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Woven Meaning, Tumbled Words

I love tumbling. It’s one of the things I really enjoyed getting into when I wasn’t blogging.

As well as being free, simple to set up and easy to use, tumbling is a great way to:

  • Collect resources (quotes, photos, sites) on ideas or projects you’re working on
  • Bookmark material so you can find it easily later
  • Spread the word about treasures you find online (my tumblr site is linked to my twitter stream to give the links I share added legs)
  • Explore and express new and different angles, away from the material you ‘normally’ blog about
  • Generate a good stock of quotes and quotable words

I like the thought that my tumbling will help people find poems, art work, photos and inspired writing on the web, and this is part of why I do it.  But mainly I do it selfishly, because I enjoy looking back at what I’ve gathered, look back for patterns, ideas, trains of thought, threads of new stories.

(Plus they are gorgeous to look at: here’s a peek at mine:)

To give you an idea of how patterns form and meaning gets woven together, here’s a prose-poem that emerged from the most recent lines I’ve shared on my tumblr blog.

Conscious of Treasures

Yes, I hear the words, the tangle of words

The wild calls to action

The demand that I write for

in the writing comes the thread.


In the writing comes the thread.


In the writing comes your unique voice, your way, your sense-making of the world around you

It’s the call to my morning, a call that I answer, oh me too, I will do,

oh let me keep company


with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads

It’s the quest that we share, that search for the why, for knowing the why , knowing what we are bringing into being…is just as important as the bringing it is

It’s the plea to stay open, to allow for engagement, to entertain questions, to do business with people who need what you can offer, to open.

To be fully there


I hear what the music says: that wild invitation to

Join the dance

Just one step will do,

To take just one step

In the right direction

A step free from form, knowing, as we do, that

to find form, we must divorce ourselves from allegiance to form

Oh it’s the call to dance wildly

To write and to paint


we tell our stories in painterly shades

of blues, red, green

because we take the risk


Every time you take the risk to be true to your own soul – whether or not you name your action as heroic – your example helps others to do likewise.

and it’s the only way, really, to live well today and

A life well lived today, is a life well lived, irrespective of how long that life turns out to be

Yes, it’s a morning call to action, to look, to pay attention, to notice

the daily the ordinary the sources of wonder

It’s whispers, it’s poems, it’s paintings, it’s songs

That sing to us over and over again that

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures

And that

There is no enlightenment outside of daily life


Words in italics are those that I tumbled; with links to the original posts (but not always the original author… the posts are quoting in turn poets, authors and thinkers)

Thank you to all those poets, paintists, artists, writers, bloggers, dreamers whose words have worked their way into mine.

(PS You might see I’ve popped this in a category marked ‘storyweaving‘ - it’s an idea I want to explore here over time, how our online words are woven together to tell stories, and how we can influence what kind of stories we’re telling…)

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17 Responses to “Woven Meaning, Tumbled Words”

  1. On March 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm Janice Cartier responded with... #

    Very very cool…:)
    Tumbling….gathering.. random bits …
    Seem to fit
    Our pockets till they’re full
    Gathering here,
    looking there,
    Exploring this path and another,
    Stretching out
    and coming in
    Emptying pockets on our table…
    That’s when we see…
    That perhaps…
    They just may be
    a very perfect selection
    of treasure.
    (Thank you for including my bits in your lovely poem. I love it.)
    Janice Cartier´s last blog ..Playing With Chaos My ComLuv Profile

  2. On March 16, 2010 at 7:17 am Hilary responded with... #

    Hi Joanne .. obviously I must look into Tumblr .. haven’t done that yet .. as a route from chaos to some organisation. Sounds very interesting .. - thank you Hilary
    Hilary´s last blog ..Women - how much education have women had in the past 2,000 years? My ComLuv Profile

  3. On March 16, 2010 at 7:47 am Davina responded with... #

    Joanna THIS is brilliant. And… talking about “in the writing comes the thread”: I had just landed on this post and noticed Hilary in the comment section. Almost at that very minute an email popped into my inbox. It was Hilary emailing me to tell me about THIS post. Cool eh?
    And even better, because of this post I discovered “pattidigh’s” post about how to write a book — loved it, tweeted it, favourited it! Thank you for sharing this. And thanks Hilary :-)
    Davina´s last blog ..When It’s Not Just I My ComLuv Profile

  4. On March 16, 2010 at 11:33 am Conor
    Twitter: ebbstachio
    responded with... #

    Hi Joanna

    I love this idea. Weaving always comes to mind when I write, I love the analogy.

    Must have a gander at Tumbler myself. Karen had recommended it before. It could be a worthy companion to the wee black notebook :)


  5. On March 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm sheila glazov responded with... #

    Joanna, I love the metaphor and the visual. I RT your post. I’m wondering if this is like mind-mapping. I’m going to check it out. Sounds like a delightful retreat from my Left Brain To-Do List. Hurrah for the creative moments and methods that keep me sane and sassy! Thank you!

  6. On March 17, 2010 at 6:37 am Alina Popescu responded with... #

    Joanna, you’ve definitely convinced me to try out Tumblr! It looks fun and extremely useful. And if it leads to such beautiful poems, it must be a great source of inspiration.
    Alina Popescu´s last blog ..My debut on Everything PR My ComLuv Profile

  7. On March 18, 2010 at 11:10 am janice | Sharing the Journey responded with... #

    Hi, Joanna,
    Thank you for this; I really enjoyed it and it’s stirred up a whole lot of ideas. I’m now taking a deep breath and thinking of whose help I can enlist to get me over my techno fear - again - and investigate tumblr. I was intrigued by your mention of adding tumblr posts to your twitter stream, but daunted. I failed miserably at Twitter-ing; could never get the hang of it, maybe because I could never figure out what a Tweet Deck was or how to filter out or file and organise the constant stream of tweets. It reminded me of time spent as a child in my dad’s budgie aviary.

