20 April 2015

It started and ended with a boathouse in Maine..


E. B White in a boathouse, Allen Cove, Maine 1976
Photograph by Jill Krementz

Do you ever wonder how you get through the day..when you haven't even left the house? You might call me the Queen of Distraction. Are you that person too? You start doing one thing and before you know it you have started an endless number of tasks...and haven't finished a single one. Then you wonder what  possessed you and who is going to clean up the mess you just made? Why you of course.

If only...you had not woken up thinking of E. B. White and your favourite photo of him typing away in a boathouse in Maine. You want to find the photo and start by scrolling through your 19,606 photos on your Pinterest boards thinking..."where did I put that photo?". You realise that it is really stupid to have so many Pinterest boards (125), you should delete some of them. But which ones? Do you really need a board devoted to Bears? You think...YES and then wonder when you had time to pin 19, 606 photos???

You never do find the photo and have to resort to Google. You wonder what the point is of having Pinterest if you can not find a simple photo. Always best to blame it on Pinterest, could not possibly have anything to do with your organizational skills.

Bingo..you find it (above), even better that you found this one because you love the words of E. B. White..

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire 
to improve the world and a desire 
to enjoy the world, this makes it hard to plan the day."


You share the photo with friends because you know they will "get it" and you move on with your day. 

You start the day by searching for a book you can no longer remember the name of (mistake #1). If you hadn't gone looking for the book you would not have started dusting all the books on the bookshelf (mistake #2) and then taking all the books out of the bookcase (mistake #3) and categorizing them by country (mistake #4). 

You then think...while you are at it..you might as well take out the gazillions of magazines, stacked and stuffed into the bottom shelf of the bookcase (mistake #5). It is time to let go.

You forget that there is a reason why you stacked and stuffed them all into the abyss of that bottom shelf. Before you know it, you have divided and conquered the magazines (mistake #6) and then you think...maybe I will keep them. Exhausted, you now realise you need a break.

Over lunch you start reading the book of books, Wandering Through Vietnamese Culture, all 1023 pages of it  (mistake #7). You think it will be at least ten years before you finish it. You then start to wonder where all your books on Vietnam are hiding (mistake #8)..which sends you on a mad search until they are all found and neatly stacked, close at hand by your reading chair..with all the magazines and coffee table books you left scattered on the floor before lunch. Did you even finish lunch??

Before you know it you are sitting on the floor, the world around you, in books and magazines, reading an October 2012 issue of Down East magazine (no mistake)...wondering what it would be like to live in a boathouse in Maine. You flip through and there it is, Memorandum written in October 1941..."A list of the things the writer ought to do on his own farm along the coast of Maine". by E.B.WHITE! You  are totally beside yourself and being a New Englander...appreciate that Maine charm, so you can not help giggling along. He listed all the things he ought to do...and before he knows it, the day is done and he has not accomplished anything. I get that.

Excerpts from One Man's Meat by E. B. White

I ought to find out who it is that is shooting coot down in the cove today, just to satisfy my own curiosity. 

And I should stop in and pay the Reverend Mr. Smith for the gravel I got a month or two ago and ask him if he has seen a bear. 

I ought to fix up the pigpen down there in the barn cellar and sweeten it up with a coat of whitening, so that I can get the pig indoors.

I also should take the green chair to Eliot Sweet so that he an put in some little buttons that keep coming out all the time. 

He finishes...

"I've been spending a lot of time here typing, and I see it is four o'clock already and almost dark, so I had better get going. Specially since I ought to get a haircut while I am at it."

Still laughing, because the exact same thing has happened to you (it's four o'clock) you turn to Amazon Kindle (knowing the chance of finding E.B. White books in Vietnam is next to nil) because you want to read more.

Along the way you discover Martha White, granddaughter of E. B. White, who is on a "literary mission to attract a new audience to the delights of her grandfather's witticisms, aphorisms, and notable wisdom especially about the state he loved: Maine."  Reading that reminds you that Mr. H always wanted to live in Maine and you chose New Hampshire. You wonder what E. B. White would have to say about that. You still love New Hampshire. 

Your day is ending just as it started, but even better because you have purchased the book, Essays of E. B. White. No matter that you can not remember the book that started you on this folly. You have ended the day as you began it, thinking of E. B. White..and now you know why. You were meant to buy a new book. 

