About Those Mis-Takes

The banner on this blog is a mistake, an accident. I was attempting to do pen and ink sketching in nature. I was somewhere in my mid-forties and wanted to learn some of the things I hadn’t while in high school art classes. Had a friend who was a visual artist and she had given me some tips, like how to draw trees.

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I loved the Lake Michigan shoreline, and had decided it was time to try my sketching project at the beach. I knew of a little hidden park, where I could climb down wooden stairs, and sit quietly by myself to try what I had in mind.

I had a large leather bag that held most of my supplies: pens, extra ink cartridges, a few miscellaneous other items. I also carried a bottle of water for drinking. That day, about three quarters of the way through the sketch, I stopped to have a drink of water. I was sort of frustrated because the sketch was not turning out the way I had hoped. In my rush to get the bottle of water opened, it slipped out of my hand and water splashed over my current sketch. It was permanent ink and as soon as the water hit the sketch book, the ink began to spread out across the page. At first, I spent a moment cursing myself for my clumsiness, but then looked at the sketch and kind of liked what was happening.

Remembered that there might be a paint brush stored in one of the pockets of my bag, so found it and using the brush and a bit more water, finished up what had looked to be a mistake, but was really a happy accident. One that sent me on a small journey of exploration.

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 I began to take along a small spritz bottle of water and found a lot of pleasure in my exploration. The added step in the process seemed to add a mood all its own. I went from simple pen and ink sketches,

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to something that also seemed to express feelings. Even the more moody ones.

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Next step was to try it with my water color pencils.

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I remember that summer with a great deal of pleasure. Exploring and learning are deep inner drives, I try hard to keep alive. Yes, some mistakes can only be discarded, but I would urge you, always, to stop before doing so and ask yourself, what can I learn from this misstep? You might be surprised at how many mistakes are happy accidents waiting to be found and more deeply explored.

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A Brief Tribute To Viv

Shoreline

Shoreline

 

A Brief Tribute to Viv

I have four blogs. Two supposedly for poetry, the other two for prose. I am working on the last and final section of my poetic memoir, but it’s difficult. It concerns the last eight years of my life and my experiences with responding to prompts. So, I’ve been gleaning these archives for material that can be added to the manuscript. But, each time I go digging, I find a comment that Viv left in response to my efforts. And each time I do that, I sort of catch my breath a bit, acknowledge the grief I feel, and try to continue.

Viv was one of the major reasons I stayed with the blogging. Yes, I got some satisfaction from the writing and the responses I finally started receiving, but when I began, I was speaking to silence. Found myself, just plodding on, hoping that some day someone would notice and leave a comment. Eventually, that did start happening. Then I found the poetry and writing prompt circuit. And suddenly I had an audience, and one of those first respondents, was Viv.

I loved that she lived in France, but had grown up in England. I am of Native American descent, mixed with French, and some Dutch from my father. When I learned that she was over ten years older than me, I was profoundly impressed. I had been thinking that being in my mid sixties might mean I was just plain too old to do this stuff. Quietly whispering to myself, that this techie thing is for the younger people, far more agile and energetic than myself.

She instantly went on my list of heroes. If Viv could keep up with this blogging thing, certainly I could put out a bit more effort. So, I did. And now find myself digging through an enormous number of poems, all written in the last eight years. Thank you, Viv. I thought I had accumulated a lot before I entered this particular arena, but have to admit that mountain has grown to an entire range of peaks and valleys with a well defined set of foothills moving off in the distance.

Viv let me know she admired my talents and skills, but wasn’t afraid to also let me know when I’d made a typo, misspelled a word, or used the wrong tense. I admired her ability to calmly point out the mistakes and simply move on. We never stop learning, and Viv, for the most part, was a good teacher. But then, so had I been before being retired. We really did have a lot in common.

She thought her own life rather dull, in comparison to mine. I begged to differ with that. She often praised my courage and honesty, while I praised her succinct, yet vividly detailed pieces. We both disliked wordles when they appeared on the scene, and had little trouble speaking of our angst, yet both continued to tackle them, finally admitting we were actually learning something in the process. Things like using words in fresh new ways, we’d never thought of before. Just a few months ago, she left a comment on my poetry blog about how I had become a Wondrous Wordler, and I laughed out loud when I read it.

