Waiting for the Post

Happy Valentine's Day

 

Remember
…waiting with fluttering heart…
for a Valentine from your beloved?
A missive filled with passion
and bad poetry?
Now, if you’re lucky,
you get a text
– i luv u –
or something equally uninspired.
Does that make it
less valid?
Love spoken
…in any form…
is a gift to treasure.
For love,
there is no measure.

______________________
Image: clipart.com

I am looking for artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and other creative folks to feature in my Q&A series. To learn more about how to participate go to Welcome.

The Path

Walk With Me

The veil of yesterday
shrouds the curtain of tomorrow.
Will there be happiness, or sorrow?
The future is not ours to know
as each daily trek we take
or any choices we may make.
The hours, days and years accumulate
and when our time draws nigh we pray
all will be blessed we came this way.

________________
In the neighborhood – (c) Sharon Vander Meer

Something Different

If  you’ve never been to my site before you won’t see anything different, other than the fact I haven’t done much since my marathon poetry writing self-challenge in which I wrote a poem a day from Dec. 1 – 25. I’ve written a couple of other blogs since January 1, but that’s it.

notebooks.jpgIf, however, you are a follower you will note a new look. The “new look” may be new again tomorrow, I can’t say for sure. I’m in flux right now, wanting to write but being frustrated by what to write and who my audience is, or who I think it is. Unfortunately I’m not sure I’ve figured that out yet.

And then I remembered. According to one of those cockamamie tests on the internet, my word for 2016 is Innovative.

With that it mind I decided to think outside the box. Unfortunately someone hid “the box” and I can’t find it anywhere. So here is what I’ve come up with, which applies to any blogger out there who wants to have readership:

  1. Write.

Okay, that’s it. Every day sit in the spot you feel most creative and write. Even when it’s bad writing you’re flexing your brain and developing ideas you can make something of down the road.

I have two almost finished novels. They’re just sitting there waiting. I’m the roadblock to these books being completed. Whether I’m blogging or writing poetry or short stories, or working on a novel, the first step is to write.

In an interview with Noah Charney, Jodi Picoult, whose last seven books have all hit number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, talked about her approach to writing.

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it — when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands. If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Discipline leads to success, maybe not Jodi Picoult success, but success at some level. If nothing else there is satisfaction in knowing you tried and knowing you did your best. I’m preaching to me, now, because right at this moment I need a kick in the pants and nobody can give me that other than me or better than me.

Tune in tomorrow for more on my innovative approach to writing and blogging.

 

Trust – 9th Poem of Christmas

Life and Light

Truth, the word feared most of all,
Rhetoric and lies, cause us to fall.
Utmost and highest, we aspire to call,
Savior sweet Savior, ere death’s bitter gall!
Trust I give you, my life, my all.

_____________________

Ceramic Donkey, Beast of Burden Carrying Light

Q&A With Rebecca Lee: Object Lessons

Writer Rebecca Lee lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has published with The Noctua Review, Cleaver Magazine, Rebecca LeeExistere Journal, The Rusty Nail.  Her blog is at www.AWordOfSubstance.com

Q. Tell readers about yourself and your writing goals.
A. Writing is my #1 passion in life. I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pen.  My main writing goal for the future is to publish a collection of short stories and vignettes.

Q. Your blog is an eclectic collection on a variety of topics. Comments from some readers refer to it as being quirky and original. Talk about the premise of the blog and why you started it.
A. My blog is mostly about objects personified. When I first started the blog I wanted to be able to write about anything and make it interesting. I hope that’s what I’ve been able to accomplish.

Q. Why write about what some would consider irrelevant, I mean power outlets? How can this be relevant?
A. Lately I’ve been writing about any kind of object that I think relates to a news article. The power outlet seemed like a perfect fit for the news surrounding college rape. Words have a way of seeping through the subconscious mind and piecing themselves into a way that makes sense. Even if those words are describing objects, one can still grasp the deeper meaning.

Q.Object enthusiast. Fiction writer. Six word stories on twitter.” That’s you’re Twitter profile. What does it all mean?
A. I’m a big fan of inanimate objects. If something isn’t alive, you can create and attach any sort of feeling to it. Who’s to say a silver spoon doesn’t feel a certain way? We’ll never know.

As for the six word stories – I came across Hemingway’s story and was inspired. He wrote: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. In just those six words, he said it all.

