Poetry (visual poem)

a visual poem

That came first, made using SimpleMind Free mind-mapping app for Android:

Then it was translated to text by Copy-Paste Translation Services, Inc:

Poetry

: eats
my soul
and
spews out
chewed up bits
pretending to still have
meaning

: inhabits
my mind
like
an ant-like dweller in
my subconscious

: is
the obscenity
that
hides off-stage yet
affects
everything you see

Hope you like. Took lots of jiggering around in WordPress to make it look the way I wanted. Still learning WordPress stuff.

Who’s my worst enemy? Me, myself and I!

[2016.2.21: Edited to add link to the pictorial poem mentioned below.]

My writing and creativity (and this blog) haven’t gotten much of anywhere lately.

“Why’s that?” maybe you ask. (Or maybe you’re still thinking about your worst enemy?)

A few things:

  • The quote “Life happens while you have other plans.”
    I’m currently employed full time doing other things elsewhere. So there’s the usual problem of (1) a hunk of time spent each week and (2) the resulting lack of available energy once (1) has been completed.
  • I’m the resident tech support person. So in the last few months:
    • Had to replace my wonderful wife’s netbook after it finally became intolerably slow, old and parts of the keyboard stopped working.
    • Said netbook replacement included learning enough Windows 10 (filthy piece of spyware!) to:
      • Upgrade its factory-installed Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 (that took four days, thanks for finally getting around to offering the upgrade, Microsoft!)
      • Add Ubuntu Linux to it (which is what she uses – she hasn’t fired up Windows 10 even once!!!)
    • Migrated my laptop from a nice-but-gone-dormant Linux distribution to a more current one, so I could upgrade some creative programs I use.
    • Dealt with running out of drive space on the household server (What, 4 terabytes isn’t enough???!!!!).
    • Dealt with said server deciding to overheat and keel over when the both case fans both decided to quit working simultaneously.
    • Replace a dead amplifier for my music work.
  • Make digital versions of hymns for my church, St. Nicholas’s Episcopal Church, Kapolei. That’s been a big change for my church, since in its nine years of life, we’ve almost never once done a traditional hymn.
  • Taken, processed and posted photos for said church. Lately, mostly processed, since I’m trying to cut back on my photography effort there. Today I just posted the past four weeks worth of pictures, check them out. Most are by my friend Kevin, who has been enjoying his Christmas present, a shiny new Olympus DSLR.
  • And various other sundries just to keep things interesting.

Now some of those things needed to be done, so there was some justification for doing them.

But the times when I didn’t have other things to do, and had some energy available, I have to honestly say that I’ve rarely done any creating:

  • I have one pictorial poem, hope to put it up here. That one originated on the tablet, so it’s always been available to work on.
  • Prepared and printed a couple of good-sized (22″x10″) panoramas from a trip we made a couple of years ago to Napa, California.
  • Prepared a large panorama of the Honolulu-Diamond Head shoreline. If printed, it would be 17′ long!!!

One good thing from the last few months’ effort: I’ve finally caught up on ALL OF MY UNPROCESSED PHOTOS! 🙂

But I still have a storm of stories and ideas for stories, music and pictures. When I look at doing one of them:

  • Lazy Me decides he’d rather look at email, or read something on the web or Twitter, or read a book. (I’ve read a lot more books than I’ve usually done.)
  • Sensitive Me would also rather not do the stories that hurt. 😦
  • Indecisive Me can’t decide which one to work on, anyway.

So I added a new item to my To Do list, something to help me decide which of the hundreds of stories/ideas to do.

So let’s see how long it takes me to complete that item. 😉

Losing your motivation for fitness or creating? Find one meaningful to you!

Check out my newest short post at Being808.com about what it means to “get fit” and how that effects motivation.

Yes, that post is about getting fit. But it can also strengthen your motivation as a creative artist. Why are you waking up early every day so you can get in an hour or so of writing before the kids wake up?

The strongest motivations you will ever come up with are those that are personally meaningful to you.

Quick thoughts about centering/clearing thoughts prior to writing

It helps to “prime the pump” of your subconscious the night before. Before I go to sleep, I read through what I’ve written that day. If it’s a photograph or drawing, I look at it for awhile, thinking about it. If it’s music, I listen through the part I’m working on.

If I’m wrestling with a specific issue or problem like “How am I going to get them out of THAT situation?”, I think about that a while before going to sleep.

When I wake up, I pay attention to what my subconscious offers. That’s often in the first few thoughts or images I have while waking up. Keeping a notepad, journal or other recording device handy at your bedside is a useful (even necessary!) tool for this.

I have a PDA; push one button, start jotting down ideas. Or push a different button and start dictating. You can do the same things with a smartphone or tablet.

To use a netbook/ultrabook/laptop/desktop computer instead, but you must be able to get to it quickly. And it MUST come up quickly and ready for you to start typing.

Try leaving a document already open, ready for typing, and put your computer into suspend or hibernation mode. Many modern computers can come out of suspend or hibernation in only a few seconds.

Our subconscious minds have their own feelings. Their feelings are easily hurt, too. So always accept whatever it offers. There’s no room for the Editor Mind here! Even if you don’t necessarily use its gift in your current project, note it down. This encourages your subconscious to keep coming up with things.

To further power your imagination, train yourself to wake up and write down your dreams. Particularly useful for us creative arts people, but even scientists benefit from dreams. The scientist trying to figure out the structure of DNA dreamed its double-helix structure before he went to work and actually discovered it!

Once you’ve noted things down, think about it while you do whatever else you do as part of your pre-writing wake up process. Keep reminding yourself that you’re going to write (even if there are other things that get in the way first).

Practicing a bit of centering prayer/meditation before writing can also help, even if you’re not of a particular spiritual bent. This can also strengthen communication with your subconscious.

Finally, the proper dose of coffee or tea may help your focus. Caffeine may kick your brain’s neural activity level from the distractable state into one where you can focus. Tea has some caffeine, along with other stronger but slower-acting stimulants in it, that are useful to me.

I’ve seen studies showing that creative people are at their most creative when they’re in a hypomanic state (just below the manic state in which nothing gets accomplished). In college, I used to consume 3-4 strong pots of tea a day (heavily laced with honey), and was extremely creative. To an extent, I’m still harvesting the benefits of that creative time 30+ years ago!

[Please keep in mind the usual such disclaimers: I’m not a doctor, so don’t take any of this as medical advice!]

Finally, when you sit down to write, open your inner ears and listen, your inner eyes and look, your innermost heart and feel!

The next productivity challenge for me personally: Overcoming the “If I can’t spend the rest of the day and night and forever and ever amen writing – that’s way too short to bother getting started!” thought. Then nothing ever gets done.

[Thanks to porfiriopostle AT gmail.com for the comment that inspired this!]

William Faulker on what is worthy of writing

From his Nobel Prize acceptance speech December 10, 1950, in Stockholm, Sweden:

“He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.”

Read his full speech here.

Book Review: “Crash and Burn” by Michael Hassan

This YA book wasn’t an easy book to start reading.

When I started it, I read the prolog, which is all about the main character and only narrator, Crash. Crash is his nickname, from his last name and the fact that he’s rather severely ADD and identifies closely with the video game character named Crash whose defining strengths are speed and quick reactions.

In the prolog, we meet Crash. He’s a senior in high school. Very popular and charming but an academic flop. All existing ADD drug treatments have been tried and don’t work well for him, so he’s trying to deal with it without drugs. He also has limited family support: his mom and his psychiatrist try, but his father is vindictive and hostile, a perfectionist who blames Crash for simply not trying hard enough. (Like some people who really don’t believe that conditions like ADD really exist.)

What he mostly does in the prologue is drink, smoke pot or otherwise consume as much of any drug he and his buddies can get their hands on, and try their best to get girls drunk/drugged and fuck them. (Yeah, that word exactly conveys the guys’ attitude toward girls.) Sounds like a perfect candidate for certain fraternities and colleges that have been in the news recently. Are we glorifying rape here????

