Sunday, May 31, 2015

Frou Frou - Hear Me Out





"I'm a slow motion accident, lost in coffee rings and finger-prints..."

Magnetic Poetry: "Abroad"



I used two separate apps to create this:  a magnetic poetry app and a wallpaper app.

Usually I find a picture that appeals to me, then I work the words around it.



Posted and shared for the lovely community at Poets United.

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Summer 2015 To-Do List



Summer has arrived!  Usually it's nice just to relax during the Summer months, and I intend to do so.  But I'd also like to stay productive and take advantage of my free time by doing some fun things (and hopefully making some memories too).

I've compiled some things I want to do to make sure I stay motivated, busy, and happy throughout the grueling Summer months.  (And trust me when I say, Southern summers are HOT!)

1.  Read more chick lit.  Seriously...it was one of my first reading loves.  I devoured smart, literary chick lit during my first few years of college.  I miss those intelligent, classy gals forever in search of suitable careers and the perfect apartment.  

2.  Spend more time with my sketch book.  I love to draw, but you probably would never guess it...I spend most of my artistic energy with Photoshop and PSP.  Not this summer!  I want to get back to my roots...my pencil and paper roots.

3.  Take a mini road trip to somewhere new.  Doesn't have to be the Bahamas (okay, that would require a plane trip, you get the drift!) or even a full-fledged vacation.  Just a fun day spent driving somewhere with a different horizon than this little ole town.

4.  Complete the Five Mile Challenge in June.  The idea is to get more physically fit through walking.  You can read about it in full detail here.  

5.  Visit the independent cafes and coffee shops in my area (and surrounding areas).  I have a certain fetish for coffee, coffee shops, cafes, and bookstores.  They make me happy.  And I want to be as happy as possible...and frequenting some new java places will help me reach my bliss quota.

6.  Watch the Stars.  The sky has such a profound influence upon my writing...the most fascinating subject matter for my poetry and art usually includes the moon and stars.  Who even needs a telescope?  I have the hood of my car and a few blankets.  Might even include a glass of iced tea!  Doesn't it just sound lovely?

7.  Complete the Summer Reading Program with my daughter.  Runs from June into July at our local public library.  I think she's going to have  a blast with all the stories and art projects.  (I won't lie, I'm going to love it just as much as she!)

8.  Spend some in person time with friends.  Seriously, I've become a hermit.  You guys are fascinating...the blogs, the poetry community, my press and websites, my books and art...i LOVE them.  But I need to get out into the real world every now and then (for more than groceries and iced coffee lol).

9.  Get outside MORE.  This is different than #8.  This means actually outdoors.  I got a plan for this, I'll post it later...it includes fun things like water balloons, concrete chalk, bubbles (and more) ....all starring my daughter!  :)

10.  Prepare/try/create/ summery food and drinks.  Again, I need to make a list.  A few I can think of right now are fresh fruit salad, iced hot chocolate, homemade ice cream, fun ice cube pops.


So there you have it...all the great ways I'm hoping to stay busy these next three months.  I'll update things as I complete them!  Hopefully I'll remember to take some entertaining photos as well.

We'll talk about all this again soon!
=)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Indie Rifting



Nothing ever feels as free
As the wide-open flail
Of falling into the beat,
A kind of self-initiated spell,
Not even my own arms
Belong to me, nary joint
Or capillary, each move
A piece of art choreographed
By accident, a mis-shuffled step,
A displaced shift of weight,
Realignment of bone structure,
The ligament bending where
The skin stretches me toward
A drum-induced hypnotism,
Hair spinning, lips kissing air,
Invisible microphones tripping
My legs and breasts in the same
Step until the last rift drops
And I become the woman
The world knows as only
One woman, once again.


Written for a prompt at Toads.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"Our Cozy Coop"

"Our Cozy Coop"


"You ain’t gotta ask what I did to my hair
Or whose underwear’s on the line
It ain’t mine
I ain’t gonna ask who's been mowing your grass
So you ain’t gotta ask who mows mine
Quit judging my job and my car and my clothes
Get your nose out of your mini-blinds"
~Kacey Musgraves~



(thought I'd make a home-sweet-home that was a little off the beaten path.  i didn't spend a terrible amount of time with it, but i did have fun!)

created for an art challenge at Take A Word.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Green Pepper Spaghetti

This is an old recipe that was handed down from my grandmother (given to her by her mother) to my father, and now to me.

I absolutely love pasta.  And this recipe is so simple to make!  And oh-so-good, too!




Before you begin making your sauce, go ahead and put some noodles on to boil in another cooker!  Usually I make about 1/2 a box of spaghetti noodles for this sauce.  


