This has been a three-snake week. All kingsnakes. A baby, an adult of moderate size, and a huge one. Although I’m not a snake lover, I do love that the kingsnakes protect our yard from rattlesnakes. Kingsnakes are not only pretty (black with cream stripes), they are pretty deadly to other snakes–even bigger snakes. What helps is that kingsnakes are immune to rattlesnake venom. Kingsnakes kill their prey by constriction, and they are powerful constrictors. As long as I don’t accidentally get too close to a kingsnake, I enjoy having them here, protecting us from other snakes.
Kingsnakes hibernate in the winter, so I know it’s spring when I see them roaming after months of absence.
I saw Perry watching the biggest snake from the window. He didn’t look very concerned, but I imagine he sees all kinds of animals outside that I don’t even notice. New cuteness about Perry: I am doing exercises at home for my shoulder on the days I don’t go to physical therapy. He copies me by lying on his back on the floor next to me. I hit the floor. He hits the floor. I get up. He walks away.
It’s been difficult to work on my memoir because my vision is so blurry. I’ve been trying to push forward, but it’s getting next to impossible. I have my next eye doctor appointment in a week and half, and I can’t wait.
This week many of our cacti bloomed. Click on the pix and use the side arrows to move from one to the other.
The flowering cactus is on the right, near the gold wall.
The more time I spend with my art journal(s), the more I am realizing what appeals to me and what I like to work on. I am beginning to see a connection with my writing.
The word palimpsest carries great meaning for me. Here is the Merriam-Webster definition:
pa·limp·sest|\ ˈpa-ləm(p)-ˌsest, pə-ˈlim(p)-\
Definition of palimpsest
1: writing material (such as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased
2: something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface
The following image is my latest two pages. I call it a palimpsest because it was created with many layers, and bits of each layer show in the finished pages, whether by eyesight or touch. For instance, there are pieces of poems: “It Would Be Easier to Stop Talking to Your Ghost” by Stella Li and “Triptych in Black and Blue” by Tatiana Johnson-Boria, published by Pleiades.
I’m also using my love of the reality and concept of scrap (title of my memoir-in-scrap), as well as a poem I’ve recently shared. I also love scrapbooking and used to love to design and make stained glass. I haven’t worked with quilting at all and not with mosaics since I was a kid, but those are other scrap arts and crafts that I love.
For the initial layer of these pages, I used scraps from many sources, including graph paper, music, poetry, a story, a piece of an envelope flap that has the Hallmark logo embossed, and ripped up practice runs with art materials. I even included a hunk of the glued bottom of a brown bag.
I skimmed through my pages in order of when I made them, and I discovered that at first my collaging was on the “top” of the page, so to speak, whereas now I am using collage as a base and then a bit more in one or two other stages. I learned the value of collage underneath because of all the interest it provides. My first pages look very flat in comparison.
Onward to more improvement LOL. I do see a connection (first noticed by Sheila Morris) between these art pages and my poetry. The layering, complexity, and happenstance, for one–er, three–things.
I’m going to start PT for my shoulder/arm. And now I have vitreous detachment of my only reading eye. One of my eyes is to see distance, and the other is for reading. Seriously. That’s why I can’t wear bifocals and rarely wear glasses just wandering around. I wear glasses to read, another pair for driving, and then I have a computer pair made out of some really old and ugly frames. But my eyes (sort of) don’t work together, so having a really blurry reading eye kind of sucks.
Saturday I walked outside into the blue-blue sky, and I was attacked by swarms of birds from every direction. It was like a remake of the Hitchcock movie. But they weren’t real birds. They were one of the entertainments my eyes are providing me right now :/.
In other news, the puffballs are out! Technically, they are called Sweet Acacia trees, but we call them the dang puffballs. There isn’t a human alive who isn’t allergic to these things. They smell super sweet and, at first, you will think they are roses. But then the scent goes on and on and becomes sickening and you realize it isn’t roses at all. But they do signify home after all these years.
In the close-up you can see that this tree has two little puffballs growing from the trunk itself.
Pear Blossom’s 21st birthday is tomorrow!!! And Tiger Queenie’s 17th is April 1. Happy birthday, sweet girls.
This past week was better than the week before, although I did have medical tests for two days which was a big time suck. Tests for the Valley Fever (no results yet) and for the arm. I most likely have tendonitis of the biceps, and that is why it’s so painful. I’m now icing three times a day, but I might need some PT. Do you know if they will do PT via telehealth, at least until I get both vaccines? Yes, I’m a wimp.
When I came out of the Xray office, these birds were holding a noisy concert.
Before I forget to tell you, next week I’m going to post on Tuesday instead of Monday, but then I will probably go back to Mondays.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been selling part of my wardrobe on Poshmark. I’m sick of a cluttered closet although I usually choose from a handful of yoga pants and tunic-Ts to wear. Also, I feel less guilty about all these art supplies I’ve been stocking up because what I am making at Poshmark is just covering my new purchases. I particularly love pan pastels, but they are expensive at about $10 each!!!
I’m going to share a page from my art journal with you to give you an idea of what I’m working on. If you haven’t been keeping up with me starting an art journal, I will let you know that I am a COMPLETE AND UTTER BEGINNER, which becomes clear when you see this page. But it is a good representative of me teaching myself how to use art supplies and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. So here goes. [Covers eyes and ears at the same time with all 4 limbs.]
I worked on a separate sheet of paper which I then adhered to a background page (scribbled with pastels and water) in a temporary-type way. My daughter’s face is a transfer. Learning to do a transfer was the most exciting and most difficult thing I’ve done so far. It meant another supply I had to buy: Fluid Matte Medium. I used watercolors and acrylic paints. A scrap of a poem called “Daughter Poem” and a ticket from a production of Rent my daughter was in. A “Love” stamp with gray ink. Gray pan pastel with 2 different stencils and a die cut. A pocket made of tracing paper with a plaid secret note and a gold star. I would have liked to stitch the pocket with colorful yarn/thread, but the paper has been weakened from all the coats of paint and products–and the transfer process as well.
A pick-me-up that occurred this past week is that I had an essay accepted at a journal with a very nice editor–we worked a bit on revision. And . . . I had three poems accepted by another wonderful journal. The essay and the poems are all about my father, so maybe this is a trend for 2021.
I am hoping to get the vaccine this week. If not this week, then certainly next week. Keeping these fingers crossed until it happens.
The high point was Saturday when I attended the Barrelhouse writers’ conference, Conversations and Connections, via Zoom. I attended sessions by Tommy Dean (micros), Randon Billings Noble (lyric essays), and Claudia Gary (villanelles). It was a comfy way for me to attend a conference. Even so, I get a little overstimulated. Plus, I had to feed the cats their very complicated breakfast during the micro segment, so I couldn’t do the writing. I learned some interesting stuff, and if I ever get a clear head again I plan to make use. If they offer the conference online again, I highly recommend it. The cost was not high, and we get a couple of free books.
Also this week, I did the following:
worked (from home)–the usual crap–no more, no less
cleaned the living room and my daughter’s old bedroom (even got rid of stuff nobody is going to want)
was frustrated because of the pandemic and because I am tired and don’t feel so great (Valley Fever)
was in pain, particularly my arm and shoulder
wrote a review of Beth Ruscio’s poetry collection Speaking Parts for Main Street Rag
played with my art journal
worked on the beginning of the new draft of the memoir
got frustrated working on the beginning of the new draft of the memoir
cleaned up cat puke from several cats and wet litter dragged through the house by my old girl, Pear
groomed Pear every day and worried about her
was annoyed by the gardener worrying about the covid variants and the vaccines (he’s an overthinker)
was annoyed by an identity theft issue and the stupid bank it occurred at
attended a telehealth appointment and made more medical appointments
talked to my mother less than usual, but was glad to hear she got her second vaccine dose (I also owe phone calls to two relatives and a text to my brother–I can’t seem to want to communicate with people lately–maybe that’s why Perry chatted with you last week hahaha)
Almost everything this week, other than the conference and the art journal were energy sucks. I can’t stress enough how therapeutic the art journaling is for me (you too?). I know I suck, but I am learning techniques. I have to remember that I am starting from absolutely ground level.
Looking forward to an energy sprouting week ahead. Who’s with me?!!!!
This week was not as good as the one before because I didn’t feel that well, plus I had extra work-work.
But over the weekend, I created a chalky pastel background that I really like, a strange scribble background using pastels in similar but different shades, and a string ink background.
I also was able to do some revision work to an essay that is in limbo with a journal. I’ll try to read it over today or tomorrow and see what else it needs.
So far in January I’ve collected a few rejections. Last spring I had two poems accepted by a journal that has not yet published them. They didn’t put out a fall issue, so am I waiting for the spring one? Hard to tell. I wrote to them, but got no response.
I’m readjusting into 2021 and trying to ignore the outside world as much as I can (since I have severe tension in 80% of my body right now). So what am I doing (besides work-work and home-work and cat-work)?
I really thought I was going to rewrite my memoir into something readable (ask Marie, I really was). Now I have another idea, but can’t start it yet. My idea (which has been suggested by others in the past) is that I write my memoir as a book of poems. So we will see.
In the meantime, because I wanted to work on that, instead I became excited about writing some new poems for the book-in-progress (which is not the memoir). So I’ve written about six poems so far. Because I am always starting my poems at the kitchen table, I added my craft books to the kitchen, which means they are now in with the cookbooks.
I’ve also started my art journal and am taking Art Journaling 101 from Amy Maricle (an online video course). I’ve been working on background pages. Here is one of my acrylic backgrounds. I am using watercolor and water-soluble pastels for backgrounds, as well.
I might just sit around and play with acrylics. It’s so much like finger painting. What a great stress reliever.
I’m riding the stationery bike, doing stretching or yoga, and walking–at least one of those per day. Yes, I should do more per day, but I have so much I want to cram in each 24 hour period. And that includes reading “my”new mystery series, Vera Stanhope detective, by Ann Cleeves. (Love that name, Ann Cleeves LOL)
OK, go out and seize the week and stay resilient and healthy. XO
A big thank you to editor Carol Andregg who has published my prose poem “Liminality” in the new issue of the well-known journal, Cider Press Review.
“Liminality” is a poem about my father. The poem begins this way:
Hell’s bells my father rolled off his tongue when frustrated or not pleased with the current situation. They weren’t the angry words when his temper swelled and overpowered his vulnerable body. Being only human, those other words . . . .
You can follow the link to the full poem, as well as an audio recording of me reading the poem:
It’s hard to remember the trip the gardener and I took to Costa Rica 10 months ago. The monkeys were plentiful, which should have foretold the year ahead.
At least the monkeys in Costa Rica were very cute.
We all still need to be very very careful. Even if the vaccine works well for the majority of people, it takes weeks to work. You need about 3-4 weeks between the two doses, and then a week or so after the second dose before you can be reasonably sure you are not contagious. And they are going to be much slower about getting the vaccine to us than first predicted. That’s because human systems are involved, and human systems are very bureaucratic and plagued by human error and missteps. And laziness.
My 86-year-old mother lives in a garden home (duplex) by herself, but within a senior community in Kalamazoo. There is a current covid outbreak in the assisted living portion, and within the month of December half the infected residents have died!!! They were supposed to get the vaccine on December 21, then at the end of December, then January 7, and now the vaccine date has been postponed indefinitely due to “shortage.” I want you to know that this senior community is five miles from the Pfizer plant making the vaccine. I wrote letters to politicians about the situation, but it felt like dropping my iphone into the Grand Canyon.
On Christmas day, I watched an episode of Tiny Pretty Things on Netflix. My friend’s daughter plays Delia, and that is what drew me to the series. Four of my cats watched with me. (I’ve now finished the series). Then I wrote the first draft of a poem and painted a background page in my art journal. That was a good day.
I’m still plagued with a few symptoms from the Valley Fever and now the fall I took, but I am stuck at home anyway heh.
Are you living in a lockdown? Arizona is not locked down. In fact, I don’t even know what the rules are for restaurants and such because we have so few rules and haven’t heard much from Governor Doofus in awhile.
Please keep on staying safe for the new year. We all want to celebrate an end to 2020, but let’s not get carried away. It’s going to take 2021 a lot of effort to really get rid of 2020 altogether.
Hugs to everyone and make it the best January and 2021 you can for yourself and others.
I never think of these things ahead of time, but at least there is still time to try for Christmas delivery. I’m reducing my poetry collection Doll God to $7 including shipping (if it’s in the continental United States only) through January 2021. The list price is $14, and to get a new copy on Amazon right now it’s close to $25.
In addition I’ll sign the book and address it to whomever you like.
Luanne’s prize-winning full-length poetry collection. List price $14.
Sale price of $7 includes shipping to addresses in the continental United States only.
On another note, did you see that my hometown of Kalamazoo (Portage is Kalamazoo’s largest suburb) is supplying the Pfizer vaccine right now? Represent!!!
So I am starting an online course in art journaling by Amy Maricle and moving very slowly. First I had to order all the supplies. All are finally here. Then I had to create an image of my inner critic. I started with a blank sheet of cardstock and this pre-sharpened smart little pencil. While I won’t share this intimate detail of my life, I will let you know that my inner critic has a bolt in its neck, showing that it is my own Frankenstein creation.
I also had to come up with an artist’s manifesto based on the critic’s voice I am trying to counter. Here’s mine:
DARE TO TRY NEW ART
DEVELOP YOUR TALENT
CREATE IN ALL PATHS OF YOUR LIFE
My next step is to create an image of my artist’s muse. Hmm.
A big thank you to Editor James Diaz of the really fun lit mag Anti-Heroin Chic who has published my poems “Into Pulp” and “Scrap” in their latest issue.
The first poem is a response to someone else’s vintage photograph. I don’t have permission to post the photo, but here is a link: Wrecked archive image
The first poem begins this way:
Lakewater pushes at my ankles
toes slicing an evanescent path
I’m at an age where I think I’m at the age
and I don’t imagine eyerolls
where I sense time abrading my surface
like this constantly moving water
stones and minnows distort into segments
molecules into a variety of atomic individuals
two purple, no, one hairbrush, a plastic ball
a swaying branch, leaves decaying
the insides of my grandmothers’ fridges
bubble and pop into shards of memory
The second poem, “Scrap,” relates to my memoir of the same name.