Sunny side on dark days

Who believes in horoscopes?

Sure, they’re fun and fascinating. I read at least three forecasts each morning. It’s not so much for direction but for entertainment value. The what-if, the fresh fiction, the potential a few lines can deliver.

Yesterday’s horoscope was such a lift that I needed just a half-cup of coffee to get a hitch in my giddy-up. (I don’t know who comes up with these idioms but I like to sprinkle them about in happy moderation. I mean, who doesn’t love to say She’s the bee’s knees, or He melts my butter, or That dog don’t hunt).

But back to the forecast. It’s a gem. Who wouldn’t be happy with this?

You may discover a new way of seeing who you are as the Full Moon activates your 2nd House of Core Beliefs. There's no need to hang out in the dark shadows today; walk on the sunny side of the street and let your positive thoughts set the tone for the days ahead.

And, indeed, the day was bright: A dear friend pulled through surgery strong and healed. A young woman offered sincere thanks for guidance and help. A teen girl opened her heart and shared a poem. And my mailbox brimmed with both a package of goodies and a handwritten note.

So, today, I’ve decided to stick with yesterday’s horoscope. I’m living it all week long.

While stocks crash and soar and dive again. While death penalty appeals are denied. While jobs are lost and families flounder. While bills rise and money sinks. While politics reach a screaming pitch. While nothing seems to make much sense, I will walk on the sunny side, setting the tone for days ahead.

Pollyanna? Sure. But what, really, is the alternative?


Poetry & the Postman

Poetry, letters and movies are a few of my favorite things so my heart was lifted when the three came together this weekend in one fabulous, forgotten film: Il Postino.

Set on a remote Italian island, Il Postino is the fictional story of a tender-hearted mailman whose life is transformed by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who offers lessons on love, life and poetry.

I’d seen the movie before — in 1996 when it was first released and hailed by audiences and critics alike — but I had forgotten the details of the quiet tale. So, it was a wonderful surprise to enjoy the film again a dozen years later, and from a fresh, poetry-loving perspective.

I won’t give away the details. It’s too much of a gem to let the magic loose. Just find it, watch it, and see your own ordinary life anew.


Pablo Neruda

And it was at that age . . . poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, not silence,
but from a street it called me,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among raging fires
or returning alone,
there it was, without a face,
and it touched me.

I didn't know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind.
Something knocked in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
the darkness perforated,
with arrows, fire, and flowers,
the overpowering night, the universe.

And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind.


Right now, in 20 words or less

Hymn of the hopeful
In early evening, the sun breaks from its cage, swells the horizon with hope.

- Drew Myron


Scratch (more) words. Make (more) art.

This is how it goes: You crack open a door to discovery and find an even larger room aglow with delights.

And so, in my fascination for altered books, I found Karen Hatzigeorgiou, an artist creating contemporary art in the form of altered books and collage. To say her work is stunning is an understatement. It’s a wonderful balance of color and meaning, image and substance. I could sing her praises for paragraphs but I will direct you to the real thing instead:

I am especially inspired by The Art of Happiness. In the poet/artist’s hand, the 1935 book, of the same title, became a tool for emotional exploration. The result is a work-in-progress journal of touching color, collage and ‘found poetry.' (Page 18 is shown above).

The Art of Happiness is sometimes a book of sadness, disillusionment, and discontent,” explains Karen. “Still, it's important to note that it is also a book with an underlying current of optimism. And in that way, it has become much more of an altered book journal than I ever intended.”


Scratch Words, Make Art

I’m hot off the heels of Forecast, the collaborative painting-poetry exhibition at Weilworks Gallery in Denver, and riding the joy of word-art creations. In fact, I now see creative collaborations at every turn, and I couldn’t be happier.

My latest discovery was found at a website dedicated to Altered Books (I found this site through StumbleUpon, another wonderful creation. More on that in another post).

The site showcases visual poetry created by artists and writers who have blended forms by scribbling, painting and scratching through books. From a process of word elimination, poetry and art emerge. It’s clever, creative and fun.

Here’s the Idea: Cut the bindings off books found at used bookstores or thrift stores. Find poems in the pages by the process of obliteration. Put pages in the mail and send them around the world. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Many of these pages have been turned into books. Some into pages circling the globe. Still others are works of art, suitable for framing. The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to start!

The piece at right, Doubletake Poem 2, is by Donna Kuhn, a California artist.