making room for even more fabulous things to sprout & come to fruition.

She’s also recorded it as a podcast which you can listen to here.

And somehow, I feel a weight has been lifted. I don’t need to worry, fret or be fearful. I don’t need to be there, at all. Here is enough. There will be there when its time has come.

  • Karen Swim was also pondering moments; however, she was focusing on the power of a moment, and as always, she articulated her experience, her thoughts, and her conclusions so very beautifully:

Like the thunderstorm, our thoughts, attitudes and actions impact the landscape and people around us. As we rush about through our days we may forget that we are connected to the world and people around us. Every small encounter has an impact. In other words we matter, so our words, actions and attitudes matter too.

  • Lodewijk had another fabulous post up at How To Be An Original. This one is called How To Get Unstuck and contains some suggestions for a range of completely fabulous creative activities to get you unstuck:

In this post you’ll find a handful of actionable things to do that will help you change that perspective and may inspire that breakthrough thought.
If they don’t…well then you had a lot of fun anyway )

The last 3 links I want to share with you this weekend all helped to promote last week’s photography series, The Fire of Images. However, they actually did a lot more than promote my series, as all 3 added something wonderfully precious to the conversation: their unique perspectives.

An appreciation of editing: I haven’t edited my photos up to now but I am keen to learn and experiment, both to produce better results and to learn the read-across for the writing process. What are we editing for? The techniques are different but the answers might be similar: clarity, impact, emotion, power, resonance.

  • Secondly, Bo, over at her lovely blog, Seeded Earth, has put together a list of three blogs, Lives Less Ordinary included, which have had a recent focus on photography. She’s called it Everyone’s Doing Photography! With inspirational photographers such as Bo around the blogosphere, I’m pretty sure they will be 🙂

Crouching down, standing up, zooming in and out with a telephoto lens, moving to different parts of the same field…….not only does all that let you see what you’d miss if you just walked or drove by, but it let’s you see the world differently, let’s you see it as if for the first time.

So, there you go – another wonderful haul from just a few of the blogs I visit every week. But before I go, I’d like to give you just one more link, which is to my guest post over at Joyful Jubilant Learning called Whale Rider: Homeward Bound. I do hope you like it!

So what have you been reading on the internet this week? Any inspirational posts you would like to share?

May 24, 2008. Links Less Ordinary. 9 comments.

The Fire of Images: An Announcement

White Puddleduck

This is the 5th post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Over the last week, we’ve covered quite a lot of ground, but there’s one last thing that I want to write about by way of conclusion to this series: Flickr. I’ve mentioned Flickr quite a few times, as I think it’s important to share your creativity. The creative acts of taking the photograph and editing it naturally lead to the inviting of others to share what you have produced.

Now I’m still very much a learner when it comes to Flickr. I’ve been using it for a while now, but I don’t use it as intensively as some. What I’d like to do in this post, however, is share a few pointers that I’ve picked up, to help you get the most out of your Flickr account, as well as flagging up a few areas that I need to do some more work on, because I really do see great potential in them.

  • Tags: This is only something that I’ve started doing in the last 4 months or so, but it has completely changed the way I use my account. It was recommended to me by someone to use tags to increase my visibility on Flickr and to attract more people to my photos. However, what I’ve discovered is, that by using tags, I can find my own photos a whole lot easier. It’s made them searchable, thereby making them useable for integration into blog posts. When writing the 4th post in this series, in which I used many of my Flickr pictures, using the tags to search within my own photostream reduced the amount of time I had to spend trawling through all my images looking for something appropriate. If you are going to start using your own pictures in your blog posts, tagging is essential.
  • Descriptions: I’m afraid this is one that I still don’t make full use of. What I have started to do though, and which has had a surprising effect, is that, when I include an image from my photostream in one of my blog posts here, I add a link to the post in the description of the image. What I’m finding is that people are clicking on that link and arriving at the blog to read more. It’s become a source of traffic that is very easy for me to maintain, and is completely organic, in that, the person clicking through has already connected with me through my shared perspective.
  • Contacts: Of course, it’s not all just about you sharing your own perspective; it’s about accepting invitations to share the perspective of others too. I connect with many people online: through this blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. But it is through Flickr that I visually connect with their perspective, and that to me is a very special thing indeed. By connecting through Flickr and visiting others’ photostreams, you get to peek through a window into their world, their environment, but more than that, you get to see the way they see things – a way which is necessarily unique to them and to them alone.
  • Comments: I love getting comments on my Flickr account. To know that someone has engaged with one of my images to the extent that they have felt moved to comment is just the best feeling. Just like when I write here, and my wonderful community chooses to respond, it gives a sense of connection, of validation, of purpose. Comments strengthen a community – without a range of voices a blog or a Flickr account just becomes a soapbox. Strengthen the Flickr community by lending your own voice to the conversation.
  • Favourites: This is another function on Flickr that I don’t use as often as I should, but that I want to investigate further. I know that when one of my photos is favourited by another Flickr member, I get the same positive feelings that I do from a comment. What I want to try and do with my future Flickr use is to make sure I share those positive feelings with other Flickr members, but most particularly with my Flickr contacts. I’m going to be making a point of favouriting a lot more often!
  • Groups: For a long time now, I haven’t really understood how to get the best out of groups on Flickr. I’ve joined quite a few, most of them with a Scottish emphasis, but rarely do my contributions receive much attention. However, all this is about to change…

Announcement

I am launching my own Flickr group, which will be affiliated to Lives Less Ordinary, and I want you to join me there. The group is called Photography Less Ordinary, and to learn more about it, here’s the group description:

Do you want to gain confidence in your photography? Do you want to share the specialness that you see in the everyday? Do you want to embrace your creativity?

Over at my blog, Lives Less Ordinary, I share my conscious engagement with my environment through photographs and reflective thought, in order to show that beauty surrounds us all.

I’ve set up this group so that readers of the blog can share their own unique perspective with the rest of the community. It would be great if you could give a brief description along with your photo: where you were at the time, why you took the photo, what you like about it. If you choose to include your photo in a blog post, you can include your link in the description as well. Flickr accepts some html in the photo descriptions.

It is my hope that, if nothing else, this group will inspire you to pick up your camera and start experimenting with photography.

Ok, so the plan is to provide an extra space for my community here to get to know each other better, to form firm friendships, to find support for their photographic endeavours, as well as providing a space where we can share in each others perspectives, revel in the specialness another member has invited us to appreciate, and embrace the immense diversity of our environments.

The group is by invite only, so in the first instance I am going to send invites to every one of my current contacts on Flickr. If you do not have a Flickr account, but you would like to be involved, you can head over and sign up for a free account, and then click here, which will take you to my Flickr profile, where you can add me as a contact. Any new contacts that I receive will be sent an invite to join Photography Less Ordinary.

I have restricted the number of photos you can contribute to 5 per week, so choose the ones you are most proud of and add them to the group. I’ve started a discussion thread where you can introduce yourself, which I strongly recommend, and I hope to have a variety of discussions on the go there soon. I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you to comment and favourite generously on the group photos. I want it to be a place which nurtures and supports and, as I’ve already said here, commenting and favouriting can do both of these things wonderfully well.

Do you have any Flickr pointers that you would like to add here? Is there something that you would like to explore further through Flickr?

Oh, and most importantly, will I see you over at Photography Less Ordinary?

May 23, 2008. Photography. 21 comments.

The Fire of Images – Some Practical Tips

White Blooms

This is the 4th post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

The intention of this post is not to give you expert advice, but to share a few practical photography tips that I’ve picked up, and what works well for me. This is by no means a definitive list – after all there are whole blogs dedicated to this subject! However, it is my hope that by following a few of these suggestions, you’ll gain enough confidence in your photos to start actively sharing them through sites such as Flickr. So, without further ado:

  • Cultivating a Photographer’s Eye: So, you’ve started carrying your camera with you, but what to photograph? Well, there are a few things that I look for specifically when out taking photos: colour, perspective, pattern, texture, balance, light, and detail.

Colour: One of the reasons why I don’t take many black and white shots is that I just love colour. My eye is attracted to it, and when I find a profusion of pink or an abundance of aqua, I just can’t help but take a photo. But it’s not just focusing in on one colour; it’s also having the courage to include colour where it adds interest. Bright splashes can really elevate an image!