Green Pepper Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients:

1 large green pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced (optional:  large can of diced tomatoes)
1 large can of tomato juice
1 small pack of hamburger (this is optional.  i've also used pre-made meatballs too)
salt and pepper to taste (i go light on both)


Directions:

dump everything into a large cooker.  bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.  stir often so nothing burns to the bottom.  and make sure your hamburger is browned and the veggies are tender!

drain the noodles from the other pot.  place them back in their original pot and immediately pour the finished sauce on top.  (if you leave drained noodles sitting without water, they tend to get hard and rubbery!).

then enjoy!  awesome spaghetti made simple.






This recipe makes about ten 1 cup servings.  Best part of all is, it's low-fat and takes less than 1/2 an hour to prepare.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Lotus Song



It is late Sunday,
A cool breeze reaches to me,
Heavy-breathed and evading
The fading halo of sun
Outside my windowed doors,
Tickles my toes, ruffling
The raveled, fickle edges
Of my ‘writer’s recliner.’

I am alone, holy silence,
My corner livingroom
A one-woman séance
I bend into, sway of my
Thirty-something hips
As I light three candles.
Three blind moons bloom,
A bright petal to my waking muse.

Night feels like a wet beach towel
Across the back patio, umbrella swimming
The atmosphere like a ghost coming home,
My house smelling of coffee,
Microwave-roasted, and still sublime.
The cinnamon and brown-sugar of a
Sweet roll, my gift offering
To the God of my empty pages.

I think of Buddha and the
Cherokee-Irish of my late grandmothers,
Then press my being into the pen,
My notebook a square-backed cupola,
My trip across the inkwell sky,
Each written line a footpath between the stars,
Jupiter swaying across the horizon
Like an old-fashioned tire swing.


Posted and Shared for the lovely community at Poets United.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Incineration of Summers Past


Five summers ago
I won you,
A kind of brittle love
Embryonic as a
Winning raffle ticket.
I pushed your ideas
Between pages of poetry,
All those unread books
That lined the walls
Of my livingroom.
Too many books,
You’d always say.
The same summer
I gathered the words
Of your throw-away stories,
The poems you shunned
Like an angry Whitman,
As if Whitman could
Ever be angered.
Still, I stuffed them
Inside my own mouth,
So that when I spoke
Only you would come out.
We’d spend whole days
Writing inside leather-bound
Journals, sometimes you
Falling asleep while I sneaked
A look at the things
You had to say about me.
And at night we’d drive
Miles outside the city,
Our long conversations spoken
To the harmony of
Cicadas and country frogs.
We’d eat barbecue wings
On the back porch,
Old as the oldest couple
At heart, while slathering ribs,
Negating modern-day philosophy.
We’d hold hands, an
Affectionate thing we did
Without emotional dependency,
And listen to the radio,
Voice of the newsman
Foreshadowing the rain
We would await, although
Sometimes it never came.
I rarely remember those days now,
Precocious children blocked
Inside an old dated calendar
No one keeps time to anymore.
The walls of my bedroom
Now absent your half-completed
Pages of poetry, the wildlife murals,
Shelves-full of Rumi and
The old college-dorm expressionist
Art you found in the
Parking lot dumpster that day.
Friday night has succumbed
To a dreary corner chair,
The lonesome melody of
My steady laptop keys,
A muse whose grip is
Greater than any greed.
Each summer since then
Has been a cerulean,
Teary-eyed homecoming,
A loft-full of whispering eaves,
Each afternoon a recession
Of the one before, time-lapse
Of history paused on repeat,
Days full of sun folded between
Perfectly-woven croissants,
My rare, home-made delicacy,
And dandelions in a clay tea-pot,
Pouring petals, their wings 
full of my wishes as
they swim toward the sky.
Steady, weightless things.

Written for a prompt at Pink.Girl.Ink.
Shared with Open Link Night at dVerse Poetry.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Me-Flection Day #9: Turn to the Side

"Inside Old Skin"

The Challenge: Create a profile self-portrait to honor a "side" of you that needs more attention.

I chose to honor my 'rebel' side.

So much of life seems to require that we tame our wilder selves.  That we fit perfectly into whatever roles society feels we should inhabit as mothers, or scholars, responsible human beings.  As men, women, children...society governs what characteristics make you normal or deviant.

 I wanted to honor the part of myself that lets her hair down, that prowls the night for something interesting to get into...I don't think I've done anything of the sort since I became a mother.  I think you can be a responsible person, yet stay in touch with your wild side.

I'd like to try to get to know that carefree, fun-loving girl again.  That brave girl who never met a stranger and never cared what they thought even when she did.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2am...



