Selfie writing in the morning sun

Inspired by 27 May 2023 writing workshop

Carmen Bugan’s workshop on memoir was so beautifully compacted and animated that it is impossible to do it justice in a few words. It offered a rich and wide-ranging presentation and a lively discussion. It led from Plato, and life as an act of remembering, to Dante drinking from the river Lethe and the loss of memory.

We were asked to examine our relationship to memory at different levels – personal, cultural, historic, literary – and its role in our writing. Other questions were: how do we access memory? What part do sensory observations play in our writing and how do they connect to memory? Do we use memory to make sense of the puzzle of our lives?

Exciting writing exercises were proposed. One involved a line from Seamus Heaney: “Sing yourself to where the singing comes from.” Another concerned the role of touchable objects (e.g. an aquamarine ring) that trigger memory fragments of emotional and spiritual significance. A citation, also from Seamus Heaney, showed how connecting a humble everyday object or act to an intimate memory potentiates the impact on the reader.

Asked about fictionalizing a memoir, Carmen evoked the writer’s responsibility toward truth, the self, the persons portrayed in the story, and the reader. To put truth in print demands courage. Carmen is a true paragon, exemplified in her writing and her life.

With her broad, adventuresome experience and big, perceptive heart Carmen Bugan represents a vast array of knowledge, feelings, dreams and aspirations. That she managed to transmit all this and more in a mere hour-and-a-half makes her a truly inspiring teacher. How ingenious of her to have chosen Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the nine muses, as her ally!


2022 NaPoWriMo DAY NINETEEN19 April 2022 Stretch

Behind, belated, and loving it



Stretch

don’t dabble
plunge in
wholehearted
welcome the violoncello
its notes reverberate
glide raindroplike near
undying
forever

deep-dive
where invaders
in mantles of mother of pearl
melt suffering into iridescence
shapeshift into shining
gems

befriend the flitting
swallow
see it build its nest from
mud and saliva
here in the quiet cloister
of an abandoned
convent

turn the stone it
astounds
lay your palms
gratitude gently
on stumbling blocks
pour syrah on the ground
drain the silver
cup

stretch farthest
the lark spirals skyward
listen
its song caresses
the wheat field
when you break bread
let its flavor be
vertical

2022 NaPoWriMo DAY SEVENTEEN17 April 2022 Souvenir


Souvenir

Sand-colored
luscious plutocratic
pair
supreme slender utterly
elegant long-legged
Afghans

twin elongated faces
gold-glinting
eyes
wide-windowed
St. Andrew’s viewpoint
sighthounds’ horizon

skyscrapers crystal spikes
HongKong below
glistening
water’s rim
similar sunlit immersion

still here
sand-color pervades
all
her flawless robe
hair flowing down
bronzed shoulders
hand lightly
on shivering greyhound flank

shimmering
sand-colored
instant


Prompt:
memory of dogs