Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Two, Day Two

Still need to read all of Chapter Two. I did get through the part about the Crazymakers. Got me thinking. Who are the Crazymakers in my life? Sometimes DH. Sometimes DA.

Sometimes me. I am probably my worst Crazymaker. I am erratic, and find all sorts of excuses not to do what I feel is important. I procrastinate from doing the writing that ultimately makes me feel good, like I've accomplished something. Crazy, because I interrupted this writing to check my Facebook account, and feed everyone's fish. Crazy because I'm probably going to check my blogs, to see how many hits I've gotten today. Like it matters!!

Last night's poetry workshop, as I've said, was good. Today I finally heard back from Tiferet, and was rejected. Granted, I'd had to pull two of the poems because they'd been accepted elsewhere, but still. On the other hand, I did get three full mss. out today, to the Philip Levine Prize (Anhinga Press), The Ohio State University Press (The Journal Award in Poetry), and to the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series. Just in time to get the postmark on the envelopes. Phew!

I need a photo break. I'm so fickle right now. I guess that works in with my Censor /Crazymaker image... or whatever. Flickr, here I come!

Tibetan Poetry
Originally uploaded by Nathanael.Archer  

Somehow that makes me feel better.  I don't know what the poem means, and if someone reads this and knows, please tell me.  I think it's beautiful.  And I'm guessing I would like what it has to say.

My poem last night had to do with contemplating a jump into one of the Seven Sacred Pools at the end of the Hana Road.  I like the poem well enough, which is good, because that is something positive I can tell myself.  I'm thinking now that I might be able to continue in that vein, and see what else I can discover about that experience, which happened over 24 years ago. This would also work into the Artist Way business, because we are to look at our past for clues to our current behaviors and ways of thinking.  

Truthfully, I don't have much to say tonight.  I hope to really do Morning Pages tomorrow, but we'll see what comes.  I really should try.  It might be a good thing!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Two, Day One

The beginning of a new week, and I need to read Chapter Two.  It's still sunny here, and I should go outside.  This isn't going to last.  I can see little glimpses of it through the windows, but no big vista.  That might be a good thing--promote better writing.  Here in my laundry room/computer room it feels more like a cave, and gets cold in winter.  It's not winter yet, though!  Not with this great sun.

*   *   *   *   *

Evening now.  Just got back from poetry workshop, which was very good.  Great poems, great conversation, great energy.  Just sad that one of our members is moving--I'm going to miss her regular presence, though I know we'll see each other again, her energy, and quirky sense of humor, and strong and growing stronger poetry.  All the best!!!

Today's entry will be short, I think, in favor of going up to read my chapter, which I still haven't done.  It does feel good to type right now.  Very liberating.  I want to make time this week, or in the next day or so, to do some submissions before September is over.  There are some deadlines on or around 1 October that I shouldn't let pass.  I've done a lot of letting things pass this year, and I'd like to turn that around--back to my more aggressive charge last year.  I guess getting the GAP Grant did help matters, and now I've used that money...  so I need to really watch where I send things.  

It felt good to share a poem from a journal entry from several years ago.  I started the poem when I was working at the other gym, so it's been a few years, even for making a poem out of the journal entry.  Earlier today I completely changed the shape of the piece, favoring a long column, single stanza, spaced at 1.5.  The line lengths vary from one to three words.  It looks like my edits will be few, and I now have a better title.  Always nice to have something else to add to my "Usable Poems for Submitting" list.  Tomorrow--find time to submit work!!!

Something else I need to do, and I've probably already mentioned this more than once (remember, I'm not rereading my journal!!) is to re-order and re-evaluate my full-length manuscript.  Cull out the weaker pieces, and add newer poems I feel are stronger.  Shake things up a bit.  I just got the book "Ordering the Storm--How to Put Together a Book of Poems," by Susan Grimm, published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center.  I'm looking forward to reading it, and putting it to work.

So, it's late, and I'm off to bed.  Time to consult Chapter Two of the Artist's Way... and do a little writing in the leather journal.

The Artist's Way
Originally uploaded by wingedeyes


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week One, Day Seven


I feel so much better this morning.  It is quiet here, due to the fact that DH and DS have gone fishing, and DD is asleep.  