Q. In one sentence, describe yourself as a writer.
A. For sale: words with hopeful promise.

Q. What do you find most challenging, concept development or writing?
A. Depends on the writing and the concept. In general I find poetry to be the most natural form of writing and essays to be more challenging. Depending on the topic, my feelings can change.

Q. What do you wish people knew about you as a writer?
A. I write about everything. My blog focuses mostly on stories surrounding objects, however I write non-fiction and poetry as well.

Q. You have been published in a number of literary journals for your short fiction and nonfiction. How do you decide where you will submit your work and how do you handle rejection?
A. I read a lot of literary magazines. I spend a lot of time on Duotrope. I take writing classes with other students who also submit their work to various places. I always have an eye out for publications.

In terms of rejection, I think I might be a rejection addict. When I was eleven, I asked a boy to dance with me at a school social and he turned me down. It was love at first sight. Rejection gives me an energy that encourages me to try harder.

Q. What encouragement would you offer writers about getting published?
A. Read a lot of literary magazines. Find the best one that fits your style and keep trying.

Q. What are you working on now or what would you like people to know about your work and where they can find it?
A. I am working on a collection of short stories and vignettes as well as a memoir. My published online writing is available at Linden Ave Literary Journal, Haggard and Halloo Publications,  Chicago Record, *82 Review, and in the next issue of Cleaver Magazine. For print publications, I have been featured in The Rusty Nail, The Noctua Review, and Existere Journal. For regularly updated writing, please visit  www.AWordOfSubstance.com

Britt Realism: Nothing is as it seems

Meredith BrittMy friend Meredith Britt is among the artists taking part in the Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Kennedy Hall on the campus of New Mexico Highlands University. The show will be up beginning Sept. 6 and run through Oct. 16, with the reception to be held from 4-7 p.m. on opening day.

Meredith is one of my favorite people. I thank her for kindly answering my questions and allowing me to feature her in this blog about the show. Her dry sense of humor makes me smile; her work lets me know how important art is to her.

She said about painting: “I’ve always painted. I’ve considered painting my main focus since I was 29 when I went back to school and changed my major to art.

“‘Formally trained’ sounds like I’m housebroken, which I am. I’ve been to obedience school too,” she replied to the question about whether she is self-taught. “Art kind of teaches you, whether you’re in school or not. As long as you’re making art, art is the teacher.”

In addition to painting Meredith does beautifully created collage art in vibrant colors with amazing detail. “I got started with collages just playing around with colored paper and glue stick when we had the Community Art Center by the bridge. Both mediums are so malleable – you really can’t go wrong. The artist always gets to play god.”

She refers to the artistic style of her painting and collages as Britt Realism. I can see that. There is subtle simplicity and power in her work.

Of the five bold-image paintings she submitted for consideration, three were chosen.Meredith's Work

“The pieces I picked for the show sort of go together because they are all large-scale still lifes: an ice cream cone, a toaster, and a thermos with two cups and saucers. They all sort of relate to food so there’s another thread. I also entered a painting of a chair and one of the women’s room in the Highlands art building. Those didn’t get in. Maybe the curator was hungry. On another note, I seriously hope my work gives people some joy or helps them remember there’s a bigger picture. Nothing is as it seems.”

I asked Meredith what three things she wanted people to know about her as an artist.

“I want people to know that I believe art is everything; that I hope to inspire others to make art without judgment; and that I no longer think about the fact that I’m the world’s greatest artist.”

Meredith’s work can be seen at el Zócalo Gallery, 1809 Plaza in Las Vegas, an art space she is proud to share with others.

“Eleven of us members own it cooperatively. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s a beautiful place and we all get along well. Everyone is invited to come see us – we’re open every day. I’ve been in galleries in Santa Fe and Taos, but I don’t need them now that I have el Zócalo.”

For more information about the Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Kennedy Hall, click here to read an article by Margaret McKinney.

What: Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Kennedy Hall
Where: Kennedy Hall Art Gallery
Dates: Sept. 6 – Oct. 16
Opening Reception: 4-7 p.m., Sept. 6
Cost: Free

FIRE & LIGHT

Light

There is a fire within,
shining light
in unexpected places.
It comes out
and brightens
dark days
when nothing
seems to go right.
It is the spirit
of positive energy
chasing away shadows
and disappointment.
It comes of faith
and dedication,
trust and hope.
It cannot
be extinguished,
no matter what happens.
Today is a gift.
I choose
to make it
have value
to the degree
I am able.
The fire within
shines like a beacon
leading me forward.
Don’t look back,
speaks the light,
look ahead.
Tomorrow’s promise
awaits and I
am ready.

_____________________________

Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.


Follow Sharon at:
www.vandermeerbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks
Amazon Author Central

Playing with the camera

Yellow DeterminationPhoto 1: Yellow Determination. Why? For some little while, I didn’t think these lovely harbingers of Spring would ever be anything but leaves, but here they are, bright and beautiful. I have a row of them waiting to open. Anticipation, a great stimulus to creativity.

Photo 2: From a background of resting stems and dead leaves, this purple beauty and new green growth emerge, sure signs of warmer weather. I REALLY must get out the rake and start tidying up the yard, and yet… the spontaneous music of an untended garden sings to me, riotous and rollicking, laughing at winter, God’s great gift of resurrection.Purple Spring

Photo 3: These are three different kinds of succulents. I don’t know where I got them, but I never expected to see them again. Last summer was their first season in the patio pots, and here they are, back again. What a delightful surprise! If I’d known they were going to be this hardy I might have installed them as ground cover. Maybe this year? Assuming I ever get to work in the yard.

Coming to LifePhoto 4: We have a “rainbow catcher” in our kitchen. At least that’s what I call it. It is solar activated, turning and turning throwing rainbows of color across our breakfast time, making us act and feel like children. “See! There it is. Isn’t it beautiful?” Our eyes chase the hues as they land on the wall and then the ceiling and off the mirror in the living room. We’re treated to a carousel or light. I caught this slice of rainbow resting on a copper plate mounted on the wall. In the next photo you can see the plate in context.

Photo 5: The collage of images is an eclectic grouping. Each image speaks to me Catching a Rainbowseparately and collectively. The wreath of eucalyptus still has – after several years of hanging there – a distinctive aroma. My friend Kathy, gave me the cross for Christmas one year. The horizontal post reads “Journey,” and the vertical post is the Jeremiah 29:11 scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to proper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The fruit collage is tin art, a funky fun piece that makes me smile. The San Pascual Baylon retablo by Peter Lopez, has the following message on the back:

CorneredSan Pascual Baylon, 1540-1592 A shepherd who became a Franciscan lay brother and worked in the dining room or as a door keeper; very devoted to the Eucharist. Patron Saint of the kitchen, cooking, shepherds and sheep. He is also said to guard against a sad spirit. “May the Lord bless and protect you.” Tio Pedro 6/93

Lovely, yes? And I think it works; I rarely have a sad spirit.

The Aztec calendar copper plate was rescued from the basement of my husband’s office right before we sold the building several years ago. It fits that space just right. You can see the “rainbow” on the copper plate to the left of center.

These items serve no purpose other than to make my workspace cheery, and remind me of good friends, laughter shared, and the joy of life.

Playing with the camera is always fun. It’s even more fun to share the experience. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment, share and like. I will greatly appreciate it!

Tools of the trade

EmersonHow many times have you wished for just the right image or message to convey your thoughts and feelings? What about combining them? Do you wonder where people come up with all that stuff you see on the internet? It’s mind blowing when you think about it. Some of the content is just plain silly and some is breathtaking. A lot of what you see is amateurish at best while some is breathtakingly beautiful. I don’t think there’s much you can do with a good photo except post it and let the viewers take it in visually and intellectually. Sometimes, however, you want to take your photo to a different level. You want your audience to get what you meant when you took that shot. One way to do that is with a free design tool called Canva (www.canva.com). Most of what is on the site is free, but you may need to pay for photos that are not stock photos. Even at that the paid images are mostly in the $1 range. Or you can upload your own photos and designs, as I did with the image at right.

It is a simple-to-use tool. There is a slight learning curve but it won’t be long before you are creating all kinds of designs. You can use them in Facebook and other social media posts and in blog posts. Aside from being a useful tool, it is down right fun to play with.

I learned about this site by attending a webinar conducted by Joan Stewart, www.publicityhound.com and Joel Friedlander, joel@thebookdesigner.com, well-known names in the indie publishing business.

If you are looking for a handy tool to add to your design toolbox, this is it and it is (mostly) free.

______________________

Note: I am in no way affiliated with Canva . These are my thoughts based on my experience. There may be other similar programs in the marketplace. I have not tried them.