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Friday, July 1, 2011


We often hang onto things that aren’t good for us. It can be a physical thing like Grandma’s broken figurine, but the really damaging things are the thoughts and feelings we keep in our mental basement. It’s like keeping asbestos. It’s not good for us, will eventually kill us, but we’re so used to having it we don’t bother to throw it away – or maybe we’re even afraid to throw it away without a HazMat suit? I dreamt of sending this garbage down the river in paper boats, one paper boat per person or situation, and the boats bobbed on the water in a long line, disappearing around a bend in the river. Seemed like an excellent “remedy” to put into reality.

First, I had to remember how to make a paper boat...

#1 Get an 8 ½” x 11” piece of paper.
#2 Fold it in half. Ooh! A different pattern on the back side! I’m thinking darkness one side, letting in the sun on the other.
#3 Fold the corners down to the middle.
#4 Fold up the leftovers on both sides. Now you have a paper hat.
#5 Stick your fingers inside and squash your paper hat into a diamond.
#6 Fold up the point on both sides.
#7 Put your fingers inside again and squash it into a diamond again.
#8 Pull the tips apart, and presto! You have a paper boat.

Next, I had to identify how many boats I needed. I wondered, could I put Monica, Mark, and Sylvia on one boat, or did I need a separate boat for each of them? Could I make one boat for each repeat offender, or did I need a boat for each situation? It seems like an awful lot of boats to make, and just the idea of it makes me feel too tired to start folding, but it also seems like labor is a meditative thing in itself and worth doing. I’ll try not to think about littering up the river with a ream of paper.

I spent my morning fooling around with this concept, and it dawned on me to make boats like I did when I was a kid. Mom doled out paper like it was a precious commodity, so I made do with bark and leaves and other things I found along the side of the river, saving my paper for important stuff like drawing. I put flowers and bugs on my boats and sent them off with my best wishes to Lake Erie.

Mom will howl about how paper is expensive when she reads this, and say she was virtuously thrifty, probably with a side rant about my niece wasting paper after one line when she doesn’t like that line. Let’s make a boat for that too. We don’t have to remind Mom that I like making boats or point out I’m the one who bought my niece paper so she wouldn’t have to justify her creative pursuit of excellence.

All this garbage clutters my mind. It can be little stuff like Mom’s rants about waste, or it can be big things like getting stabbed in the back, or stabbed in the front for that matter. It’s all drifting down the river, around the bend, and out of sight.

Where Go the Boats?
By Robert Louis Stevenson

Dark brown is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating –
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore


  1. Yes! I'm with you on that one, it eats you up if you let it. Hurray for paper boats :)

  2. Brilliant. Plus, I was wondering what that paper boat that washed up in my harbor this morning was all about...

  3. I'm sure we could all use a boat or two at times. Like the image.

  4. This is such a wonderful idea for getting rid of all the stuff that clutters our minds! The world would look so much nicer if we did it all like that. Imagine the beautiful armada of paperboats floating down all the rivers and joining at sea...
    The poem of R. L. Stevenson is one of my favorites of his.

  5. Classic art work and a classy commentary. Thank you for sharing yourself with the world.

  6. Thanks everybody! Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" was my favorite book when I was a kid, and I still read it once in a while. I like the idea of everyone setting paper boats loose. Rand's going to have trouble pulling them all out of the water :)

  7. That's a great remedy there Linda....very clever idea! We can even do a "virtual" sending of these boats in our minds, then everyone is happy re the paper issues! Have a clutter free weekend,
    Jane x

  8. How wonderful to release these little boats off on their distant journeys! A great remedy!
    Do you also have a set of instructions for (ahem) heavier burdens (for my "friend")? Maybe something in a small barge? Hee hee! :o)

  9. What a lovely idea Linda, I love it!

  10. This lifts my heart. And I love "Midsummer Night" and "Launch"! Great to visit. : )

  11. Heisann Linda!
    Hope you will have less launching in the future.
    People and situations, they all leave your mind in a beautiful paper boat ;:OD)

  12. Michele, I used to build rafts too. Very unstable logs tied together with grape vines :) Thanks for all the comments!!!

  13. Great boats! Great illustration!

    I remember my mom teaching me to make these. We made them from newspaper - very frugal! I like your idea of getting rid of the bad stuff by just sending it down the river in a boat. Great remedy!

  14. Bad, de-constructive and horrible memories...let them go, and toxic relations too. Maybe all the boats need names, or just a short bye-bye... :-)
    Well done, Linda.

  15. I can make a paper box. And I have alot of gloomy thoughts I could put inside. But the boat idea is better because you can send them away. I can't seem to keep the lid on the thought box.

  16. Hey Linda! I used to love sending little boats made of leaves and bark down Willow creek, which fed into Lake Michigan, which is connected to alke Erie... Wow! What an obscure connection we had! I think I found one of your boats once... Oh wait... you were not even born yet :o) I used to hold onto my resentments for security, glad I let them all go 11 years ago. I woukld have needed an ark to hold them all :o) I felt to free! Free to pursue things that I had pushed into the back of my cerebral closet. Whenever I opened the door, my hurts and resentments were there... so I slammed the door shut and did things to help me forget. ooops sorry... I am rambling... Oh by the way.... Mr. Blogger is being mean again... so anonymous is really Jack Foster :o)

  17. Thanks for all the comments!

    Sharon, I've mentally buried boxes, but I think the paper boats are better, and maybe Jack has the right idea to put all those gloomy thoughts on an ark?

  18. What an awesome representation of the illustration friday challenge! Love it!

  19. Forcing bugs to relocate is hilarious.
    I can't stop smiling.
    nice that you thought to send them off with a flower or two for expenses they might incur at their new location.


  20. Yes ...what a great idea for getting rid of..a great remedy for sure..must try..!

  21. Thanks everybody! And thanks for making me laugh Richard!

  22. Love this concept. I actually am working through a bit of business/personal cleansing right now - it is sometimes hard to let go but not letting go can also keep you from moving forward!

    Thank you also for your kind comment on my blog!

    Have a great weekend!

  23. Really great image, Linda and I love that you offer so much insight to your processes, both actual and thoughts. I hope you have a great week and thanks so much for the comment on my blog today.

  24. I love how clever you were with the word remedy. I haven't made paper boats in years, since my kids were little .... sweet. We have made a few paper airplanes recently.. I'm awful at that. I'm more into decoration ... my son is into speed and distance....

  25. Thanks everyone! I started thinking of giving Jasper's son a potato gun, but maybe that's not one of my better ideas?