This week is the first week of a three week course I’m taking on FutureLearn.com called How to Make a Poem offered through Manchester Metropolitan University. This week’s assigned poem is to collect language by observing an environment in the style of George Perec’s exercise in his essay. “the Street.” As someone who enjoys her solitude: seclusion; state of being and living alone in an area that is remote and unfrequented especially on rainy days, this is a bit of a challenge. The idea is to capture overheard language or signs, menus, etc. Solitude isn’t very conducive to this exercise as described, but the exercise also doesn’t exactly lead to found poetry in the way I understand it.
For today’s images I have two new tools to play with: net lights and printable transparency paper. I think I’ll hang the net lights in the mirrorworld since it’s supposed to rain for about a week. My original idea for the printable transparency paper was to print some of my black and white photos to use with blackout poetry, but I’m also curious how it might work for printing a filter. So many possibilities.
As you can see, I still haven’t been able to fix my printer, but in this case, I like the lines and color stripes.
dVerse Poets Pub
It’s Open Link Night at the pub, so I thought I would start try my printable transfer paper as a blackout to “find” poetry.
To take dreams
some mediate, contain by providing that highest provocation and that dream of mind from mystery matter outdone their equal these two dreams that wheel
by symbols at one and world be else said key to the dream self dual one as thumb as not fruit converse of is beauty the dream add the little soul the devil how his counting on no self objective them also
To a vision scientist like me, sensitivity is only a semi-abstract noun. If you look at the state or quality of being endowed with sensation; having perception through the senses, that’s measurable through scientific experimentation. However, the state or quality of being readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences and having acute mental or emotional sensibility; aware of and responsive to the feelings of others is not as measurable and easily pained, annoyed, etc. is probably measurable per person, but not as scientifically, since we’re getting into moods.
I’ve always been highly sensitive, both emotionally and perceptually. I was told by my advanced biology teacher in high school that I should never have children if I was so sensitive to the smell in the room that I needed to leave. He sent me to the library, and I never had children. He must have had an amazing sixth sense. Now approaching the mid-century of life, I still have perfect vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch: though my sensitivity to others and ideas of my sixth sense have diminished, for now, in exchange for contentment and sanity, I think. Which brings us to another definition of sensitivity: requiring tact or caution; delicate; touchy: a sensitive topic.
As for my images I like how my sensitivity made me think of anxiety and squiggly lines of too much, but when I looked at the images I saw another definition of sensitivity I enjoy which is: constructed to indicate, measure, or be affected by small amounts or changes~ as a balance or thermometer or microscope.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics Ingrid brings corvids to spring. I am surrounded by raptors and corvids and find it fascinating that crows chase bald eagles around the sky. It’s the craziest bird behavior. One would think that eagles would just take out the crows, if they were a threat; the eagle could turn and destroy them: toss their nests, eat their eggs, or eat the crows. But from what I’ve seen, they don’t react much at all. However, this spring I’ve had two rather aggressive Blue Jays, and I am sensitive to their presence.
Strike a Pose
So bold, look at you in my morning window blinds closed, I know you’re there, when I let in the spring sun your striking blue feathers somehow bluer than the bluest sky: not cerulean, not royal, but playing in between, you contrast with the giant pink blossoms of the monster rhododendron not a plant, not a flower, but a life choice, and you have chosen it, next to my bedroom window with your deep, thoughtful, striking pose, I can’t help but admire your bold stare and then you SHRIEK SCREAM make unbird noises not even the semi-annoying CAW which is never at my window but still loud from high above while harassing an eagle and remind me that you are the kind of bird who raids other bird’s nests and may decapitate other birds Am I being sensitive to your horrible sound, or would it bother me so much if I didn’t know you were a murderous tyrant striking such a strong contrast of black and blue
Power has a long list of interesting meanings. The idea of having power over a person came up in the definition of Mercy the other day, so my first thoughts this morning went to the evils of authority or influence: fear, torture, corruption. But the main definition of power is ability (power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.): ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. In physics it is work done or energy transferred per unit of time. In math the product obtained by multiplying a quantity by itself one or more times. It is energy, force, or momentum.
Yesterday I started experimenting with two new ideas. First, expanding upon the hinge idea from my door filter, I created a series of filters that I call transformer filters: geometrical designs with sections not completely cut out, but folded. These filters can create many different shapes depending on which sections are “open.” Second, I created a light grid. Using an old aluminum grid from the laser-cutter, I placed a string-light in every fourth square. Combining my new filters with my power grid is like quilting with light.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s Meet the Bar prompt, Björn challenges us to try the Constanza form created by Connie Marcum Wong in 2007. It’s a new form to me and appears quite challenging. Let’s see if I have the power to complete a Constanza.
When moon’s aglow and murders caw and streetlights burn in amber rows the night excites and passion grows
the city girls sing la-dee-da to walking beats of clicking heels a destination soon reveals
with hips that swing a tra-la-la manipulating lookers on but don’t get close or they’ll be gone
a magic power there–ta-da! distracts the eye while coins are palmed and every protestation calmed
their laughter echos, ha ha ha! where shadows imprint eyelids closed be careful dancing when you’ve dozed
When moon’s aglow and murders caw the city girls sing la-dee-da with hips that swing a tra-la-la a magic power there–ta-da! their laughter echoes, ha ha ha!
When searching out a new opportunity, we open ourselves to “an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal: a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.” What is favorable? Affording advantage, opportunity, or convenience; advantageous. And advantageous? Furnishing convenience or opportunity; favorable; profitable; useful; beneficial. The circular nature of abstract nouns is a merry-go-round.
For today’s images, I wanted to attempt to put doors in the mountain, but I lost my opportunity because the clouds came in, making the mountain disappear before I got up. However, changing my point of view provided new opportunities.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics Lillian provided a challenging prompt to use compound words from a list.
Navigating Twilight Hours
Exhausted from a glutted day so good, night announces her arrival with a star. Fish spark algae trails in the still water, proof of life hiding like sweet honey. Dew is but an inkling to the dark earth. Quake in awe of the mystery at hand.
Shake the salt when tail-feathers show. Off his game, his flight won’t block the sun. Burn the branch from which he screams all day. Time will slow, so night can catch the moon. Light the path until their shadows cross. Walk on the glow until blistered and exhausted.
I’m finding this study of abstract nouns fascinating. We think we know what these words mean, but the more I study them, the less clear they become. When I dive into their definitions, I always find something surprising. Mercy has a very interesting definition: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. “Stricken by misfortune” brings in ideas of destiny and luck, and forbearance brings patience into the mix. But it’s the next part of the definition that surprised me: “an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power.”
The wording implies that an offender or enemy is a person in one’s power. That any person is in another’s power is a warped idea. Power struggles are one of those facts of life from beginning to end that are an instinctive part of the human struggle that is intertwined with the question of evolution and/or creation; and the basic questions of nature vs. nurture. However, I was even more interested in the idea of the offender, or enemy being that person in one’s power. When I think of an offender, or enemy, I think of bullies: people out for a fight; people looking for those they perceive as weaker than them, to belittle and have power over. How would that person be a person in my power? There’s a lot to think about there.
For today’s images, I thought of my door filter that I created for “Close” and used again for “Adventure,” symbolizing the mercy of giving someone a way out. What could symbolize removing suffering? A mouse with a thorn? Too obtuse, the viewer would have to think of the fable of the mouse and the lion, and interpret, a line in its paw as a thorn removed from a lion. Instead, I tried to open and close my door filter to flowers.
Merciful sleep, thick, heavy fog with power over me, have pity this one night keep out intruders lock the doors and hold them fast from the dreams of suffering and sorrow, haunted memories of possibilities filled with desires that you steal away come morning
This morning I was wondering, how is happiness different from other abstract nouns I’ve explored: comfort, joy, or delight? Then I looked up the definition and there they all were: good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy: delighted, pleased, or glad. So luck was in there too.