Perspective: When you compose a photo with an emphasis on perspective, it can really add depth to your image. Taking photographs of roads, paths, lines of trees, waterways etc. can lead the eye through the picture, giving the feeling that you, the viewer, are participating within the image itself.

Pattern: Look out for repetitions as these naturally intrigue. When we regard an image which contains the same objects repeated over and over, we stop looking at the objects and we begin to appreciate their shape, their form. Also, when photographing patterns, remember the golden rule of 3 – groupings of 3, for some reason, always appear pleasing to the eye.

Texture: Photographs which capture texture make me want to put my hand through the surface and touch the rough rock, the satiny petals, the tickley grass, the smooth pebbles. Sometimes, just by paying attention to the variations in the surface of objects you can get wonderful effects. One of my favourite shots does this by including 4 different layers, pebbles, sand, sea and sky, thus combining texture with perspective.

Balance: I suppose out of all these points, this one, along with perspective, most directly tackles issues of composition. When I take a shot, particularly of the landscape, I like to achieve some sense of balance. Often this is achieved through some form of repetition, although not as emphasised as you would find in a pattern. One of the most obvious ways to find balance in a shot is to take a picture of a reflection, but other ways include ensuring equal measures of land/water and sky, foreground and background, or of two contrasting colours. I realise this one sounds more complicated than it is, but it really rewards with great pictures!

Light: This can make or break a good shot. Sometimes, when you are out and about, you’ll find that the quality of light is just magical. It’s at times like this that you need to suppress the flash on your camera, or you may miss out on what made the image special in the first place. Another point that I want to make about light is related to shadows – they can make extremely interesting subjects for photos, but, when you’re focusing on something other than a shadow, make sure that you are not standing/squatting in your own light, and therefore casting your own shadow over your subject. This may sound silly, but I don’t know how many good shots I’ve lost out on because I made this exact mistake!

Detail: They do say that the devil is in the detail, but I only ever find delight! Read on for more on how to get the best out of getting up close…

  • Getting Up Close: The fibres in fabric, the stamens of flowers, the barbs of a feather all provide fascinating subjects for a photograph, but in order to do them any justice at all, you are going to have to get acquainted with the macro setting on your camera. Normally this will be indicated on your camera with a flower icon, although I would like to encourage you to use the macro setting for so much more than just flowers. To make the most of macro, you need to hold your camera close to your subject, and keep your fingers well away from the zoom-in function! On my camera, if I half press the button to take my shot, the camera shows me if I have my subject in focus, before I commit to the shot. I find this absolutely vital for taking good macro shots.
  • Know Your Camera: While the macro setting may be my favourite, I try not to neglect these other settings on my camera: action, landscape, text, portrait, sunset and night to name but a few. Using the optimum setting for any given shot will really improve your result. If I’m in doubt about which setting to choose, I tend to take one with the auto setting and then another one or two using the different settings on my camera. Afterwards, I load them all onto the computer and make an aesthetic judgment on which looks best, and then I use that as a learning experience when I am faced with a similar choice. This takes me to my main point in getting to know your camera – it is through experimentation that we learn. Allow yourself the freedom to play with your camera, its different settings, its options pertaining to the flash etc, and see what works and what doesn’t. In the age of digital photography, we no longer have to worry about the financial implications of experimenting and failing as we once did with photographic film. So do yourself a favour, take lots of photos and make the most of the options your camera presents you with. Bonus tip: I’ve found the action or sports setting works great with moving water shots!
  • Your Editing Suite, Your Play Room: Editing has fundamentally changed my photography. As I mentioned in part 2 of this series, I do process my pictures in order to achieve, not an accurate representation, but an insight into my perspective. The editing suite that I use is iPhoto, which comes with Apple Mac’s iLife. If, however, you use a pc, you may want to try an online editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop Express, which has now linked up with Flickr, making it easier to export your photos to your Flickr account. As I advised with your camera settings, give yourself the freedom and the time to experiment and play with your images. If you’re worried about spoiling them, make duplicate copies and play about to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that the original is safe and untampered with. My regular routine when it comes to editing is to rotate my shot (so I can see what I’m looking at!), and then crop it, keeping in mind the points I made about perspective and balance to attain an image that I’m happy with. Then I begin to experiment with brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and exposure. Normally I find that I make my images darker, with greater contrast, saturation and sharpness, and I ever so slightly lower my exposure. I am not for one minute recommending that you apply this process to all photos though! Experiment, investigate and play until you get the image you are happy with.

