The gardener's best tool can be a pencil.
I chose the name "The Novel Gardener" to represent my creative life that includes writing, art and design. This is my writing portfolio that includes all published articles.
I graduated from Oklahoma State University and had a successful fifteen year career in sales and sales training. When my children left home to begin their own adult lives, I knew that I had to live my best life so that they could see that learning never ends. I have always had a personal journal but it took time and the encouragement of many others for me to write for publication.
My influences are varied including Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Oliver, Anne Lamott, Harper Lee, David Sedaris and David Foster Wallace. My favorite genre to read is the novel but my favorite form to write is the essay.
In addition to writing, I enjoy painting with watercolors and start each day with a "scribble". I begin each day with a scribble, a walk with Jackson and time in the garden before writing. In addition to writing, I create gardens (and other sacred spaces) for clients, friends and myself.
The gardener's best tool can be a pencil.
Photography by: Brooke Allen & Carole Topolian
Photo Credit: Valerie Grant
Photo Credit: Valerie Grant
Say the word "grief" aloud and its brevity pulls you up short. First, the hard, guttural "g," like a moan of pain barked after a fist to the gut. Then, the hissing "f," like a mad cat, back arched. It's a word severed from itself, its head hacked off blunt and bloody and then, nothing.
Photography by: Carole Topalian & Barry Jarvis
"Failure is not failure, but failure to change might be." - John Wooden Great coaches know when it's time to make a change. Instinctively, they perceive when game-changing decisions are needed. Students of their craft, they intuit when to change the game, when to change the line-up and even when to throw out the playbook ...
Take a vacant lot, five charities, and the vision of Keith Butler, and you get Britney Farms, a working community garden in the heart of busy midtown Tulsa. Photo credit: Mary Anne Harris
Is there a more ubiquitous food item than the hot dog? From roadside drive-in's to burger shacks, the hot dog is an American favorite. And yet, this humble delight has an extensive passport. Historians credit the Roman emperor Nero, whose cook, Gaius, may have linked the first sausages. Photo credit: Valerie Grant
"There's always room for a story that can transport people to another place." - J.K. Rowling Bill Baird thought he knew the story of Hammett House's favorite condiment, fondly dubbed, "The Pink Stuff". As far as he knew, this sauce came from one of the recipes inherited from LaNelle Hammett, an original owner of the ...
It began with a challenge: to dine out in Tulsa every day, lunch and dinner, on a total budget of only $99. Could this be done and still enjoy flavorful, exciting, local dining? This coupon-clutching girl took the challenge on and set out to discover just how far her dining dollar might go.
Even more than the décor, exciting menus, and exotic drinks, I love the feel of a restaurant. It's more sensory than sensibility. It's the feeling of the embrace upon returning home, the confidence that everything-and everyone - is where they should be in the world, including me.
Extend the growing season with fall tomatoes; Photo credit: Mary Anne Harris
"He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left." - Chinese Proverb Summer time is travel time. We pack our bags and embark on journeys. We plan, scheme and prepare for time to unwind. For some, travel takes them to far- away lands.
The Tropical offers an edible landscape and top-notch options for all eaters.
Photo credit: Mary Anne Harris (Harris House Studios)
Creating Focal Points in the Landscape; Photo credit: Mary Anne Harris
Photo credit: Valerie Grant Some relationships never make it to the commitment stage. Like a summer crush, they are short-term, exploratory and experimental. Sure, they are fun but often lack the important elements of something more substantial and cohesive. Nonetheless, some flings mature into something new and exciting. They build on the simple, even the mundane, with a freshness ...
Photo credit: Valerie Grant My favorite stories combine the familiar with the unexpected, the typical with a bit of mystery, the known with a hint of the unknowable. I believe a great dining experience is like a great read: it combines the elements of common things with pleasing surprises throughout the experience.
Creating a Life Where All Life Can Thrive
Words by Maurie Traylor Photography by Rosalind Creasy My conversation with Rosalind Creasy began in a cool corner of a library. My children and I made our weekly trek to the local library to dodge the hot arrows of a fierce Oklahoma sun. Our rule was to each select one book that was new to us.
Photo credit: Valerie Grant "Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be foolish at the right moment." - Horace One sip of Foolish Things oak aged cold brew coffee tells everything about the craft of coffee- and much about the art of building community.
Where there is tea, there is hope. Photo credit: Mary Anne Harris
Photo credit: Valerie Grant I felt like I was going on a blind date. Bored with my familiar food routine, I looked to make some changes. I wanted to feel better, to look better. So I made a New Year's intention to eat healthier. After a few weeks of salads and smoothies, I noticed some improvements.
Photo credit: Valerie Grant When you ask Jonathan Haring, chef and owner of Florence Park Café, to describe his restaurant, his quick response is to describe it as a "neighborhood café." What makes a café neighborly? That's a question hard to answer. It is like asking, "What is jazz music?"
Transplant earned 2nd place in the Tulsa Review
"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" -Dr. Seuss Words by Maurie Traylor, The Novel Gardener Photography by Andrea Church Quick. Before the short, cold days of winter make way for the busy hum of spring activities.
Photo credit: Valerie Grant Perhaps it was watching his father create sandwiches from simple ingredients on hand. Maybe it was the tasty flavors of the Bay Area and Long Beach eateries that captured his interest. Or maybe it was the influence of his wife and her successful coffee shop.
"Gardening is not a rational act," the great Canadian writer Margaret Atwood once wrote. "In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." Words by Maurie Traylor Photography by Carole Topalia When you think about it, coupling with nature to grow one's own food is a creative connection to life and health.
Growing vegetables simply, easily, and deliciously; Photo credit: Mary Anne Harris