Last week, as I continued my study of contradictory abstractions, I looked at freedom in constraint and constraint in freedom. Studying opposites inspired me to think about photo negatives and negative space, so I tried putting the sections I cut out to create my filters into their own filters, creating negatives of my filters in a way. The result was exciting.
My further study of freedom and constraint led me to attempt using flowers considered weeds over a piece of clear plastic, so I wouldn’t get pollen or petals in my lens. Again, to happy results.
Here in the Puget Sound we just endured an extensive period of excessive heat (for here), so I’m actually looking forward to a cooler August. Even today, the coolest day in a while, I have the fan going because it’s humid.
One of the things I love about ExperienceWriting is it acts as a record of my work over the years. I looked back at what I was posting in August the last couple years expecting one or two posts, but it appears August is a time of discovery for me. Last year I was working on my first bokeh and poetry video “Pathways.” That feels so long ago. The year before that, I was writing and revising a short story as part of Writers in Motion. If I didn’t have this record of it, I wouldn’t believe it. So what is August deep in my bones? Work, exploration, discovery, and sweat.
The fan whirs in the window chopping boat motors and children screaming into beads of sweat
suntan lotion coconuts and pineapples fight UV rays breaking through ozone and the odor of scales
working outside in the shade every break a dive in the lake and yet somehow I burn and yearn to create which makes more heat
sweat drips on the page under my breasts and down and allergic to myself I recognize the coming boils
and pain like an anniversary of a coming storm swirling a time to reevaluate wind and water and fire
Heron Tree published my poem “Repent” as part of a series of poems created from materials published before 1927. Their call for submissions inspired me to explore a book of fairy tales I’ve had for a long time that was published in 1907. I talked about it in my post A Fun Found Poetry Project when I first started working on it back in January. Please check it out, and enjoy the great work they do at Heron Tree.
I finally figured out how to use the reflection balls in the lake. I made them a floating barrier by threading rope through some pool noodles. The color added by the pool noodles was I nice surprise. I like the effect so much, I ordered four more reflection balls of the same size. They arrive tomorrow. This weekend is going to be fun. Now I’m thinking of pool noodles as a color palette.
dVerse Poets Pub
Today was Open Mic Live (online) at dVerse. I always want to attend, but never make it. It starts at noon here in the PNW, and today it was 1pm before I finished making my filters and taking my photos. But I can still join in by posting a poem, so here’s today’s exploration of calm & agitation:
He says calm is the wind
I ask him what he thinks of when I say calm he waves his arm majestically and says this
I turn from him, taking in the entire day: the sun, the lake, the sky the warmth, the waves, the houses and trees the moment we are sharing as he pauses in his constant labors
Do you mean the lake? Or the sun? Or? I prod always wanting more Actually, wind, he says, Calm is the wind
I think of the gentle breeze that guides a floating lounger where I don’t want to go I think of the wind that steals my papers and pushes them into bushes I think of the angry wind that lifted the glass table and threw it through the sliding door I always think of the hurricane that stole everything
I ask him what he thinks of when I say agitation He laughs, as if I should know? Or he doesn’t want to say? A disagreement of some kind he answers, turning
That’s funny, I say, because I always think of wind as agitation because it makes things move he moves on, and we both continue our labors
and a writing tip from the Shaelin Writes video below, I started a new phase in my study of abstract nouns. Each week I’ll choose two opposing abstract nouns and attempt to create an image representing both. To inspire my work, I’m expanding my research from studying the words, history, and philosophy, to collecting music, paintings, photographs, poems, stories, scientific studies, and anything else I can find that represents the two abstractions, immersing myself for the week.
Using the statement, “Find the despair in hope, and the hope in despair,” I created several filters and tried different techniques. Here is one of the images:
Calm & Agitation
This week, expanding on the idea, I am exploring “Find the agitation in calm, and the calm in agitation.” Let’s start with some definitions: agitate: 1. a. to give motion to b. to move with an irregular, rapid, or violent action 2. to excite and often trouble the mind or feelings of: Disturb 3. to discuss excitedly and earnestly calm: 1. a period or condition of freedom from storms, high winds, or rough activity of water 2. a state of tranquility: free from agitation, excitement, or disturbance
So what could possibly be the agitation in calm? It depends on the person and situation. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to lie still for long, so my own thoughts are often the agitation. On the beach, the agitation could be the sand fleas; at the lake, the music from the boats going by, or mowers and chainsaws. The waves themselves are the definition of agitation, though the sound of them hitting the shore may be the calm in agitation.
For today’s images, I noticed light glinting off spiderwebs, and experimented with creating my shapes from that light. It worked! And with the very cool effect of making smaller shapes than the light on the leaves behind the webs.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s Poetics prompt, Lisa challenges us to consider fractals in relation to poetry in subject or form.
Rapid Irregular Movement
agitation nags it's tickling through the calm
little bits build to agitate with malice while lying calmly
in the sun even after the years have passed to
a calming age all is distraction dizzying feelings of ions
commingling I see them behind closed lids
and the gate creeks commensurate to the spots gyrating
For yesterday’s poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub, Laura challenged us to think about last words and choose some famous last words to inspire our poem.
“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” ~ Karl Marx
How cruel and yet delicious all those smiling, resting faces all those relaxed, unworried death masks forever frozen as last seen in loving minds
How cruel and yet delicious to know the time of one’s passing to gather everyone ever loved together to impart an answer a lifetime sought
How cruel and yet delicious the final not knowing but feeling certain it will be there in time feeling tongue-tipped and out-reached seat-edged in life-searched readiness
How cruel and yet delicious hearing gulps of held back sobs tasting one’s own saliva, one’s juices for a final time, becoming thick with enzymes preparing for decay smelling each familiar perfume not disguising each unique sweat visually sucking and sucking every detail as if it will be the forever memory: that cute sneeze, that child’s whine, that cuticle bitten, that hair swept from that eye, one’s own slowing, rattling breath and
then it’s there it comes the answer THE ANSWER electric, eye-bulging epiphany of all epiphanies the room leans in edged, sharp and everyone hears AH-HA! before eyes dim, chest stills and nothing more.
Today I’m re-visiting motivation. When I explored motivation in April, I talked about it as a force toward pleasure and away from pain. Motivation came up again when I explored need and talked about Maslow’s pyramid. Today I looked up some definitions and found that motivation is a force that imparts motion as if from a store. In other words, I’ve got a whole bunch of motion stored up somewhere and the force “motivation” will dole it out to me. But what is this force, and how do I trigger it at will? I think my definition still needs work.
The sun was out this morning, so I took my net-lights outside for the first time. I am definitely motivated by the surprise of trying something new.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics prompt, Merril invites us to think about summer with an ekphrastic prompt. I wrote to the image by Edward Henry Potthast, Summer Day, Brighton Beach which shows children wading into the ocean. I waded a bit into the lake this morning, wasn’t quite motivated to swim.
Hear them shrieking in the distance oh, they must be having fun the waves crashing against them splashing oh, I can’t wait now let’s run
But it’s freezing, my feet are tingling oh, this bite has just begun up it’s reaching, and soon numbing then forgotten in summer sun.
Today is the first time in this exciting study of abstract nouns that I’m revisiting a word to study it more deeply. When I first approached beauty on the second day of the A to Z Challenge in April, I found a thorough definition on dictionary.com. My Merriam Webster’s defines it only slightly differently (the quality or aggregate of qualities . . . gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: Loveliness), so I still have the same questions about inherent beauty and perceived beauty. This morning I thought, if beauty is defined by culture and/or group-think of an era or time-period does it really exist at all?
To start to explore these questions, I turned to philosophy. In the book Does the Center Hold? by Donald Palmer I found an interesting passage about Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872)’s thoughts on beauty. He believed that a human being is fundamentally good and from the beginning of the species every human community has aspired, consciously or unconsciously, to achieving: love, truth, beauty, happiness, wisdom, purity, and strength. The book says “among others,” but sticks to that list. Guess which abstractions I’ll be focusing on further 😃. Next month?
Does that narrow down Feurbach’s list–and my study–to only two abstract nouns? Or only one? And how would I choose? I would think that would include wisdom. If truth and beauty are indeed the same, if I focus all of my images on beauty, will I be making images of truth? Will I eventually look at my beautiful image and see truth equally in the image?
Looking at beauty physically, many people believe symmetry is beautiful, others like asymmetry. Some look at a mole on a face and see a blemish, others see a beauty mark. Looking at beauty mathematically, the artists of the Renaissance believed in the golden ratio. I think of this when I include the curve from my metal mirror in my photos like I did for Value.