I miss her. And each time I find one of her comments, have to take a moment to let myself know that a bright candle has gone out of our world. A bit of laughter that will never be heard again, has been silenced. Wit and love of language has left our stage of words. She is, and will be, missed by many. And yet, I can still see her, somewhere sitting on a wooden rocker, a half filled glass of wine in her hand, grinning, maybe even laughing a bit, as she leans toward me and says, “Did you dot all the i’s and cross all those t’s, Elizabeth?”

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NaPoWriMo: Day 30 – Final Poem

NaPoWriMo: Day 30 – Final Poem

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The above image is for you to copy to your files as a reminder of your accomplishment.

Congratulations

and thank you.

This final prompt is going to be different. No words. I want you to find a poem, your favorite, your favorite poet, or something you wrote, or read during this past month. Something that moved or moves you. Let’s you know that being an individual who writes poetry is of importance to how you see yourself, the world in which you live, and this thing we do. Reminds you, in some fashion, of the beauty and truth to be found in doing so. Then, using a line from that poem you have chosen, write your own poem. You can use the line as your title, first line, or somewhere else in your piece. Simply italicize it and cite the author.  You are free to make it as long, or short, as you choose, and in whatever form you see fit.

Suggestion: Remember that you have written what amounts to a chapbook over the last thirty days. This last piece should be the anchor piece of that book. A publisher once called me to tell me that my poem had been chosen to be an anchor piece for an anthology. Then asked me if I knew what an anchor piece was. I laughingly said, “Not sure, but sounds like a fancy title for the last page of the book.” She laughed with me and then told me that an anchor piece is something for the reader to take away from the book, to remember it by. Something that sums up all of its pieces and parts, but also holds the truth to be found within its theme. Sort of like the moral of the story, but a bit more subtle. I stood corrected, and asked her if she was sure that my poem could carry that kind of weight.

Whether you take my suggestion seriously, or not, have fun with this final writing. Make it something you want to carry away with you to remember what you have accomplished.

And thank you again, for sharing these past thirty days with me.

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NaPoWriMo: Day 29

NaPoWriMo: Day 29

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Words:  friends, time, mistakes, fighting, through, end

Suggestions: Okay, we are close to the finish. The worst time for a runner is when she/he sees the flag at the finish line. It is believed that the sight of that flag registers as a win in the mind of the runner, so she/he slows up, because it’s all over now. So, runners are trained to push even harder when they spot that finish line. I’m not suggesting that we have won the race, but we have made it this far. And I’d like to thank each of you for sticking it out and congratulate you on making it to this point. Who would have thought?

Do you make a point of learning from your mistakes? Do you have a mistake lesson you might write about? What do your friends say when you make a mistake? Do you spend time beating yourself up, or learn the lesson and move on? How do you feel about being this close to the end of all of this? How do you celebrate a win? Have you ever patted yourself on the back for a job well done? I suggest you do that now.

Musical Inspiration:

Image is a template created from a pen and ink doodle, then colored in India Ink with fine art pens.

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NaPoWriMo: Day 28

NaPoWriMo: Day 28

ride, lost, tide, broke, water, still, divide, drop, remain

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Suggestions: Have you lived another life? Different from the one you are now living? What role might you have played 300 hundred years ago, a thousand years? What is your role, purpose today, and how would that translate in the far past, or future? If you were a pilgrim, what would your destination be? Do you dream of being someone, something else?

Musical Inspiration:

Have fun with this one.

Image is a photo I took several years ago on a road trip up North with my sister.

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NaPoWriMo: Day 27

NaPoWriMo: Day 27

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Words:  fireflies, lit, sleep, door, turns, fall

Suggestions: You may use the words, or choose one or two lines from the song to build your poem. This is a fun song and thought we needed something lighter. Hope you are all hanging in there.

Musical Inspiration:

Image is a bonfire photo put through the kaleidoscope app.

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NaPoWriMo: Day 26

NaPoWriMo: Day 26

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Words: music, defenses, sensation, tender, truth, imagination, night, listen,

Suggestions: A few extra words, thinking we might need them during these final days. When and how have you followed the music? What role does music play in your life, your journey? Does your mood dictate what you listen to, or the other way around? Are you a day light listener, or do you listen in the darkness?

Musical Inspiration:

Image is a photo taken in my niece’s backyard and then put through the kaleidoscope app.

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