Thursday, April 29, 2010

Squander Time

Hospital waiting room. Blocks of time and nowhere to go. Killing time. Should be writing, but can't
concentrate. Everyone stacked and racked in chairs is a story, has a story, and is awaiting a happy ending. I took notes on expectant faces - ultimately grinning from relief, or crumpled in grief.
Family members leafed
through magazines, or read book pages
I kept my journal open and remembering fields of colors - gorgeous flowers from the aboretum -attempted to turn a phrase or create a happier place.
Surely a poem would erupt from my brain onto the page inspired by the plant name Poet's Laurel.

Alas, I sqandered time. It was there ... the clock ticking on the wall, the butt in the chair, the paper, and the pen.

But, at least, I got to smile at good news and now the fingers fly across the keyboard -free from worry, and eager to capture a few memorable characters.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

But I Want To

I read this sign and instantly wanted to scramble along the rocks and dangle my feet in the babbling brook. Normally I'm a rule follower, but there are times when contrariness kicks in, and I want to break the barriers.

Rules are often meant to be broken. Why not have pretty flowers growing out of a rock wall, precariously clinging to life and eager for sunshine or raindrops? I guess that's why as writers, we read books about general rules on plots, character, dialogue, and the hero's journey. We hear "you'll never sell a book about (fill in the blank) in this market." Then a writer breaks the rules and is declared genius. It can boggle the mind.
So, if you love azaleas and want to write about azaleas, then go for it. Maybe azaleas are "out" this year, but like fashion, sooner or later they'll be back "in". (Just pick the winning color.) Or vampires are old hat, wizards have been done, and zombies roamed Pride and Prejudice.

Blare your horn, reach to the skies with your words, and trust your instinct. Then again, I've found that to have poetry published in journals or on-line, you have to follow many rules - nothing trite and no rhyming. I recently had two pocket poems published in River Poets Journal. My father emailed me that he enjoyed it. "However, don't tell anyone, but I prefer rhyming." Gasp! My own father.
So I responded:
Stay shushed
I'm crushed
All other poems
I flushed
Gotta break the rules and have fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ephemeral Art - More Balloon Fun

More pics from the World Festival of Balloons. I attended on Sunday 4/18/10 at the Dallas Sheraton.
Balloon sculptures - Is it art?
Had a discussion with a co-worker who enjoyed the pictures, thought they were cool, but said, "Stuff like this and sand sculptures, etc - I don't think that's really art. I mean, it doesn't last."
I disagreed with him, but it is interesting to ponder if something so fleeting that could be pricked into oblivion falls into the category of art. What do you think?
To me, the creative energy and effort that went into these balloon sculptures is artistic. Not everyone can do it - there's a skill, talent, finesse, and vision. Plus there was a palpable energy and joy in the room as folks roamed about to view the displays.

Indeed, balloon pieces are ephemeral. Now dismantled, they exist in my mind and in my computer as digital images. But, balloon sculpture design is art, in my opinion, however fleeting and it inspires me to pursue creative outlets. Don't let anyone pop those dreams.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Balloon Blast

Waterfall of dreams - all in balloons. The World Festival of Balloons was held in Dallas at the Sheraton Hotel. Ray and I attended the Sunday show day thinking we'd wander a bit and move on. Nope - a blip in the paper had attracted gobs of attention and we joined hordes of people for an hour long wait to enter a magical world.
Creative people and dreamers crusade for their art. This project took 29,000 balloons, sixteen people and twenty-five man hours. It won for large sculptural display. The balloon twist detail was phenomenal.

Sensory overload at the Sheraton. Colors, movement, kids, and jaw-dropping detail. One man while giving a balloon design demonstration said, "Runners run every day, athletes practice every day, musicians play their instruments daily, writers write, and balloon sculpturists blow up balloons every day seeking new twists and new designs. Quite the life!

Balloon whimsy and humor prevailed.

The First Ever World Balloon Festival proved welcoming indeed. I can only assume next year's will be bigger and better eye-popping displays. Contestants dream of new designs as they deflate their 2010 balloon fantasies.
UP, UP, and AWAY!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Post-Conference: A Week to Reflect

It's been a week since I attended the DFW Writers' Conference in Grapevine, and the challenge to utilize what I learned looms as large as the above shadow. Jodi Thomas, keynote speaker, regaled us with her life story - the twists and turns on her road to become a New York Times bestselling author. Like most author talks I've attended, her message is one of perseverance. To be a writer, you have to sit in your chair and write. And then ...

It's a balancing act. Yes, you have to write, but then your genius isn't immediately discovered. I attended talks on queries, synopsis, and if there'd been a class - tap dancing. You have to grab an agent or editor's attention. The biggest buzz, of course, is social media.

In the olden days, you sent your handwritten manuscript via pony express and hoped for a return letter. Now you enter the tunnel to build a platform - blog, website, facebook, twitter. All promotion, all the time until someone sees your light. It's daunting, time consuming, and hard work.

Writers juggle day jobs, market themselves and their writing, keep abreast of media changes, and attend conferences to mingle with word nerds. Then it's time to hunker down in one's nest and write. Peer out once in a while to absorb nature, sunlight, fresh air, and fill the eyes, ears, and nose with material to splash onto the page. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite and begin the process all over again.
See you at next year's conference -2/26 and 2/27/2011 - American Airlines Conference Center - DFW Writers are expanding the vision and hosting writer dreams.
(pictures once again from Morris Arboretum - my vacation glow only dims slightly)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Travel Treats

Had an excellent week in PA to visit my father, enjoy Easter, and embrace spring. The time flew - walks, laughs sitting at the kitchen table, and hours spent with friends and family. All too soon, Dad dropped me at the airport for the return flight and the reality bell gonged. One hour delay. Vacation was OVER.
That was all right. I still had images in my head of fun times and good meals. The flowering trees inspired me to scribble some haiku (still tweaking them, David (my brother) ) and despite the annoyances of travel, there is a positive: permission to purchase magazines, books, and tic-tacs at the airport newstand. AT FULL PRICE. Hey, I'm captive, I'm delayed, and in theory, I was desperate.
I had mismanaged my reading during the week. Jeffrey Deaver's An Empty Chair proved riveting so rather than pace myself, I greedily finished it without a backup plan. Oops - hence the need to purchase reading material in case I was trapped at the Philly airport for days. True readers understand - at home I have a stack of books at the ready. I just didn't pack them.
An abundance. A plethora of print presented itself and I chose the latest Vanity Fair with Grace Kelly on the cover (her memory lives on in To Catch a Thief and Rear Window - yummy movies), a National Geographic Travel magazine featuring Italy's Amalfi Coast (hey, I might want to go there instead of back to DFW), and the book Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (haven't seen the movie, but he's a great writer. How did I miss this one at the library?). Thus the return flight was painless. I could escape (except during thirty minutes of turbulence - can't read or write when we're bumping along) into others' words. Travel treats are worth every penny. When's my next trip?

Note - Pictures from the University of PA - Morris Arboretum. Glorious place to wander.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Under the Tree

Walking around the Dallas arboretum makes me think of an excellent book The Secret Garden.
You want to find your special nook and make it your own corner of the world.

Perhaps a flowering bower "snowball" tree would be your favorite spot.

Or rather than hide, grab a notebook or paperback, and settle in under the shadow of a huge tree. Think of the stately oaks in Gone With the Wind, or branches scratching a window in a horror story. Read or write your own tale under the tree.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fool for Easter

April Fool's seems appropriate this year to begin the Easter weekend. It's Thursday and the first quarter of the year proved wacky weather-wise. Now sunshine and heat prevail. We jump from winter to summer in a flash. If you don't find the hidden Easter eggs, your nose will find the rotten eggs soon enough.

I've always loved the timing of Easter - both religious and frivolous. Renewal. Hope. Chicks and bunnies and jelly beans. Forsythia's in bloom at my father's house - the waving yellow tendrils contrasted with clear blue sky. Time to stretch, kick off the winter blahs, and go for a walk.
Happy Easter Weekend!