Looking back at the images I created for beauty before, I can see what I was going for: the shapes, a geometric representation of flowers and leaves, shows the conflict of the wild beauty of nature and the human desire to tame it. I also see this dichotomy of beauty in the glowing primary colors: yellow (sun and flowers), red (flowers, some berries), blue (water and sky). And the green–a combination and a contrast–a union of blue and yellow contrasting with red, but also representing the leaves that surround the red flowers or berries, the grass that meets the water, the floor to the ceiling of sky.
When I look at those images, I see all of that, but I also don’t see beauty. I think the images may try to do too much. They feel busy. Though the colors and shapes give pleasure to my senses, the images don’t exalt.
How do I want to explore beauty today? This time around I want to look for beauty in simplicity. I think there’s graceful movement in beauty, or beauty in graceful movement.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft prompt, Björn invites us to explore dissonance in our poetry. I love dissonance, especially the discordant combinations I create in my songs. I guess I haven’t really thought about the poetic tools of linguistic dissonance before. Great prompt!
An Unexpected Irritation that Lingers
There is a man in the bushes to my left He crunches and snaps, rustles and breaks His every movement is destruction– I believe he thinks–in the name of clearing, taming nature to his will
I cannot see him through the thick rhododendron he stomps and the Japanese camellia he mangles caught under the cherry-plum, but I see the hedge move with a crack and a snap and I know he has crossed
under the cherry-plum into the leaf-shadows of this rhododendron shuffling and crackling the crisp, dry leaves as irritating and attention hoarding as a jay or a spotted towhee, but his caw is much worse than the jay’s screech.
When he finally speaks the only thing he says is cut your trees, cut your trees cut your trees!
Here we are already starting June. As I mentioned yesterday, this month’s daily abstract nouns include a mix of new words and further study of previous words. And, as before, Sundays are homographs to guide visual poetry (vispo) from the images created through the week.
While defining “poetry” for my online poetry class, What Is Poetry? An Introduction to Literary Analysis, I found that dictionary.com provides circular definitions for everything, not only abstract nouns. I found a much better definition in my physical dictionary, so from now on, I’ll be mining for meaning in my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Tenth Edition.
Awe is an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. What an intense combination: to fear greatly, respect, and be excited with amazement and admiration all at the same time.
I am in awe of the flow of ideas and joy of process I’ve found in this study of abstract nouns. Awe describes
For today’s images, I put the two new reflective balls in the mirrorworld to see what they would do.
On Wednesdays, Robert Lee Brewer offers a poetry prompt on Writer’s Digest. Today’s prompt is to write a water poem.
I Water as I Walk
The air is thick with it the clouds fat with it and yet they hoard their precious cargo, leaving the new seeds thirsty
It makes up seventy percent of me, sloshing about somewhere in there as I tread–new sprinkler head in hand, length of hose uncoiling, dragging behind–
staring out at the lake as I shower the crusted earth, the irony is not lost on me that there is water everywhere but the land needs me to drink
These last couple months studying abstract nouns have provided a wealth of discoveries, great quantities of new ideas, an abundance of new techniques, a profusion of thoughts, and a plentiful amount of new tools. I feel like these last two months have been a 101 course in abstractions–an overview–and now it’s time to take a more advanced look at the ideas I’ve only had a glimpse of so far. But there is still a wealth of abstract nouns to look at and explore. I’m having trouble deciding, so I think I’ll do both.
Continuing this study into June, I will choose some new abstract nouns and some that I want to revisit. I’ll post the new calendar tomorrow for those of you interested in looking ahead at what I’ll be exploring through the month.
Today’s weather was beautiful, and I’m hoping June will bring many more sunny days, so I can bring my new net-lights outside to play with the sun on the lake. And today I got two floating reflective balls that I’m excited to float on the lake. I’m already excited about their potential for bokeh shapes from a few pictures I took of them in the yard.
I hope you’re enjoying this wealth of content and that you are as inspired by the study of abstract nouns as I am. I’m really looking forward to revisiting some of the words I’ve already explored and diving deeper into sensory perception and imagery associated with those abstractions. If you have a suggestion for an abstract noun to revisit, or one I haven’t looked at please let me know in the comments.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics prompt, Punam inspires with the work of Amrita Pritam. The challenge is to choose one of her lines from a list and use it to inspire our poem.
In the Little Empty Space
“Look further on ahead, there between truth and falsehood, a little empty space.” ~Amrita Pritam
I believe I can squeeze through the jagged rocks and hard place threaten but a slim, distant light still begs me on.
If I suck it all in tight and purse my lips and set my jaw and close my eyes and never breathe again, I might distract them
from the original question concern them enough to forget, and not suffer while I emerge on the other side
This week is the first week of a three week course I’m taking on FutureLearn.com called How to Make a Poem offered through Manchester Metropolitan University. This week’s assigned poem is to collect language by observing an environment in the style of George Perec’s exercise in his essay. “the Street.” As someone who enjoys her solitude: seclusion; state of being and living alone in an area that is remote and unfrequented especially on rainy days, this is a bit of a challenge. The idea is to capture overheard language or signs, menus, etc. Solitude isn’t very conducive to this exercise as described, but the exercise also doesn’t exactly lead to found poetry in the way I understand it.
For today’s images I have two new tools to play with: net lights and printable transparency paper. I think I’ll hang the net lights in the mirrorworld since it’s supposed to rain for about a week. My original idea for the printable transparency paper was to print some of my black and white photos to use with blackout poetry, but I’m also curious how it might work for printing a filter. So many possibilities.
As you can see, I still haven’t been able to fix my printer, but in this case, I like the lines and color stripes.
dVerse Poets Pub
It’s Open Link Night at the pub, so I thought I would start try my printable transfer paper as a blackout to “find” poetry.
To take dreams
some mediate, contain by providing that highest provocation and that dream of mind from mystery matter outdone their equal these two dreams that wheel
by symbols at one and world be else said key to the dream self dual one as thumb as not fruit converse of is beauty the dream add the little soul the devil how his counting on no self objective them also
To a vision scientist like me, sensitivity is only a semi-abstract noun. If you look at the state or quality of being endowed with sensation; having perception through the senses, that’s measurable through scientific experimentation. However, the state or quality of being readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences and having acute mental or emotional sensibility; aware of and responsive to the feelings of others is not as measurable and easily pained, annoyed, etc. is probably measurable per person, but not as scientifically, since we’re getting into moods.
I’ve always been highly sensitive, both emotionally and perceptually. I was told by my advanced biology teacher in high school that I should never have children if I was so sensitive to the smell in the room that I needed to leave. He sent me to the library, and I never had children. He must have had an amazing sixth sense. Now approaching the mid-century of life, I still have perfect vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch: though my sensitivity to others and ideas of my sixth sense have diminished, for now, in exchange for contentment and sanity, I think. Which brings us to another definition of sensitivity: requiring tact or caution; delicate; touchy: a sensitive topic.
As for my images I like how my sensitivity made me think of anxiety and squiggly lines of too much, but when I looked at the images I saw another definition of sensitivity I enjoy which is: constructed to indicate, measure, or be affected by small amounts or changes~ as a balance or thermometer or microscope.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics Ingrid brings corvids to spring. I am surrounded by raptors and corvids and find it fascinating that crows chase bald eagles around the sky. It’s the craziest bird behavior. One would think that eagles would just take out the crows, if they were a threat; the eagle could turn and destroy them: toss their nests, eat their eggs, or eat the crows. But from what I’ve seen, they don’t react much at all. However, this spring I’ve had two rather aggressive Blue Jays, and I am sensitive to their presence.
Strike a Pose
So bold, look at you in my morning window blinds closed, I know you’re there, when I let in the spring sun your striking blue feathers somehow bluer than the bluest sky: not cerulean, not royal, but playing in between, you contrast with the giant pink blossoms of the monster rhododendron not a plant, not a flower, but a life choice, and you have chosen it, next to my bedroom window with your deep, thoughtful, striking pose, I can’t help but admire your bold stare and then you SHRIEK SCREAM make unbird noises not even the semi-annoying CAW which is never at my window but still loud from high above while harassing an eagle and remind me that you are the kind of bird who raids other bird’s nests and may decapitate other birds Am I being sensitive to your horrible sound, or would it bother me so much if I didn’t know you were a murderous tyrant striking such a strong contrast of black and blue