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.

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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.

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.

Tuesday Tabellion – Post-NaPoWriMo Thoughts

NaPoWriMo 2018 & Camp NaNoWriMo have come to an end. My Camp NaNoWriMo goal for April was 30 poems to match the intent of NaPoWriMo. I validated on April 27th with 31 poems. I find this disappointing. In previous Camp NaNoWriMos, I always increased the goal. Most of the past Aprils, I was writing three to four poems a day. There even days with as many as eight poems (much like during NaNoWriMo). This April, however, I was lucky to put forth one poem with the rare second poem happening.

Overall, I am happy that progress happened with Mourning & Melancholia (16 for 36/100), Altars & Avatars (15 for 15/100), and Written & Whim (4 for 4/100).

This NaPoWriMo featured the posting of works to Instagram as well as some technical glitches which led to me posting several days at a time rather than every single day to this blog, Twitter, my Author page on Facebook, and Instagram. It was rather annoying. While I did like the readership that seemed to increase due to my use of Instagram, I remain uncertain about it.

On April 20th, I experienced Cradle of Filth, Jinjer, and Uncured. Post-concert depression did hinder my writing progress unlike with prior concerts I had attended. The reason for such eludes me. It was a fabulous concert and I did enjoy myself immensely even if my legs did not. Fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome do not make good concert-going companions.

April was light on other artistic pursuits too which left me feeling a bit at loose ends. May May bring more creativity and inspiration.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Ends

This NaNoWriMo was different than ones in the past. Rather unproductive despite reaching beyond the word count requirement. The words just didn’t go where I wanted them to. A lot of random bits of line that will never be more than that. Never will have a chance to be poems. Their threads were too short and, now, are lost to the winds of time.

NaNoWriMo 2017 was forced to compete with pre-concert jitters and excitement then post-concert depression (and immense pain courtesy of extremely drunk Children of Bodom fans kicking the back of my legs, constantly pushing me into the rail, etc.) which made for interesting writing times.

I greatly enjoyed seeing Carach Angren for my first metal concert experience. They were phenomenal. Uncured and Lost Society were also quite good considering I had very little familiarity with their work prior to the concert. I have been missing those beautiful spooky Dutch men something fierce though. The entire month’s wardrobe featured a Carach Angren band tee each day. I started the month with two tees and acquired two more at the concert so this has meant frequent laundry but totally worth it.

Onto the writing stats…

Total Word Count: 53432

This translates into 51 poems – 47 for Glyph & Grey, 3 for Mourning & Melancholia, and 1 for Altars & Avatars – and 8 pages’ worth of the “epic poem” that’s been slowly swirling around in my brain. There is a lot of free writing I need to sort through to see if there is more poetry lurking within the lines.

Glyph & Grey is at 67/100, and should be done in the next 2-3 weeks as I’m determined for it to be. I had wanted it to be done by today but that is, clearly, unrealistic. Mourning & Melancholia stands at 8/100. Altars & Avatars is 2/100. I hope to have Mourning & Melancholia done by the end of February. NaPoWriMo in April should bring about the completion of Altars & Avatars and significant progress for the upcoming Written & Whim.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 6

It is NaNoWriMo time again. The pure, unadulterated NaNoWriMo. It snuck up on me. Everything has been sneaking up on me lately. Where has 2017 gone? 2017 hasn’t been a good year for a lot of reasons so I’m not sad to see it go but, at the same time, how did I get to this point?

It is Day 6. Day 3 brought a cold to the party which has made things less fun. Still recovering but I ventured out twice to write today. First in the morning to get away from my cat who keeps hindering the writing process and the second in the evening for a write-in. First write-in of this year’s NaNoWriMo for me.

Been doing a lot of free writing in hopes of inspiration for poetry yet are pretty much just bolstering my word count. A few poems have been written toward Glyph & Grey and Mourning & Melancholia. I started an “epic” poem based on an idea that has been stewing in my brain for a while. Maybe it will continue to flesh its self out for a stand-alone project or what is written will just get put into Mourning & Melancholia. I just love the mystery my short writing attention span presents. Not so much but I find a way to make things work.

I have been listening to a lot of Metal while I write especially Avatar and Carach Angren. Okay, mostly Carach Angren.

I am going to see them in concert next week. Immensely, ridiculously excited. My first ever Metal concert, and my first concert in 16 years. I have been a Metalhead since my teens but never felt inclined to go to a concert until I encountered the music of Avatar and Carach Angren. I am going to see Avatar in January 2018 which I am also unbelievably excited about.

I may or may not have listened to Carach Angren’s Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten album a little too much lately. Somehow, some way, a Ouija board and maritime salts worked their way into a poem even though I was listening to Avatar’s ‘For the Swarm’, from the Feathers & Flesh album, at the time.

I have discovered it is challenging to write when I am busy fangirling over tour photos and such. Both bands are on tour right now so there are a lot of photos and concert video to enjoy. Mostly of Avatar since their current tour ends in two days. Carach Angren tour photos and video are just starting to pop up as their tour started on October 31st.

There is a possibility of encountering Carach Angren after their set, according to folks, which I am equally excited and terrified about. Crippling social anxiety means I sometimes say/do stupid things in public. Worried I will make a fool of myself yet I would love to say hi to them in person. Reportedly, they are really awesome guys to meet.

Wow. My fangirling knows no bounds right now. This started out as a post just about NaNoWriMo and my writing progress then turned into a post about my two favorite Metal bands. Accordingly, it is only appropriate to set the feature image of this post with one of my favorite Carach Angren promo photos.

Tuesday Tabellion – The Writing Routine

Questions: What is your writing routine? Do you have a writing space?

Answer: I write in the mornings. Not because I am a morning person – far from it – but because I know I will get distracted by other things as the day progresses and I will forget I need to write. It isn’t uncommon for me to go back to sleep after I’m done writing in the morning because ugh, mornings. Sometimes, I do write in the evenings without issue especially if I am at write-in or I’m struck by a really good idea. I try to write everyday but that rarely happens unless it is NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, or NaPoWriMo. Something about the deadline is very motivating toward me getting my butt out of bed and have focus on writing rather than sleeping. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops writing, either with paper and pen or on my laptop, as I am typically most productive away from home since there are fewer overall distractions. When I write at home, I use to have a desk setup for work/writing purposes but over time, I have found it too restrictive so now, I write on my laptop from a small table next to the sofa or I write in a notebook while lying in bed. When the weather wasn’t unpleasant in recent evenings, I went out with a notebook and wrote at the picnic table that was installed in June at my apartment building. I find that enjoyable and will continue to write there as weather and neighbor usage of the space allows. Anubis does not enjoy this evening writing venture outdoors without him. On the fourth evening of my writing time out there, he discovered my whereabouts. (The bedroom window overlooks the yard space with the table.) He spent the entire hour and a half meowing intermittently and glaring at me – this from a cat who is practically mute. Never had my writing been met with such judgement, disdain, and disapproval. Anubis now just glares at me until I look at him then he meows his displeasure. Sorry, my indoor-only feline overlord.