Writer’s Web: Catching Inspiration from Women Writer’s of Charming Family-ish Fiction 🕯📖📜🖊♥️

Betsy and Tacy’s replica bench from Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy Tacy Series. Mankato, MN ♥️📖

I’ve been thinking about the stories that inspire me and of course, the writer’s behind those stories. I was so excited to recently visit Mankato, Minnesota (Deep Valley in the stories!) and stop at many of the places mentioned in Maud Hart Lovelace’s semi-autobiographical series of children’s stories. Oh, the delicious delight and wonder of seeing the places Betsy (Maud) and her friend Tacy (Frances) haunted and thinking on how Maud captured the specific, odd, charming details that make her stories ring true. It made me think of all the other authors that write these types of stories and how much they inspire me!

One of these lovely kindred souls being Carol Ryrie Brink, an American author, with lovely family stories that warm my heart, so far my favorite being Winter Cottage, a story set in the Great Depression era in Wisconsin, a widower and his children making the best of very hard circumstances. Family Grandstand being a cherished read aloud in our family of an university professor, writer mother, and three kids in a rambling house with a turret and all their adventures. I’ve finally began the sequel, Family Sabbatical with some Booktube friends and the first chapter was SO delightful. Brink, of course, is most famous for her story inspired by her grandmother’s life, Caddie Woodlawn.

An English author that I’ve recently been stalking and been so inspired by is Noel Streitfeild. I first heard of her from one of my favorite films “You’ve Got Mail” in which Kathleen Kelly talks about “the shoe books”. Come to think of it now, Kathleen also talks of Betsy Tacy books in her bookshop and sells some to Joe Fox’s aunt! 😉😄♥️ Streitfeild is wonderful at putting children and families into unique, slightly strange settings and situations. I absolutely was riveted by her story The Magic Summer, about children dumped on an eccentric aunt in the barren Scottish? countryside. Family Shoes (The Bell Family) was delightful as the children tried to help their poor vicar father and mother with money in hilarious ways. There are so many more to explore and I’m currently loving Apple Bough (Traveling Shoes).

Elizabeth Enright is one that I started reading with my older children years ago with her delightful book The Saturdays, but I was reintroduced to her this past summer by my favorite Booktuber, Kate Howe, who also revived my interest in Maud Hart Lovelace. I adored Gone-Away Lake and can’t wait to read the sequel. The nature writing interwoven into this book won my heart.

And of course, one cannot talk about inspiration without mentioning my lovely and favorite Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. The magic of nature, the spiritual edge hovering over life, and quirky characters are just a few reasons I love this writer SO much. Yes, her stories can be a bit formulaic, but oh, the delicious details she packs into them. The Anne series, The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill, and Emily Climbs are my favorites at the moment, maybe if all time? I was so blessed to travel to P.E.I. for my 15th anniversary with my husband to soak up some island inspiration.

Laura Ingalls Wilder also comes to mind. I’m currently rereading through her famous series with my younger children and Almanzo’s story in Farmer Boy is just as compelling as it was the first time I read it. The hard, brutal life that early Americans lived is so inspiring for our modern lives. The family dynamics are so intriguing to us. I still want to retrace the Ingall’s path out west which we did as a smaller family years ago. We loved especially wading in Plum Creek. 🥰🌿

Gothic-y-feeling, trickling waterfall near Maud Hart Lovelace’s home.

No list of inspiring women writer’s would be complete with another favorite, the English writer, Elizabeth Goudge. Her magical writing in legend and lore of place, her deep, interesting, nuanced characters, her pulling back the veil between spiritual and reality, make her SO beloved. She definitely is a bit more of a dense writer, you have to work hard at her stories, especially beginnings, but persevere, because oh my, you will be richly rewarded. I’ve read most of her backlist, currently my favorites are A City of Bells, Pilgrim’s Inn, Dean’s Watch, and maybe Gentian Hill is creeping up there, too. Her children’s story, Little White Horse is delightful, too.

Train station where Betsy (Maud) traveled to Milwaukee to see her friend!

And of course, Miss Jane Austen, is a must have for this list. Her books are such an interesting study of character and the inner works of Regency era English families. Romance takes over the films, but the books are something else entirely. My favorites are Persuasion, Pride & Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. Although, I reread Mansfield Park this summer and so enjoyed it!

How about you? What authors highly inspire your work? Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list for me, Bradbury, Tolkien, Lewis, and others come to mind, but one of my favorite things to read and write is family and children ! And I think these ladies get it oh, so right! Have you done literary travel? Any inspiring places you recommend or you want to visit? I’ve also been to England, but would love to go back, especially to Oxford. Please chat with me in the comments! 📖♥️🖊📚

“The desire to give”: poem & Ansel Adams intertwine…

::where does this pathway go?::

“Beauty Glut” by A.M.Pine

Beauty glut, beauty bright

maybe I’ll crack open

and my seams

will spill out

a little light

cause I can’t

hold this all

sieve myself

rend myself

funnel

channel

squeeze myself

fill up

spill out

faucet

spigot

shower

keep the beauty

flowing

conduit

current

carry

receiving

repackage & repurpose

from me to you

from you to me

from Him to us

from us to Him

blood & beauty spilled

nail holes & hoarding hurts

beauty & blood spurts

gasping

glut groaning gifts

growing gains

beauty born

give & it shall be given

“Art is both love and friendship and understanding: the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of things. It is more than kindness, which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the interrelations of these.”

Ansel Adams, p.37 Ansel Adams: An Autobiography, emphasis mine

||on hot water therapy ||

||filtered light through shower curtain, drips trickle off silver-y, soap-scummed faucet…Irish Spring Soap scent, sniffing out a 32 year old memory of Grandma Fritz, her chunky, pink bubble-shaped bubble bath bottle, her chain plug, while all the dregs drain down…salty tears mixed with mineral-laden water in need of salt to soften. Hey, I’m a cheap water softener, if only my tears could be useful in that way…stretch marks, stretched-taut strength, silent screams through the warm rain. Hair plastered close, veil washed over my racing thoughts…sore nose bridge, loose glasses, may I be able to see pass this all? Purple, frayed, musty towel waiting, dirty feet bottoms planted in the swirling soap suds. Rubber duckies, colorful boat, army man with one leg, Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo, please bring me an olive branch of peace and hope. Hot water sears eczema, coconut oil slathering ahead, healing really does hurt. Worry-disease drained away for the moment, deep breath, steam in, selfishness and stress out. Water pounding massage, life paused in curtained, watery world away from the “on-ness” of it all, soul’s dirty roots deeply watered for another day. Size 12, barely buttoned, unzipped heart, out of chest, maybe hot water therapy will help this heavy-heart, too? Scrub this heart anew.

Happy November! 🥰🍂🕸🕷✨{writing/creativity challenge to myself…will you join me?}

Journals and current writing reads! ✒️📚📓📖📝

Something about a new fresh month always super excites me! This year has been a challenging year for me with my writing and creativity. I’ve had some setbacks in my health journey, bad habits creeping back in, and sleeplessness. Unfortunately, that lends to my creative pursuits being put on the back burner. I’m challenging myself here at the blog to post something three times a week for November at least, prayerfully till the end of the year. Just to get the habit rolling again!

How about you? Do you have writing or creativity goals currently? Anything you want to revive? Are you reading or practicing any habits that are helpful? I’d love to hear!

Currently reading and loving! 📖♥️ Anything feeding you?

I’m currently continuing all the autumn/ Victober reads{a Victorian literature read along during October}, and enjoying my large TBR stacks. I’ve been enjoying Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on YouTube. I’ve also been drawn to Hercule Poirot episodes. What’s currently filling your well? 😄♥️🔍

{Grati~logger} 🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿

Cedar Falls Overlook ~ Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

I’ve been thinking about my blog here and what {exactly} it is I love about it. It has grown into an offering to God🙏 more than anything…gratitude for the generous giving of other’s words written, a whispered prayer of thanksgiving through photography {a photo often says something words cannot}. It’s a tangible witness of the sheer love for the gifts of nature, poetry, writing, art ~all from the world’s well of inspiration. To us, from them, to them, from us. So you could say gratitude + blogger = gratilogger? 🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿 How ‘bout you? Do you ever feel this way also? Do you feel like bursting with all the beauty given to us? Why create? Why give in these ways? From the bottom of my heart, THANK goodness YOU create and give. I need it like air. 😄♥️💜♥️ That’s all, Happy Saturday!

