Where is my mind?

Answer: On paper.

When chatting with Peggy, I realized how old-fashioned I am. I keep most of my thoughts, to-dos and writing on paper, either typed or written in pen. Peggy uses her computer and phone, in other words, technology, to keep track of things.

In order to remember things I have to write them down, literally. I have notebooks for everything it seems. I even print out a monthly handout on the moon cycles that I follow along with. If it’s anywhere, it’s on my desk.

I take dictation (from whom? not sure about that one) on some of my poems, the rest I struggle with.

I have a planner with my daily to-do lists, a habit tracker, a writing tracker, a poetry notebook, a writing notebook, a prioritized to-do list, and a little green shopping list notebook. I’m more wannabe organized person than actually organized. Here are some pictures of how I keep track:

IMG_4119IMG_4120IMG_4121IMG_4123IMG_4126IMG_4130My trusty pen (and water bottle)!

"UFOs"

UFOs

They call them UFOs,
unfinished objects.

Is there anything sadder
than projects left half-done?

Maybe its projects planned, not started?
The kits still enclosed in plastic,
paints unopened, canvas untouched.

Even sadder, projects brought this close
to completion, but never quite finished.

With a bottom drawer of neglected manuscripts,
fishing tackle box containing pastels barely used,
containers of unopened Mod Podge,
the aforementioned Christmas cross-stitch kits,
never to be stitched, at least by me.

Who am I to talk?
Who am I to talk?

 

Make Visible: Home

 

I’m a poet with a particular point of view. In these next blog posts I’ll post 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.

Home is where the heart is. Home is where you hang your hat. Whatever your definition of home is, I’d like to hear it. Here is one of mine. Like a snapshot, it’s more of a fleeting impression than a textbook definition.

My Town

Above the hum of machinery
the sound of cars rushing by
I can hear the birds
in defiance.

There are still bugs
despite all the disinfectants,
weed-killer, napalm.

Dogs roam free
in our neighborhood.
They come up to say hello
or bark their freedom
at their fellows behind fences.

There are more slugs every year
it seems like.
The rain brings them
in the morning, in the grass
a convention.

And the deer
not hunted here
in this unnatural setting
eat weeds next to the post office
four of them, a family portrait.
Frustrated hunters
with gun racks in their trucks
have to stop
as they cross the road.

© Anne Westlund

Doe in backyard

Doe in backyard

Come back on Friday, June 28th for Make Visible: Childhood

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

Make Visible: Memories

The Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, seen from th...

The Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, seen from the southeast side of the bridge. This is a 7×1 panoramic stich. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make Visible:  Memories

 

Poetry is about remembering, remembering a moment in time.  Like a photograph, a poem preserves moments that can never be experienced again, at least not in the same way.  This helps the writer as much or more than the reader.  There may be moments you want to remember, not just with a photograph.  Of course, we don’t have photos for all of the important events of our lives.

Task:  Write a poem about a city or town that figures prominently in the story of your life.

Try it!

I wrote this poem for a Powell’s poetry contest.  I guess they were looking for something more avant-garde because it didn’t win.  Here’s my memory of Portland, OR:

Memories of Portland

 

At OMSI we learned about the space race

Watched metal balls drop, spin and disappear

And entered a giant red heart

Leaving it, heartbeats ringing in our ears

Excited by it all.

 

We always ended up at the Oyster Bar

Suspicious of anything with a shell

Crustacean or mollusk

I settled on clam chowder and crackers

While my family feasted on gifts from the sea.

 

Only in later years

Did I enjoy the simplicity of the Japanese Gardens

Observing a perfectly reenacted tea ceremony

From a distance, while the rain fell

Boulders as islands, surrounded by seas of white rock.

 

In my college days I could appreciate

That land mass, Powell’s, full of books

More than I could ever read in a lifetime

Losing myself in the Gold Room

Taking home a stack of books a foot high.

 

© Anne Westlund

 

 

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

 

 

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Make Visible: By Art Inspired

 Art sometimes inspires me to write poetry. Below are two paintings and the poems they inspired. Please read Lin’s post A New Way of Looking: Ekphrasis for an introduction to this idea. It is often not enough to just see a painting and write; sometimes research into the subject or the artist is helpful.  I researched James Joyce for the poem, “Joyce.”  The painting was incorrectly titled “Joyce in the City” on another website, where I was inspired to write the poem.  The correct name for the painting is Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte, 1877.

Paris Street, Rainy Day

Joyce

Plotting out your novel
in the rain,
or so I imagine.
I struggled with Ulysses,
didn’t get past the first five pages
to be honest.

You wouldn’t kneel
at your mother’s bedside,
standing up against Catholicism
even in death.

Your get rich quick schemes
failed, until you acquired a patron.
Still you squandered the money
every chance
on wine.

We’ll never know much about
your daughter,
the letters burned
by an overzealous relative.

Many eye surgeries later,
Joyce and an umbrella,
woman on his arm,
in the rain.

The second painting, The Little Deer by Frida Kahlo, 1946, also inspired a poem.  I dug a little deeper into the research for this painting.  The surrealism of the painting is reflected in this poem, “A Painting.”

The Little Deer

A Painting

You let your guard down
Didn’t see the hunter’s orange vest
Or didn’t care
Can the mute speak?
Still you run through the woods
You should be dead
A stag with the face of a woman
countenance as mysterious as the Mona Lisa’s
Run, deer, run
As if the plague were after you
As if followed by Roman soldiers
Aching to martyr.

What can you take away from this?  If you need inspiration, look online for paintings to inspire your writing.  They can be modern art, classical, fine art, or even photographs.  You don’t have to research the subject of the painting or photograph or the artist, but  it adds depth to the final work.

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Make Visible: From Consumer to Creator

I bet you have lots of media in your home, like CDs, books, DVDs, even art—all made by someone else or a group of other people.  Have you ever considered making your own media, your own art?  As the rash of consumerism that spreads over the country at this time of year attests, there is a huge market for the products of creativity.  I ask you to consider making your own music, writing your own books, directing your own movies and decorating your walls with your own art.  Right away, there are objections:  You don’t have the talent, money, time, skills, contacts to do this!  Maybe not.

The creators of media (art) aren’t any different than you and me.  “They put their pants on one leg at a time,” as my dad used to say.  Maybe they have a vision to share, maybe not, maybe they have time, talent, money and all that good stuff, maybe not.  It’s not about becoming a writer, musician, artist, filmmaker.  This is about being creative and expressing yourself.  We will still buy media, that’s not in question.  It’s time to be creators of art rather than only consumers of art.  Be brave!  You don’t have to share just yet.  Get out pen and paper, a guitar, paint and paintbrush or video camera.  I double dog dare you!

English: paintbrush

Image via Wikipedia

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