Celebrating Play and Treats

What a Difference a Day Makes by Maria L. Berg 2022

As you can see, the snow is gone. I know I said I wasn’t going to publish all my word pictures here, but I wanted to show the result without the snow, and then I did some playing indoors.

Playing Indoors by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

The dVerse Poets Pub is open after a two week vacation and today Lisa invites us to write a “celebration” haibun. I haven’t written a haibun in a while, so I think I’ll give it a try.

Celebrating Release from a Beautiful Imprisonment

I saw large, white flakes fall during my white-knuckle drive home through thick rain and sporadic drivers with speeds from infrared to ultraviolet.

Ten days it snowed since we opened presents, and ate Mother’s delicious strawberry cake, everyone generous and grateful. I remained sustained.

Overnight snowmelt
frees me from joyous ice jail
I return with treats

Playing in the Mirrorworld by Maria L. Berg 2022

And this image of the Mirrorworld fits with Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “Chill,” I think.

Chillin’ in the Mirrorworld by Maria L. Berg 2022

Happy Reading and Writing!

Calming Winter Cocoa

Steamy Cocoa by Maria L. Berg 2021

Today I made some yummy cocoa and attempted to capture some of the steam, and then some magic. The great part is I also got to drink the cocoa!

Snow Cocoa by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Today’s Poetry Form prompt from dVerse Poets Pub is a bit of a challenge. This is the last dVerse prompt of the year as the pub is shutting down for a couple weeks of holiday. So I’ll be coming up with my own prompts for the next couple weeks. Grace came up with a couple ideas for today: to write a Kwansaba or a response to David Whyte’s Blessings poems. I went with the latter and continued with the Changing Focus Blogging Challenge theme of Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation.

Blessing For Sleep
~ after David Whyte

I thank you
for transporting me
from the worries of the day,
the cold demands and expectations
of order and rationality
and whisking me away
to a colorful world of chaos
while secretly doing your work
in the background, cleansing my mind,
letting the bits of useless
sensory information break down
and slough off into the abyss
and thank you for mending
and repairs, the small scabs
from scratching at itchy skin
magically made whole,
tired sore eyes that wouldn’t
stay open, now perceive all
the values of light
surrounding me in the day
and though I failed you
last night, falling back
to the comfortable habit
of staying at the surface
waking often and not
letting myself let go
I know that tonight
we will try again
and you will come without
judgement or expectations,
but offer surprising combinations
of today’s perceptions
I thank you for breaking
the rules and the barriers
to show me other realities,
fantasies and possibilities
tamed through dream experience
my mind a shiny suspension bridge
my hand the tollgate into this world

Cocoa Magic by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Each Snowflake is Unique

Snowflakes on the Lake by Maria L. Berg 2021

Yesterday I cut a bunch of intricate snowflakes to try as filters. The effort was a bit wasted since only the very centers show up in the photographs, but they are still interesting.

In the Snow by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Today’s prompt from dVerse Poets Pub is a selection of words from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

One Underlying Hammer

Wasn’t that always the point
why? Why? Did I look back.
All forgiven through your
fluffy perfected disdain, that’s all
I am left behind
craxis overwhelming
the warm stillness

Snowfall by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Stuffing Stockings

Morning Stocking by Maria L. Berg 2021

This morning I made a Christmas stocking filter and started by turning the neighbors’ security lights into stockings.

Stockings Stuffed with Light by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Today’s prompt from dVerse Poets Pub is Quadrille #142. The quadrille is a poem of 44 words and Mish challenges us to put some tinsel in it. The only time I remember decorating with tinsel was the year I lived in Sweden. However, Mish provided other definitions of tinsel which look fun. I’m liking tinsel as a verb.

She Wants to Tinsel Everything

She wants to tinsel the world
put a silvery sheen on it
make it sparkle, but
not like he does
with false promises
denial and delusion
She want to emphasize
what is already there
with a thin, metallic shimmer
wrapped around
the branching minutiae

Hanging Stockings by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Making Icicles

Dripping Icicles by Maria L. Berg 2021

This morning I finally tied up the other mirror and turned the mirrorworld into a triangle. This created some nice borders to attempt some light icicles.

Making Icicles by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poems

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. I think I’ll start exploring Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation as a poetry prompt for the Changing Focus December project. This image I made this morning “Freezing Mist” makes me think of REM sleep.

Night Battles

Fresh cool pillows
like fluffy clouds
hold my head
at odd angles,
my neck sloped
and kinked
I fold the clouds
turn and twist
them violently
Soft flannel plaid
pajama bottoms
bunch around my knees
and heat my groin
but leave a bare cold spot
at the small of my back
as if the top and bottom
are magnetically repelled
just there
I tug and squirm
trying to force
their union
Now the pillow clouds
have changed shape
and must be wrestled again
I think about the computer
something to distract me
but it is no longer allowed in
and it’s cold out there
and I unplugged the internet anyway
I roll onto my back
I can’t sleep this way
but a pillow holds my head
for a brief truce
and glimpses of colors and shapes
behind my closed lids
give me hope of fantastic
dreams, so I roll to my side
and rejoin the battle
until the cat wants out.

Freezing Mist by Maria L. Berg 2021

Making a Poetry Collection: November PAD Chapbook Challenge

I’ve started working on my chapbook and wanted to share my progress. As with my poem revision process, my creating a collection process is already changing. I had Step 2 as doing the poem reviews, but while doing my read through, I found selection and organization came first. I am really glad that Step 1 was copying the poems into Scrivener, because I am finding that Scrivener is a great tool for this process.

Step 2: Rate the poems as Yes, Maybe, No – In my Scrivener template, I set up three sections. When I copied the poems into Scrivener, I put all of the poems in Section 1. Then as I read through them, the Yes poems stayed in 1, the Maybes went to Section 2, and the Nos went to section 3.

Step 3: Read for themes – In a brainstorming section outside the manuscript, I created a blank sheet for themes and noted the themes that stood out as I read. I noticed that many of my poems had a counterpart or pair which I found exciting. These pairs had kind of a before and after feel.

Step 4: Preliminary order – After discovering my poem pairs, I started moving my yes poems around and found a preliminary order. Moving the poems around so easily was a great aspect of using Scrivener. After I had a preliminary order, I opened the General Meta-Data and assigned labels and status. For my labels I chose: First draft, Revising, and Final. For the status labels, I changed it to form and labeled my poems as free form, rhyming, or specific structure. I may change what I use that for later, but during review it’s an interesting key.

Step 5: Review

Here’s my revised review checklist from my post Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Two: The First Redraft. I turned this into a template page in Scrivener and use the split screen, so I can see the poem while I review. I can make my notes for revision in the Notes section under the meta-data.

  • Identify POV, tense, form, voice
  • setting, narrative
  • themes, moods
  • identify sensory details
  • identify best lines
  • mark weak verbs & nouns
  • words to mind map
  • mark areas to expand
  • highlight cliche language
  • make easy cuts
  • choose what to edit to (theme, idea)
  • brainstorm alternate titles
  • make notes to guide re-write
  • do mind maps
  • free-write around best lines, character and narrative
  • do research
  • write a narrative poem

I’m making some progress with the review. Listing the sensory details is already pointing me toward some areas to explore. And choosing what to edit to is helping me focus on how I want the poems to work together as a whole. I’m also excited to start expanding the ideas through writing the narrative poems. This part of the process may take a few days.

As the Ice Forms by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Playing in the Snow I Created

My World in a Snow Globe by Maria L. Berg 2021

Today I tried something new. I used clear plastic to create a new filter with some glue and glitter. Using the fisheye lens, my world became a snow globe. Using it as a bokeh filter, I created snowballs with light. Then I tried throwing them.

Making Snowballs by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poems

Though the drafting part of the Chapbook Challenge is over, I plan to continue my daily poetry habit. On days without a dVerse poets pub prompts, I will work through In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet’s Portable Workshop(associate link) by Steve Kowit and The Creative Writing Coursebook(associate link) by Julia Bell and Paul Magrs.

There is also Wednesday Poetry Prompts on Writer’s Digest. Yesterday’s prompt was to write a yesterday poem. 😁

Today’s prompt from Laura for Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a Fragment Poem.

Clinging Fragments

I. Like a snowball on the right day
clings to more snow and grows,
these fragments find each other
and combine into fresh states of play

II. Plastic-coated self / with impenetrable walls
wambles toward the evening / after pushing
to exhaustion / again I fight into the correct coil

III. In the jelly shower of imagination
where no one will deliver a pizza
yet past this loop of secretive neighbors
humility returns with the hitchhiker

IV. Being human is a window turned to mirror
the mind’s eye light-painting an orange glass globe
never in the same place in time / though I see
the trees and houses from the other side

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today the Next Steps are posted on Writer’s Digest. I have until January 15th to revise and submit the poems I wrote in November. Yesterday, I copied all of my poems into a Scrivener file. Today, I’ll create a template page for reviewing each poem and start looking at the work I did.

Step 2: Review and Read for Themes –

Here’s my revised review checklist from my post Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Two: The First Redraft

  • Identify POV, tense, form, voice
  • setting, narrative
  • themes, moods
  • identify sensory details
  • identify best lines
  • mark weak verbs & nouns
  • words to mind map
  • mark areas to expand
  • highlight cliche language
  • make easy cuts
  • choose what to edit to (theme, idea)
  • brainstorm alternate titles
  • make notes to guide re-write
  • do mind maps
  • free-write around best lines, character and narrative
  • do research
  • write a narrative poem

Throwing Snowballs by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun.

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation. After brainstorming a bit last night, I thought I would start by collecting my own soothing sounds. Sounds I came up with so far are: kitty purring, the fire in the fireplace, waves on the lake, a breeze in the trees, bird songs, and rain.

I have a dream diary, which I have attempted to use over the years. I’m hoping as I progress this month, dream imagery will help me come up with some ideas for bokeh filters for the video.

Motivation and Reward: Today will be the first full day that the laptop is not allowed in the bedroom. I’m making a sign for the door to remind myself and a calendar to put stickers on to reward myself.

Tools: I’m going to re-read Teach Yourself to Dream (associate link) by David Fontana, PhD. I downloaded audio books to my mp3 player in case I need sounds to go to sleep.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 10:

Abandon by Maria L. Berg 2021

When I included “abandon” as a prompt, I imagined things left behind. I was feeling that kind of abandon yesterday, but I want to leave that behind. This morning when I thought of abandon, I thought of wild abandon: bright colors, spinning until falling, rolling down hills. The surrender kind of abandon. This bliss kind of abandon.

I’ll try to bring both aspects of abandon to a poem to fit yesterday’s Poetics prompt: In the Light of Other Days.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a nature poem.

The Worry Exchange

I ask my morning
what I can abandon
to enable a feeling
of wild abandon
Worry, said the morning
abandon your worries
like branches abandon
their leaves to the wind
and I hear the lawn
is getting too long and
you have dishes in your sink
and I remember the black grit on
the gray kitchen tiles
I ask my morning
how to abandon
all the worries I’m facing
so I can feel reckless abandon?
Face them with action
So I mow the lawn with abandon
and as the grass abandons inches
I turn my ankle
but I do not abandon my mission
I yell the pain at the wind
and for once
the pain walks off
when I finish and lock the mower in the shed
I find that my shed keys are lost
most likely locked inside the shed
and while not finding my keys
I notice the drip from the outside faucet
drip, drip, abandoning water
(and money) into the mud
which is worrying

Dimensional Abandon by Maria L. Berg 2021

November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 4: A Party Hidden in Plain Sight

Fancy Ribbons by Maria L. Berg 2021

Today I was inspired to try a shadow effect inspired by images I’ve seen on Pinterest. Pareidolia combined with tricks of light and shadow made for some interesting house guests.

Out from Hiding by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

The prompt is to write a party poem.

At the Party

It hides
behind the fancy ribbons
the glitter, the streamers
it hides in plain sight
behind white-toothed
red-lipstick smiles
is obscured by
laughter and music

but then a sudden light–
headlights through the window
sweeping the far wall,
someone leaves the bathroom
or enters from the hall–
and the shadows shift
and I see it so clearly
and then it’s gone
covered again in laughter
and the next song’s major chords

It hides
under every plastic cup
and every paper plate
under every chair
used to fasten a balloon
I can taste it
in every bite of cake
there it is
in the flicker of candles
I smell it coming
in the smoke
when extinguished

It lingers longer this year
as it lurks in the shadows
and leaves a clingy film
after the guests have gone

The shadow from a piece of ribbon created a profile on a white wall.
His Stern Profile by Maria L. Berg 2021

My party poem combined with “hide” made for a conceit that fits Björn’s Meet the Bar prompt at dVerse.

NaNoWriMo

My days are flying by. Every day I think I’ll get more done than I do, but I’m enjoying putting extra time into this initial set-up with the intent to have everything come up again later. I started hopping around a little bit yesterday, and that helped me get motivated to go back and continue the scene from the day before.

How’s your writing going? How do you get and stay motivated?

Why the Long Faces? by Maria L. Berg 2021
November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 3: As Wild as a Baby Huckleberry in November

Wild Huckleberry by Maria L. Berg 2021

So far, so good. My prompts are inspiring me to hop out of bed, grab my camera and try new techniques. When I woke up, I made a quick list of things found in the wild that I forgot to put on my abandoned property description yesterday. This included: spiderwebs, spiders, huckleberries, salmon berries, ferns, maple trees, etc. The list of these details made me think of a set of screw-on macro lenses I bought a while ago and only tried once or twice. I set my camera to macro, grabbed the 10X lens and the 4X lens, and set out into the wild.

The world was very cooperative. It temporarily stopped raining and a little morning sun peeked out from the clouds occasionally. The leaves held lovely droplets. I was hoping to find one little shriveled up huckleberry clinging to the tree, but instead found many tiny huckleberries hanging on. They were delicious crispy, juicy treats. What a nice surprised.

A Cup of Raindrops by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

The prompt is “As (blank).”

