#SoCS: Sticks and Stones and Words

Fragility by Maria L. Berg 2022

Fragility

The quality or state of being easily broken, shattered, damaged, or destroyed: delicate; brittle; frail: vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: lacking in substance or force; flimsy: in a weakened physical state; slight; tenuous: fragility comes to everything and everyone at one point or another. I think of thin, brittle, sheer tissue; skeletal frames; loose connections, crumbling.

For my images, I thought about how fragile the paper filters I created with paper punch shapes were. I pulled out the roll of paper to make a new one, but then thought about the loosely connected fragility of old lace. I have a collection of old lace trim, and tried placing some over the lens shield. I really like the effect.

A Fragile Connection by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s prompt is to write about a phrase from childhood. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s journal:

I thought of discipline first: Just wait ’til your dad gets home, and I’m gonna count to ten, but there has to be some fun phrases from childhood. I thought of Step on a crack . . . ; Tag! you’re it; Jinx! you owe me a coke; but none of those really spoke to me. Then I thought of Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me–a phrase used a lot as a kid that proved not to be true–and I’m rubber and you’re glue; your words bounce off me and stick to you–fun to say, but also not true. The sticks and stones saying goes well with today’s abstract noun “fragility”, and both phrases feel like they would work well in a poem.

Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Human Fragility

Sticks and stones–

so abundant / all around on the ground
quick to hand / broken from a dry branch
weaponized / slung, thrown, whipped, battered, broken
with the slightest aim / anger-fueled force

–may break my bones,
but words–

symbols and sounds / agreed upon to have meaning
combined with malicious intent / to produce hurt in the perceived fragile
shouted and chanted to taunt / because repetition erodes caverns from the cracks
because words evoke emotions that / though we’re told they don’t matter

–can [never] hurt me.

A Fragile Ecosystem by Maria L. Berg 2022

Hunting the Elusive Rest

I found this month’s prompt Rest, Sleep and Hibernation very inspiring, and I’m excited to share my finished multi-media video. I really enjoyed how the stills and video fit with the sounds I collected and arranged. And it was fun to put my poem in the fire. I hope you find this relaxing and restful.

#2021picoftheweek: An Open Book

For Of Maria Antonia’s Photo Challenge #50: An Open Book.

Book Love by Maria L. Berg 2021

I have seen this shot many times, but not tried it. This prompt inspired me to give it a go.

Colorful Book Love by Maria L. Berg 2021

My Consciousness Streams on Day 2: #OctPoWriMo #Writober #SoSC

Though today is Day 2 of OctPoWriMo and Writober, it’s also Stream of Consciousness Saturday, so I thought I would start the day with some thoughts on “inspire/aspire/expire.”

Unedited Stream of Consciousness

At first I thought of the note I made yesterday about surrender: hope/disappointment/death and it fits. After looking up the words and finding the connection to breath, I wanted to move around, inhale, raise, fly, hold, exhale. My original interpretations of each word were far from breath. Inspire as a challenge, guiding to new thoughts, new ideas, excitement. Aspire as something or someone to look up to, something one strives for and wants to be, qualities one wishes to acquire, skills one practices to master. Expire, I thought of death, but like the death card it can be any ending which really means a turn or change. It doesn’t need to be the last breath, but the beginning of the next. breathe/desire/breathe again.

~Maria L. Berg

OctPoWriMo

The prompt from 2018 Day 2 was “Poems and notes to you.” The image is a still from a 1941 Looney Tunes Porky Pig cartoon called Notes To You. I don’t think I made the connection to, or watched the cartoon back then. There are a lot of odd references, and a great ghostly twist at the end.

I’m going to keep “Surrender” as a theme for every day this month. Specifically, sonic surrender. Continuing my stream of consciousness and keeping the prompt in mind, here’s today’s poem:

breathe / desire / breathe again

inspire to acquire
to acquire breath
breath and excitement
breathe delightment
delight in inquiry,
synergy, serendipity,
connections with recollections
memory in emergency
emerging to aspire
arise and pine
in fire’s desire
thirst to soar
so struggle in
ambition’s direction
toward more and more
the apex point
pointing against the sky
eye-popping, intoxicating
impassioned urgency
to fly high not to
expire until ready to
breathe again

Writober

Yesterday’s fun combination of an image and a memory led me to lots of questions and ideas. So today I thought I’d do some research and brainstorming.

Research – First, I wanted to know more about the image if possible, so I looked up the artist and I’m glad I did. On Alex Timmermans’s website he has videos about his liquid plate process, and beautiful photographs in his portfolio. The group of photos that includes one with the boar, is called “Storytelling.” Knowing that he uses taxidermied animals took some of the magic out of the image, but I’ll get over it.

I didn’t find anything specific about Alex Timmermans’s inspiration for the image, so my next area of research turned to the mythology of boars. I found some interesting stuff at Trees for Life. Even a story about Merlin hanging out with a wolf and a wild boar when he gained his powers of prophesy. This site said that boars are guardians of the forest in Princess Mononoke which I have never seen. This idea sounds promising for my story, so I know what I’ll be watching this evening as I brainstorm story ideas.

I finished off my research by taking a look at Dream Meaning. It says dreams with boars are positive dreams that speak to an ability to face challenges to your happiness. It also says that the wild boar symbolizes people who are instinctual, and act on instinct to protect their interests and family. It represents the effort and will to solve your problems. It also means to stay strong.

A couple of the specific boar dreams listed might apply to the image:

  1. “If you hunted a boar and you caught it” : the man with the boar in the image will be lucky and get everything he desires which will make him truly happy.
  2. “When a boar attacked and persecuted you”: This might apply to my wheelbarrow and shovel man. It indicates that someone he cares about will be his enemy. He won’t believe it’s happening, but it’s true. That could be an interesting twist in my story. Something to think about.

How are your stories coming? Have any spooky ideas yet?

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!

Fun With Mirrors

The Dverse Poets Pub’s challenge today is to try the Mirrored Refrain form created by Stephanie Repnyek. It looks like a fun challenge of rhyme and repetition. Here goes:

A Needed Rest

Fireflies’ sparks among the murmur,
relief within the monotonous slop,
illuminate the eighth-note rest,
thrust of syncopation, surprise stop.

A small puncture to the drone,
the point of the carving knife presses,
thrust of syncopation, surprise stop.
Illuminate the eighth-note rest.

Spaces of magnetic balance where
attraction and repulsion lock
illuminate the eighth-note rest,
thrust of syncopation, surprise stop.

A skip that jolts the battered heart with
the sharp, invigorating sting of zest,
Thrust of syncopation, surprise stop,
illuminate the eighth-note rest.

The poetry form inspired me to go out and take some fun mirror pictures. I almost melted, but got some nice pictures. Thank you for the inspiration.

Great Balls of Fire! A getaway pegacorn happens!

Last week I found two Sunday writing prompts. Let’s see what they have for me today:

Poetic Bloomings‘ PROMPT #334 is “It Happens” and Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie‘s Sunday Writing Prompt is “Great Balls of Fire”

I thought I would combine the prompts and was mid-freewrite with the ideas, but then something happened. 🙂

A photograph of an inflatable pegacorn, white with rainbow mane, wings, tail and horn on a blue lake.
Pegacorn leashed by Maria L. Berg 2021

Flying Free on the Slightest Breeze

I ran to save a pegacorn. It happens.
I jumped up and ran to my dock
expecting to intercept
but it surprised me

It didn’t stop. It flipped
in a flash, floating
on a slight breeze,
landing halfway

to the neighbor’s dock
It eyed me and its escape
one more flip
then gone

I sprinted through the weeds
ignoring the bushes grown together
I found footing over the sharp
wet rocks and leaped

over the watery gap
to the wobbly planks
in time, just in time
to grab

that mythical horse’s
horn and deliver
it to a thankful mermaid
ready for a flying adventure