You just wish he was here to help put away all the other books and magazines still sitting on your floor! But one thing is for certain, you are not tossing that Down East magazine!


Written by E. B. White

with William Strunk Jr.  1920 
4th edition, 1999
One Man's Meat (1944) 
Edited by Martha White 
Edited by Rebecca M Dale




And now onto you...
how do you fare with this list?


Me..#1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10
Might have to throw in #9 after writing this post!

Have a great day/evening everyone!!!
:)

Jeanne xx


38 comments:

  1. The visibility of your post-scape is the best of best to read because not only is it well written, its a candy store of thoughts to ponder. Thank you.

    Risk taker...if that means white water rafting or rock climbing, then the answer is no, I am not a risk taker.

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    1. Thank you Maywyn, so glad there are thoughts to ponder. Love when that happens. I am with you on the white water rafting and rock climbing...I will add anything that has to do with jumping off a cliff attached to a long rope. I could go on... Not for me either! :)

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  2. Hello Jeanne, What a delightful post today and now you have me looking to read some of E.B.White's work. He spoke to me and I was reminded of the old Irish proverb (Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile. (“A beetle recognizes another beetle.”) Just to be clear, nothing to do with the Beatles (God forbid you would go off researching this group)

    I can really relate to this Jeanne and have spent many days this way. Is it part of our creativity or can we call it research and development? Thanks for the introduction to this prolific writer.

    Wishing you a productive and joyful day.

    Helen xx

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    1. Thank you Helen...love the Irish proverb, how true! Could we say that about blogging? :)
      Happy Reading! xx

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  3. I believe there's a children's book written about this post. "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."...oh, now I'm reading your posting and wondering if we have any chocolate chips... ;-)

    Do you feel more scattered now that your children are grown? I do. I think I ran a tight ship with little kids, and now I'm sort of enjoying some relaxing. I can't decide if that's healthy and well-deserved, or if that's lazy and undisciplined. Thoughts?

    The creativity list:
    1 - Ha! Haven't been bored since I had kids! The world is too full of wonderful things to learn and explore!
    2 - Sometimes
    3 - Always
    4 - Rarely
    5 - Don't we all?
    6 - Depends on the situation. Favorite quote from Edison, "There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something!"
    7 - Excel at this!
    8 - Nope.
    9 - Oh yes. When I grow up I want to be an eccentric old lady! ;-)
    10 - Yes! When my son was four years old and being admonished for his table manners, I asked him if he would eat that way if he were invited for dinner at the White House. Precociously, he leaned across the table and asked, "Mommy, have YOU ever been invited for dinner at the White House?" I leaned right back and said, "Not. Yet." Dream big! :-)

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    1. Ha! Dream big! Love your White House story..sounds very familiar. When my oldest son was young and mischievous we used to tell him if he did not wise up we would send him to military school. Groans would ensue...and then one day, years later, he told us he wanted to go to military school and he did...so, I would expect, perhaps, one day, your son will be eating at the White House...President? :)

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  4. My day started out with a bit of garden clean up, moved to a closet and then ended with clearing out an old suitcase full of papers from college and some old journals..... definitely a long, slow meander through time and space. And, definitely fodder for some future writing.

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    1. 'Slow meander through time and space', love that Judith and you are so right..these little 'side trips' are great fodder for future writing. :)

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  5. Oh I know exactly what you mean. Last night I dreamed that I was suffocating under all my possessions so this morning I began clearing out my wardrobe intending to switch all my winter clothes over to the summer ones - but I got sidetracked and ended up just shoving everything back in because I had run out of time. Then I wandered into the garden - there are so many jobs that need tending too - so many in fact that I didn't know where to start - so I came back indoors and made a cup of tea and reached for the book I am reading - procrastination or what! I enjoyed this post very much because I can identify absolutely with it. I love that picture of E.B. White for its pure simplicity - if only my life was like that - just the basic necessities! I will now waste some more time looking for his books - and oh yes I too have the same problems with Pinterest.

