Posted in 000 Poets, 100, Musicians

100TPC Event Today … Link in your poems, art, stories, film, music, videos for peace, sustainability and social justice with an emphasis on poverty and hunger

Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation<br/>Moshe Dekel (age 5)
Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation by Moshe Dekel (age 5)

Welcome to the 5th year of 100,000 Poets (Musicians, Artists, Mimes…) for Change, and the 2015 edition of The BeZine Online 100TPC Event! If you’ve done this before and you know the score, skip to the comments or Mister Linky at the bottom of the post and begin. If you are wondering, hey, what are you folks up to then check out some serious non-fiction here:

Our mission here today as poets, writers, artists, photographers, musicians and friends is a sort-of fission for change—a burning with and expression of the desire for peace, environmental and economic sustainability, social justice, inclusion, equity and opportunity for all. We seek through our art to do a bit of old-fashioned consciousness raising, to stimulate thought and action leading to the kind of change that is sustainable, compassionate and just, and to engage in the important theme of the issues facing humanity today—but all with a goal to alleviate suffering and foster peace. We don’t want to just “talk about it,” we want words, art and music that help us take action in some way for positive change wherever we are in our lives, in our world.

We see a complex inter-woven relationship between peace, sustainability, and social justice. We all recognize that when people are marginalized and disenfranchised, when they are effectively barred from opportunities for education and viable employment, when they can’t feed themselves or their families or are used as slave labor, there will inevitably be a backlash, and we’re seeing that now in violent conflicts, wars and dislocation. Climatologists have also linked climate change, with its severe weather changes and recent droughts, to the rise violence in the world, and even contributing to inequities in areas – like Syria – where a severe drought destabilized food production and the economy, contributing to the unrest that led to the civil war, according to one study.

Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulged much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civial war and ISIS conflict
Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulfed much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civil war and ISIS conflict

There are too many people living on the streets and in refugee camps, too many whose lives are at subsistence level, too many children who die before the age of five (as many as four a minute dying from hunger, according to one reliable study—more info), too many youth walking through life with no education, no jobs and no hope. It can’t end well…

Syrian refugee camp, photo: The Telegraph
Syrian refugee camp
photo: The Telegraph

More than anything, our mission is a call to action, a call to work in your own communities where ever you are in the world, and to focus on the pressing local issues that contribute to conflict, injustice, and unsustainable economic and environmental practices. The kind of change we need may well have to be from the ground up, all of us working together to create peaceful, sustainable and just cultures that nurture the best in all the peoples of this world.

Poverty and homelessness are evergreen issues historically, but issues also embedded in social and political complexity. They benefit the rich, whose economic system keeps most of the rest of us as, at best, “wage slaves,” and all too many of us in poverty, without enough to provide for basic needs or housing (including the “working poor,” who hold low-paying jobs while CEOs are paid record-breaking salaries and bonuses in the global capitalist system). We are united in our cries against the structures of injustice, where the rich act as demigods and demagogues. We have to ask of what use will all their riches be in the face of this inconceivable suffering and the inevitable backlash from the marginalized and disenfranchised. We need fairness, not greed.

So, with this mission in mind, and with the complexity of the interrelationships of social justice, sustainability and peace as a framework, we focus on hunger and poverty, two basic issues and major threads in the system of inequality and injustice that need addressing throughout the world.

We look forward to what you have to share, whether the form is poetry, essay, fiction, art, photography, documentary, music, or hybrids of any of these—and we want to engage in an ongoing conversation through your comments on all of the above as you not only share your own work here today but visit and enjoy the work of others, supporting one another with your “likes” and comments, starting or entering into dialogues with writers, artists and musicians throughout the world and online viewers, readers, listeners.

Think globally, act locally, form community.

—Michael Dickel, Jerusalem (with G. Jamie Dedes, California, USA)

DIRECTIONS FOR PARTICIPATION

Share links to your relevant work or that of others in a comment or by using Mister Linky below. To use Mr. Linky, just click on the graphic. (Note: If you are sharing someone else’s work, please use your name in Mister Linky, so we can credit you as the contributor—we will give the author / artist name in the comments, from the link when we post the link in a comment.)

