#Writober Day 4: Trying New Tricks

Ghostly Orbs by Maria L. Berg 2022

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is Trick. So what new trick do I want to try today? Yesterday’s ideas of wisdom being connections of ideas inspired me to try sewing, typing with an old typewriter, and writing on transparencies. Then I thought about all the fun I had with inkblots, and tried making inkblots with acrylic paint on plastic filters.

It was a misty-moisty morning, so I tried hanging some lights under the deck. Then I hung some lights inside on the hearth. It was a fun morning exploring new tricks.

TR TR ICKS or EATS by Maria L. Berg 2022
New Sewing Trick by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Collaborative Dreaming. The prompt is to write a poem describing a collective creative project I’ve worked on.

dVerse Poets Pub

Today’s Poetics prompt is to write in the style of the Beat Generation. Sanaa challenges us to trust our first thought as best thought and play some word-jazz.

Every Morning Someone Shares

another picture, fuzzy and grainy
of the stranger slinking up the drive
sneaking behind gates,
rummaging through cars,
lurking on the porch
in the uninviting hour
around three am

a time that used to be magic
full of electric love
Three-o-eight, it’s getting late we’d say
when we would meet after our gigs
you with the boys, and me with the girls
before there was a band that was ours
in the city that let the bon temps
rouler from night into day into night
’til the glitter never washed off
even the expelled excess wafting
from the gutters didn’t dispel
the new song growing
as I made my way to work

in that community of creators
our small town in the big city
anything was possible for a while
sadly passion subsides
and all those deals came due
the Emperor of the Universe died
we finally broke and the levy did too

Now, at three-o-eight when
it’s well past late, I
have nowhere to be and hope
for no one to see

Inkblots by Maria L. Berg 2022

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s image for inspiration is Heir of Fire Spoiler by May12324. This image has such beautiful colors and such creepy creatures. Here’s the beginning of my story, “Speaters in the Spirit Light”:

They’ve always been there. For as long as I can remember. They’re not pretty to look at, anyone else, if they could see them, would call them horrifying, but I’m used to their long, pointed, too-white teeth, claws as long and skinny as my legs, and dark holes like empty bottomless wells where eyes should be. If anyone else saw them they would scream forever like I did when Mom took me to the eldercare home where she works. But now they’re more like annoying dogs that the neighbors let run loose that follow you around yapping and nipping at your heels.
I know they would reach in and reap my soul if they could. Every once in a while one will try, being either too brave, or naive. But along with being able to see them, I have the gift of light. Great Aunt Beatrice says it’s my spirit light, and whenever she senses the Speaters near—that’s what we call them, short for spirit eaters—she says, “Baby, you let that spirit light shine!”
It’s not easy to do.

Maria L. Berg #Writober7 Day 4

#Writober Day 3: Naive Skeletal Wisdom

Skeletal Remains by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns

This week I am exploring the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom in naivete. Yesterday, while reading The Senses: Design Beyond Vision edited by Ellen Lipton and Andrea Lipps, I read, “Sensory design activates touch, sound, smell, taste, and the wisdom of the body.” That really opened up this week’s study for me. I already found my naivete in wisdom: I was only thinking of wisdom as a mental property. “Wisdom of the body, has a lot to do with homeostasis, but I’m just starting to think about it. I’ll be talking more about it throughout the week. Happily, the idea of wisdom of the body, goes great with Tourmaline .’s prompt “skeleton.” The visual prompt for #Writober titled “Owl Queen,” also fits perfectly with naive wisdom and wise naivete. I love it when all the prompts come together. 😍

OctPoWriMo

I was mistakenly under the impression that October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo) wasn’t happening this year. But this morning, I received a nice note from Morgan letting me know where to find this year’s prompts. This year’s theme “Growing Your Creative Soul,” and the first prompt, “Shine your light,” fit so well with the amazing summer I’ve been having. It’s October and I spent most of yesterday swimming in the lake with my nieces. I’ve had incredible months of light and growth.

So I have some free-writing to do on how I shine my light, and an ode or sonnet to write about a Thunderstorm. But now it’s Day 3 and the prompt is Spirals of Creation. The loop form is recommended. I wasn’t going to use it, thinking the loop form was one long stanza using the last word of a line to start the next line, but there are two other variations. I like the third one for this poem.

New Poem

It’s also Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub. The prompt for Quadrille #161 is “track.”

Track the Spiral Back

It’s naive
to believe

wisdom lies
in ideas: it resides

among connections
connections like threads
threads of web
webbing truths

once weighed and lived,
applied, sifted

through, with devotion,
all one’s previous notions

wisdom is looping
a looping track
track the spiral
spiral back

Skeletal Radiation by Maria L. Berg 2022

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is skeleton. Thinking about how weird and horrifying it would be if we could see the skeleton’s within the people and creatures around us, talking and walking around, I made a wire “skeleton” and added it to the Monster Me filters from Day 1.

Beneath the Skin by Maria L. Berg 2022

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s image is called “Owl Queen” on Pinterest and Imgur, but I ran into trouble trying to find who the artist is or any more about the work. It’s fun that this image coincided with this first day of looking at wisdom and naivete. I definitely didn’t plan it. It begs the question, does the naive young woman sit among wise old owls, or are the owls being naive?

Here’s the beginning of Aiolyn Among the Owls:

By the end of summer Aiolyn had no choice but to run away. Mom wouldn’t even notice, she was so wrapped up in her newest summer fling. But he had noticed Aiolyn, and she didn’t like the way his eyes poured over her, wet and sweaty. He always managed to get too close, so he would have to brush up against her with his bulging biceps, and bulging thighs, and other bulges.

Her new life in the forest was fun at first. Grandpa thought it was important for her to learn all about the local flora and fauna, so he took her along on his nature walks as soon as she could keep up which was a couple years before he passed. So she was great at foraging, and there were plenty of berries and greens. But soon the nights made her shiver and she woke up damp. Greens were now brown, and the berries were gone. Aiolyn dug for roots and made a fire. She kept telling herself she would be okay, but then the rain came.

When the rain fell so hard it broke through her shelter, she began to think maybe Mom was done with sweaty-bicep-man. She could go home at least until spring. But what if there was someone worse? Or what if Mom was in one of her post-man moods? No, she was better off on her own.

Then the owls came. At first their shiny eyes in the branches, watching, scared her. She thought maybe they were hungry, too. But then something fell and hit her shoulder. A strange, papery, gray egg fell at her feet. Then more and more fell. She covered her head with her arms until the sound of them falling stopped. She gently picked them up and placed them in her sad, wet shelter.

Maria L. Berg Writober7 Day 3

#Writober Day 2: Feelin’ a little batty

Bat on the Blood Moon by Maria L. Berg 2022

R. I. P. XVII Readers Imbibing Peril

Peril of the listen! This morning I finished listening to Dante’s Inferno. I think Clive Barker was heavily influenced by this work while making Hellraiser.

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is “Bats.” I used the same fabric as I did last year, but I turned it into filters to vespertilian effect.

Halloween Bats by Maria L. Berg 2022

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s visual prompt is a picture of “Duchesse,” a soft sculpture by Amanda Louise Spayd. I’m going to stick with my theme of happiness in grief and grief in happiness. I feel like it guided yesterday’s story well.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s story, The Strange and the Familiar

Her mother pushed the doll toward her, twisting it to make the bunny ears and arms move, but it stayed completely stiff, staring into Vespasiana.
“Go on, honey. Take it. I know you’re missing Grandma. I bet that’s why she gave you this special friend. So you can talk to her about it,” Mom said.
“Grandma didn’t like dolls, or lacy things.”
“Sure she did. You just didn’t see them because she kept them packed away to keep them safe.”
“Mom, I don’t want it. It’s creepy. It stole Grandma’s teeth.”
Vespasiana’s mother turned the doll and her eyes grew wide as if looking at it for the first time. She shook her head and bit her lip. “Well, take it to your room. Your Grandma specifically said she wanted you to have it. It was in her will, so it must be worth something. Take good care of it.”
She shoved the bunny-eared thing into Vespasiana’s chest, so she instinctively hugged it, then went back to making dinner. When Vespasiana stood frozen, staring at her with a helpless look, she said, “Go on. Put it in your room, then hurry back for food. I’m making spaghetti just how you like it.”

Maria L. Berg #Writober7 Day 2

#Writober Day 1 and #SoCS: Monster Me

Monster Me by Maria L. Berg 2022

Hello! And welcome to Experience Writing’s Writober kick-off celebration. We’re somehow still having summer here in the Seattle area, and I’m about to go dive in the lake to cool off, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get in the Halloween spirit. I had a ton of fun this morning with Tourmaline .’s prompt “Monster” fitting with the SoCS prompt “me” and the #Writober7 image of a little girl reading horror stories to monsters. It is a monstrous day.

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s word for Tourmaline .’s Challenge is Monster. Inspired by the #SoCS prompt, I thought about me as a monster and took some fun high-contrast black and whites of myself.

Me
The Transformation
Monster Me

I then cropped and resized these images to create transparency filters. This new technique I’m developing is tricky, but so much fun.

Maria Who Floats Behind the Rows by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “me:” to either find a word that starts with “me” or use the word “me” as the theme of my post. Though Monster doesn’t start with “me,” it has me in it. I had already been thinking about how humans are the real monsters for Tourmaline .’s challenge. Now, I’m thinking about how I’m the monster.

I found some interesting definitions for monster: 1b. one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character 2. a threatening force 5. one that is highly successful.

Funny how easy the monster comes out
with a change in light and shadow
The untamed, deeper, wilder parts lurking
where no one can know or go
What is this monster up to underneath
in the unseen, and should I be afraid
to meet this other monster me?

Is she the pain in my left fang
I always blame on the press of stress?
Is it a kink in her tail that makes my coccyx wail
that I blame on a fall in the past?
I feel her sometimes, clicking claws
in my mind when the world appears so unfair
and now that I’ve seen her, I wouldn’t want
to be near when she’s here so
Beware Monster Me

So fun that my stream of consciousness came out as a poem. I’m loving today’s prompts.

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s visual story inspiration is Fairy tales? haha, please . . . by AlvaroCardozoW. I’ve been wanting to incorporate my study of contradictory nouns into my fiction, so today’s story will include the grief in happiness and the happiness in grief.

I did it! I completed a story draft! It’s rough, but it has a beginning, a middle and end. There’s conflict, and change, and monsters. So how do I want to do this? I think I’ll share a little excerpt. Let me know if you’d rather I shared short summaries or maybe I’ll try to condense my stories to a couple sentences to share after I write the drafts. I’ll work on it. For today, here’s a short excerpt:

A water spot hits the page and spreads, blurring the next word, but she knows it, and continues reading, “thing in the world.” She sniffs again. Her voice pitches higher as she reads, “I think, is.” She uses the sleeve of her dress to wipe her eyes. The fabric is scratchy and hurts her cheek.
She sniffs and takes a deep breath to continue when she hears a voice say, “Don’t mess your dress. I’ll lap those up for ya.”
Alas looks around. She thinks she sees a shimmer by her left shoulder which is crammed against the walls. She feels a slight tickle at the corner of her eye.

Maria L. Berg (#Writober7 Day 1)

What a fun first day of Writober. And I still have some swimming and reading to do. I hope you’ll put links in the comments to all the exciting things you’ve been doing to celebrate. Thanks for reading Experience Writing and I’ll see you tomorrow.

#Writober Begins Tomorrow: bring on the spooky thrills and chills

Here Comes Writober photo by Maria L. Berg 2021

In my mid-September post How to Capture the Love in Apathy and the Apathy in Love, I spent a little time looking forward to fun events in October. Now it’s almost here, and I hope you’ll join me for all the reading, writing, and photography fun.

R. I. P. XVII Readers Imbibing Peril

Peril of the Short Story! So far I’ve read a couple stories from The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, but had to return it to the library. I have it on hold, so I’m waiting to be able to check it out again. While I’m waiting, I have H. P. Lovecraft’s stories in The Dunwich Horror and The Colour out of Space to keep me feeling creepy.

Peril of the Screen! To start off my Halloween horror binge, I watched Hellraiser and Hellbound:Hellraiser II. I used to have a lot of problems with blood, and body horror, so maybe that’s why I remember these films as being scary. Now they are mildly gross, but the monster effects are entertaining. I also found my Muppet Show VHS tape with the Alice Cooper episode and the Vincent Price episode, so I’m enjoying watching that.

Peril of the Fiction Read! I haven’t started yet, but I have a lot of thrillers on my kindle I want to read. I’m going to start with These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall. I won a copy of The Year of the Monster by Tara Stillions Whitehead from Library Thing Early Reviewers, so I ‘ll also be reading and reviewing that as soon as I get it.

Writober 7

This year I’m returning to the original #Writober format of writing a flash fiction story each day. I think in the past, I found this goal overwhelming (and thus dropped out) because I was trying to write stories of just under 1,000 words. This year I’m thinking of writing stories of 250-500 words. If I get excited by my idea, I can always write more.

Each flash fiction will be inspired by an image. I’ve put this year’s selections in a folder on Pinterest. If you would like to join me, the images can be found here. I’ll be starting with the image in the top left, Fairy tales? haha, please . . . by AlvaroCardozoW.

I hope you will join me and put a link to your story in the comments, so I can read and appreciate it. If you can’t commit to a flash fiction story every day, that’s okay. Join in whenever the image inspires.

Tourmaline .’s 2022 Halloween Challenge

I found so much inspiration from this photography challenge last year. Here’s this year’s calendar:

I found the challenge a couple days after it started last year and missed “Monster” (and pumpkin), so tomorrow won’t have a comparison to last year. It’ll be a fun, new challenge.

I will still be exploring contradictory abstractions. The first couple of weeks of October I’ll be looking at wisdom and naivete, and truth and fiction to finish out the big 5. It’ll be interesting to see how my quest to capture images of these contradictions will interact with the Halloween prompts.

And I’ll be participating in the wonderful prompt from dVerse Poets Pub, so it’s going to be a busy, busy month.

Since I will be posting every day, I guess I’m also participating in Blogtober which I read is a blogging challenge to post every day in October.

What costume should I make this year? I would love some suggestions.

Come back tomorrow for the big #Writober kick-off celebration with some Stream of Consciousness Saturday too!

Grief in Happiness and Happiness in Grief

Grief in Happiness by Maria L. Berg 2022

Exploring the Big 5 abstractions is proving an interesting challenge. Turning my attention to happiness, I found some interesting websites:

Happiness Academy

World Happiness Foundation

happiness.com

https://www.dayofhappiness.net/

https://happinessday.org/ outlines 10 steps to Global Happiness:

  1. Tell everyone
  2. Do what makes you happy
  3. Give and spread happiness to others
  4. Attend a world happiness event
  5. Celebrate
  6. Share what makes you happy on social media
  7. Promote UN Resolutions 65/309 & 66/281
  8. Advance the United Nations global goals for sustainable development
  9. Enjoy nature
  10. Adopt Happytalism

They define global happiness this way:

  1. Happiness as a fundamental human right and goal for all
  2. Happiness as a universal aspiration in the lives of all
  3. Happiness as a way of living, being, and serving communities and society
  4. Happiness as a north star for individuals, communities, governments, and society.
  5. Happiness path toward achieving the sustainable development goals
  6. Happiness as a “new paradigm’ for human development
  7. Worldwide celebration of the international day of happiness that is democratic, diverse, organic, and inclusive

Of course, none of those definitions actually define happiness which I contemplated a bit in my previous post Oh, What Two Little Letters Can Do.

Happiness in Grief by Maria L. Berg 2022

Turns out last week was “International Happiness at Work Week.” Does that mean people are expected to be in a steady-state of unhappiness at work except for one week a year? Here is the International Week of Happiness at Work “manifesto”:

And here’s the “manifesto” from Happiness Academy:

And here’s an article about happiness as work Happiness As a key Performance Indicator from Forbes.com.

Agony as Outburst by Maria L. Berg

Good Grief

So now that we know nothing new about Happiness, I tried to explore the grief in happiness and the happiness in grief which made me think of the phrase “good grief.” I looked it up expecting some fantastic story of how grief can be good, but instead only learned that the word grief was used in replacement of the word God—because it started with the letter g—to create a mild oath. So that also didn’t get me much of anywhere.

I didn’t think I was going to find inspiration this week until I sat down with a line from the poem “On Good and Evil” by Kahlil Gibran. The line that really stuck with me is “For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?” I started thinking of how grief is torture. Then I thought of the line as a form and wrote, “What is grief but happiness tortured by loss and regret? What is happiness but grief minus torture?”

I felt like I was finally getting somewhere and did a dictionary deep-dive. In the definition of grief it said to see Sorrow. Anguish also said to see Sorrow, so a deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone of something loved links grief and anguish. The definition of torture links anguish and agony. At agony, I found what I was looking for.

