Sunday, August 28, 2011
(This is an addition for last week's week word, conundrum. It's a tiny piece of FICTION.)
Saturday, August 27, 2011
I am so sorry that I have been too busy to do any blogging.
- John the Healing Seed, who will also be hosting next week's word.
- Sow and Sew
- Creating Misericordia
- and me. I have posted the original post and a poem, but I was hoping to post more. I may not be able to, but I will try. Life keeps inserting itself. Here is the first poem I wrote for conundrum, which is obliquely related, if you are interested and haven't seen it. My guess is that if at this late date, I manage a post, no one will see it.
- My first post with ideas and definition is here.
- My first conundrum poem is here.
- Any additional thoughts will be added below. I have some, but we are having company and a concert tonight, and there is much to do. What a conundrum, when I want both to be a good hostess and to do a good job on my post!!! The company is my mother-ibn law, the concert is my SON!
Optimum Sanctum of Confusion
I gather up alyssums, chrysanthemums, and sedums
and put them in a magnum—it helps avoid the asylum.
They sooth me when I’m feeling glum, make sadness shrink to minimum,
and give me more momentum—and help me have no venom!
I write a memorandum to hold a referendum
to prevent having a tantrum about this fool conundrum.
This enigma’s such arcanum it’s too much for my cerebrum.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
No Polar Coordinates (Before Fruit)
All winter, I slept in the snow in my backyard. I journeyed
great distances, though no one could see me move, not my mother
who begged me to come in from the cold, not my children
who had set out on their own long slogs on homemade snowshoes,
their pack dogs howling every night with the wolves,
not my companions, who held the moon at bay, who caught
the drifting snow in their arms, not my enemies, who tracked me
with bloodhounds, who handcuffs, straight-jackets, not me.
I suspected nothing, though I kept a journal of the sights
I encountered along the way. I saw my breath freeze
on the blue nylon of the tent, gathering by accretion until
it resembled the frosted fur of a polar bear. The sleeping bag,
with me in it, tunneled through the snow, driven my the heat
of my body, the force of the quest I had yet to admit.
Snow piled on the tent until I had to dig myself out with my claws.
It was always night, night without end, and in the blizzards,
the only light shone feebly from my headlamp. I was a miner
in the cave of winter. My light fell on the tracks of ermines
and bloodspots of snowshoe hares dug from their dens.
I collected white feathers of snowy owls and braided them
into falls of hair turning white at the temples. My skin, too,
grew pale as the moon. The winter erased all traces of sunlight
from my memory, and still, I trudged onward. "I continue
to shrink,” I wrote, “In a sea of ice, I am a single colembola.”
A snow flea. Snow fleas bring spring. Though I had no polar
coordinates and the stars were lost in the aurora borealis,
when I dreamed of dawn, one ray of light pierced the darkness.
The next day, another. I dreamed of oranges, then, of fruit.
And before fruit, flowering, and before flowering, sprouting.
Before sprouting, the great melt and the mud days. I counted
minutes of sunshine. I made myself crazy with hope.
Then, I just let go and kept walking. I carried my home
on my back like a turtle. The journey, once the question,
became the answer.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
for KT Lowe and John Gibson, 110824-1739-1c(3), 1st draft 110824 4:14 PM, while jogging to Rolandale.
For anyone who is interested, I did, in fact, sleep out in a tent in my back yard one winter. (I was an experienced winter camper, but that did not make it warm in the tent.)
Greetings, Weekworders! I am hosting the WeekWord,
Examples of CONUNDRUM
conundrum of how an ancient people were able to build such massive structures without the benefit of today's knowledge and technology>
- … giving parents a wealth of educational options sometimes presents a familiar inner-city conundrum: What if all your choices are bad ones? —Katherine Boo,New Yorker, 9 Apr. 2001
Why is an author like a Chinaman?
Because his tale (tail) comes out of his head.
~ ~ ~
Here are conundrums of a more serious nature facing us today:
Who are we going to be?
- The Environment: Are we going to save the world or let big industry destroy it?Literally? Our children? Our grandchildren? Will we kill our progeny with our greed?
- War and Peace: Are we going to kill innocent children and people so that the war machine can prosper? How can we do something no society has ever succeeded in doing: create real peace before it's too late?
You can see by my illustration of the bloodthirsty wolf above how much faith I have in us to solve these real, serious, and maybe final problems we face. I don't have any answers, I'm sorry to say. :-(
and here are my new hand-decorated cards:
I finally got another set of the Sakura Gelly Roll Pens I ordered a while back, and since they were new to me, I was eager to try them, but since I don't have a mole, I decided to make cards. These are cards with envelopes, Strathmore Drawing cards, my first time trying them, too.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I know, it's still a long ways from excellence, but I am working on my 10,000 hours.
Today, we rode out motorcycles through the rain to the Nature Center at Metrobeach, had a delightful walk (the sun came out!), and after walking, went into the nature center. The naturalist allowed us to watch two monarch caterpillars pupating into chrysalises. She showed us eggs and tiny babies and chrysalises ready to turn into monarchs and we saw an adult she had just released outside. Among the other things we saw were juvenile black-crowned night herons, several of them, swans and ducks and flowers and lots of frogs and toads. I painted this during dinner.
To see the image better (small details of life cycle), click on the image to enlarge it.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Sometimes I feel audacious, perhaps even bodacious;
Because I am edacious (which often means voracious),
I’m curvaceous and cetaceous and a little bit drupaceous.
Though my heart is quite capacious and I often am flirtatious,
I rarely am capricious and seldom wholly hellacious.
When my bare feet grow crustaceous and moods slip by fugacious,
my words won’t turn fallacious and I’ll still hold on, tenacious.
Mary Stebbins Taitt, for Keith, and for Robert his birthday
Miss Lothrop’s 7th grade English
Tiny Lee Latham
Tenacity, Extra Credit Vocabulary “Memoir”
When my brother Jake came back from Iraq, he brought a pit bull, Killer. The army dog squad was going to put Killer down because he was so mean, so Jake brought him home thinking maybe I could tame him. People in Mountain Home call me "The Whisperer," because animals like me. I don't whisper to them, though, not like in the movies. When Killer arrived, despite his name and reputation, he was a wimp. He hid under the back porch and would not come out, except at night when no one was around. Jake says that some of the army dog trainers beat the dogs to make them mean. I believe it. Killer has nightmares. He cries and whines and yips and cringes in his sleep
Jake locked Killer in the chain-link pen behind the house where Fonsie, our blue tick, used to hang out before he finally gave in to old age and decrepitude. I was assigned the task of feeding Killer. In addition to his daily ration of kibbles, I snuck him all the codfish cakes, hotdogs, over-salted ham and other crappy food Mom gave me. She insists I have sit at the table until I finish my dinner if it takes all night. Grandma taught me to hide plastic bags in my pockets, and when my mother tired of watching me like a hawk, I'd slip the goodies into the bag and give them to Killer.
I put his food into the hole Killer dug in order to crawl under the porch, and put the treats on top. Every day, I enlarged the hole a little, moved the dish further into the hole and climbed a little farther in myself.
I talked to Killer. I didn't whisper, but I did kind of croon the way Mom speaks to a baby. I told him he was pretty, even though I couldn't see him, hiding in the dark under the porch. He's not exactly pretty. He's plain brown, kind of tan-brown, a few spots, a wide head, pointed ears. But when I said pretty, I didn't mean pretty like a movie star or pretty is as pretty does. What I meant is, "You could be my friend, and I will be your friend, and you won't be alone any more." Once I realized what I meant, I said that, too.
I took Pa’s has a hand drill. I turned the handle slowly and its corkscrew bit into the wood. Little curls of wood spiraled out through the hole in progress. After I turned it for so long that my arms got tired, a hole appeared, all the way through. Each day, I drilled a hole in the side of the porch. Each hole is a little smaller than a quarter. At first, I put them a foot apart. I measured with my yardstick. Then I drilled halfway between.
Meanwhile, I wormed my way slowly under the porch, a few inches closer each day, until one day, I emerged all the way out of the tunnel and into the cave where Killer huddled in a corner. By then, I’d made enough holes so I could see him, dimly, and I held a fat piece of steak that Grandma got from the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet, after she was too full to stuff any more in her belly. The plastic bag trick. I held the steak and called the dog. I didn’t call him Killer; I called him “Amigo.” I sat, held the steak out with an outstretched arm, waited, and slowly he came over, took it, ran back to his corner and bolted it. I told him he was a good dog.
Every day, I moved my hand closer to my body until he finally let me pet him. For a month, every day, I just petted him and fed him and crooned to him, my Amigo. My friend. Everyone else still referred to him as Killer.
One evening, Jimmy-Jeff Fairchild climbed over the fence just as I was emerging from the hole I had lined with old rugs, so I wouldn’t get dirty climbing in and out of Killer’s den. Jimmy-Jeff was carrying a pillowcase. All the lights were out in the house and no one was home but me and I’d been in with Amigo so long it had gotten dark. Looked like Jimmy Jeff intended to rob us.
He tossed the pillowcase onto the porch and grabbed my breast and my crotch and knocked me down, almost into some dog poop. I kicked and pummeled him and Killer, who'd only come out from under the back porch at night to do his business came charging out and latched on to the Jimmy-Jeff’s leg. He would not let go. Jimmy-Jeff, who is only a couple years older than I am and kind of skinny, pounded Killer with his fists and kicked with his other foot. Killer held on. Mom had taken Slime Mold, my other brother, to some soccer game in Timbuktu, and Pa was working the evening shift. I called Pa at work and he called the cops and came straight home.