Though one can be happy about a singular result–a bit of luck, a pleasurable experience, a hummingbird hovering in sunlight–I think happiness as something internalized, attained through acceptance, appreciation and gratitude. Not the kind of happiness found through the rose-colored glasses of denial and ignorance, but through awe, wonder, and curiosity.
The Declaration of Independence declares that we have been endowed by our Creator to pursue happiness, but the men who composed that document would have had very different ideas of happiness than I do, than almost anyone living has today, I would think. And they didn’t say we have the right to attain happiness, to spend every day in happiness, but the right to pursue it. The first definition of pursue at dictionary.com is “to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.” I hope that’s not what they meant.
Sunday’s experiment with additive text, got me thinking about lettering and generating text, so, I put some letters in the mirrorworld. Starting with an “A” made it clear to me that when the bokeh flips, it flips upside down and backwards.
dVerse Poets Pub
Today’s prompt is to write a food poem. Misky invites us to play with our food and lick our fingers. The prompt made me want to go play in the garden. My favorite meal is one I’ve freshly picked. It brings me so much happiness to grow my food.
How My Garden Grows
Impressed by the determined kale’s waving green leaves that persisted, refusing to perish through the long, recurring winter towering over the weeds, with my shovel and garden gloves, I attack and turn the soil, finding roots and rocks where I had planted just last year, and also finding something very strange a mystery appeared
Every year I dig up old nails or a little plastic toy but this I can’t identify tossing my gloves in the wheelbarrow filled with fir cones and weeds I turn it and turn it inspecting it in every way careful not to cut my dirty fingers I think of lighting hitting a beach, making glass of sand but this is dirt and no lightning has struck and it was buried.
At first I feared it was a curse this dirty, sharp-edged glass figure, but after cleaning off its outer coat it brings to mind a little gardener, laboring hunched over carrying a heavy load, a bountiful harvest what luck to discover such a good omen as I begin to sow maybe his sharp points will ward off bunnies and curious dark-eyed juncos and crows, leaving those tasty kale leaves whole to flourish
This study of abstract nouns through abstract photography brings me extreme pleasure and satisfaction. To capture that delight today, I used my favorite fuzzy fabric as a backdrop, my favorite spiral filter, and used the camera flash in the mirrorworld. Some of the results were surprising and delightful.
For Cinco de Mayo at dVerse Poets Pub we’re writing cinquains developed by Adelaide Crapsey. Laura challenges us to write either a cinq-cinquain, or a cinquain chain / crown cinquain. Either way it’s five cinquains which follow the syllabic pattern 2-4-6-8-2.
giddy awakening to possibility hot shower shoulders dripping with delight
delight so fresh and new smelling of minty dew tears and scratches to get through this foul mood
foul mood coating the day before I can hang the yellow and orange polk-a-dot fabric
fabric of my joy life rug for meditation cape for solar-being costume background
What is bravery? Courage. What is courage? Bravery. I love this stuff. It is a quality of mind or spirit that allows a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. Other than military imagery of facing the enemy and facing death, what does bravery look like? How do I capture a quality of mind or spirit in an abstract photograph? What is the shape of fighting through fear, striving for acceptance through grief: running toward something instead of staying frozen in stasis or running away? I haven’t played with my footprint filters in a while. Maybe, I can do something with them.
I received my early reviewer’s copy of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 38 that I won from Library Thing today and the first illustration shows a girl running toward a giant monster, its mouth open, dripping saliva over jagged, pointy teeth. She looks brave. But it’s also incredibly brave just to share a poem, or stand up and read to an audience. It’s brave to get out of bed, get dressed and face another day of grief and loss which is the prompt for today’s Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub. Lisa challenges us to choose one or more of Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) to write about, in relation to our, or another’s, current state of being.
So many years wavering
Is it a betrayal, this acceptance? It feels like I’ve given up on something by acknowledging this reality.
Though I knew it wasn’t possible that this was temporary, only a way-station in Purgatory, it felt like wrapping myself in a soft, warm blanket–that false hope– I could wake up in from this nightmare.
If I only learned my lesson or did the right thing here, I could have it all back again and you–not the mean dream you, rejecting me over and over, making me so sad that I don’t sleep anymore, but the real you, I’m electrically attracted to will wrap me in that warm, soft blanket and hold me tight, your stubble poking my cheek and my neck.
It’s so hard to accept reality’s betrayal and yet, I feel calm promise knowing that nothing I do or say can fix this. This is my day to stay in: this moment is mine to lose.
For my theme this year, I chose abstract nouns which are words for things that aren’t perceived by the senses, and can’t be physically measured. They are ideas, qualities, or states rather than concrete objects. I chose this theme because I combine the A to Z Challenge with National Poetry Writing Month and abstract nouns are the breath of life for poetry. Two–love and beauty–have kept poets busy through the ages.
I really enjoyed this theme. It kept me inspired every day. My attempts to express these concepts as abstract photographs led me to try new techniques:
using clear fishing line in my filters to create floating shapes
more detailed wire work
a light curtain as background
using the camera’s built in effects in the mirrorworld
opening the blinds to let the outside into the mirrorwold
light-painting with a flashlight for still and moving bokeh at the same time
and create fun new bokeh filters. My favorites:
I also enjoyed diving into the definitions of these abstract nouns and discovering how many of them had circular definitions: What is comfort? Solace. What is solace? Comfort. I found I would like to explore many of them further.
The A to Z Community
I want to thank everyone who came by to read my posts. I appreciated all the likes and comments. There were a lot of really fun themes this year and posts that I enjoyed reading. I especially enjoyed:
It’s fun to look at what everyone’s thinking about and exploring. If you are looking over the month of my work as a whole, I would love to know: Which of my images was your favorite? Which of my poems was your favorite?
May Photo Challenge
I enjoyed my daily exploration of abstract nouns so much, I want to keep doing it. There’s so much more to explore and think about with each of the abstract nouns I looked at in April, I could repeat that calendar over and over, but there are also so many more abstract nouns to explore. I created a new calendar for this month, including homographs for Sundays like last month. Though I won’t be posting every day, I will be taking pictures and writing poems each day focused on these abstract nouns. I may return to April’s nouns in June.
Starting today, my focus returns to my main priority of finishing novels. Yesterday, I was thinking about how I can bring the same passion and daily feeling of accomplishment I feel with photography and poetry to my daily novel writing. I wrote in my journal:
“What if I approach each scene as an exploration of an abstract noun? How would I explore –adventure (for example)–in my scene today? How would my POV character encounter–adventure–in this setting? Or express –adventure– to another character? How would he show–adventure– on his face/ with his body language? How would she perceive the world in this moment through–adventure?”
This month, I’m going to play with this idea in my morning pages, replacing –adventure– with each of my abstract nouns each day and see how it affects my scenes. Hopefully it will give my novel writing that same sense of discovery, exploration, and wonder I find in my photographs.
So on to this next adventure, full of exciting risks and hazards, daily daring into unusual undertakings. What does adventure look like today? I want to see what my new door filter I created for yesterday’s “close” images looks like in the mirrorworld, and revisit my squirrel while continuing to practice light painting with a flashlight in the mirrorworld.
Today’s prompt for Quadrille #151 is “static.” Static, it turns out, is a homograph with all sorts of great meanings. To end today’s adventure, I’ll attempt to condense it all down to exactly forty-four words.
Staring at the Static
a screen full of snow hissing hush, mesmerizing smelling of soap and ash rough and jagged out of touch off the dial dissonance untuned to the frequencies of the immovable missing today’s adventure of the shadow or another not getting through because static clings
During my break, Experience Writing reached an exciting milestone. Over a thousand people have chosen to experience writing with me. Thank you. I’m so glad you are here. Please let me know how I can bring value to the time you spend here.
