sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

A version of this post was published in April, 2015, before the gremlins devoured and destroyed portions of our blog. After you read this, go spend time exploring davidseah.com.  Lots of time. Read other interviews he’s done — no two cover the same territory.
Then, come back here later for Parts 2 and 3 for more.  Michele

Meet Dave, a talented, whimsical storyteller who uses computer technology to bring his stories and creations to life. His serious side is always looking for a better way to organize, systematize, code, and simplify tasks —  these products are spare, beautifully balanced, color coordinated, and do their job well.

Then there’s his other side that loves to explore and tweak options, express how he (and we) feel about life. These creations led me to contact Dave. His very generous sharing of time and ideas fill this post, plus two more to follow.

We exchanged over 6,000 words! How to distill his wisdom, humor, eclectic personality, deeply held and expressed views, took a while. Plan time to go get lost in his website. Discover how he works, what he’s created and shared with the universe.  

But first, enjoy Part 1 of the David Seah saga:

 

Just who is Dave Seah?

I don’t really have a succinct answer for that!

Factwise, I’m a 48-yo Taiwanese-American living in New Hampshire about 40 miles north of Boston. It’s a suburban area without good Chinese restaurants, which makes me sad.

Mostly I work as a freelance interactive developer, though I am trying to transition away from that into making products based on my own design work.

I gather that you were always interested in technical issues, trying to figure out how things work, and how to make them work better.

That’s a valid observation, though I think that I’m more interested in “human issues” that have technical aspects that I can solve.

I find technology for the sake of technology pretty boring. The application of technology, though, in the pursuit of “something better” or “something MORE AWESOME” is hugely interesting to me. It’s about empowering and enabling, and sometimes I’m able to muster the ability to work through the technical issues.

Figuring out how things work is an exercise in understanding how to make some aspect of life better. That said, I like digging into the technology and the principles behind it to find the uncommon and non-obvious effects they have, and thinking of ways that they might be useful or perhaps amusing.

What experiments are you most proud of creating/adapting in your growing up days?

I wasn’t a particularly experimental kid, but I did discover computers when I was in the 7th grade, around 1980-1981.

A lot of my formative beliefs about information sharing and team come from that time of learning in a group of three of us, and I spent a lot of time learning the innards of the Apple II computer.

I would say I learned the bulk of my computer knowledge, or perhaps gained the mindset for using computers, before I went to college for computer engineering.

In high school, I was probably most pleased with winning a school bridge building competition with an interesting load-bearing design that no one else had thought of by a 2:1 margin, or 10:1 if you didn’t include the student who cheated.

I also enjoyed writing, and was in-fact thinking of becoming an English major instead of a computer engineering major. I figured I could always write, but would learn more in computer engineering that I didn’t know, to the chagrin of my English teachers.

 Did you write much as a kid? What were your first doodles and writings about?

Yep! I had a mysterious grasp of essay writing at an early age, which I didn’t realize for years. I would just write-out what I was thinking and present it in an order that made sense, each paragraph building on the previous one. I enjoyed using WordStar, the seminal early word processing program, because I could type as fast as I could think

My first memory of a story was for I think was the 7th grade, when I had stayed up late writing an assignment at the last minute (hand-written, as this predates word processor use in my house).

I had put the names of my friends in the class in the story, which was loosely a Star Wars-inspired story, and the teacher reading it aloud made for a lot of interesting reactions from my classmates. I also spent a lot of time drawing spaceships with my friends (this was the late 70s/early 80s after all), which I started in the 4th grade.

I still have all the drawings too! Generally I didn’t write except for class after the 8th grade, but I think what really drew me was making up worlds…that’s what video games were to me, in the early days of that art form.

I grew up as an Army Brat, and experience feeling a “stranger in a strange land”.  You said on your blog that you spent your first years in MA, then moved to Taiwan for another chunk of your youth. How did that affect you?

I was born in New Jersey, where my dad was the minister for the First Presbyterian Church of Monmouth County. This was a rural area, mostly farms, and we were the only Asian family anyone had ever seen in the area.

I don’t speak Taiwanese or Chinese because when I was in pre-school, apparently I was speaking a mixture of Taiwanese and English and the teachers thought I had brain damage or a developmental disorder, so my mom started speaking to me only in English and I lost the language.

At the time, my parents didn’t think they would be returning to Taiwan because of the government (they were blacklisted as human rights activists by the KMT, the losers of the Chinese Civil War in 1949). In 1976 or 1977 our family moved to Taiwan when I was 9.

The result: massive culture shock. It was already easy to feel slightly out-of-place as the only Asian kid where I lived, but at least there was TV and I could read and understand what people were saying. In Taiwan I couldn’t do that. I went to the American school the entire time I was there, not speaking Chinese and being regarded as a weird foreigner.

Then on returning to the US for college, I unexpectedly went through yet another 5 years of reverse-culture shock (realizing this only 5 years after it was over), because I’d been away for so long and I lacked common experiences with my other classmates.

The effect, I think, was always feeling like an outsider or stranger, to this day. It took a long time to develop comfort in some social skills, but even now it is difficult to put away the feeling that I am an outsider/intruder that doesn’t belong.

Was art your first love, and tech more of an adult decision?

Neither of them are a first love, I would say, as a maker. I’m probably more of a reluctant creative.

I was more excited about stories than anything, particularly ones that I thought I could make. I wanted to (and still do want to) make really interesting experiences. I love animation, illustration, computer graphics, computer game design because of the stories and feelings they encourage, and for the knowledge and experience they deliver.

I’m a frustrated storyteller, and both art and technology are where my efforts seem to have gone because I have wanted good tools and good skills. Where I have fallen short, though, is having the guts to tell those stories and keep practicing.

It feels like I’m only now just getting over that block. Making things that are lovable is hard!

David, thank you so much!

This was my trigger to contact Dave – I LOVE
the Angry Scribble option!I call it my  Grump’s To Do Form. 

 

END OF POST 1. 

NEXT TIME, MORE ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS, HOW AND WHY THE BLOG HAS MORPHED OVER TIME, WITH EXAMPLES, PLUS THE GROUNDHOG DAY APPROACH TO TRACKING. 

PART 3 INCLUDES A FRANK DISCUSSION ABOUT POETRY, COMFORT ZONES, CONFLICT, AND MORE FUN POSTS TO READ ON DAVE’S SITE. 

 

This post was one of our favorites, and is being shared again. Enjoy!


write-pic
I’m a poet with a particular point of view, and write poems on different subjects from my point of view. Each poem is an expression, through me, of inspiration or Spirit or emotion. What you see in this light is what you bring to the poem.

“The Feminine” is often expressed in writing by men. I offer you this poem, by a woman about femininity and what it means to be a woman. To me, just to me.

No Woman is an Island

More like vast continents
covered in dark forests,
hidden lakes and tributaries,
golden cities.

This land, dotted with small towns,
broad highways and dirt roads
is easy to get lost in.

There are no maps,
no signposts.

It’s not my fault,
if you lose your way…

Anne-1-25-16 post pic

© Anne Westlund


“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

 

 

A few weeks ago, I finished up writing the thirty poems I had planned to write in November. As usual when otherwise out of ideas, I resorted to rhyme.dots

Not Calm, but a Clamor

Conductor lifts his baton
as the speakers squeak on
and the trumpets ring out,
with a scream and a shout

Next, woodwinds take turn
as agitated notes churn
in  a flutter from the flute
sounding more like a hoot

Scratchy sounds from the strings,
basses, violin pings,
all together blast out,
whirl and clatter about

agitated notes bellow
from the bass and the cello
Big drums boom, blare, and thunder
makes the audience wonder

If there was some kind of error.
They cower, in terror.
With hands over their ears
all erupt in loud jeers

MusicalNotes

And here’s another:

An Open Letter

An open letter on the table,
left for any who are able
to make out the scrawled out scribble,
words that appear to dribble
down the torn and tattered paper
so they almost seem to caper
to the bottom of the page
Read the words. You see the writer
was most surely in a rage

But although you squint and wiggle
your reading glasses, and you jiggle
the torn paper, you’re not able
to make out the clever fable
scribbled down by clever writer,
so you curse the blank-blank blighter
and go off to try and find him,
track him down and try to bind him
long enough to tell his tale

to you. Alas, you fail.
He grabs the piece of paper,
while you gape, enraged, and caper
round and round, it’s torn asunder
You are doomed, forever wonder
what the stupid blighter wrote
on the three times cursed note

 

thumb_IMG_0119_1024Happy 2016, Everyone!

I thought that groups of animal and/or object names had a specific rhythm and form to them, like a “gaggle of geese”. Not always the case, to my surprise.

Harlee, my amazing Standard Poodle, deals daily with several major disturbances in her life. When she barks at any of them, she’s sent to her “place” until she stops barking. Totally unfair, but she goes nuts otherwise.

I looked up the real names for these critters, but think, to her, this describes it better:
Version 2— A Trauma of Turkeys (wild, who wander by her window several times a day, tromp through territory she considers to belong to her and her pack)
 A Sh*t-load of Squirrels (who torment her repeatedly, run up and down the deck railing, moon her when she looks at them, and otherwise create chaos for her. )
— A Damage of Deer (who eat “her ivy”; property of our next door neighbor, but which she’s very possessive towards)

IMG_0117_1024— a Cacophony of Cats (perhaps the most dreaded enemy, and not just because I’m highly allergic to them.)

These are my names for them.  A Rafter of Turkeys, a Herd of Deer — boring. However, a glaring or clutter or nuisance of cats is so right on.

Here’s a science lesson, in poetic form, to teach you some of the true names:

The Grand Scheme of Things

… set out as “a/an … of …”
you can figure it out
imaginatively, I presume

Obstinate Buffalo
(banish “bison” — such a dirty word!)
ooh, Cultured Bacteria!

Business Ferrets
Flamboyant Flamingos
Towering Giraffes
a Stud of Mares in confusion?

Bloated Hippopotami
Cackling Hyenas
Jellyfish Flutter or Smack

Otters Romp
by Squadron of Pelicans
and Penguins Huddle Proud

thumb_Photo on 2011-10-09 at 10.15 #2_1024Prickly Porcupines
Ostentatious Peacocks
Rhinos in a Crash

Buzzards hold Wakes
Cormorants Gulp, poor creatures
can’t swallow the fish they catch

Parliamentary Owls
watch Woodpeckers Descend
and Kangaroos Troop and hop

Unkind, Conspiratorial Ravens
watch Sharks Shiver, while
Swans of the lake, do Ballet

Intrusive Cockroaches
Pandemonius Parrots
Murderous Crows can’t be trusted

a Convocation of Eagles
Emus in a Mob
Crocodiles Float like logs

a Tribe of Goats
Implausible Gnu
Storks Muster for their appointed rounds

Rattlesnakes Rhumba
while Cobras Quiver
and Moles Labor and Mumble

Tigers Ambush
with the Zeal of Zebras
while the Lounge of Lizards
croon amphibious songs

~~~~~~~~~~~

Note: I took great poetic liberty with some of these, but used the following sources for inspiration:  

http://www.patcom.com/pdf/Whatdoyoucallagroup.pdf

https://sciencebasedlife.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/what-do-you-call-a-group-of/

http://www.namibian.org/travel/misc/collective-nouns.html

http://www.lyberty.com/encyc/articles/murder.html

http://mdc.mo.gov/blogs/fresh-afield/animal-aggregations-or-what-do-you-call-group

 

All photos c. Michele M. Graf, 2007-2016

My Bliss

Willow trees, birch and aspen, smell of fresh-cut grass
Keys, butterflies, bears, dragonflies
Cherry blossoms, lilacs
Blue-berry muffins, apple crisp, crumb donuts, apple cider
Celtic music, movie soundtracks
Rain – its touch, smell, and sound
Fairies, dragons, fairy-tales
Sunsets, trains, dance
Milk chocolate, chocolate milk, pistachios, strawberry lemonade
Petting and cuddling with a cat

sparks

 

mary-sig2 (1)

 

 

 

Some people have a tradition of choosing a word, or a theme, to focus on or represent their new year rather than (or in addition to) traditional resolutions. It’s not something I’ve done in the past, but as the last year drew to a close there was one word that really resonated with me. A word that represents what I want to bring forth in the world, and project from myself.
What does this word mean to me?

Dance is energy, movement, joy. There is rhythm and flow. Words dancing across the page, fingers dancing across the keys. Being fit in body. Not falling stale and still. Not caring what others think. You can dance alone, or with a partner. If you dance with a partner, there must be a connection, and coordination. It doesn’t work if your steps are not aligned. Pick your partners carefully, in love and in business and in life.

How dance relates to my goals:

  • Words dancing across the page, regular writing with the goal of finishing another novel.
  • Poems compiled into a new chapbook, focusing on the theme of dance and music.
  • Collaboration with my fellow Muselings on new projects.
  • Losing weight and drinking more water, doing yoga, to be fit in body, have more energy and grace.
  • Play the piano more frequently.

Do you choose a theme for the year? What are some of your goals, resolutions, or energies for 2015?

Mary Butterfly Signature

 

 

 

 

Beginnings

Greetings from the Poetic Muselings, and welcome to 2015. We have decided to blog once a week this month, and I have drawn the first week.

darksky3

We Muselings met online in October of 2008 when we all signed up for a workshop at the Muse Online Writers Conference.  The four of us were signed up for Magdelena Ball’s Create a Chap Book workshop and Lisa Gentile’s Creative Block Busters. However, due to a power outage, Lisa was unable to connect for the final online chat session, so moderator Michele Graf (see, even then she was our leader), took over, and we all shared how our week had gone. Afterward, a group of us started to meet online and share our poetry. Lifelines, and the Poetic Muselings, came from that.

 

As to my own, creative beginnings,  I told myself stories as far back as I can remember, stories in my head. Somehow I wasn’t all that oriented in the real world, instead inhabiting the world of my imagination. A blue fairy would appear and comfort me. The back of my closet would open and become the entrance to a new world. The door into the hall would open into someplace new and strange. But it was years before it occurred to me to write anything down.

 

I started writing poetry early, but never took myself seriously as a poet. When I become involved with my spouse, I started writing some for her. I wrote poems into spiral notebooks which I stored in the attic. When things got tense between us, I wrote angst-filled poems, again in spiral notebooks. A few were published in a small newsletter.

 

At one point I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, and that’s when I tumbled into my life as a writer. Searching for a place to store my poem online, I found a couple of communities and started to participate. I became a finalist in a poetry contest. A couple of poems were published in a print journal, a few more in an online journal. I found the Muse Online Writers Conference and connected with others. In short, I got hooked.

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