Now, I think I’ve gone on for quite enough here, but I hope that some of these tips will help towards increasing your confidence when having a go at taking your own photos, and for sharing them. In tomorrow’s post, which will be the last of the series, I will look a little more at sharing photos before making my announcement, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!

I’d like to now turn the floor over to you: Have you found these tips to be valuable? What tips would you like to pass on to others? Do you know of any good blogs to find more photo tips?

May 22, 2008. Photography. 21 comments.

Guest Post For JJL

A brief interruption in the series on photography to let you all know about a guest post that I’ve had published over at Joyful Jubilant Learning for this month’s theme: Learning From the Movies. I chose to write about the New Zealand film Whale Rider and how it helps me to appreciate a sense of place.  There are already some really lovely comments over there, so I really recommend you go and check it out!

If you’re reading this and you’ve just arrived from Joyful Jubilant Learning – Welcome 🙂

You may want to check out my About pages: About Amy and About Lives Less Ordinary, both of which will give you an idea of what this blog is all about.  Please do feel free to kick off your shoes, make yourself comfortable while I go and pop the kettle on.  I do so hope you’ll stop for a browse and a chat!

May 21, 2008. Admin. 4 comments.

The Fire of Images: Why I Think You Should Take Photos

Tom Cottrell

This is the 3rd post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Setting my own personal reasons for embracing photography to one side, I would now like to explain why it is that I think you should be carrying your camera with you wherever you go.

Now this is possibly where a small, light, compact camera really comes into its own! I keep my camera ( a Fujifilm Finepix z100fd) in my bag or in my pocket ready to pull out and start taking pictures of whatever has caught my eye. As I explained in the first post of this series, I only started to do this back in August of last year, and in that time I have noticed a number of significant and extremely positive changes in my life. It really is such a simple adjustment to make, but just look at the benefits!

  • Increases Creativity – Taking photos and editing them is an act of creativity. Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artist’s Way, suggests that one way to jump start personal creativity is to begin treating yourself to ‘artist dates’, which she describes as, ‘a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist’. Carrying your camera with you and taking photos of whatever catches your eye, automatically turns any outing into an artist’s date. You give yourself permission to be creative: to be a person who creates.
  • Heightens Awareness – A curious thing happens when you’re on the lookout for photographic opportunities – you start to find them wherever you look! That patch of scrub-land next to the bus stop? You know, the one you don’t normally look twice at? Well, when you have your camera at the ready you begin to realise that it is not an unremarkable tangle of weeds and dead grasses. It is, in fact, a cornucopia of interestingness.
  • Develops Curiosity – Following on the tail of ‘heightening awareness’, an interest in photography can lead you to ask a lot of questions. What’s at the end of that path over there? What does this look like up close? Where will I end up if I choose to turn left instead of right? Curiosity is one of those qualities that we are born with and we steadily lose if we’re not careful to cultivate it. Let photography reawaken your questioning self.
  • Opens Connection – What I am doing when I take a photograph and share it, either on the blog, on Twitpic, on Flickr, or personally with family and friends, is I’m offering up a point of connection. By engaging with my photographs you’re seeing the world the way I see it, you’re participating in my vision. When you post a photograph you’re providing a window on your world.
  • Appreciates Specialness – It doesn’t matter how many swans I take a photograph of, every single one of them is special. It doesn’t matter how many flowers I photograph, every one is unique. Since I started taking photos, my appreciation for the individuality, for the specialness, of everything I encounter has been enhanced tenfold. It is my belief that it is only by appreciating the special in others, that we can connect to, and celebrate, our own specialness, our own lives less ordinary.