I’ve made some small changes to Experience Writing, including adding a publications page where you can find links to my stories and poems that have been published, and are upcoming.
My break lasted a little longer than anticipated, but it was just what I needed. After looking at January journal entries from previous years, I noticed that I had the same goals and ideas I’ve had every year, and though I make a little progress every year, I appear to get derailed and distracted from my main goal which is finishing and publishing my novels. So this year will be different!
I spent the last three weeks evaluating where I get derailed and making small changes in my mind-set, environment, and behavior that are already showing results! I’m so excited to share what’s working, but I also want to continue the things I enjoy about blogging so . . .
It is quiet. The trees must not threaten when naked, for there is no whine of chainsaws, even though it is not raining. Winter is when I forget the battle of man and nature while I watch the birds, and the lake is only a mirror for the mountain when it brushes back its cloud toupee.
Robins in the yard peck, then stand at attention while seagulls gather
The Year of Finishing
Though I really enjoyed the daily photography and poetry posts I did last fall, I didn’t reach my main goal which was, and has been, to finish my novels. I’m not willing to face another January with the same exact goals, so I have to make some real changes. I hope you will join me for this year’s exciting writing experience of finding the grit and drive to follow-through to the finish.
The first step that was very important for me, was to look back through my journals and notebooks and critically look for where I get derailed. Lucky for me, I write dated morning pages, and have for many years, so I read from January first where I would be writing about all the great goals I had with all my hope and enthusiasm and then read until it fell apart. What did I find? Cramps, erratic sleep, and the next new distraction.
I readily found three areas I could work on: Better sleep, hormonal imbalance, and priorities. I have a wonderful local library system that lets me check out twenty-five e-books at a time, so once I had defined the areas where I want to make change, I filled up on every book I could find. As I finished one, I found another, and I have many on hold, that will trickle in as I learn. I will be adding a resources page to Experience Writing with links to the best books, websites, and other resources that I am using and finding valuable. If you have similar issues to mine, or are interested where I started, these are the three books I would start with:
In the FLO: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life by Alisa Vitti: I wish I had found this book a long time ago. I was diagnosed with endometriosis as a teenager. The doctor delayed the laparoscopy until after his vacation as if my pain was nothing, and then after burning the external tissue off said the only treatment was the pill and my mother refused. As an adult, when I did try the pill, I ended up having my period twice a month and couldn’t afford it anyway. Because of shame and bad doctors, I have ignored my hormonal health (and possible condition) and suffered my whole life. Now, I am taking the small step of color-coding a calendar with the possible dates of my cycle so I can explore how my hormonal changes affect my productivity. And the best part is the book talks about every aspect of respect for your cycle like diet, exercise, mind-set, etc.
Soon after I found the areas I wanted to work on, I stumbled across The Best Year of Your Life Summit, which was a free series of videos put together as a ten day online Summit. A majority of the presentations were about meditation and mindfulness. It was fun for me to watch Sharon Salzberg’s presentation because a friend gave me her meditation CDs a very long time ago and I enjoyed them. It also reminded me that I had Madhu Bazaz Wangu’s Meditations for Mindful Writers , which has been a great anchor habit to create my daily writing habit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
If you would like to join me on my journey to finishing my novels, and I hope you will, the first step is reflection. You may have another goal, it can be anything, that you haven’t been able to finish because it overwhelms; because you don’t feel good enough; because even though you love it, you can’t seem to finish. Please join me.
The first step is to evaluate why. Why the goal is important to you. Really dig deep and be specific and honest with yourself. Then, look at why you aren’t finishing: define your fears real and imagined, define your time limits, your self-perception. All of it. Why is this goal not happening so far? Then go back to specifically defining why you want it, really want it.
I’ll talk more about what I discovered exploring my whys and some useful resources in my next post.