Category Archives: katherine’s books

the body project

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After my friends and I did this project there were comments.  Lots and lots of comments.  And many of those comments said this: I want to do it, too!

Which gave me an idea.  Other people should do it, too.

I cannot tell you how soothing, amazing, and comforting it is to paint words of kindness on the body of a friend.  And from what Jenny has said, it’s pretty great to be painted-on, as well. (That’s her self-portrait up top!)  And there’s no reason Karen, Jenny, and I should get to have all the fun.  

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So grab some friends and a camera and make it happen!  Then come here and leave a link to the photos in the comments (please keep the photos PG).  I’d love to make a gallery of the photos on my website.  Wouldn’t the world just be a slightly better place for women if we all just went out and did this?  And if there were a little place on the web where we could all just relax and celebrate all different kinds of beautiful?

Plus, it’s just really fun.

SOME GUIDELINES:

Pick a friend you feel very comfortable with. 

Use only kind words.  Nothing mean.

Wear whatever you’re comfortable in, but please keep photos PG.  

Use a small paintbrush.  Too thick gets gloppy.

Use water-based acrylic paint, and add a little water to it. It paints smoother that way.

The light outdoors is better for photographs.  Close-up shots work better than far-away ones.

Make some words big and some words small.  Use printing and cursive.  Use stamps, if you like!  Write all over the body, or just in one place…

Here are some suggestions for things you could write:  (But feel free to write what you like.  As long as it’s kind.)

1. Make a list of things that are beautiful about your friend, and then paint them on her.  And have her do the same for you.

2. Make a list of ways you can look for beauty (in yourself) instead of flaws.

3. Make a list of things you would say to your daughter or mother about what makes a person beautiful.

4. Use this quote from Everyone is Beautiful. (Or parts of it…)  This is the paragraph we used, and you are welcome to use it, too!

And here, after all that, is what I have come to believe about beauty:  Laughter is beautiful.  Kindness is beautiful.  Cellulite is beautiful.  Softness and plumpness and roundness are beautiful.  It’s more important to be interesting, to be vivid, and to be adventurous than to sit pretty for pictures.  The soft tummy of a woman is a miracle of nature.  Beauty comes from tenderness.  Beauty comes from variety, from specificity, from the fact that no person in the world looks exactly like anyone else.  Beauty comes from the tragedy that each person’s life is destined to be lost to time.  I believe women are too hard on themselves.  I believe that when you love someone, she becomes beautiful to you.  I believe the eyes see everything through the heart, that nothing in the world feels as good as resting them on someone you love.  I have trained my eyes to look for beauty, and I’ve gotten very good at finding it.  You can argue and tell me it’s not true, but I really don’t care what anyone says.  I have come at last to believe in the title of the book: Everyone Is Beautiful.

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I really do agree with the main character of Everyone Is Beautiful.  Women are too hard on themeselves.  And I don’t know exactly how we learn to be kinder.  But I can tell you from experience that doing this project is a very good start.

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written on the body

I’m not sure how I came up with the idea to do this.  But a few weeks back, I decided that I wanted to paint words all over the body of my friend Jenny and have our friend Karen photograph it.  So I asked them.  And to my serious delight they both said yes.

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Here’s something I love to do:  put words in places you don’t expect them.

In college, I stamped poems onto signs made out of sheet metal and  put them up around campus.  I stamped words on office supplies, and bedsheets, and the pages of old books.

I loved the idea of words showing up where they didn’t belong.  The surprise of it.

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Now I am a grown-up, and writer, and I spend most of my creative life typing.  

But every now and then, I get to step away from my laptop.  And two days ago, I ventured out into my  mother’s back garden with two of my favorite people.  And I could not believe how relaxed we all were.  How game Jenny was to be painted like a tattooed lady, and how calm she was.  And how perfectly Karen captured not just the look of things, but the tenderness of it all.

And then our friend Laura showed up, too, and we hung out at my mom’s kitchen table.  We ate do-nuts and joked around a lot, but there was definitely something magical going on there that day.

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And then, using Karen’s photos, I made this video–to try to bring the words off the page a little.  To bring them to life in a new way.  And boy, did they come to life.

ALSO: This happens to be the garden where I got married. 

And ALSO:  Karen took exactly 500 photos that day.

And ALSO: Jenny read to us from the memoir she’s writing when we went back inside, and my face hurt from laughing the rest of the day.

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a little excerpt from Bright Side

Happy Mothers’ Day!  Here’s a video I made with an excerpt from Bright Side!

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we all carry our mothers inside us

Here’s the second video trailer for the essay “Things to Remember Not to Forget” in Andrea Richesin’s anthology, “Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond.”  All the photos, as before, come from the amazing site Square America.  

 

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you really can’t have everything

Here is the first in a series of 3 videos I am making that feature excerpts from my essay “Things to Remember Not to Forget.”  The essay was just published in an anthology called “Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond,” edited by Andrea N. Richesin.  The photos are from an amazing site of “American vernacular photography” (i.e., found snapshots)  called Square America

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home again, home again

After 3 weeks of traveling, I’m home again for good.  I’d had big plans to document the book tour here, but instead I came face to face with the tension between documenting the things you’re doing and actually doing those things.  That’s a frustrating thing: that there are only so many hours in the day.  There’s no way to get more, no matter how much you need them.  

So I’m very busy with writing and the writing life–but when I’m with my kids, I’m not busy at all. It’s two lives: the how-can-I-get-it-all-done writing life and the let’s-goof-around-in-the-backyard mama life.

It was my daughter’s sixth birthday last week, and the best present she got was an old desk of my sister’s that was in my mom’s garage.  We painted it firetruck red and I put on little pink hearts.  Now all we need is drawer-pulls.

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We also made stepping-stone handprints this weekend:

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And built a fort for imaginary snakes:

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The book tour was dreamy.  But it’s so unbelievably good to be home.

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what does beautiful look like to you?

Over at the amazing photography site Shutter Sisters, there’s a project going on.  It’s called the One Word Project.  Every month, they choose a new word and then folks post photos of their interpretations of that word.

This month, to celebrate the release of Everyone Is Beautiful, the One Word is “Beautiful.”  And Ballantine Books is giving away four Diana cameras over the course of the month–every Sunday.

I want to say, “It’s going to be incredible.” But guess what?  It already is!

Tracey Clark, who put this whole thing together, posted about it on Sunday to the Shutter Sisters community.  She wrote, “The book is awesome; perfectly written, insightful, hilarious and cut-to-the-heart tender,” and then she encouraged everyone to “muse on beauty, grab your cameras and see what kind of beautiful you can find through your lens.”  Now, already, there are over 300 photos up in the Flickr pool.  

I went to choose five of the photos that are already up to celebrate here, but there were so many great photos, I had trouble choosing.  So I just upped it to 10.  Which still isn’t enough.  

But here’s a sampling of what those amazing photographers can do with that one beautiful word:

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coral

grey-street-girl

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