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Touching Base

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been several days since my last appearance here. I’ve had a friend and colleague visiting for the past several days. Meena Rose graced us with her loveliness and brilliance.

Today has been one of cleansing websites, blogs, and general upkeep on the net. It’s amazing how much crud accumulates on a daily basis and then has to be swept out of the corners during housekeeping. During the process of this upkeep, we’ve been moving our personal blogs over to Two Voices, One Song.

This is an attempt to reduce our continued workload.  Each of us have other projects we’d really like to get back to. Having everything in one place will make that easier for us.

My blog Claudsy’s Calliope is being moved and reorganized as I write this. Claudsy’s Blog will be the next in line for the transfer.

Tomorrow I will post a new URL for this blog so that all of  its followers can decide whether they want to remain loyal and move with it or to cut ties and run. I’m hoping that everyone stays with Claudsy’s Blog and Calliope. I have plenty more to say and things I’d like to work on within the blogs.

There you have it, folks. I’ve so enjoyed having everyone coming here, and I admit a sense of guilt this past month or so for having been absent so much. I should be able to write more frequently on the blogs once all is together. That’s my current plan.

Remember–it will be one-stop-shopping at Two Voices, One Song at http://www.2voices1one.com/

Hope to see you there soon. A bientot,

Claudsy

 

Lyrical Prose or Prose Poems?

August 16, 2012 9 comments

 

English: Image of cover of S. Carpilli Tinker'...

English: Image of cover of S. Carpilli Tinker’s volume “Where Is the Prose Poem Now and What Is It Doing?” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Today was the last day of the 7th poetry challenge week for Our Lost Jungle website operated by Khara House. It’s a marvelous site and everyone should stop in just to see how this thing works. The form challenge for this week was to write a prose poem.

 

What is a prose poem? Well, it gets complicated because consensus is hard to come by on that question.  To quote Khara, who teaches poetry:

 

For our purposes, though, let’s pool a few standard “rules” of the prose poem form to work with:
1. A prose poem is a poem that is written in prose (which basically means a poem without line breaks—I purposely avoid using the term “paragraph of poetry” as some poets do, because it’s something more than a paragraph)
2. It is the job of the poet writing a prose poem to ensure that the poem still maintains a “poetic quality”
3. To maintain that quality, the poet should employ common poetic techniques, such as rhyme, repetition, heightened imagery, fragmentation, etc.
4. A prose poem can be anywhere from a few lines to a full page, and beyond”

 

I made two attempts at this challenge. Here they are for your enjoyment.

 

 

Prose Poems

 

 

My Nirvana

 

 

The perfect spot to rest and reflect squatted a dozen yards ahead; the brook widened and wrapped around it like a snake eating its own tail, leaving a tiny island isolated from the world. A fold of hazelnut root, sheltered and shaded by dreamy green of Lady’s Slippers and Solomon’s Seal drew my attention as congregations of May-apples gossiped in the breeze. Their saucy white-blossomed petticoats flirted with me, while the sickly sweet scent of those petticoats rode the breeze to mingle with the distinctive smells of wild herbs. Other greens added their odors to blend with that of loamy soil to form a unique perfume around my tiny secret island.

 

 

#  #  #  #

 

 

 
Life Journey

 

 

My poor young self listened to the words string themselves into commentary, wrapping around daydream like so much cotton candy on a stick. When I found the desert with its solitude and saguaro sentries, I drank in its nights while sitting under a blanket of the galaxy’s brightest stars. Air tasted of cactus flowers and dust, and coyotes howled for the sake of hearing their own chorus. Skunks did their nightly rounds, looking to pilfer whatever delicacies were left unattended. Words came. Not in a flood, but rather with the smoothness of a desert creek; shy, hiding from onlookers until sunlight couldn’t be avoided, when it burst forth to glitter and pulsate with personal meaning. That piece of me that always waited for the right time emerged, and the quiet inner voice remained to tell its stories and run the mental projector. Now, though, a real audience sat in the theater. I focused on that murmur and listened. Awareness hummed within me.

 

 

 

 

Taking a Step Back

August 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Courtesy of BJ Jones Photography

Ever wonder why we use this expression this way? I know, you’re asking “What way?”

I say, “Every way.”

Think about it. What is a “step back”? Something leaps onto the path we’re walking. We step back; from startlement, fright, consternation, you-name-it.

We make use of this step to re-evaluate, to make a split-second decision whether to fight or flee. We need to know what we’re facing before making a leap of our own. This may be our only chance consciously to decide.

This stepping-back behavior for decision making permeates nearly every corner of our lives. We may or may not realize it at the time. On some occasions we don’t have the leisure to recognize the process or the maneuver.

“Let’s take a step back and look at this situation.” How many business meetings have paused after a similar statement while those in charge review options, repercussions of those options, or the people, places, and procedures involved in those options?

I dare say that few meetings get to an end without some variant of these words, especially interdepartmental meetings. “Shall we table this and regroup after everyone’s had a chance to take a good long look at it?”

See what I mean?

The question of pausing to consider plays a role in individual lives as well. It can be as minor as “cantaloupe or honey dew” while in the produce aisle of the grocery store or as monumental as “chemo or radiation.” Each decision event has impact; large or small.

“Shall we make it illegal for citizens to grow some of their own food?”

This pause has happened–is happening in Washington–at least according to the media. I don’t bring this up as a political statement, but rather as a demonstration of how vast an impact such a question—such a pause for consideration—can make. One question can force an entire country’s population to reconsider many things impacting their lives.

You might ask why this is on my mind right now. That’s a valid question.

I’m in pause mode because I made a major shift in my mindset throughout this summer. What and how I write has shifted; not because I didn’t like what I was writing before, but because I like writing in this new way much better. My approach to both life and writing was in need of an evaluation.

With the shift in my writing, my attitude about life and how I was living also shifted. That change warranted a continued attitude adjustment in my writing. I got to that old “chicken and the egg” portion of life.

Priorities became more pronounced. Life paths suddenly had the full light of purpose shined upon them. How could I not stop to consider or ponder my direction?

The Step became necessary to fully appreciate where I’ve come from and where I’m going. More importantly, I discovered some of the why’s in my life, and those always necessitate a pause. Hence, I arrived at this doorstep.

I have no clue where I’ll travel on this new path. I’m only sure that the ride will be memorable. I’m looking forward to new discoveries.

With Two Voices, One Song I expand horizons and understandings. With my poetry I explore new audiences while enjoying those who’ve willingly been here all along. With my newly acquired thrill of flash fiction I can grow faster along channels of fantasy.

Claudsy’s Blog and Claudsy’s Calliope remain corner stones which anchor my new forays into the writing experience. I’m so grateful for all of those who’ve encouraged me to explore, whether through poetry and photos, flash fiction, or other genres. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow as a writer.

As far as I know, I’m not moving out of these digs here. I’m merely refining the edges, smoothing out the throw rugs, and adding the occasional knick-knack.

Until we meet here again in a few days, a bientot,

Claudsy

New Project For Fall

July 31, 2012 2 comments

 

I need opinions from readers. I’m contemplating putting together a new chapbook of Poetry Pages like this one, where the photo provides the inspiration for the poem.

I’d like to know if you, the reader 1.) think this is a viable project, 2.) have suggestions for changes to poem placement, or 3) think that a different poem should be used for this photo.

See, not so hard. Just leave a comment to let me know what you think and why. I take all suggestions seriously. And thank you in advance, for taking the time to at least look at this.

Until later,

Claudsy

 

Vacation’s Purpose

July 2, 2012 2 comments
Cover of "The Vacation"

Cover of The Vacation

 

Each year millions create an almost migratory herd, like so many waves rolling toward a shore called “vacation.” Each traveler has in mind a personal calling toward whatever destination reaches in and takes hold of the heart for that season. How many can resist that pull?

 

My writing partner left this past weekend for vacation with her children. Since that particular blog is on vacation this week, I’m left with additional and unanticipated hours of luxurious time to delve into new studies, new avenues of knowledge exploration. I could spend the extra hours working on some of my long projects, but they’ve already been delegated to regular work hours.

For now, I can download seminars and listen without guilt, soak in new knowledge to add to those bits I’ve stored away, and investigate hitherto unknown streets that branch off the cyber highway. There’s a lot of territory to roam in only a few measly days. What if I get lost?

No fears. Fear is the little mind killer. That has become my motto of life.

