Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How to Paint A Donkey

by Naomi Shihab Nye

She said the head was too large,
the hooves too small.

I could clean my paintbrush
but I couldn’t get rid of that voice.

While they watched,
I crumpled him,

let his blue body
stain my hand,

I cried when he hit the can.
She smiled. I could try again.

Maybe this is what I unfold in the dark,
deciding for the rest of my life,

that donkey was just the right size.

I posted the above poem (along with some words about how i initially responded to the poem) on my site back in March of this year.  About a month later, the sweetest synchronicity occurred & i  had the privilege of connecting with "Louise from Scotland." 

Below is the first email i received from Louise.  It will give you a feel for her loveliness & the beautiful vision she has.  A vision i so believe in.

Dear Julia,

I am writing to you from Aberdeen, Scotland after stumbling upon your beautiful blogspot. I adore your musings and writings! But I think you will find the reason for me contacting you is something of those incredible chance things in life!

You see, I too, recently read Naomi Shihab Nye's poem "How to Paint a Donkey." I love poetry and I somehow stumbled upon it on the internet. I completely loved it and most of all I loved the metaphorical message within it....that we should all be true to our own selves and celebrate our own individuality.

To cut a long story short, I wrote to Naomi via her agent as I had an idea to create a book based on her poem and with the title "How To Paint a Donkey."  I wanted it to be a lyrical celebration of individuality, of self belief and "uniqueness" in us all. So my idea was to compile a collection of different paintings of donkeys by artists.

The long and short of it is that Naomi said YES and has given it her full blessing. Since then, the whole thing has gained momentum and I now have sixty artists from everywhere...UK, USA, Ireland, Holland, Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, Cyprus, Finland, Sweden...all posting me a small painting of a donkey for my book! I am aiming for 80 to 100 paintings which should be perfectly achievable. Naomi's poem will be at the front of the book and each painting will be accompanied by the name of the artist with a little comment from them about self-belief/individuality. I am going all out to get the book published and into UK bookshops....maybe USA too...but that is a little way off.

Julia, I just love what you have written in response to the poem yourself. It really sums up everything I feel about it and it speaks volumes about what my little book is all about.

I wanted to drop you a note to tell you how amazing I think it is that you have responded to the poem in the same way I did and I want to ask you if you might like to contribute a piece of writing to my blogspot (pending) and possibly even the book itself.

It was just so magical to stumble upon this on your blogspot!

Hope to hear from you!

Warm wishes

Louise Greig

If you'd like to read more about Louise's project, head over to her blog where you can read Naomi Shihab Nye's initial response to Louise's book idea & peek at some of the lovely donkey paintings that are rolling in!

I am so honored to be a part of such an important & beautiful project.

P.S:  My family & i are heading east for a road/camping trip & then on to a very special wedding.  I am leaving my computer behind so will be taking a break from blogging/emailing/internet.  I'll be back here in a week or so.

Sending love to each of you lovely ones.


  1. Wow- that is AWESOME Julia. It is all so heartwarming to see how we are all connected. I'm going to visit her site now. Have a lovely time on your trip. hugs!

  2. This gives me chills! So beautiful. I am missing your beautiful presence in my life! Hope you are having a great time!

  3. Julia, wow that's so cool. Hey, I've been meaning to ask you if you'd like to get together sometime (Corvallis or here in Alsea) so when you get back, maybe we can connect. Sometime I'd love to show you my creekside patio and if you'd want. . . give you time to sit, enjoy, relax and write without interruption. Interested? ;) chris


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia