While eating lunch today, I took in a few minutes of news—probably not the best option for one’s digestive system, heh?
Reports of serious world-wide conflicts, domestic abuse wrought by sports icons, the rampant spread of Ebola in third world countries, the ambush and murder of police officers, increased racial violence…on and on it went. My reactions? Fear, a sense of hopelessness and two all-pervading question: what has happened to cause such discord and what am I supposed to do to make a difference? Clearly, diplomatic relations haven’t produced much effect, nor have sanctions or war.
I think of Gandhi–a man of peaceful, non-violent resistance. I think of Francis, the saint and the pope—men of prayer. I think of Martin Luther and Mother Teresa—persons of action. And I think of Matthew Arnold, Maya Angelou, Rudyard Kipling, Langston Hughes and hundreds, if not thousands of other poets, famous and little known, whose work has influenced us as societies and individuals to make changes for the better.
On September 27th, The Bardo Groupwill join forces with poets world-wide in celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Here is a snippet/an invitation from their website that explains this movement:
Do you want to join other poets, musicians, and artists around the USA and across the planet in a demonstration/celebration to promote peace and sustainability and to call for serious social, environmental and political change?
In preparation for Saturday’s kick-off, we would like to invite you to bring a poem or reflection of your own which gives your readers, each other, pause for reflection and the courage to support change. If we can touch but one person, it is worth the effort.
Here are a few suggestions we might draw upon:
• Plead a cause that is most important to you; • Choose a poet or artist whose work invites change and write of them; • Evaluate what changes you wish to make on a personal level.
I think of the popularity of “random acts of kindness” and the difference that a simple moment of thoughtfulness can make in another’s day and how that multiplies. Though our personal influence seems so limited, we do have the power to create change.
Someone once asked Mother Teresa how she could really expect to save everyone who was in a state of desperation. Her simple response: “One person at a time.” May our efforts effect that spark of positive change in our troubled world, or in one troubled life.
If you would like to share your work, please access Mister Linky, below, and copy and paste the direct URL to your post into the spaces provided.
Editorial note: With this post, we put closure on Writers’ Fourth Wednesday until further notice. Thank you for joining us and much appreciation for Victoria’s leadership with this event over the past several years.
Writers, poets and other artists are often the change agents in a world that seeks the balance of reason to counter violence, injustice or stagnation.
On Saturday, 27 September, 100,000 Poets (and Writers, Musicians, Artists and Activists) will join in cities and towns around the world to explore and inspire positive changes for issues of human rights, poverty, hunger, climate, and peace-making. You can learn more about that effort and see what’s happening in your area by linking HERE.
The Bardo Group is hosting a virtual event as a vehicle to facilitate blogger participation and also for those who may not live near an off-line event or who may be homebound. Tomorrow, we are jump-starting our participation with our traditional Writers’ First Wednesday prompt. Novelist, poet and writing coach, Victoria C. Slotto will host Got Change? and you are invited to share your thoughts and work by linking in through Mister Linky or by leaving comments or links in the comment section.
Please join us on The Bardo Group blog tomorrow for Victoria’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday.
Details on our virtual participation with 100,000 Poets for Change event are HERE.
With the help and support of talented bloggers and readers, I founded The Bardo Group because I feel that blogging offers a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters and not as “other.” I am the poetry liaison and a member of the Core Team. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again) is in the lead position and the Beguine Again collaborative and The Bardo Group are coordinating a consolidation of the two groups.
“Good work, like good talk or any other form of worthwhile human relationship, depends upon being able to assume an extended shared world.” Stefan Collini (b. 1947), English Literary Critic and Professor of English Literature at Cambridge
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 Redsignifies 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.
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.
VICTORIA 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.
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
WE SALUTE THE ARGENTINE POET and SOCIAL ACTIVIST, JUAN GELMAN, whodied on the 14th in Mexico City where he moved after his exile and lived for the last twenty years.
A bird lived in me. A flower traveled in my blood. My heart was a violin.
