#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 13 & #SoCS: Forging an Oracle

Marble by Maria L. Berg 2021

For today’s images, I wanted to build on yesterday’s fun discovery. The eye photo from yesterday makes me think of an oracle. Then I thought of a magic 8 ball. I used to have one and really liked it.I found an online 8 Ball, but it just wasn’t the same. The physical holding and shaking of the ball, watching the words rise to the surface, how could I capture the feeling and experience? I thought of the joy of Erica Baum’s photographs of clever found text in the world. I have a triangle bokeh filter.

Then I looked at the theme for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday which is “cam.” When asked to think of a word with cam in it, of course I think of camera, then camera, then camera, so I put cam in a search and got “campfire.” I haven’t had a fire yet this yea,r and I had a small dry log and some kindling in the fireplace from a photoshoot I did in October, so I decided to light that up as my background. Not exactly a campfire, but though it is not supposed to rain again until tonight, the world outside is way too wet, so the fact that I have one small dry log is in fact “lucky.”

With fire as my backdrop for my oracle, I needed to figure out how I wanted to gather my questions and my answers. How would my oracle answer yes or no questions? I wanted to find the text on things around me, but how to get the words in my triangle, in front of the fire?

The classic 8 ball had 20 answers: 10 affirmative, 5 maybe, and 5 no. I started taking pictures of text I thought would make good answers. Then I saw my word jars on the mantel and thought, what could be more found-text oracle than randomly pulling nouns from a jar to represent yes, no, or maybe? So I pulled out 20 nouns and got to work.

Bubble by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a luck poem.

Feeling Lucky?

I must be
the luckiest person:
I went to the oracle
and the oracle said
Only Yes or No questions
so I asked: Will I
meet my soulmate?
They answered: nest
Which is exactly
what I needed to hear
It makes sense that I
should make a home,
a comfortable place,
for love to be drawn to
Then I asked: Have I
found my purpose?
They answered: smoke
which confirms that
life is fleeting and I
need to follow
my heart, so I asked
the question burning
inside: Will I
be remembered?
They said: flavor
And I knew I
would leave
good taste
in the world.

I must be
the unluckiest person:
I went to the oracle
who said ask only
Yes or No questions
so I asked: Will I
ever find love? and
they answered: sneeze
which only confirms
that I sneeze funny
and it puts people off
I asked: Do I
have a purpose?
They said: poison
Which is what I’ve been
dreading; I’ll have to
quit my job before
that go-getter poisons them
against me. He probably
has already, so I
asked: Will anyone notice
if I am gone?
They answered: key
Exactly as I expected.
No one will miss me unless
I don’t turn in my keys.

Yes or No Answers by Maria L. Berg

NaNoWriMo

Last night I did 20 minute word sprints with my ML (municipal liaison) and the part of my story that had me a little stuck opened up in a new direction. It really is amazing to me how just knowing that someone else is out there doing timed writings “with” you does actually make a difference. Strange human mental gymnastics, but whatever works. I’ll be trying the zoom write-in today and see if that works as well.

Fire Oracle 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!

The Mentor of #NaNoWriMo Day 7

perfect flame

I woke up this morning and went straight to my manuscript. I had a bad dream, but it made me think of a scene for my story and I didn’t want to miss it. It has been foggy and cold the last few days, so I decided to have a fire in the fireplace. The neighbor’s cat came over to see what I was up to and cuddled with me as I typed for a bit. Gotta say, it has been a great morning.

I’ve already done my morning pages and have half my words for today!! And it’s a good thing too because I have found a major distraction in my fireplace inspired by the high shutter speed photos I took. I could honestly just feed that fire and take pictures all day. But then I selected a couple to illustrate this post and they reminded me of my bokeh filters. I can’t believe I never tried bokeh with fire.

