August, Must be Postcard Poetry Fest!

That’s a hard corner to turn, from World Watercolor Month to August Poetry Postcard Fest, but here we are day two already. Two postcards sent off already and FIVE!!!! already received!

Tonight I was pretty desperate to paint so I pulled off at Kristy’s Barn and spent time with the swallows watching the sun do its thing.

Here are all of tonight’s photos:

Sunset August 2 2019//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
— Henry Miller

August, Must be Postcard Poetry Fest!

World Watercolor Month Days #25 and #26

Not sure how I forgot to post my bit of watercolor yesterday but here it is. I have a new palette and I’m debating how to set it up, so I’m still messing around to see what colors some new possibilities become when mixed with other more known players. Seems to me that if you’re going to have another palette it should be substantially different in some ways from the other ones you’ve already got going. I don’t know. On the other hand if it was wildly different from what I commonly use, chances are I wouldn’t use it? Ack.

Yesterday I received my first postcard for the August Poetry Postcard Festival. Today I received postcards #2 and #3. They blew me away, humbled me and filled me with gratitude.

World Watercolor Month Days #25 and #26

Sunday’s Paints

I headed off pretty early to the Berkshire Botanical Garden where a lot of people were wandering around looking at plants. Chatted with some nice folks, and noticed that just like the days of sitting with raffle quilts at shows, it is often the MEN of couples passing by who stop to chat and see what you’re doing. So fascinating. Anyway, people stopped, young and old, to chat and talk about what I was doing and what they do. The roses smelled great and a lot of flower beds were coming into their prime.

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and a final paint in my front yard after a nice dinner with Mom. If you haven’t signed up for the August Postcard Poetry Fest 2019, there’s still some time – registration closes July 4th!

Resolve in advance to persist until you succeed, no matter what the difficulty. — Brian Tracy

Sunday’s Paints

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Thirty

There may be one more. Or not. This was started in the wee-small hours. I appreciate all the visitors and all the poems that were shared by the April poets!

The Last before May

Why, April,
are you so fickle?
holding back words
pelting down rain
and even snow
You’ve teased and
tossed your head
and now trees are
clouds, rolling waves
upon the hills
now green again.
But you, you dance
and sing
and wave
and go again.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Thirty

August Postcard Poetry Festival 2018

Now that we’re safely within the borders of September, I can talk a little about this year’s August Postcard Poetry Festival. It was the twelfth year of the festival, spearheaded by Paul E. Nelson, and my fifth year of participating. This year, nine groups each with thirty-two plus participants from all over the world spent the month writing poems and sending them to others via a postcard. Some make a point of writing directly and spontaneously on the card, others select special cards to trigger their words or respond to poems sent to them, some spend time making cards to send out.

In the past I have chosen a theme or a poetic form for month-long projects like this. I often use my own photos or scanned images of my watercolors, but also use commercial cards, often funny, never related to the day’s poem. I do make a point of writing every day since to me this, along with the poetry itself, is the point of it – to write a poem every day and to send it out in the world to someone I probably don’t know and who will probably not comment past letting me know it arrived. I like this concept of putting a card/poem in my mailbox-outbox and finding the card/poem of others there. How brave it can seem to show someone a new poem, tempered only by the rough handling of the US Postal Service over a couple of days! This year I did have a theme of “ephemeral” in mind but it wasn’t always the topic. I often make a list of prompt words or ideas before the month begins to help me out on “stuck days”. At least once or twice in a month I have to write a second poem either because what comes out is totally non-postcard-sized or because it’s a little too raw or personal and I’d prefer to let it sit a day or two before sending it out. Sometimes those go out anyway.

My habit is to write the card itself at night and often the poem is written then too. This year I have taken to carry a tiny notebook in my pocket and jotting down the stray phrase which may become a later poem. I find if I don’t capture those either on my phone or in the notebook that they vanish as quickly as they arrive. In past years I’ve written the poem at lunchtime which gave me a sense of having done something productive that day but this year my lunchtimes were more about news and response. I did make a point of thinking about the poem-to-come on my ride home after work. Many nights I walk out to the mailbox very late at night and put in my card for pickup. It’s often a nice break to go out in the cooler night air and a chance to see the stars.

In the end, it’s the dailiness of the writing that is appealing and useful. The prospect of finding mail in my mailbox and being part of this circle of folks who are all doing the same thing is energizing and focusing. I love finding cards in my mail and like going back during the month to read them again.

When I sign up and get my group list, I convert it to a spreadsheet which lets me check off the ones I’ve sent. Being someone who would do that, I allow myself to check off the ones I’ve received too. Not because I worry about what I get or don’t – it’s just a Virgo bean-counter sort of thing. I used to scan my cards but now I take a photo front and back to document the final words and the card I used. If someone doesn’t get a card I send them the digital version. The cards I’m planning to send live in a little ziplock bag with stamps and gradually get replaced by cards that have landed in my mailbox.

In the past few years I’ve created a special August 31st card with its own poem. Last year I did a special eclipse edition instead. I share those with some who aren’t on the APPF list too, like my mail folks. I like the notion of this wave of cards going out in many directions all at once.

Yesterday I went through the two shoeboxes of cards and photos and saw I had more stamps stashed than I remembered. I have enough cards to hold me through a few more festivals! That didn’t stop me from placing an order for new postcard backs because I’d need them to use with the photos already printed and those to come. (it said I’d ordered 300 last year…). There’s another box that is just received cards. Future archivists, have a field day!

Another circle

round the sun yes indeed. There and back again.

Finally today the internet guy came and fixed my pitiful internet connection. And then he called my cell phone from my home phone number – probably from the outside box… ah the wizardry of internet phone guys.

So here’s to another year.

Tonight Mom and I had dinner:

Also the world needs more serene cat photos:

An unexpected bonus of trying to paint the geranium is that it’s still in surprisingly good condition, as are my other two, because frankly I paid more attention to them over the summer. Most of the time that involved dumping out the extra water left by torrential rain but for the hanging one it still involved watering.

I had penciled some thoughts onto my pochade box but need to find a way to make them readible and permanent:

INTENT • CONFIDENCE • RISK • PATIENCE*

(Standard caveat applies here, Persistence>Patience although in watercolor you do need patience to let things dry or dry some before continuing.)

And then I need to get out and paint more. But I did survive another August Postcard Poetry Fest – thirty-one plus poems written and sent out to people all over the USA and world. It’s a fun group.

I became a member of the Berkshire Botanical Garden (formerly the Berkshire Garden Center) so I can drop in to paint over the course of the year. That’s the plan – add more places to paint.

The Seventh of August

It was really hot and humid today. I had thought to go out painting in the morning but decided to stay in and see if it cooled off enough to head out in the early evening. Had some real rain and close lightning for a bit and gave up on the idea of painting so I got some dinner instead. Then it was about 20 degrees cooler so I headed over to the local conservation area and took a bunch of photos. Now I’ve got to get a poem together for mailing out tomorrow.

7 august 2018//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js