The Week in Review: Reading, Writing, and Abstraction

Mountain by Maria L. Berg 2023

How was your week? Did you try reading like a writer? Though I didn’t find a lot to apply to my novel from The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill, I did have fun brainstorming unique formats for my novel, and it inspired me to get a copy of S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst from my local library system. I was curious to see how all the inserts worked. They are neatly tucked within the pages of the book and the book comes in a box sleeve that is velcroed shut. Imagine my happy surprise when the first insert is two copies of a letter. The first in Swedish and the second its translation. It was fun to be able to read the letter in Swedish and also see their translation.

The Ship of Theseus, which is the fictitious book in which the characters write in the margins, is also the name of an interesting philosophical puzzle which asks, if every piece of a ship is replaced over time, is it still the same ship when it doesn’t have a single original piece left?

As for the reading experience I haven’t figured it out yet. There are so many different things to read: The translator’s preface and footnotes is one story, the novel, the layers and layers of notes between the students, and the inserted materials. I thought I would read through the novel first, but the notes were too distracting, so I think I’ll have to spend the time on each page to read the novel, the translator’s notes and the students written notes all at once.

I finished reading Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert for my coursera.org course “The Modern and the Postmodern” through Wesleyan University. In class, it was an example of the Disillusionment. I know I read Madame Bovary as an undergrad, but I really didn’t remember anything about it as I read. It was long and boring and the characters were abhorrent people, but that’s why it’s going to be interesting to discuss for reading as a writer. I found a lot to learn from it and apply to my work.

I liked the note-taking capabilities in Kindle and will talk about that tomorrow. I also found some interesting surprise connections  in my other reading that I’ll talk about tomorrow.

This week I found a new-used mirror large enough to create a mirrorworld that has eternal depth, as in mirrors reflecting mirrors all the way to infinity. I’m excited to explore all my new techniques within this space while thinking dialectically. My idea for this week is: if I take an image that includes my shape both right side up, and upside down and backwards, and I use that shape as a filter to take a photo of the shapes right side up, and upside down and backwards, will that get me closer to synthesis? I’ll try it out and talk more about these new ideas of capturing synthesis on Tuesday.

Moon by Maria L. Berg 2023

Using drum beats to create poetic lines

This week’s rhythm I’ve been playing with is: one, two, three, four and. This is the cha-cha rhythm. I looked through my old records and the only cha-cha I found was by Henri Mancini called “Something for Sellers.”(Fun fact: Henri Mancini also wrote the theme song for Remington Steele which I enjoyed as a kid, and is a fun distraction available on Amazon Prime Video.)

The last word of each phrase should be a trochee, having the stress on the first syllable. Until this week I was only looking at the rhythm as syllables not the stress of the words, but with this four & beat, it feels like the trochee vs. iamb(ic) foot is important.

Where is this going? Who’s out there knowing?
Can I make something, from all this nothing?
two rights come center, once new thoughts enter
is the mean better, once her match met her?

After four week of looking at this idea of drum beats becoming lines of poetry, I thought it would be fun to see how the lines work and sound together. Let’s see what happens. First I’ll take four lines from each of the patterns I’ve played with so far in order:

I say I’m good when we meet, but you’re not buying
I talk of truth, honestly, I know I’m lying
If truth is fine, why do I find yours is ugly?
If flaws make rich, why do I wish to be smudge free?

but I was waffling, so I just followed
to enjoy the talk and be in the walk
but I could not stop my mind from worry
we needed to go and be in a hurry

the third unknown point joins in unseen lines
to a future hurt that your secrets hide
where the haunting blues find life’s conflict caught
ache in yearning flesh moves the wand’ring eye

Where is this going? Who’s out there knowing?
Can I make something, from all this nothing?
two rights come center, once new thoughts enter
is the mean better, once her match met her?


Now let’s try one line from each in a row to make the quatrains:

I say I’m good when we meet, but you’re not buying
but I was waffling, so I just followed
the third unknown point joins in unseen lines
Where is this going? Who’s out there knowing?

I talk of truth, honestly, I know I’m lying
to enjoy the talk and be in the walk
to a future hurt that your secrets hide
Can I make something, from all this nothing?

If truth is fine, why do I find yours is ugly?
but I could not stop my mind from worry
where the haunting blues find life’s conflict caught
two rights come center, once new thoughts enter

If flaws make rich, why do I wish to be smudge free?
we needed to go and be in a hurry
ache in yearning flesh moves the wand’ring eye
is the mean better, once her match met her?

