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Image from page 188 of “St. Nicholas [serial]” (1873)
Gift Ideas
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Identifier: stnicholasserial71dodg
Title: St. Nicholas [serial]
Year: 1873 (1870s)
Authors: Dodge, Mary Mapes, 1830-1905
Subjects: Children’s literature
Publisher: [New York : Scribner & Co.]
Contributing Library: Information and Library Science Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Digitizing Sponsor: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Text Appearing Before Image:
Then I trimmed a lovely hat,—Oh, how sweet she looked in that! And dear, my sakes, that was nt all,I bought her next a parasol !

Text Appearing After Image:
She looked so grand when she was dressedYou really never would have guessedHow very plain she seemed to beThe day when first she came to me. Vol. VII.—12. 170 HOW JOE BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE. [December, HOW JOE BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE.By Mariox Conant. Well, girls, there is one way we can helpboth father and ourselves in these hard times,said Bessie Foot, while her elder sisters looked upfrom their occupations with kind, interested faces. We can give up our birthdays or Christmas,began Bessie, slowly. That is a good idea, broke in Emily, theolder sister. These numerous gift-days andpleasure-makings draw too heavily upon all ourpockets. But what will Joe say? This time theynearly all spoke in concert. After a little pause, Bessie said, with hopefuldecision : Oh, perhaps he wont care. Now Joe was the last, but by no means the least,member in Mr. Foots family. He had arrivedlate, after this goodly row of girls, and after hisparents had given up an earlier and often ex-pressed desire that

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Give Creativity: Word(s) of the Day 2/23/2016
Gift Ideas
Image by alisonleighlilly
"There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun."

― Pablo Picasso


"We stand before a bonfire or even a burning house and feel the odd release it brings, as if the trees could give the sun return for what enters them through the leaf."

― Lewis Hyde


"Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me,
If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me."

― Walt Whitman


"The initial gift is what is bestowed upon the self — by perception, experience, intuition, imagination, a dream, a vision, or by another work of art. Occasionally the unrefined materials of experience or imagination are finished works, in which case the artist is merely a transmitter or medium. But it is rare for the initial material to be the finished work of art; we must usually labor with it. The ability to do the labor is the second gift."

― Lewis Hyde


It’s been two weeks, and somehow this practice is as surprising and engaging today as it was when I first started. Every day, new words arise and I set about the task of quietly arranging these little sacred objects on my windowsill until they mean something. Most of the time, I have no idea what it will be. Every morning, I find myself starting from a place of doubt — surely, today will be the day the process fails me, today will be the day I’ll run out of ideas, I’ll have nothing interesting to say. Surely, today will be the day it all falls back into mindless, meaningless routine.

But it never does.

Instead, each morning in front of the altar opens up a space into which a whole universe pours. Sometimes — I kid you not — I find myself crying with the awe-filled weight of it. Walt Whitman writes, "To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand." Maybe we are just too sensitive, seeing a sun in every spot of yellow pigment, an ocean in every drop of ink. But then, what a gift — to live in a world of so many suns, so many deep and dazzling seas! Two words in tension slit me open like a head wound that won’t stop bleeding. How can there be so much blood in me? How can the world be so full?

But it is.

And so I show up each morning, and I do the work.

We talk about creativity as a gift — he’s so gifted, we say, so talented, so skilled. I like what Lewis Hyde says in his classic, "The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property" (written the same year I was born): that the ability to do the labor of creativity is itself a gift, what arises from the place within us that is given freely, rather than acquired by an act of will. And the gift must move.

So I show up to do the work. Sometimes, my ability to do the work is stunted by dizzying pain. So it goes. Sometimes, it’s hounded by doubt. Then the work becomes making a friend of doubt, greeting it like an old acquaintance and saying, "What new thing will we learn about each other today, my love?" What a gift doubt can be!

But either way, the work of creativity is like stealing fire from the gods — while the gods themselves gently close their eyes, like a parent pretending not to hear you tip-toeing up on your squeaky sneakers to see how close you can get. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke says, "If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable."

You climb the highest mountain to steal the very sun from the sky, and come home again with your sacred shining gift only to discover the hearth and the wheat field are already full of sunlight.


#UULent #gift #creativity #giving #altar #meditation

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