Learning new software applications will get an hour here and there. A new book will have a half an hour of my time each day. An hour long seminar each day isn’t too much to do. And a couple of hours devoted to my writing course will pay off handsomely in a few months. (I’m rebuilding—not revising–my YA novel.)

The finishing touches on my first book of poetry are happening today. It will go to beta readers within a few days, as soon as I get them all lined up. Once it’s out to readers, I’ll concentrate on the second book. I have all of the photos, thanks to Sister and that trusty camera of hers. It’s begun, but now I must implement the outline for the epic poem.

Did I mention that I just had two more poems accepted by Four and Twenty Short Form Poetry? That drives more incentive to send out more poems and create a few more just for outside submission. Surprises like this one I can handle without difficulty.

So far my week is starting out pretty well. Speaking of poetry, here’s the one I did yesterday for Poetic Bloomings Prompt of Write a Resting Poem.

 

Restlessness

 

What gentle rustlings

Probe mind’s nooks

While sleep hangs

Suspended, waiting?

 

What probings shake

Awake memories

Long forgotten

While slumber paces?

 

What shakings loosen

Ponderings, dry eyes,

And weave weariness

Into strain’s distress?

 

These rustling, probing

Shakings serve to

Alert, with useless

Restless wonderings,

 

Leaving behind

Confusion’s legacy

Of sleepless nights

And fog-filled days.

 

Oh, to sit beside the

Stream of Forgetfulness,

Dipping toes into sweet

Thoughts of Easement;

 

To feel Zepher’s breeze

Linger on naked skin,

While Pan plays his

Lullaby to needy ears;

 

To rest within a cradle

Rocked by Earth’s pulse,

Removing all care, worry,

The better to nurse from Peace.

 

Some may see my planned week as anything but a vacation. That’s fair. For me, who has the occasional full day up in the mountains or along a lake shore, my definition of vacation tends to differ from that of others. A day to do nothing but read a new book or an old favorite is a mighty vacation indeed.

Enjoy your own coming holidays, everyone, and leave a comment here telling of your own vacation plans. Or, do you have to wait for get a break from routine? Don’t be shy. Everyone wants to go somewhere. Feel free to share.

A bientot,

Claudsy

The Zoo Within

June 25, 2012 2 comments

This post stems from the Thought Ripples over on Two Voices, One Song. Sometimes when you change a process for one thing, it sticks and bleeds over into other work, as well. That’s what happened here. I hope you enjoy it.

Once in a while, I take a trip through a zoo or sanctuary. While I gaze upon the residents within the confines of the area, taking note of mundane considerations, my mind focuses on the what-might-have-beens. Those are the natural landscapes and living conditions of whatever animal I’m viewing.

Take this guy, for instance. He was brought into man’s arena very early in his life. He worked for a living, hence his missing horn. And when his work was done, he was fortunate enough to find sanctuary on the Olympic Peninsula with other animal actors that had been retired.

He’s a sweetheart, who likes treats and people’s voices. He’s enclosed to keep him safe from those who would taunt and tease and stress him unduly. I think it’s sad that we have lock up the wild things to keep them safe from us, the civilized ones.

Because he’d not been allowed to be wild, he will never know his ancestors’ natural habitat. Then again, at least here he can live a peaceful existence without fear of someone taking his life, as well as his horn. And without his horn, he could have never survived in his natural habitat anyway.

Herds of elk and fallow deer have free run of many more acres of this wild animal park. The bison keep them company as they watch cars go by, occupants snapping and whirring with their cameras. Thankfully, no one can get out of their cars to aggravate the ones trying to eat or rest.

Peacocks keep order. Rabbits watch from the sidelines. Those in the petting zoo take little hands in stride. And everywhere are the sounds of human voices, rather than those of the residents.

Within the shadows cast by trees lurk yaks and zebras, not usual neighbors, though they seem to get along quite well.

The occasional small scene gives an idyllic glimpse of how life in the wild could be if allowed.

Throughout this day of animal watching and speculation of natural wild habitats ruined in the name of progress, I rediscovered something about myself that I hadn’t visited in a long while. My acceptance of zoos hasn’t increased any as I got older. I loved them when I was in my early twenties. That’s no longer the case.

Yet, while I can’t appreciate them as I once did, I no longer condemn them as I would have ten years ago. I’ve reached a compromise of sorts within myself. In an ideal world man and animal would live in harmony, each to his natural habitat, without concern that one would threaten or become a nuisance to the other.

