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Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
Close up of apple tree flowers. Photo by Mihaela Limberea
Spring is like a perhaps hand 
(which comes carefully out of Nowhere) arranging 
 a window, into which people look (while 
people stare 
arranging and changing placing 
carefully there a strange 
thing and a known thing here) and 
 
changing everything carefully 
 
spring is like a perhaps 
Hand in a window 
(carefully to 
and fro moving New and 
Old things, while 
people stare carefully 
moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing 
an inch of air there) and 
without breaking anything.

By e. e. cummings (1894 – 1962), American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright.


To read more poems, click here.



I Shall Be Content with Silence

Close up of a Japanese anemone. Black and white photograph by Mihaela Limberea.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

Ansel Adams (1902-1984), American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.


To read more quotes, click here. To read more on photography, click here.



Writing Is an Exercise in Humility

An Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) Photograph by Mihaela Limberea, in tones of green, lavender and orange
Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)* photograph of one of my flowers beds.

One thing anybody could tell you about me is my patience. Or lack of it. It’s a paradox, really. While I can be still for hours when stalking birds to take photos, for instance, most of the time, I have no patience. None. I’m the kid who ate the marshmallow immediately (and went looking for another one in the corridor; no nice waiting for me!).

Gardening has been a lesson in humility for me. It simply takes time for plants to grow, and a fully grown garden takes several years. Even then, it does take time for flowers to bloom or for butterflies to appear in the spring. By creating and tending a garden, you learn patience along the way.

After creating my first garden in Sweden, tending to another in Switzerland, and then creating a new one when back in Sweden again, I thought I’d mastered patience. 

Ha! So easily fooled we are! Especially by ourselves. 


Writing a book takes a lot of patience. Sitting at your desk day after day after day, toiling away a page at a time, with no end in sight. 

One day you think you’ve made good progress; you only have to keep going, and you’ll get there. The next day, nothing works. You write 500 words and delete 400. You start doubting yourself. Do you really have what it takes? Patience and perseverance to sit there every day and build a cathedral by yourself, one brick at a time? To compare the wondrous vision of the building in your head and the lone low wall in front of you that you managed to erect so far?

Someone said that the only thing you need to write is a good chair. That’s a good point. You’ll need a good chair because you’re going to spend a lot of time in it. Sometimes writing, more often staring in space or scouring the internet for the best slug repellent (true story!).

I killed off all distractions on my computer, turned off e-mail and notifications, deleted games, and so on. Closed all programs, except for Scrivener (going off-road now, I know, but if you need anything to write, in addition to the said chair, you’d also need Scrivener, believe me! the best writing software, ever). And the internet browser. 

It’s a risk, I know. An internet connection while writing it’s an open invitation, a free-for-all buffet of distractions. 

I decided to take the risk. Looking up synonyms or the name of a bird I can’t bring to mind is worth it. Worse case, I’ll know more about the mating rituals of penguins or find the best slug repellent (I tend to be practical in my distractions; wasting time, yes, but at least I’ve got something for it).


So, I sit on the chair and stare at the Scrivener binder. Every morning. I try not to think about the number of days required to write a whole book. I try to have faith that if I show up every day, do the work, do the best I can, I’ll produce a book in the end. And maybe learn some patience on the way.

Writing is an exercise in humility. Day after day after day. Brick after brick after brick.

If you’ll excuse me, I have more bricks to lay now. Rome hasn’t been built in one day, and so on. Ta!


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  • If you’re interested in ICM photography, here’s a good guide.

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The Old Pond

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
The Old Pond, with a close up of a pink water lily. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

The old pond: 
A frog jumps in,— 
The sound of the water.

by Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694) was the most famous Edo period poet and a haiku master.


To read more poems, click here.



If One Wants To Be Active, One Mustn’t Be Afraid To Do Something Wrong Sometimes

Close up of a sunflower against a sky background. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

I tell you, if one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity…

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter, “You can’t do anything.” The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “You can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas. But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something…

Vincent van Gogh, from Ever Yours: The Essential Letters


To read more quotes, click here.



A Few Steps Further Down the Road

Deep blue sea. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

I work slowly but steadily on my book—word by word, pebble by pebble. In fact, I’m not writing that much at the moment, mostly research notes, as I’m working my way through the research books; and morning pages, of course. 

