150 Years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Timeless Inspiration

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“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Says the Queen to Alice, perfectly reflecting the upside down world that is Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is loaded with promise for what is possible; for what may come. July 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

These ‘impossible things’ that Queen speaks of illuminate the endless possibilities contained in the book and are part of why the story has endured. It is one of the most influential children’s books in modern history.

In a world dominated by Disney and Nickelodeon, classics such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be lost amongst the noise of Frozen and Spongebob. The story has inspired a huge body of work, both in book cover designs and other mediums which are beyond the realm of children’s literature.

The 150th anniversary of publication is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the creative value of this classic children’s story, and what this means for our children. Juliette O’Conor, Children’s Research Librarian at the State Library Victoria says “The first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was pivotal in changing perceptions of children’s fiction, until then there was a very strong sense of moral purpose in literature for children.”

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This article was written by Collette Beck and was first published on Essential Kids website.

Image courtesy of Hostess with the Mostess blog

Morning Pages Will Change Your Life

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One of my long term goals is to write everyday. But I’ve always found that life just gets in the way. I just couldn’t find a way to make it happen. I’m not sure if it was procrastination at work, a long term crisis of confidence or something deeper, that was holding me back from making this happen.

But something shifted within me. I’m not sure what caused it, perhaps me just waking up sick and tired of looking at my long list of things I want to make happen and finding that none of it was.

Consciously, I knew that I was the only one who could turn these dreams in to a reality, but it’s much easier to blame external factors. My biggest one was that I have three small children who take up ALL of my time, anything left over was for me, and my fella. But really, this approach didn’t get me very far. [Read more…]

The Art of Disconnecting and Reconnecting

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Trentham to Lyonsville walk

This week we’ve been away at a friend’s farm in Trentham, Victoria. There is nothing quite like the feeling of the crisp frosty morning and the glow of the fire that has been burning all night, keeping the living room toasty for when you get up to make your morning cuppa. I love the smell of the air in the country; crisp and clean but punctuated with the smell of log fires and home baking.

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For us city-dwellers, the novelty never wears off. Every time I come to this part of the world, I feel revived and inspired. Our kids also get the benefits. They love that we do things as a family that we don’t do at home. Not out of choice, but because our day-to-day lives are so full of activity that we are constantly in the throes of football, netball, gymnastics, soccer, school, work… you get the idea. [Read more…]

Creativity – A Salve for the Soul

 

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People tend to categorise themselves. Do you consider yourself creative, or academic or a ‘maths and science’ person? Believe it or not, we all have our own creative adaptor. It’s just that some people have learnt where to plug it in, and some haven’t.

We are also quite constrained by what we think is a creative undertaking. Being creative is not just about painting pictures or doing ‘art’. It can be anything you want it to be. What characterises creativity is that it is done with a passionate outpouring.

Mindfood’s theme for this month’s edition is ‘Creativity’, which is what has inspired this post. Carolyn Enting interviews art therapist Irena Stenner in her article ‘Unleash your inner artist’. Stenner explains that creativity is a way of connecting with something ‘beyond our intellect’. I think it’s important to remember this; not every activity you undertake needs to be cerebral.

When Mum was very sick, I was having a hard time managing my emotional stress levels. My very thoughtful and intuitive brother presented me with a sketch book and a set of artists pencils, and reminded me that when I was younger my art was a strong force in my life and a means of expression that I was heavily reliant on. My practice fell away over the years and was replaced with going to work, studying and looking after my children. It had been many years since I’d sat down to draw.

Mum passed away not long after this, and so for his birthday I decided I would take his advice and make a piece of art for him to take home to Queensland, where he lived with his wife and family. The process was incredibly soothing and I had forgotten how healing it could be. I had transcended to a peaceful happy place, right there in my living room, with my baby kicking on the floor and my older kids happily drawing at the table with me.

But you don’t have to draw or paint to be creative. You can sing, or bake, or whittle some wood. Try something that you’ve always admired other people doing, but believed you wouldn’t be good at. The point of the exercise is not what you produce at the end, but rather, the process of creating and where that process takes you.

There was a time in my life where I was stuck in a bit of a rut, with not much money or support to change things, and I read an article that suggested doing one thing each day, that you wouldn’t normally do and see how it feels.

So the next day I wore red lipstick out to the supermarket. I felt fabulous all day. The day after that I wore a beret. The next day I walked, instead of drove. These simple acts were acts of creativity, without any effort, expense or time required from me. And I tell you, they were a salve to my soul.

I still struggle to make time for creativity, but when I do, it feels like I’ve been on a little holiday. What about you? Is there something you do that makes you feel brand new?