steal like an artist

one of my favorite sources of inspiration is austin kleon, whose two books, show your work!, and steal like an artist, were among the very earliest and most lasting influences on my work. what he does best is simply give permission. permission to decide what art means to you. permission to create. permission to be wrong. permission to be messy. permission to proceed in a non-linear way. permission to steal. i’m just not sure he meant literally to steal a handful of shrub roses from beside the parking lot of the rug cleaning company that just finished cleaning the rug you toted back from morocco. is that stealing like an artist? or just stealing?

shrub roses in late june

minneapolis, minnesota

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salt water and tears

just got home from my niece’s wedding, where i got to watch my brother tearfully give away his daughter to a man who is a complete and devoted gentleman, although that did not make it any easier on my poor, broad-shouldered, weeping brother john. this photo features some shells i gathered with that very niece on north captiva island close to a decade ago. my own daughter was there too, and this fall, we have a goodbye ahead of us as well, when she starts her first fall college semester in california. i am guessing i will be doing my best to comfort my poor, broad-shouldered, weeping husband.

shell collection

gulf coast, florida

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a key west veranda

i think it’s the sultry, sticky weather here today, combined with the fact that I just watched the movie “genius” about max perkins–the legendary editor whose clients included thomas wolfe, f. scott fitzgerald, and ernest hemingway. but for whatever reason, the heat, the humidity, the reference to hemingway, and the tropical feel of these ferns, all combined to put me in key west on a veranda, with a rum drink and not enough breeze, and maybe a six-toed cat or two, stopping by to brush across my ankles.

three ferns and a vetch

saint paul, minnesota

 

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pests

apparently cecropia moths have so many predators that they never become a pest. it’s an interesting way to think about pests. pests are the things that not enough other things want to kill, so we humans kill them instead. imagine if so many other flying insects found mosquitos tasty, that we cherished each mosquito that landed delicately on our forearms. oh look! a mosquito! wait, don’t move. let me get my phone. i’m going to instagram this.

cecropia moth

saint paul, minnesota

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  • Cecelia W. says:

    Mary Jo, I just volunteerd my first hours at our Botanical Garden in Norfolk, VA and saw the caterpillars for the cecropia moth. These moths have no mouths or tongues so are unable to eat. Their sole purpose is to reproduce. If they aren’t eaten, they live only 5 to 14 days. Thought you might be interested in a little more about this beautiful moth.

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  • Dede says:

    Mary Jo-You are so funny!

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an inordinate fondness for beetles

this is an approximate scale model of the earth, showing the the comparative number of insects in the world (950,000 species and an estimated 10 quintillian individuals) to the number of people. as you can see, we fall somewhere within the margin of error. if only our species sat as lightly on the actual globe as we do on this fanciful one.

collected mid-summer bugs

saint paul, minnesota

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