Dragon Season

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Dragon Rock emerges from winter rest
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Dragon Kite created by me

It’s February, a season for dragons. We dug up this rock last summer when we planted the maple tree. I think it looks like a dragon’s face. I’ve watched it in summer, fall, and then lost it in winter. It gradually reveals itself as snow melts. Is it a coincidence the props manager for this season’s children’s theater  asked me to make 5 kites, and one must be a Chinese dragon? I don’t think so! I must need dragons this season. They’re here.

Chinese dragons are useful and powerful. Most live in water. Our creek has been running nearly all winter, so unusual. I can hear it from the house though it flows through the culvert beneath our drive with room to spare. Did a dragon bring this on? (I don’t think so.) Dragons bring rain, and probably snow, that’s needed for irrigation and they can prevent floods or stop them. “It is said that the dragon is a large-scaled reptile, which can become dark or bright, large or small, long or short, and fly into the sky in the spring and live underwater in the fall.” Perhaps my rock, which was buried all these years, has lived under snow all winter, a frozen form of water. Maybe it wants us to move it to the creek. We can do that. Fabulous Husband is just waiting for another tractor landscaping project, no doubt.

I welcome the strength of Chinese dragons this season as snow melts and spring appears. “The Chinese dragon symbolizes power and excellence, valiancy and boldness, heroism and perseverance, nobility and divinity. A dragon overcomes obstacles to achieve success. He is energetic, decisive, optimistic, intelligent and ambitious.

Unlike the evil energies associated with Western dragons, most Eastern dragons are beautiful, friendly and wise. They are the angels of the Orient. Instead of being hated, they are loved and worshipped.” Here is a fascinating site about Chinese dragons. For now, I’ll consider the dragons emerging in my life as donors of some powers I need now, or soon will.

 I will show the other 4 kites when I get their photos. I turned them into the props manager before I photographed them. One of the kites I painted after a Georgia O’Keeffe flower. It didn’t look like it fit with the rest. You can see that kite here before I painted over it.

I learned how to draw a dragon here and here. I cut a worn sheet and painted the kites with acrylics. I used wood dowels and string for the frame and then attached the kites to the frame with duct tape, the wonder tool. I found simple instructions for making a kite here. I hope they really will fly when I get them back after the play.

This is my response to the weekly photo challenge: seasons. Share an image evocative of the weather or represent the current “season of your life” in metaphor.

 

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Georgia O’Keefe Kite

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Georgia O’Keeffe Kite

I am making kites for props for a children’s theater performance, magical tales of the Chinese Monkey King. After cutting an old sheet to the measurements, I reached for my acrylic paints. A calendar of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings lay on the container. I had saved it for inspiration. I liked the center of this black flower so I painted it on a kite. I was thinking of a sea star while I painted. My mind wandered. Oops! I made it with 6 points instead of 5. And I added more colors for fun. When the 4 kites were painted this one just didn’t seem to belong with the others. It’s darker and abstract. The others are bright and cheery like this dragon kite.  I took this photo of the dark kite, inspired by art, then painted over it attempting to create a kite that will look more the theme of the others.

Georgia O'Keefe image

Here is the flower center, painted by Georgia O’Keeffe that inspired me. When this project is finished I think I’ll make some kites for my family and friends that really are copies of favorite art. Wouldn’t that be fun to see in the sky?

It just happens that this week’s photo challenge is “Life imitates art.”. The idea is to find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it. My painted kite is not quite what I think this theme asks for, but it was inspired by art so this is my entry for this week’s challenge. Oh, and when all the kites are secured on their frames and adorned with tails I’ll show you how they turn out. Please come back and look again.

My second post for this challenge is an imitation of a painting, the American Gothic.

Life imitates art

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American Gothic Tree Planters

Last summer 2 grandsons and a neighbor helped us plant a maple tree for shade. I want to see how the tree and the boys grow, how we all change over years, so I took some baseline photos with help. The youngsters did most of the work, of course. Working with them is always fun. We thought we looked a little like the American Gothic painting even in the dorky glasses we tried on.

american-gothic

Here’s the original art that inspired us.

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We all know who really did most of the heavy work here. 
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What family was cropped out of the original painting? (Ah! a story idea!)

This is my second post for this week’s photo challenge: “Life imitates art.”. The idea is to find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it. You can see more amusing American Gothic remakes here.

My first post for this photo challenge is here.

If I had godlike powers

“I want to make time stretchier. I would like much more rubbery days, and I just wish that you could lean on a week, and sort of push the walls out a bit, and suddenly about nineteen extra days would rush in to fill the vacuum.