    But this, oh this appeals. It was Hilary who asked if I’d seen this post. She left a link in the comments box of a post I did last week about gathering the comments and replies we leave all over the blogosphere and using them as seeds of inspiration. I also did a guest post on Write to Done a while back called Quote-hunting ( and another one which featured extracts from readers’ comments left in my own comment boxes, so you can see I’m a total, shameless addict. Tumblr sounds like just what I need!

    By the way, I love the appearance and colours of the screenshot - I haven’t figured out how to do those yet. :( - and I also love how your comments box shows who’s Tweeted your post. Lots to jot down in my someday…notebook.

    Thank you! (And thanks to you, too, Hilary, if you’re subscribed to the comments of this post.)

    janice´s last blog ..Writers Write (Revisited): Your Comments are Part of Your Writing Mosaic My ComLuv Profile

  8. On March 18, 2010 at 11:27 am Hilary responded with... #

    Hi janice and joanna - thanks …. I will reply when home. Not used to iPhone Bye

  9. On March 19, 2010 at 10:09 am Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Janice, yes, I knew you’d get it, random - perfect selections of treasure. I realised looking at my tumbled stream just how much I learn from you - I hope to try and express it in a post coming to a blog near here sometime soon :-)

    Hilary, definitely worth the look, I think you’d enjoy it. Thanks for telling other people about it too :-)

    Davina, isn’t it amazing how things come together like that? For me this is the best part of what happens through the words we share in this crazy digital space. I’m glad you found the Patti Digh post on writing… it’s one I’d like to see everyone everywhere reading!

    Conor, there are are two reasons I like it in addition to a journal - it’s really really easy to use the tumblr button so if you’re on a site you want to tumble you can do it instantly. Plus I like the thought I’m helping to spread the word about some of the treasures I find. I like that you think of weaving when you’re writing. I can imagine those poems being woven.

  10. On March 19, 2010 at 10:26 am Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Sheila, not sure if it’s like mind-mapping… but you’ve got me wondering just what it *is* like. Pattern finding and connection spotting. (Perhaps mind mapping works for some people like that - for me I use it the other way round, to identify actions and ideas out of patterns at the centre)

    Alina, I think you might find it a nice addition to the other wonderful content you create online :-)

    Janice, thanks for all that, I can’t wait to go and read those posts because I too think the greatest treasures lie in the comments - but never really thought before of an organised way of keeping an eye on what we’ve been writing.

    I don’t think you’d find tumblr too tricky - though I realise that’s easier said than done ;-) Screenshots too aren’t hard once you get started… Let me think if there’s a way of helping out.

    As for twitter… it takes a while to fathom, which is a shame, because it is so worth it if you do… Maybe I’ll try and tempt you back in somehow…

  11. On March 19, 2010 at 10:53 am janice | Sharing the Journey responded with... #

    You’ve already helped; a day later, and I’m still tempted to have a wee splash around in tumblr…I also loved the Patti Digh post, and agree it would be a blessing if it went viral. Maybe I should make this post and hers my first forays back into the aviary!

    PS I popped back over because of the puzzling @janice reply I got in my email alert. It was only when I got here that I remembered you had two janices in your box! I’m going to investigate your tweeting with confidence link now. This is a wonderful site, Joanna, it really is.
    janice | Sharing the Journey´s last blog ..Mothering Sunday – Why We All Need One My ComLuv Profile

  12. On March 19, 2010 at 11:16 am Hilary responded with... #

    Hi Joanna .. we’ve got so much to learn from each other - it’s great. Please can you put the link up re the Patti Digh post .. Janice mentions .. thank you …

    I wonder if you could do a synopsis of what you do .. eg blog post, twitter, tumblr, Face book etc .. and the ‘linking’ together as you go .. do you tweet in advance of your next post - telling everyone what’s coming up?

    You mention screenshots - are those in Tumblr .. and is it/are they like squidoo lenses?

    & of course .. all other tips and tricks .. good to have you back - though were you really away???? Bye & have a great weekend .. Hilary
    Hilary´s last blog ..Steak, Kidney and Oyster Pudding with a Stout Porter? My ComLuv Profile

  13. On March 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Janice (Hunter ;-) ) thank you for that feedback, it helps and heartens. I like the idea of splashing around in tumblr.. it’s a lovely easy place to play and experiment and no ‘shoulds’ around use of it at all.

    Hilary here’s the Patti Digh link… it’s heady stuff. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it

    How I do everything… gosh what an interesting question, I’m not sure I could describe it to make it sound less random than it is…! Some of it is automated though - I will see if I can construct a post around it sometime

    You’re right, I was never really away ;-)

  14. On March 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm Hilary responded with... #

    Hi Joanna .. it would be great if you could wrap a post around blogging, twitting, facing, tumbling, twirling and all springing things you can think of .. with a few weaves in between!

    Many thanks for the Patti link - going over now ..

    Great - thanks for your help .. and ?? screenshots?! Thank you - Hilary

  15. On March 20, 2010 at 7:18 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hilary sorry, I forgot about screenshots. They are simply a shot of a computer screen, allowing someone else to see what you see. I took a screenshot of my tumblr blog to show you here - realising that not everyone will follow the link, it was a way to let you see it without needing to go.

    Tbey’re useful for lots of things, especially if you’re trying to explain something to someone else.

    There’s lots of free software out there that will allow you to do it - just google something like “free screenshot software”. You might also have something on your machine already that will let you take a shot - might be worth looking through your programmes.

    Hope that helps!



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