It’s challenging. I’m going to have to play around with my camera setting a lot more. I may need to add some Christmas lights to the front of the fireplace to get some unblurred shapes or shine a light into the fireplace so I can use lower ISO settings, but a new palette has emerged and I’m excited.

a new idea

A new idea by Maria L. Berg bokeh in fire.

Back to NaNoWriMo Day 7 The Mentor

As you may have guessed fire is my mentor today. That would mean I see my mentor as a muse, a giver of creative ideas, a non-corporeal entity. However, the mentor can be many things. I found a good post at Thought Co. The Hero’s Journey: Meeting with the Mentor 

The article mentions Jung, so I thought great, I’ll just grab my copy of The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious and Man and His Symbols, look up mentor in the Index and soon have a complete understanding. No such luck. The word “mentor” wasn’t indexed in either one. Since I have already been distracted by photography today and did not feel like reading hundred of pages to figure out why “mentor” wasn’t index and yet “menstrual blood” was in both. I let that idea go.

The mentor is usually an older, wiser person who helps your hero get past the refusal and get on with the adventure. Thinking about that this morning, I easily came up with a mentor for my detective: her father (memories of) and an instructor from the police academy. I also easily came up with a mentor for my antagonist: an imaginary guide he calls “the oracle” who is actually his memories of his older brother who always looked out for him when he was a kid. But I’m not sure who my protagonist’s mentor is.

He doesn’t for long lasting relationships and is always hiding his true self. Who would he turn to for advice. He wants to direct movies, so maybe he would turn to the films of his favorite director for advice. Or watch interviews with his favorite director. Maybe he would just go see a movie or read a book his favorite director wrote. I like this idea because it parallels or mirrors the imaginary world of the antagonist’s mental state. They both think they are perfectly sane, but neither really relates to the real world.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. See you tomorrow.

I is for Ignivomous

ignivomous: adjective – vomiting or spewing forth fire.

 

Discovering Fire

 

The Bather

While
she tentatively dips a toe in the crystal water,
he races across the flat, dry land.
Top down, dark hair flying, blasting the classics
Smile so tight he can’t sing along
Smile so long his face tans that way
If he ever stops smiling, contrasting lines will punctuate
and radiate his visage.

While
he travels freely to no particular destination,
they sit across from each other in a dimly lit dining room.
Silver clicks and clacks on China, rings on crystal
She spits vitriol through ignivomous lips between bites.
He hunches over his plate, shoving overflowing forkfuls of steak,
mashed-potatoes and candied carrots,
mushy peas and roasted garlic
His hand works like an excavator.
Beet juice runs down his chin.

While
she expresses disdain over dinner,
the bather has waded up to her thighs.
She faces a troubling decision.
The next few steps are more sensitive.
Will she continue to inch forward?
While waves lap and splash creating goose flesh,
she rises on tiptoe to postpone the painful shock of cold
then steels herself and dives in.

Throwing Stones: I made my #NaNoWriMo Cover

Imagined book cover for work in progress by Maria L. Berg

#NaNoWriMo2016 Book Cover

THROWING STONES: Tshepo Mwendi blames fire fighters for the loss of his parents and his home. His grief, turned anger, fuels his singular mission: to make fire fighters suffer as he has by showing the world they are inept (thus taking away their funding leading to their non-existence). To achieve his goal he throws stones to stop them from putting out fires. While throwing stones at a fire outside of the city, he is joined by other stone throwers and discovers a new family among refugees and other disenfranchised of The Eternal Family. There he finally finds love, but he cannot find peace. His sharp mind and tongue along with his warped view of justice and obsessive mission make it easy for him to manipulate their leader. Though he loses his father figure and mentor, he convinces members of The Eternal Family to join him and leads his army back to the city to fight. An underhanded developer learns about Tshepo’s activities and plots to use him, along with an arsonist for hire, to be rid of some problem properties, and their tenants.

 

Wanna be my writing buddy? You can find me at nanowrimo.org/participants/marialberg

or on Twitter @authormariaberg

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