Friday, July 11, 2008

Writing with the Elders

Theo and Alfred M Landon, names often associated with Kansas State University, also contributed to Kansas University. Research at the Landon Center on Aging located north of the KU Medical Center complex in Kansas City focuses on major issues for the aging population including stroke recovery, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.

Recently, I attended a class offered at the Landon Center. Maril Crabtree, a published author and presenter spoke about Flow Writing. I cannot pass an opportunity to learn something new about writing.

Arriving early allows time to study “This Motherless Child” series of eight drawings by Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton on display. I say, “study” because one cannot just look at these drawings. Elizabeth Layton describes the Motherless Child as a “frail, elderly person, who, like a very young child, has become dependent on someone else, yet still has dignity and independence of spirit.” Perhaps because of experiences with my family, I find her drawings reassuring. She uniquely captures the elder’s determination of character in a care facility with drawings and explanations.

As the tables fill, I feel apprehensive. All women and one man sit with pen in hand. They are mostly retired. Were they previously English teachers, newspaper editors? Listening to conversations, I learned there are several poets. Thankfully, no credentials checked and in fact, laughter all around and I feel at ease. We are ready to write.

“Flow Writing is a way to find out what’s going on inside. It’s an act of discovery” explains Ms. Crabree. To accomplish this, she tells us to keep our hand moving, try not to think too hard or control our thoughts. Lose our critical editor. Be specific. See a mind picture and write it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense.

The hour and half flies by. We write three essays, read them aloud, feel emotions of humor and sadness in our writing while learning something about ourselves. I know these people a short time, but they feel like old friends.

There is one more Flow Writing Class this summer on August 12, 2008, from 1:00 to 2:30. In addition, September 23rd will be another writing class entitled “Thanks for the Memories” all taught by Maril Crabtree.

Our last assignment is to write two minutes about an object from our past that is dear to us. Try it. Get a piece of paper or sit at the computer and let the words flow.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rain--A Reprieve from the Beans

The past two nights its been pick


and can.

Interested in a timetable? The picking part started at 8:00 pm. At 11:00 pm I was waiting for the pressure cooker to cool enough to take the lid off and unload. From start to finish, the seven pints canned and three pints frozen took three hours. I could purchase the same amount for around $6. Probably not much savings to can home grown vegetables.

We think they taste better. Is there a value on good taste?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fun and Food

What a beautiful 4th of July weekend.

Here in our part of Kansas, the weather is beautiful. The kids were in and out of the water all day on the 4th . That evening, Aaron headed to bed with his swimsuit on—a damp swimsuit at that. He said he wanted to be ready to get in the water as soon as he got up in the morning.

We enjoyed our meal and front row seats for the fireworks show at Kim and Marc’s. It was a good show. Their neighborhood pitched in. We played the music broadcast on the radio for the Topeka display, which included This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie; Starts and Stripes Forever by Sousa; The American Trilogy of Dixie, Battle Hymn of the Republic and All My Trials by Elvis Presley and of course, Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA. We missed hearing Neil Diamond’s America and Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. Click here to listen to these songs as well as other patriotic songs.

Saturday night we attended the annual Stull community 4th celebration. They held it on the 5th this year. Once again lots of good food.

Hard to believe, but I didn’t have my camera with me on the the entire weekend. Not one picture. Highly unusual.

Great weekend though