Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today was just awesome. The Thursday Life Story Writing group had some wonderful stories to share. What a great group of women with amazing lives and stories to tell and all are becoming better and better writers which is so fine. Border's coffee shop can be quite noisy when the blending or grinding machines are going but we manage pretty well. We will meet 2 times in August and then it is back to Alvin Community College for Gilbert's class.
This afternoon I picked up artist and sister/friend Betty to see the exhibit at the Menil Art Museum. If you ever get to Houston, put this beautiful building on your list. We are so fortunate here to have had the Menils as Houston residents with their passion for the arts and willingness to share it in such a beautiful manner. I loved the work of Sterne and Steinberg...delightful drawings. I loved his drawings with a lyrical calligraphic touch...very humorous and fun. You might recognize his work in the New Yorker magazine. And his wife was a wonderful painter to whom I can so relate...she never gained much recognition because critics claim she never had a particular style. She tried lots of things and I suppose in the art world that doesn't create what the critics would call "a body of work". I have the same problem.
We actually went to see the Menil's NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith exhibit. Very interesting work, lots of assemblage. A large sculpture of golf bags stacked up around a tall cardboard cylinder...sounds corny but it was interesting. Most impressive to me in the show was the work of Doris Salcedo. Her piece, Atrabiliarios, commemorates those who have disappeared amid political violence in her native Columbia. Actual shoes of the victims are inserted into niches in the wall which are covered with transparent animal skin and stitched all around with black thread...seen and not seen.
Then it was on to a great salad at Pronto's on Montrose before the opening of the WIVLA show at the Museum of Printing History. I have a collaged photograph in the show titled "Unabridged". It is a nice show and there was a great turnout at the opening reception.
What a great approaching midnight and I'm about to turn into a pumpkin.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Poets galore!

Poets galore!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig with enough poetic lines to fill my soul and ears to last for a least a week or two. The picture above is of the Texas Poet Laureate of 2008, Larry Thomas, a charming man, great poet, who read poems about Texas...all over Texas!
I met lots of interesting people and found myself along with my girlfriend, Barbara, middle-aged among the aged. There were women there I'm sure were marching upon 90 years. Does one have to be ancient to write poetry? I don't know whether to be encouraged or discouraged...most of the group have been writing for 20 or more years and have published, published, published. Of course, some have published great poems, others have published some not-so-great but that seems to be the name of the game. Why is it that I can't seem to get excited about seeing my stuff in print?
At the late night readings I either broke new ground or will never be allowed up front again. Yeah, I've done it again. I read my poem about my crush on my Lyme Disease doc called "Breathless on the table". The last stanza says something about leaving with "a handful of prescriptions and a juicy crotch." OMG, there was a roar...evidently it bordered on new ground, the edge of passion and desire. Two guys came up afterwards saying they wished they had gone to medical school; one said he wished that there were more poetry like it and that he noted that the woman who has been know to walk out at profanity had stayed. Maybe it had been a long time since she had had a juicy crotch...who knows. A few women said they loved it. Anyway such was my debut into the Poet's Society of Texas. I think I made an entrance that wasn't planned.
Lots of really good poetry was read and what a broad spectrum of topics. Much to learn and live up to and I'm definitely challenged.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Museum of Printing History to help with registration and to take my entry. Should be fun.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Robert Genn

Robert Genn

If you are an artist and haven't checked out Robert Genn's newsletter, you have been missing out on an articulate accomplished artist's wisdom. For a long time I have felt that my art making is my spiritual work, that God steps in and guides me into other realms. Painting is like prayer work and this week Genn offers his prayer which says it all better than I can:

"The spiritual," said Thomas Carlyle, "is the parent of the practical." Many years ago I wrote myself a private prayer. I've repeated it in a couple of books and tacked it on the wall of my studio. Here, under the dripping cedar-boughs of a Queen Charlotte's forest cathedral, I find my prayer again on a folded paper down in the sticky part of a much-travelled paintbox. It contains the sort of innocent zeal found in many youthful conversions, but it's still welcome:

The world's engagement of beauty is my bible,

And Art is my religion.

I come to it as a child.

I add all the grown wisdom I can gather.

Creativity is my salvation.

My easel is the altar.

My paints are the sacraments.

My brush is my soul's movement,

and to do poorly, or not to work, is a sin.

Robert Genn

Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4th and a poem

Happy 4th

This ATC is called peace and as we celebrate the 4th I feel so blessed to enjoy the freedom that we have in this country. Alarmed as I may get over the war and the transgressions that this administration seems to gallantly tred over our constitution I am grateful that as a woman I can vote, practice the faith of my choice and have the right to make choices over my body, at least at this point.
On another note, I have learned I have won a prize for one of my poems in a small local competition. Does that make me a prize-winning poet? Wheeeee! I may have posted this before but here is the last revision that won:

Deductible not Met
All I wanted was a postcard, not a drama.
I’m in it now, reluctant player
waiting for my turn to pay.
“$362.43”, speaks the pharmacist from behind the counter.
Tremors run through the tiny wrinkled body standing right in front of me
as she struggles with her wallet in a worn and ancient bag.
“Before, I paid only $20.”
“Deductible not met” replies a firm authority.
“That can’t be true,” she says,
“Give me back my paper. I’ll take it some place else.”
“Sorry, can’t do that,” he says,
“It’s in our system now, can’t be removed.”
Filled with empathy and anger,
I want to jump up on the counter,
scream and holler, call it wrong, wrong, wrong,
then pay her crazy bill.
But I don’t.
“I don’t have that much money, I need the medicine today,” she says.
Just give me back my prescription. “
He shakes a no, looks beyond her shrinking form.
“Next, please.”
Her hand falls limply to her side; she turns and walks away.
“Don’t make a scene, don’t interfere,
not much time to stay, really not my business,” I tell myself.
“Hell’s bells,” says the other voice,
“Someone needs to speak, to stand against injustice.”
My tourist self takes over, wrapped in a cloak of guilt,
walks toward my family waiting in the car
but I never, ever forget this old woman.