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 TEN 10 April 2022Life, woven from love?


Life, woven from love?

Look around, see nature woo,
squirrels chase from elm to fir,
wood pigeons coo,
buds break open, leaves renew,
bristly hedgehogs stir,
so, too, the human zoo.

Bus driver beams welcome
to arriving crew,
bearded face beneath blue
hood, limping old lady,
misunderstood,
shy newly-weds, tourist
lost in morning mist,
of local language not a gist,
mom, bundled-up baby,
bright-helmeted cyclist –

driver alive to toing and froing,
smiles farewell to all on going,
openhearted benevolence,
no mere surface happenstance,
greetings instants of luminous trove:

life unceasingly weaving love.


NaPoWriMo: write a love poem.

2022 NaPoWriMo DAY NINE 9 April Nonet on Gratitude


9 April 2022

And now for our (optional) daily prompt! Because it’s a Saturday, I thought I’d try a prompt that asks you to write in a specific form – the nonet! A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second has eight, and so on until you get to the last line, which has just one syllable.

Happy writing!

Nonet on Gratitude

Gratitude like a blond squirrel
delights in crunchy beechnuts
like an autumn leaf swirls
in a gentle wind
loves to expect
forever
great good
now

NaPoWriMo DAY FOUR 4 April 2022


A tongue unraveled

Amble through the jungle,
find an orchid in bloom, guest of a luxuriant tree,
inhale its aroma of words,
the scent of its honey dew heart,
rest and wonder:
are words edible art?
Like a hummingbird hover,
home in on orchid’s flower-star,
a lover, see its chalice shimmer pearly bright,
alight, your bill ajar
unfurl your tongue,
sip, savor the sweet nectar of words.
When you’ve had your fill
retract your tongue,
bill closed, coil tongue inside,
don’t frown,
fold your wings, go to bed.
Night before long
will unravel your tongue,
braid a poem’s lines around your head
like a laurel crown.