365 Days of Writing | #18 Self-expression in Monochrome

WordPress Writing Prompt: Express Yourself!
Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?

The skull is a piece of art I photographed in a Salida shop.
Unfortunately, I did not make note of the artist. Would be happy to give credit.

The Joy of Self-Expression!

I’m not very good at playing instruments, I just don’t have the finger coordination. Nevertheless, I’ve kept my guitar that I learned on when I was sixteen. I do like to dance but do not have much opportunity to do it these days. I haven’t written much poetry, but am enjoying the class I’m taking now to learn new techniques. I’ve kept a journal for forever and even got a Master’s in Creative Writing. But of all my creative endeavors, my favorite is creating original works of digital art. Each post I make inspires a new piece.

I can’t really explain my process, but I’ll try. Sometimes I begin with an image or a word. Sometimes I start with the background and then develop the elements. Using different textures, I shift the colors and lines. And using brushes and text give the piece depth and context.

So a new one for today and a  mosaic of recent work … and I like square. I wonder what that says about me!

This is my playground. I don’t have to get dirty. I don’t have to go anywhere although it does help to get out and take new photos. I get to play with technology.

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Poetry: #6 Finding Her Way

In my life books have faces and each one I’m attracted to for different reasons. Some have some advice to give, some take me on an adventure, and others just hold my hand as I learn something new. Since I have quite a large library, I just pulled these books off the shelf and “wrote” the poem as I went.

In this poem the girl is the nameless face sharing her journey.

The girl in the green raincoat
  is finding the open road
  between trapezes
  with pen in hand, the hand in the pen

Writing her way through cancer, and
  potholes, and parachutes
  find her courage, the courage in the find

Leaving a trace
  page after page
  bird by bird
  beyond the words, words of the beyond
  is in the unforgettable photograph

Assignment Day 6: Faces, Found Poetry, Chiasmus
Before we learn how to read words, we learn, intuitively, to read faces. In today’s poem, take a single face or a multitude of them as your point of departure. It doesn’t even have to be a real-life, flesh-and-blood face you’re writing about.

Today’s form: Found poetry

A found poem is composed of words and letters you’ve collected — randomly or not — from other sources, whether printed, handwritten, or digital, and then (re)arranged into something meaningful.

Today’s device: Chiasmus

At its simplest, a chiasmus is essentially a reversal, an inverted crossing (it got its name from the greek letter chi – X). Example: Laid back, with my mind on my money and my money on my mind.

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365 Days of Writing | #17 My One Singular Sensation

WordPress Writing Prompt: Singular Sensation
If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?

Arkansas River in Salida, Colorado

Singular sensation (definition):

  1. The title of the Chorus Line song
  2. A secret code used among theatre kids, especially in gym class. It is used as a method for detecting and recognizing fellow musical lovers. (per the Urban Dictionary)
  3. One experience or memory

I don’t have one singular sensation as the result of writing my blog. There are many things that if they happened I’d be delighted.

  • I will improve as a writer simply through the process of writing every day.
  • Possibly I will find a thread for a publishable work.
  • Regardless, I’ll have a record of my writing progress over time, as well as many experiences and philosophical perspectives.
  • Since I’m creating original works of art to go along with each post, I will have a portfolio of creative expressions.
  • But maybe, just maybe I’ll be a singular sensation!

More than any of this though, I will enjoy the pleasure of the process.

Gathering information.

    Corralling my thoughts.

        Expressing myself in words and art.

Aha, that’s it! Finding love in words and art.

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Poetry: #5 Ode to a Map

I want to travel through this life smoothly, but
the map that was drawn long ago is gone–
disappeared when there was no one left to count on.

As I travel alone I must trust my gut
like connecting the dots with lines
and keep following the signs.

Each step I take
will help me make
the decision that gets me from this point to the next
keeping me from feeling vexed
bringing me much joy
and never feeling annoyed.

I chose to use the Pindaric Ode format: abb, acc, ddeeff.
Need to work on metaphor.

Assignment Day 5: Map, Ode, Metaphor

Maps tell stories — about places we know and others we wish to visit, about technology and the speed with which we can traverse vast distances, and about the things we’ll see (or avoid) on our way from point A to point B.

Whether you choose to write about an actual map, an imaginary one, or just about a particular route that means something special to you, make today’s poem about a space you inhabit (or wish to. Or would rather avoid).

Today’s form: ode

An ode is a laudatory poem celebrating a person, an object, a place, etc. In the past, odes followed strict formal requirements — like the (Greek) Pindaric ode or the (Latin) Horatian ode. These days (and for quite some time), odes can come in all forms and sizes — it’s the subject matter that tends to distinguish a poem as an ode

Today’s device: metaphor

A metaphor brings together two terms that aren’t normally connected, yet make sense once they are (its greek roots mean “to carry over”). Unlike its less subtle cousin, the simile, metaphors don’t need connectors like “as” and “like” to link the two things together. They just smash them into each other and hope for the best.

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Poetry: #4 Line of Imperfection


The line of imperfection

goes in a perfect direction

for me to learn

and not burn

in total annihilation.


Who in this world
is perfect, oh i wish I was
but then I wouldn’t have

anything to learn, to
occupy my time
and share the excitement

with friends who regale me
with the accolades that
make me shine.

Day 4: Imperfect, Limerick, Enjambment

We find faults in ourselves, in others, and in the world around us all the time. We may accept these imperfections or complain about them, try to fix them or celebrate them — whatever our attitude may be, they add friction and texture to our lives.

Today’s form: limerick

Limericks are traditionally composed of five lines of verse. The traditional rhyming scheme of a limerick is a a b b a — the first two lines rhyme, then the next two, and the final verse rhymes with the first couplet.

Today’s device: enjambment

Today’s poetic device is all about the arrangement of words on the page, and how that arrangement affects the pace of our reading: enjambment. It may sound like a mouthful. But what it describes is a really simple phenomenon: when a grammatical sentence stretches from one line of verse to the next.

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365 Days of Writing | #16 Slide the key in the ignition

WordPress Writing Prompt: Can’t Drive 55
Take the third line of the last song you heard, make it your post title, and write for a maximum of 15 minutes. GO!

“Slide the key in the ignition” is the third line of Jon Chandler’s Colorado Skies.

Highlights of Salida, Colorado
All photos (c) laf Custom Designs

It was a Thursday. Time to get out of the house and hit the road. Fix some turkey, carrots, and ranch dressing for a snack along the way. Open the door from the house to the garage and invite Kobi, “Come on, let’s go.” He hurries and jumps in the car and settles in the back seat.

Slide the key in the ignition. Vroom. We’re on our way. Destination: Salida.

Why? Never been there. That’s all. It’s a three hour drive and we were just leaving at 1pm. Yikes. Long drive for a short visit. But we’re hopeful to see some changing leaves.

We did see some, but there was no real opportunity to stop and capture the bright spots mingling among the pines on the mountainsides. So we just took it in. By the time we reach Kenosha Pass there were very few changing leaves. They’d all fallen. Already. Fall came and went quickly at 10,000 feet.

Disappointed though we were, drive on was all we could do. The land was a sandy brown for miles around. Moving at 65mph, the landscape slide by quickly. The real adventure started when we arrived in Salida. With a bit of wandering we found main street and an obvious tourist attraction, the River Walk.

Kobi and I took the path and encountered other dogs and walkers. A boy played on a fallen tree trunk as his father looked on. The path lead past restaurants with the aromas of steak and fried goodies. I wished I could indulge, but the budget doesn’t allow. Or maybe it’s just a choice I make. Soon a couple got in the inflated boats and row down the river. That looked like fun. We enjoyed watching the water tumble over the rocks creating white water.

We turned around and walked main street. The architecture is old. Some of it dated right on its’ fascias. 1886. 1890. These used to be something else. Now they were retail shops, hotels, banks. I loved that this little town, population 5409, has preserved the old buildings that so often are imploded to build parking garages and such. The F Street Five and Dime took me back to my childhood when things you’d find there were actually 5 or 10 cents. The old Public Service Company building now the SteamPlant Theater and Event Center. And I fancied a stop into Brown Dog Coffee Co., but it was too close to closing time. I turned away.

Right there, there was a camouflage small school bus that had been converted to a tiny mobile home. The adventurer in me would love to have such a vehicle so I could just take off and stay wherever I got tired and needed to stop. Have I missed my opportunity or is that hippy inside me finally coming of age?

Then I saw it. A fun little shop, Gone to the Dogs. So Kobi and I dropped in and talked to a young gal named Casey. She grew up in this town. She said it’s much better now, but even as she was growing up they had everything they needed: bowling alley, movie theater, and a fountain shop. Kobi found some treats he really likes. Little salmon grain-free hearts the size of a nickle. I got a quarter pound for him.

It was time to head home as the sun would be going down. We completed the full circle in the middle of Colorado by driving toward Colorado Springs, then north through Denver. Arrived home at 10pm. It was a full day. We found some things in which to find joy. It was a day that raised our spirits.

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365 Days of Writing | #15 The Dots of Wall Street

WordPress Writing Prompt: Connect the Dots
Scour the news for an entirely uninteresting story. Consider how it connects to your life. Write about that.

Source: Wall Street Ticker Tape from The Social Trader blog
— a rare departure from my own photographic and artistic works

The ticker scrolls in green  and red dots that reveal the financial health of our country. For the most part I just can’t get excited about the financial ups and downs of Wall Street. It’ll all change tomorrow. And all those dots, numbers, and letters don’t mean anything to me. I mean I don’t know how to decipher them.

With that said, I forced myself to read the article on The Street, Awaiting The US Stock Market Mood Swing to see how I could connect the dots. Yes, so uninteresting to me that I clicked the page three times, got distracted, and finally read it.

I don’t understand the language. It’s foreign to me. Percentages. Ups. Downs. GDP growth. And what does our economy have to do with China and Iran and Greece? Well, I’m not a complete dunce. I know we do a lot of business with China. I mean most of the products we buy are made there. And Iran. Well, we’re tied to the price of oil there. Greece. Still baffles me. Doesn’t matter.

This I could sort of get my head around: This year should be a record year for transactions of all kinds (mainly mergers and acquisitions). If Wal-mart buys Macy’s  then I may have to shop at a different location. And if I were on board with the anti-Wal-mart folks for political reasons I’d have to find a different place to buy my clothes altogether.

And Wall Street is notorious for being a fickle place. Well, that’s an understatement. I do understand that! I do understand that this can make investors nervous. When you can’t track trends how do you know where to place your money. But this dot doesn’t connect for me because I have no money to invest! Well, that’s not true. I do have some, but it just sits there and grows and shrinks dependent on what all the rest of the investors do.

I know I should care more and move what little money I have around to earn the best it can, but I see it as a long-term deal and it’s not worth it to me to get all excited about the mood. Eventually, the market will swing in my favor. I just wait.

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