If you already carry your camera with you wherever you go, do you agree with these benefits? Have you discovered other benefits?

If you don’t carry your camera with you, but you intend to, what benefits do you hope to find? Has this post convinced you to give it a go?

May 21, 2008. Photography. 20 comments.

The Fire of Images: Why I Continue To Take Photos

The Bronze Birds

This is the 2nd post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

I didn’t realise when I first began taking photos, uploading them onto Flickr and sharing them on this blog, that I would revolutionize the way I think of photographic images.

We all perceive things differently: the way I view, process and analyse the sights that greet me daily are necessarily different from the way you would if faced with the exact same sights, and vice versa. What I discovered was, that by sharing my photos, I was, in fact, sharing something far more personal, something unique to me – I was sharing my perspective.

Now, I think it may be important here to make a confession – the images that I share with you here have almost all undergone a small amount of editing: cropping, zooming, straightening, alterations in brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure and sharpness. I am not interested in trying to attain some impossible ideal of an ‘accurate’ representation, whatever that may be – I want to capture the world the way I see it.

Do you find sometimes that when you take a photograph of something really beautiful: a brilliant bloom, an entrancing waterfall, or a radiant sunset perhaps, and you see the result, you’re disappointed? That for some reason, it doesn’t look the way you saw it when you chose to focus your lens and photograph it, thus preserving it forever as a visual memory. I consider the process of editing to be an extension of the creative process that I undertake, in order to portray a scene the way that I originally perceived it.

I’ll explain a bit more about the editing process in part 4, but for now I just want to encourage you to start thinking about the images that you capture and share as invitations. Because, when you visit Lives Less Ordinary, you encounter many images and every one of them is an invitation; they are an invitation to see the world through my eyes, to engage with what I believe to be special and worthy of sharing.

They are an invitation to connect through a sharing of perspective.

Is this the way you think of your photographs? As invitations? As windows on another’s perspective? Also, do you edit your photos? What are your thoughts on the editing process? Please feel free to ask any questions that you have about editing, and I’ll do my best to integrate them into the practical tips post scheduled for Thursday.

May 20, 2008. Photography. 18 comments.

The Fire Of Images – Why I Started Taking Photos

The Fire of Images

This week I’m trying something a little different. Inspired by this fabulous quote carved into a flagstone outside Edinburgh’s Writer’s Museum, just off the Royal Mile, I’ve decided to post a photography series:

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Now this is not a series designed to intimidate or self-promote, rather it is a series to inspire, to support and to nurture. At the end of the week, I’ll be making a special announcement, so make sure you watch out for it. If you haven’t already subscribed, you might want to do so now!

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the 1st of 5 posts in my Fire of Images photography series:

Why I Started Taking Photos

If you were to count the number of photographs that I have included in the posts here at Lives Less Ordinary, you would discover that there are close to 1000 of my own. I am actually astonished at just how many images I have captured and shared here, as it was never my intention for this blog to become known for my photography!

When I began Lives Less Ordinary, I knew I wanted to create a space where I would enjoy spending time, and so I knew that I would need to integrate images that I personally found aesthetically pleasing. I began investigating using Flickr images, but quickly became confused by the copyright licenses. It soon became clear to me that using photos I had taken myself would be a much easier route.

And so I began carrying my camera with me whenever I went, and kick-started my love affair with photography. That was back in August 2007 – just 8 short months ago.

I’ve told you this story because I want you to know where I’m coming from on this. I’m not an expert – I’m an enthusiast. I’ve not attended photography classes and I don’t own a DSLR camera. This series is for people who are at the stage I was at last August: people who enjoy taking photos, and would like to share them, but who don’t feel that their captured images are worthy of gracing a blog post or being included in a Flickr photostream.

I do hope you’ll join me for the rest of the series. However, if you’re still not convinced that taking photographs is an activity worthy of your time and attention, hopefully tomorrow’s post will convince you otherwise, when I share why I continue to take photos.

Do you enjoy taking photos? How and why did you start taking them? Also please share any thoughts that come to you throughout the series about your personal experience of photography – they are all welcome here!

May 19, 2008. Photography, Uncategorized. 39 comments.

