The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Makers all

DSC03634My smart, wonderful writer of a daughter is in a PhD program in the English department at Purdue University, and she reported the irritation literature scholars and others felt when Purdue tagged itself as “makers all,” in honor of its strong hands-on programs in engineering and the like. I did have the phrase ringing in my ears this week, though.

I am completely not crafty except, perhaps at times, in the Machiavellian sense.  But one of my sisters and I decided to make stepping stones.  Here’s my result!

When my sisters and I were little, Ethiopian Airlines made one stop a week on the savannah below Maji, our misty mountain home.  The savannah was hot with crackling grass…pretty much as my brother and I captured through words in Water Hole Waiting.  That’s the thing.  I capture sensations in words.

WW cover smallI’ve been amazed in auctions for VCFA or Ethiopia Reads at the writers who can also do delicate and astounding things with their hands.

But on the hot savannah, embedded in the sandy soil amidst the crackling grasses, were stones–like jewels, like dazzling glass bits, like treasures from an old tale.  While my sisters and I were waiting for my dad to finish up his business with EAL personnel, we braved the blazing sun to find them.

wwuhaDon’t we look hot as we get ready to get out of the plane?  About the only shade was under its wing.

So when my sister saw stepping stones with bits of embedded glass, I just had to try making one.  It called to me with a siren song.  Since I am, however, NOT a craft person, I discovered–thanks to my sweetie’s pointing it out–that the shell I embedded was either going to get crushed or poke someone’s foot.

My web hunt about stepping stones led me to other people’s crafty ways.  I know of Etsy but had never tried ordering things.  While I experiment with stepping stones, though, I decided I had to order one that could actually be walked upon.  This weekend, in rainy Portland, I set it in a spot I’m trying to reclaim from the grassy wilds.

DSC03639My making has to do with polishing and twisting and shaping and tapping on words to see what effects I can create.  Apparently, though, my garden is now compelling enough to make me, too, one of the makers all.

Lanie would be proud!


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