The Bells Cut Through the Din

Blue Christmas by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Today’s Wednesday Poetry Prompt from Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest is to write a cut poem. This prompt instantly brought a lot to mind since already today I cut a new bokeh filter of bells.

Trimming Down

The cuts, so many cuts
dicing the unwanted
and splicing what’s left
into a new continuum
now to erase and replace
memories and beliefs
that would contradict
the revisionist
It must be exhausting work
recreating reality in
delusional contortion
I hear the constant snips
the busy sheers cutting
cutting at the shape
of me

Carol of the Bells by Maria L. Berg 2021
Water Bells by Maria L. Berg 2021

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation. Today, inspired by my photo prompt “bells,” I turned some vases into water bells and over the next few days plan to record myself playing them with different levels of water. What I recorded today would not be called “soothing” sounds, but I hope with some reverb, maybe changing the speed, etc. I may make some sounds to add to my collection. Plus, they’re really pretty and change in the light through out the day.

Reflective Water Bells by Maria L. Berg 20221

If you’ve enjoy 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. When you’re in my store, please click the heart on all the products and images you like. That will help my work get attention and hopefully help people find me. Thank you!

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

I Sing of Future Artifacts

Midnight Clear Snow Globe by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Today’s Poetics prompt from Merril at the dVerse Poets Pub is “Passions Stamped on Lifeless Things.” I really like this quote from Percy Shelley’s Ozymandias. The challenge is to write a poem about an historical artifact.

I’m reading The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston right now, so I thought I’d focus on the artifacts found during that excursion in Honduras.

When the Future Comes to Plunder

Why do we carve the stone
to imbue it with our judgement
and put the fault on gods–
a power over life, bringer of death
Why do we, the grave-robbers,
look upon these symbols
and not imagine the artist,
admiring the vulture
and in joy scraping
its likeness into stone
or in awe of the beauty
and the power of the jaguar
pounding that emotion
into symbol? No.
The grave-disturbers see
a representation of a shaman
spiritually transformed
or a half-human deity
and a sudden,
catastrophic
disappearance.
When I am at rest
don’t lay my art beside
For when the future comes to plunder
I can only wonder what beliefs
they would ascribe to me.

Elf Carolers by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoy 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. When you’re in my store, please click the heart on all the products and images you like. That will help my work get attention and hopefully help people find me. Thank you!

The Joy of Caroling by Maria L. Berg 2021
December 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 Elves Come Out at Night

Elf Dance Party by Maria L. Berg 2021

I had some other plans, but I like how my new filters turned out, so I went with it.

It’s All About the Hat by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Morning Dance

The baseboard heater ticks. It has no rhythm.
The bathroom fan also dances to chaos,
a Mandelbrot of rattles and hums.
Tossing care I lose my pattern
and pass some time grateful for heat,
cold’s defeat in awkward, lurching meter.
This morning is a chaos dance without fans.
The baseboard heater taps its rhythm.

Blue Elf by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoy 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. When you’re in my store, please click the heart on all the products and images you like. That will help my work get attention and hopefully help people find me. Thank you!

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Cheery Christmas Spirits

Holly Jolly Santa by Maria L. Berg 2021

I knew today’s photo challenge “cheer” was going to be tough. My cold is holding on tight and I spent the night coughing and shivering, but I was determined. So I made no-bake healthy oatmeal cookies to eat like Santa all day, and put on a Christmas record. Just as “Rudolph’s Christmas Party” started to play, I heard sirens. It seemed early, but I looked outside, and it was Santa! The world appeared to agree that I should be filled with Christmas cheer!

Today I found cheer continuing to develop yesterday’s ideas. I brought Christmas to the mirrorworld.

Cheery Frosty by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Poetic Bloomings has an interesting prompt today. Prompt #363 is “Marley Was Dead.” However, it’s not a morbid prompt. That is the opening of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The prompt is to write a spirit of Christmas poem exploring my personal Christmas past, present, and/or future.

Let’s see if I can get in the spirit.

Christmas Past is Present

I select the blue snow-covered trees
open the fold and up pops Santa’s workshop
like a setting for figurines and play things
I think I’ll make some elves
perhaps a polar bear
and a talking snowman
to act out the song-stories
among the reindeer

I start the record
and I am transported
dancing in the living room
by the light of the tree
before playing with the decorations
clipping and unclipping the painted wood birds
as they fly about to visit the other ornaments

Soon the room would host a cardboard sleigh
and reindeer, arriving Christmas morning
with blow-up conical Santa at the reins
somehow getting smaller every year
his crumbling, slanting sleigh
less full of presents

I hear sirens
Can it already be?
I fling open the door
camera ready and
there is Santa in his sleigh
The firemen bring him by
to wave “hi”
a bit early this year.

Christmas Spirit by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoy 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. When you’re in my store, please click the heart on all the products and images you like. That will help my work get attention and hopefully help people find me. Thank you!

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#SoCS: Rev Up My Stream of Consciousness

Holly Jolly by Maria L. Berg 2021

For today’s images, I tried three ideas. First, I created a holly filter with my new filter design that goes over the lens guard. Then I tried grouping my red and green lights on the multi-color strand with twist-ties. Then I put some plastic santas and snowmen on my white lights and made some Holly Jolly lighting as well.

Abstract Holly by Maria L. Berg 2021
December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Stream of Consciousness

It’s stream of consciousness Saturday, and with my cold going into my lungs and not letting up, any activity in this mucous-filled brain at all is a feat of pure determination. The prompt for today is “rev.” To use the word rev or a word with rev in it. My first thought was rev your engines, then reverend and reverse. Then, of course, revise: what this blog was supposed to be all about this year, revision. I made a pretty good go of it until I landed back on creation in October. But I’m really enjoying these daily photos and prompts. For so long, writing these posts felt like time taken away from my work, when now, they feel like pure inspiration, part of my work. I would much rather enjoy what I’m doing than stick to the plan. So I’ve revised that plan of a year focused on revision, to push myself to try new things every day in my bokeh filtered photography and share my daily poetry practice. My main goal of completely revising and completing my novels is ongoing in its stuttering way. The experience of completely rewriting a novel is going well. The previous draft only had a few good scenes, and really was a barely fleshed out idea. So the year of revision continues, it just isn’t as fun to put on this blog. Also, I am beginning the revision process of the thirty poems I wrote for the challenge last month, so I guess this is still the year of revision. There’s no getting away from it. And each time I crop, or rotate, and resize these photographs to share with you, that is revision. There you have it. I have not strayed from my intention. It looks like next year will be another year focused on revision until I master, conquer, and find the joy in it.

New Poem

For today’s new poem prompt I browsed my WordPress Reader and found:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC). Today’s word is taciturn.

Misky posted a lovely poem about blackberries on Plumb-Lines in response to Quickly’s prompt Now / Then / When. The prompt asks to list words and phrases that evoke pleasant thoughts about the past then write their opposites next to them, and use your list to “play with ideas of pleasure and contradiction.” I love this theme and it should work well with taciturn.

And Judy Dykstra-Brown’s poem Balm on lifelessons led me to Paeansunplugged’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Saturday. Today’s prompt is The Extraordinary in the Ordinary. A great companion to pleasure in contradiction.

That was a fun bit of discovery. Let’s see what that all inspires.

Calf Muscle Exercises

Holiday Mood by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoy 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.

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation.

Motivation and Reward: I put my second star on my calendar. It’s amazing how motivating a simple sticker can be, but it’s working.

Tools: Last night was even tougher than the first. My cold has progressed to include a cough, so I had to sleep somewhat upright, but after doing a lot of easy sudokus on an old daily calendar, I fell asleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I read The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story (associate link) by Douglas Preston for a little while and fell back to sleep.

I started recording calming sounds today. So far I’ve captured: kitty purring, rain, and the kettle boiling (mine is a clear glass kettle that doesn’t whistle).

Happy Reading and Writing!

Wreaths of Light

Owl Wreath in Nature by Maria L. Berg 2021

For today’s images I tried something new. I thought I could just loop my lights in a circle and make bokeh wreaths, but that didn’t work. Then I remembered a metal loop a friend had given me with the idea of framing my fabric glass. I wrapped the lights around the metal loop, and it worked, but I needed serious distance to get the whole wreath in the shot. For some of the pictures, I put the wreath on my hearth and took the pictures through my open door from as far as I could push back into a bush and tree on the other side of the porch. For others, I hung the ring outside on my door and took the shots from the end of my driveway. I’m excited I got the look I was going for. I might try some more of these with different lights.

Rainbow Wreath on the Hearth by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

Wreath in a Breeze by Maria L. Berg 2021

Stupid Cold

My nose is stuffed like a turducken frying
My nose is as productive as the elves making toys
My nose gushes like Niagara Falls during weeks of rain
My nose is a geyser building pressure, about to blow
My nose is as sore as calf muscles the day after a marathon
My nose is as useless as my laptop without a charger
My nose is as frustrating as slow internet
My nose is full of itself like a megalomaniac with a podcast
My nose is as evil as a troll on social media
and stomping on people in Norway
and people who prey on the elderly
and identity thieves, and thieves in general
because it stole my ability to breath and think
My nose has turned me into a whiny mouth-breather
I know it’s doing its job fighting the germs
but it feels like I’m a casualty

Wavy Wreath by Maria L. Berg 2021

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.

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation. I didn’t get much done yesterday. I have a terrible cold and feel sorry for myself, but this challenge inspired me to clean my room to make it more relaxing for sleep. I also made a “Pleasant Dreams” calendar to mark the days that I don’t sleep with the computer, and I am happy to say, I put my first star on it this morning. It was a really tough night since I can’t breath through my nose, but kitty woke me up, wanting out, just as my dream was turning into a nightmare, so I can happily report, I did not have any nightmares.

Techniques I used last night:

  • Clean room
  • Unplugged computer and internet at least an hour before bed
  • bedtime tea
  • Write a worry list (I was surprised how well this worked. When I looked at the list of things that worried me about sleep and nightmares, it didn’t seem so bad)
  • Hot shower
  • positive imagery ( I propped open a page of my Tiffany glass book with a beautiful stained glass scene where I would easily see it from my bed)
  • read by bedside lamp (not overhead light)

And kitty cuddles definitely saved the effort.

So though I did not sleep through the night, and got up often, I call that a complete success for night one.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Playing in the Snow I Created

My World in a Snow Globe by Maria L. Berg 2021

Today I tried something new. I used clear plastic to create a new filter with some glue and glitter. Using the fisheye lens, my world became a snow globe. Using it as a bokeh filter, I created snowballs with light. Then I tried throwing them.

Making Snowballs by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poems

Though the drafting part of the Chapbook Challenge is over, I plan to continue my daily poetry habit. On days without a dVerse poets pub prompts, I will work through In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet’s Portable Workshop(associate link) by Steve Kowit and The Creative Writing Coursebook(associate link) by Julia Bell and Paul Magrs.

There is also Wednesday Poetry Prompts on Writer’s Digest. Yesterday’s prompt was to write a yesterday poem. 😁

Today’s prompt from Laura for Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a Fragment Poem.

Clinging Fragments

I. Like a snowball on the right day
clings to more snow and grows,
these fragments find each other
and combine into fresh states of play

II. Plastic-coated self / with impenetrable walls
wambles toward the evening / after pushing
to exhaustion / again I fight into the correct coil

III. In the jelly shower of imagination
where no one will deliver a pizza
yet past this loop of secretive neighbors
humility returns with the hitchhiker

IV. Being human is a window turned to mirror
the mind’s eye light-painting an orange glass globe
never in the same place in time / though I see
the trees and houses from the other side

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today the Next Steps are posted on Writer’s Digest. I have until January 15th to revise and submit the poems I wrote in November. Yesterday, I copied all of my poems into a Scrivener file. Today, I’ll create a template page for reviewing each poem and start looking at the work I did.

Step 2: Review and Read for Themes –

Here’s my revised review checklist from my post Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Two: The First Redraft

  • Identify POV, tense, form, voice
  • setting, narrative
  • themes, moods
  • identify sensory details
  • identify best lines
  • mark weak verbs & nouns
  • words to mind map
  • mark areas to expand
  • highlight cliche language
  • make easy cuts
  • choose what to edit to (theme, idea)
  • brainstorm alternate titles
  • make notes to guide re-write
  • do mind maps
  • free-write around best lines, character and narrative
  • do research
  • write a narrative poem

Throwing Snowballs by Maria L. Berg 2021

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.

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation. After brainstorming a bit last night, I thought I would start by collecting my own soothing sounds. Sounds I came up with so far are: kitty purring, the fire in the fireplace, waves on the lake, a breeze in the trees, bird songs, and rain.

I have a dream diary, which I have attempted to use over the years. I’m hoping as I progress this month, dream imagery will help me come up with some ideas for bokeh filters for the video.

Motivation and Reward: Today will be the first full day that the laptop is not allowed in the bedroom. I’m making a sign for the door to remind myself and a calendar to put stickers on to reward myself.

Tools: I’m going to re-read Teach Yourself to Dream (associate link) by David Fontana, PhD. I downloaded audio books to my mp3 player in case I need sounds to go to sleep.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

December Daily #Prompts, Challenges, and Plans

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

I am enjoying how my photography is progressing. Like October’s daily photos, November’s daily photos built on each other, creating all sorts of happy accidents and new ideas. So I’ve created another calendar of daily one word prompts for December, starting with Lights, of course, because I’m excited to go play with some purple in my palette.

Seeing Purple Lights by Maria L. Berg 2021

As usual, my daily prompts led to a surprise. My camera does not see purple LEDs the way my eyes do. I was planning to combine the purple with other lights, but the challenge of trying to get my camera to see purple kept me busy. I tried every white balance setting, and every paint effect and the camera kept seeing blue.

In the Purple Light by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poems

Though the Chapbook Challenge is over, I plan to continue my daily poetry habit. On days without a dVerse poets pub prompts, I will work through In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet’s Portable Workshop(associate link) by Steve Kowit and The Creative Writing Coursebook(associate link) by Julia Bell and Paul Magrs.

Yesterday’s poetics prompt at dVerse was to use a line from the ABBA hit Dancing Queen. I chose “Watch that scene.”

In Perspective

Watch that scene unfold
through the teary, bleary
eyes of a cold, and menthol haze
created glazed-butterscotch dream
catch that sheen on everything
watch that scene unfold
the one near the end
when everything goes wrong
while sipping reheated soup
and Throat Coat tea
and it is still formulaic
still contrived that everyone
will turn their back at once
that takes time, too much
time for this scene
and the reversal doesn’t
happen, people fade away
But as I watch this scene
and the warmth flows
down my throat, my tea tells me
“the Earth laughs in flowers”
and I smell them in the steam
flowing up my sore nose
and I might understand
why the formula, so
obvious, is used so often,
because there will be an end
to this suffering, these
germs will eventually leave.
I see past the teary haze,
and burn my tongue.

Purple Lights in the Mirrorworld
by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

The next step of last month’s poetry challenge is to select and revise the poems and arrange the collection into a Chapbook manuscript. Like I did with my poetry revision demonstration, I will use this experience to create and revise my process for creating a collection.

Step 1: Organize – Today I copied each of the poems from November’s posts into a Scrivener file. My template has three sections which I can use to move the poems into themes, or styles, or however I choose to organize them. Today, however, I’m not reading through them; I’m only copying them into the project file. That will give them all another day of rest, so I can see them with fresh eyes tomorrow.

The Swirling Purple Lights by Maria L. Berg 2021

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.

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation. To meet this challenge, I will attempt to document a concerted effort to achieve better sleep. My main issue is that ever since hurricane Katrina, I sleep with my laptop on with some show I’ve already watched a million times playing. I know it’s bad for my sleep, but at first that was the point, it helped stop the nightmares by waking me up throughout the night. I recently had some horrible nightmares with the computer going, so it’s not working and it’s just a bad habit.

I have accumulated many tools, read books, and tried to sleep without the computer, but I keep going back. So for this month’s Changing Focus, I am going to use this month-long project to conquer my sleep issue. Though it will be hard, I think I’ll have to go cold turkey and just not allow the laptop in my bedroom. But I will want something to listen to to fall asleep, so I think I’ll start by listening to an audio book or meditation track and see if that works.

But how do I turn this journey into a multi-media project? That is not clear yet. I’ll do some brainstorming today and hopefully come up with some ideas.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 30: The End of November Challenges is Only the Beginning

A white flower in bloom
Winter Flower by Maria L. Berg 2021

This morning I went out to get a picture of my first winter flower, and took some shots into the house.

A cat on a yellow and white striped towel that looks like it's floating in rhododendrons and red berries.
Magic Blanket Ride by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s final prompt of the challenge is a two for Tuesday:

  • Write a the end poem, and/or…
  • Write a the beginning poem.

Only the Beginning

This is not an end
but a pause to attend
to bending light and hours
dead, then begin again
to render hope and engender
excitement in shadow
never ending contrast
to blend and send
a whirling

Flower Cat by Maria L. Berg 2021

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. Sale on Now! Get 20-60% off when you use code CYBER5.

NaNoWriMo

I won! 50k words but that’s only the beginning of this draft. I’m going to take time tomorrow to look over what I’ve written and take notes of important props and plot points and work on writing a complete outline before continuing the draft.

Congratulations to everyone who wrote a novel draft this month!
November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

I have enjoyed the one word prompts every day for two months now, and I plan to continue. Tomorrow I will post a new calendar of December prompts. I find it fascinating that one word can help me see in new ways. I rewarded myself for winning Nanowrimo with some new lights, and I’ve reconfigured the mirror world, so I’m excited to see how my techniques build on each other through December.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 29: The Next Slant

On the Slant by Maria L. Berg 2021

This morning the sun came out and did my work for me. Mr. Kitty is known in the biz to be an uncooperative model, but he didn’t know today’s theme was slant.

It’s a good day to reread Tell all the truth but tell it slant by Emily Dickinson.

Telling It Slant by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a next poem.

What’s Next?

Doesn’t help to ponder
only think up possible
contingencies, or plan
escape routes aplenty
I mean pretense
dictates portance
but I’m pretending
while planking
that all will remain placid

Pondering doesn’t help the
possible up-link only
plans contingencies, a
plentiful route, escaping
pretense and mean.
People don’t average well
Portance, though archaic, dictates
pretending. I am but horizontal,
planking while placid.

Slanted Shadow Cat by Maria L. Berg 2021

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. Sale on Now! Get 20-60% off when you use code CYBER5.

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!