Earth’s Advocate

Through my writing and painting, I feel a call to service.
My blog is a virtual soapbox where I get to express what’s on my mind.  I try not to be overtly political.  That said, the personal is truly political, so my views are woven through what I write about or might be reflected in what I paint.  This can’t be helped if we are authentic in our expression.  What we write, paint or draw is in the context of the times and circumstances in which we live…is that true?


#5 in the hexalogy of poems

Earth does not need us to advocate for her.
She has ambitions that outshine our own.
Though it could help us if we hear her roar
she does communicate if we would hone…

to practice connection daily is wise
to stop and listen and learn her true ways
it’s in the wind where she speaks and sighs
“My children, you are numbering your days.”

“Is waking a painful process” you ask
rubbing the sleep from your lightblind eyes
surfacing from slumber a painful task?
Though not to awake could be your demise.

She rocks the cradle and out you will fall
let it be because you hear her sweet call. (to life!)

Writing Prompt:
Do you have a favorite fictional or nonfictional character (in books or films) who exemplifies a “call to service” by the way he or she lives her life?  (It could be Wonder Woman.)  What qualities in this character do you most admire?  Why?

Revealing and Concealing

What I’ve noticed through writing and with painting, is that while I reveal some things, I  conceal others.  I’ve also noticed how as a reader or as a viewer of art, my mind seems to supply what is “missing.”

This is interesting to me.  Especially noticeable when I complete a painting, I see how my mind’s eye supplies what it assumes is there.  Like say I don’t get the ear just right, my mind adjusts what I see to fit with what I have seen or seem to know of how an ear should look.  Does that make sense?

With writing, while you give plenty of details in describing person, place, circumstance, you also don’t want to have to spoonfeed your reader.  You want to trust that you’ve lead them far enough down the path that they can then fill in that which you, as the writer, haven’t directly stated.

Does this holding back make for more interesting writing and art?  The secrets that underlie our protagonist’s behavior–the intrigue–do they ever have to be fully revealed and disclosed to your reader or viewer?  Maybe yes, maybe no.

Think of some films that you’ve seen or books that you’ve read. In the film, Cast Away, what is the significance of Tom Hanks meeting the woman at the crossroads?  Are we supposed to just get it?  Are we going to be left with the question?  Don’t filmmakers who are planning future sequels leave us with unanswered questions?  In writing a novel, doesn’t the writer end each chapter with an intrigue of some sort, thereby building suspense and forward impetus?

I’m thinking that we can supply enough to satisfy our readers or viewers and then leave something to the imagination. We then maintain an aura of enough mystery to let our reader conjecture.

The critique has been that with films especially, we take away the imagination of the viewer.  We want to encourage that imagination, don’t we?  How many Hollywood films do you recall that tie up all the loose ends by the conclusion of the film?  I frequently appreciate a foreign film that leaves me with something to ponder.



The Aubade is an old poetic form dating back to as early as the 12th century.  According to Edward Hirsch, an aubade is “A dawn song expressing the regret of parting lovers at daybreak…It remembers the ecstasy of union.  But it also describes a parting at dawn.”


by J. P. Dancing Bear

A parting at dawn

I awake unwilling to admit the time
or distance myself from your warmth.
The room is nothing more than the rise
and fall of your breathing.  I slip out
of sheets into a cold hour, ready
Myself to the traffic of my commute.
For long moments, I watch and am lost,
as if I had never before seen  you
sleeping, dreaming.


An excerpt from an interview by Kathryn Wagner with poet, J. P. Dancing Bear

“When you write poetry is there any one so-called technique that works for you?
I get a line or two that comes to me. Sometimes I know what the content of the poem will be — other times, I just have words burning in me, seeking a release. In either case, I hold them in my head for as long as I can.  I let them pool and become somewhat of a chant or a rhythm — something I can build from. Finally the dam breaks, they are ready to be written down, the other lines flow out. Then I do the business of cleaning up after the flood.
How has your writing evolved as you’ve grown as a poet?
I think the most significant thing for me is that I’ve slowed down. I take my time and therefore I don’t dash out five poems on the same subject, but one poem that stews on it.  I also think that I spend more time with the images and the metaphors — I explore them.”
 Poet and author, J.P. DANCING BEAR is the author of various chapbooks, including What Language, which won the 2002 Slipstream Poetry prize, and Blue Hand. He is the Editor-in-Chief of DMQ Review and the owner of Dream Horse Press, a publishing company.
Writing Prompt:
One thing about poetic forms is that you can usually find one to hold almost any feeling.  Write your own aubade.  Make it personal to you.


Angel Skins

Angel Skins
© by Christine O’Brien

Spring’s beauty mocks a world at war.  Who said
the spirit which enters and leaves this form
is pure?  When spirt and form do wed,
the body knows no haven from the storm.

Flowers have dirty feet; petal discards
like fallen angel skins, garden compost.
Flower sprites leap into neighboring yards
searching for the soggy seed, their next host.

This spring season who shall pollinate me?
Which bee will hover round my glowing crown?
What distance do I hold this person, he,
so in his shining aura I don’t drown?

While wars wage and flower sprites do dare leap
we’ll mock duality, hold hands, dive deep.



Writing Prompt:
Spring and war don’t jive.  The new life forcing its way into being after a cold and snowy winter of retreat and respite.  Within and without there are forces shouting about the wonders of being.  What are spring’s messages to you?  Write them down in your journal–transform them into a poem if you choose.

In My Own Backyard…


Sonnet to the Cherry Tree
© by Christine O’Brien

If I were to write a sonnet to you
what words could convey what you mean to me?
The fidelity of this tree so true
reveling in what it is to be.

A sovereign tree, one hundred years old
leaves unfurled, from blossoms to cherries abound.
If trees could talk, what stories would be told
affinity with sky, roots in the ground.

Are my limitations making me deaf
to the voices that speak without words?
The winds carry fragrance and scents do waft
as cherries ripen, I race with the birds.

To eat the fruit from this generous tree
a gift that binds me to eternity.

Writing Prompt:
Go outside and take a look around.  What, in your own backyard, deserves a poem, a story or a painting?
Write it, draw it or paint it!

Spring Equinox!

Today is the first day of SPRING in the northern hemisphere.  Though storms are predicted for this week…rain and snow…the heart quickens to realize that Spring has arrived.

Spring Invitation
© by Christine O’Brien

In the midst of the inevitable retreat
prescribed by winter
with its grey wind and rain sheets,
frivolity doesn’t come easy.

Unlike the first green, renewed hope
of that undulating spring invitation
“Hurry!  Wait!”
This accelerated energy elbows me towards
Fae fun as exploding blossoms
stand up
beside the majestic mountain
where I now live.
Magical miracles happen here.

The perfectly sunny painted soul
inhales and exhales
when I pause and listen closely
sitting backbone to the faery well.

Then, twinkly toes twirling in dew wet grass
dance with spring’s first hummingbirds
in their startling altered hovering.

Family is all my relations–
this brings new meaning to family time.
Heal yourself amidst these
recreative connections–
earth, air, fire, water
the ingredients for balance, peace.

The world I know transforms during this
cycle of exhilarating expansion yet again
and I hear the spring breeze sighing
through the fragrant cherry blossoms “trust love”.

Fae by Christine O’Brien.2018

Writing Prompt:
How do you welcome spring?  Write about it.
Perhaps this season has a bit of frivolity in store for you.  Be alert to it!

“Um…do we need paddles?”

Where on earth did these three cuties come from?  I set out to practice painting a small grouping of women, meditative and emanating peace.  My painting took a turn which I was compelled to follow.

Was it because life had become too serious once again, dragging me along in the wake of  too many challenges at once?  On a bit of overwhelm, perhaps?  I needed something whimsical, fun and colorful.  There is definitely a story here. Fellow artists offered captions for this trio.

Writing Prompt:
What caption would you give this little painting?  What is your first response?  Or, what’s the story behind this scenario?  Write it.  For the fun of it.

Share your caption under comments if you like.

Note:  Don’t writers see the story in everything…the story behind what is on the surface?