September’s Changing Focus Blog Challenge: Reflections

Last month I was excited to find the Changing Focus Blog Challenge, because I’m always looking for ways that my talents and creativity can work together, and a multimedia project around a theme each month felt like just the thing for me. I came up with, and executed, my Pathways response in two weeks. I like it, but it felt like a draft: rushed and rough, And I didn’t realize I didn’t have until the end of the month, so it was late.

So this month, I paid special attention to the end date, and got started right away with an oral poem to music for dVerse Poets Pub.

I thought about reflecting bokeh and tried several shots with the big mirror in the closet, and got some very interesting shots, but that needs a lot more practice.

The lake wasn’t calm enough to get much other than dock shadow. I took a few photographs of reflections in the windows, thinking of setting up scenes inside and doing an inside/outside type reflection.

I wrote more poems about reflections. I found a great site for kids that inspired me to do an acrostic, but that led me to working on a submission for Constellations: A Journal of Poetry and Fiction with the theme Redirections. I love how my work on pathways and reflections had my mind firing for redirections.

After I looked up “reflections” definitions and found “folding back,” I thought my daily inkblots that I started during “Pathways” could continue into this project and I thought about playing with my Rorschach mask, a mask that reacts to temperature change to change its black and white pattern. I couldn’t see through the mask, so the 10sec timed shots were very tough, but I had some fun with it.

However, a couple of minutes of that would take more space and time than my computer or I have; we would all get dizzy; and it seams like something I want to save for a more Halloween inspired piece.

I came up with some melodies in A-flat, chose beautiful chords with my capo on the fourth fret, and yet nothing was coming together. I even started a page in my hardback The Musician’s Notebook: Deluxe Edition, titled it “Reflections in A flat major.” But blank those pages stay. Perfectionism is a curse. Nothing will ever be perfect.

I took my small, ornamental mirror into the bathroom, creating eternal reflections, then I remembered that the large mirror in the office closet wasn’t attached to the wall. It was heavier than I would have liked, but I shoved, slid, carried it into the closet where I was working. I had ideas to film myself moving the mirror while filming to create more and less eternal reflection with my eyes and feet around the mirror: naked to full costume was also an idea through all of these processes.

By this time I was stressing and hitting other deadlines and any one of my ideas would take another month. So this morning, I decided I had to let this reflections project go and do a project every other month and be happy for the inspiration.

But this evening, the world provided. And this panoramic image says it all.

Pathways: a video, music, and poetry project

Update 9/2/2021: After enjoying all the oral poetry for the Poetics prompt this week, I thought the poets of dVerse Poets Pub might enjoy this for Open Link Night. I hope you will check out today’s special guest post from Jacob M. Appel on revision as well.

Here it is! My response to wRightingMyLife‘s Changing Focus monthly blogging challenge. The theme was Pathways.

I’ve wanted to try something that combines music, photography, and writing for a while, so this was a great inspiration to give it a try. This first effort was a bit rushed ( I happened upon the challenge halfway through the month), but I had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot.

While putting together the video, I learned how to do some animations with my photographs (haven’t figured out how to use them with my video editing software yet), and learned some techniques for combining motion and still photography.

Recording myself reading my poems was great practice. While practicing, some revisions and edits became obvious.

Writing music to go with the visuals and poetry was very challenging. Many of my ideas just wouldn’t work. I went through days of discarding recordings, but finally came up with the feel of pathways I was going for.

September’s theme is Reflections. I have a lot of reflection to do about my Pathways project. 😉

A Lucky Stream of Consciousness

This year’s Writer’s Games are over. I’m happy to say that one of my stories placed third in its event, so it will be published in the anthology. My first publication this year. Woohoo! This is the first Saturday I’m not working on a story, and am excited to have a Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The theme for today is Luck. Here’s a sample of my stream of consciousness writing on luck in my journal this morning:

“I’m still in disbelief of how unlucky, and lucky, I was yesterday. A simple act of gravity could have been a complete tragedy, but turned out fine. Talk about drama: hot water pouring over a frozen banana in the sink, I step out to get mint, and not wanting bugs to get in, close the sliding door behind me, but the house and gravity conspired, and the hinged bar fell. The door wouldn’t budge. At least I know that little bar does its job keeping people out, but I lock all my doors and windows at all times, so I was screwed. But luck was on my side. I still can’t believe how lucky I felt when the shop door opened. Maybe I wasn’t sure kitty wanted to stay in, so I didn’t lock it after I watered, or if he opened it telepathically, but somehow his recent choice to spend these hot, smoky days in the shop saved me, and the house. It was such a bit of luck, it felt spiritual, supernatural. Luck favors the prepared, but I was not prepared. Once I was back in the house, and had taken many deep breaths, I made the connection that it was Friday the 13th. It had never been a date I paid much attention to before. I wonder if I will take notice and act differently the next time.”

Maria L. Berg

Looking through my WordPress Reader, I lucked into a cluster of Flower of the Day posts: Zombie Flamingos’ black and white response to Cee’s Flower a Day challenge, inspired me to go out and try a black and white flower photo. I love it! And lalalaMonique has a flower a day challenge in which she draws a flower each day. I think I’ll combine all three (though I ignored Cee’s dahlia prompt).

Stumbling upon Cee’s flower-a-day was also lucky because the site has lists of all sorts of challenges. Because I want to focus on recording music on the weekends, I took a look at her list of Music Challenges. I like the blogging challenge idea at wRightingMyLife because it combines writing, photography, and music which is something I want to do. The theme this month is “Pathways.” Luck and pathways go together well.

My overgrown path almost plum-ripe

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie has something called Lucky Dip which today is a poetry prompt to write a Nonet which is a nine line diminishing syllables poem.

Fickle Luck

When all is shiny and bright as gold
the path ahead clearly unfolds
a gentle ease fills the day
no blockades in the way
birdsong fills the air
not a blister
or ache. We
call it
luck

When all is dark, and hope has run out
everything tried fails, leaving doubt
dare not ask what could go wrong
dread makes the day too long
chainsaws scream a dirge
the next turn will
be worse. We
call it
luck

And talk about lucky! I made the last of my quinoa, not sure what to eat with it, and just before I threw out the bag, I noticed a recipe on the back for Blueberry and Feta Quinoa Salad. And I had all the ingredients (except for cucumber). Delicious!

What color is your portal? Change it with online paint chips.

I opened a portal

I opened a portal (2020)                 bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Yesterday I started a new Coursera course: Songwriting:Writing the Lyrics with Pat Pattison through Berklee College of Music. One of the first lessons conceptualized a song as three boxes, stacked with the smallest on top. The top box fitting inside the middle box and both fitting in the bottom box. He used this imagery as the build and progression of the song.

I liked how he used “the boxes” and thought it would be a good way to approach a poem, so I thought I would take a look at what was going on at #dVerse Poets Pub to inspire some words to put in my boxes.

I felt like the #dVersepoetics prompt presented by HA: About Portals, was perfect for my poem. I talked a bit about portals and doorways while I was Excavating my mind. The prompt inspired me to open a portal in the side of the house and capture some photographs of the dimensions on the other side.

Where we can see the virus

Where We Can See The Virus (2020)    bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Where there are tiny dinosaurs in the trees

Where There Are Tiny Dinosaurs In Trees (2020) bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

I thought I would combine my portal ideas with Linda L. Krushke’s Paint Chip Poetry Prompt. I was looking for interesting color names a couple weeks ago for a poem, but didn’t find what I was imagining. The paint chip poetry prompt got me thinking and I searched again. Sherwin-Williams color families is exactly what I was looking for, so many creative color names with history and symbolism and oddity. It’s great. I can also explore Behr’s colors.

Armed with great inspiration, I lost all energy and interest 🙂 But I came back to it this morning, so I’ll call that a win.

The poem

Portals to here

Doors block and stop
when closed and locked hold
secrets and mysteries, create
yearning and discomfort, force

vocal expression out of context
the imagination runs rabid,
but when the key is found
and the door creaks, cracked

upon its hinges, it becomes
but a frame, lines and angles
to accentuate or break
the nouns within

Portals are but separators,
organizations to define
yours from mine from ours,
space from time, earthly from divine

find the vibration to pass
through the membrane,
concentrate, believe, transform
pass through to here

How long will it take to
notice the subtle differences
What color is your portal now?
Is it the drab aloe vera of the desert house

where I shaved my head
for the first time, or is it marine
like the flap of my tent I call the hurricane
that accompanies me on all my travels

did you walk through the door
that glowed like a sunset behind
the intricate carving of the head of Medusa
that I continued to visit every day in Venice

or is your portal no color at all
a carved opening in a cliff dwelling
showing the complete eclipse
where you look down through infinity, trapped

Excavating the Mind Round 2 Day 4: Music’s Influence

music to influence observations

I am working on a week long photography and poetry challenge inspired by a prompt from Poets & Writers called Excavating the Mind.

Today’s Enrichment and Time Evaporator

Nature Photography

This morning I found some great nature photography posts to enjoy:

CAS Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition

Underwater Photographer of the year 2020

and for laughs

12 Funny Wild Animal Pictures: A Comedy Wildlife Photography Award Preview

Poetry

I headed back to the Rattle Poetry Youtube Channel because I enjoyed it so much yesterday and found this wonderful poem by William Trowbridge “Oldguy Superhero, Counterterrorist.” It made me laugh.

