Monday, August 31, 2009

A New Short Story

I didn't get a chance to go out to the Airstream today, but I did surprise myself by writing a piece of sudden fiction from start to finish. That hardly ever happens for me, but the material is some I've had around for a while. I used snippets of journal notes and pieces of letters and even incorporated a thought encountered in an essay by D. H. Lawrence. (I typed a draft first, then I rewrote the story by hand, adding and moving paragraphs around. Then I typed the finished draft.)

Proof that writing does come together when you diligently make pieces as often as you can and when you live for the opportunity of piecing parts of life together in exciting ways. This one's ready to submit and I've already decided where it's going. Wish it well as it goes its way to cold editor's eyes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Today when I walked out to the Airstream to do some writing, I was moved to take this picture. I don't know when I've seen a prettier Ohio sky. The ritual of walking out to the trailer and spending time alone there, writing, is working. The pages are piling up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Haiku #239

Forget guilt
Give me the irreverence
of Ikkyu

Haiku #238

Wanting ice cream
I ate fruit instead I still
wanted ice cream


My name is Alexander.
I live in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
I think it's enough for the beginning.

First Day of Class

Today a new student
stopped by my desk after class and
asked me if I am a healer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Phoku 2

The story is in one cat's stretch to be the first at the bowl, the other waiting her turn.

The Writing Place III

Good things are happening in The Writing Place. I've written the equilivant of 25 typed pages in the Airstream since we pulled it back into the field. Top secret, what I'm working on.

A Writing Place II

Two cats on the pathway leading to the new writing place.

A Writing Place

The writing place, nestled between firs we planted when we first moved here, ten years ago.
Inside the Airstream, my new writing place. Sandals kicked off.

I've missed being out West and in nature. So Allen pulled our old Airstream trailer back into the field so I could use it to get away, be alone, and hear nature sounds. I take a paper journal with me, and I do find it easier to write there. It was cool today. I left the door open, and closed the screen only when I needed to keep the cats out. It makes for a neat little hideaway and a very good alternative to going camping. I'm going to chronical my treks out to my trailer in photographs. Here are the first ones.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Haiku #237

My husband hauled three large boxes of National Geographics home from an auction where they were about to be thrown out. Night after night we worked our way through the boxes until one evening he happened upon an issue about extinctions. Steller's sea cow was mentioned. It was a toothless, docile animal that fed on kelp.

"I used to read an essay with my students many years ago about the extinction of Steller's sea cow," I said, remembering how the male drove himself like an arrow upon the shore upon seeing its mate being butchered." I told my husband about this.

He looked sad for a moment. We were both completely still. Then his face brightened and he asked me what the Steller's sea cow must have "said" upon seeing what was happening to his mate. "Stella!" he hastened to reply. "Stella!" he said again. We didn't laugh, but now we were able to continue our lives together.

On a still evening
melancholy is dispelled
by a silly joke

Haiku #236

Oh, butterfly wears a
faded shabby coat this late
in her summer life

Haiku #235

Buzzard holds herself
steady against the white sky
in hot gusty wind

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Haiku #234

How astonishing
to be regarded by her:
praying mantis

This evening I walked our field. Allen has mowed paths through the heavy brush, thistle and wild raspberry, blackberry. I took the camera with me so that I would get some practice. I hoped I would find suitable subjects. I snapped a rusty farm implement, a dragonfly, milkweed, a few insects. I felt little excitement. Then I spied this praying mantis and stepped closer to photograph her. I was looking through the macro lens and suddenly the mantis turned her head and looked directly at me. In that moment, the mantis ceased to be merely a photographic subject and became a consciousness. I was enlightened.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where Water Spouts are Born

"Where Water Spouts are Born."
Allen went to an auction the other day and got three big boxes of National Geographics that were going to be thrown away. We decided we would each take one issue (chosen at random by the other person) and try to make a collage using at least 4 images. We only had two hours total to finish the collage. This is what I came up with.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Haiku #233

Who does he think he is
crow strolling in pink plastic pool
child's toys all around

Haiku #232

No crops in my field.
Grasshoppers, wild raspberries--
this field is alive!

