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.

No Contest for Content

Last week I missed my Sunday visual poetry due to a very fun and special family birthday party, so today I’ll be exploring two homographs: Content and Contest.

A blackout poem using purple sharpie on clear plastic over a random page from Rose Windows by Painton Cowen.
Dwelling Entirely in the Slime of the Earth by Maria L. Berg 2022

Content & Contest

Let’s start with a quick overview of the meanings of our homographs from dictionary.com. Each of these has two pronunciations as well.

Content (kon-tent): Usually contents.

  1. something that is contained: the contents of a box.
  2. the subjects or topics covered in a book or document.
  3. the chapters or other formal divisions of a book or document: a table of contents.

something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts: significance or profundity; meaning: substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation: that which may be perceived in something.

~That last meaning opens up content to be just about anything.

Content (kuhn-tent): satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

Contest (kon-test) noun: a race, conflict, or other competition between rivals, as for a prize: struggle for victory or superiority: vigorous or bitter conflict in argument; dispute; controversy.

Contest (kuhn-test) verb: to struggle or fight for: to argue against; dispute: to call in question: to contend for in rivalry.

I’m feeling content to create content on this lovely, clear day. I won’t contest the results of my visual poetry experiments, and appreciate the poetic content equally. It’s not a contest.

The same image of the previous poem with a page of text from Man and his symbols by Carl G. Jung next to it.
Now the Experiment by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

The Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt yesterday was “clear” which got me thinking about the clear sleeve idea I started playing with “Combine.” I’ve been thinking about using the clear plastic to create blackout poetry. I thought it would be fun to print text in the same size and font and then use a blackout design from one poem on another piece of text.

Since I wanted to use small, uniform text, I photocopied sections from a few non-fiction texts I own. I started with Rose Windows by Painton Cowen. Choosing a random page from the introduction, I created the first image in this post.

Then I switched out the text to a page from Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung using the same blackout and got this:

The same purple blackout over a new text from Man and his symbols by Carl G. Jung, creating a new poem.
The Dream of the Unconscious Dreamer by Maria L. Berg 2022

I used this same blackout with two other random pages from non-fiction I own, and moved it up and down the pages. I highly recommend trying this as an inspirational tool. I’m loving it. It’s like creating a cipher to bring your own, new understanding to any text. I also like that it leaves the original text intact as I change it and make my own choices and meanings.

The Poem

Dwelling Entirely in the Slime of the Earth

Transfix us equally
unexpected feeling
elusive awe and wonder

this experience
accentuated by
interweaving tensions

poured light of
infinite shades
in the sun

glowing quietly
jewels and coloured
glass possessing

me dwelling
in some strange
universe which exists

entirely in the slime of the earth

Poetry Book Review: One Thousand Good Answers by Sarah Herrin

In anticipation of National Poetry Writing Month kicking off tomorrow, I thought I would share my thoughts on a book of poetry I recently enjoyed.

Why I picked it up:
I received a free e-book version of One Thousand Good Answers by Sarah Herrin from the publisher through the Library Thing early reviewers program.

My Expectations:
I didn’t know what to expect. From the cover, I thought I might read some flowery poetry with dark undertones.

What I liked:
This book was a satisfying surprise. Sarah Herrin used poems from her previous self-published collection to create new blackout poems, changing them to positive poems of self-love.

I enjoyed reading the original and blackout poems side by side, showing the complete change in feeling and attitude. The new poems are condensed past the essence of the original poems, as if boiled down to their essential oils, leaving a warm, pleasant scent.

What I didn’t like:

There were a couple of poems that didn’t fit with the feel of the collection in my opinion. I also thought completely blacking out the titles on a couple of the poems were lost opportunities.

Rating: ♦♦♦♦ 4 out of 5

Overall, I enjoyed the idea and the execution of this collection.

Happy National Poetry Writing Month!

Library Thing Early Reviewers

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

I joined Library Thing when I created an author page for Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise. They have a selection of books each month that you can choose from to potentially win in exchange for review. In all these years I have never won, but they recently revamped their system. This month I won two e-books to review: One Thousand Good Answers by Sarah Herrin and Rocking Change: Changing the World through Changing Ourselves by Karl Ernst.

It appears that their new system paid attention to Experience Writing because the first book is blackout poetry which I created examples of and talked about in my post Blackout Poetry Art Day (though I also created a Pinterest collection of blackout poetry), and the theme this year is about creating good habits, to create positive change as I laid out in A Year of Finishing Novels: The first tiny steps. So whether or not I like computer algorithms as part of my life, this one appears to be positive: getting the right books to the right person. I’m excited to review them (look for my reviews over the next couple weeks).

Because I was happily surprised by the selections given to me to review, I added them to my Library Thing library today and saw that I hadn’t added the last Gator McBumpypants book to my page, nor had I ever added any tags to my books. I know I got discouraged by a few people’s responses to my work, but that shouldn’t have stopped me.

It is a truly sad human condition that a bad review can take attention away from the joy on a child’s face when she read the book, or the child that asked if alligators really lived in the lake, giving me the opportunity to talk about the joy of imagination. Or the fact that my books are in my elementary school library. Those are huge successes. I shouldn’t have let the adult judgement get to me. The books weren’t meant for mean, judgy people.

I still have the workings of the book I started in New Orleans when I went back for The Rubber Maids reunion. The trip was an emotional roller-coaster, and when I got back, I went through some major life changes, so my ideas for Gator’s story kept changing. However, looking back at everything I did, this spring might be time to flesh that story out, and create a new Gator McBumpypants for my young niece who is getting close to learning to read.

I want to thank Library Thing for making me feel this way today. Hope is so important and hard to find.

Blackout Poetry Art Day

Putting Art in the World by Maria L. Berg 2022

This is it, the penultimate post of my daily photos and poetry. It’s fun that I will reach day 100 on a Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Yesterday, I got a rainbow of both chisel tip and thin Sharpies for putting words on the world, so I thought I would continue my found poetry project with some blackout poetry. I’ve seen some blackout poems that don’t only black out the words but make pretty designs over them, and I have wanted to give it a try.

Childhood Quest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Childhood Quest

Did you ever quest for
a hundred other objects
of value, clamored brilliancy
extravagant, wonderful,
and mirth-provoking
mindful of the foam
of perilous seas
through these enchanted
windows the dreaming
hedged about with dangers
at the end?
Childhood has this:
no power to prevail
against its simplicity and
unconsciousness of evil

While looking through and collecting some lovely examples of blackout poetry on Pinterest, I discovered the work of Tom Phillips. His altered book A Humument is a large volume of blackout poetry. I highly recommend giving it a look.

Another Quest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Another Quest

Go
smear thyself
Plunge boldly
to the surface
attempt
the bridge
Again

Art Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2022


Happy Reading and Writing!