Contradictory Abstractions: The Dynamic of Action / Reaction

Dynamic Simplicity by Maria L. Berg 2023

This morning I read, in Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen by Robert McKee, “Every consequential moment in life pivots around a dynamic of action/reaction. In the physical realm, reactions are equal, opposite, and predictable in obedience to Newton’s third law of motion; in the human sphere, the unforeseen rules. Whenever we take an important step, our world reacts—but almost never in the way we expect. From within us or around us come reactions we cannot and do not see coming. For no matter how much we rehearse life’s big moments, when they finally arrive, they never seem to work out quite the way we thought, hoped, or planned. The drama of life is an endless improvisation.”

If I relate this to dialectic thought, an action (thesis) gives rise to reaction (antithesis) which does not live up to expectation (conflict) which leads to a different action (thesis) which gives rise to reaction (antithesis) which does not meet expectation (conflict), and so it goes never to find synthesis (until the end of the novel that is, but not in real life). So is McKee unknowingly proposing and antithesis to Hegelian dialectics? And how can I fit the idea that every consequential moment, the moment I’m trying to capture, pivots around action/reaction?

Let’s move on from beauty and ugliness to the third call for action, “To find the happiness in misery and the misery in happiness; dismay the happy, or delight the miserable.” The action would be finding happiness in misery and a reaction could be finding the misery in happiness, thus finding both. Or, the action could be dismaying the happy and the reaction being delighting the miserable. There is a lot of action and reaction going on in my call to action for my art. Let’s look at the many possible combinations:

  1. action: find the happiness in misery and the misery in happiness – reaction: dismay the happy, or delight the miserable
  2. action: dismay the happy, or delight the miserable – reaction: find the happiness in misery and the misery in happiness
  3. action: find the happiness in misery – reaction: find the misery in happiness
  4. action: find the misery in happiness – reaction: find the happiness in misery
  5. action: dismay the happy – reaction: delight the miserable
  6. action: delight the miserable – reaction: dismay the happy
  7. action: find the happiness in misery – reaction: dismay the happy
  8. action: dismay the happy – reaction: find the happiness in misery
  9. action: find the happiness in misery – reaction: delight the miserable
  10. action: delight the miserable – reaction: find the happiness in misery
  11. action: find the misery in happiness – reaction: dismay the happy
  12. action: dismay the happy – reaction: find the misery in happiness
  13. action: find the misery in happiness – reaction: delight the miserable
  14. action: delight the miserable – reaction: find the misery in happiness

I think that covers it. So what am I looking at? Are each of those an image I want to create? Are they all aspects of one image? Are they all different consequential moments in the life of the continuum of happiness and misery?  I like the idea that they are fourteen different ways to approach finding my photograph that captures the essence of happiness and misery at the same time.

Action / Reaction as an aspect of contradictory abstractions made me think of Dynamic simplicity, an aspect of visual design that is emphasized in Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Patterson.

Mr. Patterson says, “Simplicity brings order and stability to compositions . . . However, if everything were as simple as possible, life would be very boring. We need to balance order with tension, which brings movement, activity, and a sense of the dynamic both to our pictures and to our lives. . . . So pictorial composition, like living, always involves balancing tension against order.”

So is this dynamic of tension (action) and order (reaction? or synthesis?) the physical dialectic of my art?

Fan Dance by Maria L. Berg 2023

Today’s images were inspired by the work of Arthur Dove and Francis Picabia. Specifically Arthur Dove’s “Nature Symbolized No. 2″  (1911) reminded me of something I did back in April with Foolish, Ambition, and Cleave. I sliced up the printed photograph and spread it out like a fan. Today, I cut the center circle from my filter and cut it in curves then spread them out and taped the shape back in the open circle. Then, inspired by Francis Picabia’s orange and white ‘Dance” paintings (1912), I added my orange string lights, expecting them to not really take the shape but add a soft blurred edge in an attempt to replicate the interesting softness Picabia brought to his cubist surfaces. However, the orange lights replicated this shape clearly to nice effect.

Today’s Surprising Connection

This morning I started reading Complete Poems by Marianne Moore and came across a poem called “The Animals Sick of the Plague.” I recognized the title instantly as the play the kids put on for the New Year’s party in The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny. I had never heard of that fable before I read Penny’s novel. Now here it is in the section of Marianne Moore’s poems called “Selections from The Fables of La Fontaine (1954).”

Contradictory Abstractions: The Synthesis of Beauty and Ugliness

Beaugliness by Maria L. Berg 2023

It’s the last day of the first month of the new year, and I woke up early, tore apart my mirrorworld, and started fresh. Though conceptually I feel like my ideas are coming together, the images aren’t yet what I’ve been hoping for. How about you? How did your month go?

This week I’m exploring my second call to action: “To find the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness; uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly.” Last week I was excited by Hegel’s dialectic thinking. This morning I found another correlation in neuroscience in Eric R. Kandel’s The Age of Insight.

Coming to Synthesis

Nobel prize winning neuroscientist, Kandel, writes, “Beauty does not occupy a different area of the brain than ugliness. Both are part of a continuum representing the values the brain attributes to them, and both are encoded by relative changes in activity in the same areas of the brain. This is consistent with the idea that positive and negative emotions lie on a continuum and call on the same neural circuitry. Thus, the amygdala, commonly associated with fear, is also a regulator of happiness.”

I love how my goal of creating images that show how contradictory abstract nouns converge works with the physiology of the brain.

While thinking about today’s photo-shoot and my call to action, I contemplated if capturing synthesis would actually make great art. Isn’t it the extremes that people find exciting? Not the negation, the accomplished stasis?

Kandel says, “Our response to art stems from an irrepressible urge to re-create in our own brains the creative process—cognitive, emotional, and empathic—through which the artist produced the work. This creative urge of the artist and the beholder presumably explains why essentially every group of human beings in every age and in every place throughout the world has created images, despite the fact that art is not a physical necessity for survival. Art is an inherently pleasurable and instructive attempt by the artist and the beholder to communicate and share with each other the creative process that characterizes every human brain—a process that leads to an Aha! moment, the sudden recognition that we have seen into another person’s mind, and that allows us to see the truth underlying both the beauty and the ugliness depicted by the artist.”

Thus, each of these images I share with you whether beautiful, or ugly, or somewhere along the continuum, is a peek into my mind. Welcome. It’s busy, and often cluttered, but there’s a lot of fun creating going on.

To make today’s images, using only white string-lights, I used printed transparencies of sections of my images that showed the shape both right-side-up and upside-down. I then created new images showing the filter both right-side-up and upside-down. Is it the synthesis? The negation? I’m not sure, but I had fun with my new terminology in my titles.

Beaugliful by Maria L. Berg 2023

Next Steps

I’m going to continue to explore beauty and ugliness for a while. Kant keeps coming up as I study abstract art, so I want to read through his works that I downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Using my new kindle skills I searched for beauty and ugly in Kant’s Critique of Judgement and beauty had 500 matches, ugly had 4. I find that fascinating. Why the crazy imbalance? Is it because people seek out beauty and not ugliness?

In the section called “Dialectic of the Aesthetical Judgement,” Kant says, “. . . the conflict between judgements of Taste, so far as each man depends merely on his own taste, forms no Dialectic of taste; because no one proposes to make his own judgement a universal rule. There remains therefore no other concept of a Dialectic which has to do with taste than that of a Dialectic of the Critique of taste (not of taste itself) in respect of its principles; for here concepts that contradict one another (as to the ground of the possibility of judgements of taste in general) naturally and unavoidably present themselves.”

As I read it, there is no conflict between beauty and ugliness when it has to do with one’s own ideas and feelings, the conflict arises when people’s aesthetics are different. Something to think about.

Dialectic Thinking and the Study of Contradictory Abstractions

Hegelian Synthesis by Maria L. Berg 2023

Last week, while thinking about the first of my new calls to action “To find the truth in deceit and the deceit in truth; either deceive the truth, or unveil the deceit” (I now think reveal works better than unveil), the idea of deceiving truth, along with the blues songs I’ve been studying, got me thinking about cheaters and love triangles. I started thinking of imagery that represents a union of two wholes which made me think of the yin yang (itself a joining of opposites), and then an invisible triangle, the secret third party: the opposite of truth and the bringer of conflict.

Modernist Dialectic Thought

As I’ve mentioned I’m taking a course I found on coursera.org through Wesleyan University taught by Michael Roth called “The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 1)”. Last week, in the section called “From Enlightenment to Revolution,” we were assigned a bunch of Karl Marx to read, but for me the most interesting part of the week was the lectures on Karl Marx’s teacher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Though Wikipedia disagrees with itself whether Hegel actually used the terminology of Hegelian dialectic thought, I’m going to go ahead and talk about what excited me and how it inspired me this week.

Here’s how I understand Hegelian dialectics: every thought or idea (thesis) gives rise to its opposite (antithesis) and through conflict comes to synthesis. The whole process he called negation.

[Wikipedia says “For Hegel, the concrete, the synthesis, the absolute, must always pass through the phase of the negative, in the journey to completion, that is, mediation.” Seems similar enough to me.]

For Hegel this concept of an idea and its opposite coming to synthesis isn’t a fun thought experiment or art project (like me), it is his explanation of how the world works, and how the present reality interacts with history.

How does Hegelian philosophy change anything I’m doing? It brought up the idea that the image I’m searching for is the Synthesis, the end result of Negation. And when I find that, do I get to make up a new term: a word that means both truth and deceit for instance, and what would my process be for finding that term, making up that word, making a new term that means both and neither? That should be fun, and make for good image titles.

Does it really change how I think about my study of contradictory abstract nouns? A little. As I take my photographs, I may be seeing how the world works, actually documenting a more real reality than if I were taking photos of the mountain, lake, birds, and kitty. I’m getting close to photographing truth and reason, or at least seeing a path to documenting images of truth and reason.

How might this affect my process? If I am finding the truth in deceit and the deceit in truth, I come up with a shape or symbol that I think can embody both somehow. I can create it and it’s opposite (not exactly opposite, but the form upside down and backwards) at the same time. I can even make those two shapes or symbols interact, but is that an image of synthesis? Has my image gone through negation? How would I study that?

There is no simple symbol of truth and deceit, however, I was playing with the idea of two joined shapes=the yin yang and the secret triangle for the deceit. So if I take that symbol and its opposite (upside-down and backwards) will it make a synthesis of truth and deceit?

In the pictures I put in this post, I think the one with the shape upside down and backwards (the antithesis) creates the conflict Hegel talks about, and I think the one without the antithesis (top of post) creates a new form through synthesis. What do you think?

Talk About Synthesis:

The craziest thing happened last night. After free-writing about what I wanted to say about dialectic thinking. I went to bed and opened up Abstract Art: A Global History by Pepe Karmel, and right there in the introduction, right after saying “Critics argued that the abstract art made between 1915 and 1970 mattered deeply because its development unfolded according to laws of historical necessity. In contrast, even if individual painters and sculptors chose to go on making abstract art after 1970, their work did not—could not—belong to a meaningful historical narrative.” he says:

“The modernist theory of abstraction, with its reductive narrative explaining both the birth of abstraction and its ineluctable death, derived from Hegel, who tried to uncover an inner logic to history, replacing a chronicle of random events with a coherent narrative of significant actions. . . . modernists thought that, since abstraction had arrived at its essence, there was nothing meaningful left for modern artists to do. Painters might not have hung up their brushes, but ‘post-historical abstract painting’ was condemned to insignificance.”

So is Pepe saying that the process of Negation: thesis-antithesis-synthesis leads to the end of abstract painting? Or that “modernists” thought that? I don’t think that’s a reasonable conclusion. As I see it, the synthesis, that residual after the conflict lives on, or as the circles within circles of history, the process repeats and repeats.

What I’m finding inspirational for creating abstract art, Pepe Karmel sees as the end of abstract art. Though we obviously are in thesis and antithesis with no synthesis in sight, it’s still fun to see the connection.

Negation by Maria L. Berg 2023

Next Steps

I’m going to continue to dive into the philosophy of dialectic thought while I move to my second call to action “To find the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness; uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly.”

Another statement that came up in The Modern and the Postmodern class, “beauty hides the truth” is in stark contrast to Keat’s statement in Ode on a Grecian Urn “Beauty is truth, truth beauty . . .” so there’s a lot to explore there.

Expanding the Study of Contradictory Abstractions

In Repose by Maria L. Berg 2023

Not Just Nouns Anymore

While reading The Linchpin Writer by John Matthew Fox, I came across this interesting sentence:

“You should use your descriptions to do one of two things: to either defamiliarize the familiar, or to familiarize the unfamiliar. “

The form of that sentence, with its contradictions, reminded me of “find the despair in hope, and the hope in despair,” and got me wondering if perhaps I had found the next path in my abstractions study. 

Just plugging in my abstract nouns, however, did not inspire: Description should do one of two things: to either despair the hope, or to hope the despair. Nope. That doesn’t say much to me. Upon closer look, the new formula isn’t directly using abstract nouns. Yes, it’s talking about contradictory abstractions, but with verbs and adjectives. I thought, for today, it would be fun to play around with the idea of turning my Big Five contradictory abstract nouns into verbs and adjectives and fit them into my new formula to see how that might affect how I think of them visually, and poetically.

Truth / Deceit

What are my adjectives for truth and deceit? Honest, and deceitful are my adjectives, or truthful, and deceitful, or true and untrue.  To deceive is a verb but to truth? Maybe reveal as the verb, or profess, it’s hard to think of a verb for truth. I played around with the thesaurus and found verbs that have to do with truth tend to uncover lies like: confess, reveal, unveil, etc. For this exercise, I like unveil. Let’s see what we’ve got now.

Description should do one of two things: to either deceive the truth, or to unveil the deceit.  I think I like that. 

Beauty / Ugliness

The adjectives are pretty easy: beautiful and ugly, The verbs? Beautify, and what? Uglify? I don’t think so. Oh, but I’m wrong: uglify is a word. That was easy. What do we get?

Description should do one of two things: either uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly. 

I like that too. I think that works for more than description, but for story as well. It also describes art, don’t you think? Or maybe for art it’s the and, not or. Art should do both: uglify the beautiful, and beautify the ugly.

Happiness / Misery

The adjectives: happy and miserable. The verbs? A bit more challenging. After playing in the thesaurus I landed on “delight” and “dismay.”

Description should do one of two things:  either dismay the happy, or delight the miserable. 

I think that really gets at an interesting concept, I wonder about sometimes. Why do people go to sad movies. When I’m happy, I don’t want to be dismayed, especially by my entertainment. Why do people like Shakespeare, or the opera, dramas of any sort. I think it’s to evoke emotion, strong emotion is a catharsis for people when they feeling flat, in a rut, unemotional. They need to feel these emotions to feel alive.

Love / Apathy

The adjectives: lovely, apathetic? Lovely is more like beauty, no. I think love calls for a different adjective, but what? Passionate, compassionate? Love is definitely the verb, but what about for apathy? That’s a little tricky. I think to bore is the closest I found.

Description should do one of two things: to either bore the passionate, or to love the apathetic. 

I like the first part a lot. Why would something have the purpose of boring the passionate?  The second part isn’t as intriguing. Maybe to love the uncaring . . .

But to love the apathetic sounds like defeat without any reason, but maybe that’s facing a truth.

Wisdom / Naivete

The adjectives are wise and naive. What the verbs? To know, to learn, to contemplate, to weigh, to judge. And naive? To fool, to forget, to blank, to clear, 

Description should do one of two things: either clear the wise, or know the naive. 

Description should do one of two things: either fool the wise, or judge the foolish. 

Description should do one of two things: either fool the wise, or wisen the foolish. 

I think that last one works.

Good / Bad

This week, inspired by the song “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” I’m looking at the bad in the good, and the good in the bad. How would this new idea expand on that? The adjectives? To get from good to better, one must improve. And from bad to worse, one worsens. So we’ve got: Description should do one of two things: either worsen the good, or improve the bad.That’s a strange statement. Is that what my photographs should do? Is that what today’s poem should do? Lots to think about.

That was a fun exercise. However, I try to avoid “should” so I think I’ll change the phrase to only the ending and make it declarative: Worsen the good, or improve the bad. If I combine that with my original contradictory noun phrase I get: Find the good in the bad, and the bad in the good, then worsen the good, or improve the bad. Or it could be: To find the good in the bad, and the bad in the good, worsen the good, or improve the bad.

Though it sounds like nonsensical gobbledygook, but after some thought, it makes sense. It’s got me thinking, so I like it.

Slowly Rolling by Maria L. Berg 2023

Next Steps

Lets see what the combined sentences would look like for my Big Five:

  1. To find the truth in deceit and the deceit in truth; either deceive the truth, or unveil the deceit.
  2. To find the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness; uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly.
  3. To find the happiness in misery and the misery in happiness; dismay the happy, or delight the miserable.
  4. To find the love in apathy and the apathy in love; bore the passionate, or love the uncaring.
  5. To find the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom in naivete; fool the wise, or wisen the foolish.

Looks like I’ve created my call to action for the next five weeks.

And a Successful NaNoWriMo Comes to an End

Failure in success and success in failure by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the failure in success and the success in failure.

It is finally here, the final day of November: the last day of NaNoWriMo; the last day of prompts for the NovPAD challenge; and the last day of this extended study of the big five abstract nouns and their contradictory counterparts. This month has been huge for me in terms of creation, invention, and discovery.

I now have yet another novel draft, and thirty new poems, and a ton of new images, all successful failures and failed successes. Luckily, they don’t end there. November succeeded as a month of creation. Now it’s time to spend as much time in review, and to find the failures, examine them and learn from them; to sort through and find what I still like after letting time pass, and see why I think it succeeded and how to use that successes to transform the failures. I plan to let the novel completely rest, while I focus on the poems and images in December.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

The last prompt for this challenge is a title prompt “And (blank).”

And Success Will Follow

The undertaking is a complete fiasco
The shapes are blurry,
the colors are dull
so step over the line again

The performance is a total flop
the notes are wrong
the movements sloppy
so square off against butterflies once more

The operation is an absolute loss
alarms are sounding
footsteps approaching
so laugh in the face of fear anew

The design is a full-scale bust
the pieces don’t fit
the vision is not birthed
so muster the courage afresh

The quest is a downright defeat
the return is without elixir
the dragon still hoards the treasure
so cross that bridge over and over

Success in failure and failure in success by Maria L. Berg 2022

NaNoWriMo

Today I will write until this draft is finished, no matter how many words it takes, even if I have to write through the night, I will get to “The End.” I’m very excited. I’m so close. I won’t let myself down. 

The draft is a complete mess. I know most of it is garbage, but the whole story is there. I have used the process of drafting to get to know some really interesting characters, create a small town world, and create and resolve conflicts. In this way, this NaNoWriMo has been a complete success. The words flowed, and I wrote more in a month than I ever have before. But what I really succeeded in doing was creating more work for myself.

I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about my plans for the dwindling days of this year and what to expect in December, but then I’ll be taking a break, at least for the weekend.

Happy Final Day of November!

The Glow of Daring Disinterested Infatuation

Disinterest in infatuation and infatuation in disinterest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the disinterest in infatuation and infatuation in disinterest. Today’s study of infatuation brought me to foolish passion and and another look at that great word “unreason,” which made me think of the obsessive works in Nonconformers: A New History of Self-Taught Artists by Lisa Slominski (and contributors).

For today’s images I changed my lighting preparing my palette for next month. And I cut a new detailed filter.

Infatuation in disinterest and disinterest in infatuation by Maria L. Berg 2022

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today we get a two for Tuesday prompt:

  1. Write a truth poem, and/or…
  2. Write a dare poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

Today’s is an ekphrastic prompt. Of the four painting to choose from, I felt the most connection to “A November Morning” by John Atkinson Grimshaw.

What We Dare in the Glow of Morning

We dare the cold bite of winter chill
getting through sweaters and coats
mittens, scarves, and caps
to find purchase in our bones
We dare the slippery sidewalks
the threat of the hard meet of concrete
embarrassment of flailing
pain, bruises, and scrapes
We dare to dream of a different world
where all this courage has purpose
inspiring, changing, improving
every trek to a destination desired
We dare to imagine a future in which
our Novembers are paintings of the past
in which we dared to venture out
in the glow of morning

