The Warm-up Week: Creating New Systems

Warm and Fuzzy by Maria L. Berg 2023

How was your first week of the year? Mine was busy and fun. I love how writing down what I want to do, here at Experience Writing, motivates me to do it. With all of the new things I’m trying, I have to remind myself that I’m just getting started. I need to be patient and give things time.

I did read a novel this week. I finished The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry. Tomorrow I’ll have a post about how I plan to start reading as a writer and applying what I learn from reading novels. Then later in the week I’ll have a post about what I learned from The Manual of Detection and how I can apply that to my work.

I was inspired to look at my contradictory abstractions study in a new way and will share that on Tuesday.

This week’s images were inspired by early abstract painters, Kandinsky and Mondrian. I used different size sharpies to color and draw on clear plastic then cut shapes out of black paper to represent large brush strokes, or paint blobs. I like the effect. I’m still trying to figure out the arrangement of my mirror room, but I think I’m getting results.

After realizing last week that my motivational issues are due to fear, I decided to face that fear by facing myself. I set up a chair and fabric drape in my office and have started taking self-portraits every day just as I am, no make-up, messy hair. So far it’s great practice. I’m hoping after a while, I’ll loosen up and get past trying to pose for the camera. Over time I’ll play with different looks: wigs, make-up, costumes, etc. It’ll be fun (I hope).

I finished up my chapbook for the Writer’s Digest NovPAD Challenge and sent it in, I entered a Sony Photography contest, and sent images to two literary magazines. I like that I’ve started the year submitting my work. I want to keep that up consistently this year.

I got a fun e-mail from the editor of Heron Tree. They are looking for submissions of found poetry, and one of the text options this year is Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. I am so grateful she emailed me and turned me onto this fabulous text from 1826 with color plates of drawings of the different herbs, and text of how Mr. Nicholas Culpeper used them in his work. I’m going to start by putting sections of the text through the Mesostic Poem Generator and see what comes out.

I started a new (to me) Course, “The Modern and Postmodern (Part 1)” through Wesleyan University. One of the texts led me to Project Gutenberg and now my Kindle is full of philosophy and aesthetics books from the early 1900s. I will never run out of things to read.

I also started my first SloPo mini-course with ModPo Penn. We’re studying Joan Retallack‘s poems.

I Got It Bad and I Think That’s Good by Maria L. Berg 2023

Using drum beats to create poetic lines

This week I started something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’m working on my drumming and applying it to writing poetry. To do this I found some videos from Music College TV on Youtube. This is the video I’m starting with:

I practiced playing four beats of quarter notes, then four beats of eighth notes in different combinations of cymbals and drums. Then I thought about how to represent that with words as a line of poetry. Thinking only of the rhythm, I came up with:

cat cat cat cat, kitty kitty kitty kitty

fox fox fox fox, vixen vixen vixen vixen

Easy right? And fun to say, but not exactly poetry. So then I took a section of a poem I wrote this week while thinking about finding the bad in good and the good in bad, and attempted to keep the meaning of the line while changing it to my new rhythm.

Here are the original lines:

I tell everyone I meet that I’m a good person,
but I’m not.
I talk about honesty and truth,
but I’m lying
I recite poems that equate truth to beauty,
but I think they’re ugly
I expound on the value of flaws and natural beauty,
but seek perfection

And here are the new lines in my simple drumbeat:

I say I’m good when we meet, but you’re not buying
I talk of truth, honestly, I know I’m lying
If truth is fine, why do I find yours is ugly?
If flaws make rich, why do I wish to be smudge free?

The new lines in rhythm felt like they needed to rhyme which I think is interesting. It’s challenging, but it definitely makes me write and think in a new way.

No Rush

I’m happy that I’m making progress, so I’m not going to rush things. I’ll stick with finding the good in the bad and the bad in the good while continuing to work on the song “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” and playing around with my simple drum beat. I may stick with this song and beat for one more week or two or through the end of the month, as long as I am continuing the work and feeling inspired.

I do plan to stick to a novel a week though. This week I’m reading The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny.

How are you diving into the New Year? I look forward to hearing about it in the comments.

Thank you for being here

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