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
Continuing my Sunday visual poetry, I’m abandoning my magnets for a new overlay idea that goes well with today’s homograph “combine.”
As you have probably noticed, I like to unite prompts for a common purpose; many prompts join forces to create one poem. I join many ideas into a close union, creating a new whole. But how will I simultaneously cut, thresh, and clean those ideas with my mental combine harvester; evaluate my prospective players, and which combine will use my results to create a self-serving monopoly (That last cabal-style definition of combine is unusual to me. I’ll have to look into it)?
Today’s new technique was inspired by yesterday’s search into Vispo, short for visual poetry. A description of a book mentioned transparencies which made me think about how I take a picture of my collages then more pictures after adding words. With transparencies, I could create this additive process over and over.
When I started my Words on the World project, I ordered two different thicknesses of colored Sharpies and a large amount of clear plastic sleeves to cut the filters from. Cutting open the sleeves creates pages for layers of transparencies. I printed out some of last week’s photos and tried it out.
For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:
The quality or state of being easily broken, shattered, damaged, or destroyed: delicate; brittle; frail: vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: lacking in substance or force; flimsy: in a weakened physical state; slight; tenuous: fragility comes to everything and everyone at one point or another. I think of thin, brittle, sheer tissue; skeletal frames; loose connections, crumbling.
For my images, I thought about how fragile the paper filters I created with paper punch shapes were. I pulled out the roll of paper to make a new one, but then thought about the loosely connected fragility of old lace. I have a collection of old lace trim, and tried placing some over the lens shield. I really like the effect.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Today’s prompt is to write about a phrase from childhood. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s journal:
I thought of discipline first: Just wait ’til your dad gets home, and I’m gonna count to ten, but there has to be some fun phrases from childhood. I thought of Step on a crack . . . ; Tag! you’re it; Jinx! you owe me a coke; but none of those really spoke to me. Then I thought of Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me–a phrase used a lot as a kid that proved not to be true–and I’m rubber and you’re glue; your words bounce off me and stick to you–fun to say, but also not true. The sticks and stones saying goes well with today’s abstract noun “fragility”, and both phrases feel like they would work well in a poem.
Maria L. Berg 2022
Sticks and stones–
so abundant / all around on the ground quick to hand / broken from a dry branch weaponized / slung, thrown, whipped, battered, broken with the slightest aim / anger-fueled force
–may break my bones, but words–
symbols and sounds / agreed upon to have meaning combined with malicious intent / to produce hurt in the perceived fragile shouted and chanted to taunt / because repetition erodes caverns from the cracks because words evoke emotions that / though we’re told they don’t matter
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
This Sunday is the first of the month, and all the challenges are over, but I thought I would close with a visual poem guided by a homograph.
I really enjoy homographs that have different pronunciations. Close can be an adjective or adverb; a noun or verb. Pronounced klohs adjective – near in space or time: near in relationship: parts or elements near to one another: compact, dense (a close weave) adverb – tightly: near or within proximity Pronounced klohz noun – the end or conclusion (the close of the day) verb – to cover an opening; shut: (tr) to bar, obstruct, or fill up: to bring the parts or edges of (a wound, etc) together or (of a wound, etc) to be brought together, unite.
I think of: closing a lid; closing a door; cutting it close; That was close!; close ties; close friends; personal space: too close; closing in on a solution.
The April Challenges are over, but there are still plenty of prompts to be found. For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:
E. M.’s Sunday Ramble Prompt #22 This one’s new to me. The Sunday Ramble is 5 questions about a topic to ramble on about. Sounds a little like Stream of Consciousness Saturday, which I enjoy. Today’s topic is “Random Questions to Trigger Imagination” and the questions are:
If people get a purple heart for bravery, what do the other colors of hearts mean? (Make up your own heart meanings and colors.)
If you were given $5 Million to open a small museum, what kind of museum would you create?
if you could build a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would it look like?
What would the adult version of an ice cream truck sell, look like, and play for its song?
What animal would be the cutest if it was down-sized to the size of a cat?
At my magical realism hotel where crowds rush to try the strawberry pop-rocks that make them sprout wings and fly the first to reach the luminous-gold heart that means a dream will never die, hanging in the ceiling sky, is remunerated an unimaginable sum in magic hotel money. And if that isn’t enough excitement to keep every patron busy, they can visit the Museum of the Fantastical and Silly with a tank of whales the size of cats and giraffes the size of mice that swish their tails to swat at pesky winged-humans the size of flies.
Ardent activity, devotion, or diligence. What is ardent? With great conviction or zeal. I have no idea why I follow circular definitions with such intense emotion; passionately and fervently; such zealousness; I guess that’s something more for me to explore.
Here we are at the last day of April: the last day of National Poetry Month; the last day of the A to Z Challenge; the last day of the Poem a Day Challenge; and the last day of my photo challenge. That’s a lot of endings, and yet I feel like it’s only a beginning.
While exploring abstract nouns, I’ve encountered so many more abstract nouns I would like to explore in the mirrorworld, and I now have new filters and techniques for that. This has been a great month of discovery. I hope you’ve also discovered a zealousness for your topic and art and poetry.
For today’s images, I tried something completely new. When I first set up the mirrorworld, I had a moment that felt really magical: When I pointed a flashlight at an object in the mirror, the light showed on the object. It felt like I had found a gateway to new dimensions. Today, I put the camera on a tripod, and light painted with a flashlight to create still and moving bokeh at the same time. It was very challenging and will take a lot more practice, but that’s where zealousness helps.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Today’s prompt is “zip, zero, zilch.” All great words. Here’s a sections from my journal this morning:
I thought zilch might have some more interesting meaning but it’s only–nothing Zip, on the other hand works with zealousness–ardently active– zipping around and zero has the same shape as the filter I used, and circular definitions–though maybe more oblong definitions which is what abstract nouns really have–distorted by history and perception. I like zilch: I never use it.
Maria L. Berg 2022
Today’s prompt is to write a cento. A cento is a poem made up of lines from other poems. I like how creating a cento is described in the example as patching the lines into a coherent quilt. I recently bought the new book and CD by Dolly Parton. I also borrowed books from my local library by Adrienne Rich and Robert Bly. For this cento about moving on in zealousness, I’ll be quilting with lines from Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton, Silence in the Snowy Fields by Robert Bly, and The Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne Rich