What Was Your First Love?

When my mom and I were at the Disney Museum I saw this quote I loved:

disney quote

And I thought of it again when we came across this outdoor art display of “first loves” because my eye immediately landed on the Nancy Drew answer (which was one of my favorite childhood reads):

nancy drewBut of course there were plenty of other answers in this art project as well:

outdoor art display of "first loves" outdoor art display of "first loves" outdoor art display of "first loves" outdoor art display of "first loves"

What was your first love?

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Women’s Visionary Fiction, Poetry and Film

I was recently looking through the courses that are offered in the Women’s Spirituality degree program at my school (CIIS). There are three related courses offered related to the power of women in the arts. I thought I’d share some of the names of the creative, spiritual women and their works that are highlighted in those course descriptions.

san francisco mural mission

Women’s Visionary Fiction

  • Isabel Allende
  • Mary Mackey
  • Ella Deloria
  • Maxine Hong Kingston

I’ve read some of Allende’s work and love it and want to read more, including her newest book Ripper: A Novel. I’m embarassed to say that I don’t think I’ve read any of Kingston’s full works and I’ve never even heard of the other two women – something I intend to remedy ASAP.

Women’s Visionary Poetry

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3 More Pieces of Past Poetry

Yesterday I shared a poetry fragment from a found but forgotten notebook. Here are three more unedited, unnamed pieces from that same time:

purple collage art

Piece 1

Strawberry Crush

Half drunk by the bedside

As she begins to crush strawberries between her thighs

Orange cat insults master

Bringing natural actions into constructed domain

Music dances across the room

The creepy man had said to her,

“if that’s music tattooed on your leg your boyfriend could learn to play guitar across your thigh”

And though he’s not, her boyfriend that is,

the friendly boy’s guitar notes

skitter along her legs

And his apologies for the simplicity of his creation seem ludicrous for their complexity

He confesses that he no longer even wants her in his bed

And she laughs at this because now she no longer wants to fight being there

It’s all a game and the climax would be anti-climactic now

The build-up from the pressure of the chase and run is the point

Like playing Russian roulette,

Sitting for hours with the gun in your mouth,

thoughts teasing through your busy head and then blast!

And you’re still there

gun in hand in mouth

Realization of empty chamber seeping in

And now what? Nothingness.

Life continues to on

Never as intense as it was before the game’s outcome was learned

She doesn’t want to know how they end

So she runs from pursuit

Vanity drips down her spine

And she arches her back from the coolness of it

Alarm bell rings and she wants to tickle him into morning

Says instead, “it’s time to leave” with a groan

And his not yet sends her to the couch to write the sun up

She sits on wooden staircase to watch Venus rise in the East

She finds faces in the bluegrey clouds of early morning

Sitting behind her, he eyes the cloud she calls a lizard and censors her ideas

Rooster crows and rabbit runs away

This is their existence

Piece 2

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Poetry Fragments from the Past

Going through old papers I found this …

graffiti love

eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes

thinking that if I stared at you intensely enough,

I could see through me

Blue wraps its way around the night,

winding skin around skin around skin around kiss

moments magically touched by motion

desire devours days

and I stare at you, eyes closed

I watch you and can’t see me

except for those brief seconds when all I see in you is in me

Interconnection  interfaced around interlocked bodies

You sleep and I dream you into existence

When you close your eyes I watch you awaken

And when you wake I dream that you are sleeping inside of me

I dream every breath I take is your heartbeat

And every heartbeat I feel is you breathing

Emotions wrap their way around intentions

I wanted to detach until your detachment drew me in

Eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes

Are we seeing anything?

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Writing About Divergent

divergent

Back in March 2012 I mentioned reading, and enjoying, Veronica Roth’s book Divergent. The book is the first in a trilogy and is on its way to becoming a movie now. And lately I’ve been doing some articles about Divergent for a fun fan page. I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve written about …

The Five Factions

divergent factions

I enjoyed writing an article explaining the basics of each of the five factions that make up the community in Divergent. I also created some art for the article:

divergent images

divergent images

The Fashions

Each of the five factions in the book wears a specific type of clothing described by author Roth. The main faction of the protagonist is a goth/punk inspired faction with lots of black and tattoos while the peacful faction (amity) is a hippie-loving bohemian faction that wears a lot of red and yellow. Learn more about Divergent Fashion.

The Author

divergent author veronica roth

I had a really fun time going through the blog of author Veronica Roth and finding out the secrets she shared about herself before she became a famous author. In another post I wrote about the fact that the author is working on a series of digital short stories about the character of Four from Divergent.

The Main Character

Main character Tris is an interesting and complex teenager. I loved doing a post rounding up various readers’ thoughts about her.