You may leave your links or works in the comment section below this post. If you are sharing the work of another poet or artist, however, please only use a link and not the work itself.

In addition to sharing, we encourage you to visit others and make connections and conversation. To visit the links, click on Mr. Linky (the Mister Linky graphic above) and then on the links you see there. (Some Mr. Linky-links can be viewed in the comments section after we re-post them.)

Thank you! 

All links will be collected into a dedicated Page here at The BeZine and also archived at 100TPC.

Thank you for your participation. Let the conversation begin …

Posted in Victoria C Slotto, Writers' Fourth Wednesday, Writing

WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY ~ Common Sense(s)

I am a visual, hands-on learner. My husband is more auditory. If I’m sitting through a lecture, I need to take notes in order to incorporate the key points being delivered. David will just sit, listen and absorb. It’s disconcerting to both of us when he starts discussing things such as the stock market or how to improve my golf swing and I don’t follow…(and it’s hard to take notes when you’re already in bed.)

People do differ in their favored modes of sensory perception. You may want to touch or taste, while your friend will associate sounds, colors or aromas with a place or event. That’s why it’s important to evaluate descriptions in terms of the senses. Make sure you haven’t just focused on those things that speak to you.

Photo: morethanbranding.com
Photo: morethanbranding.com

Last Thursday at dVerse Poets’ Pub, I offered a prompt, asking those who wished to participate to really pay attention to an object, to dissect it with their senses, to let it tell a story or tease out a long forgotten memory.

Here’s what I suggested:

You could begin by enlisting the help of your senses. How does it smell, taste, feel to touch? Describe what you see or hear. Does it make you feel a certain way or engage a memory? Where did you find it? Give some environmental details if appropriate. Are there any verbs that pop into mind when you see this thing?

Go ahead, take it a step further. Is it possible that this artifact can be used metaphorically? Does that stale bread remind you of a relationship, or the gravel beneath your bare feet the pain you find along life’s journey? Does it, perhaps, remind you of someone or something in your own life? Personify it, if you like.

I’d like to share with you some examples from the opening chapter of my novel, The Sin of His Father. The protagonist is at the deathbed of his mother. Here’s how I’ve tried to incorporate the senses:

Sight: “The dim light threw his mother’s profile into an eerie silhouette. It was as though someone had let the air out of a grotesque balloon–the parody of an Irish washer woman paraded down Columbus Drive in downtown Chicago on St. Paddy’s day…”

Taste: “…the taste of bitter coffee he’d sipped a few hours earlier crept up his esophagus and caused him to gag.”

Hearing: “Ellen’s roommate breathed slowly before turning in her sleep. That was the only sound Matt heard, aside from his mother’s raspy breathing, the bubbles of the oxygen humidifier and the gentle hiss of the gas escaping around the small prongs sticking in her nose.”

Touch: “He fondled the smooth bowl of the pipe that waited for his attention in the pocket of his jacket and longed to step outside to indulge his habit.”

Smell: “His mother’s fetid breath stroked his cheek. He wanted to flee the close air of the room and take off into the night.”

Attention to sensory descriptions throughout the process of rewriting is an excellent way to enrich your manuscript. Perhaps you will select a key scene from one of your stories or a poem and rewrite it, utilizing as many senses as you can. Or write a new paragraph or poem that focuses on sensory detail. Check out the post at dVerse if you like for some samples of poetry, including Neruda, Keats and myself.

Photo: thepaleodiet.com
Photo: thepaleodiet.com

To Participate as a Group:

  • Write your poem or short 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 post.
  • Visit others, if you are able, and see what they came up with. Reading each other’s work is, for me, a great way to learn.

Above all, have fun, enjoy the process.

I look forward to reading your work. Victoria

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.

Posted in Bardo News, General Interest

BARDO NEWS: Terri Stewart breaking-down barriers to youth opportunity; Liliana Negoi’s birthday and book; a forward look at Spring and Poetry Month

terriIn what is probably our most exciting news this month: TERRI STEWART (http://beguineagain.com)TESTIFIED BEFORE THE WASHINGTON STATE CONGRESS in February for HB 1651 – the YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES ACT. This act would make non-violent youth records confidential. It is very important for our youth to have as much opportunity as possible and with 1 in 3 African-American young and 1 in 4 Euro-American young men affected by incarceration, we are crippling our young men before they even get a chance in life, saddling them with records that deny them housing, education, and jobs. A resounding success: HB 1651 has passed the house unanimously (on Valentine’s Day!) and is traveling through the senate. For more of Terri’s work with incarcerated youth, see the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition http://youthchaplaincycoalition.wordpress.com/.

Additionally, send all your positive karma, prayers, and energy to Terri from February 27 – March 1 as she travels – once again – with the Board of Ordained Ministry as they continue to get to know her and her work. Let them see the gifts she brings!

AND LATE BREAKING NEWS: Tomorrow Terri is speaking before the Washington State Senate Subcommittee on Human Resources and Corrections.

product_thumbnail-5.phpOn February 10 LILIANA NEGOI (http://summaryofmysoul.wordpress.com/ and http://curcubeeinalbsinegru.wordpress.com/) DECIDED TO CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY IN A MORE PARTICULAR MANNER, by releasing for free reading a novel that she finished writing last year. Solo Chess is the story of an online affair between Karina and Asheq, weaved from love and passion and obsessions, proving eventually that there can be a reality beyond reality and that our lives can always be the image of a Matryoshka doll. Solo Chess can be read HERE,  or you can read and download it from Scribd   HERE, and just in case anyone would like it in printed version, there is always the option of getting it from Lulu HERE, but there one has to pay for the printing and binding services provided by the publisher. These being said, Liliana would be glad to hear your opinions about the book. 🙂

Warmest wishes to Lily on her birthday and best wishes for literary success with her newest effort. Here is “Happy Birthday” in the various styles of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Dvorak, and Stravinsky offered in celebration.

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Guest writer T.J. Therein (http://tjtherien.wordpress.com/) has also published his book, Liars, Hypocrites & the Development of Human Emotion, which is available through Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/397819.

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books) SPEAKS FOR BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL TO SURREY SCHOOL TEACHERS ON SCIENCE THROUGH LITERACY.

These days, the aim of education is to speak across curricula, and this is something that fills me with passion. We all learn differently. And although I am not a scientist ~ rather an educational psychotherapist specialising in learning through the imagination, my knowing is science-filled, as in any serious research, Epistemology and Methodology (two glorious words) share the love.” MORE

Dr. Clune is CEO of Plum Tree Books, a partner of The Bardo Group.

800px-Container_garden_on_front_porchLOOKING TOWARD SPRING ~ OUR MOST QUOTABLE QUOTE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT goes to contributing writer and artist, Paula Kutenbrouwer (Mindful Drawing):

I see it like this: If you want to change the world, start with yourself and gradually this change enters the world, becomes more manifest, and spreads. It is the same thing with gardening. If you care about your environment, pesticide-free food or biodiversity, start gardening and create, small as it is, a new world for you, your birds, butterflies and bugs. Every act of kindness helps; every square meter of extra green helps.” Paula Kutenbrouwer

Visit Paula’s post on starting a small City Pot Garden (container garden) and view her lovely drawings and photographs link http://mindfuldrawing.com/2014/02/12/starting-small-city-pot-gardening/.

In line with Paula’s KIND IDEALS, we introduce a new blogger and a young friend of The Bardo Group, Jamaican (now living in Taiwan), Owen Alanzo Hogarth II (The Land of the Blubeegan http://blubeegan.com/). Owen posts essays and videos about living simply, crafting practical products in an EARTH GENTLE WAY and on kindly vegan-style consumption http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism. He also advocates for raw foods and eats a vegan diet that is 50% raw. In this way food quality is not compromised, allergens are bypassed, less particulate matter is spewed into the air, fewer fuels are used … and NO ANIMALS ARE HARMED. His ideals are real. His footprint is modest.