I read, I take notes, I read some more. Days blend into each other. My hand hurts. My head hurts even more.

Will I ever get there? The end product, the book, seems so far away. I try not to think about it; it’s so overwhelming at times. I feel I’ll never get there. It’s just so … much. Too much to think about, too much to read, too much to write. Like rowing a small boat across a vast ocean with only a flimsy map and an old compass to aid.

At times you may see something on the horizon. Maybe the coast, or maybe the gathering storm clouds. Hard to tell. You keep rowing, blistering hands on the oars and eyes on the horizon. The vision at the end of the ocean is the only thing that pumps your muscles and keeps you going long after you’re all spent.

Sometimes you see a sailboat, swiftly gliding away in the sunset, ahead of you. Tanned people with big smiles waving happily at you as you toil alone and exhausted in your rickety boat. You envy them, their seemingly effortless travel and happy faces.

Grudgingly, eyes off the happy vision, you grab your oars firmly once again and keep going. That’s the only thing you can do. Keep working, keep trusting the vision in your head. Work and have faith. Do your best and hope you’ll cross the ocean unscathed and find the treasure at the end of the rainbow.

There is a certain satisfaction in having done your best. Maybe your best is not good enough; you’re not always the best judge of that. Even so, you know that you’ve done the best you could at that moment. Right now, right here. You can try again, do better—step by step, day by day.

Happiness is this moment now, the sense of quiet accomplishment at the end of the day, the string of tiny moments, a task well done.

I put my books and papers away. Another day, another page, a few steps further down the road. Closer to the rainbow.


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Certain Things Can Never Be Realized

I shall never have the garden I have in my mind, but that for me is the joy of it; certain things can never be realized and so all the more reason to attempt them.

Jamaica KincaidMy Garden (Book)


To read more quotes, click here.



Although The Wind …

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
Trees and an old stone wall in black and white. Photo by Mihaela Limberea.

Although the wind

blows terribly here,

the moonlight also leaks

between the roof planks

of this ruined house.

By Izumi Shikibu (974–1034). Izumi Shikibu was a mid-Heian period Japanese poet and a member of the Thirty-six Medieval Poetry Immortals.


To read more poems, click here.



If You Want to Be a Writer, Write!

A pink water lily. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

I was talking to my aunt some time ago, and I mentioned I was reading about stoicism. “Well, that’s certainly the best time to do it.”, she said as we were talking about Covid-19 just before we moved on to books.

A practical philosophy to guide you to live a better life, become a better and wiser human being, more resilient to whatever life throws at you, Stoicism is definitely helpful these days. 

But what I was thinking about, in fact, was the way you could apply it in your creative endeavors.  We’re all human beings, after all, before being artists.

Stoics didn’t give much for theories, they were more hands on. They valued action, not talk. 

Live your values, don’t just talk about them, simply put.

For an artist, it means you shouldn’t talk about the book you’re going to write, the music you’ll compose, the painting you’ll do. You should write. You should compose. You should paint. Then you can talk about it.


Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it, said Epictetus.

Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be oneMarcus Aurelius advised.

If you want to be a writer, write. Don’t talk about writing.


As a beginner, it’s easy to get caught in appearances. You know, people-watching at a café, scribbling ideas onto a Moleskine notebook. Buying the latest and greatest writing software and gadgets. Tinkering with a website. And so on.

But these are all, well, appearances.

What you don’t see when reading a good book is the toil behind it. The time on the chair, the long hours spent staring at the blank page, the despair, the self-doubt, the inner criticism, the endless edits, the re-writs, time after time, day after day. Writing is a hard business, as Hemingway once said. *

Don’t be one of those people sitting at the café, sipping their latte, and talk about writing a book. Stop talking and start creating.

You become an artist by doing the work of an artist, not by talking about it.


* letter to Maxwell Perkins, 1938 from Selected Letters


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What a Strange Thing!

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
Close up of a flowering cherry tree branch. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.

By Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet known for his haiku poems and journals. Issa is regarded as one of the four haiku masters in Japan, along with Bashō, Buson, and Shiki.


To read more poems, click here.