Tris Traits

(a word tag cloud I created with the words people use most about Tris)

 

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Some of My Thoughts on The Writer’s Life

writing

I was interviewed a few months ago by awesome businesswoman Sylvia Browder. She asked me lots of great questions about my book, Crochet Saved My Life, as well as my take on the writing life. Let me share two of my interview questions/ answers here with you today to give you a sense of how I see my writing life:

Syvlia asked, “Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?”

I answered, “I prefer writing in my own home. I initially thought I’d love the freedom of the writer’s life in the sense that I’d be able to write anywhere. That’s certainly true to an extent but the truth is that I tend to work best when I’m alone in my own space. I get too distracted trying to work on vacation, in relatives’ homes or in coffee shops.”

Sylvia also asked, “Do you have any advice for other writers?”

What I said was, “Writing is a really solitary activity but there has to be a balance. It is definitely important to take time to yourself to hear your inner voice and get it down on the page. However, you also need to have many experiences out and about with other people to be able to relate to them and keep on going productively in your work. Plus, when it comes time to market your book, you’re going to need each and every one of those people you know to help you spread the word! So strive for a balance!”

I’m curious how other writers feel about this balance between the solitary introspective part of the writing life and the need to be a social creature in the world for both creative reasons and business reasons. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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More Love Would Be Better

 blue egg

In a world where the narrative is so often one of fear and anger and doubt. More love would be better. In the face of those about whom you care deeply dying or moving on. More love would be better. In the uncertainty of yourself, your appearance, your abilities, your wisdom. More love would be better.”

That’s an excerpt from a terrific post from Hannah Coakley at @rebelletweet. The post is all about the idea that sometimes it is scary to love but even so more love would be better. It’s about taking risks. It’s about exposing our humanity and honoring the humanity in others. It’s a great post; read it here.

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Lit Slam: Poetry Meets Page

 viracocha

Poetry slams have played a funny fringe role in my life off and on over the years. When I was 21 and in college for the first time I started going to an open mic poetry spot where magic was created under desert skies and it was those folks who first introduced me to poetry slams.

After a brief affair with the fun competitive spirit of those events, I took a hiatus. I should interject that I was always just a watcher, not a reader. I’ve read here and there at open mics but really I prefer the inspiration of being a listener at these things to the pressure of performing, particularly within the competitive atmosphere of the slam.

A couple of years after moving here I decided to check out the slam scene in San Francisco. I dabbled here and there, went to a few of the main events, got some inspiration, met some cool people, moved on. It had been a couple of years since I went to a slam, or even an open mic for that matter, when I saw the other night that there was a Lit Slam that looked interesting here and I decided to check it out.

viracocha poetry slam

What’s interesting about this monthly Lit Slam is that the winners of the slam get published in an annual literary magazine called Tandem. Normally slam winners get a cash prize or just plain old praise but this puts a whole new twist on things because what they perform on stage needs to not only make for a good performance but also read well later on paper and that’s a tough thing to pull off. The shock value poems that work amazingly with the right facial features on a stage don’t necessarily work when written down pen to paper and printed in stark black and white.

The slam consisted of eight participants who were whittled down by scores to five and then to three and two of those win publication although a single winner is declared. Being there was interesting for me, because it naturally brought back the feelings of other slams, the memories of the people at open mics.

urban look

When I try to look urban and cool …

The truth is that most slams have some similar features and most poets fit easily into certain slots that tie them together with other poets in your mind. The feminist poet, the queer identified poet, the urban hip hop poet, the over-intellectual over-sensitive white guy poet … they’re just archetypes, just styles and of course each individual brings their own unique individuality to the table but when you don’t know the people and are seeing them for the first time it’s easy to replace their faces with the faces of voices from the past. I remembered moments with people I hadn’t thought about in ten years.

I tended to like what the audience and editors tended to like, for the most part, something I could tell for sure because a word or phrase would tug at my heart’s attention at the same time that a gasp would be emitted from a person in the space. And oh, the space, the space was lovely. It’s a place called Viracocha which is a retail shop in the Mission here selling wacky old things like typewriters. Downstairs is a large room with a rustic wooden stage decorated with lights set behind washboards for this artsy weird oddly-romantic atmosphere.

The winner of the slam was Cam Awkward-Rich. Here’s a YouTube clip although it’s not from the event I went to:

I also wanted to add that the feature reader, Daphne Gottlieb, was amazingly touching. I loved the way she was able to read without that sing-song poetry voice that is so hard for most of us to escape when reading poems aloud. And loved the sense of connection and poignancy she offered in her work, even in the way she dropped each page lightly but defiantly to the stage as she read it.

And also the host, Tatyana Brown, was the one who actually did my favorite poem of the night so props to her as well. Monthly event worth checking out if you happen to like live spoken word and be in San Francisco.

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