There is not enough time, and I wind up just wanting to do things that I don’t have time for. There are so many things that I’d love to do, and I have to put off, or that it’s a matter of me choosing, when really I’d love to do both. And if only time were infinitley stretchy, I could.”     Neil Gaiman

Self Portrait: Time

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Self Portrait:  Time

Don’t expect Me to mark My place as your Days dawn and pass. I’m not responsible for keeping track of Hours and Minutes. I’m never on Time, except for Some Times. If Time means something to you, count on Me to arrive in My own good Time. I linger in Moments, suspending Myself to make perfect whatever it is I’m doing at the Time instead of rushing on to some Appointment that you’ve set for some certain Hour. I’m Time and I don’t make appointments. You note Instants of my coming and going in Hours on your coo coo clocks. Coo coo. Coo coo.

I’m never late. You are. Then you hurry to make up for losing Me. How can I be lost? Time doesn’t get lost. I’m here all along no matter what; it’s you who is Late or Early, not Time. I just be Myself right here, right Now, and you scuttle all around Me, trying to keep Me. Wherever you feel you need to be going, you’re certainly not going to get there on Me.

I’m not in control of anything. I don’t heal everyThing. What a trite meaningless phrase. “Time heals everything.” Oh, really? Who do you think I am? I can’t heal you, only you can heal yourself if you let Me help you.

I hold no one on a leash. I’m far too busy to stop everything for the Moment. Children and Old people trained Me to hold on, wait just a Minute, or several Moments for them to get ready for some event, to get in the mood, to get dressed, to cry or laugh, to hop or step to the open car door. The young and the old, they take so much of Me! I say give them more of Me! Spend more of Me with them. Act more like them and you’ll see that I’m hardly noticed at all. And to them I mean everything.

Lots of people are driven by Me. I steer the locomotive. If you’re not on My train and you get left Behind what loss? I only left you in the Moment. The Moment is a train depot. Stay right here and forget about Me. Look around you. Notice a bird nest or a puddle frozen over with a thin crust of ice.  Go ahead, stay with Me and study it. Touch it with your toe. Fracture that ice and see how it looks Then. I’m right here with you right Now. Get to know the place where you stand right here, right Now. I’ll stay with you.

I like to take little trips to Ancient civilizations. I like to see My ancestors who lived before Now and those who haven’t lived Yet. I like to see paintings that haven’t been painted and hear songs that haven’t been sung. Yet.

Stop blaming Me for changing things. I’m a scientist observing what Is, what Was, and hypothesizing what Might be. Not how things could be if I changed something in the Past or Present. I don’t change things, I just stay Present and Things move around Me.

I am a continuum. I am Infinite. I have no Beginning. I have no End. I sing and chime in many voices and never all on the same Beat. I’ve kept music and lives orderly. But wait. If I’m not here, what loss? Who cares? Let Disorder take My place!

About this post

This photo is for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Time. I wanted to capture the image of a clock taking its own picture, its self-portrait. Happy accident, the lense flare and dust particles showing the magicalness of daylight. Afterall, daylight is a way we mark time.

This writing is from a writers workshop I participated in. The assignment was to write a self-portrait of something immaterial. What could be less material than Time? I scraped this writing out of my archives. I don’t feel it’s complete Yet. Give it Time.

Take a stab at it

“There’s the idea of fiction as a safe laboratory for exploring ourselves in our world, for experimenting with a persona or character in social organization, for trying on costumes and running a social model until it breaks down. There is all that. One positive aspect is that maybe this awareness and recording will lead us to live more interesting lives. . . . We’ll develop the ability to imagine our lives in finer and finer detail. . . If nothing else, maybe learning to write will force us to take a closer look at everything, to really see it.

What if some writer comes up with a new way to tell a story, a new way to live?”

From Chuck Palahniuk in Stranger Than Fiction

Well, Chuck, I say more than one writer has done just that, found a new way to tell a story. I recently discovered Kevin Mowrer, a Steampunk world creator who tells stories on a variety of formats for print and elctronic media in which the reader or audience gets to interact with the story. He calls his new way to tell a story meta-story and defines it quite differently I did when discussing Neil Gaiman’s technique of talking about the story within in the story. Mowrer says 

“Meta-story is the craft of developing a story and/or narrative so that it treats many of the different media formats as one seamless storytelling canvas.

. . . Interestingly, we live in a rapidly changing age where the audience often seeks to expand their contact with a story that is meaningful to them by looking for it in multiple forms. They read the book and want to spend time every week with the characters they’ve fallen in love with on TV. With those stories that have deep and unique worlds, they want to explore them for themselves beyond the linear experience of a book, a movie or a TV show through deep online worlds and other forms of gaming and site-based experiences.”

Kevin’s intent is to create or expand stories “organically and authentically” to fulfill this new “contiguous story landscape”.

