Words. Image. Connecting.
Today’s writing prompt invites us to imagine—in the making of a film would you rather be a director, producer or lead performer.
Yes—many parts—as director, producer, performer (and writer) . . . ticket taker . . . popcorn maker . . . on and on.
Though the prompt is multiple-choice question, it inspires me to answer in another way—a way that acknowledges how we are at different capacities throughout our days . . . our lifetime.
We often have to serve several roles at the same time.
For example, as I sit here writing, I realize
the show (the rest of this day) must go on . . .
which means I must accommodate my other roles
and like a Medieval Shakespearean jester, juggle them!
. . . .
Thinking about it further:
One may hear an urgency and tenacity in “the show must go on” that says “Rise to the occasion. The curtain is going up! Never mind that you’ve never juggled those many hoops and balls—here’s another. And another.”
It’s surprising how many stay aloft for as long as they do.
Here is the complete passage from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”:
We know an ephemeral raindrop won’t last . . .
but we somehow expect . . . take for granted . . .
the lake will remain.
Photos taken last year when Lagoon Valley Lake went dry. It came partially back during the late fall and winter rains, but we expect it to disappear again this summer. Will it come back in the fall? California is experiencing a drought. No one is taking it for granted.
In the water of what we are
from the vapor of our breath
to memory’s deep sea that we call self,
a fluid mix of currents warm and cold,
north, south, east and west of who we are,
we wonder . . .
what remains the same
in our vessel-ever-changing.
The photograph above: an ephemeral moment of movement—posted “as is” straight from the camera.
“My petite little sweet,” he said to his young daughter, checking her gear. “A chilly good morning, my glorious snowflake!” he called out as she feathered down the ski slope through powder snow, cold air and hot tears streaking across her face, a smile as wide as the hills.
Written in response to this Three Word Wednesday prompt.
Pain, annoyed at being
hushed and ignored,
sent another message.
Written in response to this Three Word Wednesday prompt.
Like early motion pictures,
slits of light through slats of fencing—
passing bicycle seen as if through glass.
press through planks,
and let one’s life appear intact.
Always in disrepair, this fence,
warped or in need of hammer
Tree branches growing through
splits and cracks—
living woods mingling with
Drafted in response to a prompt described here, seeking a “common thread” running through three separate pieces.
When a mirror reflects in a mirror,
does it see itself any clearer?
Reflecting on a search for answers.
Looking through layers, glass and light
one sees a pattern, presumes it right.
In checking the answer, one finds a curve
and wonders how it may serve or swerve.
Checking again, there’s an outline revealed,
something in front and something concealed.
Hold it, move it, turn it around,
will it then mean that the answer is found?
Lift it, shift it, does it then mean
one alters the answer to change what is seen?
A poem in nursery rhyme style, written in response to a prompt described here.
Every morning a spring,
its budding light says
“Pull back the curtain”!
Clear sky or hazy, look!
Horizons hinting of hopes
written by heart,
beating anew with every step
that promise spring rain
or just spring,
fragility softly nestled
on rugged shoulders
as one looks for home . . .
feeling at home all the while.
Post written in response to the prompt “Fresh” and the photos taken March 14, 2015.
A Place for Awe
A walk through trees in blossom and a writing prompt has me on a writer’s spree about nature, science and awe—its place in our lives.
I’m daydreaming an approach to teaching . . . about “Wizards of Awe”, bringing excitement into students’ minds, hearts, imagination . . . and dinner table conversations alight with sharing things newly noted as amazing about nature and science.
We are beguiled by technology, whether it’s in the form of medical advances or entertainment enhancers. Even if it’s simply an app, we have a how’d-they-do-that appreciation.
Yes, science is one place we can still find cheer, hope, even high expectations that we long for. Why, then, when discussing sciences must we segregate emotive language? After all, one hears mathematicians describe equations as “beautiful”. Why not?
Here’s an example of an integrated circuit manufactured these days. Who can look at this and not find it beautiful?
Imagine establishing a place for “awe” in classrooms and everyday life. Imagine hearing “Today class, we’re going to study lightning, lightning bugs and light bulbs. Isn’t it awesome how they all came to be”?
