Thursday, February 26, 2015

Brought to you by South Korea

Inspired by my friend Cathy Tenzo, who writes a haiku a day

& has recently begun posting a work of art each day

I give you my latest work of (visual) art, which is not yet titled. It will be, however. As a word girl, calling something untitled #37 or somesuch is anathema to me.

This week I have been happily e-corresponding with a couple marvelous students (plus their equally-marvelous teacher) from South Korea. It is always an honor to have my work chosen for school projects, but there is a sense of unreality when it is from halfway around the globe. Yet it is real, & so easy, in these days of email & blogs.

Here is one of the questions I was asked & my answer:

I love the question about how I am influenced when I am writing poetry. It made me think. There are many ways. Here are a few:

1. I have a great imagination and am never short of ideas. Maybe that's why I write science fiction and fantasy, New ideas just show up on a regular basis, sparked by a new science discovery or putting 2 things together that aren't usually associated or just a word. I read the word "cyclops" in a friend's poem the other day and got the idea of wondering what the mother of the first cyclops thought when her baby was born, and other strange, mythical babies, like a baby centaur and such.

2. Emotions. When I'm upset about something or really joyful, poetry is a place to turn to, to either work through the emotion or revel in it.

3. Simple images of everyday life can strike me--like how it feels to hold a little warm dog on your lap (I have one of my grand-dogs, which belongs to my son and daughter-in-law, on my lap right now) and how that simple relationship is as important as a poem. Or striking, unique images, like the year Montana (where I grew up) had such beautiful sunsets because there was a horrific fire in the United State's first National Park, Yellowstone Park. All the ash and dust in the air made the sunsets spectacular--but when you knew the reason for it, the beauty had a dark side.

4. I just love words. They talk to me and I talk back.

5. Reading the poems of other poets can really speak to my mind and my heart and my soul and come out through my fingers, in a notebook or on a computer.

That's probably more than you wanted, but it was fun for me.

Now, on to the rest of my day.

Blog alternative: (Which, as some of you may not know, is my suggestion for things to do rather than surfing the net or reading blogs. Ridiculous that it comes in a blog, but you can easily skip reading this & make your own list...)

294. Look at a map or a globe. Do you know someone in another country? Send them a note. Or write a note to an imaginary friend in the country of your choice & tell them what your day is like & ask them things you'd like to know about theirs. Email the note to yourself. I wouldn't be surprised if you serendipitously get back the answer to at least one of your questions, by seeing it in a magazine or on television or overhearing a conversation between strangers. Bonus points if you graciously (if it's appropriate) let the strangers know they gave you a gift. Who knows, you may end up with a real friend from another country.

Monday, February 16, 2015

My sons' classmate's mother & son's classmate

Dances with bubble wrap

I had an adventure today.

It being (relatively) nice out (okay, so right now it's 19 degrees & feels like 9, but on Saturday we had a high of 4, which felt like 15 below, but it was sunny so it seemed nicer & on Sunday it got up into the (low) single digits & tomorrow the high will be 9 & on Wednesday it will be 2) for southern Minnesota in January, I decided to take a walk. A short walk. Stopped at the neighborhood McDonald's for some fries & warmth. (I am still a southern belle wussy chick & southern Minnesota just doesn't cut it.)

Halfway through my fries, the woman at the next table was getting up & I thought she had cute hair, so I got her attention & told her so & she said she thought she knew me from way back. Turns out our sons were in grade school together. We visited for a little while & she went home to what she'd been taking an ice cream vacation from & I bundled back up so I wouldn't feel too much like ice cream & walked home.

Zach didn't have class, it being President's Day, so he took a little break from studying psychology to hear about my adventure. It turned out that he'd had a college class a couple years ago with this same woman, recognized her last name & asked about her son.

How many degrees of separation is that? Less than one. Our McDonald's overlap was short--& I had not intended to go there at all, until confronted by the windchill--so I am declaring it a synchronicity.

Blog alternative:
293. Go outside when you don't have to, just to be there. Kiss a snowflake for me, if there is one. Better yet, kiss a sunbeam for you, if there is one.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Triskaidekaphilics Unite!

A cool (hot) pool in Yellowstone Park.
My friends Debbie & Jim & I went there in September
just before my dad's 80th birthday.
The last time I'd been there was about 43 years ago.

Happy Friday the 13th!

I absolutely love it when Friday the 13th falls in February, because--unless it's a leap year--we get a repeat performance in March. Encore. Bravo!

(Too many exclamation points? My little triskaidekaphilic heart beats so fast on Friday the 13th. Maybe it's from the candy bar I just ate...)

I've had a lovely day, recycling old manuscripts, getting rid of books I no longer desire (some to the Paperback Book Palace & some to the Friends of the Library bookstore), getting a few things at the beautiful new location of The People's Co-op &--most importantly--reading The Accidental Wife, by my friend C.J. Fosdick. It's coming out this spring from Wild Rose Press.

Carol has always been a very good writer but she's been busy with kids & dogs & horses for some years & gotten back to writing in a big way fairly recently. Yay hurray! I'm going to write a glowing review for her. If you like time travel romances, check it out.

Blog alternative:
292. Set aside the kids (trust me, they'll probably appreciate it, unless they're infants, in which case, wait until nap time) & the dogs & the horses for a moment & work on a dream.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Leopard escapes from the box

Snowy tree reflected in
the glass atop the fabulous
54" round pedestal table I
found at a store in Minneapolis
many years ago.
The very best size for playing cards.

I found my fun clothes!

In a box taken from the recycling pile in front of Ten Thousand Villages in Asheville, before I decided to use standard UPS packing. This was packed when I moved from my Chestnut Street apartment, in 2009. So I haven't seen the leopard print denim bell bottoms or the short red dress I wore to Shelly & Johnny's wedding or any number of fabulous apparel for more than 5 & 1/2 years.

I'll go through them, & make sure they're still fun & they still fit. Probably some things will go to thrift stores or consignment shops, but you know I'm going to be wearing leopard print bell bottoms tomorrow!

This was the funnest of the boxes I've gone through lately, & there have been a bunch of them. Recycled a lot of paper. Now I'm trying to come up with a better system for paper, because I've come to know that putting it in cute black snap-together banker's boxes from Staples just means I have a bunch of cute black boxes on my shelves. It has to be more visual, more accessible, more in-my-face for them to be useable.

I'll the put the old (but not yet old enough to discard) tax materials back in one of the cute black boxes. I'm putting some papers in sheet protectors & putting them in binders. We'll see if that will work better. Perhaps if I had a room with walls made out of cork board I could just pin all the rest of it up &--no, no, that would be a disaster.

I'm good at coming up with systems though. I even have some that work...

Blog alternative:
291. Look at a system for keeping things. Does it work? If not, why not? Get rid of some of the things that got bottle-necked in the system. Bonus if you come up with another system.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Accidental Movies

Do you ever do this? Take pictures with your camera (I forgot, no one has cameras any more. Okay, your phone.) & somehow in the middle of it press something that means you're making a movie. Except you never make movies, so you think you're just looking at the scene, ready to take another picture. But when you push your "take a picture" button, nothing happens. Hmmm, you think, & keep   watching the scene, moving the device, pressing the button. After a little while (one hopes, depending on the scene) you turn it off & back on again, & there you are, able to take pictures, wondering what just happened.

The sad thing about this: the more dynamic & interesting & movie-worthy the scene, the sooner you are to turn it off & start over. If it's no big deal--say, the way pattern looks really cool on the end pages of Mary Oliver's poetry book, Blue Horses, reflecting the light from your little gooseneck LED light from IKEA off the protective plastic coat the library lovingly placed on the book--you might mess around for 47 seconds or so. Sigh.

I was going to share the little movie--with no guarantee that it would be 47 seconds well spent; watch at your own risk; blah blah blah--but fortunately for you there was an error. Instead, taking far less than 47 seconds to peruse, is this photo, 1 of 29 I took. I could show you the slideshow...

The little diorama at the top is brought to in part you by Mr. Jackson, dead these many years. Mr. Jackson was my teacher at Nye School for 8 years, my introduction to education. He taught grammar & phonics exceedingly well, made sure we did at least one freehand drawing a month (on manila paper) as well as the obligatory trace-your-hand turkeys & folded-&-cut paper snowflakes & such for seasonal decorations & ran a kickass rhythm band which was a key component of our twice-a-year programs, Christmas & graduation--standing room only events at Nye. He also--well, I won't go into the parts that made some students (not me) wish they went to school in Absarokee. We can't be all things to all people, after all. One thing about going to a one-room school, is you know who your teacher's going to be next year. & the year after that...

Mr. Jackson had two favorite little gifts he gave to the girls in the school at Christmas & school year's end. I have no idea what he gave the boys. Girls got paper cards with little ceramic animals glued to them or a cool cobalt blue bottle of Evening in Paris perfume.

I probably don't have any perfume bottles left (more's the pity, since a bunch of my decorating consists of setting blue bottles of all shapes & sizes on window sills) but in one of the bathrooms of my parents' house are two sets of little animals that Mr. Jackson gave me. Every time I go home, I rearrange the mama duck & her teenager & baby & the mama dog & her 4 puppies (1 has its tail completely broken off & another has just a little tail tip chipped; I usually make them the super adventurous & adventurous ones.) into dynamic dioramas.

I'm pretty sure, since I left Nye School the spring of 1973 & the ceramic animals were probably "little girl" gifts, that the duck family & the dog family are more than 45 years old. I doubt many of their counterparts, given to other girls, even exist any more. I very seriously doubt that any of them get played with several times a year.

I was unusually enchanted by the diorama I came up with over the holiday season. The puppy peeking out of the heart-shaped box at the baby duck. Mama duck & mama dog nose to nose. 3 puppies converging on the adolescent duck--safety in numbers? So, you get a couple less-than-perfect photos of this (I didn't think of it until it was time to leave & I had to hurry & the light wasn't good & I don't like flash) to go along with (what was going to be) your movie of the end pages of a poetry book. I hope all this artistry doesn't completely blow you out of whatever water you happen to be in.

Blog alternative:
290. Put together some of your possessions (even if you don't have old childhood toys, you probably have a comb & a light bulb &...) in a diorama. A brave coffee cup standing up to a collection of empty beer bottles? One earring leading the escape from the necklace corral?