Links Less Ordinary 4

Stepping Stones

Looking for some great links to follow up? Links to posts that inspire and enlighten? Links to blogs that invite us to look at the world with fresh eyes, to appreciate, to engage, to respond? Well, look no further, as I have collected some great links for you to view over this weekend!

  • Chris Garrett had a very inspirational post this week called The Magic Ingredient in which he addresses an issue which effects many of us. Does this sound familiar to you?

Whenever I achieve something in my life, two things often occur. One, the first, is I have to silence that small voice in my head that says “If I managed it then it can’t have been all that hard”. The second is I seem to attract people who say to me “I could have done that if only I _____” or “You see it’s easy for you, because ______”.

  • Ellen Wilson, of Wilson’s Words and Pictures, had a wonderful post, Bringing Your Daughter to Work Day, about encouraging children’s creativity. Reminding us of just how important it is to support our children’s artistic endeavours, Ellen writes about her own daughter’s burgeoning creativity and shares one way in which Ellen actively encourages her:

And I did mention to her that I would be displaying her artwork online. She is really excited about that. It seems she was born with a crayon in her hand, and being only 8 years old she is a top notch artist.

  • Next up is a post I missed from last week, but it really does deserve sharing here. It’s by Jo(e) who, if you don’t know, you really should. This post, If Every Woman Had A Cape, is an excellent introduction to her blog, Writing as Jo(e):

It was a comic book movie, except with human actors and actresses instead of drawings, and I couldn’t help but analyze the corny dialogue as we listened. The movie was a wonderful illustration of the black-and-white thinking in which people fall neatly into the categories of villain, victim, or hero. Even with all kinds of cool special effects, it’s incredible how tiresome those narrative can be. And more than tiresome; it’s downright sad. I know real life people who get stuck in those narratives.

In the search for a purposeful and passionate life you start to look for the important things. You take a good look at your life (the jar) and identify a couple of them. Some are real clear, some are only barely visible. There are all kinds of pebbles and blocking your view. And then there’s that strange mud that smells of beer…

  • Bob of Heroes Not Zombies, who some of you may know is my dad, had a post up this week which I really wanted to share with you all here. It’s called Making Sense of Life and it looks at the role stories play as we attempt to gain understanding and construct meanings:

How do you know what another person senses, feels or thinks? Through the sharing of stories. Our key tool in organising all these elements and conveying these experiences to others is narrative. We put things together in our heads in the form of stories. Remember, a story is created by telling of the present as it is emerging from the past in the light of future possibilities.

  • Last for this week is Joanna Young‘s post, Powerful Writing in 30 Words Or Less: E-Book of One-Liners in which she announces that she has compiled all the entries that she received answering the question, ‘What does powerful writing mean to you?, and that she is making it available as a pdf download. The e-book is free, but she is requesting donations for a very special charity:

It’s in support of MAD About Art, a small educational charity that works with young people in South Africa whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Using a mix of narrative and art therapy they support the young people to tell the most powerful stories. Find out more about MAD and the connection with powerful writing

Well, that’s it for this latest edition of Links Less Ordinary. What posts really inspired you this week?

P.S. David Masters shares some link love over here and there are some great posts to check out there too!

May 17, 2008. Links Less Ordinary. 7 comments.

The World Is Too Much With Us

When I was out recently with my grandparents, we walked along a short woodland walkway which took us to a playpark where the kids could run off some of their excess energy. As we approached the walkway, we heard a man talking, and when we drew a little closer, we saw him pacing back & forth talking on his mobile phone. We quietened down the kids and kept walking to the park. On our way back to the car with our happy and only mildly tired out children, I noticed that the man wasn’t there anymore, and just at the spot where he had been walking back and forth engaged in his conversation, I saw this beautiful flower:

Lifting My Face To The Sun

I wonder if he saw it too?

The World Is Too Much With Us

The World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather’d now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.-Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,-
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

By William Wordsworth

When was the last time that you stopped and stared and fully engaged with the beauty of the world around you? What gift did you find when you did? A flower like this one? Or maybe a beautiful view? Or maybe a stunning reflection?

May 16, 2008. Environment. 12 comments.

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