Day Nineteen: Trying to be Patient

A small foil covered bunny surrounded by colored lights.
Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022

Patience

The bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.

Patience and perseverance are important when working on large projects and when trying something new, but also during daily interactions, and growth and self-discovery.

To explore patience visually, I used a tripod and slow shutter speeds, exploring light and shape over time. Talk about needing patience; nothing wanted to cooperate today.

Patiently Awaiting Spring by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem that begins with a command.

Poem A Day

Today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompts:

  1. Write a What’s There poem, and/or…
  2. Write a What’s Not There poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s Poetics prompt Merril provided a list of Country Garden Roses and challenged us to choose one or more to use in the poem or for the title.

A glass ball surrounded by colored lights.
Trying to be Patient by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Twice in a Blue Moon

Be patient
each second screams
into the hours
as Monday becomes
Sunday raindrops
filling rivers flowing
eroding earth
into canyons

Be patient
each breath whispers
lungs swelling with oxygen
feeding the blood
aging each cell
rusting old swing-sets
and winter-salted
vehicles, crumbling
what was once
holding strong

Be patient
each heart beat signals
skipping into its pulse
fluttering, flushing
deep breaths don’t
stop the pounding
pounding on the door
to the unknown
it will come
and you will
face it whole-
heartedly
eventually
again

Day Eighteen: Everybody Has One

Opinion by Maria L. Berg 2022

Opinion

“I’m going to become wild, and eccentric, and full of opinion.” ~Amanda Kendall (Grantchester Episode Six)

An opinion is a view or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty; not necessarily based on fact or knowledge; a personal view, attitude, or appraisal. Opinions are made of so many connections: perceptions, histories, judgements, situations, moods, first impressions, instincts. How do I put all of that into an image? What does the point of connection that forms an opinion look like?

I know I want to play with my spiral filter again. I find the way the spirals overlap exciting, and that may be the best way I can capture opinion. I’ll try it in the light today instead of the dark.

Forming an Opinion by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write five answers to the same question without ever identifying the question.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a poem with We (Blank) as the title.

Full of Opinion by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

We All Have Opinions

I. On a cold day in hell
when pigs fly over the
frozen lava and the fish
and cats and dogs
falling from the clouds
all say your name

II. Will you be there?
Will you hold my hand?
Stare into my eyes
and smile a pleasant
distraction while
we fall

III. Of course, in a snap
as quick as lightning
in a heartbeat
no arm-twisting
necessary I’m
already there

IV. That’s a crazy idea
why would anyone
want to throw
precious life away
for fleeting thrills
of adrenaline’s rush

V. I guess I’m game
explain it again
I want to understand
every detail
preparations is key
for me to be in control

Day Sixteen: Touching Need

Need by Maria L. Berg 2022

Need

When thinking about need, the easiest to define are physical needs: hunger, thirst, sleep, shelter, etc. American psychologist Abraham Maslow presented the theory that human actions are motivated by certain physiological needs in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Maslow presented a hierarchy of needs and postulated that when a lower level of need is filled, attention is focused on the next level.

Plateresca / Getty Images from ThoughtCo.com

Need and want are easily confused. Even with our most basic needs, we eat when not hungry because of a craving, or drink when not thirsty for energy or to stay alert. Need is an ache. Need tugs and gnaws. Need can cause people to act in unpredictable and irregular ways.

When I think of need visually, I think of a spiral, the way a person can spiral when needs aren’t met. I tried both a spiral-cut filter, and a wire spiral in a square filter, for the idea of three square meals, and getting square. Though I like the symbolism of the spiral in the square, I am in LOVE with my new spiral filter.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness is “nose/noes/knows .”

Here’s an excerpt from my journal this morning:

“When I need to sneeze, when I feel that tickle coming, I touch the tip of my nose with the pad of my right index finger and it usually stops. The sneeze just dissipates, disappears, goes back to wherever those violent, explosive, breath-stealers originate. How do I know to touch my nose just so? When did I learn to say no to my nose when it wants to explode? I don’t know. Perhaps it was ancient knowledge asleep in my cells that awoke one day when I wanted to stay quiet at a lecture or in a concert hall, and felt threatened by an approaching sneeze, or perhaps I was holding someone’s hand and liked the texture and pressure of touch and didn’t want to jerk my hand away to cover flying spit, didn’t want to wipe snot on my sleeve, so I tried to wiggle my nose like in Bewitched but didn’t have control over the small muscles in my face so I used the index finger of my free hand to manually move my nose to make magic with but a touch.”

— Maria L. Berg

Needs Triumvirate by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poetry Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a curtal sonnet.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a touch poem.

Spiraling by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Needs for Sale

A vacancy needs filling, this ache
tugs with gravitation, black-hole torn
the roof away gives to stinging hail
a brittle grasp on reason’s crumbs to break
the barren seed now sprouts with thorns
and vines woven into storm-drawn sail
the spiral swirls when need’s a deep bruise pressed
hunger turns to feed on its own tail
but finds a nub, the point through worry worn
on a bed of nails, sheets held with claws caress
when need’s for sale

Day Fifteen: Motivated to Patiently Explore Motivation

Motivation by Maria L. Berg 2022

Motivation

Today we had a very special guest post by Jacob M. Appel about prioritizing writing. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading it for a dose of writing motivation.

It is human nature to be drawn to pleasure and avoid pain. All motivations can be put into these two categories, but some find pleasure in pain, and some are repulsed by pleasures. Motives for people’s actions are endlessly entertaining as is evident from the number of mysteries and thrillers available to stream. With every violent act, the most interesting question is why, what was the motivation?

What motivates you? What provides a cause or reason to act? It’s different for everyone, so what does motivation look like? It pulls and pushes; like a force, it changes one’s direction.

For today’s images, I searched for a symbol that represents both pleasure and pain. I decided fire was the perfect fit. Fire is beautiful, exciting and draws you toward it for warmth, but it burns and can cause great pain. I added orange and blue strings of lights in the mirrorworld, used my fire symbol filter, and put it in motion.

All Fired Up by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a patience poem.

Motivated by Love by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

No Patience for the Idolotry of Reality’s Celebrity

Living vicariously through imagery
false luxury, fake enmity, wasted
hours watching, watching, staring
not caring, not having to care
and yet wrapped up in voyaristic
connection, anticipation of one
more juicy bit of depravity
From where the motivation
to trade away one’s moments
in passive consumption
of the glitter and glamor
of the basest, lowest
crudest ridiculist
at the table
the loosest lips
sinking the most
shock-ships, launching
the most depth-charges
to lower the lowest bar
confusing the line between
fiction and delusion
even further

Day Fourteen: A Bit of Luck

Two pennies on their sides in the dewy grass and clover.
Luck by Maria L. Berg 2022

Luck

Luck is a tricky thing. It can reverse like the flip of a coin. It’s no surprise that people attempt to control it, to wield it through imbuing it into objects. Lucky charms hanging on a chain to kiss, or pocketed to squeeze and rub give one a sense of control when the world throws the unexpected and unwanted.

For today’s images I grabbed a handful of pennies and a macro lens, went outside and tried my luck.

A penny, Lincoln side up, on small dirty rocks.
A Closer Look at Luck by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem of the opening scene from the movie of your life.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a scary poem.

A penny, tail-side up on small, dirty rocks.
Unlucky by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Suspending Belief

Bare feet cross the grass
and walk the planks
waves lap at the rocks
seagulls scream the air
the splash announces
lucks return, cool
and invigorating
grace of home
The lens sweeps
upon the mountain
pans out expecting
my head to crack
the still surface
after the rings
have rippled
and resolved
searching breath
but I pull on
and on into
the darkness
lungs beginning to beg
and ache with need
the camera cannot see
A swallow becomes
the star of the show
diving and skimming
back and forth
so careless
worry is forgotten
until a lucky break
in the clouds
releases bright rays
shining the path
to the surface
which I follow
breaching like a humpback
creating a rainbow
with sprays of water
from my hair

The Luckiest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Come back tomorrow for a very special guest post on motivation from Jacob M. Appel!

Day Thirteen: The Amazing Joy of Kindness

Kindness by Maria L. Berg 2022

Kindness

Kindness is another of those abstract nouns with a circular definition. It means to act with benevolence. What does benevolence mean? An act of kindness. It also means a desire to do good to others, but good is a whole bunch of vague and abstract.

This morning I read that yesterday, April 12th, was declared “One Kind Act a Day” Day in Utah. Complicated in itself, right? If the goal is to do one kind thing every day, how can you have one day for it, but that’s a question for the governor of Utah. The examples given as kind acts were: to pay for the dinner of the people at the table next to you in a restaurant, or to buy the coffee of the person behind you in line, but is that actually kindness? Those people are already at a restaurant, or in a coffee shop, so they have the means and intention to pay their own way. By paying for them, you haven’t found a need and fulfilled it. You haven’t done something that lessened their burden (much).

When I think of kindness, I think of taking the time to observe, pay attention, and listen, truly listen to what someone needs, then give what you can to ameliorate that need if within your means and ability. Listening in itself may be the biggest kindness.

With that in mind, I continued the approach I started yesterday, putting light in the mirrorworld. I added three more lights: two overhead clip lights, and a multi LED hanging light.

A Kind Word by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem that joyfully states “Everything is going to be amazing.”

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is a title made from How to (blank).

Paying Attention by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

How to Show Kindness

When intending to act with kindness
the ego may get in the way
slay the impulse to project
your moving picture is singular
only a ghostly image
when applied to others
patient observation is going to be stupendous

When one kind act is needed a day
shatter every stifling fear
kindness takes courage
like the fragile mouse
grab the thorn and tug
yank it from the giant paw
expecting the lion’s roar
sympathy is going to be astonishing

a kind word soothes
the savage beast
and tastes sweeter
than a barbed tongue

When kindness is key
tear through apathy to care
lend a keen ear
with an open heart
aware like soft slant light
revealing specks of dust
as floating glitter
tenderness is going to be extraordinary

Day Twelve: Finding Joy Making the Small Things Count

Joy by Maria L. Berg 2022

Joy

Thinking of the light and bright feeling of joy, and the effect created from over-exposure for “hope,” I tried something completely new today. Usually when I create bokeh images in the mirrorworld, I shut off all of the lights except for the string lights, and close the door to make it dark. Today, I left the door open, opened all the curtains, and added two lamps with full-spectrum daylight bulbs. The process felt less magical in the light of day, but I found joy in the results.

Dimensions of Joy by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about a very small thing.

Poem A Day

Today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompts:

  1. Write a Counting poem, and/or…
  2. Write a Not Counting poem.
Joyous by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Countdown to Joy

All those dancing electrons–
electrons sparking, sparking
eight to each atom
of oxygen I breathe
–excite neurons firing, firing
eighty-six billion neurons
in this bundled brain
igniting the peripheral nervous system
forty-three pairs of nerves,
that’s eighty-six nerves connecting
connecting to my limbs and organs
unprotected and exposed
to toxins and injury
controlling the muscles
triggering the ten muscles
tugging at my lips
relaxing and contracting
into a smile


Day Eleven: A Great Big Powerful Idea

A Bright Idea by Maria L. Berg 2022

Idea

A new thought, conception, or notion may occur when looking at something in a new way. Today’s idea for my photographs came from the bulbs in my overhead light burning out. Because the overhead light didn’t work, I turned on the lamp on my bookshelf. Looking up at the glass over the dead bulbs overhead, I admired the pattern reflected from the light coming through the curtains. Then I saw the curtains reflected over the art in the hall. I played with how the lines bent as I changed my position. From the Greek, idea means “I have seen, I know.”

Phoenix Rising by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about a very large thing.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a power poem.

Bending the Walls by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Great Big Ideas

Sometimes an idea arrives
like Godzilla to a major metropolis
stomping and destroying
planning and construction
that was built before
setting it all aflame
with his breath
a ravenous rancorous reptile
with limbs stuck in his jagged teeth
his mighty metallic roar
radiating, shaking and breaking
any remaining windows

Sometimes an idea arrives
like King Kong breaking his chains
beating his chest, climbing
to the tip of the tallest building
to escape the maddening crowd
only wanting to return
to his ancient jungle home
to be alone and in peace
a gentle giant beyond the wall
worshiped with sacrifice
separate from the tribe
gargantuan gorilla of
tremendous tenderness
hidden in the thick lush heat

Sometimes ideas come
tumbling and competing
like a Kaiju battle royale
Best to stay out from underfoot
watch from a safe distance
quietly, quietly, and without judgement
for giants, like ideas,
can change; not only in appearance
but allegiances, fickle monsters
not looking at their feet
still stomp
and destroy

Day Nine: How Hope Breaks Through

Hope by Maria L. Berg 2022

Hope

Hope is “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; a feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfillment; a thing, situation, or event that is desired.”

For today’s images I thought of hope as a bud opening, or about to open. I explored perspective and exposure with budding flowers inside and outside.

Hopes and Dreams by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness is “how.” Here’s an excerpt from today’s morning pages in my journal:

How can I turn things around? How do I drum up interest; stand out from the crowd? How do I create a craving for my aesthetic–not my know how, but my snow how? How will I break through? Part the sea of noise. Float to the top of the muddy puddle. Breaking the molds leaves me seeping shapeless in all directions. A movement that could spread, but how? How can feel hopeless when there is no answer that works. How can dishearten when no solution is found. But floundering is often a way through how, for now, casting a wide net, throwing out all the hooks, until the right one bites.

Hope Springs Eternal by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poetry Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is a form prompt to write a nonet: a poem of nine lines with descending syllables.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a breaking poem.

The Poem

Hope Breaks Eternal

Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments.
How does she find the way each dawn
through the heaps of discarded
broken dreams’ jagged shards?
Hope slips through unscarred
cool and shining
in the slant
morn light
how?

Hope breaks the mold of expectation.
How does she keep leaping caution,
springing from the darkest hours
where nightmares cloud reason?
Hope jumps unstartled
unique and new
a glimmer
of thought
how?

Day Eight: They Never Tell You Goals Are Squirrelly

Bokeh squirrels on the lake photographed through the hedge and tall grass.
Lofty Goals by Maria L. Berg 2022

Goal

A goal can be a concrete noun, if you’re playing soccer (football in most of the world), but as an abstract noun–“the result or achievement toward which effort is directed”–it is a squirrelly concept. Since the beginning of the year, I have read a pile of books on the concept of goal setting, creating and changing habits, motivation, and achieving goals. I’ve written about it in a series of posts (The theme for this year is “A Year of Finishing Novels”), but goals are shifty, and when captured tend to grow larger, or run further away.

I’ve never made a squirrel filter. That’s a good goal for today.

Colorful bokeh squirrels of different sizes overlapping in the mirrorworld.
My Squirrelly Goals by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Name your alter-ego, and then describe him/her in detail. Then write in your alter-ego’s voice.

Poem A Day

Write about what “they” never tell you.

One bokeh squirrel on the lake by some leaves.
Focused by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

They Never Tell Me Where They Put the Goal Posts

They keep moving the goal posts
but never tell me where they put them
always changing the rules when
I think that I’ve learned them

They say good things come to those who wait
but never specify how long or what’s good
And while I’m waiting, imagining my good things coming
they move the goal posts again when I’m not looking

Of course they aren’t the ones in the now
in this crowd, feeling this beat pull them
from their seats to move their well-shoed feet
and return my smile

They say grab life by the horns
but they never say how it feels to be torn
when those horns gore through
or how long it will take for the wounds to heal

They say time heals all wounds
but they never specify how much time
and does this count as time waiting for good things?
Because that feels like a cheat, when the good things
I’m waiting for are a hit song and a huge cheering crowd
I’d rather not have wounds in the first place
if healing them is the good things I’m wasting time
waiting for, and if it’s the wound I got from grabbing
life’s horns, that’s a double cheat.

I shoulda grabbed life by the tail and held on tight
and let my legs fly out behind me
Gotta watch out for hooves ‘n shit, but it’d
be better than being gored and then not
getting good things because I’m waiting for
holes to heal. Where did those goal posts go?

They say nothing lasts forever
but I think waiting might if
I listen to them. Luckily
the music’s so loud
I can’t hear them
I can’t even hear myself