Stairs as an Allegory…

Possibilities, that’s what Stairs mean to me. Stairs are associated with a journey, progress, growth. And, depending on which way you’re going? Down? Stairs could represent the Fear of Failure or Fear of Falling. Ok, that’s what I’ve experienced, after a knee surgery more than a decade ago- I had fallen on a small run of steps and after surgery I found out that it’s easier to go upstairs than to come down. What a revelation to me.

Stairs are a strong symbol of transistion, change, transformation and growing wiser- leading our minds to a new, different and hopefully higher level. Stairs have been used, even in ancient cultures, as a symbol of going from one level of being to the next level- one step at a time. Ok. Rocky might have taken it more than one step at a time- yet who can forget the image of Stallone standing triumphant? And yess, I’ve gone up those stairs myself! The Thrill of Victory. Really. Out of Breath.

I love beautiful stairways, ornate or humble. And yes, there’s the romance of a spiral staircase, an architectural marvel- symbolic of oh so many things…to me, it’s pure genius. A Black and White Staircase? Coco Chanel would’ve loved it. My personal favorites are a beautiful shade of blue at Independence Hall, the Village Steps with Terra Cotta Pots and the Tropical Green and White- so cool and fresh. Still. All of them have been speaking to me lately.

I’ve been impatient with a project I’ve been working on- I thought I’d be finished..there are more steps than I planned and more to go. Some are new challenges, I’ve been facing or even avoiding. ‘When you start something new, even if you don’t have all the answers, trust your instincts and believe that you’ll rise to the occasion.’ One of my favorite quotes even if I made it up myself! So!

It’s back to basics week. One Step at a Time. A New Perspective- each of the steps or even obstacles are really Possibilities in disguise. *I’m just hoping it’s less than ‘a journey of 1000 miles.’

Love y’all, Brenda

*Okay, an allegory is a narrative in which something like stairs, a place or object is used to express a bigger, more important message to illustrate or explain ideas. Allegories are really an easy way to express a meaningful, even complex idea. In this writing lesson, you’ve seen an allegory express more than just an architectural element- it’s about going higher or further than you thought you could or would.

Creative Possibilities…

Paintbrushes symbolize creative possibilities, and represent the possibility of Change. It’s said if you dream of paintbrushes- it’s possible that you see yourself doing something unique or the desire to accomplish something worthwhile. If you’re not sure what or how to write, start with a plain or simple image of something sort of common or mundane. Look up the symbolism and you’ve got the start of a great story.

It’s been said that artists prefer wooden brushes made of pine- an evergreen. To paint something that achieves lasting form, meaning and value. And, then there’s Color. Color is the Workhorse of Design. Before we ever read a word, our brains have formed an opinion. Your color choices, your color story has- well, it’s told a story. If your color story is complex, the viewer decides- ‘I don’t have the mental energy for this.’ Am I right? In today’s world of massive amounts of information coming at us- from many directions.

From a young age, we develop emotions around color. Color forms the texture of our lives. It’s been said, ‘ Use language on a 4th to 7th grade level.’ Why? It’s not because we aren’t smart. Because.. a message should be easy to understand. The same is true with color – your color message should be easy to understand. Never be afraid of possibilities, change or to accomplish something worthwhile- achieve something of value. Use Color to start the conversation, evoke good feelings and opinions.

Yet, above all, Keep it Simple. Simplicity is often the most difficult design or art form to achieve- yet Simplicity tends to accomplish something long lasting and worthwhile. Memorable. These are Notes to Self and to You- I hope you dream in Paintbrushes and that Color is the Fabric of your Life.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. please notice- in writing, use symbolism such as paintbrushes. Then, color begins the conversation, let the image set the scene and then begin telling a simple and easily understood message. That’s a winning combination every time.

P.S.S. The July Planning Guide is ready- and it’s chock full of information to take you right into the Fall! In fact, there’s a major Color Story in this guide- an interpretation of the Fall/Winter Colors of 2021! These guides are free. Send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

To Write Good Content.. add Whimsy!

Feeling a bit Frazzled?

One of my favorite quotes is:

‘You have to risk a little crazy in order to escape the gravitational pull of the Ordinary.’ by Tom Samet

I’ve found, to write good Content- you have to risk a little crazy… Visual Images like you see her, start telling the story before you write one word. And, it doesn’t really matter what you do or what your business is- Add a little Crazy… For instance if you’re a Coach who helps with time management- maybe that Frazzled Chick will help you get a smile, and your reader will be drawn in to find out more.

