Flood

Today’s poem is “found poetry”, the quickest solution to drafting a poem for Poetry 101, using poetry refridgerator magnets while ironing water out of my Rosewood floor instead of teaching art school, performance art today.

To take water or moisture out of wood, cover the wet spot with a dry T-shirt and set a hot dry irion on it for  10 – 15 seconds. Don’t move the iron around, just let the heat work in one place for a little while. The heat draws moisture from the wood into the cloth. Move to a different part  of the shirt and repeat. This works on wet wood and waterspots or rings if the water spill is recent. Yesterday’s water leak is still giving me moisture today, along with today’s leak.

I’ve been hoarding Scotch my sister-in-law brought me from Scotland and I found that 3 fingers on ice reduced my anxiety about the damaged floor. Wouldn’t you know the damage was discovered about 30 minutes before I was to leave to teach children’s theater in a classroom. The teacher sent me an e-mail message that she was going home since she has no voice today. She planned to leave me in charge with the librarian assisting. Sitting at the laptop put me in a position to notice the water leaks. So I cancelled the art school class and got to work on the spots. The teacher and librarian will figure out what to do with the kids.

Did I mention it’s opening night for Robin Hood, Children’s Theater at the real theater, not the school program? I sewed the costumes. The director called this morning and can’t find the sparkly knight’s hood. Not sewing a new one today!

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The Walrus and the Carpenter for Children’s Theatre

children laying on floor
Dead oysters on the beach
children mime rowing a boat
rowing a boat in chorus

I’m taking the WordPress poetry challenge but I’m not keeping up with assignments so well. I’m an Artist in Residence for performing arts in 4 rural schools, 5 classrooms. (The Robin Hood costumes I sewed are for a different program.) And I’m taking some art classes in the evenings. I’m a little distracted from my poetry assignments so I’ll share what I did with a famous poem instead of composing my own original one today.

Here’s a favorite poem I’ve adapted into a short play for 3rd graders. I left room in this first draft for kids to make changes if they think it will make the play more interesting. You can share this with teachers or youth leaders you know for education purposes. They can contact me for clarification or help, or to contract me to teach children’s theater. I love performing arts and writing plays!

The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

script adapted by Kay Addington MacDonald, M. Ed.

Scene 1

On a sandy beach, clear sky, no birds or clouds, Sun shining with all its might, Moon sulking because the sun had no business being there in the middle of the night.

Props: large sun working hard to shine, large moon looking sulky (might be kids in costumes), 2 or more ocean colored long airy cloths for ocean billows

Stage hands: 2 kids gently waving blue cloth near the floor to represent smooth billows (more hands, kids, could wave a second cloth)

Characters:

Narrator

Sun

Moon’s off stage voice (can be one of the maids or Walrus or Carpenter)

Walrus

Carpenter

7 maids (chorus dancers)

Curtain up!

Tableau:  Sun stands boldly and begins mime when narrator tells its part, Moon stands sulking

Stage hands:  create smooth ocean billows with cloth by kneeling and gently waving it

Narrator (off stage voice): The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

The sun was shining on the sea,

Shining with all his might:

He did his very best to make

The billows smooth and bright —

And this was odd, because it was

The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,

Because she thought the sun

Had got no business to be there

After the day was done —

Moon (in sulking pouting voice): It’s very rude of him to come and spoil the fun.

Narrator:  The sea was wet as wet could be,

The sands were dry as dry.

You could not see a cloud, because

No cloud was in the sky:

No birds were flying overhead —

There were no birds to fly.

Enter:  Walrus and Carpenter walking close together and weeping to DL. Walk slowly and at DL continue miming walking and weeping. Mime looking at all the sand.

Walrus and Carpenter in chorus:  If this were only cleared away,’ it would be grand!’

Walrus:  If seven maids with seven mops swept it for half a year, do you suppose that they could get it clear?

 

Carpenter:  I doubt it. (shed a bitter tear)

Walrus and Carpenter tableau:  crying and looking at beach and maids dancing

Enter:  7 maids in chorus dancing and miming mopping up the beach sand

Exit:  7 maids in chorus dancing and miming mopping up the beach sand

Note: include canon in movements if kids can use more challenge*

Curtain Down!

