My Mosaic Wall – Holding Hands Around the World

Since the wall beside my house is getting full, I decided to start adding mosaics to the back wall, at the top of my hill. I knew it was going to be a large project. It would have to be so we could see it from the patio. Here’s my original sketch. I planned to surround the earth with people holding hands. Looking at the finished product every day (we can see it from the couch in the living room if we scrunch down) reminds me that there’s a lot of love and hope in this world.

I wanted the people to be uniform size which I would not be able to accomplish unless I bought pieces already cut. I picked up a few containers of these from Amazon. I never measure anything and was relieved in the end that I had just about enough of the little pieces to complete the people circle. For consistency’s sake I decided to use black penny tiles for the heads since I only had blue, black or silver. I like the uniformity of the black heads.

The first day involved smashing a lot of Dollar Tree green plates. Finding green tile is really hard so I rely on Dollar Tree plates, and sometimes The 99 Cent Only Store. In this case I used up all my plates (1st picture) then had to stop for the day. Carrying tile up and down the hill, and trying to kneel and balance among the cacti and gopher holes was physically taxing. Luckily Granola was there to keep me company.

The next day I smashed some new plates. I finished the land masses and started on the water. I had some Dollar Tree blue plates, some small (about 3 inch) mosiac or subway tile from Lowe’s, and some of my friends’ leftover pool tile. I decided to add in a “love ocean” just because. I’m used to doing a whole project in an hour or two and grout it the next day. This was a much larger project and took four days overall.

Day three I used tile adhesive to glue all the people around the earth. I started on the bottom because I knew I’d be too worn out to sit in that position and stretch all the way up by the end. It was a good decision. This step took four hours (straight). Initially I was going to add the people and put yellow tile all around them. But because of the work involved, and how cute they looked on the tile, I decided against it. One thing I hadn’t considered was that if I put adhesive on the back of the pieces and pressed down, there would be extra goop that I needed to clean off. The pieces were small and hard to maneuver so I used a wooden skewer and had to clean up around all the edges, piece by piece, person by person.

By the end, there were 53 little people around the circle. I started with solid colored people but I ran out of matches and the ones on the top are all different colors. Finished product without the grout.

At night a solar spotlight shines on it. It was a lot of work but this is my favorite mosaic so far. I do feel a little bad that we can probably never sell the house now both because I love the wall too much and also because a new owner may not love it at all. Since I plan to be here until I’m dead, I’m not too worried about it and will keep beautifying the concrete.

Here’s to creativity!

-Tracy

Writing Block and Happiness


It’s funny the things that can block you from writing. Since I was about five years old, and learned to relay the creative/crazy thoughts in my head into the written word (in very bad penmanship which has not improved) it’s been mostly easy.

I’d come home everyday itching to transform what happened in my day from hum drum to exciting, to take disturbing life events and give them happy endings in stories, and mainly to purge myself of whatever angst I was compelled by at that particular point in time. Some periods in my life were more productive than others. From the time my daughter was born, for example, until she was three and I got a divorce, I couldn’t write. I should have, as it might have relieved my stress but I couldn’t. I was tired and overwhelmed and didn’t even give it much thought.


Once I got a divorce, I wrote like a maniac, non stop for years and years. A lot of other life stuff happened in between and I wrote through all of it. The more stress the better as far as my fiction was concerned. My body not so much. I was always losing or gaining weight, battling migraines and hives. I got an inhaler a couple of times because I had trouble breathing. And then there was the time I had to get a heart halter monitor because of all irregular heartbeats. In the end, there’s never anything wrong, just drama that fueled good fiction.

So the last six months I’ve had my share of drama but probably about 75-80% less than I’ve been used to most of my life. And what little there is, I shrug off. The problem is that I’m content. I met my boyfriend coincidentally when all the drama stopped, or more likely he was at the heart of my recognizing insane situations and walking away.

Or maybe it was just time to let go of bad habits and rabble-rousers. In any event, because I’m content and happy and not riddled with angst and worry, I find myself pretty blocked from a creative standpoint. I have nothing to say, nothing to exorcise.

I spend a good deal of time marketing my work so that takes keeps me busy. And another chunk goes to editing my old stuff for the Kindle and an upcoming collection being put out by a new press. And then there’s the NEHW and Epitaphs and the marking of that. But when I was really  “writing,” I always found time. I had to or else I’d implode from all the stuff in my head.

But now…well, as much as I hate that I haven’t been writing much new fiction, it is really nice to feel like this: Unburdened, calm, not battling my responsibilities alone.  Things come up, life isn’t perfect, but now I have someone to lean on and that makes all the difference.

I’m sure I’ll find a way to be happy and to write, but in the meantime, taking a break isn’t such a bad thing. If I can learn to live without stress certainly I can learn to write without it.

Tracy L. Carbone’s novel The Soul Collector is available on Amazon. Please check her main Amazon page as well to view all her fiction work.

I Want a Duck Like That

by Tracy L. Carbone

Yesterday  I met a friend for lunch at the Frog Pond on the Boston Common. We planned to buy nachos from the snack shack and then spend our lunch hour discussing and lamenting the undecipherable complexities of relationships.

As I waited for her to arrive, I spotted a couple of old ducks sitting on the grass. It’s them in the picture above. At first they seemed to be run-of-the-mill ducks, common Mallards, not markedly different from all the others milling about who had claimed the historical Frog Pond as their Duck Pond.

Once they stood up though and waddled to the water’s edge, I saw that they were older ducks. The male stood up first,  restless to swim, and limped under his chubby feathered body. He took a few steps, excited to jump in, but then stopped, turned, and waited for his mate. She then arose, also a little heavy, and limped over to him slowly. Then side by side they entered the water together.

I was touched by the relationship they had, but as I watched them further, I saw how close they really were. The male kept swimming ahead, then would stop to wait for her.  It was obvious he was stronger and more eager to swim all around the pond, see the sights, look for crumbs or bugs or whatever it is the Boston ducks eat, but he never swam more than a few feet away from his mate, Mrs. Duck.

He didn’t appear resentful that she slowed him down, didn’t leave her for a younger duck who could keep up. Instead he’d go just a bit away then stop. And the way he kept turning around to look for her, make sure she wasn’t too far out of his comfort range was beautiful.

I know a lot of human couples like those ducks, who have stayed together through crisis and disease and old age. And I know my share of humans who didn’t want to wait for their Mrs. Ducks to catch up, who wanted to cruise the pond alone.

That little Mallard couple inspired me and that male was a good guy. Next time I fall in love, I want a duck like that.

Tracy L. Carbone ,  is the author of The Man of Mystery Hill, published by Echelon Press. Buy Now as an eBook on Kindle . The print version will be available this summer, and can be pre-ordered now.

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