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#ROW80 Literary Liaisons

March 11, 2015 4 Comments

ROW80

ROW80

Writers make good company in person or long distance. In our 80 days together writing about writing I have made the acquaintance of interesting and talented people. Like social exchanges in person we represent a very diverse set of interests and geographic situations. The faithful participants check in twice weekly to report progress on goals which range from studying story architecture to editing novels to posting on twitter.  At the same time I have been joining my on line colleagues I have been hanging out at least once a week with poets.  One of my goals at the start of the 80 days was to become a regular at the U of A Poetry Center.  This goal had been an unstated wish for over a year, and yet I had not worked it into my routine.  Now that I made it a conscious part of my practice as a writer I am really happy. Being present for the readings and taking in the atmosphere of the crowds who attend the poetry events is a blast.  All this free entertainment that is right up my alley has been waiting for me right around the corner from my home. I am glad I have made it a habit to go because it is a remarkable resource.  I will probably work up to taking a workshop eventually.

Although I set no number of books, poems or poets to read during the challenge I have been very active absorbing poetry in print and by app.  The Poetry Foundation app and others keep me busy finding new writers from all periods of history.  I have developed some favorites in this short time of sampling different kinds of poetic work.  Translated poetry is interesting to me.  I like hearing it in the original language then in English, to hear the sound before the meaning. Haiku is written by all kinds of people in many languages around the world a great app to learn more about those is The Haiku Foundation’s Haiku app.  Shake your iPhone and a new (not your grandfather’s) haiku appears ready to tweet or read.  In general I like short pithy poems, but am also fond of epic stories if they contain humor.  I am on a general exploratory venture into every poem and all poets.  I have thought a lot about the relationship between poetry and music, and how they shape popular culture.  I am reading Dorothy Parker Drank Here, a novel about the ghost of the great witty woman.  Dorothy Meister presents a funny set of circumstances at the Algonquin Hotel in New York where Mrs. Parker is a haunting the bar as a way of telling about her life and personality.  I am enjoying the read, and also noticing what a great device a ghost is to frame a story about anyone in history.  I am planning to try it with some of my dead ancestors.

Dorothy Parker Drank Here

Dorothy Parker Drank Here

My poetry is chugging along, which I think is an accomplishment. I write almost every day, and expand my subject matter horizons.   When I began this adventure I wanted to warm up and work on poetry for a better outcome in this year’s Poetry Month, NaPoWriMo challenge. I feel ready and able to write a poem every day in April, and I am now in the practice of illustrating what I post.  I am proud to have developed this habit.  It has no unwanted side effects, and I think I can only improve as I practice.  Sometimes the inspiration comes from what I am thinking or doing in life, and other times it comes from some distant part of the universe.  It always feels good to hit publish. To be in the company of writers is a honor and a privilege I appreciate. Check out my fellow writers and their adventures here.

The Personal Service of Farming

October 31, 2012

scarecrow

What are the personal services you use in daily life? You may not be aware of all of them. If you buy prepared foods, that preparation has been done for you. You know if you hire a child care helper or manicurist that you are buying personal services. It is hard to find all the ways others contribute skill and time to our daily lives.  Compared to primitive self reliance our modern lifestyle is comprised of paying more for labor and transportation than we pay for goods.  Many have lost the skills needed to make anything from scratch.  Farming in the US is a prime example. We are running out of people who know how to grow food as this profession declines rapidly in young people. If we don’t train or import some people to do the service of farming we will  face serious problems.

My grandparents owned a farm when I knew them so I was exposed to the milk cow, the beef cows, the pigs, the gardens, and even to the butter churn.  I lived in the city of Tulsa but considered the grandparents spread in Arkansas where was assistant farmer  on the weekends to be extremely romantic.  I rode a mule and shot a rifle.  I thought of myself as very Annie Oakley when I was about 5.  My parents had grown up without modern 1950’s conveniences and liked the idea of jet setting rather than  farming.  They enjoyed the country club and the University Club, and garden club, and host of other urban activities that Tulsa and Pittsburgh offered them.  They did not seem lazy to me, but they certainly had a different style when it came to personal services than my grandparents had.  There was no way they would ever own a mule or live next to a barn.  They were over all of that. They were urban, upwardly mobile, and believed themselves to be super liberated.  I suppose they were.

Every generation acquires some new skills and drops others that no longer serve the moment.  It is a great idea to stay abreast of technology, move with the times, and accept the reality of now.  In some phases of life, however, it is healthy, good, and indeed necessary to play a creative skillful part in carefully designing reality.  If one chops no wood and carries no water the disconnection from source becomes disabling.  The spirit has no dwelling in a world that offers only convenience.  The soul requires art, and the spirit creates those artful moments that last in memory.  One’s own self realization can’t be purchased, downloaded or installed.  There is no service that can impart the satisfaction derived from self expression.  Once practiced, polished and realized each one of us has a gift of powerful personal charism to offer to all the sentient beings. We can only hope that some young Americans find  a vocation in farming.

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