R. S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Page 3 of 51

Hillside Monday: 5/8/17

“Cat Waiting, with Light and Shadow”
LaGrange, Georgia – 16 November 2016
Model: Smokey

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 5/5/17

“Piedmont Azalea with Night and Rain”
LaGrange, Georgia – 31 March 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 5/3/17

“Waiting on a Train, Part 10”
Denver, Colorado – 1 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 5/1/17

“Gardenia Ghost”
LaGrange, Georgia – 6 June 2016

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Friday Photo: 4/28/17

“I Can’t Be a Pessimist, Because I’m Alive”
Denver, Colorado – 27 February 2017

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Wherever someone’s in need

Two years ago today, I submitted final grades for the last time—and, to celebrate, posted on Facebook this photo of my 1960s neon Pabst Blue Ribbon bar sign (a lucky eBay purchase). While I miss my former students, my friends, and the steady (if small) paychecks, I don’t miss teaching. At all. Ever.

In some ways, though, I’m still teaching. For example: most of this week has seen me helping people figure out how to do the things that confuse or frighten them—and figure it out through writing. I’ve helped people’s ideas take shape on the printed page, whether in plain text or as part of a graphic layout. I’ve talked people through the stories they’re afraid to write, when their dreams literally point them toward taking great creative risks. In a sea of disinformation, I’ve helped people find the knowledge they need to make hard decisions.

I walked out of the classroom two years ago. I haven’t looked back. But when I think about my own writing, and how I’ve used what I know to help others, I know that the classroom isn’t always in a school building. The classroom is wherever someone’s in need.

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 4/26/17

“Waiting on a Train, Part 9”
Denver, Colorado – 1 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 4/24/17

“Art Is Where You Find It, No. 3”
(acrylic, oil, tempera, and charcoal on enameled steel)
LaGrange College Dept. of Art
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 March 2017

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Notes from the Happy Kitten Cottage; or, I’ve Got a Newsletter Now

Yes, I’ve got a newsletter now (even if I don’t have any eyebrows in this photo).

It’s taken me six years, but at last TinyLetter’s easy-to-use format found me, and I’ve begun Notes from the Happy Kitten Cottage. It’ll come to you once a week, on average. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. We’ve all got plenty of stuff in our email inboxes as it is.

As I note in the About section, it’ll be “weekly notes on my writing & photography, my cats, rural places, plants and wild animals, dilapidated buildings, country music, and Lord knows what else.”

Interested? Sign up here.

I’ll probably send the first newsletter in another day or so. They’ll all be archived, so no worries if you miss one.

TinyLetter will show you a confirmation page, and will send you an email with a link to click (to verify your sign-up). You can unsubscribe anytime.

Thanks again for reading. You folks are the best.

Love,
Me

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 4/21/17

“Shadow Rabbit”
Denver, Colorado – 27 February 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 4/19/17

“Waiting on a Train, Part 8”
Denver, Colorado – 1 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 4/17/17

“Roof Replacement in Black and White”
LaGrange, Georgia – 17 March 2016

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Friday Photo: 4/14/17

“Church Sign, Centralhatchee”
Heard County, Georgia – 24 February 2016

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Wednesday Photo: 4/12/17

“Waiting on a Train, Part 7”
Denver, Colorado – 1 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 4/10/17

“Daffodils with Painted Concrete”
LaGrange, Georgia – 9 March 2014

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Friday Photo: 4/7/17

“Skeleton with Camellia”
LaGrange College Department of Art
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 March 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 4/5/17

“Breakfast and Check”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 25 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 4/3/17

This cast-iron fireplace front probably dates from the early 20th century (as does the lead-based paint still clinging to it). It’s from one of two original chimneys in my circa-1915 mill house. When we freed this beauty from the wall where it had been closed up for over 60 years, it bore a thick layer of coal dust. As we tore out the bricks from the chimney and hearth, our faces did, too.

Coal, though sooty and potentially dangerous, was cheap in the early 1900s. It was how poor people heated their homes. Its dust sticks around for what seems like forever. More than six decades after this house stopped using coal heat, I still find the silvery-gray dust in the old walls, or in the cats’ fur when they sneak into the chimney space (soon to be a walk-in closet).

“Cast Iron Fireplace Front with Paint”
LaGrange, Georgia – 15 March 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 3/31/17

“Daffodil Knocked Over by Storm, No. 1”
LaGrange, Georgia – 8 March 2012

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Peony Problems

Here in the Deep South, peonies are a hit-and-miss gardening affair. Sometimes, the weather and bugs and fungi and soil all manage to cooperate, and POOF! an early-blooming variety gives you two weeks of gloriously ruffled, heavily perfumed blossoms six to eight inches wide. (Unfortunately for us all, Southern weather gets too hot too soon for the late-blooming varieties.)

Seeing and smelling these flowers is the gateway drug to a serious gardening habit. You can’t help wanting moremoreMORE after an experience like that. Before you know it, you’ve got three, six, a dozen of them in the yard.

You tell yourself, “I don’t have a problem. I can quit any time I want.” This is while you’re sneaking plant catalogs into the employee restroom at work. You start showing up to important meetings with dirt still under your fingernails. You call in “sick” so you can stay home and dig several cubic yards of composted sheep manure into your garden beds.

It gets worse. You find yourself unable to sleep from your gardening high, so you order even more plants online at 3:00 in the morning. Your spouse gets suspicious. The cycle of lies begins: “No, honey, I don’t know who would order twenty rare peonies, ten Japanese maples, six Himalayan lilies, fifty ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ daffodils, twenty blackberry canes, and a Piedmont azalea all at the same time.” And the peonies started it all.

Most of the time, though, the weather and bugs and fungi and soil refuse to cooperate. You’re left with apricot-sized flower buds that turn to soggy brown mush just as they’re about to open. Then it’s all weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth while you walk around in sackcloth and ashes. Sad, but true: this has been my peony story for most of the ten years I’ve had them in my garden. It’s a rotten way to live.

The exceptionally cold winter of 2014 made this old-fashioned, finicky plant happy—which made me happy. 2015 brought a mild winter and brown ruffled mush. 2016’s joke of a winter will probably mean the same for this spring’s peonies. Guess I’ll hope for a repeat of three years ago, and then take whatever I can get.

Who am I kidding? I’ll be heartbroken without those six-inch, heaven-scented, crinoline-ruffled light pink pom-poms. But it’s no big deal. I’ll be okay, eventually. Besides, I can quit any time I want.

Photo: “Pink Peony Ruffles” (LaGrange, Georgia 8 May 2014)

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Note: This post first appeared here in July 2014, here again in April 2016, and has since been revised.

 

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