It’s Stretch!

Or maybe you teach yoga or stretching exercises- a crazy Frog will help you tell the reasons you know works! Or part of what you do helps folks relax, an image of a sleeping kitty- yes, they’ll get the concept just from the image!

Do you help folks find their purpose or get direction in their lives? I think I’d read about it, if I saw a charming image of this Big Teddy Bear. It’s wonderful to see a path or a road- though don’t you know, this Bear with a pointing bunny on his shoulder would often get the point across in a whimsical way?

And, really isn’t that what good Visual Marketing does? It uses whimsy. It uses Visual Imagery to market their products or services. A sketch of a castle or even a Sandcastle you built yourself- gets the point across! I will say this- to Write Better Read

I read a story weeks ago, I kept hearing in my head- something about ‘walking through raindrops’  I couldn’t find the quote so I adjusted it, and it prompted me to write this quote:

I felt like most of life, no matter what was going on, I was Dancing thru Raindrops without getting wet.’

And why did I write it that way? Well, I found this adorable image of a Frog and a lilypad- under it’s own natural umbrella! Don’t forget- it’s serious times we live in, often with serious solutions- Still. If you find a great whimsical image- yours or not- Let the image tell the story before you write a word! Everything doesn’t have to be serious even when the subject is. Add Whimsy… Love y’all, Brenda

Now, I know y’all have heard about my *Free Monthly Planning Guides and May’s Planning Guide is ready and it’s jam packed with fun things to write about!

Thank you to all who have requested it! This month, there’s a *Bonus*- it’s a *Mother’s Day Gift Guide* for product and serviced based businesses- you’ll learn how to price your products, how to really make the Mothers on your customers’ list feel like Queen for a Day!  So, if that’s You, all you have to do to get to get the Bonus Gift Guide is- *send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt I’d love for you to have it!

Nerves…

D0F39752-CB7D-4458-A05A-D49D5B63887D

She was the nervous type, always scared to death of something or other, I tell you she was no Grace Kelly, Her Serene Highness of Monaco.  An old timer said of her nervous condition, ‘You can always hear a chicken’s feathers ruffle. Scared of her own shadow.’  I rifled through my notes and found that Southern folks talk about their nerves– a lot. Here’s a sample.

  • ‘I was nervous as a cat.’  I have to admit most cats I know don’t exactly quiver like nervous ninnies. They nap a lot. I have known a few cats- a very few- who get on my last nerve. That goes for other things or people too.
  • Some folks say- ‘My nerves were bad that day.’ or… ‘I was a bundle of nerves!’  even this…
  • ‘That noise is working on my nervous system.’ or if it’s really bad- ‘I felt like I was about to have a complete nervous breakdown.’
  • Or nervous exhaustion- ‘ I can’t sleep. I’ve worried myself to death’.
  • ‘My nerves are shot, I tell you they were almost completely gone. If someone tells you I’m Koo Koo for Cocoa Pops. Believe them’

You don’t hear about nerves much these days….oh maybe something like ‘Nerves of Steel’…Mostly, we hear about Stress, Anxiety or other disorders which are all real and can be serious conditions… the terms and treatments have changed. I’m guessing, for lack of a better way to describe things, our Southern Mothers tended to blame the nervous system for the unexplainable. It’s sort of shame terms change like they do. A case of ‘Nerves’ was one size fits all- a delicate way of putting things.  If there is one thing Southern folks used to excel at- is putting things in a more genteel format. The South is a region of church steeples, azaleas, Dollar Trees and eccentricity.

817EB075-9980-49F3-AA90-364003142014For instance, even when we suspect someone is acting in an unusual way….  ‘We always felt a little bit sorry for her- she was a shy soul who had fallen arches, varicose veins, thick ankles and- kept her venetians closed tight as a tick. Most folks suspected her nerves were bad or that she might be a closet drinker. But nice, let me tell you- you will never meet a nicer person in the world, a little unkempt, bless her heart- but so nice.’ Yes, that’s the Southern way of putting things. If we suspect someone might be going over the edge- well… there are telltale signs…

7B5D1FF2-B9DC-4998-8021-BCA16E4D9C16‘Most folks plant petunias in an old tire, but Emma’s been working herself to death- she’s got a whole tire garden – whitewashed or white walled tires with a bottle tree slap dab in the middle or it- I think she’s just got nervous energy that needs workin’ off- One of the neighbors said they thought they heard incantations at night around the bottle tree- but I think it was just those bottles rattling when the wind got up. So what if she planted a tire garden anyway? It’s better than keeping things all bottled up or falling out with a case of bad nerves.’

FFBFBD55-3F11-4FEE-9936-5BC1B6892790And there’s this- naturally some folks do get nervous when they have to get up at meeting to make a little talk, their hands sweat and quiver-One suffering man said…‘I’m so nervous, I could thread a sewing machine and it going.’  Nerve wracking.

3615C552-C99B-44A7-88CD-7CDC0BD9EE6FAll women worry about their children; if they will they make it all right when they get grown but some Southern women worry about whether or not theirs will rise above sorry circumstances– one woman said the houses she grew up in smelled of chlorine bleach, steamed cabbage and home permanents. She wondered if her daughters would rise above it– they did. One has her own Happy Housecleaning Service and the other is a Beauty Operator.

Now, it must be said- that often Southern Mothers are simply mortified by person’s behavior, it sets their nerves on edge. It’s imperative to point things out to their children-

‘Don’t be hanging out over there. Her mama’s not right…mental. Goes to juke joints on Saturday nights. Some say it’s her nerves…but really! layin’ out at night and then layin’ out in the yard in broad daylight to even out her tan. I tell you she’s on the verge…or maybe she’s already gone cuckoo- a genuine floozie. Why, it’s beneath her. Some folks try to excuse it away by saying she was an army nurse in the South Pacific for 15 years and never adjusted to civilian life. The nerve! honestly. I tell you now, it’s no place for young folks to gather. You just need to politely decline any invitations from them and their loud mouthed neighbors too.’

781CACEF-A11C-4645-B3AF-F99391EAEC5DAnd then there’s the case of Aunt Freezia Butler… she’d always been a bundle of nerves, she was high strung when she was a young girl. As a grown woman, Aunt Freezia suffered from tension headaches, nervous stomach, had occasional bouts of Saint Vidas Dance and knew the heartbreak of psoriasis. Aunt Freezia was a buttoned up type, had a tight perm to match; mostly she didn’t trust doctors. Still.  Freezia was a spiritual type – Hard shell Baptist. She claimed it was biblical to take a nip for her oft infirmities according to St. Paul. So she kept a bottle of spirits in her chifforobe ‘for medicinal purposes only’ said it settled her nerves. It probably did.

06FB0CC4-D75D-4F33-A2E5-EF0584686C28A final warning, beware of the wilting Southern Beauty Queen who has gotten to the age when her mind has started to wander… she will offer her delicate and limp hand like a fading gardenia, then takes to her bed with a rare case of Magnolia Fever. Watch out for this type.  Her nervous spells will run you to death- waiting on her hand and foot. Do everything- only to watch her turn on you… mean as a snake! Then! this old Beauty will have the nerve to blame it on a tension headache; says she is declining rapidly- knows the end is near- makes elaborate funeral plans and final wishes. Southerners fall for this- Every. Single. Time.

Okay. ‘Pull the velvet drapes, please. I think a bad case of nerves is coming on… I need to collect myself. There. I’m back to being the Serene Highness of the South.’

C90CCD7E-E08B-4B96-9412-1E13DCCF0540Now, you know the secret of my crazy writing habits- it’s keeping notes…in no particular order, of amusing or unusual phrases or words- then it’s like pulling a rabbit out of the magician’s hat. Some time, somewhere when I least expect it- all of those reams of random paper bring on a goofy piece of writing designed to amuse and inform. This one- for instance- is like all Southern tales… part truth, part myth and part outright lies.  And, you have to admit- it took a lot of nerve to write it!

Love y’all, Camellia

*This is meant to be a humor piece. I have the utmost sympathy for anyone who suffers from any type of nervous disorder and am thankful we have better ways to address it medically. *All photographs are obviously mine. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  *This is the truth and the whole truth- I have come up with no word for a collector of words and phrases- this photograph is just a fraction of the crazy notes I keep! *And one more thing- we were asked back in the Spring by Z Publishing – to submit an article from a previously published piece of writing. We chose one from Camellia’s Cottage entitled- Bevy of Beauties. We were astounded and grateful to have been chosen and included in Alabama's Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction