We grab on.
We eat our throats.
Your mouth. How round meeting mine.
Your kiss suits my longing.
Do you know I’ve loved you since I met you?
It’s true I fall easy, but I don’t stay so with most.
Not like you.
It’s an engine that continues warbling
Despite that distance I travel
Away away away.
Despite trying to shut it off.
Mashed Image-Text Splat
This past Tuesday at The Cabin's Free Drop in Writing Workshop, we dug out characters, story, landscapes, poetry and scenes that spawned from drawing exercises, from observations and poetic inspirations, and mixed them together for some cooked juxtaposition – looking for connection out of disconnection.
Amanda Palmer in The Art of Asking defines the artmaking process as collecting, then connecting, then sharing and invited an exploration of that -- especially the first two steps.
Start by writing a series of observations.
Everything you’ve noticed today.
Write for 10 minutes -- try to keep your hand moving, not editing as you go.
Now, switch gears.
Consider different ways of seeing.
And the stuff our bodies can create when we’re not thinking too much.
Take five pieces of paper (you at home can grab up to 20).
In one minute, make a drawing on each of these sheets.
Don’t think. Don’t worry about thoughts like, “but I can’t draw” or “I’m not an artist.”
Pay less mind to drawing "something" at all.
Instead, get some lines on every page.
Allow the lines and curves to speak for themselves.
Use a tool that can really move fast -- Sharpies are my go-to.
See into the drawings:
Now spend five minutes adding to these drawings.
Maybe one shows you a landscape. Another a character.
An object? Yourself? An idea?
Give the image more shape, more texture.
You can focus on several, a few, one that really speaks to you.
Now, Walk Away
Step aside from your work right now and take a walk.
Maybe it’s around the room.
Maybe you go outside and enjoy what’s there.
As you walk, observe. Collect what you notice.
Take notes in your head .
We walked for 5 minutes, but you can take as long as you like. Maybe 15, 20.
As we reconvened, we noted a few things we observed so far in our time together.
Some noticed aloud, others to themselves.
Switch gears again.
Recently, I got some bookmarks from AROHO (A Room Of Her Own Foundation*).
These bookmarks contained inspiring poems and art by women.
We read three of them.
One at a time. Unlike most workshops, we didn't discuss these.
Instead, I invited us to feel what’s in the poems.
Here, you can do the same.
Let your gut, heart, spirit, body respond, more than mind.
Then write for about ten minutes after each.
You can of course write more if you want.
*Consider joining their Circle project, creative women!
won’t you celebrate with me
won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
After: "won’t you celebrate with me?"
Write what you’re celebrating today. It needn’t be joyous.
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.
Write what you’re trying to save. What you shouldn’t try to save. What not to do.
Every Revolution Needs Fresh Poems
Every revolution needs fresh poems
that is the reason
poetry cannot die.
It is the reason poets
go without sleep
and sometimes without lovers
without new cars
and without fine clothes
the reason we commit
to facing the dark
resign ourselves, regularly,
to the possibility of being wrong.
Poetry is leading us.
It never cares how we will
be held by lovers
or drive fast
or look good
in the moment;
but about how completely we are committed to movement
both inner and outer;
and devoted to transformation
and to change.
After: "Every Revolution Needs Fresh Poems"
Write everything else a revolution needs. Write the reason poetry can’t die.
After reading, writing:
Do you notice any unexpected connection between what you wrote here,
What you drew,
What you noticed walking around,
And what you wrote in the beginning?
Look for pieces and strands that can connect.
Or maybe parts you don't think belong together -- might they anyway?
Put some of your words and images together.
Match up one of the images and the text you created.
Or maybe all the images can fit together on one page.
Maybe you write on the back,
Or paste little images onto another sheet paper, and write there
Or write directly on the images.
However you pair text and image, don’t worry about what fits or makes sense.
Embrace juxtaposition – connecting parts that don’t seem to go together.
See what each pairing teaches you, how it inspires new connections.
Do characters, landscapes, images from drawings connect with the writing?
Do some of the words work well with the images, even if their meanings don’t fit?
Use text from our first writing together, as well as observations from your walk.
Spend some time finessing, adding color, more words here and there.
We spent 10-15 minutes doing this, just starting.
You could spend all day on it if you like.
Or longer. Maybe it becomes a whole new project.
How can this process help in a current project?
What did you learn?
How can you use this to continue working on something you’re writing now?
Or, did you find a character, image, word, paragraph, anything emerge,
That may become a pivotal part of a creation, or even a brand new project?
Share your work with someone!
Here's something I came up with that night.
It's definitely a beginning, a sketch of an idea.
I can't tell you what it means yet -- maybe you can tell me.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to write and draw with me.
There are now TWO Free Drop In Writing Workshops per month at The Cabin! |
The regular First Tuesday Drop Ins led by me or Danny, alternating months
(plus a guest teaching writer here and there)
Are joined by the NEW Third Thursday Drop Ins (Words In Action).
So the next Drop In Writing Workshop is on February 15!
Very good things happen at The Cabin.
My dad died.
My sister visited and kept visiting.
An avalanche of panic.
I found poems under grief.
I tried introducing myself to San Francisco as this artist who gets shit done.
For the first time ever, I discovered I was the most normal person in the room.
My nephew decided he hated me. His way of mourning.
When I asked him why, he said it was my hair or socks or my laugh.
Then he turned four and liked me again. We can hug now.
I wrote myself into a squeezed pinball and created so much muchness
That after December's final performances, I overdosed on activity
And puked three times that night.
You took me on one last road trip,
Down to San Fran where I'd just been,
To San Diego where I never'd been,
Up to Vegas, the first place you took me out of town
For our 2011 birthdays, when I was sure I hated Vegas.
I don't love Vegas still but I'm not good at hating anymore.
I cried a lot during sex.
When you asked what was wrong, I blamed it on my dad.
But then your skin hurt my fingertips.
I got my first tarot reading.
Before that, I was unsure about our state of connection,
Then she said, "Inability to communicate,"
And squeezed my heart on a bench in the salty coast air
Of our school building's 6th floor zen sanctuary.
I knew we were in trouble.
I wore a mask. You pulled it off. We tried to work it out for a week.
Every time we talked, the wall between us widened.
We saw inevitable.
My family looked at me with worried eyes.
They wondered, does this begin new spiraling?
I made several plays. And books of poems. And visual, audio, performance art.
I recreated me. And found my skin worth getting to know.
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: