writing

The Kick-About #7 ‘Ennui’ — Red’s Kingdom

ennui: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

The Kick-About #7 ‘Ennui’ — Red’s Kingdom

Wanted to be sure everyone had easy access to the results of the latest Kick-About – it is a fantastic assemblage. The next Kick-About theme, Kick-About #8, is posted at the end and so, if the spirit moves you…

Little Lifts

polaroid film with a pattern of black dots and newspaper headlines

This collage also came out of my surreal headlines experiment – it turned into a micro-poem I was happy with and also seems to me to capture the contradictions of the world right now.

As I mentioned before, I found all of this expired polaroid film cleaning out my father’s house – and some of it wouldn’t develop at all and just popped out with a solid tan “unexposed” background (see above). Some did develop…sort of. So during the lockdown I’ve been making  collage/drawing on them and seeing where that takes me.
polaroid film with line drawing of close up of an eye
During the lockdown, I also started working through Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft book of writing advice and exercises, trying to get more confidence in my writing. I’ve been posting my responses to those exercises over at Evening Satellite Publishing and if anyone wants to follow along or give feedback, I’d be most appreciative!

Exercise 1: Being Gorgeous
Exercise 2: Strong Emotion
Exercise 3: Am I Saramago

I hope everyone is staying safe and sane!

Notary on a Unicycle and an Award!

NotaryUnicycle.jpgI’ve been working on a series of ink and ink wash illustrations of snippets of conversations I’ve overheard randomly – thus I’ve been affectionately calling them “Overheards”. The conversations are already out of context in most cases, and I’ve tried to heighten that by making the conversations between fruits and birds. Don’t know where this will go, but may I present to you the first one and say that there are more on the way!

Right before I left for my Asia trip, I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Steve D’Adamo of Red String Paper Cuts. Luckily, I don’t think the nominations expire, so here I am, accepting it a month later! Thank you, Steve! Thank you also for introducing me to several more really cool bloggers in your nomination post!

bloggeraward.png

To accept the award I must:

Thank the bloggers who nominated me and provide a link to their blogs.

Write a post to show my award.

Give a brief story as to how my blog got started.

Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

Select 15 other bloggers for this award.

Comment on each blog to let them know I nominated them and link them to this post.

Thank the bloggers who nominated me and provide a link to their blogs.
I was nominated by Steve D’Adamo over at Red String Paper Cuts. Steve and his friend Jesse Gutierrez started RSPC not long after I started Illustrated Poetry and they have always graciously allowed me to hang around and occasionally contribute to their blog. Always good stuff over at RSPC! Thank you again for the nomination!

Give a brief story as to how my blog got started:
I actually have a confession to make: this was supposed to be an author blog. Towards the end of grad school, I wrote a novel – my first, to be precise (it was also my first serious attempt at writing anything non-science since college). Like most first-novel-attempts, it wasn’t very good, but also like many first time novelists, I didn’t realize that at first (it was definitely my baby). So I was trying to figure out what to do with this novel, how to get it published, and the first piece of advice everyone seemed to dispense in those days to aspiring authors was to start a blog. So I made a WP account…and then did nothing with it. I didn’t really want to write about writing and somewhere along the line, I realized a half-hearted author blog wasn’t going to cut it. But I didn’t give up on blogging and decided to blog about and connect with people through something I had always been really passionate about: art and poetry.  And I am so glad I did!

Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers:
I am probably the last person who should be dispensing blogging advice! But, if pressed, I would say: 1) blog about what you are most passionate about – doesn’t matter if that seems quirky or offbeat. Some of my favorite blogs on WP are quirky or about highly specialized topics and that’s what makes them great. 2) It’s your blog, it should be fun – it doesn’t matter if the prevailing advice is to post once a day or to write posts tagged with the top 10 trending tags, if that’s not fun for you, don’t do it. Need a blogging break? Take one.

Nominate 15 other bloggers – Well, it’s not going to be 15, and this is the part where the whole awards thing breaks down for me – my nominees are always “no strings attached” and I free them from any sort of obligation in regards to acceptance or post writing. It’s hard enough to find the time to post when we do! I hope folks visit and enjoy their blogs and discover new writers to follow.

I may have realized that I don’t like writing about writing, but I sure do enjoy it when talented authors do! In that vein, I have nominated 5 writers who I really enjoy following and often write about writing in an interesting way:

  1. Jane Dougherty Writes – I think Ms. Dougherty was the second or third blogger I followed and she very kindly endured novice-blogger me! Ms. Dougherty is the author of nearly a dozen books (by my count) and hosts fun microfiction challenges.
  2. Myths of the Mirror – this is D. Wallace Peach’s author blog and she posts interesting articles about writing fantasy (need to design a magic system, anyone?). Her series of posts about deciding to terminate her contract with her previous publisher and self-publish her novels was absolutely top notch and I highly recommend it.
  3. M.C. Tuggle, Writer – a writer of many different types of fiction, Mr. Tuggle posts on a similarly wide range of writing topics. I really appreciate that he scours the web and WP for good articles and posts about writing so you don’t have to!
  4. Kate M. Colby – I think I ran across Ms. Colby’s blog right after she started it, before her first book was published and she’s now on her third! I find her approach to discussing issues in publishing and writing to be refreshing and approachable. I also admire her systematic and businesslike attitude towards her own work and her decision to self-publish.
  5. American Writers Exposed – Sometimes you need some relief and a hilarious internet meme about writing and Ms. Jessica and Ms. Sandi post these alongside updates and articles about the nitty gritty of writing and publication. Their blog has the feel of a friendly support group for writers.

Okay! Thank you so much again, Steve, for the nomination! I hope everyone’s week is off to a good start.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled post…

WKQG4943.jpgYesterday I witnessed a terrible accident.

We are driving to meet a friend for dinner, heading the opposite direction of our commute, the opposite direction of traffic. Traffic flows easily at full highway speeds, or faster perhaps.

I hear it before I see it. An explosion a quarter mile ahead. I don’t see the inciting incident, but others do. I see a smear on the diagonal vector, no longer parallel. Time is slowing down, and the cars around us pause at 65+ miles an hour.

The nose of the car shoots up into the air, points at the sky. A metal pirouette, a Nancy Rubins’ in real life. It lands on its side and in some complicated equation of forces, begins to tumble. I am pulling right hard: the road ahead is a cloud of debris, spinning off at impossible angles.

And I watch it go 1…no, no, no, no, no…2….no, no, no, no…3 lanes of traffic, wheels over roof. It slams mid-somersault into the earthen embankment on the shoulder with another explosion of dirt.

shit. shit. shit.

And tumbles back to rest on its roof in the slow lane.

Call 9-1-1! Call 9-1-1! I shout and we are out of the car, running. Others are running too, converging on the car. Colored fluids are pouring from its exposed silver belly. Every one of our faces is a grim mask.

Because we are sure the people in that car are dead. Maybe not yet, but soon.

Instead, there she is: a woman on her hands and knees, looking up at us out of an upside-down window frame.

“It’s only me in the car. I’m okay. I was wearing my seatbelt.”

She is bleeding from small cuts all over her legs, the glass pressed through her pantyhose; she is dusty;

and she is okay.

As we help her out of the car, there is only the present, no past and no future. It occurs to me: I witnessed an honest-to-god miracle.

That feeling has stayed with me since yesterday.  It happened in an instant is always the cliché on accidents, and we are taught to always avoid clichés, but, but, but

I think over and over again…

Be kind.
Drive like you care about life.
Wear your seatbelt.

They talk about events that shake you up, make you see the world fresh, stripped of the illusion of security and ground, as Buddhist teachers say – and this was one of them. That second to the last statement is for the driver who hit the woman; witnesses said he was weaving erratically between lanes and speeding when he clipped the woman’s back bumper and sent her car spinning. She told us that she never saw him coming and never knew what hit her. Photograph by me, a blurry version of this Silent Sunday. Nancy Rubins creates fantastic (and often massive) sculptures out of recycled metal parts – you can see examples of her work here

Illustrated Thursday – Find What You Love – Bukowski

OROD4154I recently rescued a nearly full package of matte photo paper from the recycling bin at work – I guess folks don’t need to print photos anymore! I quickly discovered that I love drawing on the unique surface: it grabs graphite well and then is easy to blend. I don’t normally illustrate quotes, as there seems to be an entire industry devoted to that already, but I couldn’t resist with this Bukowski quote. Drawing (pencil on photo paper) and composition by me. Enjoy!