Why this is good:  DH and DS are having a good bonding day, and I feel good about that.  The weather is beautiful.  DD didn't sleep all night because she was at a birthday party/sleepover, and had time to spend with the girls.  This will probably make the transition to the new High School a bit better.  (Remember, she transferred from one school, with a much smaller student base to the High School, as a junior.  Tough stuff!  Very brave, she is.)  Now she's catching up on sleep.  

And it is so quiet here!!!  What a treat!

My Artist Date yesterday was very successful.  I went to Buck Lake to check out the Greenway Trails, which are wonderful.  I took lots of photos--over 100--and will post some here.  I spent almost 3 hours there, and the quiet was lovely.  Any place that has water nearby is good.  Place names I visited include Bear Meadow Vista and The Quiet Place.  The trails are very navigable, and not totally flat, which adds both interest and some cardio, which was another thing I was after.  I think I got in about 3 miles, some writing time, and photo-taking time.  I felt a lot more energised when I was done.  

I've been writing in my leather journal, too.  I'm trying to decide whether to post some of that stuff now, or later when all is said and done.  Maybe resisting adding the journal work is best, so that I don't reread what I've written 
until much later.  Last night I posted photos to my Facebook profile.  I may include some of those here as well.  Glad the Blogger upload is working faster this morning!  I'm still having trouble with Flickr--but only with this site. Hmmm...  wonder why?

Today there is a breeze outside.  It is really sunny, and I'm thinking it would be a shame not to go out and take some more photos.  Maybe of the fall leaves that are starting their dramatic changes.  I could make a trip out toward Port Gamble, but I know that stopping and parking will be tough as there is a fair going on there.  I'm sure I can find colors somewhere that is parking-friendly.  

Today I might make some more yogurt, and if I'm disciplined enough I'll do some Pilates and yoga.  I teach tomorrow, and it always feels better if I do something kind for my spine, especially if I'm lifting weights.  

I have a full day ahead of me.  I want to be able to make the most of it.  

Tomorrow I go to my poetry workshop.  I have a poem I've been working on intermittently, and have all but forgotten about, since it's on my laptop.  I wonder if I can get it into shape to take tomorrow for sharing?  I'd really like to increase my list of "Usable Poems for Submitting."  There are some deadlines coming up and I'd like to get my mss. out some more.  I've been very slow with submissions this year, as compared to last year, when I went hog-wild.  I've come close a couple of times, and I hope this means that someday soon my collection will be selected.  

What I really need to do is take a look at the mss. as a whole, and reconsider what should and shouldn't be in it.  I've got some new pieces that might make it stronger and, by the same token, taking some others out might be beneficial, too.  Finding direction is good, and often, the more I write, the more apparent these directions I should be taking become.  

So, what are my priorities?  

* Generating new poems
* Getting my mss. out there

** This is in interesting topic as money is becoming a bit more of an issue.   Entry fees are a bit steep, considering the average is ~ $25.

* Regaining control of my submissions record-keeping
* Writing every day again

So, is this so hard?  It is with two teenagers in two new and different schools, new duties at work, and a strange economy!  Just need to find what gives, and pare down.

The trails yesterday were so nice.  Most of the time you knew the direction to go.  Once in awhile another trail would lead off to the side, in some direction you weren't originally planning to take.  What to do?  Well, in most cases I considered what my original destination was going to be, and stuck to it.  I'm drawn by bears, so I had to make it to Bear Meadow Vista. And The Quiet Place sounded necessary, so I made sure I got there, too.  The other trails can wait until next time.  

And there will be a next time.  I'll make sure to make time.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week One, Day Six

Well, almost done with the first week.  I'm not sure that I got very far.  In my other journal I wrote about six pages last night, addressing some of the questions asked at the end of the chapter.  Who are my past Creativity and Self-Worth Enemies?  Who are my Champions?  I thought about that, and concluded that I could come up with less enemies than champions Hmmm....  So, what's my excuse?

