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Summer Hiatus Time

The Poetic Muselings have a few things in process behind the scenes to work on this summer, individually and as a group.

So, we are officially on Summer Hiatus until after Labor Day.

We hope you’ll browse through some of the previous posts, get some ideas for your own writing exercises, and drop us a comment about what you’d like us to explore in the future.

Be well, be safe, be happy, and keep writing!

 

 

 

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Political Poetry

Poets write poems about anything and everything.  Here are a couple of poems I wrote during election season, November 2016:

Grab That

If Trump wins
nothing will be the same.

I’ll lose my healthcare
and have to beg on corners
for insulin
and anti-depressants.

We’ll go to war
with everyone.

And no one will be safe.

Especially kitties
and other pussies.

Day 8: nothing will be the same/nothing will ever change
November 8, 2016

Say Something Political

Like I have to ask,
everyone has their opinion
and they all want to wave
it in your face.

Like hanging with folks
dressed in trench coats,
ready to expose themselves
at the slightest provocation.

The jackets fly open
and I see your Hilary or Sanders
sticker. You proudly show off Stein.
Yes, your Trump sticker’s bigger
than all the rest.

Excuse me, but I like those
who play their cards closer
to the vest, who won’t reveal
who they voted for, who believe
in the privacy of the voting booth.

Not that I know any.

Day 7
November 7, 2016

Mending the Mind, Part 2

Why be difficult, when you can always be impossible?
One of my family’s mottos when I was growing up.

Last month, my epiphany about letting go of what’s driving me nuts, and engage in activity that could free my synapses, helped me resolve the issue I wrote about in A Purse Full of Poems. Wonder of wonders — I’m still using my “new” old purse, haven’t overloaded it, and know that my shoulder is happier.

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Thus emboldened, I tackled my password pandemonium that’s felt like herding cats for over a year. Choosing the most basic organizing idea I could think of, I grabbed some ten-year-old index cards, made alpha labels, and started putting one name/site/whatever on each card, with the appropriate alpha letter in the top R corner.

Feeling silly at the low-tech approach, but loving to write with pens anyway, I searched my emails, iPad, iPhone, and Mac to corral them. I’m still in gathering stage, and make bold decisions about which to delete as I find them. Next I tried to find the most recent passwords, test them out, and at some point, will decomplicate them. Who’s gonna get into my writing.com account and create havoc?

still-work-to-do

if only my mind
could grasp what is before me
as it is right now

Once I figured out how to actually attack this, and started, other things fell in line. Perhaps the benefits of procrastination are to take the time to become frustrated, snarl at the tasks, separate out the goal/end result from the process. Then DO something.

The real thing is that I feel I can move forward again, and am glad I took the pressure off myself.

Now, if I can continue to stay focused on just a few things at a time, I do believe I can get some old stuff done that I want to do, and make choices about what can just sit or can be considered “done” in their current state.

I enlisted my sister Muselings to try an accountability circle for a few weeks, with each of us choosing only two goals to work on. We all decided we need to move / exercise / walk more, so we’re reporting in on our progress every few days.

We each chose a problem to tackle; our choices ranged from making dreaded appointments and figuring out what to do next, finishing a picture book draft, diligently keeping up with an embroidery challenge, and (mine) doing what I need to do to get Lifelines back in publication.

Wonder of wonders — we are all making huge progress on our “stuff”! We’re jazzed, keep each other on point, provide encouragement when needed, pose pointed questions as appropriate. And, it’s working. Once again, we’ve taken our book title literally, and are providing a Lifeline to each other.

When I told Lisa Gentile, one of our Mentors, and my Coach, what I was doing about my password project,  she said, “We forget that a new system can be simple. It doesn’t have to incorporate the latest tech. That just makes the adoption curve higher and the change bigger. The key is having any system that makes things better. I still have a paper Rolodex for immediate storing of contacts!”

So do several others I admire. Onward! Or backward? How do you stay on track with projects, and herd your passwords?

Michele

2017 Embroidery Challenge

In December 2016 I was invited to an embroidery challenge. The challenge was to stitch every day in 2017 (at least one stitch) and post your progress on social media. I joined the Facebook group: 1 Year of Stitches: 2017 https://www.facebook.com/groups/1294313713974098/ and decided to post the pictures of my progress on my Facebook timeline. I knew that freeform was not my style so I decided to do “little embroideries,” using designs that I already had and randomly picking the floss color for each one. The randomness is gone and the “little embroideries” may get bigger as the year goes by.

hummingbird-finale

I was excited to start, but apprehensive too. How much time would this take? Could I keep up?
Would I get bored? I decided on using three strands of embroidery floss (out of 6) which would make a finer design. I’m also using felt on some of the designs. I use a Sulky wash-away stabilizer that comes in packs of 12 sheets that you can print designs on with your printer. You just print out the design and peel it off the backing and it sticks to your fabric. It doesn’t always stick well. I usually embroider in the morning. If I turn on all my lights I have enough lighting at night to embroider too.

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Starting three days before January 1st, I felt a sense of urgency, which didn’t leave me until the first design was done, the hummingbird, in a week’s time. Now I don’t have the same sense of urgency. I am supposed to post to the Facebook group on Sundays, but now post whenever I have a finished embroidery to share. I’m on Day 54 and have finished five so far.

angelfish-finale

I’ve framed one and plan to frame the rest for gifts in 2018. One friend has already tagged the angelfish for herself. The themes are one color floss and bling! I’m beading each one, and adding sequins to some of them.

playing-cards-finale

What have I learned so far? That saying you’ll do something for a year is quite different than actually working on something every day. That I have to take it one day at a time or the task will seem far too enormous. That having external support (Facebook likes and friend’s comments and the support of the Poetic Muselings) is extremely important and helpful. Here’s to 10 more months of stitching! And 8 days!!!

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This is my current WIP, a chandelier, almost done:

day-53

The Story of Mathematics

mtns2The Story of Mathematics

It was the last day of class before Christmas vacation, and our high-school math class was restless and without anything much our teacher needed to cover.

“I can prove the existence of the integers from the axioms that there is a number one and the operation of addition,” he said, and started scribbling on the board.

1+1=2
2+1=3
and so forth.

That was the beginning of my love affair with number theory, the elegant pie-in-the-sky structures mathematicians build; structures that appear to have no application to the real world but somehow do.

The first number poem I wrote was called Round. Round was sparked by my memory of a discussion in a college physics class about the rate at which a cup of coffee would cool and how the shape of the cup played into it. We spent an entire class writing equations about the rate at which the coffee would cool based on the cup shape; we concluded a tall, narrow mug is best – least surface area at the open top.

Another trigger memory from a math class about the sphere having the least surface area per unit volume of any solid figure. One afternoon as both these memories chased each other around the inside of my head, I wrote the poem.

Round

The sphere
is the perfect
shape

for conserving heat,
providing the least
surface area
per unit
of volume,

thus explaining
why Santa

lives at
the North Pole.

It was published, a friend liked it and challenged me to write more.  So I wrote.

About Counting

If you couldn’t count, could you still tell if someone took one of your toys? Maybe, if you only had four or fewer toys. Perhaps you could tell with five, but at some point, we all reach our limit, where we can’t tell unless you we count. And, it turns out, some animals, such as birds and insects, have a number sense, too. So while the ability to count is, in a sense, built into our genes, the symbols we use for numbers and the whole structure surrounding them: addition, subtraction, and all the rest, are our own creations.
If we couldn’t count there would be no computers, no telephones, no electricity, no television or radio or boom boxes. In short, no modern civilization.

Man invented arithmetic. In fact, he invented numbers and counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and percents. He invented the whole structure of arithmetic. It did not, as I like to imagine, spring full blown from the mind of some great Mathematician in the sky.

A Few Poems

This is the way I like to dream mathematics came into being:

The Way it Should Have Been

In the beginning there was zero, void.
And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be a number one,”
and there was a number one.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be addition,
so numbers can be added together,”
and there was addition, the first operator.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let them go forth and add,”
and they went forth and added.
And there was two, three, four, five, …

And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be subtraction,
so one number can be subtracted from another,”
and there was subtraction, the second operator.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let them go forth and subtract,”
and the went forth and subtracted.
And there was -1, -2, -3, …

And there were positive integers,
and there were negative integers,
the first set of numbers.

And the Mathematician looked
upon what he had created,
and behold, the sum was greater than the parts.

Birth of the Twos

One is the mother
of the integers,
addition their father.

All you need
is love
and number theory.

Addition

In arithmetic,
one plus one
always makes two.

In life, if you wait
nine months
you might get three.

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Holiday Wishes from the Poetic Muselings

icicles

in December . . .

we lived in the arms
of the most spectacular
ice storm
I’ve ever seen

overwhelming beauty
in the midst of devastation

 

 

 

downed-tree

— obstacle course of
downed trees and lines

invisible log-middles
hauled away, heads and feet
left to bookend the road

— scream of branches wrenched,
ripped from the mother trunk,
visible scars that won’t heal

an image from tree-2
a lifetime ago

Dr. Zhivago
and Lara
in the Ice Palace

surreal, breathtaking,
achingly
exquisite mist
protected them briefly

A tiny taste
whisper
scent
surrounded us
for a week

 

And now,
we have power
again
more power
than we knew

let-there-be-lights

May the lights of the season
fill us with gratitude

show the way
to a peaceful
fulfilling
and happy new year

Michele

 

Creating in Times of Change, Uncertainty and Conflict

You might think, “Everything’s up in the air. I can’t write.”

Or, “I’m so upset, I can’t paint right now.”

Or, “I’m moving and I’ve put all my supplies away. I’m not able to make anything.”

These are the times, during change, when it’s imperative to pick up the pen, the paintbrush, to sew, dance and make music.

In the past year there’s been lots of change in my life. I have a new boyfriend. There’s been a lot of family and friend drama. I’ve considered moving. On the world stage, there’s been a divisive election year followed by an even more chaotic post-election season.

hillary-clinton-donald-trump-drug-policy

I’ve had a hard time creating this year. It seems pointless to write and make things when I’m upset or angry. Is my creative work important during these changing times? I’ve decided it is. In spite of all this chaos, I’ve learned the basics of quilting, started a photography website Anne Westlund Photography and even wrote a few poems.

If nothing ever changes, we become stale and so do the products of our creativity. Rather than decry these “interesting times,” use them as fodder for your creative impulses. Utilize conflict and uncertainty as inspiration, subject matter, and learn to see the world in a new way, with “new eyes.”

That’s what we need, a new vision, not the “same old, same old.” So get creating! Much success to you!

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