Entries Tagged as: poetry

What’s Up? The Sky.

August 5th, 2008, Comments (8)

I've been having some issues with my internet connection and haven't been at home much over the past few days, but I am alive! I'm helping out with some teenager-supervising/dog-watching/house-sitting at my old job which has been fun. I got to catch up with both the kids I used to care for as a nanny. One is nearly a senior in college and the other is about the be a freshman in college. Eep! When I met them they were just 10 and 13. Catching up with the two of them has been fun and I enjoy the doggy company too. I wouldn't want to go back, but these short bursts are nice on occasion. I've been all sorts of busy, making plans for our honeymoon, which is next month, oh my! We were given a travel agent gift certificate as a wedding gift and trying to use it over the last two months has been a nightmare. Normally, we'd just do our own travel planning and in the end, we had so much trouble with the agent not getting back to us, that after two months of back and forth, we complained and ended up just going through them for booking our hotel on one of the islands (which I did all the research for myself.) Oy. It sounded like a nice idea, having someone help us pick out the best location and activities for our needs, but it ended up being a major hassle. So, yeah, we'll never do that again.

Now that the headache of dealing with the travel agents is mostly over, we get to focus on the fun stuff, like taking a tour of the areas where LOST (the t.v. show) is filmed. We're both super excited about that. I was trying to find out which of the two companies that offer a tour would be better and came upon this youtube video (above), "top ten signs you're obsessed with LOST."  The first one made me laugh so loud that my cat, Sadie jumped in the air.

Stopping home today, I was pleased to see several copies of the summer issue of Calyx, a journal of women's art and literature, which has 3 pieces of my art in it (two of which are above, Dreaming of the Seven Sisters and Lighthouse, and the third, not shown, is Memory Cycles.) The journal is lovely and I'm so happy to be a part of it. I've been pouring over some of the poems and enjoying them. It's interesting, what I like (and sometimes dislike, if I'm feeling fidgety) about poetry is the way that it requires you to be in the present moment. You can't skim over a poem, at least not if you want to get anything out of it. The way regular prose is written, we can zoom over the words because the structure and language is predictable. We usually know what's coming. With a poem, the turns of phrase are unexpected, the tempo is musical, you need to slow down and take it in, in order to understand what the author is trying to get across. Sometimes, if done well, a poem can express things that are very difficult to say any other way. Much like artwork.

In other news, the latest issue of the fantabulous Mankind Mag is now available (for free to view or download or for a small fee to purchase a paper copy). It's a great issue, all about...hair! Which reminds me, I need a haircut. But really, do check it out. I loved reading excerpts from Erin's "autohairography" and if at some point in your past you ever curled your bangs, I bet you will too. Oh, and I've got a little ad in there featuring my favorite whale art!

Wishing you a tubular Tueday! O dear, the hair issue, totally brought back all my goofy expressions from the 80's/early 90's. I used to begin all my cleverly folded notes (in square, triangle or rectangle shape) with the title of this post. Oh the memories. Heh.

small stones

July 11th, 2008, Comments (9)

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Fiona Robyn, author of small stones: a year of moments, on her blogging book tour.

Fionarobyn Fiona is a writer and blogger living in the UK with her partner, her cats Fatty and Silver, and her vegetable patch. Her new book, small stones, is based on the daily writing practice she's kept at her blog, a small stone, where she captures an ordinary/extraordinary moment from each day.

I can certainly relate to Fiona's need to have a daily creative practice and I love the way she captures these little treasures from her everyday moments. It's exactly this sort of thing that I've become more aware of in my own practice of being creative every day. Here are some questions that I put to Fiona about her book and writing practice:

L: How has writing these small stones daily changed you?

F: One important 'by-product' is that my commitment to small stone reminds me every day how important writing is to me.  Even if I don't touch my novel or work on any poems, at least I string 7 words together. I also hope that that the practice of noticing stones makes me more mindful, which I typed before I read your next question ; )

L: Do you think the practice has made you more mindful?

F: Yes!  For me, being mindful is easier said than done.  Again, at least I manage a moment of mindfulness a day, when I'm thinking about what I'm seeing or experiencing and translating that into words for my stones.

L: Are you continuing on with this project or have you moved on to other things?

F: www.asmallstone.com continues daily.  I did take a break a while ago, but I found myself missing the practice and so started again.  Who knows how long it will continue?

L: The moments in your book have such a quiet, peaceful feel to them. They make me think of small meditations. Do you have a meditation practice?

F: I do have an intermittent meditation practice of 20 minutes in the morning, first thing - before I can come up with any excuses!  I got interested in Buddhism and then more specifically Soto Zen a few years ago, and have done a lot of reading - Shunryu Suzuki is particularly important to me, and Natalie Goldberg's writings.

L: Have your small stones ever led to longer poems or stories?

F: I don't think they have - they appear as a 'snapshot', and poems usually come from an idea which is a little more substantial - maybe a whole scene, or two things that become linked together in my mind.  My fiction always comes from the central character of the book who 'turns up' in my head, and then waits for me to write down their story.  Us writers can be a little crazy - maybe we need to be!