I've also discovered that it's damn hard to get up before everyone else in the morning!  If I get up now, I will refuse a romantic interlude.  If I get up now, I will still be too tired later on.  I think the latter is more excuse that could be ignored.  Not the first one.  Stay for the romantic interlude, write later.  = )  Might be good for creativity.  

Did I write about this before?  (Remember, I'm not supposed to go back and reread my daily writing until way later.)  I've discovered that, especially when I'm typing, my typos can lead to interesting (for me) things to think about.  For instance, more often than not, when I type the word "good" it turns out "god."  And a moment ago, typing the word "good" I got "food" instead.  Both are interesting to me.  "God" is "good" and "good" is "food."  Not to mention that when I wrote "Might be good for creativity," it first read, "Might be food for creativity."  Both are true.

The same thing can happen when I write in longhand.  I will go back and reread and find typos even then.  Can't come up with examples right now, but they're there.

So, why was it easier for me to come up with champions of my creative self-worth?  Maybe because I'm happier to remember, or think about them?  And I'm still not really ready to talk about the stiflers.  On the other hand, I did realise that two of the stiflers I came up with are also champions, too.  How does that work?  Well, thinking about it, it does make sense in a way.  When the going is good, they are happy about it for me, especially when it involves money.  *Money balances time spent.*  So, it's partly about the money.  Time is the other issue. *Time spent being creative is time taken away from time needed to do other things.* Well, you can't put a money value on time, I'm sorry.  It's priceless, in my book.

So why do I still feel guilty about that?  Probably it all comes back to procrastination.  I procrastinate getting my home-work done, and I procrastinate in getting my writing done. This shows up in the form of time spent looking stuff up on the computer, e-mail, blogging, configuring something, etc.  Maybe the computer is one of my enemies.  It is also an enabler.  I will not go so far as to call it a champion.  And probably I can't call it an enemy.  I'm in control here, right?

It's now becoming noisy.  The Car Guys are on, the paper is rustling, hot coffee is being sipped, F wants to eat something other than what we have on hand... it's hard to find quiet.  Knowing that should be all the more incentive to take the quiet times when I have them, and put them to good use!  Make it a priority to write for a portion of that time, do some chores, and then see what time I have left over for "looking stuff up."  Days when I do that, I ultimately feel much better.  I can breathe more fully.  

Today is my first Artist Date.  Where will I go?  I haven't the foggiest idea.  I could go to a gallery, and maybe I'll try to find one nearby.  Perhaps something Native American, of which there is a bit around here.  I don't know yet what I'm in the mood for.  Julia is right in her book, the Date can be tough to do!  This reminds me that I feel the same about my birthday, too.  It is so hard to come up with something to do on that day.  I get so stewed about planning something special, and then I go in the opposite direction and ignore the whole thing, so that, by the time my birthday rolls around, I haven't got it together.  Sometimes I'm able to cobble something together and make it a worthwhile day, other times it's more stressful than I would like, and I find myself looking forward to the next day.  Birthday done, on with life.

Maybe that means that I need to learn to be more patient, to be happy with what comes spontaneously.  So, we'll see what happens today.  

Well, that's good for now.  Maybe I'll check in later, maybe I won't.  


Friday, September 26, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week One, Day Five

What are my duties this week?  Morning Pages are not happening the way I think they are meant to, i.e. every day.  In the morning.  What should I be doing? 

I am going to take my Artist Date tomorrow.  I don’t know where yet, only that I need to not let it go, like I do many other things that are important to *me.*  I tend to pass on some invitations or events simply because it might look at home like I’m doing too much stuff, just for me.  So I turn down invites from friends, or bow out in the last minute from workshops, appts. for things like massages and haircuts, so that I’m home doing the things I really should be doing.

I'm finding it difficult to get the writing in.  When I had the time during the day I spent it playing with my other blog.  Also making bread and yogurt, which is fine.  But now I'm getting irritated and frustrated by everything: the economy, work and/or the lack thereof, the election process, the energies of those near and dear to me--it's all out there, and it's bugging me.  I feel like I need a big break.  To go away for a few days, and just be by myself!

Now all I'm doing is complaining.  This, to me, doesn't sound productive at all.  And because I've been up all day, busy with this that and the other, or, truthfully, busy procrastinating from my writing duties, so now this nice stream of consciousness writing just isn't going the right way.  More complaining.  Yikes!

Is it my Censor telling me I need to be better about budgeting my time?  Maybe I'm already afraid to address the issue.  If I write, I am being negligent in some other area.  If I don't write, I'm neglecting my writing.  I want to be good about both areas of my life, so that means reevaluating some of my other time consuming activities to see what could give.

I'm going to make this short tonight, and try to get into a morning habit tomorrow morning.  Although, if I don't, I hope I have the strength to cut myself a little slack, knowing that I'll do *something* at least.  And twelve weeks later, when I read through all of this journey, maybe, just maybe I'll have made some moves in a positive direction.  Here's to inspiration.

Got two rejections this week--one from Dark Horse, and the other from Alaska Quarterly Review.  On the plus side, I did get an acceptance from Crannog, in Galway, Ireland.  Wish I could attend the reading in October!  I miss Ireland, and hope someday to do a retreat there.  Just me, myself, and I.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week One, Day Four, or, "Dear Reader, don't peek until December 15, 2008!"

I'm back.  And I still haven't finished the chapter.  This is a pattern I'm coming to recognise: not being prepared.  Or, going into something new kicking and screaming?  No, not either of those, just allowing the rest of my life to crowd out this thing I'm attempting to do for myself.

Ah, in writing these pages I'm supposed to let go, not read what I've written, and not let anyone else see them, either.  I'm all about breaking rules!  Not intentionally.  So, because of that, I'm going to keep a low profile until I'm near done with the course.  So I changed the name of this blog.  I'll be stronger next time.

I can see where it is best to write in the morning.  My brain is so not awake at 6:30, therefore my writing might be a little less self-judgmental.  Wonder if that might be true?  I will have to try it tomorrow.  

One thing I've been dealing with is anxiety.  While it has been mostly in remission since the beginning of summer, it does linger under the surface, waiting for my life to overfill.  I'm paying attention to the breath when I feel twinges, and find that after exercise I feel a whole lot better.   I found yesterday that it was hard to get a full breath in--that place you get to when you inhale fully, almost euphoric in feeling--it just wasn't happening.  Like there was a block there.  I feel that way often, and when that full-breath-ability comes it's like a gift.  

What's getting to me?  Probably things that are affecting everyone else, to some degree or another.  The Stock Market problems, diving economy, banks in shaky positions, less jobs coming in for the self-employed.  Take a deep breath.  Ah, that one really felt good.  And it was one of those deep ones, too.  

The cat is up on the washer.  Her first time?  Everything seems like it happens for the first time with her.  Everything is new, including entering the house again, which she does several times a day.  She sits on the window ledge, looking into the kitchen with her ears out like "Bucky" in Get Fuzzy.  I open the door.  She comes in, slowly, sniffs the doorjamb, the porch, the floor just inside the entryway.  What does she think is going to happen?  Perhaps get eaten by a coyote?  Last time I checked, there weren't any coyotes in the house.  Apparently there are any number of possibilities I might not have thought about, but go through her fuzzy little head.  

Maybe that's me, too.  Maybe I jump up on the washer, the same one I've passed by numerous times during my day, and it suddenly looks like something I've never seen before.  It becomes a magnet, a thing of curiosity, new territory to be explored.  And I can begin to understand why going out the front door, and coming back in to the house might bring up certain uncertainties--what might have changed while I was out?  What might have moved into the neighborhood while I was in?  Is it safe out there?  Is it safe inside?  Is it safe to just write, and not think too much about it?  What if it sounds stupid?  What if it makes me look crazy, naive, overdone?  What if someone takes my ideas?  

What if--possibly--someone else can relate to what I'm saying?  Maybe we're all on this big barge together, and maybe the water is calm, and maybe it's choppy and there is someone behind us...

...ready to reach out a hand to save us if we hit a snag and lurch toward to roiling waves.  And maybe we'll be called upon to do the same sometime.  

Another deep breath.  It feels good.  Full.  In the background NPR has some experts on taking about Government agreements over the Big Bail-Out.  Congress, Republicans, Democrats, Pakistan's border, McCain, Obama; F, needing to make friends at her new High School (first year, and she, a junior), and D a 7th grader at his new school, getting the routine down, despite difficulty with organisation and the new piles of homework heaped upon him; new duties at work, after-school activities, youth group, carpooling, going to the gym, getting some sleep.  Breathe deep into the base of the lungs, I tell my class, exhale out through the mouth, expelling all that air.  Cleanse the lungs.  Clear your mind.  Breathe.

That's is for now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week One, Day Three


the artist's way
Originally uploaded by Teresantoinette

Okay, here I am, starting this journey, and I'm two days late.  There are six of us doing it, and I might be the only one doing it for the first time.  Artist's Way.  I haven't even finished the chapter Basic Tools, the one that comes before Chapter One.  All I can say is, I'm glad to be writing something, anything.

So, I've been writing poetry for nine years straight, after taking a significant break after University to get married and have a couple of kids.  I started writing right after I started going to Grace Church.  Not sure exactly what was up with that, but I have my own ideas on the subject.  I also started playing the piano again at that time, so who knows?  

I have a bit to catch up on in the book, but I *do* know that I'm supposed to write every morning.  How is that working for me?  Well, this is what happened today so far:  Alarm woke me up at the usual time of 6:50.  This is the one day of the week that my son starts school an hour later than the other days, and with the exception of Weds, today, he (D), and my daughter (F), leave at 7:30-ish.  This morning D was up at 7, because F was in the bathroom upstairs doing her hair.  

It is usually so hard to pry D out of bed before school.  He's 13.  F is 16.  But today, when I thought I'd do my Morning Pages before anyone else got up, everyone got up.  So, I'm doing them now, before heading off to sub at work.  This is also usually my free day--no work.  This is my time to figure out how to make this writing-every-day thing work for the duration of the Artist's Way program--12 weeks altogether.

So, I'm writing, and I don't even know what I'm supposed to write about.  Just free writing, and it is supposed to be longhand, which isn't happening, at least not today.  This is faster for me.  I guess the experience of pen in hand, pen to paper, the feel of ink making tracks for me as I think and release is the whole idea, but this, quite frankly, is working for me today.  It feels good to write.  Or, to keyboard, as is the case.  

We're supposed to get in three pages a day.  I don't know if I can think that far!  I feel like my brain is full of a great many things these days, as I've taken on some new projects, not the least of which is blogging, which I'm fairly new to.  Good thing about that is that I'm not spending as much time on Facebook.  Don't get me wrong, I like Facebook, and have some good friends there.  Many of the friends I'm sharing this journey with, in fact.  So, I've got this support group to keep me at it, and I'm going to try to do the same thing for them.

Once I've written my three pages, I'm not supposed to look at them for several weeks.  Okay.  I got this bright idea of blogging my Morning Pages, so I can't look at my old posts until way later.  Will these exercises jump-start my poetry writing?  I hope so.  

Poetry writing--another deal.  I want to be better at it.  I read stuff I like in journals such as Ploughshares, Shenandoah, Image, AGNI, Margie, Crazyhorse, and I think, wow, I wish I could write like that.  I see the way some poets use metaphor and I think, why can't I see things that way?  I'm now going to become more intimately in tune with my Censor.  Am I going to like my Censor, or come to hate - what?  Him, her?  It?  

What is my Censor, anyway?  Where did it come from, and what does it look like?  I won't presume to know at this point.  Maybe that'll come to me later on.  

Strange thought, one that I've been wanting to address in a poem for a long time, and it only comes to me when I'm typing-- why is it that when I'm trying to type the work Good I often type God? 

This rambling is going to make me late for work.  I might tune in again a little later on today.  We'll see.  *After* I read what I'm supposed to read, and after I do my chores, and pick up my kids and see to their homework and get dinner going...


Okay, I've finished the Basic Tools chapter, and will start Chapter One later today.  I've been tweaking my blogs, and and getting ready to make yogurt for the first time.  As Julia Cameron says, these simple activities can serve to fill the creative well, or stock the the pond.  On to making yogurt.   



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