Gelman was revered in Latin America and in Spain for his work against the junta of Argentina, his subject matter largely addressing injustice and oppression, but he was renowned the world over for his excellence and his ethic. He became a symbol of the “disappeared,” when he began a search for his granddaughter after his son and daughter-in-law were disappeared and killed. If you don’t know his story, you can read it HERE.
Shelley wrote that poets are the protectors of moral and civil laws, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Gelman certainly wrote in just such a spirit.
Professor Ilan Stavens (Amherst College) reads Juan Gelman’s poem End.
Photo credit ~ Presidencia de la Nación Argentina under CC A 2.0 Generic license.
OUR YEAR-END REPORT FROM WORDPRESS: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed over 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. In 2013 there were 354 new posts. There were 412 pictures uploaded, which is about a picture per day. The busiest day of the year was January 18th with 524 views. [LAUNCH AT LAST! … Rhineo & Juliet, Love & Tragedy in Africa – unfortunately the two videos that were included in that post are no longer available for review.]
MORE ON CREATIVE COLLECTIVES: In another Bardo News post we wrote:
We are nurturing a growth that goes beyond the simple idea of “connectivity” to a more productive virtual “proximity” … think in terms of artistic gatherings – not always formally organized – that you’ve read about and perhaps loved – Bloomsbury in England or the cafe gatherings of the so-called Lost Generation in Paris of the 1920s or even the Algonquin Round Table in New York, also the 1920s, though we will forego the pranks and practical jokes of the latter.
We received a response to that from a Bardo friend who wishes to remain anonymous: “I had developed some additional thoughts or elaborations I’m passing on to you.
“Prior creative and intellectual movements benefited greatly from geographic proximity. It wasn’t enough to be part of community, but that the community shared and debated some essential values and were in constant contact. The idea is that fervency, serendipity and discovery arise out of actual physical proximity.
“This is why artists still flock to cities. Despite the Internet, we still go to Mecca.
“Connecting technologies have always strengthened the bonds between people with like-minded interests (letter-writing, magazine letter columns, BBS, chatrooms, message boards, social networking, etc), fostering community. But, in the last 40 years, I haven’t seen technology yet truly replicate the creative synergy that occurs with physical proximity.
“Which led to my conclusion: any creative person who is working via connected technologies (Internet, etc), needs to focus on how they can go beyond mere community and replicate the qualities caused by physical, geographical proximity.
“I think those qualities, include:
1. regularly scheduled contact
2. opportunities for random contact
3. an agreement on the values under discussion (not necessarily in agreement on the rightness or wrongness of the values themselves).
4. diversity of interest and perspective on those values.
“Several recent groups are decent examples (these are not necessarily endorsements), including:
• The Beats (rather amorphous really, but SF, NY, and Tangiers at various times)
• The Objectivists (in NY, prior to the broader expansion)
• Maybe, the “Fog City Mavericks” in film; Lucas, Spielberg, Eastwood, Coppola, Kaufman, Zaentz.
• The Inklings
• The Futurians
“Of course, as I read this, I also recognize that the ultimate failure of these groups and collectives was often caused by a descent into orthodoxy that stifled creativity and diversity.”
INTRODUCING JOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words): Joe joined us as a member of the core team late last year. He is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. Many of his poems and stories are inspired by his almost 400-year-old hometown, but most spring from his many travels between his right ear and his left ear. A former journalist, he’s written for a living more than thirty years, but only recently convinced himself to rediscover the writer he once thought he was. Five years ago, he began to write short fiction. Two years later, in a serendipitous response to a blinding case of writer’s block, he wrote his first poem…ever. He hasn’t looked back.
Since then his work has been published in journals and anthologies coast to coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words (http://athingforwordsjahesch.wordpress.com/). An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, he was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.”
INTRODUCING LIZ RICE-SOSONE a.k.a. RAVEN SPIRIT (Noh Where): Liz is probably the most long-standing friend of Bardo. She guested here on several occasions and late last year joined us as a core team member and as the point person for our Voices of Peace Project. Liz began writing when older and housebound due to illness. HIV/AIDS work was the most rewarding work of her lifetime. Her animals are the loves of her life. Her husband is her best friend and also the love of her life. She received a master’s degree in 2008 in gerontology and creative writing at the age of 62. She started her second blog Noh Where in 2012. She has a deep connection to all things Corvid.
Additionally, let’s celebrate with Terri as she was invited to provide testimony at her state legislature on January 29th. She will provide witness regarding the effect of having confidential juvenile records. Her state does not consider juvenile records confidential and any court proceedings are subject to the open records act. Additionally, the state she lives in sells juvenile records before the youth is even an adult and able to follow the steps to sealing their record. Making the records confidential is a huge step forward in providing peace and justice in the youth’s lives.
“Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”
FEBRUARY BLOG EVENTS: Please join us on February 14 forBloggers in Planet Love.Mr. Linky will be open for 72 hours begining on the 14th. We hope you’ll share your post on nature, environment and environmental protection, food and farming, climate change and any other earthy subject. We welcome all forms of artistic expression: poems and photography, visual and video art, music, fiction, creative nonfiction and essay. We hope that you will also visit the other participants so that we can support one another while we all encourage appreciation and care of this beautiful planet of ours. The next Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt with Victoria Slotto (Victoria C. Slotto, Author/Fictionn, Poetry and Writing Prompts) is on February 26th. Thanks to those who joined with us last week. We look forward to seeing your participation again.
JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day) posted three short stories as Pages on her blog:
JOHN NOONEY’S (Johnbalaya) post, Some Thoughts on Adoption, drew considerable – if quiet -traffic and garnered fifty Facebook “Likes.” We’re thinking maybe there’s potential for a book in the expanded version of the story, John. Just sayiing!
GOT NEWS? Please feel free to leave any news you may have in the comments section today. The next Bardo News is scheduled for Sunday, February 23 at 7 p.m. and the deadline for submitting your news is Friday, February 21. If you have news you’d like shared in that post, please leave a message in the comments section of any post between now and then and someone will get back to you. Thank you!
Thank you for your readings, writings, sharing, “Likes,” and comments. All valued, as are you.
Many writers, myself included, are in love with words. In some traditions, words acquire a sacred dimension. Creation comes into being through God’s word in the Hebrew scripture. The Word became flesh in Christian belief. I often use the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to lead me into meditation as they are considered to hold the power of creation and are full of symbolic meaning and creative energy.
A few years ago I read a book by Rabbi David Cooper titled “God is a Verb.” His understanding is that God has not ceased the work of creation and that God asks us to become co-creators with him. Rabbi Cooper calls this activity of God God-ing and refers to our participation as, for example, David-ing in his case, or, in mine, Victoria-ing. As each of us uses our talents in art or writing or photography we continue the work of creation. So take your own name, add that –ing and go to it!
For today’s post and writing prompt, I’d like to take a look at the role of verbs. When I first ventured into the world of creative writing, one of my major flaws involved an abundant use of passive voice and boring verbs, hyperbolic adjectives and taxing adverbs…perhaps because so much of my early writing emerged in the context of business. Although I haven’t yet “arrived,” participation in critique groups and reading about the art of writing, offered an important insight: active verbs give life to prose and poetry. My earlier attempts to create character and description often fell flat.
Adverbs and adjectives are part of our language for a reason—to add color, texture and other artistic elements to our verbal armory, but discriminating use of these words, peppered with verbs that rock, do make a difference. While there is a role for telling and judicious use of passive voice, success lies in knowing how to achieve balance.
Here are a couple of examples/definitions of what I’m trying to say:
Passive voice—when something is done to the object: The child was bitten by a bee.
Active voice, the subject is the doer: The bee bit the child.
And overuse of adjectives and adverbs: The hefty pass-kicker adroitly kicked the ball between the goal post in spite of the blustery wind.