Scene 2:

 

Scene:  same as Scene 1, but add 1 large rock for Walrus and Carpenter to sit on

Characters:

Narrator

Walrus

Carpenter

Eldest Oyster

Groups of 4 oysters, all the kids are oysters, in groups of 4

Tableau:  All oysters sleeping in oyster bed downstage, the Eldest Oyster is downstage center and much larger than the rest; billowing waves are center stage behind Oysters. Walrus and Carpenter are upstage. It should look like oysters in the sea and Walrus and Carpenter on the beach.

Walrus:  (Sees oysters) O Oysters! Come and walk with us!

A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

To give a hand to each.

Eldest Oyster: (looking at Walrus, don’t turn your back to audience) Mime:  wink your eye, slowly shake your heavy head NO, meaning to say you do not choose to leave the oyster-bed

All  Oysters: Mime chorus movements in groups of 4:  brushing your coats, washing your faces, cleaning and shining your shoes

Note: include canon in movements if kids can use more challenge*

Tableau:  all Oysters except Eldest, in groups of 4 pose as if eager to get out of the water and go for a beach walk with the Walrus and Carpenter

Stage hands: kneeling, gently wave long airy white cloth to represent frothy waves at the shoreline

First 4 Oysters: eagerly move all hopping through the frothy waves and scrambling to the shore to the Walrus and Carpenter and take their hands. Mime walking on the beach with the Walrus and Carpenter.

Second 4 Oysters: repeat and get in position behind the first 4

Third 4 Oysters: repeat and get into position behind the second 4

More sets of 4 Oysters: repeat until all Oysters are on the beach, miming walking behind the Walrus and Carpenter, except the Eldest who stays in his bed

Walrus, Carpenter, and all Oysters except the Eldest: continue miming walking on the beach until Narrator tells Walrus and Carpenter to rest on a rock.

Narrator:  The Walrus and the Carpenter

Walked on a mile or so,

And then they rested on a rock

Conveniently low:

And all the little Oysters stood

And waited in a row.

Oysters: quickly line up in one row

Walrus:  The time has come

To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

And whether pigs have wings.

All Oysters in chorus:  But wait a bit before we have our chat;

For some of us are out of breath,

And all of us are fat!

Carpenter:  No hurry!

All Oysters in chorus: Thank you so very very much!

Walrus:    A loaf of bread is what we chiefly need:

Pepper and vinegar besides

Are very good indeed.

(Looking at Oysters) Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,

We can begin to feed.

All Oysters in chorus: But not on us! After such kindness, that would be

A dismal thing to do!

Walrus:  The night is fine. It was so kind of you to come!

And you are very nice!

Carpenter:    Cut us another slice:  I wish you were not quite so deaf —

I’ve had to ask you twice!

Walrus:  It seems a shame to play them such a trick,

After we’ve brought them out so far,

And made them trot so quick!

Carpenter:   The butter’s spread too thick!

Walrus:  I weep for you. I deeply sympathize.

Walrus: (With sobs and tears, holding his pocket-handkerchief before your streaming eyes, sort out the largest from the smallest, placing he largest closest to the rock. Be careful not to turn your back on the audience.)

 

Carpenter:   O Oysters, you’ve had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?

Narrator:  But answer came there none —

And this was scarcely odd, because

They’d eaten every one.

All Oysters, except the Eldest:  Carefully and slowly collapse dead on the beach.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

*Creative movement ideas

Several underlying techniques are commonly used in choreography for two or more dancers:

  • Mirroring – facing each other and doing the same
  • Retrograde – performing a sequence of moves in reverse order
  • * Canon – people performing the same move one after the other
  • Levels – people higher and lower in a dance
  • Shadowing – standing one behind the other and performing the same moves
  • Unison – two or more people doing a range of moves at the same time

Movements may be characterized by dynamics, such as fast, slow, hard, soft, long, and short.

Movement space can be high, mid, low bodies and stage places, spins, leaps, lunges, use forward, side, back motions.

