A New Year of Possibilities

“New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.” —Alex Morritt

What will you make of the new year?

These are uncertain times we live in due to world wide shut downs, riots, protest, political unrest and the virus. Everyone has stories to tell. Many are the same and many are different. Today is the start of a new year and what we bring to it matters.

I choose to focus on the positive and the valuable lessons I learned about myself with regards to my faith in God, supportive people, art, books, mindfulness and creating good habits. All of these carry over in my daily life no matter the struggles. Your positive endeavors are what gets you through bits and pieces you cannot control. Or better yet, it is something you control because you refuse to give in to the darkness.  

This year at Layered Pages, I will be sharing ideas, thoughts, books, art, motivations, my love of history and many more worthwhile projects. Be inspired, have faith, be positive, seek kindness, and explore. Happy New Year!

-Stephanie Hopkins

Conversing About Novellas

I’ve committed 2021 to be a year of catching up-somewhat-on my back list of books that have been patiently waiting on me. Well, maybe not too patiently. The new year brings new reading goals, habits and a fresh start on many things. This week, I have pondered the idea of adding more novellas to my ever-growing pile of books I want to absorb.

There are various opinions about reading novellas. Some say it is a waste of time and leaves you unsatisfied, but I beg to differ. I admire the writer who takes on the task of weaving a story with fewer words. Often times when having read a six-hundred-page novel, I wanted more. So, there you are. It is not, in truth, about the number of pages but what you make of them and allowing your imagination to explore the what-ifs. -Stephanie Hopkins

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Published May 28th 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf

A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures – their pleasures and their difficulties – are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Published January 1st 1970 by Heinemann (first published 1966)

After years of study in Europe, the young narrator of Season of Migration to the North returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan. It is the 1960s, and he is eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood—the enigmatic Mustafa Sa’eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible public reckoning and his return to his native land.

But what is the meaning of Mustafa’s shocking confession? Mustafa disappears without explanation, leaving the young man—whom he has asked to look after his wife—in an unsettled and violent no-man’s-land between Europe and Africa, tradition and innovation, holiness and defilement, and man and woman, from which no one will escape unaltered or unharmed.

Season of Migration to the North is a rich and sensual work of deep honesty and incandescent lyricism. In 2001 it was selected by a panel of Arab writers and critics as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century. 

So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano, Euan Cameron (Translation)

Published September 15th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A haunting novel of suspense from the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature

In the stillness of his Paris apartment, Jean Daragane has built a life of total solitude. Then a surprising phone call shatters the silence of an unusually hot September, and the threatening voice on the other end of the line leaves Daragane wary but irresistibly curious. Almost at once, he finds himself entangled with a shady gambler and a beautiful, fragile young woman, who draw Daragane into the mystery of a decades-old murder. The investigation will force him to confront the memory of a trauma he had all but buried.

With So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood Patrick Modiano adds a new chapter to a body of work whose supreme psychological insight and subtle, atmospheric writing have earned him worldwide renown — including the Nobel Prize in Literature. This masterly novel, now translated into twenty languages, penetrates the deepest enigmas of identity and compels us to ask whether we ever know who we truly are.

The Lifted Veil by George Eliot

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

What are some novellas on your to-read list?

2020 Index Card Challenge: Part 15

Index Card Art

I have neglected to post my completed Index Card Art Challenge until now. I was supposed to share the final outcome a few weeks back. I must explain why I haven’t sooner. When your writing muse awakens from a deep slumber, one must bear down the hatches before the moment passes. What a wonderful writing experience it has been and, I believe it will continue for quite sometime. Forming new writing habits has really helped.

I thought of a couple ways to share my journey in this challenge and one of them was to take a picture of all the cards together and talk about each one. That task seemed a bit daunting to me. Not that I don’t enjoy talking about creativity, mind you. We’re talking about a hundred cards and I believe the previous posts and the art shown speaks for itself.

Today I’m sharing the final (days 96-100) cards. I will link the previous posts down below for you to take a look into this worth-while pursuit. This challenge has taught me a lot about my creative side and has built my confidence further with creating smaller pieces of art and blending brighter colors I had not beforehand.

If you are looking for a new craft to pursue, or you want to challenge yourself in creating daily art, this endeavor is for you.

My next art feature will be about creating art on Rolodex Cards! Now that has been a challenge since the cards are a lot smaller than the index cards.

Stephanie Hopkins

Index Card Challenge Links:

Parts I / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 /12 / 13 /

14

Dream Builder

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

You want to create art with paints and all sorts of mediums but you don’t know where to begin or you’re afraid that you’ll mess up? Guess what? You can’t mess up. Create what you love. Below are some tips on how to leave that self-doubt in the dust.

Tips to create:

Don’t think too much about it.
Learn by experimenting.
Don’t pay attention to what others think.
Validation comes from within.
Get messy.
Tear into your paper.
Lose all self-doubt.
Free your mind.
Have fun.
You got this!

Next week I will be talking a little about colors.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020: Part 9

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020 is still going strong! Today I’m sharing part 9 of this challenge which entails day 54-60. Most of the materials I am using for these cards are my painted collage papers I make on a regular basis. I’m also using magazine clippings and images from old books for collage. As well as Tim Holtz and other artists ephemera you can purchase online or at craft stores.  

There are several challenge days you can choose for this challenge and I chose 100 days. Check out Part 8 post in this challenge HERE, where I include more details of this art adventure.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

Coffee Shoppe Art

New art piece I made for a local Starbucks in Marietta Georgia! For commission work contact me at layeredpages@yahoo.com

Art by Stephanie Hopkins

Mixed Media Artist and Abstract Painter

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins