Friday, March 24, 2017


Cover for my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library's Sketchbook Project

Daylight savings time, no matter how lovely that extra time in the evening is, fools me every night. I look up at the clock, am startled to discover that it is 6 P.M., which throws me into a panic. I think, "So little time left and I'm just getting started." People ask me how I begin writing. What is hard for me is to stop. Once ideas bubble to the surface, many follow.

A few pages from the sketchbook

One of my favorite parts about writing is the research. This week I've looked up the origin of margarine, which was developed in 1869 by Hippolyte Mege-Mouries (that name goes right into my list of names that I collect) in France as a substitute for butter for the armed forces. I've read about regulations against collecting birds' nests (in California we have a regulation, but the Fish and Game Department decided not to enforce it) and I hunted for the differences between jackrabbits and cottontails (we have a jack in our backyard). I've delved into the debate between private and public prisons (part of a teacher assignment at the middle school where I volunteer as a Writer Coach). I searched for Freya, the Nordic god of love, sex, and fertility after my sister sent me a quiz about "Which Nordic God Are You?"

I listened to a radio interview with someone whose two creative sons developed schizophrenia. I couldn't resist finding out more. Studies show that creative people and people who develop schizophrenia or bipolar disease often share a common gene, neuregulin I.* Think of Van Gogh or mathematician John Nash of A Beautiful Mind. For some people that gene increases their creative abilities or their ability to think divergently. They filter out less information than most and use that ability to formulate new ideas. For others, they may develop mental illness because their brains become overwhelmed in processing all of those details.**

I haven't come up with any new connections between margarine, rabbits, birds' nests, schizophrenia, prisons, and Norse gods. If you do, let me know. You are a creative person indeed.

These bits of information that I garner, along with all that I collect while talking with friends, walking through neighborhoods, gardening and de-cluttering our house become gems that could be turned into essays about life. With all those possibilities, when Daylight Savings Time comes around again, I'm gob-smacked when 6 P.M. shows up on the clock and it is time for dinner. I've been fooled by time again.

  You can find more information about the Sketchbook Project here: 

A link to my sketchbook:


  1. Actually there is one connection between margarine, rabbits, birds' nests, schizophrenia, prisons, and Norse gods and that's the fact that they all interested you enough to research them. LOL

    When I write or research I have to set a kitchen timer or I totally lose track of time.

    1. Thank you for that, Jean. You are right! I agree with the kitchen timer idea -- it really helps, doesn't it?

  2. Thank you for sharing your inspiring sketchbook, Martha! With so many creative ideas springing from the pages, I think YOU have fooled TIME, not the other way around!

    1. Thank you, Teresa! TIME is always fooling around though.

  3. ...had to laugh at your research efforts described in "Postcards". That pretty much describes my day, I start on one thing on the computer, get distracted with an unfinished game then look up something that I've been curious about and when I come back to what I was originally suppose to tackle I can't remember it. Oh well, such is life. As always, thanks for sharing, I can really relate.


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