Old Moon

Saturday, October 31, 2009

You and Me and the Universe

There are so many good blogs around. One is "A Good Blog is Hard to Find." A recent post by "Mystery Blogger" provides food for thought for everybody. Take a look.

Here's one take on the question:


In still night hours, under veils of velvet dark,

glint starry echoes, turning like leaves in whirlpools

that tease an errant mind. From forgotten eons

linger lonesome tunes whose burdens slip away like bee-song in summer.

Who is there?

What did you say?

Only fragments loom in broken ranks to turn the inward ear

toward shadows without outlines and murmurs gone in the twinkling of an eye.

A flash of memory from ages brilliant and geometric as cut emeralds still unset

is drowned in muffled whispers of times unremembered.

Who is there?

Did you speak?

The turning times of futures past spin dimly on in fading Arabesques

as the haunted soul gropes with mittened fingers and blindfold eyes

to grasp a hint or catch a clue and plot the new flight plan for the morrow.

Is someone there?


Monday, October 19, 2009

Creation and Imagination

I have a sense that I should be sticking to comments from the point of view of a writer on this blog, so readers may take that into consideration. As a would-be novelist, I seem to discover almost day by day some new insight that I find it hard to believe is new.

The rites of passage in our lives should so often be, however overwhelming, less unexpected in how we experience them than they are. If we read, if we listen to the conversations and advice of our elders, how is it that we're so often unprepared? I don't mean for the events themselves and when they occur, since no one is clairvoyant. I'm speaking of how little we know of ourselves when faced with one of them.

I remember how amazed I was by the idea that a man I found incredibly attractive in every way (could hardly think of anything else) would want me; I recall the emotional upheavals of childbirth--each one--and now I'm knocked out of my proverbial socks by the passage of time that ended first for my husband and that leaves me floundering here on my own.

All this being the case, I have to ask myself how I can have the impression I who have been around long enough to know about such matters could make fiction that includes them and be believed. What really blows me away is how young writers manage to take on this challenge and manage it as well as so many do. I guess the real question is: how can you evaluate imagination?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Small Splash?

Well, here's a cautious offering:

I love haiku, even nontraditional subjects. Maybe one reason is they demand so little skill.
Apologies for formatting. I don't seem able to control it here at all.


Sleek triplets white

in scattered flashes, adorn

winter's sleeping woods.


Brash rustics, crowd in

among fine grass, thornĂ©d rose –

they brave slashing hoe.



full buds swell to sweet birdsong –

Croci laugh at snow.


The hand's clasp unfelt

and sweet voiced words unspoken

–love's gifts accepted.


Why not alone taste

first savor of the day? Boor,

The bacon’s burning.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Diving In...

Some of my readers may be aspiring poets. Is that the same thing as wanting to write poetry? It's hard enough for me to say out loud, "I'm a writer." I can't imagine claiming to be a poet because I'm trying to write poetry.

Is a "poet" a slightly different breed from an ordinary writer? At least three of you who might read this are actually poets. Now that I've read most of a scholarly article in The Boston Review about Yeats, I wonder if I may be losing my ability to differentiate between reality and wishful thinking. What in the world, other than a perceived need to find a different approach to getting communication (and let's admit it, self expression) onto a page, is the difference between an author of good prose and a poet?

Though my first love is fiction, I find myself writing more and more essays in the past two years, and find to my surprise how much easier it seems than finding ways to offer IMPLICATIONS as both poetry and fiction must do. The unrivaled wealth of English as a language almost demands that its lovers take dangerous leaps into its possibilities. Should we be trying to make exclusive choices about how to go about this?

I used to love to dive, but could never muster the courage for a back dive or the skill for a gainer. I'd be able to choose between an ordinary running forward, a swan, or a jackknife, though. Somehow it seems as if the last might be the way to approach the depths of poetry. What tends to hold me back is the possibility that the reader might think I was just showing off. Maybe the good old cannonball is all we need?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

North Carolina Arts Council

The NC Arts Council conducts regional competitions using local members of arts organizations as judges for applications for individual grants in various disciplines. As a member of a local arts foundations, I was invited to be one of the observers who sit in on the deliberations. It took all morning, and after lunch, the board members from each of five counties were charged with figuring out the best way to distribute the funds allocated among those deemed most deserving.

It's rare to have a chance to observe such a process, and very educational. I was assigned to the group who were to judge the five applicants for grants to further their careers as potters. Since this is an area I know almost nothing about, just hearing the discussion was a learning experience, but the main pleasure after the day was over is in the knowledge that there is such a lively and practical interest in the arts in our state. A representative from the state had driven three hours to spend the day overseeing the decisions being made by representatives from five counties.

A great deal of attention was paid to making the best use of the available funds for the benefit of the individual applicants while applying demanding standards of quality for the discipline and for the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the applications.

We decided to fund seven artists involved in jewelry-making, photography, basketry, pottery, and music performance. Over $7,000 was awarded.

These are hard times that give rise to many a letter on the op-ed pages complaining about frittering away tax dollars for nonessentials like the arts. For those of us who know the value of those relatively few dollars, a (tiring) day like that is worth every minute and every penny. Long live the determination to keep enriching our lives and to keep supporting those who contribute the most to that endeavor!