Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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A Few Thoughts About Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman has been flitting about my consciousness for quite some time. I believe I had a bit of Whitman in high school but not much afterwards. Yet over the decades I keep stumbling over him. The Dead Poet’s Society is one of my favorite films and one of my favorite scenes is Robin Williams as Mr. Keating reciting lines from Whitman’s poem, “Oh me! Oh life!”

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

So, this has compelled me to involve myself in a little self-education project.   I am currently studying the poetry of Walt Whitman and his influence on American poetry.   Stylistically, Whitman popularized Free Verse.  Yes, yes, I know some of you hate free verse.  But Whitman was a man who liked challenging tradition.  He was not from an upper-class background with a classical education.  He was a “typical Joe Average” man.    He wrote of individualism, idealism, and democracy.   Those themes have permeated American culture and Whitman had a big hand in that.

Off I go now to read “Song of Myself”, considered to be his greatest work.

If you have 45 minutes and want to watch a high school-level introduction to Walt Whitman (which is quite accessible), I recommend this one:



And here is the aforementioned scene from The Dead Poet Society that turned me on to Walt.


ljgloyd (c) 2019

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I recently read Keri Smith’s book The Wander Society, another of countless books on how to jump start the creative process. The author promotes the practice of “wandering” through the world, both literally and figuratively, and learning to mindfully observe what is discovered.  The book’s description at the Amazon website describes “…the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life.” At Goodreads I gave the book only 3 stars simply because this is not an original notion. That criticism being made, I quickly realized that I have been negligent in this very form of creative self-care.

It has been raining quite regularly for many weeks, but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun broke through. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in my car and began to wander.  I ended up being entertained by a pair of white rabbits in a vegetable garden, joining a gathering of members of a bread baking guild as they made pizza in a wood-burning oven, roamed around the outside and inside of an old church, paused for a few minutes in a Zen meditation room, drove through a university, stopped at a library, and came home to a steaming bowl of home-made beef stew.

I visually documented my wandering.  Here are a few of my images:

ljgloyd (c) 2019

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What to Do with a Camera and a Bottle of Vodka

I wanted to fool around with one of the close-up functions on my camera this evening.  I also wanted to mess around with my essential oils.  (Yes, I have diverse interests)  So I decided to do both by experimenting with making a reed diffuser and taking a couple of photos of the process.

You need some distilled water, vodka, essential oils, bamboo reeds, and a small-necked bottle. Mix a quarter cup of water with a quarter cup of vodka in the bottle, add about 30-40 drops of oil and thoroughly mix. Fan out about ten bamboo reeds in the neck of the bottle and let it sit for a couple of days to let the reeds become saturated with the oil mixture.  That’s it.

Here is the DIY instructions: How to Make a Reed Diffuser