The Habit of Being as if Never Before

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
~ Aristotle

 

How could I resist this quote for feeling better about repeating a post?

Well, it’s not exactly the same as before. Then what ever can be?

 

Autumn Crocuses

Autumn Crocuses in my garden in 2012

 

 

Now the light is more diffused, colors faded.

Autumn Crocus Cropped 2

Autumn Crocus in my garden two days ago

 

Another year of restlessness like standing still, growth from withdrawal and revealing in one way and another. 

Autumn Crocus 1 cropped

Autumn Crocus in my garden this morning, the first day of Autumn

 

Survival in the habit of being as if never before.

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

There is a memory here, planted moments before it was too late.

It’s not what it seems. These are not the spring variety, waking from frigid dreams, wooed by what is to come, green showing warily yet buds often opening too soon.

These are not flowers fraught with anticipation. They’ve already been revealed, lost their clothes in the crowd, withdrawn to regrow and regroup before winter. These latent lilies are a law unto themselves, having done it all before, bending this way and that, exploding unashamed into sunshine and tears, inviting their withering surroundings to dance before the mystery of dying.

For here is immortality.  Everywhere.  And so the generous age offered a handful of corms for drilling into years she might or might not have ahead, too deep to be forgotten.  

 

Writing note: The autumn crocus actually isn’t a crocus—it’s in the lily family (crocuses are in the iris family), flowering in the fall. Autumn crocuses send up their leaves in the spring but they die back by summer, the flower stalks rising and blooming quite indecently in fall. Some common names are: naked ladies and mysteria. Mine were given me many years ago by an older neighbor friend of my mom’s, Sue Drilling, a farmer’s wife, who was fiercely independent as well as extremely intelligent and artistic, living alone into her 80’s (no one knows for sure, as she would never tell her age…) in a large Frank Lloyd Wright style house where she had a very wild but wonderful perennial garden. The new owners have since dug it all up and replaced it too neatly with shrubs and lawns, less to care for and enjoy.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

 

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Forget Me Not

There is a flower in silence and motive that causes thoughts of interrupted solitude.

For a while, grand illusions grew out of its brightness and reach.

It might have been as beloved as bluebells, trembling stems and tiny flowers spread in a fragrant mist as far as the eye could see.

Such an easily admired effect. All was good. And understood. Azure waves in daylight, scented stars at night. An audience that wanted nothing more or less.

Until it was growing in less predictable ways and places. At least by those expecting it to always sparkle and sway the same.

I’ve known this self-seeding flower forever. It comes and goes, disappearing as it has to, reappearing where it will, not to anyone else’s design; perhaps, not even to its own.

Well, it knows better.

Controlling this flower is a challenge. Pull it out and throw it away; being perennial it will merely find new ground. Its vulnerability finds strength in escaping boundaries that other sorts obey.

Its roots have a habit of curiosity and continuity. Lost and found in shade and filtered sunlight, its leaves hold out for dew.

There is a rumor that God almost forgot this flower, but I have never believed it.  Another, closer to the truth, claims the weight of armor almost drowned a chance for it to speak its truth.

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

Myosotis (from the Greek: “mouse’s ear”, after the leaf) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. In the northern hemisphere they are commonly called forget-me-nots. Illustration copyrighted 2015 by DM Denton

 

Not all were strangers, not the little myosotis stars bursting unforgettably through the dirt and grass.

“They always come up in legions, no matter how I thin them.”

Somehow she knew what her father was saying, feeling a return of pleasure when he gave her the bouquet he had made with a few tiny daisies, too.

~ From To A Strange Somewhere Fled

 

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

 

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Highlighting The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life

This week I’m highlighting a wonderful website that celebrates …

… classic women authors who wrote in the English language. Here you’ll find their words of wisdom for readers and writers. Enjoy their life stories and quotations; learn more about their books; read their advice on the writing life; and enjoy contemporary voices on the writing process.
Source: The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life

Literary Ladies Web Page Header-page0001 (2)

The site owner, Nava Atlas, has also published a book of the same name:

book-cover

 

Nava was looking to add some more authors and has graciously allowed me to contribute overviews of a few of my favorites.

So far:

The English novelist and poet, Mary Webb (March 25, 1881 – October 8, 1927) whose writing reflected her strong ties to the countryside and people of her native Shropshire and who drew who drew on her pantheistic view of nature, fascination with folklore, innate sense of mysticism, consideration of the female experience, and empathy with the most vulnerable and stigmatized of earth’s creatures.
Read more …

Mary_webb

and, also,

The Anglo-Italian, Christina Rossetti – one of the most enduring of Victorian poets … the youngest of four artistic and literary siblings … the most famous being the Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Her poetry and prose … used lyricism and symbolism to contemplate themes like earthly and divine love, nature, death, gender and sexuality, and drew inspiration from the Bible, folk stories and the lives of the saints.
Read more …

Christina_Rossetti_3

Drawing of Christina Rossetti by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Both will be included in my upcoming collection of three novellas about lesser-known/oft-neglected women writers. The third is Anne Brontë. Read more about her at The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life.

Drawing of Anne Brontë by Charlotte Brontë

Drawing of Anne Brontë by Charlotte Brontë

This work-in-progress is in its infancy. I’ve begun with Anne Brontë, and here’s a little taste from Without the Veil Between 

She pulled out a drawing begun some months before, Little Ouseburn Church most picturesque viewed from the other side of Ouse Gill Beck, its chancel encased by shrubby trees, a grassy bank sloping towards the stream, the mausoleum just out of sight. The Robinsons’ carriage was commandeered every Sunday to transport the family the nearly two miles to the church, immediately afterwards waiting to take them back to the Hall for dinner by half-past noon. Anne was included in and yet irrelevant to the Sunday ritual, the latter demonstrated by no one questioning her leather folder tucked under her arm or even thinking to refuse, as the Inghams would have, her request to stay behind to draw a while before returning on foot.

“You may do what you please, Miss Brontë,” Mrs. Robinson was famous for saying, “and I will tell Cook to put your dinner aside.”

“Aren’t you afraid to walk back alone?” Mary might wonder before her mother insisted she get into the carriage.

Anne was relieved she didn’t have to answer, for any explanation of her need for bucolic solitude would have implied dissatisfaction with the confines of her room at Thorpe Green, the subdued light through one slanted window waking her very early but, by late afternoon or in the evening, providing inadequate illumination for reading, writing or artwork. She took whatever time she could to be on her own out-of-doors, freed from capricious children and their equally unpredictable parents, the dissatisfaction of servants and repetitive duties, and, especially, the dreariness back stairs and dark corridors made almost unendurable. In contrast it was easy to put up with feeling too warm in the sun and too cool in the shade, watch for rain, hold her paper from curling in the wind, wave away thirsty gnats, and be distracted by birdsong and any of the creatures she could hear but not see or see without seeing, like the fish making little whirlpools of bubbles in the stream between her and the church that months later, having to resort to memory and imagination, she hoped to finish her detailed impression of.
Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

ouseburn

Little Ouseburn Church – Anne Brontë’s sketch and a recent photograph by Mick Armitage http://www.mick-armitage.staff.shef.ac.uk/anne/bronte.html#main index

This collection is a long way from publication, but, if you enjoyed this sample and for those who may not know, I have two literary historical fictions available now – A House Near Luccoli and its sequel To A Strange Somewhere Fled, as well as two kindle short stories, The Library Next Door and The Snow White Gift, all published by All Things That Matter Press.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

 

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