Day 4 notes and observations

Last night I watched Jericho Brown, this year’s Pulitzer-Prize winner, interviewed by Alphonso David, president of HRC Human Rights Campaign. It included so much great information. I especially enjoyed this great quote:

Poetry is the genre of investigation and discovery – Jericho Brown

So let’s get to investigating and discovering.

I thought I would use Visuwords again to create today’s frame. I let it provide the original word which turned out to be tonal. One of the word associations was music. When I double clicked on music, I broke the program! The screen filled with words incredibly quickly then the mass of words and lines danced back and forth across the screen and never stopped. This, in itself, brought to mind how music is a universe, a broad framework that flavors every observation.

Since it’s another rainy morning and I’ll be observing inside, I decided to select a variety of records from my eclectic collection (four albums I have not listened to yet on the new record player) to spice up my observations. I also played with some different lighting: a full spectrum bulb on a stand with a shadow box and Prolite Electronix RTL 30 as a spotlight.

First influence: Anna Moffo – Heroines From Great French Operas (1975)

Anna Moffo

Her voice put me in the mood for more romantic lighting, so I grabbed those thumbtacks I observed in juxtaposition and put one in a previous hole I found in the wall then stung some blue lights and turned off all the others. I enjoyed how the blue reflected on the album cover and matched the glow of the display of the record player.

The spotlight on the plain wall made me want to make shadow puppets. Because the light I used was made of many small lights, It created an interesting effect.

 

Since I was playing, I decided to put on KLAPP och KLANG (1969), a Swedish language record of children’s songs, as the next influence.

Klapp och Klang

I instantly found myself bobbing side to side in my seat and snapping my fingers to the music. I took down the blue lights and turned on all the others. I was drawn to some tiny figures that have been on the hearth since before I moved in. Then I felt like exploring for more toys.

I just looked out the window and two geese swam by with their brand new fluffy babies, so I quickly changed my lens and ran out to capture a couple picks of goslings.

They swam away quickly this time, so back to it. Next up we have Ahmad Jamal- All Of You (1961). This light piano-led jazz has me moving in the same way as the children’s songs: bobbing and snapping.

Ahmad Jamal

Notes:

  • music makes me contradictory: I want to sit contemplatively, but I have to move
  • the mood of the music changes my lighting preferences
  • an object, like a certain microphone, can symbolize the person who uses it
  • the roll of the sleeve on my jean jacket has been preserved through all space and time like an ancient artifact in a museum

Today’s final selection is Alla Pugacheva in Stockholm (1985). This is amazing. A Russian pop star, singing in English, recorded in Sweden and yet, so distinctly ’80s. Oh that saxophone! I remembered that I still have the jean jacket with the pins on it that I got in Sweden and Leningrad.

 

That was fun. I really enjoyed how the music influenced what I observed and how I observed it. Still one more day to go, but I can see how this week’s poem will be very different from last week’s.

It’s Open Link Night over at dVerse Poet’s Pub. Head over and share your favorite poem you wrote this week and read and comment on all the other great works.

Now to play with Kari McElroy’s Musical Alphabet Coloring Pages and explore the music of all the artists she has drawn.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaPoWriMo Day 15: Music in my Dreams

Last song of the night

A to Z Challenge

Today is exciting for me. A day when all of the prompts and my choice for A to Z work together. Dream Music! Yay!

moderato – rather fast
melody – succession of musical tones, prominent part contrasted to harmony
meno mosso – less motion or speed
morendo –  a dying away of sound, gradually getting softer until no sound exists

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: write a poem inspired by your favorite kind of music

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write a dream poem

The poem

Dream Music

A melody in the key of flight
with a harmony at intervals of cathedral steps
that crescendos like water rushing over a waterfall
dolce tones of feathers falling
diminuendo to cyclopean fermata
a half-step turn reveals the spacious view
palatial glissando into counterpoint
creates the rhythm for a bailecito moderato
and I wake jubiloso
the dream song lingers until morendo

 

 

# NaPoWriMo Day 4: Dreams and Wishes

double ink blot with acrylic paint

Dreamscape (2020)                             acrylic inkblot and photo by Maria L. Berg

I wrote a song called Haunting Dreams that I recorded with Maria and the Aftermath on our album Selective Memories. I uploaded it to HitRecord which is a fun site for artistic collaboration. I think it fits nicely with this theme.