...on a Monday morning
And the  chicken-scrawl
Tells of stories, clocks-full
Of words unfolding lives
I’ve lived before;  dead poets
Whose memories have
Chosen me for capture.
Then there’s the times I go
Whole days without writing.
Like any angry lover,
I shun the words.
The composition calls to me,
I throw the words back,
Room-full of their greedy echoes.
I swim their symbolism
To the empty of my bed,
Crawl into books not
Written by me, they become
The friends I never had;
My very own form of
Fading away for a while.

Written for a prompt at dVerse Poets.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I Read YA: May 18th-May 24th





This is I Read YA week.  Technically, you read nothing but YA this week, Monday through Friday.  But seeing as I read every day of the week, anyway, I'm extending my YA reading for the whole week!

It's easy to participate.  Follow this link and share the banner as your profile picture on social media for this week.  You could opt for just sharing it on your page or blog.  Whichever suits your taste, so long as you're spreading the word and reading some YA!




Southern Pea Salad

I was in a cooking kinda mood the other night.  Really, it was a random thing.  I thought about making something quick and fun, like potato salad...but who wants to wait for potatoes to cook?  No, I needed a more instant gratification.

Besides salad or a can of soup, or a papery TV dinner...what else could I make in a jiffy?  That's when I remembered the awesome pea salad I discovered at a recent Easter cookout.

And, oh my, am I happy I tried this one!





The Recipe:

2 cans of peas, drained
1 cup of mayonaise
1/2 cup  of Sharp Cheddar, cut into cubes
1/2 cup of honey-smoked ham, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all into a large bowl.  Chill for about an hour.  Then eat!  Yummm.

My pea salad turned out amazing...seriously, I ate three bowls-full!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Me-Flection Day #8: Be Multi-MEdia

The Challenge: Create a truly multi-media self-portrait to celebrate your multi-faceted interests and ideas.



I'll admit I don't usually create collages like this in digital form, although I do love clipping magazine images and creating them in my real-paper art journal.

I think this piece does quite well in portraying all the different aspects of myself...my love of words, cats, coffee, good music, my new age hippie tendencies, stars and moon, the type of lifestyle I try to live, my foray into the arts (digital and otherwise)...the colors and text.

I'm pretty happy with the end result.  

Me-Flection Day #7: Change Your Colors

The Challenge: Create a self-portrait that illustrates personal changes you'd like to make, using a color palette that you don't normally use.  



Some little changes I decided to make in my life pertained to having a sunnier disposition (sometimes I can be so serious, probably too serious).  I want to be more light-hearted, sort of the kind of person who throws their worries into the wind and allows things to lad where they will.  Because, let's get real, we can't control everything, not even when we worry about things constantly.

I also want to be more cheery, to smile more often (a genuine smile) and to get out and explore the world more (I've always been a homebody).

Then I chose some colors that I don't usually use in my artwork:  bright earth-tones, lots of orange and bright green...bright colors!  

When I looked at the changes I wanted to make in my life, and I observed them against the bright colors, they do seem symbolic:  i want brighter days.  Less worrisome, serious days.  And more smiles.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Me-Flection Day #6: Portray Your Pain

The Challenge: Create a self-portrait that illustrates pain you have experienced - either in the present or at some point in the past - and use the art-making process as a way to apply healing to the area of pain.


"You Can't Go Back"


This prompt automatically took me back to the pain of my childhood.  My early years (gradeschool mostly) was littered with the loss of family members whom I lost to death (the most resounding was that of my grandmother).  For years I was haunted by funeral homes and wakes (I still can't attend one at the age of 33).  I believe I was traumatized, as the mere thought of a wake gives me extreme anxiety.  

I also feel that I was somehow cheated...I never got to know my favorite aunt.  And I've always wondered what advice my grandmother would have given my adult self.  It's painful business!

My childhood also came with another type of pain altogether:  a feeling of exclusion.  Not particularly by choice, I just always felt different than other kids my age.  I thought on a different level, I relished in homework where they complained.  I learned to read and write before I even began kindergarten.  Back then I felt as if I stood out...now, as I look back, I realize I was just gifted.  I was more mentally mature than my peers, more intrinsic (perhaps my pain was the cause of my exceeding the emotional maturity for my age group).  Yet...because I knew so much, felt so much, was so observant, I oftentimes had trouble communicating and connecting with other kids my age.

