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A Loray Mill of the Mind

Tropics of Meta

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My family moved to North Carolina in the late 1980s, having left a stagnant and hopeless West Virginia in search of greater economic opportunities. My mom and grandparents and I first tried Indiana for a few years, but eventually left for the greener shores of the Sunbelt. We came to Gastonia, a modest-sized former textile town (it once boasted of having “more looms and spindles within its hundred-mile radius than… any other southern city”) in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area. An aunt and uncle had already paved the way for us, in a sort of internal chain-migration, leaving WV for NC several years before. I once asked my mom why Suzy and Jim had settled on Gastonia as a place to live, and I’ll never forget her answer:

It’s about as far as you can get from Charleston on a tank of gas.

Gastonia became our home—wild, shabby, shambling…

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The Top 10 Tips I’ve Learned from Minimalists

theextraordinarysimplelife

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I’m not going to covet other minimalists’ lives anymore.

I don’t travel the world with a single backpack.

I haven’t packed up my family to travel across the country in an RV for a year.

I am not a single woman with a futon, a suitcase and a laptop.

I didn’t choose 600 square feet of dwelling space with a hobby farm ‘round back.

YET, I adore reading about these amazing people and their even more intriguing journeys toward transformation. In perusing books and blogposts, these characters seem like old friends. We’re all rooting for them. Their triumphs and courageous leaps of faith provide the inspiration for our own stories. However, through all this story following, I have found there is not one formula for choosing a simple life…it is not a one-size-fits all t-shirt. No matter what our life looks like, I do believe each and every one of these…

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A desk of one’s own

Typewriter

ten million hardbacks

Writer Erinna Mettler sparked my interest this week with her post on ‘Desk Envy’. A desk is such a fundamental part of a writer’s equipment, yet so difficult to perfect, it is no wonder that there are thousands of pictures like the ones of famous writers’ workplaces in the post which can inspire the green-eyed-monster. Space in the home is at such a premium – certainly in the UK, even more so in Japan – that for most of us the dream of a quiet room with a huge desk covered with piles of essential writerly clutter and (crucially!) all of one’s own must remain unindulged.

Still, we can dream. I was lucky enough to spend some time in the Lake District recently, with hints of spring breaking through the winter gloom all around. The hotel had this lovely number sitting in a corridor seemingly unused and unloved, except by…

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The Dry Stone Tree Wall that Love Built

TwistedSifter

dry stone tree wall memorial eric landman (7)

 

Situated within the Island Lake Conservation Area of Ontario, Canada, is the Dods and McNair Memorial Forest Trail, where people have been planting trees in memory of loved ones for years.

After losing his wife Kerry to cancer in April 2011, Eric Landman set forth on creating an ambitious monument in her honour. By special request, Landman was granted permission by Dods and McNair and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to build a dry stone wall tree monument in memory of his wife.

 

dry stone tree wall memorial eric landman (2)

 

Dry stone is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. Dry stone structures are stable because of their unique construction method, which is characterized by the presence of a load-bearing façade of carefully selected interlocking stones.

 

The original design

dry stone tree wall memorial eric landman (1)

 

“It’s good therapy. It’s the type of job that is good for…

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