Haiku #231

Food untouched
Black cat never returning
only the flies eat

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Haiku #230

I just remembered --
why is a small mystery--
child-mate, Kenji Horn

Haiku #229

Old Tibetan flag...
race in the wind little strings
each a silent prayer

Haiku #228

The poet James Wright
drafted some of his great work
in a friend's chicken house

Haiku #227

Mailbox is open
Is there a tongue hanging out?
Its mouth is empty!

Haiku #226

Cricket in closet
keeps asking how much longer
this summer will last

Haiku #225

My bones ache for sleep
but what the cats now wish for
is water and food

Haiku #224

We leave an echo
of ourselves wherever we go.
I hear someone else now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Phoku #1

The macro (100 mm) lens arrived today for my new camera and just before supper I stepped outside to try it out. From the first shot I knew this is going to be my favorite lens and that these are the kind of photos that are going to generate the most excitement in me.

It just felt right--this is my medium, this lens.

I couldn't get the dogs to stay still, but our cat Uno jumped onto an old chair and looked at me. I focused on his face and suddenly he broke out into a yawn and I snapped.

I'm calling it a Phoku. I'm going to work at capturing moments that convey something, an emotion, a truth, an insight.

What I like about this phoku, what tells the story, is the juxtaposition of the sharp fangs and the missing tooth. One sees that a cat is to be reckoned with, but there is such a heartbreaking vulnerability in that missing tooth!

A New Poetry

I have bought a new camera with all kinds of capability (the question: am I capable?) I want to use the camera lens to make a new (for me) kind of poetry. I am just a beginner and expect to make lots of bad pictures. As soon as I have some decent examples I'll begin posting them.

I also want to cut some photographs for use in collages. I'll use others as a reference for drawings.

It feels good to be thinking about visual art. Hopefully this will not distract me from my writing but keep my mind alive for writing.

FYI: It is a Canon 50D. It is a digital SLR camera. In design it bears some resemblance to Allen's old 35 mm Nikon.

I used the Nikon a little bit years ago, but film and developing were expensive for us and I didn't feel like I had much opportunity for experimentation or even learning. Now when I make a horrible picture, I can just delete it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Haiku #223

I'm listening
this morning but where
is my cricket now?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Haiku #222

I just noticed
the summer cricket singing
outside my window

Haiku #221

Many circling birds
form a halo over your arms,
Old Tree

Monday, August 10, 2009

Haiku #220

This summer afternoon they
reach for a fat blackberry,
purple fingers

Haiku #219

Dragonflies fret
over the milkweed
this summer day

Haiku #218

Process is more
important than product
in the face of chaos

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Accidental Enlightenment

I was sorting through some books tonight because I want to make a special shelf for my books on Haiku and related subjects, such as Zen. I ran across my little edition of Zen stories called Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Always a favorite of mine, it nevertheless had not been looked at in some time by me. I opened to a random page and read:

A university student while visiting Gasan asked him: "Have you ever read the Christian Bible?"

"No, read it to me," said Gasan.

The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew. "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ... Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

Gasan said: "Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man."

The student continued reading: "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened."

Gasan remarked: "That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far from Buddhahood."

Then, trying to decide where to put There is No Road, a book of poems by Antonio Machado (1875-1939), I opened the book and read:

I love Jesus, who said to us:
Heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth pass,
my word will remain.
Jesus, what was your word?
Love? Forgiveness? Charity?
All your words were
one word: awareness.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Haiku #217

Empties eternally
blinks inconsolably:
neon coffee cup

Haiku #216

You have no choice
in your life
You always have a choice

Haiku #215

When you dream
do your feet sometimes
leave the ground?

Haiku #214

The passing train sent
them soaring. Now the buzzards
decorate the dead tree.

Haiku #213

the dog does not agonize over
its morning ablutions

Haiku #212

And after every
night of celebrations
the church bells toll

Haiku #211

Is your life as strange
as the stories you made up
when you were a child?



About Me

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych



Little Deer

Little Deer



Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back

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