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    1. So happy to read that I am in very good company Elaine, thank you!! :)

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  6. my day exactly + Stunningly written xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. Thanks so much Peggy...happy to read that I am not the only one. A life well lived...all of us! ;)

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  7. Things to do, places to go, people to see ..... and so little time. The older I get, the more I think about how to make the most of it. Love everything you write, Jeanne. You're the gal we would all like to emulate!

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    1. Thanks so much Judy...and I think you are the one to emulate..a solo journey to Paris. Love that you did that! ;)

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  8. Jeanne, to add to La Contessa's description of this post as " BRILLIANT", I say, DITTO!

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    1. To which I reply....THANK YOU CLEO!! ;)

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  9. This made me giggle. I am known to start a thousand tasks in one day and finish none of them. That is especially true if I am (ahem) de-cluttering.

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    1. (ahem)..yes the de-cluttering word. Judith (comment above) summed it up perfectly as a ..."slow meander through time and space". Let's go with that one... :)

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  10. Jeanne, there are so many here who are just like you. I did this today myself looking for a recipe on Pinterest. I have over 30,000 pins! And instead of the recipe I wanted I ended up making chocolate chip cookies, frosted chocolate brownies, and a berry filled torte. All before noon. Then I cleaned the book shelves in one room and carried 150 books to the car to be donated, along with 75 magazines. Sadly this was not accomplished until 10:00 pm because I had to reread the back of each book, peruse the pages and then thumb through all of the magazines and check the pages that were bent in the corner to see if I was still interested in the article.

    Needless to say, I did not get any real work done and am supposed to be doing that now but I am here.

    Thank you for the laugh, it is good to find so many kindred spirits all in one place.

    Have a fabulous day!

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    1. Ha! Elizabeth, I think we should write a book, rather than 'If You Give A Mouse A Cookie' we can call it "If You Give A Blogger A Pinterest Account'... ;)

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  11. I realize now that all of us have many distractions that break our thread of thought. E.B. White seems very organized and no matter how busy can write down the things he has to remember.
    I often look up his Elelment of Style for "rules" I have forgotten.

    Creative people: I like #9 which I can identify myself.

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    1. Eccentric Edgar? That does have a ring to it...if you ask me, all the best people are eccentric. I picked up the latest version of Elements of Style' last year, a great book...if only I could remember the rules. I am sure ........ is not in there. ;)

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  12. I love all of your postings
    Beautiful each and every one
    Love Jeanne

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    1. Thanks so much Jeanne...you are a sweetheart. xx

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  13. Scheesh.
    I hit every one on that list of ten.
    xo

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  14. E.B. White's books, The Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web were read to my children over and over again. We LOVED those books with their moments of bone rattling humour and deeply felt sadness. I've kept them all and can hardly wait for the grandkids to be old enough to listen to them. To laugh or cry along with me. To fall in love with Mr White.
    The Creative People list is me for sure.
    Happy week to you, Jeanne. xo

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    1. Happy days Carole, so glad you hold onto childhood books as well. Ours are dusted and waiting.. xx

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  15. Jeanne, I'm sending this to Martha who just happens to live in Rockport and is a friend. She is also a very good Words With Friends player!

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    1. Ha! I thought of you Linda, as I researched along. I had a feeling Martha lives in the same town as you and wondered... Small world. :)

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  16. As I was reading this post I thought, yes, yes, and then that quote...a bigger YES!!!

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  17. I didn't ever realise EB White was the same White as Strunk and White ... the best companion on times of grammatical indecision. Fabulous post... 9.45 am here and my day is heading in a similar direction ... as do so many days. It's called revelling and should be legitimised as a career description?

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  18. Absolutely Bindy!! ...and thank you.. ;)

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  19. Jeanne, I absolutely adored this post. Love the words of E.B. White. Also loved the description of your day. Those kind of days are precious and I always appreciate when I have the time to do just that. Thanks for making me smile!
    xx Sunday

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  20. Jeanne, there are so many here who are just like you. I did this today myself looking for a recipe on Pinterest. I have over 30,000 pins! And instead of the recipe I wanted I ended up making chocolate chip cookies, frosted chocolate brownies, and a berry filled torte. All before noon. Then I cleaned the book shelves in one room and carried 150 books to the car to be donated, along with 75 magazines.(this college are very beautiful place)See more...

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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