NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Off

The Anubis being cute on the sofa.

 

Had an emergency tooth extraction yesterday late morning so not in a writing mood today. The headache pressure is intense. Anubis isn’t a very good nurse though. He just wants attention all the time, cares not for my discomfort.

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March Into April

National Poetry Writing Month aka NaPoWriMo starts tomorrow. Am I prepared for this? Well, no. Not my version of it at least. I usually write, at least, one poem a day so typical NaPoWriMo isn’t a stretch for me so I challenge myself to write five or more poems a day. Not sure I am mentally prepared for this as I’ve been dealing with a lot of things lately, some of which will end up spilling into the first week and a half of April at minimum. Been so overwhelmed in my thoughts to the point of one poem being a struggle to write. I managed two poems today. I am so delighted especially since they arrived easy with a flow like water. Love the “water” poems.

Since my last ‘On The Blog’ post on February 22nd (a bit surprised it has been that long), I’ve gotten thrown down by an absolutely horrific cold, dealt with a blizzard and other home-related shenanigans, was without a computer briefly due to power cord failure, created a new mixed media piece, began a new bead mosaic (it is almost done), started cutting out a few more drawstring backpacks, struggled to figure out how to help my feline overlord function despite his increasing digestion issues, gained another first cousin once removed, got in a minor car accident that – fortunately – only scraped up some paint when someone backed out into me in a parking lot, stressed out a great deal about matters involving my chronic health conditions, and went on an adventure to upgrade Patchwork Chicken Studio’s show displays after many discussions and layout tests. March has been busy.

I ended up missing the Fleshgod Apocalypse show due to my cold and the flare up of the chronic health conditions that it triggered. I was/am heartbroken over it as I missed them the last few times they had been in Denver too because of my health. Beginning to suspect that life doesn’t wish me to pay live homage to Italian Metal Gods. I did pre-order their forthcoming new release, Veleno, to appease some of my sorrow while listening to the first single, Sugar, in semi-obsessively constant fashion.

For April beyond NaPoWriMo, I have home-related shenanigans to finish/deal with, finish the bead mosaic, and put together the drawstring backpacks. Patchwork Chicken Studio has a show on April 6th so there will be some prep work beforehand. It is shaping up to be very busy too. I just hope it is busier to the creative side of things.

The Story of Art

For a while now, I’ve been part of this artistic collective/studio, Patchwork Chicken Studio. Mostly, we sell our art and home goods at local craft and art shows. Recently, we decided to expand our horizons and establish even more of an online presence. For the past two weeks, a lot of work has gone into that while prepping for our first show of the Spring season. Saturday, March 2nd, is the show so it is closing in quickly.

All this work has left me contemplative because marketing/selling my work is something I have always struggled with. I can be very shy and anxious around people I don’t know to begin with then there is the “marketing”… People want a story of why the item should be important, why it is interesting, how did I make it, or why did I make it. The back cover blurb, the source of inspiration, something…

I struggle with this immensely because I often don’t remember (or don’t know) the inspiration, the meaning, the anything of the piece. Saying, “I was sitting there waiting for words to come, as I sipped my coffee, then there were words and, from those words, this poem was birthed,” isn’t much of a story.

Trying to describe my poetry books doesn’t make anything easier because they aren’t 100 poems on a single theme or a few themes that tie into each other, their nature is much like a mosaic – different elements coming together to create a picture left up to personal interpretation as poetry is very subjective to the reader. While poems may mean certain things to its writer, it can mean very different things to its readers.

With my art and other projects posted here, I have attempted to put a story/explanation as to why a piece exists but, again, I struggle. Saying, “Every time I went to the fabric store, this fabric caught my eye so one day, I finally broke down, bought the fabric, and made this bag from it,” is probably lacking.

Most of the mosaic supplies are the same way – “I was wandering through the local craft store, this charm drew my attention, I bought it, it sat in a bin for a time before I put it into a mosaic with other beads that play nicely with it design-wise.”

There have been a few moments where I did buy items for specific projects like the beads for the Astrology-themed mosaic because each sign has different colors, elements, and nature ties so I wanted those represented in the designs. Even with those mosaics, the story is lackluster. Beyond the basics of color, element and nature, what else is there to say?

There are people out there who think writers can write anything, tell any story, etc. This is not true. I know fantastic writers that tell great stories through their novels but ask them to tell a story out loud or write a short story or a poem, there will be nothing. As a poet, my work is very fluid and organic. A brief, beautiful, blinding spark of inspiration before it is gone, leaving a glorious design behind. This nature is why I struggle to bring my novels fully into life. Why I struggle to tell stories about those sparks I consumed to make my art. It is profoundly difficult to exhume “ash” and make it talk to you once more.

The reason for this post – and the ones that proceeded it – are to, slowly, push me out of my writing comfort zone into one of stories that require more than a brief spark. Some moments out of my comfort zone are easier than others. Not sure if this moment is easier or harder but I think it might be both.

So yesterday morning, the other artists in Patchwork Chicken Studio thought it would be cool for us to take pictures of our work spaces for the website and Facebook page. While a good idea, I did panic because my worktable was covered in fabric, a small army of thread bits, beads, and other things while I still had 5 projects in progress. I kept losing my scissors even though they were right next to me the entire time. Decided it would probably be worthwhile to clean up my work space before continuing on with the five other projects so I could – shockingly – actually find my scissors right away when needed. Spent about 30 minutes, in early afternoon, making my work space clean and photo ready.

Work Space 1Work Space 2

So beautiful and organized. It actually does look like this normally when I’m not in the state of last-minute creative panic with a ton of projects in progress. I typically work on one mosaic, fabric, or mixed media project at a time, in addition to poetry, so the chaos stays to a minimum.

I did not get back to my projects yesterday so today is going to be a busy one.

