The Lesson of the Falling Leaves – Lucille Clifton

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Posing with (The Collected Poems of) Lucille Clifton

At a recent HoCoPoLitSo board meeting. We were all missing Lucille, happy to have the newly published Collected Poems on hand.

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On My Mind: Virginia Woolf

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Polaroid: There was a cat…

A simple writing exercise:  In a hundred words or less, snap a picture. Speed, observation; no insight, no emotion. Open the senses, let the words settle and the image tell. Just like a Polaroid, the image reappears, developed in this case by reading. Just like photography, some pictures are good, some not. Some pictures you keep, some you discard. Each, though, is a useful practice of awareness, perception.

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

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Haiku Workshop – Oct 29

Click the image for a larger view. Click on that image and it will get even larger. You are on your own from there.

For a pdf file of the Columbia Association Art Center catalog for Fall 2011, click here. It includes registration, directions and other important information. The “Embark” workshop is listed on page 14. I’d love to see you there.

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A Brand New Notebook

Somewhere along the way, I traded the scraps of paper that litter my life for a brand new notebook.  No longer thoughts left trailing the parade of me, discarded confetti collected as an act of sanitation (likely again discarded, permanently, another act of sanitation).

Instead there’s a brand new notebook, an object of singular purpose and identity, a staying place for thoughts along that Way. Something to keep, to refer to, to hold and recite from. Yes, a brand new notebook: from the hopscotch squares of paper scraps I jump into the order and collection of pages, their memory and sense of being. My musings. I fill it with words from my favorite pen, fountain-tipped and spewing the able rush of a water-based ink to catch the speed of thinking. The notebook fills and I have it to prove a mind’s wondering.

Catch it in the rain, the paragraphs dance.  That’s the price of this ink. Some words magnify, some blear.  I am not ready to give up the ink’s slide whisper, the bright blue for this plop of fate, for accident.  The ink is a companion, a confidant. It guides me as I guide it. Rainworn, I can still make out where I have been, paragraph by paragraph, rebuild the meaning of me out of the blurred abstraction of already bad handwriting.

I wear old habits. Like the scraps of paper, the notebook goes into pockets, gets left on desks, sits on the front ledge of a bookshelf. Some of the paper scraps I still find. Some I find hiding in closets. Some in pockets of clothes seasons on. Some in the long dark space of a drawer, old boxes. I find the notebook, again, too; it is easier being a single thing brightly colored with a smart cover. It seems to want to be found, to be used.

Paper scraps would clump and remold, making it through the wash. They became sculpture, a testament to process, to error. Document and meaning becoming just shape, a wad. Past capability is only notion, the once-upon-a-time of words – gone. It wasn’t so bad to lose them in this way. It offers a kind of warning, a suggestion to pay closer attention to happenstance, they having been a holder of mine.

Once in a while, the notebook finds its way through the wash. Well made, out it comes still holding the shape of itself, page after page white and fresh, a kind of reincarnation to day one. A brand new notebook eager to hold the shape, the depth, the memory of words.

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