Flight Off of Half Dome

 

Half Dome--Yosemite
Half Dome–Yosemite

 

 

Flight Off of Half Dome

An etheree

Walk
alone
in autumn
below the blue
canopy of sky.
Leaves crunch beneath your feet.
Where do crickets go on cold
fall days wrapped up in brilliant hues?
Why do the horses romp in sunlit
fields of green with wind whipping through their manes?

Where do crickets go on chilled winter days?
Yosemite-place of the gaping
mouth-belonged to the Miwok
until the white man came.
“Manifest Destiny”
they called it—God’s will.
The valley was
theirs to romp
in sun-
light.

Mi-
wok fled
in autumn
under the black
night sky in silent
flight off Half-Dome or through
wet leaves that could not crunch. Their
tears fell into the dark chasm
drowning the crickets who hid beneath
scarlet shrouds of all that came before death.

The Miwok Indians, guardians of Yosemite and Tuolome Meadows were driven from their homeland under the guise of “Manifest Destiny.” There was an etching at the Nevada Museum of Art when we had a Yosemite exhibit titled “Flight Off of Half Dome” depicting their “eviction” as falling from the rock.

“Etheree” is a form in which the poet increases from one to ten syllables per line and then in reverse for as many stanzas as desired.

– Victoria Slotto

© 2014, poem and photograph, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012.

Your Wild and Precious Life

"Woodsy" for Wilderness
“Woodsy” for Wilderness (c) 2014, Jamie Dedes

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

A flock of starlings startled me this morning
flying randomly between city sky scrapers
before settling into formation
and heading toward the mountains.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

A perfect fence, white pickets,
with perfect shadows.
Is it there to hold in or keep out?
Or is it just there?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

In May, along the river walk,
an abundance of pink wild roses, snarly branches,
rival our well-planned gardens
with their playfulness.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

My sister’s husband deferred retirement
so they would have more money.
She died the month before their trip to the Amazon.
He cancelled their plans and never went back to work.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

–Victoria C. Slotto

Note: I think this is a good example of how the wilderness can inspire poetry.  Can you share something you’ve written that was inspired by a trek into the wilderness. You can link your own work to this post via Mister Linky below. Victoria C. Slotto

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: In the Wilderness, of the Wilderness

Photo: oregonlive.com
Photo: oregonlive.com

Starting August 31 at The Bardo Group, we are celebrating Wilderness Week  (details HERE) hosted by Pricilla Galasso(scillagrace). We thought that this would be a great leaping off place for Writers’ Fourth Wednesday invitation to creativity. We hope you link in your related work here and during our International Wilderness Week celebrations.

Think of how many poets and writers have been influenced by what I would call raw nature. Thoreau fled to Walden, Basho walked the shores of Japan, Gary Snyder and John Muir touted the environmental cause in the uninhabited regions of the Northwest, while Mary Oliver revels in the beauty of Massachusetts and the Northeast. Wordsworth, Audubon, Emerson…the list could go on and on.

So, today, I invite you to join your voice in poetry or prose to that of so many who have turned to untamed nature for inspiration. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

• Choose a photo or painting of a nature artist and write an Ekphrastic poem about the work of art. (Ansel Adams, Bierstadt…)

• Go into the wilderness and let your surroundings speak to your pen. • Choose specific flora or fauna about which to write. • Take a classical myth that has a wilderness theme and write about it.

• Read the work of a wilderness poet or writer and let their words inspire yours.

• Write of an undeveloped area in your own country or region, a place you’ve visited or would like to visit.

• Perhaps you would like to contrast urban and rural living or develop a patch of the wild in a city. • Write an environmentally themed poem or short essay.

• Write a children’s poem to open them to the wonders of nature.

• Oh, and did I mention, take yourself into the wilderness?!

Photo: wilderness.org
Photo: wilderness.org

 

If you would like to share your work with us (and I hope you will) use Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, or add your link in the comments.

To access Mister Linky (below in green):

• Write your submission and post it on your blog.

• Copy and paste the URL to your submission along with your identifier in the spaces provided by Mister. Linky.

• Visit and comment on other participants, as time allows.

• Enjoy the process. It is not a challenge, but rather an invitation.

I’m fortunate to live in a mostly rural area in the Sierra Nevada, about 30-40 minutes from beautiful Lake Tahoe. And I’m ashamed to say I’m lucky if I get there once a year. I’m glad for this opportunity to change that in the near future.

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on September 24. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday–Allegory

 

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

The great Italian poet, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is best known for his Divine Comedy, an extensive poem in which the reader, guided by Virgil and Beatrice, journeys on a pilgrimage to hell, purgatory and heaven. This vast work, in poetic form that is divided into Cantos, is one of a number of literary gems that we categorize as an allegory.

Put simply, an allegory is an extended metaphor. As we all know, metaphor is a commonly used device in our poetic toolbox—an image that stands in for, or symbolizes something else. In choosing to write an allegorical poem, Dante recognized that everything in his poem needed to be metaphorical.

His skill may be seen in the subtlety of his use of these representations. In the Middle Ages, playwrights, painters and other artists turned to allegory. Biblical scholars recognized passages of both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as allegorical. Characters named Lust or Greed inhabited the stage of morality plays.

Dante was not so obvious about it. He introduced us to lust, for example, in the characters of Paolo and Francesca, who share the story of their fall into adultery with the pilgrim. In addition, Dante created punishments for each circle of hell that fit the sin leading the lost soul to damnation. For example, in his hell, those who sinned by lust spent eternity whirling around in a dark wind.

Artists in all genres have turned to allegory. Consider such contemporary works as “Star Trek,” “Avatar,” or the “The Lord of the Rings.”

To give an example of an allegorical poem, I am choosing one of my own in order to escape accidental copyright infringement. You may remember it from a previous post on my blog:

glory garden

Alternate Uses for a Steak Knife

I know better
than to dig blindly
in the tool box.

The knife—
sharp as it was
the day he died

ten years ago.
A bit of rust next
to the handle

crusted with dirt.
I can see him
digging

beside the Sago
Palm, uprooting
stubborn weeds,

opening boxes,
slicing through
years of crap

to get at truth.
Then he would
sharpen the blade.

Listen carefully,
hear the song
of steel meeting flint.

That last time,
could he guess that
I would bleed?

In writing this, I could have chosen the title “Grief,” or “Mourning my Father.” Instead, I elected to trust the reader to figure out for himself the meaning hidden within the symbolism that I offered.

For today’s prompt, let’s visit allegory. Here are a few ways you might approach it:

• Write your own allegorical poem or short prose. Remember: extended metaphor. But I suggest you keep it briefer than Dante’s!
• Write about an already-written allegory. You might check out Dante or do a Google search on allegory.
• In our age, many have different understandings of what the hell or heaven means. Or purgatory, for that matter. Maybe you’ll enjoy writing your own allegory about this topic.
• Find a piece of allegorical art—they’re out there—and write an ekphrasis about it.
• Try a short piece of poetic, allegorical narrative.
• Check out the Bible or another sacred text for allegory and use that as a starting point.

If you’re able to join us: Write your poem or prose; Post it on your blog or website; Click on Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and enter your name and the direct URL of your post; Visit other poets’ work if you like and offer a comment while you’re at it.  Have fun.

 

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia, Excalibur

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on August 27. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

 

Nurture

The ants rush toward sweetness. I take away the melon, but first I spill a little melon juice on the counter.
Mary Oliver
Sand Dabs, Eight

Nurture

A drop of Buddhist grace seeps in my core.
I hesitate then spray to check those ants
but guilt ensues, weighs heavily in my soul,
Yet, should spider dare invade, I squash.

Last week I wept—a neighbor’s trees chopped down.
I wept for feathers scattered in our yard,
for eggs unhatched, abandoned in their nest,
for grazing cows and sheep, doomed to be slain.

And do we know for sure grain feels no pain?
That brainless lobsters know no suffering
when dropped in boiling pots for our delight?
Does life exist to feed on other lives?

But soon enough I, too, shall go away—
my life snuffed out much like a candle’s flame.
And so the cycle’s endless rhythm flows,
as well it must make room for seedling’s growth.

Photo: Teri Herzog
Photo: Teri Herzog

– Victoria C. Slotto

© 2014, essay, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved; photographs as indicated 

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on July 23. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

Writer’s Fourth Wednesday–The Art of Touch

When introducing school-age children to the world of visual art back when I was a docent at the Nevada Museum of Art, I used to like to ask them, “What tools do artists use?” Typical answers include, “Paint, canvases, clay, ink…” and, indeed, it’s logical that these are the first things that come to mind for most of us. But then, standing before a painting or sculpture, I invited the children to take their responses a step further and, in so doing, we entered the sphere of the elements and principles of art.

As a would-be artist, I’ve learned that the elements and principles of art are tools can serve poets and writers, as well as visual artists. These tools include color, line, shape, space, texture, perspective, balance, contrast, movement, form, pattern, value, emphasis, rhythm and unity. Can you see how visual artists reach into their tool boxes and grab one or more of these to produce a painting or sculpture that will appeal to the eye and will elicit an emotional response? And how they might enrich your own work?

Photo: David Slotto

Today, I’d like to discuss Texture.

Texture refers to the surface quality, whether actual or implied, of artwork. Actual or tactile texture is present when, if you were to touch the piece, you would feel its roughness or smoothness. Implied texture is achieved through illusory techniques that allow your imagination to tell you how an object in the painting would feel.

To create rough texture in a painting, the artist uses heavy applications of paint with a brush or palette knife and layers it on the surface of the painting. This process is called impasto. Simulated or implied texture occurs when the artist creates the impression of smoothness or roughness. To do this he uses color and value contrasts, a dry brush technique, or broken lines. Collage is an art form that emphasizes texture through use of contrasting materials such as fabric, paper, wood, paint, fiber and natural objects.

For this Writers’ Fourth Wednesday, I invite you, as word artisans, to create textural poetry or prose.

  • You may choose to focus on texture as the subject of your poem, exploring and reproducing the rough texture of tree bark or wood, the smooth feel of a baby’s or lover’s body, the cool gloss of ice or the warm fuzz of a cuddly kitten.

  • Or select words that are textural when spoken, perhaps including a recording of your spoken verse.

  • Another option is to select a piece of art that is textured and write to that. Some artists known for texture include the masters Rembrandt and Titian, Impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh, or abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

  • Perhaps you have a painting, sculpture or photograph of your own that you would like to showcase.

Image Credit: theguardian.com
Image Credit: theguardian.com

I hope you enjoy bringing the sense of touch to your writing and look forward to reading your contributions, should you chose to share them. Above all, have fun adding texture to your creative tool box.

To link simply write your piece and post it on your website or blog, then copy the direct URL of your work into Mr. LInky.

2014, essay, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved; photographs as indicated 

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on July 23. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

whoever said life isn’t easy, nailed it

Artist: Cheryl Kellar Used with permission
Artist: Cheryl Kellar
Used with permission

i shall swim in aqua seas,
flounder in roiling seas,
writhe in darkest doubt
alone.

This morning two sparrows chased a black crow from their nest, sheltered among palm fronds. Their babies survived.

when earth begins to bleed,
i shall dance in wild flames,
thirst for crimson nights
long gone.

Death lingers in my thoughts today. I find downy feathers at the base of an old oak tree. Mama dove mourns in a low-hanging branch.

i fly my chariot across blue skies,
approach sun’s brilliant orange
until, like Phaeton, heat
consumes.

Tornadoes and floods level land in the South, claim lives, devastate families who begin, already, to reclaim their existence.

I shall swim in aqua seas,
grasp hold of blue balloons
to fly above earth
once more.

This poem was originally posted on my blog to a prompt offered  for dVerse Poetics, based on the art of Cheryl Kellar. 

For a change I decided to play a bit with form. Perhaps “Descending Meter” could be a name for it. It consists of 4-line stanzas of 7-6-5-2, interspersed with short prose observations.

