Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Typography Poetry video by Ronnie Bruce

I rarely post videos by other people, but I really like this one. I think it's about two years old, so you may have already seen it, but it was new to me. It speaks to the poet and writer in me, and to the person.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I went to a writer's retreat and ate food I did not prepare myself, and had the first vertigo incident in months.  (Also itchy skin!)  Is the "bad food" and the ill effects a coincidence?  

Friday, September 16, 2011

WeekWord: Wonder

Sally at Sow and Sew is Hosting the Weekword this week--check out everyone's posts!*  Because of the flood in our basement and the Writer's Retreat this weekend, I can't give proper attention to the WeekWord, but it's such a good word I wanted post something.

This is my grandson, Nathaniel, a couple years ago--I chose this picture because it shows his wonder and delight at a music box.  I wish we didn't get jaded with age and could be truly this awed and delighted.

I was awed, and dare I say delighted by the wonder of this tattered butterfly in the fog--still dancing and visiting flowers in spite of a difficult life.  I'd like to be like that.

I wonder also at the passing of time.  This snow fence, meant to slow the movement of the dunes, is nearly completely buried, and some were totally buried.  (I couldn't photograph those!)  My life is hurtling by at breathtaking speeds.  I want to slow down and have time for wonder.

And what's more wonderful (FULL OF WONDER!) than the smell of a baby's hair and feel of its skin?

Here's my silly little doggerel ("poem") for the week.  I didn't have time to write a real poem, sorry to say:

Midnight Runner

In the dark wee hours we had some thunder
rain and lightning that split asunder
trees and turned them into lumber,
our eardrums gone to such a thumper,
and oh such crashing of utter plunder!
The crash and sputter broke my slumber
turned me into a midnight runner,
made me wish I were many years younger
and thinner and stronger rather than plumper.
The noise made me forget my hunger.
I ran into the rain; it was no blunder
to stare up at the blasting wild plunder
of umber light with a sense of wonder!

Mary Stebbins Taitt
110913 1st draft, for the Weekword, wonder
YES, this is a stupid silly doggerel just for fun.

*I am going to be away for the weekend at a Writer's Retreat, so I will have to catch up on everyone's posts later.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Success! And Happiness all around!

My card on Mubin's desk in India.  Click image to view larger.

I wanted to give away some of my art cards, but I found that to be more difficult than I expected.  However, I was finally able to give some of them away to John at the Healing Seed and to Mubin.  I was so happy to receive her wonderful letter, which follows:

Dear Mary,

I received the treasury you sent me this afternoon. The cards reached in perfect condition! They're gorgeous, thank you for picking such lovely pieces. I can't stop admiring them! I showed them to Krishna and your PPS on the letter, he said 'Namaste' to you :) I showed the cards to almost everyone at work, the package really changed a dull afternoon to a super exciting one.

You don't know it yet but I love letters! Personal notes, emails, postcards, all sorts of correspondence but especially postcards and letters in mail. Mary, your letter is so warm and beautiful, my heart expanded with joy for the little things your shared with me. Thank you so much for letting me peep a little into the window of your life. 

Please ask me questions. Ask me whatever you want to know - there're just no boundaries, I'd be very happy to answer any questions you may have. 

I will write to you in detail soon, this is just a note to let you know that I got your lovely cards, the beautiful self-portrait print (thank you so much! and thanks for the heart on the otherside) and I truly enjoyed reading your letter. 

I chose one card to put it in a frame I added sparkles to last month. The snow egret makes my writing desk more beautiful and leaves me inspired. 

I can't thank you enough for your generosity. 

Hope Keith's well too.

Rainbows and Butterflies Forever,
Mubin Sultan, India.

Friday, September 09, 2011

WeekWord: Disposition

Katy, over at Creating Misericordia, is hosting the Weekword, Disposition, which Katy has requested we use as a noun.

Here is the Merriam Webster student definition of Disposition.  I HATE definitions that use other forms of the same word; in my mind they are singularly unuseful.
Main Entry: dis·po·si·tion 
Pronunciation: secondarystressdis-pschwa-primarystresszish-schwan
Function: noun
1 : the act or power of disposing DISPOSAL
2 ARRANGEMENT 1  disposition of furniture in a room>
3 a : one's usual attitude or mood disposition> b : a leaning toward a particular way of thinking or acting TENDENCYINCLINATION  disposition to retreat> 

 I've written a chapter of a story, or a bit of it, for the WeekWord (the picture is an illo for the story--if you click on it, it will get bigger and you can see the background I designed for it):

Taming Uncle Beast
7th grade English, 2nd period, Tiny Lee Latham
            I am not sure which is worse, Uncle Beast's disposition, or mine.  Both of us have been growing fangs, and those fangs are yellowing and honing themselves to a razor-edge.  We are acquiring growls.  Roars.  Our eyes shoot flames.  We are both turning into ogres.  If I were writing a werewolf story, instead of the truth, I would say that the moon was full and the transformations were nearly complete. Picture saliva and blood dripping from our long, pointy fangs and you’ll get a pretty accurate idea of how we are behaving—and feeling—right now.
            We are at each other's throats.
            I almost think werewolves would be a relief compared to Uncle Beast and me.  (Okay, not really, I suppose.)
            Neither of us has slept for two nights.  We've been playing cards until we're bored out of our gourds.  Uncle Beast is staying awake in hopes I'll sleep and he can somehow sneak away for a beer somewhere.  Or find Pa's beer, which I have safely hidden.  I'm staying awake in hopes of preventing that very thing.  I’m almost ready to give up and tell him where I hid the beer, or let him sneak out to a bar.  If there are any bars open at 3:20 AM, which I doubt.
            In some ways, though, it's worse for Uncle Beast.  He is in the throes of withdrawal, Martin tells me. Martin Jakata is Beast’s court-assigned shrink.[1]  Martin has access to me via the cell phone the Fuzz[2] gave me to keep tabs on Uncle Beast.  He talks to me, not Uncle Beast.  He tries to calm me down when I get excited.  And of course, I am the go-between.  Beast refuses to speak in person to Martin.
            It's hard not to get “excited” when yr[3] exhausted.   (Excited might not be the right word here.  Or, maybe it is.  Tired but wired. (Excitement seems antithetical[4] to exhaustion, doesn’t it?)[5][6]
            Martin (for some reason, he told me to call him Martin rather than Dr. Jakata, which seemed weird at first, but now I'm used to it) told me that lack of sleep makes you stupid.  It makes you stupid temporarily (short-term memory loss) and causes permanent brain damage, that's what he said.
            I don't like the idea of my suffering permanent brain damage because Uncle Beast has turned into a monster.
            Martin says that Uncle Beast (he calls him Farley, or course), should be peaking about now in his withdrawal, and that things will get easier.  Why does that seem so unlikely?  I guess because I'm so exhausted and Beast is so beastly that imagining anything good is difficult.  Really difficult!
            This is all happening because the court disposition gave Uncle Beast to us.  And Ma and Pa gave him to me.  To me.  I'm 13.  I'm in the seventh grade.  I'm not supposed to go days without sleep.  I feel like no one cares.  They care more about Beast than about me.
            I wish I were a cave woman with a big club and knew just where to hit Uncle Beast to make him pass out without actually hurting him.  But maybe that's only in the cartoons.
            I wish I had a pill I could give him that would restore his sunny disposition.  To tell you the truth, I can hardly remember that he used to be fun and funny.
            Right now, I am waiting outside the bathroom door.  I'm listening for the little sounds that means he's in there, doing what he's supposed to do in there, and not climbing out the bathroom window.
            I can hear him cursing under his breath, so he's still in there.  I want to sit on the floor.  I want to lie down.  I want to close my eyes, but the only way to stay awake and keep tabs on Uncle Beast is to stand up.  I can't even lean on the door.
            Wait, is that the window I hear, inching up?

Tiny Lee Latham (Mary Stebbins Taitt)

[1] ok, he’s a psychologist, I think, or maybe a psychiatrist, I’m not sure.  I should ask him.  But I have the right, as the author of this memoir, to choose to call him a shrink when I’m tired, so don’t take off for it, please.
[2] yeah, yeah, I know, it would be more polite to call them the police, especially since they are trying to help us—or, help Beast, anyway.  But I’m tired, and Fuzz is better than “pigs” and some of the other things Beast has been calling them, which I can’t turn in in a paper for 7th grade!
[3] “yr,” in this case, equals “you are.”  Don’t take off for it, Teach, because I am using it to indicate exhaustion.
[4] ha ha, I used a big word.  The thesaurus helped me find it.  And yes, I do know what it means:  direction opposed or contrasted (as in opposite of), mutually incompatible.
[5] Ms X, please advise, I’m confused about when it’s appropriate to use “parenthetical remarks” and when I should use footnotes.
[6] I probably should NOT address you directly, should I?  Don’t take off for that.

And, of course, a bit of doggerel from the rhyming words offered at the end of the definition:

Disposition Doggerel  Poem #1:  
A Cheery Disposition Requires Good Nutrition

I have an admonition that’s worth some repetition
If you prefer good disposition avoid all malnutrition.
You’ll need some ammunition to form a coalition
to retain a dietician to write to a politician
to use his erudition to make a requisition
to get some great nutrition for all with inanition.  

This bit of doggerel (above) refers to the definition of disposition as mood or inclination.  The doggerel bit below refers to the definition of disposition as arrangement or disposal.  (As in the disposition of a will.)  (I will refrain from commenting further.)  :-(

Disposition Doggerel poem #2:
A Will’s Dark Disposition leads to Inanition

Greed’s antithetical to manumission; that’s surely no superstition
We could use a rescue mission if it contained a proposition
that would could save us from commission of miserly competition.
It leads to opposition and the lust for acquisition.
Any statistician could illuminate the supposition
that a will’s dark disposition leads to imposition and inanition.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

me and Kodachrome

I am very sad that Kodachrome is GONE!  (Hal gave me the shirt to commemorate it!)

Paul Simon Kodachrome Lyrics

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school ((<--I learned good stuff too!))
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none  ((<-- oh yeah?))
I can read the writing on the wall

You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they'd never match
My sweet imagination
And everything looks worse in black and white

You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome
Mama, don't take my Kodachrome
Mama, don't take my Kodachrome (away)

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome
Mama, don't take my Kodachrome
Mama, don't take my Kodachrome (away)

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome
(Leave your boy so far from home)
Mama, don't take my Kodachrome (away)


Friday, September 02, 2011


John over at The Healing Seed is hosting the Weekword this week, and it is friendship. Great word, John!!
I have a new app for my iPad and I don't really know how to use it yet. This little illo is designed with iDraw, my first real attempt to use the program I just got last night. It's an illo for friendship.
Friendship is a special kind of love, perhaps one of the most important things in the world. I can't think of much more important than friendship! And I have to say, I have some really wonderful internet friends I have never met in the flesh. And a number of truly dear sweet friends I do see in the flesh!  May you have a few true friends!! One of the things I truly need is to make friends with myself at a very deep level. I want to treat myself with the same kindness, love, respect and charity I want to treat other friends. I want to treat myself as kindly as I wish other people would treat me, and with as much patience and forgiveness.