sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

A Trip Down Memory Lane

It’s almost supper time and I’m hungry, which got me thinking about my father and his ability to pick restaurants.

 Out to Lunch

One of the things about my father that always impressed me was his ability to pick out good restaurants on the fly. He would look around, sniff a few times, take a look at the menu and make a decision. I don’t ever remember having a bad meal when we ate together.

We lived in Manhattan and though we ate out quite a lot on Sunday nights it was always at the same few restaurants. One of them was Tony’s Italian Kitchen on West 79th street. It was owned by the chef and the maitre d’, I learned later, and according to my father this was one of the secrets of its success. In any case, they had one of the best antipastos I have ever eaten in any Italian restaurant. It had marinated peppers, mushrooms, olives, Italian salami and provolone and much more. I was floored when, after coming to Boston for the first time, I ordered antipasto and was served what was basically a large salad.

It was on a summer trip through England and France, however, when this ability came to the fore. We never had a bad meal even in London, which at the time had a reputation for dull food.

But it was in France that he impressed us most. We were in Paris and were walking around Montmartre when supper time rolled around. As we strolled down the hill, my father pointed to a restaurant close to the top of the hill, La Mere Catherine.

“Let’s try that one,” he suggested. I never did find out why he picked it.

I had coq au vin for supper. It is now many, many years later and I still remember the meal and the savory flavor of the chicken in red wine. I later looked the restaurant up in the famous Guide Michelin and discovered that it had an impressive one star. Trust me, one star is an amazing achievement. The thing is, though, that my father picked it out without consulting the guide book

Later that same trip I stumbled across what I remember as one of my first experiences of culture shock. We were in a restaurant in the French countryside ordering lunch, in French, which we all spoke. I was ordering a croque monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The conversation, which for convenience I’ll render mostly in English, went something like this:

“And what kind of cheese would you like?” the waitress asked.

“Fromage Suisse” (Swiss cheese) I replied.

“And what kind of Swiss cheese?” she responded.

I was floored. I never knew there was more than one. Ever on the ball, however, I came back with “what kinds do you have?” They had emmental and gruyere. I picked gruyere, mostly because it sounded familiar.

In case you ever face this dilemma, however, I’ll add that our imported Swiss cheese is in fact emmental. Gruyere is more like domestic Swiss.

Though I never figured out all of how my father did it, I did learn at least one of his secrets one day when I met him for dinner. He had spent the day at the courthouse in lower Manhattan, so we decided to go to Chinatown for dinner.

We were standing in line at the place he picked out when I asked rather plaintively, “Why not that place over there? There’s no line.”

Exactly,” he replied.

Dinner was delicious.

 

A Purse Full of Poems

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Julia Cameron — author of The Artist’s Way, and other books about finding your way in this world — was right.  Among her brilliant yet often simple ideas, she stated that sometimes “mending” clothes can mend the mind.

The context was about letting go of whatever is driving you nuts, and engage in activity that can free your synapses to help resolve the issue. A variation on great ideas that occur in the shower.

 

 

(Did you know that someone’s invented a water- and steam-proof board and pen so you can capture your priceless mind mutterings without trailing water all over the house? . . . and as soon as I can remember to look for one when I’m not in the shower, I intend to buy one.)

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mirror knows my face / shadows who’s inside / beckons me to live

The Poetic Muselings made a pact early last summer to NOT write, take on any new projects, work on our backload, etc.

In other words, we decided to do what we’d been doing (not much), but do it without guilt or nagging. Just let life be what it was for the duration.

By letting go of the struggle, we hoped to enjoy the time and see what it felt like to dump the pressure. It worked: we were eager to “do something!” shortly after.

 

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time smothers and numbs / we forget our fragile truth / pain, horror, and tears

 

I’m a belt-and-suspenders person, frantically trying to be prepared for almost any catastrophe. Usually I worry about the wrong thing.

One of my “medical advisors” told me that unless I stopped lugging my heavy purse, we’d continue to patch my shoulder pain, but not resolve it. At a bunch of dollars (not covered by Medicare), it worried me, but made sense to try something different.

I went to exercise classes several times a week, ate somewhat better, tried to get more sleep, and read light mysteries. I did some small decluttering bits, and knew I needed to deal with my lug-everything purse NOW.

I spent an entire day
trying to figure out
exactly what I need with me,
what can stay in the car, and
what needs to simply be tossed or left behind.
The whole day!

img_2687I tried out several purses I have, including an impulse buy in July, and came back to one I’ve had for at least a dozen years.

It’s small, has a lot of organizing sections that can be moved around (a Freedom Bag, which is temporarily closed for business while they relocate).

I keep going away from this purse because it’s black inside and out, and hard to see and find things.

 

Once I knew what to carry, on a whim I took out some metallic markers, and started writing haiku on the organizers and anything else black. After my very low output number of months, I wrote eight poems, right in a row.

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haiku seeps thru me / longs to flow onto paper / and flow further still

Yes, sometimes “mending” other bits of life can mend the mind.

Michele

 

 

 

I actually submitted some poems for publication and they were accepted

.. a couple of them, anyway.

Lvegetation   Like many writers, I’d rather be writing, so I’m often lazy about submitting. Recently, however, I had two poems published. One I submitted and had accepted last fall, and another I submitted recently.

“When I kick the Bucket,” was written several years ago. The title comes from a phrase my father used frequently growing up. In it, I imagine my own funeral. The name of the funeral home is one that was close to where I grew up in Manhattan, and the people mentioned in the poem are real members of my family.It appears in Lighten Up Online, an online humor zine. Here is the link: http://www.lightenup-online.co.uk/index.php/issue-34-june-2016/1008-margaret-fieland-when-i-kick-the-bucket

The next one, “Faded Glory,” appears in the spring issue of a new online journal, Eclipse180. I submitted a set of four poems that spoke to the theme of war, and the editor liked all of them. Her favorite, “Faded Glory,” appears in the spring issue. I’m hopeful that the other three will appear in the summer issue, which is not yet out.

My middle son served in the army and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He signed up for the Army Reserve during his junior year in high school. He went through basic training during the summer between his junior and senior years in high school, and served in the reserve during his senior year. He received a ROTC scholarship and entered the army as an officer — a very junior lieutenant — after graduation. All four poems I submitted were written when he was serving overseas.

Here is the link to the site. You can click on the link for the spring issue. My poem is the last one in that issue. http://eclipse180.wix.com/spring2016

 

 

Make Visible: Capture Your Ideas, Take 2

Michele’s Note: One of the best parts of working as closely as Anne, Mary, Margaret, and I have done over the past several years, is how much fun it is to see the different interpretations and approaches to a subject.

After I found out that some of our efforts had become part of Barbara Sher’s Scanner Daybook/Journal collection, I decided to update my Never Forget Your Dreams post. My first version inspired Anne, and we decided to bring hers back to show how our ideas create their own reality. Enjoy!

Capture Your Ideas

This post was inspired by Michele’s wonderful post:  Never Forget Your Dreams.

If you capture your ideas you’ll actually have more of them.  For one thing, you will have a record of the ideas you do have! This applies to writing, art and even things like organizing your garage.

I use a Scanner Daybook (from Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose) for my craft, organization, school, and other ideas.  Some pages below:

100 Dreams

Click on photo to enlarge.

For writing ideas I have a small notebook in my purse, but any piece of scratch paper will do.  Then I transfer the writing ideas to 4 x 6 notecards that I keep in a “recipe” box.

I also keep notes on my computer desktop using Stickies (a computerized version of yellow sticky notes).

Other methods of capturing your ideas include leaving pens and notepads around the house, using voice-activated software for computer, voice recorders or saving notes on your phone or blackberry.

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Embroidery Ideas

 

 

Why capture your ideas?

Not only will you have a record of ideas that you can refer to later for inspiration or planning;  you will free your brain up from trying to remember them.

This leaves you space to use your imagination and bring your ideas to fruition in the form of a story, artwork or clean garage.  🙂

                                                       
 “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director
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More on Rob’s Rebellion, and a poem from the book

Robs Rebellion 333x500Rob’s Rebellion makes the list:
The Frivolist: Reading Rainbows: 9 LGBT Books To Bide Your Time Until Summer
by Mikey Rox

http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=75681

How it got there:

I have been on the Haro mailing (Help a reporter out) list for several years. I don’t always look over the requests, but a while back I was reading through the requests when I noticed a request for information about GLBT themed recent novels, so I sent in the information.

And now, for your enjoyment, is a poem from the novel:

Ballad of Barad and Garan

Barad strode out one two-moon night
upon dark desert sand.
He kissed Garan upon the lips,
then listened to his demand:

“The time has come for us to part.
I’m going off to fight
Let us exchange a pledge of love
before we part tonight.”

Barad replied, “I cannot pledge
although I love you true.
I fear the consequences when
I swear my love to you.”

“Barad, your fear,” his lover said,
“is all that holds you back.
I hope one day you’ll seek within
the courage which you lack.

“I will march off to war tonight
while you remain behind.
The spirits will find fault with you
for love you have declined.”

Barad beheld the moonlit sand
as Garan strode away,
while praying spirits keep him safe
amid the coming fray.

The battle raged in dark of night.
Garan reached for his blade.
Too late, his blood dripped down his breast.
He felt his life-force fade.

Around a world went ringing out
Garan’s last, dying cry.
His lover’s name was upon lips,
Garan let out a sigh.

“You failed to promise me your love.
I lost the will to live.
Your selfish pride, inconstancy,
spirits will not forgive.”

Barad stood tall beside a rock,
the wind blew on his brow.
He said, “Perhaps it’s not too late.
Oh spirits, hear my vow:

“While I may wander through this life,
if love should come to me,
I will not turn my face away,
however hard it be.”

Barad meandered far and wide.
He fought for many years.
And every night he hungered more
for love he’d lost to fears.

One day he met a giant brute
who tried to block his way.
Barad took out his long, sharp sword.
He fought for many a day.

The giant had a longer reach,
Barad was much more quick.
He wore the mighty giant down
The brute was tired and sick.

The giant heaved a mighty sigh,
and said, “Let’s call a truce.
I vowed to stop the fighting when
I found a good excuse.”

Barad continued on his way
up to a heap of stone.
He sat and sobbed, “Deprived of love.
I’ve spent my life alone.”

He rose and wandered to a town
to find something to eat.
But in the town he found the man
he’d feared he’d never meet.

Barad gazed at the other’s face.
The stranger stared right back.
Barad heard spirits call to him,
“Here is the love you lack.

“We spirits bless you with this chance,
and you must see it through.
You must now kiss the stranger twice,
tell him you love him true.”

“I vowed I would not turn away
if love should come to me.
I’ll kiss this stranger with the wish
our love is meant to be.

“I’ve never met this man before
How will he now react?
I’ll take a risk and hope, at least,
I will not be attacked.”

Barad then kissed the stranger twice,
both times with mighty smack,
and said, “Oh, sir, I love you true,
Oh, will you love me back?”

With a smile the other replied,
“I’ve waited many years
in hopes my love would come to me,
for love to conquer fears.

I’ll love you true forever more.
You need not be afraid.
I bless the spirits for their gift,
the love for which I prayed.”

Never Forget Your Dreams, Revisited

The Poetic Muselings are traveling with famous company!

Tripping around the internet universe recently, I was startled and giddy to discover MY post about Scanner Daybooks (Journals) (and some shots from Anne Westlund’s, in her follow-on post, and some of Mary’s) had made it into Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose collection!

My original post was in 2012, but I’ve written and shouted about Barbara, her books, forum, and classes for many years.  I met Barbara in the early ’80’s and took a WishCraft Class from her through the Learning Annex in San Francisco. A most marvelous adventure.

Read my slightly updated post to see what I’m talking about — I think you’ll have fun. Then, follow the links at the end to see other examples of capturing the elusive creativity of never forgetting your dreams.

 

Several years ago, I found Refuse to Choose, by Barbara Sher, author of WishCraft and other amazing books. This one was directed at “scanners”- those of us who have so many projects and so many ideas that we can’t figure out what to do first and often end up paralyzed into inaction. I come back to this book repeatedly for inspiration and validation that I’m not really crazy.

A major tool in this book is a “Scanner Journal“, a place to track all of the wild things that go on in my head and that I really really want to do, or at least explore a bit. I’m sharing excerpts of my journal in this post. This photo, from my favorite T-Shirt, sums it up, and is on the cover of mine.

I’ve been fascinated for years by the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial project, near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. The carving of the mountain has been going on for over 50 years, with no federal or public funds involved. We’ve been there twice and I carry around a piece of mountain* to remind myself to never forget my dreams. (The project and my connection are a story for another time and place.)

I wrote my earlier post while recuperating from hand surgery and limited to typing with one finger on my left hand, and struggled to communicate with my Dragon voice recognition program.  Way out of my comfort zone.  I usually handwrite my poetry and notes for articles, novel ideas and whatever else is kicking around in my head. I wasn’t used to writing aloud, but hoped it would  create interesting new synaptic brain links. (Not a huge success for poetry, for me.)

Mary’s post about the Bliss Box (and here) really started me thinking about all those ideas I’d shelved during the prior year and half since my car accident and assorted other distractions. Several items in the opening shot of this post live conceptually in my Bliss Box, which once held tea; I bought it because I wanted the box, and gave away most of the contents.

Scanners are not only permitted but actually encouraged to follow their wild tangents, capturing them in a semi-organized fashion in their Scanner Journal. Here’s a sample page, plus perhaps the wisest statements I ever came up with and which is posted all over my house:

I looked through my Scanner Journal to see how my dreams were faring –  what I’d forgotten or at least misplaced, who were still nagging me (yes, they are real life critters to me), and the ones that danced with joy because they were getting attention.

I was surprised:

Our poetry anthology was out there in the universe. We adopted a wonderful dog. My office and workspace are even better than I imagined when I created them in my head. I began practicing tai chi on a fairly regular basis and participated on stage with my class in a martial arts program.

NaNo novel I pitched was well received at a writers conference before my car accident, etc., pulled me away. Perhaps this was the most fragile of my projects: a cross between Catch 22 and Terms of Endearment, which an important person wanted to see. I hadn’t — and still haven’t — done anything with it.

But it was all the poetry that clamored to be put on paper with purple fountain pen ink that shouted the loudest. My answer to dealing with all of those critters who must  be fed is what I called my Red Bag of Courage:  a large zipped binder with sections for portions of several projects. Sometimes you’ve just gotta hand-write a note instead of typing onto the iPad. After I could carry it . . it was going to include new poetry I’d written, blog ideas, etc. I was inspired again.

If you look back at the opening photo here’s where you’ll find:

~Ganesch, to keep me on track. When I’m following my right path, Ganesch removes obstacles in my way. When I’m not heading where I should, he throws boulders and icky things on the road to get my attention.

~A monkey I need to watch diligently to keep off my back.

~A slinky to remind me there are many ways of getting from Point A to Point B, and to have fun while I’m doing it.

~My rock from of the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial. Korczak gave this answer to the question of how one goes about carving an image out of a mountain: “Study and observe, then remove what is not the horse.” (* from above: people can buy chunks of not-horse, with the money going to continued work on the monument.)

~A zebra, because I think zebras are cool, and I like to color them brightly when I have the chance.

~The open book and everything on it are all reverse images created in Picasa when I was playing around today. That’s why the paper is black, and the monkey is white.

Sometimes I just have to create my own reality. Enjoy creating yours.

NOW FOR SOME COOL LINKS:

Barbara Sher’s official site:  Barbara Sher’s Official Site ( http://www.barbarasher.com)

Refuse to Choose! and other Barbara-Sher books: (http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Sher/e/B000APWZC6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1457739259&sr=1-1)

Barbara’s “Refuse to Choose: the Forum for Scanners: (http://boards.barbarasher.com/viewforum.php?f=30)

A google search for examples gave me this, including our contributions. Note that some have “road writer.net” as location; these were temporarily housed at my other site when we had major blog gremlins. I don’t know how to correct the link within the Daybook Tangents site.:

daybook tangents barbara sher —

 800 × 555 – poetic-muselings.net 

 800 × 477 – poetic-muselings.net 

 1024 × 768 – poetic-muselings.net 

 2448 × 3264 – poetic-muselings.net 

 800 × 745 – roadwriter.net 

 800 × 600 – roadwriter.net 

 825 × 891 – roadwriter.net 

 655 × 800 – roadwriter.net 

 401 × 449 – poetic-muselings.net 

 714 × 800 – roadwriter.net 

 300 × 226 – poetic-muselings.net 

 

 

 

I am a Poet

*This is a repost from my personal blog: marywjensen.blogspot.com

Poetry Header

 

I’d like to share with you some quotes that really echo how I feel about poetry.

What is poetry?

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”
–Edgar Allan Poe

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
–Carl Sandburg

Who is the poet?

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
–W. H. Auden

Poets don’t publish for the recognition or the money. We do it because we want to connect with the world, with other people. To share human experience and emotion.

“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”
–Don Marquis

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”
–T.S. Eliot

“Poetry is a language in which man explores his own amazement.”
–Christopher Fry

And, above all else:

“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves.
What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature.”
–Abraham Maslow

I am a Poet
A genius in disguise
Forms flow from my fingertips
Words and phrases grow within me
Waiting for ripeness
That moment when I write them
And another poem is born
Mary Butterfly Signature

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