Sanctuaries and zoos have their place now in our world, whether we want it that way or not. These providers of safety and species continuation may be the only hope wildlife has against the destruction of their homelands. I can’t guess at the future of Earth’s wildlife. I can only work to appreciate it at each opportunity, without stressing it any further or helping to wipe it out by my own life process.

I appreciate those who dedicate their lives to safeguarding species other than humans. I applaud their efforts, knowing that life could have been mine. Many years ago at the San Diego Zoo, I was given that opportunity. My reason for rejecting the offer was spurious to say the least; giving up a lucrative job was out of the question right then.

The truth was that such a change at that time in my life scared me silly. My life was still being ruled by other people. That didn’t change until recently. Would I reconsider if given that same offer again? Probably not, but not for the same reason.

Living the life meant for me now, there is no reason to go back. The last major thought to zip through my mind while thinking of zoos and sanctuaries is this. Do humans not do for and to themselves what they’ve done to those creatures of the wild?

In building our civilizations, our cities, our doctrines, have we not built ourselves into a planet-wide zoo in an attempt to preserve our species for something greater; and in doing so, trapped ourselves within, locking the doors against all but the best of locksmiths?

A bientot,

Claudsy

Note:** All photos Courtesy of BJ Jones Photography

Epiphanies and Springboards

June 21, 2012 4 comments

Have you ever been working to solve a problem within your personal life or your work life and, when you least expect it, an epiphany erupts from your mind and nearly blinds you?

That’s what happened to me an hour ago or so. I’ve been laboring to get a work schedule created for a couple of years now, that allowed me to produce usable work without leaving me feeling as if I’m running a race from the last position each day. You think I’m slow? Possibly.

This morning I was sitting, allowing my mind to flush itself of what had gone before, and it hit me. It was a profound revelation within my mind. I saw the whole problem, and the whys of it nearly floored me. It was so simple and yet, it will be something so difficult to remedy.

This is how works. I am an extremely detail-oriented person. That’s part of my nature. Couple that with the knowledge that I also, as part of my nature, am always looking at the Big Picture. This trait of mine was trained very well to always look at the overview of everything before determining the direction of exploration or explanation.

Add to all of that the understanding that much in my life has been experienced within chaos mode for a couple of years. Throw into the mix a personal need for perfection.

So—that leaves me with miniscule details overshadowed by overview; omniscient’s guide to insanity, if you’re a writer. I cannot look at the details of one project or portion of project without also seeing all of the other projects waiting in the wings. And it isn’t just all of the projects, it’s all of the angles, slants, characters, plots, etc. that scream my name, jump up and down, waving their arms, trying to keep my attention.

And, it’s not a matter of focus. It’s a matter of how my brain works.

I hadn’t really put all of this together yet. Some of my distraction on the situation could be due to lack of solid sleep, or trying to get fifteen things done to perfection finished ahead of a deadline. That couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. Could it?

As I sat there looking at this situation, I realized just how much humor God has. Consider the scientist sitting in the lab in front of her microscope. A critical slide sits beneath the lens waiting for examination and interpretation. Yet, when she looks through the lens, she also sees the origin of the sample on the slide, overlaying the image. That’s been my view of my work every day for countless months.

Now you know why I may have seemed harried and haggard. It also helps explain why only an editorial calendar has had any effect on my work day. Sad state of affairs.

You may ask how I’m going to remedy this situation. I don’t know that I can completely. I don’t need a greater war waged inside of my own nature.

All I can really do, is be aware of the conflict—brother, wouldn’t this make a great plot—and do what I can on a daily basis to mitigate the disruption and distress. I can dig deeper into the Tao for answers to changing my nature, but until I can set those tenets into place, I must wing it on an hourly basis.

I’m fortunate. I figured out what the problem was and can figure out a more workable solution, given some time. Think about those poor, sad people who’re struggling with something like this who haven’t had an epiphany yet. I would take up a collection for them, but I don’t know yet who they are. Then again, they don’t know either.

And there you have the crux of the problem. Are you waiting for an epiphany, too? Do you know if you need one? Feel free to question here. Remember–questions aren’t the problem. It’s the answers that get you in trouble.

A bientot,

Claudsy