It may be a stretch of imagination to include the light bulb with things of nature, yet it’s the study and application of nature’s laws and components that brought us this and other inventions. As such, one could say that inventions come to us through nature, because inventors—we, biological beings—are things of nature!
Sense and Explanation
When people look at something man-made—a gadget, app, high rise or work of art—and say “Wow, what’s that—how is that?” they don’t really want an explanation regarding the manufacturing or artistic process. They are more likely expressing their delight.
What would it mean to hear this emotion expressed in classrooms, in the company of friends and family, and in our own minds when noting something of science or nature that lights a beacon of curiosity?
Imagine finding wonder even in things often taken for granted. Imagine people pausing to consider nature with a kind of awe in their facial and vocal expressions that’s usually given to the latest man-made gadget. Consider flowers, consider one’s own fingerprints! Will we express awe, even with a simple expression of “wow”? Or will we turn to dry textbook descriptions and explanations?
A culture that supports integrating wonderment with pursuit of knowledge will enrich itself and enhance individuals’ sense of beauty even in pages of a textbook.
Recently, while I was waiting in my orthopedic surgeon’s office, I studied a wall poster of the human hand. It struck me how perfect it was. Perfect! “How is that”? No need to send me an explanation—I’m only sharing a sense of awe. May there be a place for it in everyday life. Every day.
White sheet on a clothesline unfurls an argument with noon heat.
It flaps the air as if to change the wind’s direction.
Far from any ocean, lying on a blanket in the grass,
a child imagines sail, sea and whitecaps.
Yet from here in his prairie land harbor,
anchored like grass resisting erosion,
he can’t imagine change.
His horizon line is along a green field
that’ll turn gold, then black, then white—
a life cycle in four colors.
He doesn’t know he’ll one day leave this landlocked moment
to sail into that field
row by row,
through all its seasons
and his own.
This poem began as a visualized scene, a concept . . . mixed with sensory memories, feelings. How does one translate that into words? The process began months ago. However, poems—any writing—can remain as a file or handwritten note until forgotten. Fortunately, sometimes there are writing prompts or early readers and friends who remind and urge us to keep going. May we find and revise those rough drafts in our files and thank the ones who encourage us! Thanks here to Julie and Skip who suggested the title to this poem. Titles don’t come easy—I often ask for help!
Sometimes an unfinished poem is like a landlocked ocean explorer.
Sometimes it takes a prompt to find the waterway.
Orange—the color of lights on this interactive art installation at the Embarcadero of San Francisco where it is on temporary display.
I took these photos October 29th, 2014. Its lights, which can be set to any color, were set to orange, as they were for the entire city that night (see earlier post) to mark a special occasion—the San Francisco Giants baseball team was in the last game of the World Series—a game it (and we, who cheered for them) won.
Full disclosure: While I’m not a huge sports fan, the celebrative lights that night were so beautiful, I just had to cheer!!!
Notice too, in the background above, another kinetic art installation called “Bay Lights” which is woven into the existing eastern span of the Bay Bridge. It’s well shown and described in this New York Times video.
. . . it’s an official color!
“Giants Orange” is one of twenty-seven shades of orange (listed at Wikipedia). It’s named after the color orange used by the San Francisco Giants, an American professional baseball team based in San Francisco, California.
October 29, 2014, the Giants played the Kansas City Royals in the final game of the World Series.
That’s the day I traveled from San Francisco to Sausalito by ferry with my sister and sons.
Returning at sunset, as the final innings of the game played on television in the ferry, we stood outside on the deck, betaken by the beauty of our San Francisco Bay crossing.
It was a winning day for us . . . and the San Francisco Giants, who that night became the 2014 World Series champions!
Photo mosaic of the sunset return to San Francisco, aglow in Giants Orange in honor of their winning team.
You can find more posts responding to this week’s prompt: Orange.
. . . is still orange?
This week’s photo challenge has a lot of us looking anew at the color orange.
Orange—what a range !
Does it surprise you that there’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to shades of orange?
(see list at bottom of post)
The captions on these photos (taken yesterday) are labeled with their shade.
It’s often a guess.
Sometimes it’s a blend.
What color is this orange?
Like the recent puzzling internet question “what color is this dress“, I look at these photos and wonder.
Being one who enjoys words and language, I enjoy how shades of color can have so many names!
How do you experience words, color and the “what’s orange” question?
One more shade not listed on
International Orange (it has
three shades of its own) used by
Aerospace, Engineering, and
the Golden Gate Bridge
Here’s the list of names on Wikipedia where you can
also see color samples of the following shades:
More random orange sightings: stone, bricks and tile—just in time for this mosaic:
Now that my mind is primed to detect its every shade, orange is busting out all over! —a play on song title “June is Bustin’ Out All Over”. Here’s a screen capture from its performance in the musical “Carousel”—coincidentally topical if you note all the orange in the costume design!
If you’re still reading, amazing! Then you are one who will probably most enjoy the following challenge. Much like this one (where I had to spot orange), pick any one color, shape, texture, pattern or concept and see how this primes your mind for the following days or week. How is it to experience noticing things anew that you’ve missed before? Let me know! I’ll write about it.
Memory’s painted canvas—
stapled to a frame,
overpainted time and again.
at the tender outer image,
or the week before,
(who can remember?)
finding colorful specks
a notching of nostalgia,
chiseled second guessing,
and fear of forgetting,
then looking for another brush,
another tube of paint—
Cadmium Yellow? Cerulean Blue?
This inescapable hollow
around which all things spin,
the long tunnel, its end
hidden by a curve,
like an Escher construct—
One wakes to escape the dreams,
then sleeps to escape the wake,
an eye that cannot close
its dark, decentering cyclone—
its inner witness to violent rush,
past and present, whirling dust,
bound to settle with terrible staring.
Just as it did in earlier times,
resting on chairs
of emperors and pharaohs,
each throne or stoop
of human history.
It will settle again,
a hazy film
masking our mirrors,
we’ll blow it off—
into the air.
I dream I’m holding a potted plant,
dropping its blossoms.
A tiny vacated web
is strung between two leaves.
The plant is stressed,
too long without light.
I carry it from window
as if to doctors—
a second opinion?
I find a door,
A spring wind
Petals flutter away
What’s left in my hands to rescue?
There’s a spot
in the garden,
to dig the soil.
The plant waits.
Across the street,
she looks like me.
drops the flowers
one by one.
She’s wearing black,
like the congregation
I sense I’m dreaming—
I try to wake
but nothing moves—
I’m stuck in the garden,
I try to pray,
but nothing comes to mind.
I call it prayer
It’s then I notice all the plants
without a word,
to face the light.
You were like the salt in the air
before I’d ever seen the ocean,
the curve of the horizon line
before I’d ever flown,
the strong beat in my chest
before I’d ever climbed,
And now that I have done those things,
you’re the joyful reminder
lest I ever forget.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
dedicated to all those I love and have loved
Leaving near deaf—
of bundled music
imposed and ignored.
Exiting to a parking lot
quiet as a garden—
snowfall, as if I hear it,
Whiteness so total,
flicker of color —
in a street light’s anchoring
search and quiet melting.
like yesterday’s paper
crumpled at bedside,
that contour thought and time.
It wanders a waking place,
pacing or pausing
to comfort quiet’s anxious breath.
It stares at night light’s glow
a 24-hour business
averaging its losses.
It parks at meters flashing toward zero time.
It feeds the countdown
Til all is spent.
It looks for refuge
from predatory time
that feels like a lumbering bear
looking for exhausted salmon,
or like an exhausted salmon,
flopped over on its side,
one eye on the rocky bottom,
one on the waiting bear.
If I ever lose you,
words will rush to comfort,
but no one—
what to say.
my usual source—
will rush forward—
stop at the gate—
Better to write the sad words now,
while we can read them—
You think it’s crazy?
how we’ve shared
Could it be otherwise?
if I go first.
Find your silence
standing with mine.
let it hold you.
find these words
as you always have,
while you sip
our favorite tea.
Take them with you,
see them, hold them,
on a printed page—
hold it, fold it,
over and over
whenever you open it,
the words—our words—
You may write onto the margins,
write onto the back,
then wish you hadn’t changed a thing—
wasn’t that our life?
can’t make us ready
for what comes
In Case of Earthquake,
How to Prepare—
No guide is ever enough—
I only saw its shadow.
How did I see blue?
Explanation in 5-7-5:
Our minds fill the blanks—
what we think we really know,
saw and heard and felt.
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