I chose to create this picture because it took me back to memories of spending summer days at the lake with my family.  I miss the liberty of wearing a bathing suit without worry.  I miss having a close extended family.  I miss childhood friends I've lost touch with over the years.  But most of all, I feel that this picture is symbolic of a mature woman who is still holding onto pieces of her childhood.  And that's okay with me.  I have resolved much of my pain, and I've grown the better for it.  But I will always cherish my memories.

Me-Flection Day #5: Give Yourself a Hand

The Challenge: Experience being in the present moment as you create a portrait of your own hands.


"Reaching Past the Stars"

Taking a few moments to bring my attention to only my hands heightened my consciousness about these two extensions of myself...how my hands have been by my side (literally) throughout every moment of my life.  

Just thinking about this brings an awareness of how grateful I am to have two moving hands...all they have done for me, and for the way they have allowed me to experience the world on a deeper level than any other body part ever has.  To grasp, hold, feel and know different textures and temperatures and material.  It astounds me to think about it, how things you're born with (things you take for granted) enrich your life so much, yet because we never really stop to think about it, we would never notice unless we actually lost the body part!

When I think about my hands...what kind of insight I am offered when I merely reflect and engage with my hands...I see the past and present collide.  I see little parts of my forefathers and forefathers inside my hands...their shape, contour, skin color passed from one generation to the next.  I see my life memories.

I used to love looking at my grandmother's hands.  I would hold them in my own, something about holding hands with her just made me feel so much closer to her person.  At times I'd catch myself looking at her hands as she dialed the telephone or wrote something.  It was one of the things I loved about her, the way she moved her hands (along with the way her reading glasses would ride down the ridge of her nose as she tried to read something).  Yet, when I gazed at her hands I felt as if I were looking into her past...all the dinners she cooked, the children whose bottles she made, all the things she'd held closely and perhaps had been forced to also let go of....my grandfather, her youth?  

There's so much to be said, seen, remembered in someone's hands.

And the image I created from this exercise seems to be speaking to me:  don't just reach for the stars, reach past them.  It's not a matter of how far your arm will extend, but more about how deeply you can dream, and how meaningful the things you hold onto!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Me-Flection Day #4: Rediscover Your Childhood Wisdom


The Challenge: Answer a specific question you have by creating a self-portrait using photograph of yourself as a child.


"Remember the Magic"

My Question:  How do I deal with this feeling of listlessness, this bored feeling of being stuck?

I suppose this is a problem that a lot of working-from-home moms have.  Sometimes, even when I have stacks of work to do, that ole listless feeling of boredom creeps in. 

But as I gathered images to create this portrait of my younger self, I felt a gentle tapping into that inner child that I once was.  The process of creating this image urged me to this question:  Why was I never bored, listless, 'stuck in a rut' as my childhood self?

And as I continued to work at recapturing the essence of my younger self, the answer slowly emerged:  because as a child, I believed in magic...I relished in my imaginative tendencies.  Back then my creativity led me to grand ideas, wonderful places, exotic trips....all from the floor of my bedroom.  

I remember a dollhouse I received as a gift in the fifth grade.  It became an evening ritual for me.  My sister would take reign of the remote control and zone out in front of the TV to shows like The Brady Bunch while I created and recreated worlds, stories, grand scenes with my dollhouse.  Sometimes dolls inhabited them, other times families of animals ran the household.  But for me, that time was magical.  Still, to this day, I hold a dear fondness for dollhouses.  I think they are probably one of the most magical toys you can give a child (next to a pack of crayons and some blank paper).  That's why all the heavy technological emphasis on toys now days just makes me sad...so many kids are losing their magic before they even find it.

I firmly believe that in order to find happiness as an adult, I need to allow my inner child the liberty to roam free sometimes.  I suppose this happens quite often in my artwork and my poetry.   Yet somehow these activities always seem to have such a serious structure:  they must be perfect, they must be outstanding.  My younger self didn't bother with perfections, she just lost herself joyfully in the act of imagining and creating.  I want to do be able to do that again!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Me-Flection Day #3: Interact With the World

The Challenge: Create a self-portrait that depicts your interactive relationship with the world.

The Process:  Today's challenge is to create a self-portrait, using any media, that illustrates your interactive relationship with the world.

"A Certain Kind of Stillness"

The idea was to beging with filling in the lines:  I ____________ the world.

Your create 12 of these lines.  Then you extend the statement to:   I ___________ the world, the world __________ me.

Out of these 12 statements, we were to pick the one that resonated most with us and use it as a mantra as we created our piece of artwork.  

The statement I ended up using was:  "I sit in stillness of the world, the world sits in stillness of me."

When I sat in reflection of this statement, I was momentarily astounded.  The prompt asked of us:  "Do you believe the world really offers you that?"  