Blogging A to Z

diminuendo – gradually get softer

dolce – play with a sweet tone

dynamics – variations in degree of loudness and softness, shading

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: Write a poem based on an image from a dream

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Write a wish poem

The poem

Dreams and Wishes

Dreams and wishes
echo unfulfilled desires
remnants of reaching
into the vast unknown
only to find a silent ache

Wishes like fishes
swim around in
the collective unconscious
looking for tasty bait
that will hook
and draw them wriggling
to the surface
for a last gasp
only to die

Dreams are the streams
where hope battles
against the current
guided by biological
determination to
fertilize and duplicate
and once spawned
wither and die
decay and wash away

Be diligently weary
of wishes
and find a way
to keep REM sleep at bay
for the promises
dangled by those shimmering
glimpses in the night
are but slimy scales in the light

 

#OctPoWriMo Day 2: Quickening Notes

Quickening Notes

elongate
stretch to
your whole being
you linger after waves
disipate

split
to share
you give half
to emphasize and sustain
refit

made
to remember
left in haste
quarter for the meter
paid

 

 

The Quadrille: Not Just An Old Dance Anymore

quadrille: noun – 1. a square dance performed typically by four couples and containing five (or six) sections, each of which is a complete dance in itself. A piece of music for a quadrille dance. 2. each of four groups of riders taking part in a tournament or carousel, distinguished by a special costume or colors. A riding display.

The Dance

The dance took its name from square formations executed by four mounted horsemen in 17th-century military parades. The dance was executed by four couples in a square formation.

The following table from Wikipedia shows what the different parts of the Viennese six-part style look like, musically speaking:

  • part 1: Pantalon (written in 2/4 or 6/8)
    theme A – theme B – theme A – theme C – theme A
  • part 2: Été (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A
  • part 3: Poule (always written in 6/8)
    theme A – theme B – theme A – theme C – theme A – theme B – theme A
    • Part 3 always begins with a two-measure introduction
  • part 4: Trénis (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A
  • part 5: Pastourelle (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme C – theme B – theme A
  • part 6: Finale (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A – theme A
    • Part 6 always begins with a two-measure introduction

All the themes are 8 measures long.

The Poem

I started this study of quadrilles today because it’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and I wanted to participate for the fist time. The connection between the quadrille dance and poetry began when Lewis Carroll lampooned the dance in  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’sThe Lobster Quadrille” (1865).

The dVerse Poets Pub Quadrille is a poem (or short prose) in exactly 44 words that incorporates a given word. To quote from the original post from Björn Rudberg, “The challenge combines two essential elements to have fun.” Today’s word is muddle and the quotes on the site are great!

I headed over to Shadow Poetry to see if they had a poetry form page for the quadrille and the closest I found was an invented poetry form by C. G. V. Lewis called a quadrilew.

Over at Poetry Soup I found a page of links to poems about quadrille that they call Quadrille Poems which I thought was interesting.

And now that I have some understanding of quadrille (at least the word), here is my first attempt at creating my own:

The Dance

Lace and denim muddled
space in a rat race

Grace; a muddled mint
in a julep glazed

Chase a hint
of mace-muddled flint,
a warm taste

Face the phenom
of muddled voices
venom without trace

Time is a climb of thirsting,
bursting rhyme sublime

 

The Horses

Happy Reading and Writing!

and dancing and horses and costumes

X is for Xanthic

xanthic: adjective – of, relating to, or tending toward a yellow color

happy yellows

This is a fun word because it is part of a group of words having to do with yellow:

xanthocarpous: adj. – having yellow fruit

xanthochroia: noun – yellowness of the skin

xanthochroic: adj. – having yellow skin

xanthocomic: adj. – yellow-haired

xanthocyanopsy: noun – form of color-blindness in which only blue and yellow can be distinguished

xanthoderm: noun – yellow-skinned person

xanthodont: noun – one with yellow teeth

xanthoma: noun – disease characterized by yellow patches on the skin

xanthophyll: noun – substance causing yellow colour of autumn leaves

xanthopsia: noun – a visual condition where things appear yellow

xanthospermous: adj. – having yellow seeds

xanthous: adj. – yellow or red-haired

Queen of Swords

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem in response to a Tarot card. If you’ve been following Experience Writing for a while, you may have seen that I created my first Tarot deck last fall and worked through the book Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch. I learned a lot and talked about my process and experiences throughout my November posts.

My card for today is the Queen of Swords. Over at Tarot.com you can see the Queen of Swords image from many different tarot decks.

 

Butterfly Kisses

Cloudless sulphur clouds
Gathering along the horizon

Her xanthic monarch crown
Flutters and shifts to mimic her acumen

The painted lady raises her razor-sharp,
Double-edged sword to the sky

And in genuine faith
Metes her wisdom

Beware the cabbage white
Its young will eat your food

And the swallowtail’s caterpillar
May show you its repugnatorial organ

 

Are you interested in learning about using Tarot symbolism to inspire your creativity? You may want to read:
Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch

The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life by Jessa Crispin

Mary K. Greer’s 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card

Happy Reading and Writing!