Do You Journal?

In the midst of all things on my November ToDo’s list, I’m still writing my morning pages in my journal – at least 3 handwritten desk w gilded 8pages.  Why?

It’s my creative net to:

  • Capture Ideas of the moment to pursue later.  The pen is my best memory.
  • Give form to my dreams and ponder how to give them wings
  • Brainstorm solutions to problems
  • Write a poem, or essay or capture a character for later extemporization.

It’s my friend to:

  • Give voice to things best kept to myself knowing the confidence will go no further.
  • Give thanks for what I have without sounding maudlin.
  • Cry over losses, and rejoice of triumphs
  • And so much more.

Do you keep a journal?

How busy are you in November?

November is shaping up to be a roller coaster ride of 100_2442

To do

To do

To do

To do.

First off, November means a bunch of holiday open house events and gallery openings, and other parties and I try never to miss a one. Then there’s Thanksgiving holidays, which in my family is a 4-day marathon of gathering, cooking, eating, etc.

Add to that:

NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is always a challenge. In order to write 50,000 words by November 30 I need to write 1667 words per day minimum.

  • Solution: I’m banking words by writing as many words over 2000 as possible on a daily basis, because there will be days I won’t be able to manage more than 500.

BlogHer’s November challenge to post one blog per day for 30 days (NaBloPoMo).

  • Solution: I’m banking blogs, buy writing 2-5 at a time and scheduling them to drop on the appropriate day; cheating and posting NanoNovel excerpts; dashing off a quick haiku or plain poem…

Two poetry contests.

  • One was due Sunday at midnight, and I got it off @ 6pm that day. Cross your fingers for me – the prize is $500.
  • The second one is due November 30 same day as NanoWriMo, so I’ve already started on it in my ‘spare’ time.

Later gators. Tomorrow is my day out with my Mom, soooo I’ve got to write tomorrow’s blog and at least 1667 words on my novel.

What does your November look like?

 

Women’s History Told

“I prefer the pen. There is something elemental about the glide and flow of nib and ink on paper.”
― James RobertsonThe Testament of Gideon Mack

Paean*

praise for the paeans red 1 journal
flowing from a woman’s pen
that told their story

quietly they rail
assail anonymity
filling silent pages

pen in hand they stand
long lines of women through time
countless pages writ

journals letters more
words telling the history
men tend to omit
              © Perle Champion

*Paean:  It comes from the Greek παιάν (also παιήων or παιών), “song of triumph…

So much of history is about men by men, but there is a rich history of women if one is willing to look.  It exists in journals, letters, and more.  So much has been lost or tossed as of no consequence.  And, some has been preserved for us if we know where to look. GJ 3

Southern History Room of Birmingham and the microfiche archives of the Linn Henley Library are rich with such histories.  To pluck any journal from a shelve and begin reading is like stepping back in time and experiencing a life lived.

I’ll be spending some more time there in the next few weeks as I have some research to do.  Birmingham has one of the best library systems I’ve encountered and I’ve known many.

Note:
Day 3 of NanoWriMo – Novel Wordcount is 8,449
BlogHer Blog-a-Day challenge 3 for 3

Do You Have Sunday Rituals

Rock Ritual & Rote

with rote of ritual
rock bottom can become our
solid foundation
                © Perle Championjaz cat golden eyes2

Ritual can be elaborate, but many is simply the rote tasks we perform on a daily basis and never give a second thought unless life or the weather interferes.

It’s early Sunday morning (really early as I forgot to fall back) and, as with all my days, my first tasks are cat-related: put kibble in one bowl, pour fresh water in the other, put the coffee on.  But, it’s Sunday and Jazzmine somehow always knows when it’s Sunday and waits impatiently for her can of stinky, shrimpy, Fancy Feast for breakfast.  Seven days a week she gets kibble, but Sunday she’ll save the kibble for later and devour her stinky treat.

Sunday breakfasts require an audience, so I sit at the table with my coffee and keep her company whiles she eats.  I open my journal and begin writing my morning pages, much of which made their way into today’s Blog.

No hurry. No walkabout this morning – I’ll probably ride my stationary bike while I watch Today and latIMG_6639er do yoga stretches while I watch Charlie Osgood and after I’ll make my way to my desk to transcribe my pages and begin my 2000 words for my NaNo novel..

Finished eating, Jazzmine dashed down the hall, and I know she’s gone out her window kitty door to the balcony.  Her rituals are simple, eat then outside to scratch her post and preen, before retiring to whatever pool of sunshine she can find to snooze in.

Moments later, she is back inside, and staring at me as only a cat can.  Jazzmine feels betrayed, and lets me know it – it’s 31 outside.  The odd throaty ‘meorrow’ seems to ask accusingly, ‘what have you done to the weather’. She stares out the window and ventures out once or twice more before giving up and curling up on the electric leopard throw that kept us warm at my desk yesterday.

On the bright side, this is the south and it will be 65 tomorrow and back to a shirtsleeves 70 Tuesday and Wednesday.  Jazz will be able to resume, at least briefly,her daily balcony ritual foray – Winter southern style – gotta love it.

Enchanted Realms

Songs for Ophelia by Theodora Goss. A book review by Perle Champion

To call Theodora Goss’s book, Songs for Ophelia, a poetry book would not do justice to the stories that lie beyond the gossamer songs for ophelia singleillustration gracing its cover.  This is a collection of hauntingly beautiful stories some new, some old retold – a storybook for grownups.

The term songs instead of poems suits this collection of prose stories.  It puts one in mind of the bards of old, who with lyre in hand, sang their tales.  In Songs for Ophelia, we accompany our own bard through enchanted realms, traversing the wheel of the year in the ancient way season by season, song by song.  Strewn through this collection are songs populated by names out of legend and myth whose stories we thought we knew full well until we read Goss’s deft retelling.  In her hands the stories are at once familiar and not.  She adds a depth as she explores and exposes possibilities giving each character and place a richer more well-rounded existence on the page.

Reviewing poetry is so very different from reviewing a novel, so I’ve chosen to give a small glimpse of one poem from each season of Goss’s enchanted collection.

Spring: In The River’s Daughter, the river morphs from like a father to father in this homage to the death of a much admired writer. “She walks into the river/ with rocks in her pockets, / and the water closes around her/ like the arms of a father…”

Summer: In By Tidal Pools, Goss gives new dimension to Circe affair with Odysseus.  She elevates Circe from the flat stereotype of Homer’s telling to a fully imagined woman with real yearnings.  “At first she watched in case he should return/ by tidal pools…Does he lie on some shore/ where snails leave glistening tracks upon his eyes,/ or has he found his home?”

Autumn: In A Walk in Autumn, Summer becomes a maiden and slain.  Although I prefer to raise a glass to Persephone descending into hades, the imagery in this song is haunting.  “Her name was Summer – her hair the grasses/ her gown the forest’s leafy cloth… She lies unburied, exposed to weather/ in tattered garments the worse for wear…”

Winter: And lastly, there is The Last Night That She Lived.  Who has not pondered these lines in some variation? “When soul from form is rent,/ do streams run over stones/ in valleys of content?/ Or dust, on bones?”

Ray Bradbury once told me to read good poetry or an essay before turning out the lights at night.  He said he kept a good book or two of poetry or essays by his bed and read from one or the other volume every night. He said it turn the mind away from the noise and garbage of the day and prepared the mind for dream.

Since that conversation, I’ve followed that ritual with various volumes Gibran’s Sand and Foam, Leaves of Grass, and Rilke’s Book of Hours to name a few.  Each brings its own brand of dreaming. I’m adding Songs for Ophelia to that short list, perhaps to walk enchanted realms in dream. Thank you Theodora Goss.

Z is for Zen in a Zig Zag Life

Day 26 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is Z

Z is for Zen in a Zig Zag Life

zig zag stop start then
deep breath – no help – start again
pour wine – chop carrots

© Perle Champion

My path of late feels like an undisciplined zig zag run through an obstacle course that is obviously of my cook choped vegsown making.  The only place where I really get into the moment, the zazen, is when involved in a kitchen chore, and occasionally in the midst of writing or painting.

