In the Days Before April

In the days before poems, we asked the sky
what shall we do with all these bright, loose words?
what did we know in those innocent days
words running like streams around our ankles.

In the days before poems, we only knew
the pleasures of picking up the shiny,
the glittering word, the sparkling phrase
holding it lightly, letting it go free.

In those days before poems, when all the words
swam in the sky, sang in the night, and laughed
oh how they laughed in the long days and days
we breathed in their joy, stroked their shadows.

In the days before poems, showers of words,
blessed with words, frozen in words, killed by words
pressed words, fed words, mouthing the syllables
casting and tossing the words, we begin.

Thinking about April and NaPoWriMo

Warez MB Been? Where will YOU be?

Work. Writing. Work. Writing. The Voice. Rinse and Repeat.

I did poke at the quilting a bit but I’ve been working at this big moment in my story and I had to keep working on that until it was right. Last night I got home from dinner with the family and I pulled out the computer and suddenly – well it all went dark – aka my eyelids closed and that was all it wrote… well, I didn’t write, because I was the one who was sleeping.

Meanwhile, all around me Spring is pushing out into the world. Flowers are early, the trees are taking their time. Guess they are more patient. Maybe they have better memories of early spring’s cold.

While commuting I’ve gone back to the Yale lecture series about modern poetry. Today started with the second lecture on Robert Frost and ended with the intro to W.B. Yeats. Makes my brain hurt a little but that’s ok. I enjoyed wrapping my brain around what Frost and Yeats were going for and how they did it.

Speaking of which – where will you be, and what will YOU be doing in April, National Poetry Month??? You still have a few days to come up with a plan. I like to have a plan, anyway. Something that I can use to push me into action everyday, a form or a theme or something to shape each day, whether or not “inspiration” sits on my shoulder. Sometimes you need to go out and FIND the work. SIGN UP PEOPLE!

Those who are waiting for an epiphany to strike may wait forever. The artist simply goes to work, making art, both good and not so good. — Chuck Close

and the long version:

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. — Chuck Close

Found Enroute To Something Else

Process. Process. Process.

Usually, the basic thread that runs through our experience is our desire to have a purely goal-oriented process: everything, we feel, should be done in relation to our ambition, our competitiveness, our one-upmanship. That is what usually drives us to become greater professors, greater mechanics, greater carpenters, greater poets. Dharma—passionlessness—cuts through this small, goal-oriented vision, so that everything becomes purely a learning process. This permits us to relate with our lives fully and properly. So, taking refuge in the dharma as path, we develop the sense that it is worthwhile to walk on this earth. Nothing is regarded as just a waste of time; nothing is seen as a punishment or as a cause of resentment and complaint.

Taking Refuge

Found on the Way to… I forget

In some old Welsh texts, Eliwlod is a nephew of King Arthur. His father is Madoc, son of Uther Pendragon, an obscure brother of Arthur’s mentioned a very few times in Welsh literature. Eliwlod appears in the Welsh Triads, where he is called one of the three “Golden-Tongued Knights of Britain,” alongside Gwalchmei ap Gwyar (Gawain) and Drudwas ap Tryffin. He pays a postmortem visit to his uncle in the form of a raptor in the poem Arthur and the Eagle.

What To Do on a Sunday – Let it Go Dept.

After the obligatory coffee, some oatmeal with blueberries and some NYTimes reading while letting the laundry do its thing, I headed upstairs.

One closet done. Two big bags of stuff going away, plus a bag of t-shirts that are going elsewhere too. The things that I couldn’t put in the bag right away or had a twinge about, I tried on right on the spot and looked in the mirror. Most of those went right in the bag too. Found one shirt in a color I didn’t remember having. (which only goes to show that I’ve long bought multiples of things I really like)

Bye bye.

Guess I’ll go grab the dryer’s worth of clothes now. Then I can do the other closet?


It’s what’s for dinner!

Looking Down Rather Than Up

Although the sky was full of fascinating and fast moving clouds, the view looking down was cheery and promising:

Thursday – out and about

This morning I made myself go shopping. You know how it is, when you work in a mall, shopping isn’t very high on your list of things to do. At least it’s not on mine! But last year before my NZ trip, I went and did clothes shopping at Boscovs that was almost pain-free. I followed the advice my coaches gave me – picking out a bunch of things to try on, and then adjusting sizes as needed, discarding things that didn’t fit or work or whatever.

So that’s what I did today. I went in to the same place, did the same things and hopefully expanded my wardrobe with fewer pieces. Now I can really clear the decks of everything else and feel good about it. PLUS, the woman who rang my pile of stuff up kept calling out the actual prices which were neither the tagged prices nor the sale prices seen on the signs but lower! Except for two items, everything was deeply discounted. I saved just a little less than I spent and came home with a big bag of stuff.

I of course rewarded myself with a couple quick books from Barnes and Noble and then drove across the road to Bed Bath and Beyond to do the rest of my mission for today which was to replace my about dead toothbrush. I got two other little things – a small wine rack to hold my newly arrived bottles safely and a 16 oz thermos bottle. Picked up my field-goods order at the Y and I was on my way home.

When I set up the new toothbrush, I also pulled out the instructions for the old one and there was the date of purchase! I knew I had had it a long time but not that long, so I can’t really be upset at the price, which as I recall was about the same as the first one. The new one has the option to charge via USB for travel but promises to hold a charge for three weeks. Time will tell.

What’s happening? Wednesday edition

I am grateful I got to spend the morning with three co-workers at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY doing “salvage” work. We did things like prepare packing boxes, open up cartons of donated things, checked expiration dates and sorted things into boxes. I did that last bit, plucking items going by on a conveyor belt and putting them into boxes of similar* products or a category of products.

The other folks there were very experienced and very kind to this noob. Out of the corner of my ear I thought I kept hearing my name and at the end, when they shut off the conveyor belt so everyone could break for lunch, I asked ok, which of you two ladies is Mary Beth because I am Mary Beth too! And the other Mary Beth was surprised and pleased to meet another two-word Mary Beth.

We moved MANY cartons of all sorts of foods and other donated items a step closer to where they will help someone. It’s a big operation doing good work in our region.

Afterwards we enjoyed lunch at Professor Java’s and then it was off to Mom’s house to do the taxes. After we got that done and fiddled with computer stuff a bit, it was dinner time and then it was home for this pooped body.

All these frogs were jumping across Rt 20 – peepers! on March 16! that’s just wrong!

But, on my porch was a box for me and it contained this and some Black Raspberry wine.

I’m pleased to report that the winery did a much better on the wine than they did depicting a dandelion! Yummy!

And now – just to round out the evening – big thunder and lightning! BANG!

Looks can be deceiving…

Little did the people who dealt with me today, for good or evil, suspect that underneath that mild-mannered work tshirt was this: