Archive for March, 2008

The Sacred Way

March 27, 2008

(Inspired by House of the Muse writings at http://dailywriting.net/HouseofMuse.htm )

 “Your sacred space is
where you can find yourself
again and again.”
Joseph Campbell 

Strength is a twisting vine that won’t let go

Strength is a will that will not give all the way

Strength is a quiet root that digs in and survives.

I confront my past and all my pain

I confront my grief and my loss

I confront the unfairness of life

I accept it – it is mine –

But it is not all that I am.

I heal by the salve of poetry

I heal by creativity’s touch

Art can’t change what happened

But it changes me so I can heal myself.

It renews me, empowers me,

Gives me choices,

Puts me back in control,

Lets me connect.

Pain is a great teacher

Art is a great healer

Together they make me strong.

The Muse never promised this life would be easy.

She never said I’d get riches or fame.

She only stands in the vortex

Pointing to the Sacred Way.

Kerry Vincent © 2008

CREATIVE WRITING – CAUSE OR CURE FOR TROUBLED WRITERS?

March 25, 2008

A few years ago I wrote a thesis on the dichotomy of creative writing – does it make writers crazy, or does it help them?  Click on this link to flip through my summary slide presentation…You decide…

Creativity vs. Madness

My Gay Fantasy

March 20, 2008

rainbow

Human Rights Campaign logo

In my gay fantasy, I walk down the street with my partner and we do not have to fear having our heads bashed in by homophobes.

In my gay fantasy, no one calls us  names, snickers, sneers at, or slanders us, just because we are a little different. 

In my gay fantasy, I can legally marry my partner of several years.  We can receive the same tax benefits straight couples take for granted.  We would feel welcomed at church and in other community groups.  Our families would love us just the way we are.

In my gay fantasy, we would not feel obligated to “pass as straight” on some jobs – doing our work well would be sufficient.

In my gay fantasy,  I am treated the same as everyone else.  I am judged “by the content of my character”, not by what I choose to do in the privacy of my own home.

In my gay fantasy, no one fears, shuns, rejects, shames, or hates me.  I may be different, but I am equal.

In my gay fantasy, “family values” includes all people.  Everyone would have access to the same human rights.  Queers, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgendered persons, and people living with HIV-AIDS would all be respected equally and given a fair chance.

…But I am gay, and this is only a fantasy, that I dream will come true someday…Until then, I do what I can to make my world a better place for everyone…

Signed – Your son or daughter, mom or dad, brother or sister, friend, co-worker, teacher, fellow student, nurse, attorney, firefighter, mail carrier, favorite artist, writer, musican, actor, etc.

by Kerry Vincent (c) 1997

The Bergman Odyssey

March 19, 2008

sweden.gif

Dedicated to my mother, Gloria Ellen Bergman  

I am from corn-on-the-cob, homemade blackberry jam, Folgers coffee, and buttered coffeecake from the Jewel Tea man.  I am from my grandma’s small white farm house on the American prairie, coal country.  Since then they built a nuclear plant to power Chicago suburbs; it is practically in grandma’s back yard.

I am from red ripe home-grown tomatoes, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes and good brown gravy.  I am from family picnics were they had soda pop for the kids and Old Style beer for the adults.  Uncle Sonny played polkas on his accordion and my aunts schottisched around the kitchen when they were cleaning up the dishes.

I am from Axel, Martha, Lars, Vendla Valentina, Hulda, Gunilla, and Gloria.

I am from smart, hard-working, artistic peasant stock, farmers, housewives, blacksmiths, bridge builders, fishermen, waitresses, water-colorists, concert pianists, from families who always just scraped by but were too proud to accept charity.  During the Great Depression, my mom’s family ate fish from the Illinois River, berries from the woods, and lard smeared on homemade bread.  Grandma would can plain blackberries and tell the children, “Maybe when we open the jars we’ll have money for sugar.”  Remembering, Mom would smile a little and say, ”We were poor, but we were happy…”

I am from strong women who had many babies and planted vegetable gardens and volunteered at the church and made their own soap and brought the men home from the tavern before their whole paycheck was gone.  They learned to suffer in silence and not complain aloud.  I remember listening to the grown-ups talk around Grandma’s kitchen table, over many cups of strong coffee, proudly telling stories of how they survived hard times and lived to tell the tales later…

My mother’s people are from Smaland and Halsingland, Sweden, near the Orefors glassmaking factories.  They immigrated to the United States around the turn of the 20th century, seeking to make a better life for the children.  The families settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Two little girls were left behind and went sent for later, coming across the Atlantic Ocean by themselves.

My grandpa was 14 years old when his family arrived in Little Falls, Minnesota.  The first day in America he went out to explore his new country, and got lost in the woods for 3 days and 3 nights.  He was hungry, alone, frightened by animal sounds and pestered by mosquitoes.  On the 4th day he found a dirt road.  A man coming along in a horse and buggy picked him up.  Grandpa did not know English and the man did not know Swedish, but they went into town and asked if anyone had lost a boy.  Grandpa was happily reunited with his family, but for the rest of his life, when he’d had a few drinks, he would tell the traumatic story over and over again.  My mother wishes she could hear him tell it once more, but he died in 1964.

My ancestors ate pickled herring and hardtack.  I like Swedish gingersnaps, blackberry cobbler, and strong coffee.  I automatically say “Ja, ja” when I am visiting my relatives; but I don’t drink beer at all.  Some customs I adopted, some I didn’t. 

Today I am a cube farmer, working in an office; I have no skills in the garden; I’d be useless on a farm.  But I am still proud to have descended from Vikings, from good solid peasant stock.  I helped my mom put together her family genealogy, typing, writing, scanning photos, making copies, collating, designing a cover page, binding, mailing the packages.  We each have different skills, and use them as best we can, to help each other, to help the family. 

It is our way.

***************

Preparedness by Edwin Markham

For all your years prepare

and meet them ever alike:

When you are the anvil bear –

when you are the hammer, strike.

Long Live Roll & Roll!

March 19, 2008

I am from screaming electric guitars, from Hammond B3 organs, and crashing Zildjian cymbals.  I am from sitting in on band practice in somebody’s borrowed garage.  I am from hanging out with my boyfriend Bill’s band after school, listening to Crazy Mary sing “Proud Mary”, assuring Bill his drumming was tight, watching Bobby strut and stomp and do nasty things to the microphone.   

 I am from getting in big trouble when I got back home.  From yelling matches with my mom, from getting grounded and going to rock concerts anyway.  I am from saying, “I’m with the band” and getting into over-21  clubs when I was just 15.  I am from sitting so close to the speakers at dances I could feel the vibrations go through my whole body.      

I am from listening to Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and the Doors, from skipping school and getting drunk on cheap wine.  I am from smoking in the girls’ room, and being sent to the principal’s office for not wearing a bra.  I am from French fries and cherry Cokes for lunch and bumming cigarettes. 

I am from sitting in blossoming cherry trees on April evenings, talking about the first-ever Earth Day.  I am from playing Frisbee in Wilson Park, in the shade of the ancient ginkgo trees.  I am from hiding in my bedroom, burning wisteria incense, listening to “Hey Jude” and “My Sweet Lord”.  I am from locking myself in the bathroom to write sad poetry while I listened to Judy Collins or Joni Mitchell on the radio.

I am from small town USA, where life was like rock and roll: it’s got a good beat but it’s hard to dance to – best when it’s raw and a little bit rough – you gotta have good lyrics, strong lead vocals, some tasty licks, and a chorus you want to hear one more time.   

The band broke up long ago, I haven’t seen my old boyfriend in 30 years, and I can’t imagine catching a Frisbee with this arthritis.  But I still love listening to that old music, remembering when I felt so young and alive.  Life’s a riff.  Long live rock and roll! 

(inspired by Identity Poem Prompt – (c) 2008 Kerry Vincent)

The Four Gentlemen of Sumi-E Painting

March 15, 2008

mum

by Kerry Vincent (C) 1982

Blossom pushes forth

ice crackles and must give way

to new life – springtime.

Commonplace bamboo –

useful, lovely, it is the

essence of our lives.

Graceful orchid grass

swaying in the gentle breeze –

timeless as the wind.

The chrysanthemum –

glorious, majestic,

emperor’s symbol.

The Dark Muse

March 15, 2008
poster
(Inspired by Soul Food Cafe prompt to give thanks to a creative ally)
He fears the blank wall but he must face it.  The pen burns his hand but he cannot let go.  The words are ghosts that haunt his body and his mind.  He does not want to see them, but there they are, a cold presence, that must be released to find peace.
She watches him.  She will not let him go.  He must face his fate, dree his weird.  He has things to say, things he does not know, that he will not know until he says them, until he writes them on the wall of his soul.
He is naked.  He can hide from himself no longer.  His way is lonely, but he must go on.
He nurses at the dragon’s teat.  He sucks the danger, spits the poison,  sacrifices himself to save his people. 
No one knows of his silent suffering,
but a few others chained to the Muse.
It is the way of the artist,
the salvation of creativity’s soul.

Between the Knots

March 15, 2008

12 pt Russian Damask lace

 (thanks to Manon’s flying carpets, which got me thinking about lace…)

Our lives are knotted together,

tightly tied threads

that join and split and join again.

Where do you end?

Where do I begin?

Is there a pattern?

Am we trapped in our web?

Are we too tightly twisted?

Are we well-aligned?

Are our tag ends showing?

I feel tension between the stitches.

Is there some overall design,

symmetrical and balanced,

a complex beauty I am blind to?

Or are we a tangled, tattered mess?

Should we pull the thread,  start all over, just give up,

Unravel all our work?

So much of our lives are lived between the knots.

The spaces between are part of the lace, too.

by KVWordsmith (C) 2008

Chihuly Chandelier

March 11, 2008

Click to view blue and clear Chihuly chandelier

permanent installation at Missouri Botanical Gardens

St. Louis, Missouri USA

photo by L R Scherer

Stained glass frame & digital painting

March 11, 2008

Click to view genece’s painting, my glass frame

digital painting by Genece, stained glass frame by Kerry