And then

And then

ideas began to emerge

like tears in the bottom of her

eyes

they flooded and pooled and spilled

over the rims

soon words

and

phrases

ran down her cheeks

and

dripped off her nose

she sniffed

she snorted

ideas

words

sentences

streaked her cheeks

in enormous loud sobs

like winter runoff streams plunging

over boulders

rushing

in the melt

pools of paragraphs drenched

the page

and then

the story told itself.

About this poem

This writing responds to the first prompt in Witing 201: Poetry, a challenge to write and post a poem a day for 2 weeks, using the given prompts. The topic is water and the device is similie, comparing with “like” or “as”. I skipped the form Haiku on this prompt. I used tears, flood, stream, and pools for the water theme. The whole thing is rather a metaphor, and it uses similie. So far I haven’t posted a poem a day, but I’m sure to catch up this weekend.

The ideas and words came to me while I was on almost the last day of sewing 16 Robin Hood costumes for children’s theater. I was working at the cutting table. I keep a journal with me when I’m engaging my hands in projects because that’s when words often come together, when I’m in the artist’s zone, the other half of my brain. Do something unrelated, then the ideas and words can free themselves from my overthinking about them.

Nuthatch houses

As I walked to the back of the house to get a wheelbarrow today I heard a familiar yank-yank call from one of three birdhouses attached to the east wall. A tiny Red-breasted Nuthatch was examining the little house made from a small tree trunk. I went back into the house for my point & shoot and it flew to another birdhouse on the side of the garage.

nuthatch at birdhouse

My Olympus FE-20 is conveniently small and flat, fits neatly in a pocket. But it has no view finder. It’s nearly impossible to see the image on the screen so I maximized the telephoto and pointed and shot, hoping for the best.

nuthatch on bird house roof

The Nuthatch checked out each of the 5 bird houses on the garage wall but I wasn’t able to get pictures of it at each one. See the towering Ponderosa Pine on the north side behind our home? That’s where the Nuthatch spends most of its time. It’s been pecking all around our house to get at bugs for more than a month.

5 birdhouses on garage

Three more bird houses are attached beneath the balcony at the back of our house, facing north. Maybe the Nuthatch pecked at the opening to get at insects inside, or maybe to get a better entrance for caching its food supply within. Maybe it was another animal, though. Red-breasted Nuthatches would rather burrow up to 8 inches into a dead tree than inhabit a birdhouse. We’ll see about this one.

pecked hole in bird house

The bird flitted to the big Elderberry bush east of the garage ocassionally. It kept calling its yank-yank and another echoed its call from the woods at the creek. I slipped my little camera into the chest pocket of my overalls and went about my business in the sunny garden on the south of the house, spreading a bale of damp decaying straw over strawberries, grapes, herbs, and bare ground to prevent early growth and inhibit weeds.

nuthatch in elderberry

More about the bird

You can find out more about the Red-breasted Nuthatch from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-breasted_nuthatch/lifehistory.

About the bird houses

The birdhouses were made by a man who lives on the Sol Duc River near Forks, Washington on the North Olympic Peninsula. He builds them, his sister paints them, and they set them in an unattended kiosk by the highway with a lock box to drop in your $5. I’ve collected them and given many as gifts over the years.

Twilight Symmetry

Hands in spotlight

Life

Edith Wharton

Life, like a marble block, is given to all,
A blank, inchoate mass of years and days,
Whence one with ardent chisel swift essays
Some shape of strength or symmetry to call;
One shatters it in bits to mend a wall;
One in a craftier hand the chisel lays,
And one, to wake the mirth in Lesbia’s gaze,
Carves it apace in toys fantastical.

But least is he who, with enchanted eyes
Filled with high visions of fair shapes to be,
Muses which god he shall immortalize
In the proud Parian’s perpetuity,
Till twilight warns him from the punctual skies
That the night cometh wherein none shall see.

Weekly photo challenge:  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/symmetry/

I made this photograph yesterday after my stream walk as I strolled up hill on my south acres. I used Adobe CS4 to adjust hue and saturation, then cropped it and used render>spotlight in the filter menu to give it an eery evening mood as if using a flashlight to look for twilght deer or spirits. The 2 stone chairs (plastic of some kind) provide resting and meditating seats behind 2 Grosso Lavender plants left from years ago when I started a small lavender farm. These two produced 8 small starts that are now in their nursery edging my new garden.

