Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Random Words and Runaway Sentences

I did a writing exercise this morning. I wrote a list of 10 random nouns and a separate list of 10 random verbs and then gave myself 10 minutes to write 10 sentences using both sets of words. Here are the results:

  1. A hot cup of coffee teaches me to slow down and savor each moment.
  2. The child wrote out her name using bits of her alphabet pasta.
  3. The worn out magnetic strip on her ID card could not be read by the scanner.
  4. You’ve heard of “pillow talk”? On that cold morning, the couple engaged in a little sweater talk.
  5. How do we listen to the incessant war drums pounding in our hearts?
  6. A wrinkled scarf sits on her dresser top where she tossed it the night before.
  7. Her old-maid reading glasses look up and meet his slick, stylish sun glasses.
  8. They shuffled the conference room chairs, badgering the too small tables.
  9. The color of the antheriums run juxtaposed against the dull, peeling wallpaper of the room.
  10. The vase she set upon the fireplace mantle was like a praise offered up in church.

The sentences are awkward, but the point in writing them is two-fold. First, it helps me to employ nouns and verbs in new and hopefully vivid ways. Second, these sentences can be a jumping off place for other, more solid writing. The sentence can be pared down, re-arranged, flipped over, allowed to run wild and even thrown away altogether after it has served this purpose.

This exercise is adapted from one that is in Writing Down the Bones, page 147 of the pocket edition.

ljg 2019


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Is There Really Nothing New Under the Sun? Only If You Don’t Work at It.

A page from one of DaVinci’s notebooks

From where do our ideas for creative endeavors come?  I think our inspiration comes from our interaction with the world around us — the natural world and the people in it.  From those sources we extract portions, break them up, shuffle them around, ponder and consider, scrap them all and start again– until we come up with some sort of creative prompt and subsequent product.

I know I like to think that any creative idea I have came from some deep well of inspiration within me.  Maybe it does, but I also know that this well of inspiration consistently needs to be filled with memories of the experiences I have with the exterior world.   There are only two activities from The Artist’s Way that I have found useful.  One of them is the “Artist’s Date” (the other is writing every day).   I try to go somewhere or engage in some sort of activity either by myself or with other people that will fill that well.   Since I spend so much time drumming, cooking, gardening and engaging in reflective self-care activities, my writing and image-making often engage those themes.

Maybe we mere-mortal creatives re-purpose other ideas gathered from our worldly roamings, but what about those individuals whom we credit for inventing lofty ideas and devices that have had profound impacts on the world?  Archimedes, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, DaVinci, Shakespeare, Locke, Curie, Tesla, Einstein?    Where did those ideas come from?   If you look at some of them who we consider “geniuses”, most of them were philosophers and scientists.    What do they have in common?   I don’t know about all of them, but I know some of them kept notebooks where they worked on their ideas, no doubt drawing from the same sources that you and I do:  the external world.   In fact, I think Plato is the guy who came up with the notion that there is a place where everything in the world has an Ideal Form, a perfect Idea of it,  and anything we create is merely a reflection of those ideals.

I propose that we can be just as inventive as these folks.  The key is to take the ideas from the well and work and re-work and experiment and write and consider that work until we re-create something glorious on paper or canvas or film or device.   They did.  So can we.

I am just writing this off-the-top of my head.  I am still working on this notion.   I may re-work it again.   That’s the point!   Keep working until you get it “right” (or at least close to it).

Now get working.   🙂

ljg (c) 2019

 

 

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/rdp-friday-prompt/


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The Blogosphere, Fairy Dust and the Public Domain

I was orbiting the blogosphere this morning hoping to be inspired.  (I feel the need to write some fiction).    The Internet fairies took pity and sprinkled some magic dust on me, and I had an “aha” moment wherein I realized that instead of agonizing over coming up with something new that I could do what countless other writers and creators have done and retell a story from the Public Domain.    From there I stumbled across this wonderful video by author Jill Williamson.  She explains in detail what constitutes a work in the Public Domain and thus accessible for re-telling.  I urge you to take a look.   Now, I’m off to re-read some Homer and Grimm.