As Wild

Today I am wild
as wild as a huckleberry
after the first frost
a crisp, tart-sweet burst
as wild and fresh as raindrops
collected in the yellow petals
of a buttercup among ferns
as wild and fresh and vibrant as light
breaking through the thick gray
to reveal threads of spiderwebs
from sori dot to sori dot
as wild and fresh and vibrant
and dangerous as thorns
hiding entwined on blackberry vines
weaving through it all
like sharp fangs behind
plump, closed, smiling lips
ready to prick any bit of
vulnerable bare skin
that comes too near today
I am wild

And for Ingrid’s Poetics prompt at dVerse yesterday, a version of only the concrete.

Today I am

a huckleberry
after the first frost
a crisp, tart-sweet burst
raindrops collected in yellow petals
of a buttercup among ferns
light breaking through
the thick gray clouds
to reveal threads of spiderwebs
from sori dot to sori dot
thorns hiding entwined on
blackberry vines weaving
through the underbrush
like sharp fangs behind
plump, closed-smiling lips
ready to prick any bit
of bare skin

In the Light by Maria L. Berg
Veins by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNoWriMo

Yesterday I made the Miso and Squash soups I had been planning, so my meals are only a matter of quick warming for a while. I had forgotten all about my word count sticker sheet and bingo card, so I have some fun stickers to put on things today. Hopefully that will get some fun motivation started.

Writing Exercise: As my warm up today, I’m going to keep Chekhov’s gun in mind today and make a little map of everything I’ve set up in my opening scene: All of the props, sounds, people, etc. that have been brought to the reader’s attention as important and brainstorm how they may be revisited and build toward the climax of the story.

There’s also a Chekhov’s Gun Exercise from 101 Creative Writing Exercises that sounds interesting.

Yesterday, during the BARN writing group, a new member mentioned Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner, so thinking of today’s photo prompt, I looked it up. It consists of 15 minute hand-written writing sprints, writing as fast as you can. Sadly, I press hard even when I try not to, and do not write very quickly. But I do write faster when hearing the tick of my kitchen timer, so during my morning pages this morning, I will attempt to write as fast as I physically can and hope it leads me to bi-passing my inner critic and get to my intuition and instinct.

Whiskers by Maria L. Berg
November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#OctPoWriMo Day 28: Carving Into the Gooey Bits

Mr. Skeleton on a Rampage by Maria L. Berg 2021

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, carve, I went to grab a carving knife from the knife block, but it was missing. Mr. Skeleton had gotten to it first and had gone on a skeleton candle murder spree.

Unlike yesterday, I had a lot of fun this morning, and everything worked the way I wanted it to. My photo shoot was inspired by the original Halloween movie (affiliate link) poster.

I have really enjoyed this photography challenge this month. Not only does it get me up and active first thing, with creative production before breakfast, it involves crafting and engineering. I’ve enjoyed how the different prompts have worked together, so the graves I didn’t finish one morning, filled out the graveyard on another morning. There’s been a nice balance of creating scenes inside, outside, and bringing the outside in. I’ve tried so many new things and feel like I’m mastering some new techniques. I’ve also explored my space in new ways and appreciate all of my Halloween decorations for their versatility.

I found these one-word daily prompts so inspiring, I plan to continue during November. For NaNoWriMo I’m working on a thriller novel called “Abandoned Property,” so I’m creating prompts to go with that theme. I’m working to come up with prompts that will be as inspiring as Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge has been.

Killer Shadow
Killer Shadow by Maria L. Berg 2021
Halloween Slasher by Maria L. Berg 2021

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt, “Tea,” took some thought, but then I thought of charming elderly ladies which led me to Arsenic and Old Lace and I thought of the practice of reading tea leaves for divination, and decided tea would fit in nicely as spooky inspiration.

The 2018 prompt was “Split in two” which goes well with that carving knife.

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub, so let’s see if I can carve out a poem to share at the pub.

My Halloween movie poster with bokeh jack-o-lantern face.

Seen in the Tea Leaves

Finally split in two
I’ve broken through
to the gooey bits
where dualities splash
and clash in banality
a mystery of flesh
starving to carve

the protective coating
cracked, gives and crashes
around the periphery
as sharp edges
glitter in steel
in jittery fists from shivery
spinal nerve trickery

contradictory cleavage
poking at pains hoping
for gains by slicing
and dicing then displaying
the gore as horror torn
and shorn from its
safest hiding places

the conditionality of
sanity sliced by a
skeleton’s carving knife
in the morning light
dazzles momentarily
before it scares me
and I put it away.

The Other Slasher Comes to Play by Maria L. Berg 2021
Slasher Protege by Maria L. Berg 2021

And after I thought I was done taking pictures, kitty went to learn at the feet of the master slasher. Of course, this was meant to be a secret transaction, so he ran off the moment he saw I was taking pictures.

Happy Reading and Writing!