I’d like to share a poem posted by fellow poet, Jane Hewey on her blog:
Scar Hopping Copyright: Jane Hewey
Glacial divides bypass
the dusty canyons thrusting
their will. Moons crawl
through midnights; I want
to touch your singular hurt, wrap it with my hands
and light-soaked cloths.
I would warm it through
your thick white skin, force myself
into its cold-singe. I want
to evoke you out of the scar
like arctic char augured
from an eight inch ice hole.
I’ve added italics to some of the singular verb and verb derivatives (such as gerunds) Jane chose. While she does use descriptors, the verbs add so much to the flow and strength of the poem.
I hope this inspire you to write a poem, flash fiction or essay incorporating a rich use of verbs. You may want to select something from your archives that never quite satisfied you and try to spice it us a bit. Maybe it’s heavy on adverbs and adjectives, even bordering on “purple prose.” Or grab a dictionary and discover a verb or two that’s new to you.
Feel free to share your results, if you like. To join in:
Write your poem and post it on your blog or website;
Copy and paste the direct URL to your poem to Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, adding your name or identifier where he prompts you;
I’ll visit you and comment and we hope that you will visit and encourage one another
Above all, have fun and remember—you are a co-creator!
Special thanks to Jane for allowing me to share her copyrighted poem
(Portions of this post were recently offered at dVerse Poets’ Pub, another site for which I write each month. If you write poetry and are not familiar with this poetry community, it is a source of excellent articles about all things poetic and offers several prompts each week, including a night for Open Links!)
This month Victoria Slotto will host “Writer’s Fourth Wednesday” writing prompt on January 22 at 7 p.m. here at The Bardo Group. She invites any and all to participate. Victoria will set up Mr. Linky and leave it up for three days so that we can all link in our scribbles whether poems, fiction or creative nonfiction.
I hope this reblogged piece on the English poet Mary MacRae will help to start the creative juices running and perhaps inspire some confidence in those others who are also coming to their art late in life. J. D.
NOTE: Originally published here about two years ago, this post is worthy of a wider audience and more than one read; and so, with some additions, I post it again for the benefit new readers and old. Among other things, the evolution of Mary’s poetic grace in her maturity is certain inspiration for those who come to their art late in life as she did. Enjoy …
Mary MacRae “wrote and published poetry for only the last ten years of her life, after ill-health forced her to take early retirement from teaching. She taught for 15 years at the James Allen Girls School (JAGS), Dulwich, London. Her commitment to writing led to her deep involvement with the first years of the Poetry School under Mimi Khalvati, studying with Mimi and Myra Schneider, whose advanced poetry workshop she attended for 8 years. In these groups her exceptional talent…
WE CLOSE THE YEAR WITH KUDOS ALL AROUND for prodigious bloggers of every ilk with their plans for 2014 and their successes in 2013. So many of our readers and writers rose to the WordPress challenge of a post a day. Others took on special challenges related to seasonal changes or holiday events or their own personal sense of adventure. To name just a few:
Instead of counting down on an Advent calendar, Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) has been counting the free gifts we all get every day in a series of Advent essays that are beautifully written and both thoughtful and though provoking.
John Nooney (Johnbalaya), a faithful reader here, successfully incorporated his prodigious works from several blogs into one compact blog where he shares his many talents and interests including essays, poems, short stories, photography, and a love of music.
Beatrice Garrard (Adventures in Hats) started her first blog and will be joining us in 2014 as our college reporter with a monthly news post covering the arts and other topics of interest to us.
Liz Rice-Sosne a.k.a. Raven Spirit (Noh Where) a devoted friend to Bardo has joined us as a core team member and will take an active leadership role in our collective Voices for Peaceproject. This is no small gift to us since she is also now a volunteer teacher of English-as-a-Second language. We hope she’ll share her thoughts and experiences on that effort as well. We have officially partnered our Voices for Peace project with 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change.
There are many among us who don’t aspire to publication, but many do and they have successfully sold work to magazines and anthologies, won contests, and/or attracted publishers or chose to self-publish.