In the writings of Ovid, Phaeton, a son of Apollo, asked his father to grant him one wish, swearing to do so on the river Styx. Apollo agreed. Phaeton requested that, for just one day, he be allowed to drive the chariot of the sun across the heavens. Of course, Apollo tried to talk his son out of it, knowing it would consume him. Phaeton, however, insisted. Because of his oath, Apollo granted his son’s wish with the expected outcome. I suppose the lessons are: be careful what you wish for, and, don’t promise anything before knowing what it will entail.

– Victoria C. Slotto

2014, essay, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved; photographs as indicated 

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on June 25. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY: Color My Moods–Writing with Color

Image: silkhlens.com
Image: silkhlens.com

As a would-be artist and a former museum docent, I enjoy playing with the elements of art in my writing–both in fiction and poetry. A favorite is to use color to create mood. In art, abstract expressionists often use color as the primary tool to convey their “story.” There are many interpretations of the meaning or symbolism accorded to each color. I’m offering a few of my own: Yellow is a happy color and can be used to liven up a scene–to make it joyful, while Red signifies anger, passion, love. Think about it: when you’re feeling intense emotions, such as rage and close your eyes, sometimes your visual field appears red. Blue and Green convey calm and  peace Black represents the unknown or fear while Brown is a grounded, earthy color. Violet or Lavender speak of spirituality while White is used to represent truth and innocence.

Photo: allparentstalk.com
Photo: allparentstalk.com

My interpretation is gleaned, in great part, from a book I use for dream interpretation and it seems to work well for me. Perhaps you will see it differently. Consider that, in Asian countries, red is used for funerals and white for funerals. Both culture and personal life experience influence how we see color. (Reference: The Dream Book by Betty Bethards) I’m including a short description from my novel, Winter is Past, that strives to convey a mood using color. In the dim light, the church, clothed in red, marked the joyous season of Pentecost. The altar was covered in an abundance of flowers—gold, yellow, orange and red gladioli—tongues of flame marking the climax of the Pascal season. Helene’s mood, however, was somber, spiraling into blackness. The red surrounding her spoke to her of blood and death—the death of her spirit. She suppressed a sob…

 

Do you have an example from your own writing you would like to share? How do you see color as it influences mood? We invite you join in, if you like, using Mister Linky at the bottom of this post or simply add your link in the comments secion if you prefer.

Image: tympanus.net
Image: tympanus.net

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done. Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October and posts at 12:01 a.m. PST. The next Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is scheduled for May 28.  In (unofficial) concert with the American Academy of Poets, Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams) will host A Poem in Your Pocket on Thursday, April 24. You are invited share your own work or that of a favorite poet. Instructions for sharing will be included in the post, which will go up at 12:01 a.m. P.S.T.

HEADS UP: Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is tomorrow …

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

Poet, novelist and writing coach, Victoria C. Slotto is host. The prompt is about writing with color and it will go up at 12:01 a.m. PST on this blog. We hope you link in your own work – you have seventy-two hours to do so – and share it with us and that you will visit and support other participants.

Photo credit ~ Victoria Slotto, All rights reserved

Oh Poetry, Where Art Thou?

Illustration from the cover of Christina Rosse...
Image via Wikipedia

As we celebrate National Poetry Month, I’ve been considering the sources we poets turn to for inspiration–so today’s post is for poets although I’m sure that it’s useful to prose writers as well. I’m going to short-list some of the sources I turn to for inspiration in my writing.

  • Nature–look for details, metaphors, lessons that are present all around us. When stuck, it often helps me to take a walk. I’m blessed to live in a place that is replete with nature’s offerings.
  • Reading–read other poets. Their work often tickles my muse. Keep a list of your favorite poets to turn to when you need a creative boost.
  • News sources–look for the seeds of story-poems hidden in the newspaper, on the Internet or on TV news broadcast.
  • Poetic Forms–do an Internet search and check out poetic forms. For me, the discipline of a form can jump-start an idea.
  • Spirituality–look to metaphysical/religious ideas and writings such as the Bible or holy books of other spiritual traditions. Look within at your own spiritual experience.
  • Relationships–these evoke emotional reactions that are often begging for expression.
  • History–check out historical events as well as your own history. There can inspire narrative and reflective poetry.
  • Mythology–this is not an area of expertise for me, so I’m taking a course in Classical Mythology offered by The Teaching Company.
  • Science–a wonderful well-spring of poetic inspiration.
  • Art–Use painting, sculpture, photography and translate your experience into words.
  • Writing Prompts–those of us who participate in writing communities have a wealth of material tossed out at us on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Political issues–need I say more? My personal viewpoint is to stay away from personal attacks and stick to the issues.

There are many more–feel free to share your favorites in comments.

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October and posts at 12:01 a.m. PST. The next Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is scheduled for April 23. 

In (unofficial) concert with the American Academy of Poets, Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams) will host A Poem in Your Pocket on Thursday, April 24. You are invited share your own work or that of a favorite poet. Instructions for sharing will be included in the post, which will go up at 12:01 a.m. P.S.T.

WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: Give Me a Second (Person), if You Please

Photo: Rebecca Waters
Photo: Rebecca Waters

Those of us who write fiction or poetry often struggle in choosing the most appropriate person for our narrator. I chose the first person when I began the initial draft of my first novel. A few years later, when the first draft was all but completed, an agent at a writer’s conference told me that agents and publishers no longer wanted first person, that I would get nowhere with it. Being a naive newbie, I spent a year or more changing it to third person, and then began the arduous task of submission. The feedback I got with my many rejection slips was that the protagonist lacked feeling, was not sympathetic. One morning I woke up with the keen realization that I needed to change it back to first person in order to allow the reader a more intimate and emotional connection with my protagonist. So, one again, I revised. These shifts of person probably cost me three years…perhaps more, because in the meantime I put it aside and wrote another novel in first draft.

My story is to remind us all of the importance of making a careful choice when it comes to first, second or third person. As you know, second person point of view uses the pronoun “you” and its variants to address the protagonist, the reader or a specific person or object. First person point of view allows intimate insight into the mind and emotion of the protagonist but limits the same for secondary and minor characters. It also confines the writer to a specific time and place. Third person, on the other hand, presents the story from the writer’s point of view, allowing her or him to comment on the story and giving omniscience into all the players. A downside is that it restrains the reader from a deeper emotional connection with the protagonist whose reactions always seem just a bit beyond our reach

As for second person point of view in fiction, there are authors such as William Faulkner who may include short sections or chapters in the second person, but I can’t remember reading an entire novel in this voice, although I suspect it has been done. A few years back, an MFA student in my writing critique group wrote quite effective short stories in the second person. Her stories gave me the impression, as expected, that she was speaking directly to me and, at times, instructing me.

It is less rare to encounter poetry in the second person. As poets, we love to address our “audience,” celebrity figures, other poets or teachers who have an influence on us, people we love (or hate), God, mythological figures, people from our past. Consider this poem by the well-known 17th Century poet, Robert Herrick.

TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer ;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry :
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

– Robert Herrick

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The poem is written in the imperative form, instructive to the reader or listener. I read it recently under the title “To Young Virgins,” which gives a sense of his intended audience, though his underlying message applies to everyone, reminding us that time passes quickly. Another example, this one by Walt Whitman, addresses a city.

CITY OF ORGIES

CITY of my walks and joys!
City whom that I have lived and sung there will one day make you illustrious,
Not the pageants of you–not your shifting tableaux, your spectacles, repay me,
Not the interminable rows of your houses, nor the ships at the wharves,
Nor the processions in the streets, nor the bright windows with goods in them,
Nor to converse with learn’d persons, or bear my share in the soiree or feast;
Not those, but as I pass O Manhattan, your frequent and swift flash of eyes offering me love,
Offering response to my own–these repay me,
Lovers, continual lovers, only repay me.