Stream stroll and scale

I saw frog eggs in our creek about 10 – 14 days ago but doubted my observation. It seemed too early, snow still on the ground. Big rains came and the creek rushed and flooded. Today I took a stream walk to see if I could find those eggs. I guess they’ve washed down stream in the runoff. But look what I found along side the stream! I used my walking poles, old ski poles, to scale the wildlife for you. I wasn’t planning to participate in this week’s photo challenge: scale https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/scale/ but it just became obvious as I walked along.

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I think I saw a toad, but it sort of looks like a frog. What do you think? Anyone know what kind of mold that is growing inside the entrance to a large rodent burrow? It’s about the size of a tennis ball. I think it’s growing on a chunk of scat. I put the small camera inside the hole to make the picture. Click on any picture in the slide show to get a closer look.

Write more of that

“You know that part of your writing that you question – that’s weird and doesn’t fit neatly into a genre or a mold? Write more of that. Please.” Richard Thomas

I needed to see this advice, or permission, today. I wouldn’t say I have writer’s block, more like writer’s ennui, boredom. Fear of starting or moving the story or poem further. Fear of critics?! Eeeee gads! My local writers group convenes monthly to share our writing and “give and get support, constructive feedback”. I’ve decided to take a break from the group precisely because I am exploring writing that is weird, that doesn’t fit the mold, and – they don’t get it. They coach me to stay in the mold, don’t stray outside the familiar. To me, when I am exploring, I don’t want “moldy” writing. I’m not submitting my exploratory drafts to a publisher, for Pete’s sake. I’m just “messing around” with ideas, words, voice, style, and yes – bending genres and molds. My local writing group doesn’t advise me or permit me to explore. Today I use Richard Thomas’ words to give myself permission to explore. Advice to explore, even.

I’m bored with most of the structured traditional forms and content in the writers group, maintaining tight formula beginning, middle, and end, explaining everything for the reader so he or she doesn’t have to, or doesn’t GET to, imagine any details. Teaching literature and structured writing forms perhaps has shown me too much formula in basal readers that students can analyze and use as models for their compostions. Creative writing classes have diminished dramatically in American schools in the last five years.

That local group of writers may be right when they remind me that most people don’t want to think very much about their reading, they don’t want to reread a paragraph or section, even a sentence, to get the meaning, or deepen the meaning. Readers, they say, don’t want to imagine what Harv looked like or how he dressed. They want the writer to tell, or show, them details, details, details. I believe it. ELABORATION is the key to getting higher scores in state standardized writing assessments. And layering ideas is a bonus, too. I am happy to see the Common Core state standards across the nation demanding that students read literature with more complexity and stretch themselves with their writing. Sure, we still use models to teach reading and writing, but now we encourage readers and writers again to try writing “that’s  weird, that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre or mold”, to find their voice. I taught verbally gifted or talented kids and I thought all kids should be taught to think about their reading and writing in more depth. To try out new ways of showing their ideas. All kids, all of them. All of us.

 The local writing group has no tolerance for my writing where I ask the reader, or listener in storytelling, to use his or her own imagination, where characters and settings, like in Harv, are not always elaborated with details. Another reader, not in the group, said everyone knows a Harv. Don’t describe him, let us imagine the one we know. That’s storytelling, the oral tradition genre, using stock characters liked Raven, Coyote, Hercules, and Harv. Everyone has their own image for stock characters, whatever their names. My local group is uncomfortable with my writing where forms are not fully formed like the spirits emerging through the portal, through the veil from their mystical world into our mortal material realm in the beginning of my LaWrynn Stories.

 Today is as good a time as any to write without questioning what’s weird and doesn’t fit a genre or mold. Edgar Allen Poe is known as the “Father of the Short Story” and Walt Whitman is known as the “Father of Free Verse or Blank Verse” poetry because they invented new literary forms, unfamiliar to their contemporary readers. Bram Stoker introduced the setting and  mood in “Dracula” by showing the reader unformed forms in his beginning pages. It takes courage to read unfamiliar literary forms and more courage to draft it.        tff