We also invite you to visit our Canadian friend ChrisBkm (Dancing on Bever Ponds http://chrisbim.wordpress.com/). Chris shares EXQUISITE NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY, ART AND POETRY on his blog. He says, “I believe we are shaped by our environments, that life is fascinating and that spending time here is quite a gift.”

NPM_Poster2014_SmallPageViewCOME SPRING AND APRIL WE LOOK FORWARD TO POETRY MONTH, a national event in the U.S. and one that The Bardo Group will celebrate as an international event in line with its focus and philosophy.

This annual celebration of poetry was introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. In 1999 Canada joined in the celebration. U.S. President Bill Clinton called it, ” “a welcome opportunity to celebrate not only the unsurpassed body of literature produced by our poets in the past, but also the vitality and diversity of voices reflected in the works of today’s American poets. . . . Their creativity and wealth of language enrich our culture and inspire a new generation of Americans to learn the power of reading and writing at its best.”

Poets.org (the website of the American Academy of Poets) has its button up for you to share on your blogs should you care to do so. They quote this year from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.

“Missing me one place search another
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

You can request a free copy of the 2014 poster for your home or office HERE.

Victoria C. Slotto (Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) hosts WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mister Linky will be open for you to link in your poetry, fiction or non-fiction related to the prompt. It will stay open for thirty-seven hours. Victoria will visit you and comment.

Join us on at our Facebook page, THE BARDO GROUP.

Our apologies that not all the links in this report are embedded. WordPress seems to have a hitch in its get-along this evening and there were problems with embedding. One way or another though, the proper links are here for your convenience.

– The Bardo Group

photo credit ~ container garden via Wikipedia by Shakespeare under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Posted in Bardo News, Uncategorized

BARDO NEWS: reader and writer achievements, Victoria’s books, the growth of Niamh Clune’s independent press, Second Light Network calls for submissions

800px-Rafael_-_El_Parnaso_(Estancia_del_Sello,_Roma,_1511)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:

  • From November 28 on, Terri Stewart (Slow Down, Begin Again: Spiritual Practices in Context) incorporated the work of many bloggers into a creative and joy-filled Advent Light event.
  • 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 Peace project. 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.

Victoria Slotto's Mom
Victoria Slotto’s Mom

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 DementiaWe 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.

51rk8frRwfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_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 42church 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.

– The Bardo Group

Posted in Bardo News, John Anstie, Victoria C. Slotto

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.

Posted in Naomi Baltuck, Photography/Photographer, Story Telling, Photo Story, Writing

Editing Monet’s Garden

Last May, while traveling in France, my sister and I went to Giverny to visit Monet’s Garden.  The line to enter was horrendous, and once we got past the ticket booth, we became part of the swarm of tourists overrunning his house and garden.  We must have heard a dozen different languages spoken, people from all over the globe had come to see for themselves the inspiration for Monet’s most famous paintings.

It was eye candy, a stunning profusion of color!   But instead of the rare and exotic flora I expected, all the flowers were, well, your regular garden variety.  Irises, roses, tulips, pansies, alyssum, forget-me-nots…nothing I don’t grow in my own garden.  Yet they were artfully arranged by height, texture, and color to maximize the effect.  And after all, they were in Monet’s Garden.

I wanted to capture at least the illusion of solitude and serenity, and to photograph the garden as I thought it must have been back in Monet’s day.  I waited for lulls in tourist traffic to get my shots.  But while waiting, I watched hoards of humanity shuffling by, and I caught glimpses of peoples’ lives that I found as moving as anything I saw in those historic gardens. Mothers and children, old couples holding hands, a little boy with eyes only for the baby chicks, an awkward teenaged boy who had eyes only for the teenaged chicks, and a family with four generations of women all sharing a park bench.

While we writers strive to capture a mood or feeling or effect, we should also observe the stories happening all around us.

