LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


On Saturday, we went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream with some friends. What a delight! It's been years since I studied Shakespeare, but it doesn't matter. The actors make the lines understandable by tone of voice and body language so even if you don't catch specifics, you understand the gist of what they're saying. The costumes and props at Georgia Shakespeare Company are always clever and the clown characters are hilarious. We laughed and laughed through the final scenes and have been repeating favorite lines to each other ever since.

At dinner afterward, my friend talked about the beauty of language, the gorgeous flow of Shakespeare's poetry over the audience. It made me think about what I've been reading in Luci Shaw's book about language and poetry and about the meditation on scripture that I've been doing. I want to fill the well, a term used by creativity book author Vinita Hampton Wright, with images from scripture so that when I write, the beauty of language, which God Himself created, flows over my audience as well.

Do you have favorite passages from a book, a poem, or scripture that flow over you? Please share it in a comment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beauty According to Luci Shaw

I've been reading a fabulous book by poet Luci Shaw called Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith. She speaks to all artists but particularly to writers and especially to me. I've underlined passages on almost every page. I have to share a few with you from her chapter on beauty.

"Beauty is integral, so deeply a part of who we are and what we enjoy that we may take it for granted. Even flawed or marred or distorted as a result of human depravity and failure, it is still visible in the fingerprints of the Creator on the natural world.

"Beauty is perhaps one of the few things that constantly calls us back to God, that reminds us of an ideal of goodness and vitality...Beauty is redemptive. It can motivate us to turn a corner, to pursue a new objective. It awakens us because it is often so surprising" (pp. 22-23).

"Yes, beauty matters. It is important to God. Why else would he shape and color fish, birds, insects, rocks, plants, and people with such rich diversity?" (p. 24).

Shaw also points out that while beauty is personal, it's also universal. All of us gasp at things like waterfalls, glaciers, the oceans, mountains, sunrises and sunsets. Last weekend, under bright sun and blue sky, my family and I drove on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, a highway that blends into the environment while providing access to five mountain ranges, six major rivers, two states, and four national forests. The Blue Ridge Parkway draws people from everywhere every year. On it, we can see "the fingerprints of the Creator", as Shaw says, whether we acknowledge Him or not. It is a road to--and through--beauty and, ultimately, if we follow where it leads, to God. I can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quotations to Share

"We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery."- H. G. Wells

"That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful." - Ninon de l'Eenclos, 1620 - 1705.

"Earth laughs in flower." Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love.” -Claude Monet

"Our truest life
is when we are in our dreams

- Henry David Thoreau
(got this from Brenda Leyland's blog, It's a Beautiful Life)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Other Journal: Aesthetics Issue

I'm going to do something a little unusual for this blog and send you somewhere else. The Other Journal's current issue is devoted to aesthetics. I haven't finished exploring it yet but so far have found a lot of interesting essays. Take a look.

And many of you on are vacation and/or taking a break from your computers, but if you're around this week, please leave me a comment about one of your favorite beauty moments this summer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Alaska Memories, Part 2

Alaska is so beautiful, it's almost other-worldly. I spent a wonderful week there with some writing friends and found much material for writing. I posted a lot of it last week but here are a few other things:

--“termination dust”: the first bit of snowfall on the mountains, marking the end of the summer (although it's too early for that right now)

--the long strips or ribbons of snow on the mountains that reach ground level, with trash in and around the piles at the bottom: former avalanche sites

--the native women’s tunic made of cheery fabrics with a hood, a drop waist, and a big muff-like pocket in the middle

--the booth at the market with extremely soft scarves made out of Qiviut (pronounced "kiv-ee-ute"), the downy-soft underwool from the Arctic musk ox. Rare and expensive. We touched but didn't buy.

--favorite things to do by Alaskans: fishing, fishing, fishing! Plus camping, hunting, cross-country skiing, ski skating and other sports, the Iditarod, and fishing, fishing, fishing!

--Hurricane Gorge, just inside Denali National Forest, with the river running through it. Our view was from above and what a view it was.

--Talkeetna Lodge, where the view from the deck is breathtaking. It was sunny and clear that afternoon, so we could see Mt. McKinley and other mountains in the distance.

--wildflowers I had never seen

--beauty everywhere

I want to go back, as soon as I can.

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