My thoughts are feeling better now that I have written this post despite my story dilemma remaining unresolved.

The Anubis

It has been an odd two weeks. Very busy as I finished up and prepared Altars & Avatars for release next week. The preparations became consuming of my time as I also battled a fibromyalgia flare-up which intensified on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. But all of that pales in comparison to last Thursday. Last Thursday…

Last Thursday, Jan. 31st, was an absolutely horrific day for Anubis. While I was out running an errand and an impromptu coffee shop writing session, Anubis had what appears to be a stroke. He was fine when I left around 6:30am. When I returned about 90 minutes later, he was a very different cat. He was really struggling to be mobile, to do things. It was extremely unsettling for both of us. He spent the day sleeping – mostly on me once he figured out how to get his limbs into a comfortable position – and as evening approached, he started to become more functional and started eating and drinking.

By Friday, he had resumed purring, grooming, moving around without limping. By Saturday afternoon, he started jumping up into the living room window and getting into things as he normally likes to do. The stroke did take a long-term toll on him.

While he is mostly back to normal, there are moments where he hits a mental glitch and he acts out of character. Random acts of aggression, momentary confusion about what he’s doing, slow response time to stimuli such as me calling his name, and the occasional limp to a limb.

I love my feline overlord immensely. I feel horrible that he’s going through this. I also feel horrible about me feeling like I am living with a stranger sometimes because his glitches make him such a different feline.

We’re learning to adapt. It is a slow process.

Exhaustion vs. Productivity

Having difficulties in ridding myself of this crud which has been plaguing me since December. Some days are better than others. Then there are days like today where I can work for about 10 minutes before exhaustion makes me dizzy so I am forced to rest for 20-30 minutes before work recommences for 10 minutes more, rinse and repeat. Despite this “work schedule”, I cleared and organized the random pile of items in one of the bookcases and cleaned up & organized two shelves in the hall closet this morning.

Considering that my apartment is fairly clean right now, I’m healthier, than in the past, even with the crud in play. I am impressed with myself. Onset of acute illness (on top of the chronic issues) or a long project usually means my apartment becomes a disaster which takes several days to clean. Today’s cleaning was part of a long-term reorganization project to declutter my personal space rather than post-project cleaning.

Other accomplishments of the past two weeks were completing my cousin’s baby quilt (which was delivered by the postal service yesterday and I hope it was received) and writing 25 poems. I actually remember to post all the desired posts to the blog and social media except one. This may not seem like much of accomplishment to some people but I am notoriously distracted by things so I don’t always remember certain intended tasks even if they are on my to-do list or I keep postponing throughout the day until I end up overlooking them/running out of time.

The baby quilt took much longer than intended. It was frustrating because, at first, I could not figure out why. I eventually realized that the quilt was quite a bit larger the previous baby quilts I had made due to wanting a certain pattern with the squares. I was very fortunate to have enough fabric for the quilt in the end. It was getting kind of dicey with one of the prints. In addition to the baby quilt, my cousin also received two flannel blankets – one I made this week and one I made a few months ago.

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– Not the best pictures, was having lighting & positioning issues – 

Been doing a lot of reading of books. There are some weeks where I read very little then there are times where I binge read like a person who stumbled upon an oasis after weeks wandering the desert. There were several days that involved reading for 10-12 hours, up to 6 books. One of the perks and downsides of being a speed reader is the amount of books I can read in a day (as long as the book is engaging). If you want to know what I’ve been reading, check out my author page at Goodreads.

Finding it hard to believe that January only has a week left to it. Mostly because there were several things I had hoped to accomplish during the month but haven’t even started on. Regardless, things are progressing so I cannot be too heartbroken over the remaining items on my monthly to-do list.

And that is this week’s update. Wishing all much creativity and artistry.

Plans Always Have Other Ideas

When I reflected on what I wanted to accomplish in 2019 and how I would go about it, I thought I had left the end result fairly flexible to allow for bad health days (I have chronic ailments). Just days into January, I learned that it isn’t quite flexible enough but there is progress made in the end. Due to health things, January – thus far – hasn’t been as artistically fulfilling as I would have liked especially with matters not pertaining to poetry.

Currently, I have a baby quilt and two bead mosaics in progress. The baby quilt is on a significant deadline – my cousin is due in March. I am reasonably optimistic to have it completed and mailed to my cousin by the 18th so I can focus on other projects. I intend to have four bead mosaics done and the finishing work accomplished on several little paintings by the end of the month.

I really like the projects in progress. The baby quilt is in a color palette I normally shy away from but it is turning out to be really beautiful. I hope my cousin likes it. One of the mosaics, Maritime Eternity, was a random idea I had one day and I got to try out a new technique of staining with alcohol inks to give new visual appeal to some of the elements. The staining was an immense success – it has really brought the project to another unexpected level. Maritime Eternity is quickly becoming one of my favorite mosaics. The success of the staining has also made me want to try it out on items for future projects.

Altars & Avatars is on track to be published on February 12th. Currently waiting on its front cover so I can put together its advertising. My friend, who did the art for Mourning & Melancholia, has also done the art for Altars & Avatars. The art, based on my very basic idea, looks really amazing so I am excited to get the finished front cover from her soon.

I think that is it for this update. I have nine poems that need to be typed up and a quilt that is most eager for my attention yet I am, presently, ignoring all of them to write this post.

Wishing all much creativity and artistry.

Poetry Wednesday – Wise Cinders

Wise Cinders

Press the smoke down
From skies suffocating
Press to cinders I may
Craft implements from
Which words to come
Wise and burdened with
Sorrows like the smoke
They once floated as
In dreams crackling
Red hot across lands
Higher than any flame
To tattoo my palms
While I craft more than
Words from cinders
Wise and burdened