Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Love and the Weather

Hearts leap from the marmalade.   Mysteries abound created by elements of love and the weather.

As spring ushers a kaleidoscope of flowers, "love" floats in the air. Mockingbirds trill  their stolen notes past the windows.  Seagulls pair at nest sites then take turns to gather twigs for April clutches. Squawkings of wild parrots rise above my house each noon. In hidden spaces, Black Phoebes have started their nests.

San Diego March weather changes in an eye blink.  Clouds send spritzes of rain.  A brush of azure erases the gray until sun storms take over. The scene revolves.

Here's a heart on edge.  Or is it about to take a chance?

Today the sea appears unsettled waiting for the sky to make up its mind. 

Creative Write:  Write about the intense feelings of love and the weather.  What surprises you today?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wordless Awe

How to Spell Exuberance

Within a few years, poppies create millions that enliven hillsides and valleys. Spring’s exuberance for life pulses in every niche. Nature teaches us outbursts of joy replenished. It takes over after wars destroy landscapes and fires darken meadows. Innate and eager, it blooms in recovery.

Spring’s messages of growth remind us not to dwell in negativity. We need to move beyond life’s sadness and frustrations. It just requires a twirl of focus to develop curiosity for the marvelous in green, yellows and oranges around us. Contagions of purple and blue enliven the vistas.

This attitude does not mean the constant search for happiness. Rather, a state of buoyancy carries and spreads positive energy. Fragilities will always surround us. Our resilience results from enthusiasm as we approach daily life. It’s a choice that soars us beyond the world’s challenges.

Creative Write: Jump into the exuberance of spring. Take a walk and give emotions to flowers and plants. How would you enthuse a petulent petunia? Argue with a depressed dahlia and encourage its bloom. Rant with eagerness to turn frustration into fun.

A Writer's Flight Plan

Learning your process:

Every writer should take time each spring to ponder these questions.

Why do you write?

What attracted you to writing?

What do you recall inspired your first writing? At what age?

Did anyone comment on your writing at an early age?

How do you define play? Does it show up in your writing?

Does sensory imagery spark your writing? Which sense dominates?

Are you aware of a seasonal or daily rhythm in your writing? Begin to track on a calendar your times of peak performance in writing.

Do you journal? How often?

Do you carry an ideas notebook?

What distracts you from writing? How do you deal with it?

How do you spell procrastinate? Do you find creative ways to avoid writing? In what ways do you push beyond any down times in your writing?

Do you have a writing ritual? How do you “get into the mood”?

How do you decide on the focus of an assignment or notion to pursue?

When an idea arrives, what do you do? Where do you take it?

Describe your experience with reading over the years?

How does reading a variety of literature assist your process?

What aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and the least? Write about your work and the processes: creation, developing a text, false starts, revising and proofreading. Keep your reflections going for a month. Do you notice a change in your attitude as a writer. What do you believe accounts for it? Keep writing.

Where's the poem?

Become a puppeteer and dangle observations on nature’s stage, eavesdrop on human nature and add emotion. Search for surprises and how the man-made world and nature co-exist or conflict. A reciprocity develops in personal ideas and philosophy danced upon the outside world and then pulled back inside.

Where does a poem come from? It glistens at the crossroads of preparation and possibility, muscled from writing practice to the moment observed.

If it’s hiding
search for it
in a spider’s dream
or web of twilight.
You might find one
in lemony shadows
that attach to ladybugs
who sway near eucalyptus.
Consider it
in the moon’s crackle
blinking past pines.

Discover moments
before stars sprinkle
dusk with a promise
of what we most need.

Do you notice an elephant emerging from the rocks?
Where might he take you?

Creative Write:
Today search for a poem. You may need to dig in your garden and look under a few rocks.

A Funambulist

Become a funambulist - acrobat or tight rope walker

In addition to rope dancing, funambulist also refers to a person with mental agility and skill - a writer. As writers, we struggle from concept to expression along lines that quiver with illusion and reality.

Begin rope dancing with a thought, add a feeling, and a difficult aspect of life.  See where ability and skill move you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heart Cycles

Hearts spring up from shadows once awareness sets in.
 Pinkly winks on the pavement.

Hearts and Wings

White pelicans share their spring arousal.


Hearts hide in stones.

Orange shows it appeals.

This heart mends the break.

Creative write: Search nature for symbols of spring. Will a poem-in-training appear?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Words by the Sea

Too many times I have chased a Black Phoebe or Pelican for a photo or pursued a line for a poem.  If I continue along the path, follow the stairs, the poem will show itself, or the bird will lead me to another discovery. 

Waiting while indulging in other observations often assists.

Today the sea reveals ennui.  Yet, it continues, wave after wave, until the energy returns to build it to new heights.

These wild parrots fly over my neighborhood daily.  They perch in palm trees by Mission Bay. Petulant for photographs, they relented for my capture, even in a blur.

Creative Write: 
Joseph Campbell said, "If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize your potential." How will you break from the path you usually take to discover other routes? Look up and out. Discover a mystery.  What eludes you today?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Actors of Spring

How do they know the timing?

Without the benefit of calendars, clocks and watches, who reminds them of their spring performances?

The vernal equinox arrives with the dawn.

News travels from the roots to shoots, bulbs and seeds.

Green and colorful ones, it's show time!

Did a team of wizards stay up all night to paint these new faces?

Sensitive and alert, they smile and make their entrances.

Sap rises and leaves pulse from the branches. Yellow, oranges, pinks and brights emerge dappled with sunlight and dew. They sway  and bow with the breeze.

Standing ovations!

Never enough curtain calls will end this performance!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Everyday nature

As post-Romantic subjects, we have become used to defining our identities apart from the everyday, through various forms of leisure and imaginative escape.

Our idea of nature, like art, has helped to enable such forms of self-definition. To embrace an everyday nature means shifting also how we define our selves, no longer through forms of imaginative escape of transcendence but though our ordinary lives, work, actions and relationships
.   - Scott Hess “Imagining an Everyday Nature” from ISLE Winter 2010.

During my morning run, flowers exploded from all nooks and around corners.  Birdsong chased me as mockingbirds, crows, house sparrows, seagulls, and cormorants enchanted the breeze.

I watched others pass in cars and on foot and wondered how many could name the trees, flowers, or bushes in their neighborhood?  They take them for granted  along with the birds and insects as they drive out of driveways, talking on cell phones. 

When they return home, the television and computer screen push them further away from a natural environmental influence.  At dinner, they interact with vegetables and fruits and animals. After dinner back to the screens.

It's time to slow down and redirect attention to our place in the web of nature around us beyond technology that defines our lives.

Take a stroll and marvel!  Springs explodes and puts on a show for the benefit of everyone.  Use your eyes, nose and fingers to explore the magic of seeds into blossoms. Listen and identify the birds in your garden.  Be grateful for ways nature balances and shows you how.

Creative write:  How do you identify with everyday nature?