“Mad Swirl is excited to bring a new artist, Luanne Castle to the Mad Gallery, with work somehow as whimsical as it is haunting. Luanne brings us these magical collage pieces from Arizona, USA, and we must say, her passion for poetry and art is evident in the way she uniquely blends odds and ends of both together in her eccentric and intriguing work. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something very Alice In Wonderland about her collages – a little mystical, dreamy & strange, like maybe we’ve plunged into a rabbit hole ourselves. ~ Madelyn Olson”
Language is part of these pieces, whether you can see it all or not. There is also a word some might not like so if you are sensitive about cussing you might not want to check out the images (or read too closely into the screen shot). If it doesn’t bother you, I hope you like them!
I thought I would share with you about the practice of art journaling. But first, here is a little water journal I made about three weeks ago. It’s made up of scraps of junk that are colored on a bit and then soaked in water. I love this little thing and keep flipping through it.
Please be patient. Ultimately this post is not really about art journaling.
Art journaling is a creative and expressive way to combine art and writing in one space. It’s a personal and flexible form of self-expression that allows you to explore your thoughts and emotions through visual and written means.
Art journaling can take many forms, from drawing and painting to collage and mixed media. You can use any materials that you have on hand, such as paints, markers, pens, scrapbook paper, and magazine clippings. There’s no right or wrong way to create an art journal, which is what makes it such a liberating and therapeutic practice.
One of the main benefits of art journaling is that it can help you process your feelings and thoughts in a non-linear and non-verbal way. You can use colors, shapes, and images to convey emotions that may be difficult to express in words. Art journaling can also help you identify patterns and themes in your life, which can lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth.
Art journaling can also be a form of mindfulness practice. When you’re creating art, you’re focused on the present moment and the act of creating. This can help you reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood.
Mindfulness is so important to me. And I get that through art journaling. I also get it through blogging. But I might be out of a “job.” The above section was written by Microsoft’s ChatGPT!!! I asked it to “write a blog post about art journaling.” Here is the rest of the “post.”
To get started with art journaling, all you need is a blank notebook or sketchbook and some basic art supplies. You can start by making simple marks and lines, or you can jump right into more complex drawings and paintings. There are no rules, so let your creativity guide you.
Some people like to set a specific intention or theme for their art journaling, while others prefer to let their intuition guide them. You can also use prompts or exercises to get your creative juices flowing. For example, you might try drawing your current mood or creating a collage of images that represent your goals and aspirations.
Art journaling is a personal and intimate practice, so it’s important to create a space that feels safe and comfortable. You might choose to journal in a quiet space or with music playing in the background. Some people find it helpful to set aside a specific time each day or week for art journaling.
In conclusion, art journaling is a powerful and accessible tool for self-expression, self-awareness, and personal growth. It allows you to combine art and writing in a way that feels unique and authentic to you. Whether you’re an experienced artist or a complete beginner, art journaling is a creative outlet that can help you connect with your inner self and express your thoughts and feelings in a meaningful way.
I couldn’t have written more cohesively and comprehensively myself, although I would probably have shared photos and added personal comments.
The next way I engaged with ChatGPT was to ask it to “buy my books available on Amazon.” It responded that it doesn’t have the ability to purchase products on Amazon or any platform. Then it went on to give me advice on how to promote my books through Amazon.
So what do you think? New best friend or Trojan horse enemy? Personally I think we are DOOMED. Upper Case for emphasis. I bet ChatGPT can’t make that choice!
Let’s see if I can write this post without any talk about the horrors going on in the real world.
When I got Valley Fever at the very end of September 2020, I whined a couple of times on this blog about my shoulder getting very bad at the same time. In fact, I might always wonder if my flu shot caused the damage. Before you laugh, that’s a real thing. Vaccines can cause bursitis, calcifications, and all manner of painful shoulder issues. In my case, when I finally got an xray, I was diagnosed with both rotator cuff calcification and frozen shoulder. The reason it took months to get the diagnosis was that with Valley Fever I was terrified of getting Covid. They both tend to look the same on a lung xray, and at my age, I really didn’t want that double whammy.
After the diagnosis I began physical therapy and attended dutifully for almost three months. Then I kept doing the exercises for several months afterward. Surgery wasn’t the best situation for me because of another health issue. But then the shoulder pain began to increase again instead of decrease.
Bottom line about physical therapy: it completely unfroze my shoulder, so that’s a good thing. But it did nothing for the calcification, which was in a particularly painful spot. This pain went on for 1 1/2 years.
This winter I found a sports doctor who believes in non-surgical alternatives. I was specifically looking for someone who could prescribe shockwave therapy. I’d read online about it, and it sounded very promising. When I saw the doctor I found out that he had had the treatment himself and swore by it. I also discovered that he only recommended one place in the entire state of Arizona. It was luckily in the greater Phoenix area.
I went 4 times. Two times I had treatments by one therapist, then the 3rd and 4th were by a second therapist. I could tell immediately that she was more powerful in her administration of the therapy. After the 4th treatment I started feeling a lot better, but was still uncertain about the outcome. However, daughter’s wedding was coming up and I wanted to hibernate for a couple of weeks ahead of time so that I didn’t get Covid and miss the wedding.
Guess what happened? Those treatments had broken up the calcification. Over that two week period they were absorbed into my body. My shoulder is now completely better.
This is my testimonial for shockwave therapy. Why won’t insurance companies cover it? Is it because somebody is making money off all those shoulder surgeries?
I’m not a doctor of medicine (just literature which has a different sort of healing power haha), so this is just my story. From my story, my cautions would be to only get shockwave therapy under the supervision of a medical doctor and licensed physical therapist with shockwave training, not at an alternative medicine office of any kind. Read a lot online about it. Be sure never to get shockwave therapy in areas of the body where there is danger (again, research and doctor’s script).
Next Monday I’ll be at the workshop in Tucson, so I won’t be posting. I’m excited because the other nonfiction entries have been good reading, so I think the interaction at the workshop should be a good one.
I’ve been #amwriting, #amreading, and #amrevising lately, although not too much of any of them. Just enough to keep me going. My focus has been off because of “world events,” and I am trying to be kind to myself.
That means arty junk journaling :). Here’s a video of a journal I just finished. It’s not one of my favorites, but some of the pages are decent. And I painted it in pale pink after the war started because somehow that color was calling to me.
Here is a reminder that spring is here, and the birds don’t know about all the horrors around the world. They are in “tryst” mode.
In April 2019, I had two poems accepted by the Saranac Review. Then crickets. All through that year and then the first year of the pandemic, also: nothing from them. I didn’t want to withdraw the poetry as I really wanted it published by SR, but I worried that they were struggling with problems, especially the “covid factor.”
Finally, as if by magic (hahahahaha), the issue has been published. And it’s gorgeous. I mean really gorgeous. It has very thick glossy pages, which makes it a wonderful coffee table journal. I don’t think you can see how great it is from the photos. You have to touch it. I am thankful that SR has published my poems in this beauty.
I’ve blurred out the last half of both my poems because I don’t think it’s thoughtful (to the journal) to post complete poems immediately upon publication in a print journal. But the poems will be in my new book (preorders in May 2022)!
Look at the details of this cover.
And here’s the back.
I got the idea for the poem “April Things” on an April drive to California from Arizona.
The second poem is about a subject that is threaded throughout my new poetry book, my maternal grandparents.
I have been having a difficult time in the last few weeks. Family and (annoying-type) health issues. Some holiday celebration changing. Worries about my daughter’s upcoming wedding (early February) with covid news. So I started doing a mixed media junk journal free “course” called #caredecember. It lasts 20 days and is about self-care as well as self-expression. In this stressful holiday season, I am focusing on staying in touch with nature and just “letting most of it go.” I’m wishing you all peace and love and kindness.
No poet could ever suffer from writer’s block when she has access to any of Diane Lockward’s phenomenal craft books. Now she has published her fourth, The Strategic Poet. The book is a #1 New Release in Poetry Writing Reference on Amazon. Click on the following image to find the book.
The back of the book lists the poets whose work appears inside as either prompt poems or sample poems.
One of my poems is featured in the book. It’s a formal poem, a triolet, but rather than being a single triolet, I made it a triple!
The description in the book of a triolet:
I accepted the challenge to use the form for a significant topic as I based the poem on a cat hoarding situation we had in Phoenix last year where 133 cats were found in one apartment lived in by a couple with children. Here is the very beginning of the poem. To read the entire poem you would need to purchase Lockward’s book.
Although I haven’t mentioned my arty junk journals in awhile (other than using supplies for my cat nicho), I am still working on them. Here’s the latest completed double page where I jumped all in with purple.
Speaking of my cat nicho, look who decided to check it out from behind. Tiger Queenie Princess Mimi Josefina. I don’t know if she realizes that I made it for the cats or not, but she never goes in my study and then yesterday she did, only to investigate the nicho.
You might think from the post title that fall has come to Phoenix. Not. It’s still hot. And, yet, there is something of fall here, if only in our minds. Today is a holiday in the United States. We celebrate Labor Day because the lives of laborers in the 19th century (and early 20th century, too) were often horrible and sometimes horrific. If you want to read more about what it was like through fiction, try Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle or Rebecca Harding Davis’ Life in the Iron Mills. Although many workers in this country have reaped the benefits of unemployment insurance for some or much of the pandemic, before 1935 no such assistance existed. I was thinking that Labor Day 2021 ought to be dedicated to medical–as well as the whole chain of food delivery–employees since they have been our front lines against covid.
Last month I participated in The Sealey Challenge, reading poetry every day. For the first half or more, I read a book a day. Then I chose more complex books and gave myself 3-4 days each. I’ve never read so much poetry in one month in my life. Well, maybe in grad school, but I mean I’ve never enjoyed so much poetry in one month in my life hahaha.
I also participated in an Instagram mixed media challenge called #seekgathercreate. It was a lot of fun. You start off by collecting four different objects each week to use for the page. The rest is up to the art journaler. Here are a couple of pages I made for it.
This month I am participating in Genealogy Photo a Day on Instagram. There are assigned topics for each day, so my job is to post an image, generally from my own family, that fits the topic. What I like about this besides the interactions with people on Instagram is that it makes me think about my family history from a different perspective. I think it makes the old new for me.
I’ve been revising my memoir. I was going to join #pitmad on Twitter, but then I realized that my manuscript might not be a good match for finding an agent that way. I also realized how short my memoir is now. A few years ago it was too long, but the new version is significantly shorter. Too short for a traditional publisher, most likely. Nevertheless, after some finishing touches I am doing this week, I doubt I will try to lengthen the manuscript. If I like it the way it is, then I want to publish it the way I like it. Of course, this is what I am thinking today!
Pear is hanging in, but I had to up her pain meds a bit so that her leg doesn’t bother her. I’m taking it one day at a time. Tiger is now drinking way too much water. She is 17.5, so she is not a spring chicken either! I worry about her kidneys, plus there is something going on with her liver. Here is Perry lying next to Pear. Maybe he hopes he can comfort her.
Not only is it Labor Day today, but this evening begins the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Shana tova! Happy New Year! XO
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?!!!!