The thing about the kitchen chore is there is immediate satisfaction.  I slice and dice and transform the carrot, onion and other veg in to shapes of my design.  I mix and put dough in the oven and soon have a steaming loaf of bread.

The thing with my writing and painting is there is no immediacy.  I paint or write for hours and it never quite feels done.  I drop one piece to begin another and in the end, I have 10 paintings half done; 2 novels unedited; and numerous essays that don’t quite hit the mark.

Does anyone else feel that scattered?

IMG_3513

Y is for Yapness for Shiny Yellow Yag

Day 29 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is Y

Y is for Yapness for Shiny Yellow Yag

the myth – shiny yag
siren call to soul’s yapness
that yellow brick road

© Copyright Perle Champion

The idea of the yellow brick road leading us to the answer is a myth. 20130215-224226.jpg

The scarecrow is to Dorothy what the Cheshire cat is to Alice.  The message is that which fork in the road to take is her decision.  There’s no right or wrong.  The trick is to know where you’re going.

 


Glossary

  • Yag – synthetic diamond
  • Yapness – hunger

X is for Xylan, Xylose, Xerarch, Xerosere.

Day 24 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is X

X is for Xylan, Xylose, Xerarch, Xerosere.

as meridies beats
the landscape’s xerarch creeps
toward xerosere as

sweet xylan begets
sweet nourishing xylose so
replacing dew’s kiss

Nature fascinates in its determined survival. Plants grow in the most unlikely places.

They didn’t sprout full blown in the deserts, mountains, seas, and places yet discovered; they evolved as yellow flowers on walk 3determined by the availability of light, water and surface.

The very rocks and pavements of humans eventually gives way to nature’s determination to bloom where she chooses.

 


 

Note: Xerosere is a plant succession which is limited by water availability. It includes the different stages in a xerarch succession. Xerarch succession of ecological communities originated in extremely dry situation such as sand deserts, sand dunes, salt deserts, rock deserts etc. A xerosere may include lithoseres (on rock) and psammoseres (on sand).

Glossary

  • xylan – water-soluble, polysaccharide found in plant cell walls and yielding xylose upon hydrolysis
  • xylose – a sugar of the pentose class that occurs widely in plants, especially as a component of hemicelluloses.
  • xerarch – originating in a dry habitat as ecological succession
  • xerosere – dry habitat as a desert

W is for Words well written

Day 23 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is W

W is for Words Well Written

the meekest takes pen
in hand – swords beware their steel
the well written word

© Perle Champion

As a citizen of the U.S., I appreciate my right to say and write what I choose.  In this and many countries of the West, we needn’t fear being jailed for something as simple as a poem.

Many countries in the world still jail and or execute dissident writers. red 1 journal


 

Follow the link to a list of writers imprisoned for writing their truths.

  • Kazakhstan – The Poet  journalist and activist Aron Atabek has been in prison since 2007 and has spent much of his incarceration in solitary confinement.
  • China – Liu Xia is a poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. She has been held in her Beijing apartment without access to phones, internet, doctors of her choice, or visitors

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/21/national-poetry-day-dissident-poets-pen

V is for Veiled Vacuous Vistas

Day 22 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is V 

V is for Veiled Vacuous Vistas

forcibly veiled ones
facing vacuous vistas
ancient sisters weep

for the shroud you wear
fitting only to bury
ones who never lived

Men still use the ruse of ‘religiosity’ to force women to go veiled lest they, the men, be tempted to do them harm – what a sham.  Blame the murdered for inviting murder; the slave for inviting the noose…

Women have been and still are blamed for the crimes of men against them.  More rampant in the past in this country, but still with here and around the world is the blaming of women for enticing men to do them harm

I am always saddened when I see a veiled and shrouded woman walk by as the men young and old in her family walk free.

 

perle dark eyes cropped

© Perle Champion

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Social