Agony is defined as intense pain of mind or body: anguish, torture. b. the struggle that precedes death. Since every moment from birth is the struggle that precedes death, that puts us all in a constant state of agony and thus grief. However, agony has another meaning: a strong sudden display (as of joy or delight): Outburst. Thus, through some circular definitions, I have found the happiness in grief.

But what is the grief in happiness? Thinking specifically of the happiness I find in this work. Visually, is it the obsessive desire for ever increasing beauty and perfection? In a way, each new discovery and technique though it is exciting and makes me happy, also brings grief because I can’t lose what I don’t have, and I don’t grieve what I am ignorant of. In this way a discovery is grief in happiness AND happiness in grief.

New Poem

Today is Open Link Night (OLN #324) at dVerse Poets Pub.

A couple weeks ago in my post How to Capture the Love in Apathy and the Apathy in Love, I mentioned I found a treasure of Home Ec Magazines from the early 1960’s. I’ve been going through them, and this week I collected phrases from three Vogue Pattern Books and a McCall’s Pattern Fashions. Whoever was writing for VPB was a poet (I couldn’t find a writer listed in the Staff). The language used to describe one outfit at a time was very creative, and I found so many interesting phrases that when taken out of context are rich with meaning. For today’s poem, I used some of this found language to help me express my ideas of grief in happiness and happiness in grief.

what’s RIGHT right NOW!

Here—along
my struggle that precedes death
I hunger for kaleidoscope coloring
and thirst for firm but fluid texture
aching for the shape that expresses
most perfectly

And now, further along
my struggle that precedes death
I agonize with possible discovery
the ecstasy of expected but unknown result
exhausting abundance for a glimpse of beauty

And now, continuing
my struggle that precedes death
I hunger for stronger solid colors harmonizing
and thirst for an incendiary force
aching for the evolutionary change
for anything that is not changing
isn’t alive.


Do Our Ideas About Beauty and Ugliness Change When We Close Our Eyes?

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Maria L. Berg 2022

This morning I did a search for “the ugliness in beauty” and found a couple of really interesting articles:

The Biological Response to Beauty and Ugliness in Art [Excerpt] by Eric Kandel 2012 from Scientific American

Experiences of Ugliness in Nature and Urban environments by Fatima M. Felisberti from International Association of Empirical Aesthetics

The first, by Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel is an excerpt from his book called The Age of Insight. The study of art through neuroscience excites me so much, I ordered the book and it arrives on Sunday. Hopefully, it will inspire for a long time to come, so you will be hearing a lot about it. Guess we’ll find out on Sunday. For today, I want to share what I found most exciting from the Scientific American article.

“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.”

This physiological connection between contradictory abstract nouns is really exciting. I wonder if this has only been studied through visual stimuli.

Yesterday I started thinking about how visual definitions of beauty and ugliness are, so today I wanted to focus on the other senses. Though beauty and ugliness are particular to the person perceiving the stimulus, are there consistencies within an individual across the senses? If someone perceives a beautiful smell, do they also find the stimulus visually beautiful? If she finds a texture uncomfortable or painful, does she find the stimulus ugly, and vice versa?

New Poem

For today’s Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft prompt at dVerse Poets Pub, Laura Bloomsbury invites us to write in couplets. She introduces the prompt speaking of marriage which I think goes well with the physiological marriage of contradictory abstractions as laid out in Eric Kandel’s article above. I haven’t tried the Côte form before, so I thought I would give it a try.

A Movement that Married Right and Left

Become,
a fevered dreambook brimming

Survive,
a wooded area secreting

Discuss,
absolute wilderness loving

include,
visions of annihilation

predict,
variations of our ruination

until,
a poisoned well is flowing

Produce,
divided people by labeling

Attract,
all within orbits spinning

Cover,
the shadowy trails leading away

This poem was a culmination of many ideas I was playing with this week. First, a friend mentioned working on bringing meter into my free verse. Then I watched a ModPo discussion of Lorine Niedecker’s work that talked about how the she didn’t use strict meter, but created meter like bars of music. And I started reading The ABC’s of Reading by Ezra pound in which he writes:

“music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music: but this must not be taken as implying that all good music is dance music or all poetry lyric.”

So I looked at some piano music I enjoyed playing and listened to some records. Rêverie by Debussy worked with the Côte form in my mind.

At the beginning of the week, while contemplating how to look at the beauty in ugliness and the ugliness in beauty, I thought about how society and culture define physical beauty and ugliness which made be think of a stack of Playboys that were left in this house before I moved in.

I thought about the joke that men always say, “I only read it for the articles” and thought it would be interesting to use Playboy articles for blackout poetry about ugliness in beauty and beauty in ugliness.

The magazines are from 2002, so they are strange little time machines to twenty years ago. I chose the imperative verbs from words in an article called “The Death of Network News” by Bill O’Reilly and the couplets were inspired by phrases from “Virtual Reich” by Michael Reynolds.

The Ugliness in Beauty and the Beauty in Ugliness

I thought about continuing last week’s study of love and apathy, there is so much to think about and explore, but I decided I’ll let that simmer as I continue through my planned overview of the big five. This week I’m looking at the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness.

Remember back in January when I was going to put a word on the world every day? Like this: A fish-eye lens view of the lake and sky with the word "WONDER" in orange floating in the clouds.

Probably not, like many of my exciting ideas, it didn’t last long before I moved on to the next exciting idea. However, yesterday, while pondering this week’s contradictory abstractions and how to capture the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness, I remembered these words, and found Beauty in the box of plastic filters. When I was originally putting words on the world, I used my fisheye lens which won’t work with bokeh. This time, I tried my zoom lens and got the result I wanted.

Five textured light circles with the word Beauty written in cursive in their centers.
Full of Beauty by Maria L. Berg 2022

I can’t believe it took me this long to try this. I looked back at January’s posts and found a comment in my post Unlocking New Doors that seems to say that I tried it, but it didn’t work, but I think I was focused on the fisheye lens and trying to make the fisheye work with the zoom lens, so I could increase its distance. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of the words themselves as shape filters.

I think it took reading The Last Vispo, becoming interested in text and type as visual poetry, and my more recent discovery of the negatives of my filters also making great filters (which I talk about in my post Thinking About August) to finally realize that I can combine my word filters with my shape filters.

So, of course, I had to make one that said “Ugly,” and took some pictures.

Pretty Ugly by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

For today’s Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub, Merril invites us to spice things up by choosing a few spices from her list. I recently picked and dried (baked) my own herbs to refill my Italian Seasoning container. The process was aromatic and the result, delicious.

In Search of a Spicy Muralist

A Mural Of Flavor—
blankness redefined
What palette do you offer?
What shapes to delight
this mind?

Ginger, first to answer
with fire atip her tongue
wisps Arizona Dreaming
in acrid cactus tones
but when pressed for any detail
she feels pricked and leaves for home

Basil was a little green
but did not shy from leafing out
He proposed a Tuscany Sunset
and all that it’s about
but when asked for some specifics
of what that would entail,
he curled up inside himself just like
a little snail

I thought about the mustard seed
and how it grew and grew
how it was tiny but then spread out
and how I could do that too
So I made a mark
then many more
and filled the blank
with every flavor
and some that had never been before
here for everyone to savor

How to Capture the Love in Apathy and the Apathy in Love

Foundations for ME-ECO-CHANGE by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns

Since I finished studying Calvino’s Six Memos, I had to decide which contradictory abstract nouns to dive into this week. I printed out an extensive list of abstract nouns and started thinking about grouping them to narrow down the list. I went back to Feurbach’s list of “Legitimate Aspirations” that I talked about in my post “The Beauty of Dissonance.” Since I had four colors of highlighter and a pen, I decided to attempt to group the list into the Big 5: beauty, happiness, wisdom, love, and truth. This was a fun, and challenging exercise. Many of the words fit into most, if not all of the categories.

When I had finished, I realized that it made sense to begin with the big 5, like an overview. The interesting challenge came when I thought about their contradictory abstract nouns. Here are the first five contradictory abstract nouns I’ll be looking at which I started this week:

  • love and apathy
  • beauty and ugliness
  • happiness and grief
  • wisdom and naivete
  • truth and fiction

If you have been following this study of contradictory abstractions, you may remember the writing tip that inspired me: “Find the despair in hope, and the hope in despair,” which you can read about in my post, “Contrasting Abstractions: The next phase in my study.

Applying that idea to this week’s study, I am looking for the apathy in love, and the love in apathy. That’s a difficult one to wrap my head around, but I’ll give it a go.