I read the prolog, closed the book and put it down. I almost didn’t continue it.

A few days later, I picked it up again and said, “I’ll try chapter 1. If I still don’t like that, I give up.”

By the end of the chapter, I was going along with the story, involved in it, and finished reading it that night about 12 hours later.

The book had turned into something interesting, because it’s covering two things.

The context of the story is that Crash became a national hero during his senior year when he ended an attack on his high school by another senior student, the one called “Burn,” that he’s known since middle school or thereabouts.

Crash and Burn are both gifted kids. Burn, though, is a diagnosed sociopath. During the story, he’s in and out of treatment, and he’s gone through some hell of his own (his father was killed in the 9/11/01 WTC attacks and his mother kills herself a few years later).

The first thing it covers is the story of Crash and Burn’s complex relationship as things build up to the day Burn rigs the school with explosives and takes everyone hostage. Crash and Burn have a tangled relationship of friendship and hatred, that gets move complex when Burn’s suicidal older sister becomes Crash’s first real love.

The second thing it covers is the story of Crash writing the story of their relationship, the events leading up to attack on the school, how Crash finally ended it, and the “McGuffin” (so to speak): just what were the words Crash said to Burn that finally ended the attack. I won’t reveal them here, they connect into Crash and Burn’s relationship. They’re good words, well-chosen and very much fit the characters and their relationship, but they’re somewhat of a letdown.

There’s one bit of unreality that stood out to me. The story covers 4 years of drunken, drugged, rampant sex during the middle Oughts, by Crash and Burn and all their friends (boys and girls). Yet there is never once a pregnancy or a case of STD. A couple of times, Crash specifically uses a condom. Other times it’s never mentioned. Sorry, there’s too much evidence demonstrating how little condom use there actually is in high schools, despite their sex education classes, when teens are drunk and drugged out of their minds.

Outside of that, there’s something in the book for young adults, people who like psychological stories, people who like action – and writers who’ve had their own struggles with telling a story.

I think it also has just about the perfect cover design for the story: an open matchbook, with 2 matches still in it; one burnt, one unburnt.

While the ending is well-done and appropriate for the story, I was a bit disappointed with it. Crash goes through some serious emotional trials, the only woman he really loves in the story dies by her own hand, he and his father still aren’t getting along. But he seemingly hasn’t changed at all.

That last sentence is slightly undercut, though. There’s a suggestion at the end that his attitude towards drugs and women has changed, as he leaves to spend a weekend with a woman where they relate not through drink/drugs and rape-like sex, but through sharing feelings, dreams, their hearts. Gone is the rape-like sex; replaced with sex that sets out to please her, to please each other.

He’s still not going to become a collegiate success, but I think he’s not going to continue being the troubled high school kid drowning himself in drink, drugs and sex anymore, either.

Try the book, you might like it.

She is possibly the earliest known author and poet

Enheduanna of Akkad

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enheduanna

Here’s a link to translations of her compositions known as “The Temple Hymns”:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section4/tr4801.htm

This reminds me of something I tweeted a few years ago:

Five traditional Mesopotamian job descriptions for poets: astrologer/scribe, diviner, exorcist/magician, physician, lamentation chanter.

Apparently using one’s writing talents to glorify one’s god has been around for a long time!

And some things to think about:

  • Will our works still be around and read 4,614 years after we and our nation/culture/language are gone?
  • If they are, what might the people of that time think of them, the culture they came from, and you?

Read my post on lactose tolerance at Being808

I work for HMSA, Hawai`i’s Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate. HMSA’s blog about exercise, health and nutrition is Being808. (808 is the area code for the state of Hawaii.) Lots of good information, recipes, healthy activities in the islands there.

My first blog post went up today, which is kind of cool. Here’s a direct link:

Lactose intolerance takes planning, but shouldn’t mean a bland diet

Words and photos by me, editing by the awesome Mary Vorsino.