 


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Magnetic Poetry: Drunk on Catnip and Instinct

Magnetic promptI came across a site that I am adding to my list of resources:  Magnetic Poetry. You’ve seen these before, I’m sure– those little magnets you move around ro make verses. You can fool around with this online now. From a little play session I derived this:

Drunk on catnip and instinct,
tortoiseshell goddess of the night,
you howl your lovesick love song
in a flood of full moonlight.
Your clowder of lovers
from my back fence leap
to worship your beauty
And rouse me from sleep.

jgloyd 2016

Postscript:   I thought the word “eat” in the image was “cat”.  What a totally different poem I would have crafted if I had followed through on “eat”.


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NASA, Cecil, and Deep-Fried Candy Bars

saturn nasa 2The Daily Post’s daily prompt: “NASA is building a new Voyager spacecraft that will carry the best of modern human culture. What belongs onboard?”

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Seriously? You’re asking me that? I mean, I did give this some thought, and I truly cannot see that there is any part of our modern culture — either Eastern or Western– that I would be proud to show off to the rest of the galaxy.

I know that sounds harsh, but all you need to do is look around you.   Look what our “culture” has done to this planet and its creatures. The same culture that produced a man that could kill a magnificent creature like Cecil for vanity’s sake is the same culture that produces people who rage more about the death of that lion than it does about the deaths of millions of children each year from war, famine, disease, family violence, abortion, and neglect.

We have a culture that sexualizes little girls to the point where five-year-olds look like prostitutes. We have a culture that teaches its young men that it is okay to have sex with as many people as possible.

Do we really want to parade to the galaxy such cultural icons as insert-name-of-current-pop-tart-musical-artist-favorite, shows like Swamp People, and deep-fried candy bars?   Really? You do?

I know that some folks might say we should put our decadent, morally-bereft culture out there so that some superior intelligence from the other side of the Delta Quadrant will swoop in and rescue us.   Be careful what you wish for.

They may just come with a giant can of Raid.

ljgloyd (c) 2015


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Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

the moon by me -- ljgHere is my response to this prompt at the WordPress Daily Post: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

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Dreams should not be taken literally — at least that is what I used to tell myself.

At one time I was big into symbolism. I used to think that images in dreams were the detritus of my mind, the bits and pieces of real-life issues that I had left unattended during my waking hours which would then float up to nag me during my sleep. These realities of my day would take on fantastical or striking forms in my dreams in order to get my attention. ALL dreams were like that. Yeah, that’s what I used to tell myself.

But then that changed.

A number of years ago I had a dream. Actually, it was an honest-to-gosh nightmare. It started out pleasant enough. I found myself in a backyard garden in Manhattan Beach. How I knew it was MB, I don’t know. I just knew. I was surrounded by people I did not know. They were obviously wealthy people dressed in fine party clothing — suits and cocktail dresses. Someone was grilling steaks and fish on a barbeque. Tables were laid with fancy appetizers and other dainties. Beer and wine freely flowed. The sun was shining and a salty breeze came off the ocean. I don’t recall any music but then sound has never been prominent in my dreams, but everyone was smiling, laughing, and having a good time.

Then I looked up and saw the sky turn color. From a bright cerulean it morphed into a puss-yellow. The party-goers looked up too. Some set down their glasses and plates, and they all stopped chatting and laughing. They, like me, were frozen in place. With our eyes fixed on the western sky, we saw them coming — at first dark specks, then growing into the silhouettes of planes. I felt my stomach tighten and my heart start to pound. I knew — we all knew — they were coming for us. If you have ever seen any movies about Pearl Harbor, you know the scene: the planes swooping in on defenseless people. You knew what was coming.

Just as the planes were nearly to us, everyone began to scream, including me. That’s when I woke up. It was the classic bolt-upright-in-bed type of nightmare response. I don’t know if I really screamed, but I was sweating and trembling in fear. I sat there for a moment and as I realized that I was at home, safe in my bedroom, and that it was only a dream, I calmed down. Then I began to analyze it.

Yes, I had been busy at work. Stress, that was probably it. Yes, I was worried about some family issues too. Yeah, that’s had to be it. Worry working itself out in the dream. Oh, maybe it was my health. That could be it too: my body telling me to take care of myself. Maybe I should make a doctor’s appointment. That’s it, that’s what I’ll do.

With it all figured out, I felt relieved and ready to go back to sleep. Just as I settled back down, I turned to look at the digital display on my nightstand:

2:15 a.m., September 11, 2001.

 

 

 

ljgloyd (c) 2015


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Resources, Reference, and Inspiration

Spring

“Spring”, Lawrence Alma-Tadema [Dutch, 1836 – 1912], Oil on canvas, 1894

I have always relied upon images seen in museums, art books, or online to jump start my creative impulses.  Because of this, I was so pleased to find out a few days ago that the J.P. Getty Trust is now allowing the download and free use of nearly 5000 high quality digital surrogates of its collection.  The plan is to eventually add more of the Getty collection over time.   Here is what they say on their blog:

Today the Getty becomes an even more engaged digital citizen, one that shares its collections, research, and knowledge more openly than ever before. We’ve launched the Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible….     To read the entire post and access the Open Content collection, go HERE.

 So I am taking advantage of this opportunity and posting one of my favorite paintings in the Getty collection.  It is “Spring” by Dutch/British painter, Lawrence Alma-Tadema. It is a fairly large painting (70 1/4 x 31 1/2 in).  Here is what the Getty says about it:

A procession of women and children descending marble stairs carry and wear brightly colored flowers. Cheering spectators fill the windows and roof of a classical building. Lawrence Alma Tadema here represented the Victorian custom of sending children into the country to collect flowers on the morning of May 1, or May Day, but placed the scene in ancient Rome. In this way, he suggested the festival’s great antiquity through architectural details, dress, sculpture, and even the musical instruments based on Roman originals.  Alma Tadema’s curiosity about the ancient world was insatiable, and the knowledge he acquired was incorporated into over three hundred paintings of ancient archeological and architectural design. He said: “Now if you want to know what those Greeks and Romans looked like, whom you make your masters in language and thought, come to me. For I can show not only what I think but what I know.”   Alma Tadema’s paintings also enjoyed popularity later, when his large panoramic depictions of Greek and Roman life caught the attention of Hollywood. Certain scenes in Cecil B. De Mille’s film Cleopatra (1934) were inspired by the painting Spring.  (See this text HERE)

Each time I go to the Getty, I spend more time with this painting than I do with most of the others.  There is a story in every face in this painting.   This painting alone could generate ideas for several stories.  I could use it as a reference for drawing exercises.  I could excise parts of it for use in a digital constructions. My point here is simple.  You probably already know this, so use this as just a reminder:  Look at what other artists and writers have done and use it as a jumping off point for your own work. If any of the Getty folks are reading this, THANK YOU so much for making your collection available to us.   What a fantastic contribution to creative persons everywhere.  — ljgloyd Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.


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A Trip on the Wild Side

I love my local natural history museum, and I visited yesterday to see some of its newly remodeled areas.  I overheard a docent say that natural history museums are an intersection of nature and culture.  I can’t argue with that, but the main reason I go is because they are kick-butt cool.

Here are some of the images I captured…er, rather, that captured me.   I may use one or two as a story prompt.

Blue Glass ButterflyjpgGlass Butterfly (slightly manipulated)

whaleAn ancient whale greets the patrons.

golden bearCalifornia Grizzly (extinct)

ratsCommon brown rats in the mother of all Habitrails

weird plantSome weird plant growing on a stone wall (not manipulated)

tommy t rexTommy the T-Rex

ljg (c) 2013