– Walt Whitman (from the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass, it became City of Orgies in the 1867 edition)

And so, for March’s prompt, I invite you to write a poem, flash fiction or even a paragraph in the second person. Many of you do this routinely, so I challenge (not confine) you to a more specific prompt. Consider addressing: • Your favorite poet, one who has influenced your own writing; • A celebrity you would invite to dinner if you had a choice; • An inanimate object; • An entity such as time, a holiday, an event from history; • Rewriting one of your own poems from 1st or 3rd person into second. If you would like to participate in the community opportunity: • Write your poem or prose and post it on your blog or website; • Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and the direct URL to your submission; • Enjoy your time writing and reading poetry. I will look forward to reading those who drop by. And if you would rather not be a part of the public forum, I hope you’ll try anyway. This is not a contest; it’s only to tickle your muse!

Image: memberswestnet.com
Image: memberswestnet.com

Please share YOUR work in response to the prompt by clicking on the Mister Linky sign (below in green) and then enter your name and paste in the URL to your post. Victoria will visit and comment and so will Jamie Dedes. We hope you’ll also visit one another to read, comment and encourage. Thank you!

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2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done. Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October.

Needed

The same question that had hounded her for years continued to pummel Irene: At the end of my life, what will I have to show for it?

The answer, she decided, wasn’t in this place—a box-like room full of white sheets, a white blanket, a white commode and the sickly smell of urine, feces and vomit.

She dragged her legs to the edge of the bed, grabbed the rubber handles of her walker encrusted with the grime of three weeks in the nursing home, and made her way to the apple red crash cart parked down the hall where she copped a vial of potassium chloride, a 22 gauge needle, a syringe and tourniquet from the drawer that should have been locked.

After signing herself out against medical advice, she took a taxi home—her happy yellow home with the flower boxes on the window sill that had just come into bloom—the place where she had chosen to die.

Purty, her calico cat greeted her at the door, purring and winding herself about the ankles of the old lady who suddenly realized that the medicine stashed inside her purse wasn’t what she really wanted, not when she had something that needed her..

In my nursing experience, people need someone or something to get better for–or at least the process of rehabilitation goes much better when there is a loved one waiting at home. Even, perhaps especially, if that “someone” depends upon them.

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October and will post from now on at 12:01 a.m. P.S.T., not at 7 p.m. P.S.T.

Old Love

Photo: theCHIVE.com
Photo: theCHIVE.com

Old Love

The Love that’s tinged
by Eros
is easier to write,
to live and
to imagine:
the silken touch
of water—
cool caresses in a Lake—
a kiss that tastes
of wine
and sweat.
Subtle sounds of
breath, and
pounding pulses
and images that linger
in the darkness of
a new-moon night.

But as the days grow old
and we, along with them,
diminish,
winter shadows
cannot overwhelm
enduring Love.
You probe the
memory of
a day gone by
and stroke
a shriveled hand.

Then Spring breaks through
in songs of mockingbirds.

– Victoria C. Slotto

© 2014, poem, Victoria C.Slotto, All rights reserved

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October and always posts at 7 p.m. PST.

outside my window, life goes on

Photo: Victoria Slotto
Photo: Victoria Slotto

outside my window, our neighbor putters in her garden.
her roses languish while weeds have their way.

chemo, a fourth round, has taken its toll.
a few wispy hairs blow in the soft breeze.

i close my door gently behind me and we exchange a quick hug.
fear of crushing fragile bones holds me back a little

though her spirit soars, strong, unwavering
like the circling hawk above us, sun on golden wings.

at a distance a blackbird caws,
while hummingbird savors nectar,

drinks in the sweetness of the moment,
unafraid of that which is to come.

– Victoria Slotto

Photo: David Slotto
Photo: David Slotto

© 2014, poem and all photographs, Victoria Slotto, All rights reserved

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x420VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is hosted by Victoria from January through October and always posts at 7 p.m. PST.

The Challenge of Light–Advent Reflection

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.  Isaiah 9:2

Photo Credit: Mike Freisen
Photo Credit: Mike Freisen

The Challenge of Light

i.

advent is not about the coming

of a sweet baby.

it is not about sentimental,

trumped up emotion.

advent challenges us

to an adult acceptance

of the kingdom of god,

to social imperatives,

to self-forgetfulness,

to letting go,

to a deliberate emptiness.

ii.

we like to make the Christ

into a perpetual baby.

we can cuddle a baby,

a baby asks nothing of us.

the Christ is so much more demanding.

iii.

advent doesn’t just happen

the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

our lives our one huge advent.

our lives are about bringing light

into this dark world.

iv.

in advent and winter we wait for light.

do we forget it’s up to us

to be light in the darkness

of a world that is

confused

stumbling

blinded

afraid?

v.

it’s easy to get hung up

in religion,

in practice,

in institutional think.

it’s easy to feel complacent

because we go to church,

because we give money.

the litmus test

is giving of ourselves,

is embracing mystery.

advent is not just a passive waiting.

it allows that we are responsible

to be light-bearers.

– Victoria C. Slotto

© 2013, poem, Victoria Slotto, All rights reserved

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x420VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editor’s note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Welcome John Anstie and Victoria C. Slotto to Bardo’s Core Team

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE  (My Poetry Library and Forty Two) ~ As near as we can determine, John’s been blogging since early 2011.

For twenty years, he was a Rugby Union player with an ‘eight-pack’, which was helped in the early days by a school run on the same lines as Gordonstoun as well as by farming and working as a leather factory packer and security guard. The ‘eight pack’ was not helped, John admits, by becoming an ice cream seller. He’s also earned his keep as metallurgical engineer, marketing manager, export sales manager, and managing director of his own company. He’s a poet and blogger, a would-be musician with a piano and a forty-year-old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He is a singer in and chairman of a local amateur choir. He is also a would-be photographer with drawers full of his own history. John’s an occasional but lapsed ‘film’ maker. In his other life, he doubles as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend and family man. In sort, it would seem John leads a well-rounded life and a rich one in terms of both arts and family. We’re wanting to call him a renaissance man, of which we have several in residence here along with a fine group of renaissance women.

John’s prose and poetry tells us everything else we need to know about him … or at least all that he’s currently prepared to tell us. He has just completed an anthology of the poetry of nine poets who met two years ago on Twitter. He produced and steered the book entitled  “Petrichor Rising.”  It’s publication will be announced shortly by Aquillrelle. The story of this project’s evolution and naming is interesting and enlightening. You can read it HERE. Among other things, it’s another thumbs-up for connecting to like-minded folks through social media.

Victoria and Dave Slotto
Victoria and Dave Slotto

VICTORIA SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author)had her first novel – 2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x420Winter is Past – published last year. Her second novel is in progress as is a poetry chapbook. Victoria is a gifted writer and poet, and we are proud and delighted to feature her here. It is gratifying to see how well Victoria incorporates important insights and ideals into the narrative flow of her novel, her flash fiction, and her poetry. If you have occasion to read her novel, you will not soon forget the spirit of her major protagonist, Claire.

Victoria attributes her writing influences to her spirituality, her dealings with grief and loss, and nature. Victoria spent twenty-eight years as a nun. When she left the convent, she continued to work as a nurse in the fields of death and dying and she has seen and experienced much. Because of her experience, Victoria is able to connect with her readers on an intimate level.

Victoria resides in Reno, Nevada, with her husband and two dogs and spends several months of the year in Palm Desert, California. Winter is Past, her first novel, was published by Lucky Bat Books. Victoria is also an accomplished blogger, sharing her fine poetry with us HERE and participating in a leadership role on d’Verse Poets Pub.

SOMETHING NEW AT INTO THE BARDO:  As part of her participation here, Victoria will be bring something quite new to Bardo, a reader-participation post once a month. The ETA to be announced. This participation will be in the form of a writing challenge. We’re doing this in acknowledgement of the many, many talented writers who are so kind and supportive, reading here, “liking,” and often commenting. Readers will be able to participate by entering their post link through MisterLinky, which most of you have used but further explanation will be forthcoming for newbies. Victoria and Jamie look forward to reading your entries and hope that you will also read one another’s work.