Not the least is Victoria C. Slotto whose first novel was published in 2012 by Lucky Bat Press. From that experience she moved on to publish Jacaranda Rain: Collected Poems, 2012,now in a newly-minted paperback edition, and Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. We took the time to read the latter this month and found it to be chockfull of commonsense suggestions that are easily incorporated into daily activities with which you can encourage your loved one. This work was inspired by Victoria’s care of her elderly mother and her experiences as a nurse.
The first section, Shoring Up Memory!, is alone worth the price of admission. She advises phone logs, maintaining a memory board and lists, and a commitment to maintaining a Day Timer and a journal. Other advice includes simplifying life: no over-booking, doing what can be done to minimize stress, and reworking the home so that it is as danger-free as possible. She provides information on getting legal advice, creating a team of helpers (our term, not hers), finding doctors and other health care providers. Victoria emphasizes the importance of physical and mental exercises, faith and prayer, and family support. Well done, Victoria. (Photo copyright, Victoria Slotto, All rights reserved.)
PLUM TREE BOOKS and THE BARDO GROUP have tied the knot and are collaborating to evolve our collective of artists and musicians, poets and writers, encouraging fellowship and appreciation. Plum Tree Books (PTB) CEO, Niamh Clune, writes about PTB’s latest effort: “This is the bones of the news… I have created, Plum Tree Books ~ INSIGHTS ~ A magazine about publishing, writing, children’s books, illustrating and poetry. I am receiving so many of your wonderful poems, and requests from people who would like to write for Plum Tree Books, that I thought this would be a great chance to expand our horizons and include more of your work as well as sharing insights into how we are growing, creating, and collaborating. This is all part of building the Plum Tree Books’ platform to give some of the wonderful talent expressed through FaceBook, blogs and The Bardo Group a broader exposure. Coming in January!”
A FINAL REMINDER ABOUT THE SECOND LIGHT NETWORK’S CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THEIR 2014 ANTHOLOGY. The deadline is 15 January 2014.
Her Wings of Glass (the title a quotation from Sylvia Plath) is to be a 200 page anthology that will complement but not repeat Second Light’s previous anthology (with Arrowhead Books), Images of Women. The focus of this anthology is ‘big issues’, for example the future of the planet, good and evil aspects of our relationship with the natural world and with each other, different aspects of our imaginative understanding of ‘who we are’.
The invitation is for up to six poems per submission, not more than 200 lines in total, with three copies of each poem to Dilys Wood at 3, Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ, by January 15th 2014 together with the administrative fee of £5 (Second Light members) or £8 (non-members). Cheques payable to ‘Second Light’ or pay online at the poetry p f (online shop (filter to ‘Wings’). Non-UK submissions may be sent by e-mail as .doc or .pdf attachments, only to Second Light Administrator (poet Anne Stewart. ) Anne Stewart is a fabulous help with your technical questions. [Check out Anne’s poems HERE.]
Issue 11, November 2013 of ARTEMISpoetry is available now through Second Light Network and submissions are currently being accepted for the next issue. Details HERE.
BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE: This is a heads-up on our event in the planning for Valentine’s Day 2014. Details to be determined and announced. Look for more news about this collaborative effort addressing climate and environmental concerns and the meaning of nature in our lives.
WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY with Victoria C. Slotto will resume on 22 January 2014, running every month up-to-and-including 22 October 2014.
… and, as the saying goes “last but not least” … a WW I memorial project of John Anstie’s (My Poetry Library and 42) church group from Christ Church Stocksbridge featuring poet Ian McMillan …
Best wishes for the New Year from all of us to all of you. If you missed the deadline for this post, feel free to leave your announcement in the comments section. If you have something you’d like us to include in the next news post, leave a note here in the comment section as well or under any upcoming post and someone will get back to you. The next news post will go up on January 26, Sunday at 7 p.m. PST. The deadline for news submissions is Friday, January 24.