Wow!  Does the world offer me stillness?  To be honest, until recently (the last year of so) I never sought stillness from the world.  I always looked for what had always been there:  chaos, the rushing, pain, hurt, loss, the wrongs.  Honestly though, to keep seeing those things in the world, or expecting them, is just to dwell on negative aspects of the past.

Recently I began to meditate, to practice yoga, to write in my 'soul journal.'  And you know what?  I did find stillness there.  

So the great epiphany that I uncovered with this prompt is, whatever you look for in this world, you find.  If you want stillness, look for it.  If you want happiness, luck, riches, success...look for it and expect it!

Wow....just wow. 

In this picture, the young girl is sitting alone on a bench at an isolated cabin in the wilderness.  There is life all around her, yet there is a sense of stillness, the peace depicted between herself and the creatures....how they are existing in harmony...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Me-Flection Day #2: Let Your Hair Down

The Challenge: Create a self-portrait in which your hair is an extension of your personality.
Your hair in this self-portrait should be an extension of who you really are.  Don't worry about making your hair look like your "real" hair; instead, make it look like the real YOU!

"Stepping Out of the Gray"

When I created this image, I already had an idea in my head...her hair just had to be pink....and she would need a huge bow to demonstrate what my daily hairstyle really is like (I wear a bow/flower in my hair every single day!).

But really, the idea that resonated with me as I created this artwork, was the idea of stepping out...of fully embodying all the daring, crazy, exciting parts of my personality.  Using the wild hair to display the inner me, the one who fights her way to the surface through the only natural means that ever seemed the proper way to do so:  poetry, writing, words, journals, and now with artistic exploration.

I believe this artwork displays my life path...to live outside the norm, to live loudly (even when I'm being quiet).  The hair says to me:  dare to be weird, be wild, shine your light bright, it might guide someone home (maybe even yourself!).  

The complete composition says to me:  here I am, I'm stepping away from the gray, coming out of the background, I don't want to be fake inside this box; I want to be colorful, I want to be real!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Me-Flection Day #1: Put Yourself on the Map

The Challenge: Create a self-portrait on a map illustrating a time you felt "lost".

Here is my result:

"The Sky-Seeker"

I chose to integrate the outline of the map on the horizon.  For me this symbolizes the searching of the cosmos, the connection with the sky as a road map, the searching of the stars for direction.

This photo reminds me of myself lost in the wilderness of this wild, technologically-crazed world...searching for peace...searching for my Cherokee ancestry.  Searching for stillness enough to look inward.

For the Month of May

The month of April (thank God too!) and the NaPoWriMo challenge is behind me.

So, for the months of May/June I'm going to attempt to keep in-tune with my muse and wax poetic with some digital art by using Artella's Me-Flections Workshop.  I purchased some of her amazingly inspiring workshops quite a while back and have just been pushing them down my to-do list.  But not anymore!

I was also thinking that since that means I'll be posting lots of digital art/journal prompt pieces to this blog, I might as well scratch the idea of an art blog, and keep all my lovely endeavors in-tact at just one place....here!  So, I'll be deleting the so-called art blog and sticking with posting a majority of my work on this blog.

My Me-Flection art/journal posts will begin tonight, if anyone is interested in following along.  I really just share my things here as a platform to collect my ideas and to share my writing and ideas with like-minded friends who stop by, or perhaps anyone who does enjoy reading my work.

Here's to hoping May and June are every bit as fantastically creative as April was (and hopefully less stressful).

NaPoWriMo Day #30

So...at last we have arrived at our last day!

Shew, I think my poetic muse may hide out for a while, I am pretty tired.

I actually ended up reading six books of poetry during this NaPoWriMo.  If you remember, the original idea was to read a book of poetry a day...I found that after real life responsibilities, and then writing, typing, posting my own poem each day, there wasn't a lot of time left for reading.  I'm happy with the six poetry books.

What I think is most important is that I successfully completed the challenge (I wouldn't call it easy, either!).

Today I decided to give myself a break.  Instead of writing with a prompt, I just did a free write.  Since I had been flipping through the collection of poetry Ain't I a Woman, I found a poem that I felt strongly towards and wanted to write to it (with it, in reply to it).

So here goes:


The Non-Diet

-In reply to Diet by Maureen Burge

If I didn’t like my body,
I’d filet it like mignon,
Box it up, the perfect present
For your doorstep, Van Gogh style.

If eating was a weighty kind
Of issue, I’d subtract
The sugar cubes, count my age
In calories and forfeit the daily mocha.

If people-pleasing was the way
I rubbed meatless thighs in vain,
I’d arch my back and count
Each rib, little steps across my chest
Where your lips might have rested.