*I think I like that. This second one has some interesting connections happening.

I guess I’ll be moving on to a slightly more complicated drum beat this week. I’ll have to figure out how that works with this idea of drum beats and poetry. Maybe I’ll see how a simple drum fill works with this idea.

I chose “(I’m Afraid The) Masquerade is Over” by Herb Magidson and Allie Wrubel as the song to work on this week as I continue working on my second call to action, “To find the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness; uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly.”

The Week in Review: Reading, Writing, and Abstraction

Spotlight by Maria L. Berg 2023

How was your week? Did you try reading like a writer? I really enjoyed applying the things I learned from The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny to my short story. This week I’ll be talking about The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill.

I’m enjoying my coursera.org course “The Modern and the Postmodern” through Wesleyan University. I really like how my study of contradictory abstractions overlaps with philosophy. This week’s section “From Enlightenment to Revolution” talked about Hegel’s dialectic thinking. I’ll talk more about that on Tuesday.

This week’s images were inspired by painters from the Northwest School, that emerged in the late 1930’s, especially the work of Mark Tobey. In Modernism in the Pacific Northwest by Patricia Junker, there’s a photograph of lights on US Navy ships in Elliott Bay during Fleet Week, July 1937, on the opposite page from Tobey’s painting “White Night, 1942. One can see how the overlapping spotlights could be the energy Tobey tries to capture in the painting. I played with creating the overlapping spotlights with light-forming photography and enjoyed the results.

Enlighten by Maria L. Berg 2023

Using drum beats to create poetic lines

This week’s rhythm I’ve been playing with is: one, two, three and, four. It made me think of the cha-cha, but when I looked up some cha-cha videos it turns out the cha-cha is actually next week’s beat: one, two, three, four and.

The first lines that came to mind for one, two, three and, four:

she is always late; she has fifty dates

sweet treat healthy fruit; brown round wrinkled suit

time to go-to bed; Mis-ter sleepy head

time to go-to work; he’s a soda jerk

Here’s some of a draft of a poem idea I wrote the other day:

a triangle from two connected points
the unknown third point
making invisible lines
of connection
to future hurt
to future revelations
the invisible lines
of secrets and lies
one of those fine lines
is the line between love and hate
a triangle of love
betrayed and hidden
where the deceit in truth
is found, where the
haunting blues find soul
where song after song
find life’s conflict
the wandering eye caught
attention grabbed by the new
and in motion
the yearning flesh aching
knowing there’s a good ache
that frees the mind
from form

Let’s see what happens when I try to put it into the rhythm:

the third unknown point
joins in unseen lines
to a future hurt
that your secrets hide

where the haunting blues
find life’s conflict caught
ache in yearning flesh
moves the wand’ring eye

*I really like how the rhythm helped me condense the ideas. I think this is an intriguing opening.

Radiating by Maria L. Berg 2023

And the Real Work Begins

Today’s the big day! I’m putting the first draft of my novel I wrote in November into a PDF and I’m going to read it through on my tablet as if it’s someone else’s e-book. From now on, as I’m reading like a writer, learning and writing rhythms, and studying contradictory abstractions it is all toward my novel revision.

Here’s to an Exciting Adventure!

Dream Imagery

The poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to “write a poem inspired by a vision, dream, or both.” I tried to do the spoon in the bowl trick to induce a dream state, but all I saw was a big orange square of color with a read shadow moving around, so I decided to sleep on it and I’m glad I did because I had very vivid dreams last night.

The Body of the Dream by Maria L. Berg 2023

I am a group of three women going to a writing retreat

but I was waffling, so I just followed
to enjoy the talk and be in the walk
but before we left, we needed relief
we arrived upstairs and entered the booths
but they crammed in mine, their laughter was bright
and throwing a card up in the thick air
it defied logic and surprise! froze there
she threw a whole pack of colored small cards
they tumbled then froze in patterned tableaux
I needed to go, I squeezed through the mess
to the booth next door glad for a rest, but
card woman followed, black straight hair shining
she revealed a new pack, and sent those cards fly-
ing into the air, creating structures
like bridges Venetian, cov’ring canals
eyes flashing from one amazing wonder
to land on the next joy to discover
but I could not stop my mind from worry
we needed to go and be in a hurry
because time moved so unlike the cards
and we would miss the bus to their ferry