Excited to Realize Indifference is a Challenge

Indifference in excitement and excitement in indifference by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the indifference in excitement and excitement in indifference.Everything about my work is excitement to me, the lights the shapes, the discovery, so how do I show indifference in that excitement. A second person might be indifferent to the excitement. The  world might be indifferent to the excitement. What does indifference look like? I was thinking no filter at all. Only looking at circles. But even that is exciting. Maybe not looking through the lens finder at all.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a remix poem.”This could be a different take on the same subject, or retrofitting a free verse poem into a traditional form (or vice versa).”

dVerse Poets Pub

It is Quadrille Monday where today’s challenge is to write a forty-four word poem which includes the word “warm” in some form. It will be an interesting exercise to condense all the lines I collected from the poems I’ve written this month into only forty-four words as my remix poem.

Attempts at Indifference Went Down in Flames

Let’s pretend I found indifference—
was free of bias learned from experience
and could know vibrations of unfiltered perceptions
and nerves afire went for broke
Nothing is as incomprehensible as honest truth
—would I in my excitement be warmed by the fire
or burned?

Excitement in indifference and indifference in excitement by Maria L. Berg 2022

NaNoWriMo

Last night I set up files for each of the scenes I need to get me through the end of this draft, and hopped from one to another writing about five hundred words into each. I still have a ways to go, but I think I can get to the end by the 30th. I’m excited.

The Enhanced Diminution Resolution

Diminution in Enhancement and Enhancement in Diminution by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the enhancement in diminution and the diminution in enhancement. Today’s study definitely starts with the dictionary.

enhancement noun the state or quality of being elevated, heightened, or increased, as in quality, degree, intensity, or value

diminution noun the act, fact or process of diminishing, lessening; reduction

If one thinks about the law of supply and demand, one could enhance the value of something through diminution: lessening the available quantity. So that could be the diminution in enhancement. I’m still thinking about my first attempt at cubism yesterday. Cubism is a type of diminution, reducing something to its shapes and angles, and yet also increasing them by showing the shapes and angles from more than one point of view at the same time. So cubism could be the enhancement in diminution.

For today’s images, I cut another filter in an attempt at cubism, then took shots from different heights, and tried different intensities by adding my purple LEDs to the blue, and then using transparencies with mostly white.

I feel like all of today’s experiments got me closer to the cubism idea I had in mind. I think it’s a fun concept to explore further.

Enhancement in Diminution and Diminution in Enhancement
by Maria L. Berg 2022

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a resolution poem.

The Resolution

Ah, that note
the one anticipated
through elevated
intensity through
recede and decay

Ah, that note
the one needed
through degrees of
dissonance through
heightened state

Ah, that note
the one expected
through learned
settlement through
accord and verdict

Ah, that note
that sweet resolve

NaNoWriMo

Yesterday I got my second NaNoWriMo win, so my draft is at 90,000 words, and yet I have a ways to go before I hit The End. I’m excited that I’m over-writing this year, so for the first time my revision process will be chiseling away instead of building up. However, I also want to get to The End, so I can let it rest, and focus on poetry next month while I put together my chapbook. Determination is key. I have four days: will I write this novel to the end? I sure hope so.

It’s time for the final push!

#SoCS: The Reality of a Half-full Plate of Dreams: On Second Thought It’s Half-empty

Dream in Reality and Reality in Dream by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at the dream in reality and reality in a dream.

I found a fun quote for today in The Aspiring Poet’s Journal by Bernard Friot:

“Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.” ~Georges Braque

Georges Braque was a Fauvist and Cubist painter of still lifes. A ray of poetry sounds like a dream image that reveals reality, thus the reality in the illumination of a dream. Do I want to attempt some cubism today a la Georges Braque? The experiment is how to create the curves and lines to create an impression of cubism.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS)

Today’s prompt for some stream of consciousness writing is “on your/my plate.

I feel like there is always too much on my plate. But no one puts anything on it but me. Why do I continue to find things to pile on top, when it was already comfortably full? Because my eyes are big, much bigger than my stomach, and everything looks so delicious. When one sees flavor in everything, it’s easy to want a little, or a lot, of each. And when I have cut and chewed, and stabbed and shoveled down to revealing part of the pattern of the plate, a blue petal, the head of a partridge, the blue feather on the speckled beige background, do I celebrate, the accomplishment, rest and admire? No. I fill it right back up. I cover that space with new and exciting spicy explorations, and then pile on some more. Perhaps that’s why I’m never sated, because I never give myself a moment to digest. I guess I like how the colors and flavors combine, the surprises I find when I let it all mingle for a while. Finding something greater than the sum of its parts.

