Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thought for the Week -

Art is the most passionate orgy within man's grasp. 
~ John Doone

Confession Tuesday - After all these years, it's still the car biting my ass.

Dear Reader:

It has been one week and one more wedding anniversary since my last confession.

It's actually been a lot of things.... another week of more rain than not, Another Poet Tarot Card Drawn - this one John Donne,  as well as a car repair completed and another one deeded.  Shall we get started...

Reader, I'm water logged. I've had it all the way up to the flippers that I have sprouted. I'm tired of the rain. I know I have complained about this for weeks - seems like months now. I confess I will say no more today about this, but you know what I'm thinking.

Yesterday was our 41st wedding anniversary. I confess that it both seems like a long time and not so long. I can't really explain how this can be, just trust me it can and it does. I confess that I feel very nostalgic for many things of our early marriage days. I confess that sometimes I wonder how we got where we are, but mostly I am amazed that given our very young  ages at marriage I confess  this is one of the best decisions I have made in life.

So this week I drew another Poet Tarot card from the deck. The result was the card for the poet John Donne. This Donne dude is an interesting character (but you could say that about so many poets). Father to 12 children penning erotic poems on one hand and later becoming an Anglican priest. He felt it important to follow one's inner convictions. How do I balance order and chaos in my life? Do I make rules about my creativity that box me in or do I allow room for expansion of rules. Do I give myself room to grow?

When we got married 41 years ago yesterday, I had just picked up my car from the shop the day before. I arrived with it at the church okay, however before the service was over it attempted to move the car in the Church lot and it would not start. We ended up leaving town with a loaner from the repair shop that afternoon.  I confess that the car problems revisited me yesterday - losing coolant (not a good thing) and the this after just putting new rear breaks on it. I can't win.

I confess that this wraps up my confession for this week. Until next week, stay safe and have a good life!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A few Quotes on Fathers

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. - Enid Bagnold

I pressed my father's hand and told him I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land. - Chief Joseph

When one has not had a good father, one must create one. -Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Confession Tuesday INFP Edition

Dear Reader:

I humbly come to you on Wednesday as opposed to Tuesday. But actually I believe it’s been two weeks since my last confession. Two more weeks of more rain than not. On NBA series that went down the tubes, some miscellaneous allergies, a new poetry book in the mail, another book finished and yet another started. A couple of new poem drafts, one of which I believe is close to being able to fly out into the world. With that out of the way, Let’s get started.

In 2005 I took one of the Myers & Briggs personality tests. (on a side note they always make me think of lawn mowers – you know, Briggs & Stratton engines, but I digress) The test 10 years ago confirmed basically the same results as one a couple years earlier.  My results pointed to being an ENFP.  That would be Extraversion, I(N)troversion, Feeling and Perceiving. This week I was curious and I too the test again. The results changed.

I confess that based on my most recent test I am no longer an extrovert but instead I am an introvert. How is this possible, you say? Well I don’t honestly have a conclusionary finding, but speculation. Incidentally the other three factors NFP remained the same from the first two tests. But here are some hunches:

·         When taking the test I would sometimes struggle with answers because there was often not a definitive answer. Example, with your lunch you always drink a Diet Coke. Answer Y/N.  Well I don’t always have a Diet Coke with lunch but I don’t always NOT have one. Fact is more often than not I have one. To answer Yes or No really would not be correct by yes would be more correct than no. So I choose yes.  Ten years ago I was still more involved in electoral politics that I have been presently. When in campaign mode I don’t really have a choice as to engaging with others or not.  So this has somewhat changed for me.  Even when I took this test the first time I was thinking to myself that I may well have a different personality under different circumstances. I believe this could account for such response.
·         In mentioning this to someone else who knows my writing history, she has pointed out that in particular, I have been writing over the past ten years. And in recent years even more than ever. Because of this, it was suggested that as I have become immersed in writing I have perhaps tended to turn more inward in my personality. I confess, this makes a lot of sense.
So you may be asking what is a INFP supposed to look like? A brief description I found looks like this:

  1.       Primary mode of living is focused internally. This is where you deal with things according to how you feel about them or how they fit with your personal value system. Secondary modeis external and here, I take things primarily via my intuition.
  2.        INFP types are more than any other types are focused on making the world a better place for people. Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity? They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive  themselves hard in their quest to achieve the goals they have identified.
  3.        They are highly intuitive about people. Rely heavily upon intuition and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. There are on a mission to find truth and meaning.  Every encounter, every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through their value system.
  4.        They are generally thoughtful and considerate. Good listeners – can put people at ease, though sometimes reserved in expressing emotion, they are deeply caring.
  5.        They do not like conflict and try hard to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict, they place little importance on who is right or wrong but on how the conflict makes them feel. This can a times make them seem irrational in conflict situations. They can make good mediators and do well at problem solving for others.
  6.        They are flexible and laid back until one of their values is violated  They can become aggressive defenders and fight with passion for a cause.
  7.        As to the mundane details of life maintenance, they are typically unaware of such things. They might go long periods of time without noticing a stain on the carpet. but brush a speck off a file they are working on.
  8.       Don’t like dealing with hard facts and logic. Focus is on feelings and the Human Condition. Most will avoid impersonal analysis, though some have developed the ability to be quite logical.  Under stress it’s not uncommon for them to mis-use hard logic, especially when angry.
  9.       They generally have high standards and are professionals and tend to be hard on themselves. Often do not give themselves credit. They may have problems working on projects in groups because of their standards and therefore have control issues.  They need to learn to balance high ideals with requirements for daily living otherwise they can become paralyzed or confused about what to do.
  10.    .  They make talented writes. They may be awkward or uncomfortable at expressing themselves verbally but do well putting feelings on paper. They also frequently make good social service professionals like counselors and teachers.

I can see myself filling into much of this.

Are there anyone else out there who is an INFP that wants to share their thoughts about these characteristics?  Or For that matter are you another M & B type, what has the knowledge of your personality type meant for you? Has it ever caused you to attempt to compensate in one area or another? Has knowing you type helped you in life?  I confess that I find all this very interesting. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Synopsis

I am aware that there are parts of this country desperately in need of rain. Honestly, we've had more that our share here and I'd love to share it with those who could really use it. Most parts of our metropolitan area have had between 11 and 12.5 inches of rain in the past 30 days. It rained again today.

I can honestly say that the rain and cloudy weather have taken a tole on me. There are other factors but I've felt a bit depressed this week and I can honestly say that  the dreariness is a contributing factor.

This afternoon I ventured out to attend a poetry group meeting in Northland. Shared poetry, our own and other works of interest. As often is the case, we conclude with a writing prompt that we work on and most will share their draft. I also tested a newer draft I brought along to test the waters. I would say that it stayed afloat.

Wouldn't you know it, on the way home the rain came through once again. Some times I feel like it's the same storm front doing circles. It's crazy.

I've been busy planing my submissions for the weeks ahead. Working on new material, and reading. Presently I'm reading, Why God is a Woman, by Nin Andrews.

I am discontinuing my Journal of Creative Exploration blog. This blog was based on my  exploring various elements of creativity and challenges of a creative life based on my  weekly use of the Poet Tarot Cards created by Two Sylvias Press. I continue to use them and will perhaps mention my usage periodically  here but not the sharing of a larger dedicated weekly post.

I did draw a new poet card today.  Marianne Moore is my card for this week. I'll be communing with her most likely about clarity of goals this week. I will acknowledge that  recent weeks have moved me in an area of procrastination - trying to organize a small  group to workshop our writing. The practical application of allowing yourself to be influenced by these cards really can be beneficial. If you are open to it, you can let them lead you into places that you are too fearful to tackle.

I'm feeling a little less dark already. Not that dark is a bad thing.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sandra Beasley - Theories of Falling

While I was at AWP15 in April, it was my intent to pick up a book or two of Sandra Beasley's.  As it would happen, her books were sold out by the time I reached her table and as a result it became one of a couple I ordered upon return home from my money budgeted for books at the conference. I have finished it (I have an enormous stack of books I am reading through as a result of AWP)

This is not a new book, though she has a new one out - Count The Waves  which I hope to read soon.

 Here is my review of her book Theories of Falling

Sandra Beasley throws a parade in Theories of Falling; a parade to impress us with the many reasons not to love her.  The Allergy Girl, wasting away as an infant.  Her bloodstream equal to a Fisher Price workbench. The wheezing, rashes, the dangers of a tainted kiss.

Beasley’s book of poetry has a lingering quality that toys with you and requires that you pick it up again and again as if it were the antidote that saves you from something, perhaps boredom. She guarantees you can walk away from going over Niagara Falls if you do it just right. But warns you’ll just die in a poor house.

There is an intimate nature here, an uncovering of truth. As if she slowly peels back layers that we might see beneath the surface of our prescribed reality to find something altogether more real than we imagined. The poems collectively have an affluence of lyricism. The substance, the metaphor all come together nicely. There is nothing more you will want, except more of her work.

As for Beasley’s parade to dissuade our affection, she is indeed wasting the elephants and ticker tape, it isn't working.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Revisions, Organizing and Mixing it Up This Next Week.

I started this weekend Friday night dog sitting for my son. This lent itself well to getting some reading and writing done however Saturday we less productive. I was uncertain how my schedule would evolve so I use the time a little more loosely checking out some poetry stuff on You Tube.

Among other thing I listened to some You Tube material that featured Sandra Beasley. I have been reading Theories Of Falling and enjoying it immensely.  I've been aware of Beasley for a number of years  as reader of her blog Chicks Dig Poetry so she has been on my radar but I heard her read at AWP15 in April and that rejuvenated my interest in her work.

Of the You Tube video clips I listened to of Sandra Beasley, the workshop she did on April 15 of this year - there were a number of things that stuck with me. However, none quite as much as her comments on revision.
"There are many talented people who can write great first drafts. The people who will become poets are the ones who fall in love with revision."  Sandra adds that she is not one who can do great first drafts. She says she was not the best in her undergraduate class, but adds that she is here today because of revisions and that she has a determination to stay with the process.
There is no question in my mind that Sandra Beasley is doing something right. She is after all writing full time these days and has a number of honors and awards that she can claim. Aside from all that, as impressive as it may be, her work resonates with me. She is one a number of poets that are inspiring to me as a writer.

In addition to this, I have begun this past week to be a better organized poet practitioner.  Planning is something  that I often wish I as better at and I am trying now to make that a reality. So I am busy plotting out plans, deadlines, goals today. All this in an effort to be better at my writing. To produce poetry that I am significantly more satisfied with.

And it is Sunday...  So today, I have drawn another Poet Tarot Card from the deck and as it is, I will be answering to the Two of Quills this week.  So, it is my task this week to look for ways to challenge my established routines. Try writing in other locations. Write at different times. Disrupt the usual. Establish new niches. Write at a coffee shop. Write at different times in the day. Stretch my writing mussels by exercising/executing my creativity differently.

This week I will trace some of those things I approach differently and reflect upon changes and what impact they have on my poetry, positively or negatively as the case may be.

On thing I know I will be paying more attention to is revising work.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Confession Tuesday - Water Water Everywhere Edition

Dear Reader:

It’s been a week since my last confession. The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner has nothing on us.

Yes, I confess the rain continues to annoy. Did I say annoy? I’m not sure that is strong enough language. Seattle? Portland? Are you guys missing some rain? We’ll send it back.

I confess that I got on an organizing kick this past week and designed a single page weekly plan sheet to help me stay focused and do what I need to do where my writing and writerly related functions are concerned. It’s in a PDF format, nothing elaborate but it helps me plan things out and then I am able to transfer everything to my planner on my tablet. It’s sort of a Capricorn thing to do.

Summer is coming, June 21st – just weeks away. I’ve been thinking that it’s about time
for me to do another annual Poet Crush List. The only problem is that right now I am into so many good poets that I confess this year it’s going to be hard to do a 10 poet list.  
This is something I will have to contemplate in the next couple of weeks.

It has occurred to me that our Public Library system has not had any poets in to do readings for a while. They used to be so good about this. I confess that I feel obliged to make some calls and see if anything is in the works or if they could be encouraged to start planning some events for later this year.

That’s about it for this week folks. Stay safe, wear your life jacket. Pray the rain gives us a break.