Thanks so much, Fiona. I enjoyed reading your book and found your words to be a peaceful balm at the end of the day. If you're interested in picking up a copy of Fiona's book you can now find it at Amazon in the U.S. and Amazon in the U.K.

Coversmallstone_2 Here are some of my favorite stones from her book:

Pushing water behind me
my muscles (who didn't
know they were tight) let go.
And let go. And let go.

He doesn't like cats because they never do what you tell
them to do. I like cats because they never do what you tell
them to do.

the moon is so transparent you could slip a thumb-nail
under the edge and peel it from the sky

I wasn't paying attention when I pegged out the clothes, but
now it looks like someone spent hours deciding what should
go where: chocolate brown, jade green, navy blue, jade
green, aquamarine, pale green, chocolate

I have something to tell you:
while it was raining, the sun rose

blackbird on bare branches, his beak a chip of flame

Abundance and Envelope Houses

April 15th, 2008, Comments (11)

Drinking in some abundance today...feeling grateful for warm spring air, cats in ridiculous sleeping positions, clown fish dancing in their anemones, the hubster cleaning off the porch, so we can make use of it again, a lovely art lesson with a family on Saturday, enjoying my creations from Artfest, a clean fridge, freshly washed pillow cases, new markers and the smooth way they move across paper, a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, bills paid, poetry on an envelope, laughter, wrapping my arm around the hubster late at night, finding a cat toy under the covers, quiet understanding, an invitation, a thunder and lightning storm, a couple good Red Sox games, socks with whales on them, silly text messages, Numi tea.

A big congratulations to Marilyn whose poetry is being published in Patti Digh's book, Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally which is available for pre-order from Amazon now!! All the artists who submitted work to Patti's project are also having their work published in the book! So cool! I submitted some work and I'm not sure which piece was chosen. However, you can see some of the art that was created around the essays that Patti wrote, here. I'm so thrilled to be a part of this project. Thank you, Patti!

From reading Marilyn and Patti's blogs, I know that it is National Poetry month, so I was thinking about poetry today and a line came to my head about envelopes being shaped like houses. I was looking for something to write it down on, when I realized, "Duh, I should write it on an envelope!" I had a stash of my neighbor's unused wedding invitation envelopes that I'd been saving for use in art and I pulled one out and wrote out a poem in white ink. Inspire Me Thursday's theme this week just happens to be "envelopes." I've used little envelopes before in art and I love them, but it was fun to use an envelope in this way. I've got some more envelope ideas floating around in my head, so perhaps I'll do something with those too. And here's the poem I wrote on the envelope above:

shaped like houses
holding letters
and tucked away secrets.
hidden corners
and longing
make the floor boards creek.

to seal this letter,
this chapter,
this page
of your life
you must bring
the whole roof down.
destroy the illusion.

you let go here.

your message arrives.
your messy wishes,
whispered words.

and just when
you've forgotten
or made yourself forget,
you receive a reply
in the license plate in front of you,
in the billboard on your commute home,
in the page you open to,
in the envelope
shaped like a house
with the roof torn down.

A Quick Share

March 10th, 2008, Comments (8)

I got home last night from working at my old job for the week and I was treated to the *best* welcome home ever! I came in carrying heavy bags, dropped them at the door where I was met by fuzzy kitties and then looked up to see the hubster smiling and carrying a plate of fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies. I mean, can you beat that? :-)

We shared a lovely night of snuggling, chatting and watching a movie and then went to bed. I stayed in bed a little later this morning to snuggle with the fuzzy kitties who were being exceptionally adorable.


I wanted to share a couple things with you before I get back to work. One, is that the sweet and talented Carla of Anonyrrie has started a blog about her coaching practice called Wings 4 You Coaching. As part of this new blog she is issuing a weekly challenge, Weekly Wings. The current challenge has to do with poetry. Go check it out! Speaking of poetry, my friend Betsy sent a link to this poem which I thought was wonderful. And speaking of words, today I'm loving the word, "exquisite." The word itself is exquisite.

Andrea of A Cat of Impossible Color (love the blog name by the way, Andrea!) asked if novel writing counts as part of the Creative Every Day 2008 Challenge. And the answer is, hell yeah! Anything creative counts, from gardening, to poem writing, to doodling, to cooking, to knitting, to re-arranging your bookshelf, and so on... Be creative in the ways in which you can be creative!

And I'm off...happy creating!


December 29th, 2007, Comments (13)

When synchronicities start falling in my lap wherever I turn, I know I'm on the right track. And everywhere I go I'm seeing things relating to "Now." I've been on a fun little run of the internet this morning and keep thinking, "oh, i must link to that and that and that!" But then it gets a little out of hand and I need to let go of trying to remember it all. I think if I did remember it all this post would be a tad too long. :-)

In a beautiful example of Julia Cameron's quote, "leap and the net will appear, " I received an amazing and generous offer in the comments of my last post, from Sarah of Today's Homemaker. Sarah has offered her services as a proofreader/copyeditor for my book! Thank you again, Sarah! And thank you to everyone for the chorus of "YES!" It means the world to me!

Above is something I did in my art journal this morning with pencil, colored pencil and pen. I'm going to use it for this week's Illustration Friday theme which is "soar." The theme seems to fit in so perfectly with all sorts of things coming up, such as the leaping rabbit in the post below and Marilyn's theme for 2008: "leap." The quote above is one that Patti left in the comments of the last post. I think it has to do with letting go of the baggage and restrictions we put on ourselves, so that the core of who we are is allowed to soar freely. The quote from Ginevee, an Australian aboriginal, says, "Inside each of us, there is a forgotten person." When I read it, I had this ghostly image in my head that needed to come out. I put that quote within the forgotten self who is being allowed to soar. Perhaps I'll do this drawing with paint at some point, but getting it out of my head is good for now.

While working on this image, I was listening to some podcasts and somehow ended up choosing an older podcast from Accidental Creative. This particular podcast is called "Moment" and it was so incredibly relevant to some of the things I've been talking about here, that I had to share. This may sound odd, but I actually listened to this podcast several times and I even took notes in my sketchbook! The podcast, by Todd Henry of Accidental Creative, is all about becoming "unbound" or how we can uncover and break down the artificial boundaries that limit our creativity. I wrote about something similar in my post on defining beliefs. And for many reasons this theme is particularly important to me right now. For one, one of my defining beliefs has been, "I'm not a writer." I could go on about where I came up with that belief, but it's really not that important. The important part is that it became part of my identity and I held onto it as a rule, when in reality it's an imaginary construct that is not serving me in any way, except to hold me back.

Henry shares a story from Neil Fiore's book, The Now Habit that illustrates really well how artificial boundaries can limit us. We are asked to imagine a board that is 1 foot wide and 30 feet long. Can you imagine walking on that board easily? Yes, it would be quite simple to do for most of us. Now, imagine that board is 100 feet in the air, balanced between two buildings. It would take the same skills to walk along that board, but we'd surely be terrified of falling. Just like moving the board high up in the air, our imagined boundaries keep us fearing the consequences instead of living in the moment and focusing on the actual skill it would take to do the job. My theme for the year is, "Now." So, if my boundaries keep me from living in the moment, that's just one more reason for me to unearth and release them. 

I also really liked what Henry had to say about "the break between aspiration and action." Here, he was speaking about how when people have big dreams that they aren't acting on, there is usually some artificial wall in the way (or the aspirations they have are actually those of other people.) This was certainly true with my dreams of writing a book. I had all sorts of belief systems set up that were blocking the way. And it's also true as Henry says, that each belief that you uncover leads to others which can be daunting, but also so very freeing to discover! I'm definitely feeling a lot more freedom in releasing some of my defining beliefs this year and I'm sure the continued freedom I find in 2008 will lead to wonderful places.

I also loved the part of the podcast that talked about how you must step outside your comfort zone and explore your curiosities because being stuck in old ways of doing things and/or feeling any tension around moving forward is usually a sign that some boundary is in place. All of this relates so much to being in the now, to being open and willing to play, to releasing the fear of failure, to being confident and yet humble. These are all lessons I'm trying to absorb.

I'll leave you with this poem I found online today by DW Bender. The poem, which went with the beautiful woodcut she created for this week's Illustration Friday, touched my heart:

tonight when dreaming
may I turn into a bird
nameless and homeless
in my solitary flight
I'll forget I have no wings

Moon Poem

July 30th, 2007, Comments (26)

"Moon Under Water", 8"x8", paper collage and acrylic paint on a cradled wood board.

I had a dream about the moon being underwater. I was playing in an inspiration book I keep near my bed (a combination of magazine images of furnishings and colors and patterns collaged together, words, sketches, etc...) and drew the sketch that became the image above. I was inspired to write a poem about it which seemed fitting as Illustration Friday at the time was "poem" and I think there was an Inspire Me Thursday about the moon (no, I just made that up...the moon was the theme for something...I think. Update: Ok, I'm a nut. It was an IF theme, but this week's IMT theme is open, so there ya go.) Of course, there was the wedding dinosaur and although this painting was started ages ago, it wasn't finished up until today. I can't seem to get on a proper schedule or keep up with much of anything, but ah well. Things are slowly falling into place and I'm finding my rhythm again. It's all good. Here's the poem I wrote in my sketchbook. It makes me smile.

I dreamt last night
that the moon was under water,
not the whole of it,
just half,
as if she was too hot for this summer night
and decided to take a dip.
Finding it bracingly cold
and frighteningly vast in its darkness,
she kept her face dry and safe
above the water line.
But just the legs of the moon
were enough to give the ocean
an ethereal glow
that startled the fish from their slumber
which caused the waves to ripple and dance.
And when the stars moved in
for a better view
the surface lit up like a discoteque
and the air hummed
like a refridgerator late at night.
On a distant shore the waves lapped, lapped
on the rocks
marking the thumping heartbeat
of the skinny dipping moon,
shivering and alive.