This was one of my first attempts at merging art and poetry. I write what has been termed personal poetry. This sonnet was the first poem in a series of twenty-one poems that I was determined to write. I illustrated the first two poems of this grouping. It’s not so easy to do, I found. This poem was written several years ago…the mood at the time. Poetry is a great way to manage our various moods and emotions and to help us move beyond or integrate these passing energies.
I’ve written poetry for at least thirty years. Within that span of time, there were periods when I didn’t write poetry. The tangles that we can get ourselves into with words. The things we tell ourselves. As author Byron Katie has reiterated “Is it true?” The things we say to others–did they receive it as we intended it? The words we hear– are they fact, theory, opinion, judgment? How do other people’s words–the media–color your own thoughts and opinions? Where is the truth in these tangles?
That’s why I chose the paintbrush over the pen for a few years. No words!
This blog has become a commingling of art and words with which I feel comfortable these days.
Splashes of color,
drips, droplets, dabs,
opaques, frivolity, whimsy,
into a mist…
When making art, you can create what you desire, design and allow.
The artist can choose to be detailed, intricate and precise. The artist can choose to be abstract as heck and expressive. And there is everything in between.
That is why I believe that
EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST!
As I also believe that everyone has a hidden poet (because everyone has a voice), I also believe that everyone has a hidden artist. Perhaps one who has been shamed into
hiding, but she’s there just the same, waiting to be invoked, invited, induced to come out and play.
That is what this painting was to me. This was painted at the beginning of my discovery of art as a possible way to express myself. Playing on Aquabord, a substrate that was new to me, the paint flowed in a surprising way. Yes, substrates make a difference as to how the paint behaves. Substrate is the surface on which the artist paints. There are many types of substrates these days! Sometimes, any substrate works. I’ve painted on gessoed cardboard.
With so many online opportunities to learn while playing–that is the perspective to take when you are beginning to paint or painting after many years of not painting. Or at any level of experience. Play and learn. Make many mistakes. And carry on playing, learning and practicing. Like any practice, you have to do it daily. Best to plan it into your day.
I appreciate the concept of synergy…better yet, I appreciate the actuality of synergy. To consider that things are more effective when they work together than when they stand in isolation is fascinating.
Alphabet letters, individual symbols tossed in a heap, would be a jumble. Combine them meaningfully, a word is created. Then string words together to make a sentence or grouping…have we expressed a concept? A concept can then be the basis for a story or a poem.
As a writer, your particular perspective or voice has influenced your choice of words. Those words are poured into a form–an essay, poem or story–whatever your chosen vehicle of expression. Have you related something that has personal meaning to you? Ideally, it would have meaning for others beyond you, the writer. There is great synergy in that blending, isn’t there?
Definition: “Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The term synergy comes from the Attic Greek word συνεργία synergia from synergos, συνεργός, meaning “working together” Wikipedia
**** What I especially appreciate about poetry, as concerns synergy, is that poetry is typically a synergy of feeling, thought and artistry. And, when a poem is effective, it touches others. Poetry has the capacity to unite us on the universal themes that apply to anyone regardless of what separates us.
A flat tire over the weekend with no possibility of repair until Monday, I was on foot. I recommend it…not the flat tire, but walking through your neighborhood. When I spied this “doggie in the window,” I grabbed my smartphone from my backpack and took a few photos. This one tugged at my heart. I could certainly make up a story around it. Would I write it from the dog’s perspective? The owner’s? My own? Hmmm. It’s really all my own, no matter which perspective I choose. Or, I could paint it…
There is nothing like a visual to evoke a memory, a feeling or some other emotional response.
If you were going to use this image as inspiration for your writing today, how would you begin? Does it inspire a poem, perhaps? Write it!
“My name is love
supreme my sway
The greatest god
and greatest pain,
Air, earth, and seas, my
And gods themselves
must drag my chain.
In every heart my throne I keep,
Fear ne’er could daunt my
I fire the bosom of the deep
and the profoundest hell
from Don Quixote Part II
by Miguel de Cervantes
L O V E
Love. It amazes me that we fall in love. As if it were a puddle, pool or lake. Do we trip and fall? Are we walking, unawares, and suddenly we’ve fallen in love. Into love?
Everyone writes about love at some point, right? Do they? Do you? How do you define what seems ineffable? Intangible. And, has attached to it one’s particular perspective on the definition of what love is.
When you say “I love you,” what are you really saying?
In the quote above, Cervantes has personified love–made it into a person with great power.
This poem, written and read by Edna St. Vincent Millay, surprised me on many levels.
First, the quality and tone of her voice. Secondly, I had not read this poem before…listening to it for the first time, I felt a certain trepidation–where was she going to land? And, finally, hearing the conclusion, I felt deeply moved.
A poem touches us because we fit the meaning to our experience. Does this feel true to you? When writing, how do you personify love?
Animal dung smells
hang heavy in thick air of suspense.
The stink of carnivore dung
is quite different than the
oddly sweet scent of herbivore dung.
I’ve become expert on such things
as I feverishly stride
through long afternoons of dejection.
They feed me plenty and often~~
raw, red horsemeat, scent of blood.
My cage is hosed down three times-a-day
watering away wild odors.
My trainer—we are faithful to each other
~~he sweats profusely—mustily
as he trains away fierceness
and retrains fierce pretense.
growling and scowling as we rehearse.
Performance night a collage of smells
–clowns acrid greasepaint
reeking of cheap perfumes
popcorn and hotdogs vie for supremacy.
All the people blend into one
of fear, excitement and their daily dramas.
between cage and circus tent,
I catch it…
a whisper of deep forest fragrance
wrought with imagination
of strange stalking beasts
of birds with multi-syllabic calls
olfactory descent into wild ways.
And I stop
in that wild breeze pause.
I tug at the rope that collars me
and rear up slightly
on cramped hind legs.
I groan a roar that crawls deeper
than any loneliness.
Then, it’s gone
–the smells of today snap me back
camouflaging uncivilized dreams.
Everyone has a nose. They come in all shapes and sizes; their purpose is universal. Though we don’t rely on them in the same ways that animals do, we do count on them to warn us of smoke or beckon when our favorite pie has come out of the oven. Besides being great for breathing and filtering the air, noses are olfactory memory generators!
Several years ago, I attended a Writer’s Conference in Ashland, Oregon. I chose to work with poet and author, Kim Addonizio, over the five days of the conference. I am so grateful to have had this experience. One of the final assignments was to write a poem based in the sense of smell.
I returned to my room and sat there for awhile, tallying the possible directions I could go with this theme. Suddenly, it fell into place. Being an empath, I never really liked circuses. One brother is an animal right’s activist. I’ve taken my kids to a few circuses, but we felt unease.
In the poem above, I became the circus tiger in the cage and wrote from that perspective.
The invitation is yours to write a poem or prose with the sense of smell as your prompt. Follow your nose and see where it takes you.
Writing in third person gives the writer a freedom that he or she might not experience when writing in first person. Even if you are relating a true story about yourself, it helps to take yourself out of the central character position and write a fictionalized account. Writing from the third person point of view, uses the pronouns, he, she, it or they. Try it, you might be surprised at how expansive your writing becomes.
I live in the mountains where winter can be prolonged and intense with cold and snow. We have the usual snowbirds who leave before the season sets in. Contemplating one friend who fled the mountain as the fahrenheit dropped below freezing, I wrote this little bit of prose. Please note that I took poetic license. What is poetic license? According to an online dictionary, poetic license is “the freedom to depart from the facts of a matter…when speaking or writing in order to create an effect.” This is written from the third person perspective.
To him, winter was a tall, cold Gin Rickey on a hot Florida beach. He left the north like a tornado leaves a small town–in no time, flat. The premonition of snow sent him hurtling off the mountain. That inhospitable mountain which presided so still and godly over all the peons below. That exacting, omnipresent, detached mountain. The lure of that tall, cold beverage, a hot Florida beach and him in his white panama and floral print shirt helped to stave off the bitter taste of guilt as he drove south on Interstate 5. That mountain–a dwindling presence in his rearview mirror…and her standing at the base of it, tears frozen on alabaster cheeks. Yes, he’d fled south, but he was north of something, wasn’t he?
**** WRITING PROMPT:
What is winter like where you live? Is there something specific to winter in your territory that you’d like to write about? Is there an acquaintance of yours who has a specific response to this season that is noteworthy? Write (in third person) one paragraph that places someone you know (or you, yourself) in a particular circumstance in the wintertide.
Writing in third person invokes the spirit of play! Anyone thirsty?
As a budding writer, how do you find your “true voice”? Painters ask this same question when they cry in dismay “How do I find my style?” The truth for writers (and any artist) is that a) it’s always there and b) practice.
When I’m in conversation with someone, if there is a degree of familiarity, I hear their “true voice” readily. There is no need to hide when we feel comfortable with disclosing ourselves to someone. We shield ourselves when we don’t feel familiar or safe. We make “small talk”.
How do you recognize your writer’s voice–it tells the truth. Think of it more as “Finding Your Perspective” or your “Point of View.” Take global warming as an example. What is your perspective on this? Is it a reality or something that some scheming political party or corporate interest has made up? If you follow that thread, as if in conversation with someone, what would you say? How would you say it? What you say and your tone are reflections of your writer’s voice.
For instance, if I were of the belief that global warming is a hoax. I might expound on how we are being duped into believing this for certain profit-making organizations or corporate interests? If I feel passionate about this, then my ire could rise and that would come through in my writing also. Though I’d look for “facts” to back up this perspective and insinuate them in my writing, it would still be my perspective and expressed in my own distinct way. How convincing could you be if you wrote from a place that is opposite to what you believe? How in touch with your true writer’s voice would you be? I’m guessing a good, practiced fiction writer could do this. If that is your genre, then it’s another story altogether. However, even a good fiction writer has an overall style that can be recognizable to her/his readers.
Several years ago, I purchased a hand-held mini recorder. For me, it was handier than a notebook when I was either driving or out hiking on a trail. I could instantly record a passing thought, a whole poem or ideas for future writings. When I replay the recording, I hear “my true voice”. When you write, when you record your voice, compare to see if you write as you speak.
A poem by Pablo Neruda
“All paths lead to the same goal
to convey to others what we are.
And we must pass through solitude
and difficulty, isolation and silence
in order to reach forth to
the enchanted place
where we can dance
our clumsy dance
sing our lonesome song
but in this dance or in this song
there are fulfilled the most ancient rite
of our conscience
in the awareness of being human
and of believing in a common destiny.”
Begin with the line “What I most want to convey to others is…” and write extemporaneously for a period of time that you decide. Read aloud what you wrote. If you have a recorder, record yourself reading this aloud. Are you surprised by anything that you wrote? How do you sound to yourself when you play back the recording (if you made one)?