The cops arrested Jimmy-Jeff. Killer let the cops and Dad pet him and praise him. He must have thought he was doing his job—the one he was trained for. Jimmy-Jeff spent the night in the tank. When the cops pulled up the kid's sweatpants, Jimmy-Jeff had marks from Killer’s teeth, but they weren't deep. Killer, my Amigo, was fairly gentle. He just held on. The cops said the most damage was from his struggling.
Dad said, as he looked at Killer, "That dog sure is ‘tenacious.’” And then he looked at me and smiled. “Just like my daughter,” he added, smiling. “It took a lot of tenacity to tame that beast, and Tiny Lee, you did it.”
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I have tentatively chosen the word
Tenacious (or tenacity)
as the word for this week.
If you want to play along, please leave a note below. Hopefully, Friday, or Saturday, for the late players, I will post the links. I would deeply appreciate it if anyone who can would give me ACTUAL LINKS to your posts.
I do not know how to make this word/post appear in the portal.
- The company has a tenacious hold on the market.
- tenacious trainer, she adheres to her grueling swimming schedule no matter what>
- But raw capitalism has also proved tenacious, evolving its own means of endlessly restimulating consumption … —Nicholas Fraser, Harper's, November 2003
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I wanted to use the same pens Gretchen used in this collaboration, and I sent away for them, and waited and when they came, I was away for a week. turns out they aren't exactly the same anyway. But they look closer in person than they do here.
This is a collaboration with both Gretchen and Roma, sort of. I used Roma's frayed rope girl on a swing. I'm picturing her swinging from a hot air balloon. My hands aren't as steady and Gretchen's, either, I'm sorry to say. If you'd like to see Gretchen's original first half of the collaboration, it is here. Roma's is here.
The sad saw of violins, cellos, bass
lowers the temperature in the room
five degrees, ten degrees, twenty degrees.
Snow falls from the darkening ceiling,
gathers on the small shelves of our lips
and filters through our minds, erasing
hope and love and leaving
only blank white in its wake,
white that greys and darkens
until every tear is frozen
in night's icy symphony.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Weekword this week, quixotic, is being hosted by Carmen at Tales of a Biomouse. Take a moment to visit her to see her take on the word and the other weekworders who are particiapting. It is always fun and informative, so why not join in? Let Carmen know.
I love the word quixotic, and its many implications, but it is not a word I use often, so I don't have a lot of preformed thoughts about it. I did, of course, read Don Quixote, many years ago.
From the Teeth of a Shrew
I write microscopic poems, each line etched
on a grain of rice, each grain strung on a gossamer strand
and hung in the trees like holiday garlands,
though the August sun and the abundance
of black-eyed Susans speak of another season. Birds
lift the tiny poems from the trees and weave them
into their nests. Squirrels eat them for breakfast and children
drape them round their necks and set my words
to a music of lilting chants. See how I dance
on the roof-tops, small hands clasped in mine.
If you found a poem in the teeth of a rat
or among the entrails of a mole the cat
dragged in, you might recognize the words,
buffed to a polish with finer and finer scratches,
but torn ragged, first, from dreams
for Bill Olsen
Here is a self-portrait of me, feeling "quixotic," ready to go out adventuring and tilt some windmills:
Of course, I will have to take along my CPAP and some tylenol for my fibromyalgia!
Definition of QUIXOTIC
Examples of QUIXOTIC
- They had quixotic dreams about the future.
- In … an earnest book-length essay of neo-Victorian public-mindedness that deplores the “nasty, knowing abuse” that the author would have us fear contaminates too much American humor lately, David Denby, a movie critic forThe New Yorker, sets for himself what has to be one of the most quixotic projects that a moral reformer can undertake. —Walter Kirn, New York Times Book Review, 22 Feb. 2009
Origin of QUIXOTIC
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
"Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way . . ."
We were a long ways from perfect, but today, young people have no respect. (Or very little).
I got some new pens from Andrea--0h goodie--for participating in her collaboration challenge on Something Different. I love those blue energels. I doodled a little doodle first in the back of my Round ONE Mole--which still has some blank pages. Once I got a feel for them, I did a collaborative piece for Ammon. I have one more piece to do in Andrea's Mole, sorry it's taking so long--but it's a good thing I did not take the mole with me, because we got POURED ON camping and everything got soaked!!!! These came out in the wrong order. The collaboration is on top. The doodle to try out the pens is on the bottom. Both images enlarge if you click on them. The doodle enlarges to bigger than it is in real life, at least on my screen.
Monday, August 08, 2011
We're made it safely home and need to finish unpacking and drying and repacking all our soaked gear! We got caught in a downpour trying to break camp yesterday morning.