An open rose with yellow, orange and red petals
Great Balls of Fire by Maria L. Berg 2021

Here’s the original poem of somewhat combined prompts:

Fireballs Happen

The great ball of fire commands the day
burns up the clouds for full display
brightens the blues, the greens, yellows, and pinks
and heats up the ant invasion

The great ball of firing neurons attenuate
to every black speck, ready to hate
the second it moves, obsessively out for the kill
if only this year it could end

The great ball of fire from ant-filled wood
each crackle a hope lifting my mood
they burned, they burned the entire glorious day
diminished, but never gone

As I admire the great balls of fiery rhododendrons
each tattooed blossom aflame in summer, my neurons
burn with hope that the bomb of toxins I desperately set
in the bathroom will push back

No! Destroy the enemy, so I may some day
bake and bathe undisturbed under the
great ball of fire in the sky

Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Five: New Redrafting Ideas

image of notebook and marked-up poem through a blue lens
The Poem in Blue by Maria L. Berg 2021

The dVerse Poets Pub prompt for Poetics is Blue Tuesday. Sarah challenges us to write Blue poems which gave me an idea for another redraft, “Put a color on it.” This a great way to think about revising to emotion as well. When you’ve identified the mood and emotion you want your poem to convey, ask yourself what color that is and use that color as a filter for redrafting your poem. The Sherwin-Williams paint colors site is a great tool for exploring color families and color names.

Put a color on it

For this poem, I imagined using a blue lens on my camera and using it to tint my poem. I used some of the draft from the thesaurus game below and made it blue.

Seeing in Blue

An atmospheric perception after the rain
in the steam of warm rain
captures contrary smoky-azurite wings
those wings just can’t agree
pulsating rhythmic reflections in a poll
the rhythm’s inverted beats
in a pool’s still, faded-flaxflower waters

Rapture jammed with glacial conceits
fancy whims chilling beneath
mid-cloudburst like ebbtide in advance
it will advance the tide
of the swimming, sense of falling
falling, falling into this dive
maneuvering eviction from a wondrous whirlpool

The outlook grows lake-water crisp
Ow! It bites, clarity
after a meditative rainstorm’s punctuation
all those taps, droppy drips
untimately leads to discovering the fountain,
finally find, what’s to find
transmitting blissful moonmist

image of rhododendrons through a blue lens
Seeing Blue by Maria L. Berg 2021

I thought of a couple more quick and easy redrafting techniques over the weekend. I am a huge fan of my thesaurus and thought what fun it would be to use my thesaurus to come up with replacements for all of the main nouns and verbs. I’ll call this exercise Thesaurus Game.

Thesaurus Game

Here’s what I came up with using the first stanza of the original short-centered line poem “Indelible Marks” for demonstration:

Permanent Symbols

a perception captures contrary wings
flittering in range of a basin’s elbowroom

jammed with glacial conceits mid-provocation
like ear-ringing in advance of the swimming,
sense of falling, maneuvering eviction from a coil

the outlook grows crisp as if ultimately discovering
the fountain transporting pervading corruption saturation

While reading the Back Draft:John Murillo interview, the two versions of “Mercy, Mercy Me” made me think of another, somewhat simple redraft I can do. I can turn it upside down. I think I will add that to my process at the beginning of redrafting.

Turn It Upside-Down

When I took the full, long lines of the current draft and turned them upside down, I didn’t find a lot of inspiration, but when I took the short, centered lines and turned them upside down, I found some interesting lines. That inspired me to completely reverse the words which also revealed some interesting lines.

Drag center line to the right or left to reveal each poem

This comparison block makes me happy! I liked how Back Draft on Guernica was comparing their first draft and final draft poems using JuxtaposeJS, so I created a Juxtapose on the knightlab site, but the HTML wasn’t working with WordPress. I found a work-around which included downloading a plug-in and writing more HTML, and I was planning on trying it for the final poem reveal, but now I don’t have to. Yay for comparison block. Thank you WordPress.