I’ve been playing around with creating found poetry from The Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper (1653), one of the texts suggested for submissions to the next issue of Heron Tree.
Culpeper believed that the medicinal properties of herbs were connected to stars and planets, writing, “I knew those various affections in man, in respect of sickness and health, were caused naturally (though God may have other ends best known to himself) by the various operations of the Microcosm; and I could not be ignorant, that as the cause is, so must the cure be; and therefore he that would know the reason of the operation of the Herbs, must look up as high as the Stars, astrologically.”
The book is a really fun read, and the man was very poetic in his description of herbs and remedies, so I’m enjoying using the text for found poetry. I am also continuing my study of drumbeats in relation to poetry and this week I’m looking at 1, 2 &, 3, 4 & and 1 &, 2, 3 &, 4. For fun, I decided to combine the two and attempt to tame some of Culpeper’s words into my drumbeats for today’s quadrille.
Let Her Be With a Fixed Star
Upper crust of the earth, shooting forth like a star, the planet that governs, the stronger the better, written fixed before the nature of planets, take notice those houses, they delight star fashion, smell somewhat sweet up as high as the Star under them.
Today at dVerse Poets Pub it’s quadrille Monday which means we are writing poems of exactly 44 words and today, De Jackson has offered the word “bold” to inspire and be included in the poem. “Bold” is also a great word to inspire today’s images.
Life of the Party
I want to be bold a grand story told if only it were so easy along the fold I rolled in gold shimmering and breezy never cold and never old the whirl lost hold fruit lost to mold and I fell dizzy and queasy
Today I’m looking at finding the indifference in excitement and excitement in indifference.Everything about my work is excitement to me, the lights the shapes, the discovery, so how do I show indifference in that excitement. A second person might be indifferent to the excitement. The world might be indifferent to the excitement. What does indifference look like? I was thinking no filter at all. Only looking at circles. But even that is exciting. Maybe not looking through the lens finder at all.
It is Quadrille Monday where today’s challenge is to write a forty-four word poem which includes the word “warm” in some form. It will be an interesting exercise to condense all the lines I collected from the poems I’ve written this month into only forty-four words as my remix poem.
Attempts at Indifference Went Down in Flames
Let’s pretend I found indifference— was free of bias learned from experience and could know vibrations of unfiltered perceptions and nerves afire went for broke Nothing is as incomprehensible as honest truth —would I in my excitement be warmed by the fire or burned?
Last night I set up files for each of the scenes I need to get me through the end of this draft, and hopped from one to another writing about five hundred words into each. I still have a ways to go, but I think I can get to the end by the 30th. I’m excited.
Today I’m looking at finding the friendship in acquaintance and the acquaintance in friendship. I journaled a lot about how friendship is in acquaintance and acquaintance in friendship and it all came down to time. One has to be willing to put the time in to listen, to ask questions; one has to want to spend time with a person, concept, or idea.
Today’s prompt is “(blank) Story,” and it’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub where the word “wing” needs to be included in a poem of exactly 44 words.
Let’s pretend time broke a wing and can’t fly so your warmth next to me as we look out at the lake while the sun gets low in the sky and sparkles in our eyes won’t roam and you won’t look at your phone.
Today, I’m celebrating because I “won” NaNoWriMo yesterday by writing 50,000 words on my new novel draft. However, I want to complete my whole first draft since it’s going so well,so I reset my goal on the NaNoWriMo website for another 40,000 words. This ups the daily goal to over 2,353. It seems daunting, but my new “wake up and write on the novel” practice is working. I already have 1400 words on the day, and I haven’t really gotten into today’s planned writing. The only thing that’s bothering me about resetting my goal is I had to get rid of my original goal because they can’t overlap. Thus, my pretty win on the site is gone. I guess that’s a good motivator to meet my new goal. Still a bit of a bummer.
This week I am exploring the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom in naivete. Yesterday, while reading The Senses: Design Beyond Vision edited by Ellen Lipton and Andrea Lipps, I read, “Sensory design activates touch, sound, smell, taste, and the wisdom of the body.” That really opened up this week’s study for me. I already found my naivete in wisdom: I was only thinking of wisdom as a mental property. “Wisdom of the body, has a lot to do with homeostasis, but I’m just starting to think about it. I’ll be talking more about it throughout the week. Happily, the idea of wisdom of the body, goes great with Tourmaline .’s prompt “skeleton.” The visual prompt for #Writober titled “Owl Queen,” also fits perfectly with naive wisdom and wise naivete. I love it when all the prompts come together. 😍
I was mistakenly under the impression that October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo) wasn’t happening this year. But this morning, I received a nice note from Morgan letting me know where to find this year’s prompts. This year’s theme “Growing Your Creative Soul,” and the first prompt, “Shine your light,” fit so well with the amazing summer I’ve been having. It’s October and I spent most of yesterday swimming in the lake with my nieces. I’ve had incredible months of light and growth.