I love putting every color on the plate: the white rice with black beans, red and yellow peppers, orange carrots, green broccoli and spinach, blue and purple cabbage, a full spectrum of flavors for the eyes, mouth, nose, and tongue. The sound of utensils on plates, the chewing and crunching flavors for the ears. Does the plate make a difference. If I filled a different plate would the results, the experience change? If I filled several plates instead of heaping, and heaping on one, would that be better or worse?

Reality in Dream and Dream in Reality by Maria L. Berg 2022

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write an “on second thought” poem.

Is this the Dream or the Reality?

Roaming through a gothic castle on a holodeck, I’m suddenly afraid, digging in a field
on second thought I could be delirious

I cried when found bare after my deflector cape got stuck in glue
on second thought that’s how things are

The screech owl claws at my implant in the wind, but it can’t be fixed
on second thought I could be moonstruck

I recovered my snare drum with regenerated skin, but wove my beats to conceal the goose bumps
on second thought that’s the name of the game

I enjoyed kicking flesh-pods after subduing them with feedback from my microphone
on second thought I could have made it all up

In artificial gravity, feeling a bump during the witching hour is blown out of proportion
on second thought that’s the nuts and bolts of it

In the slipstream I slurp soup from a baked hollow
on second thought that’s the way of it

The imp at the door confessed to jumping through the singularity
on second thought I could be building castles in the air

My neck began to bleed when I saw the object in the interplanetary campfire
on second thought I could be having a nightmare

Roaming through my gothic castle, I see friends I haven’t seen for years
on second thought I see it like it is

The Seriousness of Justice and Injustice

The injustice in justice and the justice in injustice by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today my search leads me to the injustice in justice and the justice in injustice. This study gets right to the heart of what it is to be a human in society. The concepts of justice are based on a moral code that people have to agree upon to live peacefully together. But some laws are created and upheld that are not just or moral. And though justice is supposed to encompass equality and fairness, some laws that are just and moral are only applied to some, while others believe they are above the law.

While I explored definitions today, I came upon the importance that bias plays in injustice, and became fascinated by the word “unreason.” unreason noun 1.inability or unwillingness to think or act rationally, reasonably or sensibly; irrationality 2.something that lacks or is contrary to reason 3. lack of order; chaos verb to upset or disrupt the reason or sanity of; to deprive of reason.

It’s the verb part of that definition that fascinates me: that through unreason one could deprive another of reason, disrupt someone’s sanity. Is that what is causing what appears to be so much injustice?

I believe bias is the injustice in justice, but where is the justice in injustice? Perhaps through recognizing injustice—as in unjust or unfair laws—we can change those laws, thus creating justice through injustice. However, what is determined as justice to one person may be considered injustice to another, so it’s possible that society itself—the attempt of humans to live together peaceably through creating and enforcing laws—is the injustice in justice, and the justice in injustice.

Visually this gives me the excuse to play with my scales filter again. I really like that I went back and put the time into getting the filter the way I wanted it. The upper bar is affixed with a tiny brad so the scales of justice can be even or uneven. And the scales themselves are attached with wire and tiny jewelry loops so they move freely. Thus, in every capture the shape will be different.

The justice in injustice and the injustice in justice by Maria L. Berg 2022

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a serious poem.

And Then It Got Serious

And Then It Got Serious

As serious as flashing lights
in the rearview
As serious as pulling over
on a backroad
As serious as one would whisper I’m scared
in comfort’s absence
As serious as silence
in answer’s drought
As serious as a gun barrel
threatening extinction
As serious as vocal modulation
implying impatience
As serious as high blood pressure
in heightened stress
As serious as blood
rushing uncontrolled
As serious as trespass
trampling underfoot
As serious as bias
skewing perception
As serious as the banging gavel
finality’s sound
As serious as judgement
sealing fate
As serious as freedom
self determination
As serious as lost freedom
broken spirit
As serious as tragedy
hope drowned
As serious as life and death