Inside My Great Walls Marking Time

I’ve trapped myself again inside my great wall of “i can’t draw this page! I need LOTS of time to learn how to draw four people in action poses!’ And I filled all the spaces of time inside my ‘too busy to get it right’ fortress and that led me to…”So I won’t even attempt it!” How’s that for my great mind talk!
Though on rainy days, my lil story is a great “listen” if someone has talked themselves into boredom. And for now here’s an earlier illustration for page 4.

Inside My Great Walls, written by Ann Gordon, audio by John Gordon

Inside My Great Walls, Page 5

This painting was the original image I had in my head as I starting writing Inside These Great Walls. It’s my image of our two grandsons in China stuck inside their apartment for over two months in self quarantine. They have three window seats in their high rise apartment in Beijing. Their ‘schedule of the day’ included time at the windows to get some vitamin D sunlight. I think it fits best in the story for page 5. Thankfully, now after almost 3 months, they have finally begun to venture out again. Now it our turn in the U.S. We will move beyond all this someday. Meanwhile, my heart goes out to so many families and those living alone and dealing with this Covid19.

Inside My Great Walls, by Ann Gordon, read by John Gordon
Inside My Great Walls, Page 5

Inside My Great Walls, Page 4

Finally I have a Page 4 illustrated! and changes made to the text! I’m still wanting to add something next to the little guy’s cocoon that is a hopeful indication of what is to come after his quarantine here imagined as his cocoon. The caterpillar is transforming into a butterfly and will freely fly off to new heights and happenings after being in a cocoon. The little guy? What would feel like freedom and adventure for him? I’m thinking I could put a few hints like him sitting on a bicycle (maybe only showing the seat with him sitting and the back wheel.)? And perhaps I could put one of his favorite capes on his back (superhero?) or a pirate hat on his head? Any suggestions?

Inside My Great Walls, Page 4!
Inside My Great Walls, written by Ann Gordon, read by John Gordon

Inside My Great Walls, process of Page 4

When I started setting up my drawing for page 4, and I read the text to Alex, it became clear that something about this line didn’t quite fit: “I pity caterpillars inside their cocoons.” Plus Alex pointed out that caterpillars in cocoons are getting ready for some wonderful transition. So I decided to change the text to “Is this how a caterpillar feels inside his cocoon?” This also meant I needed to change “inside my rooms” to singular, which fortunately worked out fine. So at least I decided to go ahead with my idea for the drawing. Here it is in Ink sofar.

Ink Sketchout for Inside My Great Walls, Page 4

Next came painting the small details, which could be a bear with my hands that go numb pretty quickly. So I decided to go ahead and use the Masking Fluid. This would protect parts of my drawings from colors that I don’t want to accidentally mess or from color bleeding of the watercolors. Took me a little longer but it is kind of a fun, magical process.

Inside My Great Walls, Page 4, Masked and Ready for Color!

I LOVE peeling off the mask when the paint is dry and then applying the next color! Taking masks off on a watercolor, is a freeing thing! I imagine it will be SO freeing for those having to wear masks all the time because of Covid 19 Situations! Feeling so much gratitude for all those who are supporting the common good…delivery people, medical workers, caregivers, those growing, preparing and raising food, and on and on! Thank you!

Mermaid Moves Into The Hillock

During our rainy indoor day yesterday, Alex and I discovered there was mail in the tiny mailbox down at The Hillock. It was addressed to The Wonderful Road Helpers, which we knew must be Nora and Andrea,

Here’s one of the tiny letters from The Hillock Fairies:

Page 1 of Fairies’ Letter
Page 2 of Fairies’ Letter

This morning, the girls ran down to The Hillock to look for the new Mermaid resident who had moved there! Then they laid the beginnings of the road to her house! Now she can have visitors! There are so many dwellings and new members of this community, that I may have to have auditions for next book characters! Already two frogs have moved in since we refurbished the pond, and hundreds of tadpoles!

Inside My Great Walls, Page 3

It’s clear to me that these illustrations are mostly to help me visualize the details of the stories I write, and to help me edit and revise and edit and revise! What a learning process for me, both with writing and with my drawing/painting techniques! This little guy’s face has been drawn over and over! What a patchwork endeavor! I’m sure I’ll be redoing this page sometime soon! And perhaps I’ll be adding a calendar to his wall so he can mark the days til he can go back outside. Meanwhile, this poor little guy has hit his ‘flat’ feeling of the day!

Inside My Great Walls, Page 3
Inside My Great Walls written by Ann Gordon, read by John Gordon

Inside My Great Walls pg. 1

We have been staying home in the country together with Will’s family! If this is officially called ‘social distancing’, we’re surely having fun! It has been a little more difficult to work on my writing and painting, though. I now have about 7 pages of sketched illustrations for this short story, yet not necessarily in sequential order. Nothing around here seems to be in ‘sequential order’. I’d call it more High End Chaos and Creativity! Today I had an hour or so to begin painting, starting with PAGE 1! Only to find as I reached for the last piece of watercolor paper, it was already taken. Hence, the walls of this little boy’s room are quite warped-looking! Perhaps that makes his whole room come from his mind’s eye? a little dreamy.

