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a gallery of controversys

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A Gallery of Controversys

in retrospect — some questions

Coronavirus sent me home from my day-job at the hospital on the third of April. I did not get *really* sick until a while later, around the 8th. I am now in some sort of extended and relentless recovery pattern. Short of breath most of the time, coughing, dizzy, confused, and spiking fevers long past the time I had thought I was done with this thing.

These days, I’ve been finding language and sentences fairly difficult. Notes, I can handle. Pictures, graphs, and charts: all fine. But words? Not so much.

Suddenly, I’m a person with inhalers and meds who has a hard time focusing on anything significant for more than a few minutes, tracking my temps and resting pulse and breaths per minute—I am told to give it time to pass and I trust it will.

Collages though? I could sit and do them all day long. So, here is the first of many.

PROMPT: make a wordless poem

Continue reading “in retrospect — some questions”

Sculpture from the Driver’s Seat

I love the mess left behind after this work.

IMG_7221

I rarely throw the scraps away. When doing this work (which is very controlled: remember, my overarching rule is to use only these two magazines) the value of sentences, fonts, colors, and words—even letters—is greatly increased.

I call this, the economy of words. Some day, I will deplete all of the words in these two magazines—will I? When will I find the last appearance of a word? The last ampersand, the last controversy, the last love?

The other day, I was looking for the word, “GHOST,” and I could not find it. I really needed the word. I looked and looked. Finally, I found ghostly in a very small italic font, which is absolutely close enough, but it freaked me out: no more ghosts in these magazines. The last ghost.

I will probably write more about this, later. For now, consider the economy of words in your writing. They are the one thing we as writers feel are limitless: you get all the words you can type. But, what if? What if we didn’t? Continue reading “Sculpture from the Driver’s Seat”

The Happiness of Objects

Have you ever seen a thing you just loved without question or reason?

That’s how I’ve felt about this small square patch of green and off white stripes ever since I saw it peeking out from page 367 of the ARTFORUM magazine.

happiness of objects before

I left it intact on the page for years but finally, yesterday, decided its time had finally come. Clipped it from its page. Set it beside a random poem clipped from the pages, by WB Yeats (from The Winding Stair and Other Poems, 1933).

Examined it. Realized the lines remind me of the huge ruled paper from Kindergarten when I was first learning to write, and I don’t understand the Yeats poem. Found some more words and decided to use them all, and nothing more.

process2 happiness of objects

The feeling of absence, a confusing sense of time, will soon become, other lovers, we loved each other, naked and hid-…. these are the words that initially emerged from these clippings. Continue reading “The Happiness of Objects”

The Sculpture of Louise

I am calling this prompt THE FOLDING TRICK.

The folding trick is a GREAT NAME and a simple prompt. But it does require that you already have a stack of cut-up magazine pages. So, if you do not have this, I am not sure what to tell you. Go back to the beginning of this blog and make some cut-ups? *Just kidding; we’ll figure it out.*

For this collage, I simply opened up my pile and grabbed the first thing I saw. Here is what that looked like:

louise1

Seriously! What a beautiful mess. Finding this beauty, I thought to myself, “Can it really be this simple? Can I get away with this?” Quickly, I answered, “Of course you can; it is an experimental blog, not a career.”

Without further ado, I give you the folding trick! But first, a photo of my husband, youngest son, and brand new dog watching squirrels out the window.

dog

For the folding trick I ask you to find a picture in a magazine that is bold—very bold. The only requirement is that there must be text on the back of this page.

Step one: Frame up the image you would like to work with (I recommend about 4 inches wide and 6 inches tall) and fold the sides in (ON TOP OF) said image. I am afraid this will be taken as more complicated than it really is.

Here is a visual guide.

 

 

Continue reading “The Sculpture of Louise”

The Elegant Conversations

Like old friends who don’t miss a beat when they haven’t seen each other in over a year, let’s just jump back into this blog like we’ve always been sitting at this table, drinking a steady stream of coffee that turns to whiskey as day turns to night.

Today’s collage began with difficulty. After creating an entirely different collage, this one emerged painfully, gradually, and then (finally) with momentum.

perhaps you're seekingThe line above will serve as the prompt.

Seek a different relationship between art and language.

Step One. Choose two things from a magazine:

  1. A small picture (art): this is self-explanatory, just choose something that strikes your fancy.
  2. A passage (language): skim pages until you find a page full of words. It should contain a number of passages/quotes/fragments that jump out at you.

Continue reading “The Elegant Conversations”

What is Done?

Full Prompt Post today. Read on.

Step One: Find a little quote on a page. Honestly, I don’t even read the quotes I choose. I just choose for size. what-is-done-1.jpg

Step Two: Cut it out.what is done - 2

Continue reading “What is Done?”

The Indirect Passage

The return of the Controversy. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I love boat names.  Controversy,  Compromise, Amphibi-Con, Riverkeeper. These names beg to be poemized.

Admission: Sometimes I sit down to do a new piece and feel absolutely befuddled.

My most typical response to that feeling is to choose a passage from the boat magazine and stare at it until certain words start to feel right. Today’s experiment began with just such a passage.

the indirect passage - 1 (1)

The second step here was to choose how to disappear the words.

India Ink won the day in this one, which is for some reason not a medium I’ve used yet in this book, but I can assure you I will be using it again. It is easier than paint, more flexible than marker, and allows the transparency I love so much. Continue reading “The Indirect Passage”

MADEIN

First thing I like about this page: its title. It sounds like Maiden, but is actually referencing the readymades of Marcel Duchamp — one of my favorite artists (there are a lot of favorite artists, but he really is up there) — whose intention was to get away from himself.

Call it a little game between ‘I’ and ‘me’
— from Duchamp: A Biography.

Continue reading “MADEIN”

Space ration

So, for the first poem after the last series, we’ve got a poem that responds physically to the title. Usually, with poetry and other writing, words come first. It is fun and challenging and worthwhile to turn that notion on its head sometimes.

 

Here, form || the space, the design, the architecture of the image || is the driving force behind the poem. I cut words away I usually would have left, in favor of the lovely zebraesque* pattern created down the lower center of the page. Continue reading “Space ration”

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