So I have some free-writing to do on how I shine my light, and an ode or sonnet to write about a Thunderstorm. But now it’s Day 3 and the prompt is Spirals of Creation. The loop form is recommended. I wasn’t going to use it, thinking the loop form was one long stanza using the last word of a line to start the next line, but there are two other variations. I like the third one for this poem.
It’s also Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub. The prompt for Quadrille #161 is “track.”
Track the Spiral Back
It’s naive to believe
wisdom lies in ideas: it resides
among connections connections like threads threads of web webbing truths
once weighed and lived, applied, sifted
through, with devotion, all one’s previous notions
wisdom is looping a looping track track the spiral spiral back
Today’s prompt is skeleton. Thinking about how weird and horrifying it would be if we could see the skeleton’s within the people and creatures around us, talking and walking around, I made a wire “skeleton” and added it to the Monster Me filters from Day 1.
Today’s image is called “Owl Queen” on Pinterest and Imgur, but I ran into trouble trying to find who the artist is or any more about the work. It’s fun that this image coincided with this first day of looking at wisdom and naivete. I definitely didn’t plan it. It begs the question, does the naive young woman sit among wise old owls, or are the owls being naive?
I’m finding this study of abstract nouns fascinating. We think we know what these words mean, but the more I study them, the less clear they become. When I dive into their definitions, I always find something surprising. Mercy has a very interesting definition: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. “Stricken by misfortune” brings in ideas of destiny and luck, and forbearance brings patience into the mix. But it’s the next part of the definition that surprised me: “an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power.”
The wording implies that an offender or enemy is a person in one’s power. That any person is in another’s power is a warped idea. Power struggles are one of those facts of life from beginning to end that are an instinctive part of the human struggle that is intertwined with the question of evolution and/or creation; and the basic questions of nature vs. nurture. However, I was even more interested in the idea of the offender, or enemy being that person in one’s power. When I think of an offender, or enemy, I think of bullies: people out for a fight; people looking for those they perceive as weaker than them, to belittle and have power over. How would that person be a person in my power? There’s a lot to think about there.
For today’s images, I thought of my door filter that I created for “Close” and used again for “Adventure,” symbolizing the mercy of giving someone a way out. What could symbolize removing suffering? A mouse with a thorn? Too obtuse, the viewer would have to think of the fable of the mouse and the lion, and interpret, a line in its paw as a thorn removed from a lion. Instead, I tried to open and close my door filter to flowers.
Merciful sleep, thick, heavy fog with power over me, have pity this one night keep out intruders lock the doors and hold them fast from the dreams of suffering and sorrow, haunted memories of possibilities filled with desires that you steal away come morning
For my theme this year, I chose abstract nouns which are words for things that aren’t perceived by the senses, and can’t be physically measured. They are ideas, qualities, or states rather than concrete objects. I chose this theme because I combine the A to Z Challenge with National Poetry Writing Month and abstract nouns are the breath of life for poetry. Two–love and beauty–have kept poets busy through the ages.
I really enjoyed this theme. It kept me inspired every day. My attempts to express these concepts as abstract photographs led me to try new techniques:
using clear fishing line in my filters to create floating shapes
more detailed wire work
a light curtain as background
using the camera’s built in effects in the mirrorworld
opening the blinds to let the outside into the mirrorwold
light-painting with a flashlight for still and moving bokeh at the same time
and create fun new bokeh filters. My favorites:
I also enjoyed diving into the definitions of these abstract nouns and discovering how many of them had circular definitions: What is comfort? Solace. What is solace? Comfort. I found I would like to explore many of them further.
The A to Z Community
I want to thank everyone who came by to read my posts. I appreciated all the likes and comments. There were a lot of really fun themes this year and posts that I enjoyed reading. I especially enjoyed:
It’s fun to look at what everyone’s thinking about and exploring. If you are looking over the month of my work as a whole, I would love to know: Which of my images was your favorite? Which of my poems was your favorite?
May Photo Challenge
I enjoyed my daily exploration of abstract nouns so much, I want to keep doing it. There’s so much more to explore and think about with each of the abstract nouns I looked at in April, I could repeat that calendar over and over, but there are also so many more abstract nouns to explore. I created a new calendar for this month, including homographs for Sundays like last month. Though I won’t be posting every day, I will be taking pictures and writing poems each day focused on these abstract nouns. I may return to April’s nouns in June.
Starting today, my focus returns to my main priority of finishing novels. Yesterday, I was thinking about how I can bring the same passion and daily feeling of accomplishment I feel with photography and poetry to my daily novel writing. I wrote in my journal:
“What if I approach each scene as an exploration of an abstract noun? How would I explore –adventure (for example)–in my scene today? How would my POV character encounter–adventure–in this setting? Or express –adventure– to another character? How would he show–adventure– on his face/ with his body language? How would she perceive the world in this moment through–adventure?”
This month, I’m going to play with this idea in my morning pages, replacing –adventure– with each of my abstract nouns each day and see how it affects my scenes. Hopefully it will give my novel writing that same sense of discovery, exploration, and wonder I find in my photographs.
So on to this next adventure, full of exciting risks and hazards, daily daring into unusual undertakings. What does adventure look like today? I want to see what my new door filter I created for yesterday’s “close” images looks like in the mirrorworld, and revisit my squirrel while continuing to practice light painting with a flashlight in the mirrorworld.
Today’s prompt for Quadrille #151 is “static.” Static, it turns out, is a homograph with all sorts of great meanings. To end today’s adventure, I’ll attempt to condense it all down to exactly forty-four words.
Staring at the Static
a screen full of snow hissing hush, mesmerizing smelling of soap and ash rough and jagged out of touch off the dial dissonance untuned to the frequencies of the immovable missing today’s adventure of the shadow or another not getting through because static clings
I tried again to do a Sunday week in review post, and again my work wouldn’t load, so Monday is my Year of Finishing Novels posts day. I am not going to waste time fighting with my internet. My time is for writing novels and reaching my goals. And sharing my progress and what I’m learning with you, of course.
As I mentioned in my last post, a habit cycle consists of a cue, a behavior, and a reward. As I began this process of identifying the habits I would like to create, and the habits I would like to change, I found it hard to identify my rewards.
I don’t like shopping. I have everything I want and need, and I don’t have money to spend on things as rewards. I also didn’t want food or beverages to be my rewards. I felt kind of stuck. I wanted to set up these systems to reward my new behaviors, but how?
Then I really looked at myself and thought about times in my past when I was really happy. I went through a period of time when I closely associated with Tigger because I love bouncing. I’m trying to increase movement and exercise, so jumping on my rebounder (small trampoline) became a reward.
That got me thinking that many of the behaviors I enjoy that are not writing could act as rewards for meeting my small goals. With fun activities as rewards I came up with:
Jump on the rebounder
Draw for 10 minutes
Go take some pictures
Stretch on yoga ball
Put stickers on stuff
10 minute meditation
Play guitar for five minutes
I was also reading Jack Canfield’s Success Affirmations and was inspired to write some phrases to tell myself I am doing great.
I wrote my action rewards and my affirmations on colorful slips of card stock paper, folded them up and put them in a jar, so when I had done my desired action, I could open my reward jar (pictured above), and get a surprise reward.
At first, when I pulled an affirmation out of my word jar and said it aloud, it didn’t feel like much of a reward. Then one day, when I was cleaning out the closet for my meditation, I found an old toy megaphone (pictured above) that has five different voice-altering settings. When I said my affirmation (any of the affirmations out of my reward jar) using the megaphone on either the high pitch, low pitch, or monotone settings, it made me laugh. That felt like a reward.
In Tiny Habits, BJ Fogg takes a different stand on what reward really means. He says the idea of a large reward in the future for achieving your goal isn’t going to work. You need to reward yourself instantly after your behavior (Made me think of training a pet). To do this, he chooses to fist bump and say, “I’m awesome” (Even after he flosses one tooth, since that was his tiny habit that he started with to create a flossing habit).
It’s important to send yourself that little dose of dopamine (pleasure) to get the behavior to stick. Finding what works for you is important. Fist bump and “I’m awesome” didn’t work for me. After thinking about how I respond to happy news and practicing some things, I found clapping three times and saying, “Yeah!” or “Woohoo” in a certain way, gave me a smile and a good feeling of accomplishment.
With my rewards and celebrations in place, I have the tools I need to create and solidify the small changes that will make my large goals possible.
Like the squares of Himalayan Pink Salt I’ve pinched so sparingly for years from the squat jar sitting by the coffee in the cupboard, each word can pack a surprising punch, especially when the salty bite hides in the center of the sweetest treat.
Last week was big for me. Some set-backs and disappointments on the sleep goal, but also some break-throughs.
My weekly check-in:
What went right last week? My morning writing habit is going so well. I have started thinking about my novel the moment I wake up. This morning I ran to the keyboard so I wouldn’t forget what I was thinking, and had my daily words before I started my routine. I’m now doing the full writer’s meditation (body, heart, and mind) and getting better at sitting every day. I find that when my mind wanders, it wanders to my novel which is fantastic! I’m moving more and more throughout the day. I have fuller range of motion, and I’m pain free!!
What didn’t go well last week? Sleep is still difficult. The week’s biggest disappointment was a day and night when I felt I had done absolutely everything right, then I got into bed and it was like I didn’t know how to go to sleep. I stared into the darkness for what felt like forever. I tossed and turned and tossed and turned. I gave up and read. It felt like torture. The next day I gave in and slept with the laptop. The next day I read three sleep books. Two of them: Restful Sleep by Deepak Chopra and The Sleep Solution by W. Chris Winter explained why I had been disappointed by my efforts, and they both said the same thing: Sleep is natural; you can’t try to sleep. You have to let sleep happen. I had tried so hard, worked so hard to sleep, I had created an entirely new anxiety keeping me awake. Sounds like something I would do. But no more! This week I will let sleep happen.
What small steps will I add this week? This week I’m adding my voice to the mix. I’m going to do vocal exercises in the morning and sing and play guitar at night after I put the laptop away and before I go to bed.
Is it time to increase one of my habits? I’m happy to say I feel ready to increase my daily writing goal again. This week I’m writing 750 words or more every day. I always said I wasn’t one of those people who writes every day, but that is exactly who I am, and it’s making such a difference in every aspect of my life.
What else did I try? One of the little things I tried last week that turned out to make a huge difference, was a simple Youtube video called Vagus Nerve Reset. The sleep issues and constant state of fight or flight that my poor body has been in both stem from surviving Hurricane Katrina and the the piles of stressors after that. I never stopped being in that survival mode, until now. Since I started these small new habits of motion in the morning and meditation and paying attention to my body, I’ve noticed my range of motion improving and the knots in my back loosening up, but I also had a horrible pain in my right shoulder. I knew it was all that stress not wanting to let go; I’ve held stress in my shoulders since high school, but this was an acute pain that wouldn’t loosen up and was hurting when I tried to sleep. I was almost crying by the time I went ahead and tried the Vagus Nerve video. And I noticed a difference. That same day I did the Full body scan meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Masterclass and though my shoulder was still bothering me, by the end of the meditation, it wasn’t screaming at me. I did the Vagus Nerve Reset and the Vagus Nerve Exercises again the next day and then yesterday was my first pain free day. I was so happy I was dancing and singing around the house all day. It might be a placebo. I don’t care. I’m going to keep doing it and being so very happy.
One area that every resource talks about is social accountability. I have found many times in the past that if I share my goals here on Experience Writing, I am more likely to achieve them.
I would really enjoy if you would like to join me in an accountability club. Every week, type your goals in the comments, or leave a link to your post and we can check in with each other to see how we did with our goals.
My goals this week are to:
Write at least 750 words of my novel every day
Add vocal warm-ups in the morning and guitar playing before bed
One story submission and one poetry submission this week
This morning I made a Christmas stocking filter and started by turning the neighbors’ security lights into stockings.
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
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.
set in stone a tome, a tomb slow to erode unmoved by storm’s wet starved moan leftovers torn forlorn, stone cold bones hold known tones strummed by the stubborn turned to stone struck, stuck outta luck stored enduring alone a stone’s throw from home
Today’s Quadrille #137 prompt from De Jackson at dVerse is to “carve a poem out of the word stone.” The Quadrille is a poem of 44 words. (Images taken by me this evening. The light was really nice. Glad I went searching for stones)