The first  is like a very pretty still life, or a posed portrait of Mother Nature.  The other is a very real, sometimes messy picture of the world, brimming with humanity, and all the joy and heartbreak that life and love have to offer.

There is beauty in it all.

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All images and words c2012 Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51MC3SKEF0L._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV.

Naomi also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

Posted in Bardo News

Introducing …

It is my pleasure to provide a formal introduction to two of the newer members of Bardo’s core creative team:

michael drumMICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, a psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. Michael tells us that in childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing. He shares his personal, professional, and shamanic experiences and insights at Dreaming the World, as well as here at Into the Bardo.

Michael lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, which is nestled snugly between Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains. (He says that most days he can see the Adirondack Mountains across the lake.) He teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College, where he was once Dean of Students. Recently he returned home from teaching in India and Hong Kong.

Michael is mixed blood*, which makes his genealogy “confounding at best.” His father’s father was Native American from the Black Hills (most probably Lakota). His mother was Native American from Indiana, possibly Shawnee. Periodically someone on the distaff side of the family “discovers” their grandmother’s actual tribal affiliation, but “those discoveries tend to morph.”

In attempting to discover family roots, Michael says there are many genealogical stone walls, as befits a family in hiding. His mother’s family identified as hailing from the British Isles, although there were rumors of more recent Cherokee ancestry. “My father said our family is Native on both sides. Mom was from Texas, and both families very aware of the racism Natives face in their respective states. Anyway, my family did not speak much about being Indian and we don’t have tribal affiliation. Identity politics are strong in the United States and being mixed blood teaches one much about living in between easily defined categories.”

9709-008In 2002, Michael’s teachers told him he must become more visible and teach. That was not a simple directive to fulfill. He had always been taught that one never calls oneself a shaman or medicine person: only the elders and teachers, and the people one aids, can speak to who is, or is not, a shaman. Traditionally, when asked about being a shaman the appropriate response is, ” My teachers, and my teachers’ teachers, were shamans”. In many native communities, persons who claim to be shamans are highly suspect. “I was taught to always run the other direction when confronted with someone claiming to be a shaman. Yet, the world has changed and I do not live in traditional culture. The time is near when the ancient teachings and healing practices of First Nations people will find their rightful place in the world. My teachers believe it is now important for visionary healers to stand true and straight, to acknowledge our training, and to share the teachings and practices we know.”

in the United States “mixed blood” usually indicates a mix of European and Native American, not Hispanic or Black.

webheadshotKAREN FAYETH (Oh Fair New Mexico)~ Writer, blogger, photographer, visual artist: these are all words that can be used to describe Karen Fayeth and her work. A native of New Mexico, Karen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997 and was immediately inspired and engaged by the vibrant arts community, which is so woven into the local way of life. Karen blends the influences of the cultures where she grew up, including Hispanic, Native American, and the deep rural soul of the American West along with a newer city-sense acquired in places like San Francisco, Brooklyn, Boston, London, Singapore, and San Jose, Costa Rica.

A storyteller at heart, Karen’s main medium is words and writing, but she recognizes that words don’t always tell the tale. Karen expanded her studies to the visual arts including paint, clay, papier-mache and photography. She’s learned to craft stories using a combination of both words and images.

Karen’s been blogging at Oh Fair New Mexico since March of 2007. Her writing is featured in publications including New Mexico Magazine, Wild Violet Literary Magazine, and Foliate Oak. Her photography is regularly displayed as a part of an annual Localvision photography show and she’s received special note for her photographs of well-known baseball players. (She’s an avid baseball fan.) Karen’s won awards for her writing, photography, and crafts. When she is not spinning a tale or clicking her Canon, she works as a senior level executive for a science and research organization. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and her cat, and she can sometimes be found entertaining friends, family, and colleagues with her endearing sense of humor and her San Mateo County Fair blue-ribbon green chile chicken enchiladas. Yes! She even won an award for her cooking.

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, photographs, Michael Watson and Karen Fayeth respectively, All rights reserved