The other day when I was pulling out some fabric to change the sleeves on the pool noodles, I found a box of treasures I had completely forgotten about. It contained “Vogue Pattern Book” and “Penny’s Fashion and Fabrics” magazines from the early 1960’s. I absolutely love these pages full of information about the newest fabrics and other wonderful home-ec goodies like “Good Grooming For Young Men: the Why and How” and “A new approach to Table Setting.” It’s hard to believe I had forgotten I had them. This made me think of the two contradictory sayings (proverbs):

  • Out of sight, out of mind
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder

So is the first one the apathy in love, and the second the love in apathy. Was the answer to my query hanging out in a box in my closet? If so, it’s probably hanging out in many boxes in many closets.

Continuing my idea of quilting, or knitting with light, I thought I would print some of my grid-images onto transparencies, and see if I could make some fun blackout poems with my found, re-treasured magazines.

Bold Odor by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

Today is Open Link (#223) at dVerse Poets Pub, so I thought I would use a couple of today’s images to inspire my poem.

Her Head by Maria L. Berg 2022
Their Head

It all began on the ski slope
                        10 years ago
what yarns weave excitement
                  with a skier's move
It's all been shaped
            better fitting, taut, sleek
to spring back
                   tendency to "cling"
this not-too-flat construction
                    flattering, beautiful
a feature being exploited
              influencing the popular
and filling the stretch
                  all a result of texture
to permit cutters
          It's interesting lengthwise
and still be comfortable
                  shaped to resemble 
being made with function
                                a memory
unnecessary lock
                     divided into two
His Head by Maria L. Berg 2022

Looking Forward to October

Readers Imbibing Peril (RIP) I’m starting this reading challenge late again, but earlier than usual. I’m going to start with the short stories in The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer and see where it inspires me to go from there.

Tourmaline .’s 2022 Halloween Challenge I found so much inspiration from this photography challenge last year. The calendar is up:

It looks similar to last year, so it will be interesting to see how my study of contradictory abstractions, and new techniques change my approach to these prompts.

#Writober 7 This year I’m going to return to the original idea of #Writober which is to write a flash fiction story each day. Click on the link to see the thirty-one images I have in this year’s collection. I may do some revision and numbering before October first, but they look pretty inspiring. I hope some of you will join me this year.

Calvino’s Sixth: The unwritten memo – consistency

A Consistent Inconsistency by Maria L. Berg

This week completes my study of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Calvino died before writing this final lecture in his series on values of literature. So I get to extrapolate from the other memos and imagine his ideas of consistency as a literary value.

I found Andrei Codrescu’s attempt to do just that: On Consistency: Italo Calvino’s Sixth Memo.

AND

In her article “Calvino’s Values in Literature” in The Journal of Educational Thought Vol. 24, No. 3A, Marylou Miner presents her belief that the sixth memo would explore harmonious structure explored in a musical sense. She also presents the image of consistency to be a circle or a wave.

Let’s start with the word “consistency.” It has two different meanings that could each be a value of literature:

  • a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc: the condition of cohering or holding together and retaining form; solidity or firmness

OR

  • steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing

I had only been thinking of consistency in the latter definition before I looked it up. Now, I’m thinking of the viscosity of my images and the density of my images.

Yesterday I tried to explore consistency through staying in one place and only creating shapes with the light on the waves. I wasn’t excited with the results, but the practice with a focus on consistency led to exciting results today.

Using Marylou Miner’s ideas for forms, I pulled out all of my circular, spiral, and wavy filters and found some fun ideas for improvement.

An Inconsistent Consistency by Maria L. Berg 2022

ModPo

This is also the first week of ModPo, a free online introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry offered year round through the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania and Coursera.org. It is also a yearly ten-week symposium for poetry lovers. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. I attended my first “office hours” session today and really enjoyed the discussion. The first live webcast to kick off this year’s symposium is Sept. 7 (tomorrow at noon) at 3PM Philadelphia time.

New Poem

For today’s Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub, Mish challenges us to play with some unusual words.

In my aliferous dormiveglia

empyrean orenda arrives as
reflections upon late summer leaves, as
gleams in glittering eyes, as
glints upon the waves, pushing me
to querencia—a timeless space, an
ephemeral place—where
I am sustained by isolophilia.

My logolepsy borders on the obscene
in this foggy pause
as I wake from the dream.