Inside My Great Walls” by Ann Gordon, read by John Gordon

Hillock Infrastructure: Roadways

In the beginning, at least the beginning of my relationship to The Hillock, which was about 14 years ago, there were no visible roads or dwellings. The Hillock looked like every other mounded island that had grown from piles of rocks, debris and dirt and then covered over and over with leaves, vines and grasses. Bits of moss were grasping for air and moisture at the top of smaller mounds around the larger mounds. For some reason on my walks with the dogs, Sadie and Sophie our two black labs that moved to Thunder Mountain with us, I was particularly drawn to this particular hillock. I began to clear debris off of the pieces of mounded moss and the moss began to spread. I weeded and pulled up any vines that had been hiding magical spaces underneath. Some of those vines stayed with me for weeks on my skin as reactions to poison ivy! This still did not stop me for wanting to dig down to the magic.

Surprisingly, two things appeared there that enhanced the magic of the occasional frog, salamander and turtle that would allow me to invade their private community. The first was a gleaming fairy hanging and gliding underneath the dogwood tree. The second was a mysterious stone door with a fairy carved on the front of it. The sculptured door nestled naturally in the crook and crack of the giant oak tree in the middle of the hillock, atop a magnificent and spreading mound of moss, surrounding the tree! That’s all it took for me to sense they were signs of the magic that was to begin to unfold exponenientally all around me!

What until a few weeks before had seemed to be a chaotic endeavor on my part, and very unclear focus of my energies of weeding mosses and clearing leaves and vines, instantly became strong intentions to create a space where mysteries could reveal themselves.

That’s when the individual mounds began to grown into ‘hills and dales’ throughout The Hillock . And of course, there needed to be clear pathways to get from place to place. On my walks I began to bring a rock or two create a ledge beside a pathway or support for a log. As more and more dwellings and areas began to define themselves throughout the Hillock, it became clear that there would be much more traffic and Pebblestone Way, the ‘magnificent pebblestone street’ as Martha Julia Agnes Adele called it, began to grow.

Pebblestone Way Underway! February 13, 2013

The year that it began to grow I also was going through added pain and fatigue while I was being intensely treated for Lyme disease and the shifty shrewd spirochetes that were wrecking havoc in my body. These had been hidden and undiagnosed for over twenty years and it was was time to weed them out of my system. Each day I would still trudge down to the meadow with the dogsbut would only make it as far as the hillock when I would need to sit and rest. What could I do that would be productive when I felt so tired. One day I grabbed a tiny bucket and began filling it with small pebbles and took them to the Hillock. I would plop down on one of the pathways and begin to press the pebbles into the mud from the rainwashes they day before. Step by step each day and pebble by pebble the Pebblestone Way was paved and along with it was pressed out all my pain and fatigue.

Pebblestone Way is First Underway! February 13, 2013
March 2013
September 2013

Over its first year, Pebblestone Way became well trafficked and loved by animals, children, slugs. On a beautiful September day, Martha Julia Agnes Adele came upon this little hillock and ‘tripped and fell’. Thus began her adventure all around The Hillock. Now that her adventure is over, in spring of 2020, and she has found her shoe, it’s time to replenish the pebbles and upgrade the road system. And WHERE did all the pebbles go over those 7 years? Many were covered with leaves, dirt and moss, and many were scuffed down the hills and out into the meadow. So once again, Mossy gets out her little buckets and begins to carry a new supply of pebbles down to the Hillock.

It’s almost like building a city on top of an ancient city! Marbles, fairies, and other artifacts are showing themselves, all eager to bring new life to The Hillock of 2020!

Refurbishing Pebblestone Way! March
Refurbishing Pebblestone Way! March 5, 2020

The most wonderful thing about this ever-changing and growing hillock are the happy helpers that come to renew the infrastructure and more grandly to renew the spirit that give The Hillock its magic!


If any of you are semi-self-quarintining, here’s how ours began today! One of our ‘action figure-families’ came to the country for the weekend! Will, Vika, Andrea, 6, and Nora, 3. This morning each of them created Stations for inside/outside activity. Presently, I have flopped into the folds of this chair, panting and sweating! Heart full of family fun, and body grateful to be told to sit and write!

Nora was present to demonstrate her station for each person, so we needed no written instructions. She let Mossy do just ONE and others, 5, 10, or 20! “Or you can just lie down, was also an option she gave.”

Andrea’s station was pretty strenuous! Especially the “lunge tea lunge” and the pushups!

And THEN there appeared on one wall, running around the house! I think our dog Atticus accompanied each person!

Will’s Stations was a country version of athletes ‘running the stadium steps’. Fortunately our deck steps are a much smaller number.

Vika’s station calls forth a different set of muscles for those of us who had them!

Mossy introduced Rumi’s ‘twirling’. Five one way. Five the other. And then bow.

Granddad’s station included, “play something on the piano” and “bounce the ball on the saggy net racket.”

Hmmm…so now I feel a dry cough, and shortness of breath! Should I top it off with a trip to urgent care? Or just a delicious lunch?

Inside My Great Walls III

“Inside My Great Walls” by Ann Gordon, read by John Gordon

In their Beijing apartment, Joe and Baby Alex have window seats that look out over the courtyard below. It’s actually 11 floors down to the courtyard. Haven’t learned how to draw that perspective of depth yet. At least from these windows they can soak in a little sun/daylight! Can’t wait til they can come roam the countryside and play in the creek!

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