Palimpsest of Scraps

The more time I spend with my art journal(s), the more I am realizing what appeals to me and what I like to work on. I am beginning to see a connection with my writing. 

The word palimpsest carries great meaning for me. Here is the Merriam-Webster definition:



pa·​limp·​sest | \ ˈpa-ləm(p)-ˌsest  pə-ˈlim(p)-  \

Definition of palimpsest

1writing material (such as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased

2something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface

The following image is my latest two pages. I call it a palimpsest because it was created with many layers, and bits of each layer show in the finished pages, whether by eyesight or touch. For instance, there are pieces of poems: “It Would Be Easier to Stop Talking to Your Ghost” by Stella Li and “Triptych in Black and Blue” by Tatiana Johnson-Boria, published by Pleiades.

I’m also using my love of the reality and concept of scrap (title of my memoir-in-scrap), as well as a poem I’ve recently shared. I also love scrapbooking and used to love to design and make stained glass. I haven’t worked with quilting at all and not with mosaics since I was a kid, but those are other scrap arts and crafts that I love. 

For the initial layer of these pages, I used scraps from many sources, including graph paper, music, poetry, a story, a piece of an envelope flap that has the Hallmark logo embossed, and ripped up practice runs with art materials. I even included a hunk of the glued bottom of a brown bag. 

I skimmed through my pages in order of when I made them, and I discovered that at first my collaging was on the “top” of the page, so to speak, whereas now I am using collage as a base and then a bit more in one or two other stages. I learned the value of collage underneath because of all the interest it provides. My first pages look very flat in comparison.

Onward to more improvement LOL. I do see a connection (first noticed by Sheila Morris) between these art pages and my poetry. The layering, complexity, and happenstance, for one–er, three–things.  

I’m going to start PT for my shoulder/arm. And now I have vitreous detachment of my only reading eye. One of my eyes is to see distance, and the other is for reading. Seriously. That’s why I can’t wear bifocals and rarely wear glasses just wandering around. I wear glasses to read, another pair for driving, and then I have a computer pair made out of some really old and ugly frames. But my eyes (sort of) don’t work together, so having a really blurry reading eye kind of sucks.

Saturday I walked outside into the blue-blue sky, and I was attacked by swarms of birds from every direction. It was like a remake of the Hitchcock movie. But they weren’t real birds. They were one of the entertainments my eyes are providing me right now :/.

In other news, the puffballs are out! Technically, they are called Sweet Acacia trees, but we call them the dang puffballs. There isn’t a human alive who isn’t allergic to these things. They smell super sweet and, at first, you will think they are roses. But then the scent goes on and on and becomes sickening and you realize it isn’t roses at all. But they do signify home after all these years.

In the close-up you can see that this tree has two little puffballs growing from the trunk itself.


Pear Blossom’s 21st birthday is tomorrow!!! And Tiger Queenie’s 17th is April 1. Happy birthday, sweet girls.


Filed under #amrevising, #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Arizona, Art and Music, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Memoir, Poetry, Reading, Writing

63 responses to “Palimpsest of Scraps

  1. You are lucky to have such ancient cats. The oldest any cat has survived here is 18. So sorry about your eyes. My eyes aren’t the best. My right one is my “good eye” and I get really upset when something is going on with that one. A few of my ancient walking group are blind in one eye. They cope well but have to compensate so I hope to keep both of mine working for a long time. I had to look up acadia trees and they don’t grow in our region although we have a mimosa tree that looks similar but is short-lived. You artwork always looks lovely to me.

    • Thank you, Kate! Oh, that is a shame about your eyes–and your fellow walkers! Eyes are such pressure treasures, but we do tend to take them for granted until they aren’t working right.
      As far as the cats go, Mac died at 17, and he was our first cat to go, so we will see with the others. I don’t know if you remember this (why would you haha), but when Mac died, we thought we were going to lose Pear. She refused to eat for a long time, and the vet thought she was leaving us. But then she suddenly recovered! That was almost six years ago now.

  2. Amy

    Happy birthday to your kitties, especially Pear Blossom. 21! That is remarkable.

    And good luck with your eyes and shoulder. It’s always something, isn’t it?

    • Thank you–I will tell them :).
      It IS always something. Especially this past year. The gardener says to get used to it–that it’s never going to get better again (my quality of life health). He’s such a pessimist! I refuse to believe it!

  3. Happy Birthday to the girls! Those puffballs look like interesting things….wishing you luck with your shoulder exercises. The journal pages look lovely and vibrant, I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

    • Thank you, Andrea. I will tell the girls. They will love the wishes.
      I do have a love/hate relationship with the puffballs hah.
      Thank you also for the luck with the shoulder exercises and for the journal pages. I don’t know what I would be doing without my retreat into my room for my “exercises” with art supplies. It’s so healing.

  4. Any artwork must be a real struggle. Amazing feline longevity

    • Pear is really something! Actually the art stuff is not so bad with this eye. It’s the reading and writing though. I am half-guessing what words say!

  5. I also love the word (and idea of) palimpsest. I can tell you’re enjoying the art, but I’m so sorry about your eye. Is it something that will get better? That’s so strange that your eyes work that way. I wear bifocal contacts that sort of work that way (one reading, one distance)–though I don’t notice it.
    Those puffballs are so pretty!
    Happy birthday to the kitties!
    I was thinking about you last night when we were not drinking Manischewitz.😀

    • I just told Pear and Tiger you wished them Happy Birthday. I think they blinked!
      Hah, were you thinking about if we were having a Seder? We are having a belated Seder at the very end of Passover. Gotta rock with the waves after this past year.
      Palimpsest is such a poetic concept, isn’t it? Luckily the eye doesn’t affect the art journal that much, but it is really causing trouble for reading and writing, two little things I like to do a lot. 🙁 Thanks, Merril!

  6. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girls – someone blessed them with you and your husband to love and take such good care of them. It’s one of the many reasons I admire you and the gardener.
    But you are also the most creative artist in multimedia – Love this palimpsest! And yes, you got me on this word, too. I plan to use it in a sentence…oh, I guess I already did!
    I’m so sorry for your ongoing health issues – was hoping spring might be good for you. Hopefully the PT will be helpful. Fingers crossed, my friend.

    • Thank you on all counts! The kitties say hi! They are looking over my shoulder right now, in fact. Now that they are both older they don’t mind laying next to each other sometimes. They never used to do that.
      Yes, palimpsest!!! It’s such a cool thing. Think of a chalkboard in a classroom where bits of the last lessons still peek through hah.
      Wednesday is the first PT appt!!!
      Stay well, Sheila.

  7. Praying for you and your vision! Love your scrapbook with the layering technique. Very creative. My daughter attended an event some time ago with Virginia’s Poet Emeritus, Carolyn Foronda. It was a workshop on ‘Cross Pollinating Creativity’.( Creativity in one thing, like painting, can spark creativity in poetry.) I remember that my daughter painted these pictures later with layers of paint, and then words of poems and odds and ends were added. (I also love to scrapbook and it is a wonderful way to combine ‘scraps’ as you have called them.) Anyway, your ideas are delightful!!!

    • Linda, I absolutely love hearing this about Cross Pollinating Creativity. Wow! That is exactly how I feel about it. Without scrapbooks where would we put the show tickets and printed cocktail napkins and special photos?! It’s like piecing together our memories. Thanks so very much for stopping by. And thank you even more for the prayers. This eye is bugging me!

  8. Let’s hope that your eyes are absorbing the “swamp” in there.

  9. I met puffballs in Mexico on the Baja. Happily I am not allergic.

    • Weird. Were you around them for an extended period of time? My allergist says everyone is allergic to them which is why they don’t even test for it. Or maybe it’s not a true allergy, but the way they make your sinuses flow!!!!

  10. Happy Birthday Pear Blossom and Tiger Queenie. A new word to me. Thanks, Luanne. I’m glad you are continuing your art.

  11. You had me at “palimpsest.” It goes with “pentimento,” doesn’t it? Both are such metaphors for all we are as humans. Happy birthday to your elegant ladies! They are certainly aging gracefully. I’m sorry to hear about her shoulder and eye issues. I hope you’ll see some improvement in both.

    • Yes, it does go with it. And I guess I could use either word as for metaphorical meaning they sort of mean the same thing, don’t they? Very cool.
      Thank you for the ladies! It’s Pear’s day today, and we are spending a little extra mommy-Pear time.
      Thanks re the health stuff. I’m just annoying with this stuff on top of the Valley Fever and pandemic. I know it could be much worse.

  12. I always love the art journals. One day I want to make one with fabric. Physical therapy on the shoulder doesn’t sound like fun but very helpful. I get the eye problems. Mine quite tracking together when I got Bells Palsy. It’s my left that does all the work. Right is lazy. The birds flying at you in the sun sounds awful. I’ve had to wear a billed cap outside and in light since the Bells too. I had a neurologist work at getting my eyes to work together again. It really helped so now I can drive short distances. Hope all gets better. How’s the Valley Fever doing?

    • I will love to see your fabric art journal!!!! PT starts tomorrow. Hoping for some real improvement. I’m so sorry about all that Bell’s Palsy has done to you. What a big pain in the you now what. I think the VF is gone. I only have to think again about it, most likely, if I become immunocompromised. Then I would need the medication. But for now, I think it left me with part of the shoulder trouble because I didn’t see a doctor for so long for that because of the VF and pandemic. What a stupid past year :/. I’ll send you BIG HUGS AND HEALTHY VIBES across the miles, and you send some back, ok? 🙂 XOXO

      • Here are my BIG SQUISHY HUGS and HEALTHY VIBES. Bells has only affected one other person that I’ve found almost as severely. He eventually got back to a semblance of normal. When you see your doctor pacing the hall and scratching his head while he searches for anyone who can tell him what to do, you get very scared. 😉 It’s why I left Pinetop. Glad you are doing better.

        • Oh my! That’s why I am not going too rural. I want the better doctors nearby. I’ve had Too many weird things. I just saw on Pinterest there are fabric art journals. They are pretty to look at even if you don’t have time to make one! OK here it is all coming back at you kiss kiss!

  13. You have been in the wars so it is great to see you taking such joy in the artwork. Only the second time I have come across the word palimpsest! I too had a vitreous detachment about six months back. Now I have mosquitoes dive-bombing me at 11 o’clock, but the worst is a long finger shaped floater just to the right of my pupil. It looks like a sheet of grease-proof paper. I was hoping it would dissipate or my brain would adapt but no such luck yet.
    Happy birthday to your kitties. They must really love how well you care for them.

    • In the wars is so true. Oh no with the mosquitos! Yes, mine are birds, and now I am also seeing cockroaches on the ceiling! It would be funny if it weren’t so annoying. I’m so sorry you still have it. I am starting to think my doctor lied when she said it would be gone in weeks or months!
      Thank you, Gwen. Pear says thank you, also. TODAY is her birthday :).

      • The mosquitoes I can handle, but the ‘finger’ is another thing. It would be wonderful to believe that particular floater will leave. I’m thinking on my next optician check-up to ask if he can take a photo of where mine is sitting and give me his professional opinion as to whether I’m stuck with it. They have these special cameras that can do that. Also, at some point I will need cataract surgery, so I wonder if that will assist. Probably not. The eye is such a complex structure. But as a fellow writer, you understand the problem, I’m sure.

        • Oh, gosh, that sounds awful. I didn’t know about the special cameras. My doctor just shrugged her shoulders and said there’s nothing they can do. I DEFINITELY understand. XO

          • Our conversation has spurred me to make a check-up appointment with my Optometrist for early May, when Easter and a special wedding are out of the way. The receptionist reminded me the detachment happened last July.
            I think the imaging is called OCT – Optical coherence tomography.
            I think your doctor is correct. We have a saying in Australia, which I’m not sure translates to the US. It’s not meant to be offensive, so here goes. My “friends” would tell me to: “suck it up princess”.

            • Hah that’s pretty much what the doctor implied although I have to say she was a super sweet doctor. So glad you’re going back! Good luck!

  14. Your art journals are amazing! But your eye problem sounds just awful. You’ve really been through a lot this past year. I hope you heal all over! Also happy birthdays to the kitties! 🙂

  15. Luanne, it’s really fascinating to follow your developing art journals. I agree they are like your poetry, and palimpsest is a great word. Happy Birthdays to Pear Blossom and Tiger Queenie! We *think* Luisa (who died in 2014) was our oldest, possibly 20, 21. We found her in a park, hanging out on the roof of the restrooms. She was already a big girl and spayed. Since the park abutted a student apartment complex, we concluded that she was probably abandoned, that her so-called owner probably had graduated and moved, leaving her behind. She lived with us for 18 years. Now our oldest is Maxine at 17, as far as we know. That’s the problem with strays. When they show up as adults, it’s hard to figure out their age. Pear Blossom’s longevity is a true testament to the care and love you provide them. May all your fur babies be happy, healthy, and long-lived. And I hope you start feeling better soon! It breaks my heart that you’ve had one health complication after another. xoxo

  16. Sweet, cuddly girls <3
    Happy Birthday, lovely kitties!
    Super-pawkisses 🙂

  17. Happy birthday to Pear Blossom and Tiger!

    Palimpsest is a word I don’t hear much. Thank you for reacquainting me with it, Luanne!

    Vitreous detachments are not much fun. I have been through them in both eyes now, and have a torn retina in one of them. Best of luck with the PT for your shoulder and arm.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about the torn retina. How are your eyes now, may I ask? I did tell the girls you wished them happy birthday :)!

  18. I love the final result. Texture is such wonderful thing. And, of all things, I have one eye for reading and one for distance! It’s been that way since I was a child. It worked fine in tandem until I hit law school. Now I do monovision. I hope the detachment will go ahead and detach and leave your vision alone.

    • I think what I’m doing is monovision. You are the first person I’ve heard of that has this. I’ve heard of more people with one brown and one blue eye LOL. With my reading eye so affected, I’m really struggling with reading, which affects writing more than it does reading, weirdly. Reading is half intuitive, so that’s fine. But I need to see what I’m writing as I’m doing it–word by word, comma by comma. Thank you, by the way!

  19. I am so sorry about your health issues, especially your eyes! Not to be able to read and write easily must be dreadful. I love your palimpsest of scraps – just like our lives with all the influences we have and all our hopes and dreams and sorrows. Happy birthday to your kitties!

  20. So you have two different eye “settings”?! Ay yi! 😳
    Happy Belated Birthday to the sweet kittehs! 😻💝

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