Lenten Gratitude {2} 🌿♥️🌿

Continuing my Lenten List of Gratitude ~

11. Mr. Kleon’s work has been opening my mind to possibly lately. And that’s a good thing.

12. Thinking on this quote I read with my 17 yo the other day, “A picture or poem, or the story of a noble deed, ‘finds’ us, we say. We, too, think that thought or live in that action, and, immediately, we are elevated and sustained. This is the sympathy we owe to our fellows, near and far off. If we have anything good to give, let us give it, knowing with certainty that they will respond. If we fail to give this Sympathy, if we regard the people about us as thinly small, unworthy thoughts, doing mean, unworthy actions, and incapable of better things, we reap our reward. We are really, though we are not aware it, giving Sympathy to all that is base in others, and thus strengthening and increasing their baseness: at the same time we are shutting ourselves into habits of hard and narrow thinking and living.” ~ Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

12. Thinking about creativity and how sometimes it’s hard to grasp that elusive ‘thing’ that’s haunting you and waiting to be born. How birth is beautiful and miraculous, yet it’s earthy, natural, and an everyday occurrence all over the world. These lyrics speak to that and here’s the music video which has stunning imagery about this tension. {click CC button, top right corner of video for English subtitles}

13. The flames, smell, colors, warmth, ritual of filling our indoor woodburner. I’ve been finding in the midst of the hard work of it and constantness of it, a beauty. Hmmm, this sounds like writing practice. 😬😩😂

14. Margin. Modern life is a snowball. I’m thankful when I remember to stop it and live counterculture for a bit. Run counterclockwise, Amy. One part of this can’t really change though. Relationships. Those you need to keep your toe dipped into.

15. This zany, high energy podcast. An encouraging online friend, Adrienne, recommended me to this resource!

16. Starting enjoying a new Shakespeare play, composer, and especially enjoying this unique artist with my children. So thankful for the moms in my homeschool group for sharing these riches.

17. For this this poem and animation. So peaceful!

18. For photography- snippets of light for dispelling darkness

19. Warmth: fires, slippers, hot showers, hot tea, steamy coffee, and comfy thrifted purple Scotland sweatshirts.

20. Changes of perspective to help me get outside of myself. For coming back to my mountain to climb with newness and freshness, or at least a deep breath. ♥️🌿

What’s fueling you? 🌿♥️🌿 Lots of love from the Ridge, Amy 💜🌿💜

Happy Birthday to Maud Montgomery, My Marvelous Muse

Lake of Shining Waters ❤

{Happy Birthday, Lucy Maud Montgomery! Original poem from 2017 after my dream trip to Prince Edward Island with my husband in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary}

Prince Edward Island to Hearth Ridge Farm: A Tension

Here home again, bittersweet world of words.

Red-stained, Isle of blue-green,

Sail waiting to be unfurled.

Glints of gold on glass, mind’s-eye scene,

path of sunlight to horizon, quiet ease.

The din of loved ones, drowning

sea’s strong murmur. But I’ve a new lease, a fervor.

Responsibilities crashing loudly, crowning,

but a secret seeps from my

lapping lips, whispering of far-flung beauty sounding.

Out comes dunes, out comes brilliant sky,

Out comes red earth, surf, and seagull cry.

The thick worlds collide, my heart’s

isle and soul’s farm become intertwined.

Fingers stroke cheeks, sand grains left behind.

My breath is salty, pungent as I kiss

their darling, dirty faces, fists. The fields of corn,

waves of the sea, something missing and found in me.

Beacons, buoys, blueness, quintessential coastal horns,

sea in my lungs, earth in my throat,

compost of being, soul sea-soaked.

Farm’s beauty full width and breadth, feasting on, seeing

It’s flesh alive because of Island wind,

that died a death sown deep in me.

This old dirt-made woman, new from sweet saltiness of sea.

~A.M. Pine

Other posts I’ve written on Maud here and here if you are interested! ~

Who is your forever muse? I have many, but Maud will always be my favorite inspiration!

Monday Ponderings {November 29th}

“Killing Me Softly with His Song” – my favorite version is by Roberta Flack ♥️♥️♥️

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams; —
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

~ Arthur O’Shaughnessy, from Ode, here is the full poem and it’s just so lovely.

♥️I’ve been musing on how art begets art. It’s like really and truly being SEEN by someone and seeing a bit of them, too, connection that knows no boundaries, an amazing gift, when my heart beats with a story, art, music, or a film. ♥️ How about you? What do feel when something someone created reaches out to you?