“The media narrative forms, in all their varied richness, are quite alive and evolving at the edges and audiences are redefining what it means to adopt and experience meaningful and deep stories.

Stories are different than direct conversation or debate in that the storyteller is making a contract with the audience to willingly suspend active exchange and profoundly immerse themselves within our narratives and worlds in the hope and belief that we, as creators, will move them with an unexpected and nuanced truth and narrative insight.”

As a reader and writer, I want to explore what Chuck and Kevin express here about the craft of creating fiction. I love reading Steampunk stories. Do I want to write one? Maybe. Do I want to craft a story for a game or web site or movie? Maybe. Chuck Palahnuik challeges each of us to write fiction.

“Instead of wasting more time or money on another crappy book or movie, how about you take a stab at the job? I mean, why not?”

 

I’ve been nominated by incahootswithmuddyboots for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Check out her blog. Impressive photographs! My first 2 day’s quotes are also about writing or story telling, by Neil Gaiman and Susan Strauss and Chuck Palahnuik. See them here  and here, along with who I nominated yesterday.

The rules to this challenge are:

  • Post on 3 consecutive days
  • Post one to three quotes per day (They can be much shorter than mine!)
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day

Today I nominate these bloggers for the 3 Day Quote challenge. Check out their blogs!

https://lynnborton.wordpress.com/     She’s a reflector, showing us what’s in our lives.

https://amusing2writenc.wordpress.com/     He’s dedicated to writing, a thoughtful crafter.

https://lumar1298.wordpress.com/     Such stunning photographs! Quotes would be just perfect with some of these images.

Real life beats imagination cold

“My pet theory about the success of Fight Club is that it provided a structure for people to be together. People want to find new ways for connecting. Look at American Quilt and The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and Joy Luck Club. These are all books that present a structure, making a quilt or playing Mahjong, providing a structure that allows people to be together and share their stories. All these books are short stories bound together by a shared activity.”

“The world is made of people telling stories. . . . Any long story, any novel, is just a combination of short stories.”

“Instead of wasting more time or money on another crappy book or movie, how about you take a stab at the job? I mean, why not?”

From Chuck Palahniuk in Stranger Than Fiction, a collection of essays and journalistic pieces that prove that real life has imagination beaten cold in the strangeness and wonder departments.

 

I’ve been nominated by incahootswithmuddyboots for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Check out her blog. Impressive photographs! My first day’s quotes are also about writing or story telling, by Neil Gaiman and Susan Strauss. See them here along with who I nominated yesterday.

The rules to this challenge are:

  • Post on 3 consecutive days
  • Post one to three quotes per day
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day

Today I nominate these bloggers for the 3 Day Quote challenge. Check out their blogs!

https://thestorytellersabode.wordpress.com/     This blog is full of flash fiction and stories galore!

http://behindthewillows.com/     What an interesting look at things many of us do on any day, of family, of good books to read. Quotes are just perfect for her blog.

http://tishfarrell.com/     She calls herself a writer on the edge. Definitely a reflective writer and a careful photographer. Quotes are perfect for her blog, too.

Tug the web

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“Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person (character) is a strand of story.”       Neil Gaiman in Anansi Boys

Deep inside Neil’s novel, I realize he’s writing about story making, he employs meta story technique. Meta story is one story embedded within another or a story about stories themselves, among other definitions. Anansi Boys is a story about stories. Remember its’ been said that all stories are Anansi’s, even though Tiger claims they were his first. It’s one thing I love about Neil’s writing, he’s telling a story and talking about telling the story, too. I’ve practiced metapoetry in this post and now I’m liking the idea of writing with meta story and using it in a braided essay.

“There is an old saying that a giant web, like a spider’s web, connects everything in life. We humans tend to forget about it and act out of ignorance of it. Yet, when a true storyteller begins, it is as if the web has been tugged on and we feel its presence again.”        Susan Strauss in The Passionate Fact:  Storytelling in Natural History and Cultural Interpretation.

 

I’ve been challenged by incahootswithmuddyboots to the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Check out her blog. Impressive photographs! Her image of a spider on its web is much more impactful than mine! It’s in her slide show low on the post.

The rules to this challenge are:

  • Post on 3 consecutive days
  • Post one to three quotes per day
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day

Today I nominate these bloggers for the 3 Day Quote challenge. Check out their blogs!

https://brucekthiesen.wordpress.com/     This should be a snap for you, Bruce. I see quotes in so many of your posts.

https://cybeleshineblog.wordpress.com/     Dune Mouse is one heck of a story teller and a darned good photographer.

https://bythebriny.wordpress.com/     I just can’t get enough of Salal Studio’s Gulf Islands photography.

 

Vibrant

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Full Image

This week’s photo challenge is VIBRANT:  (adjective) full of energy and enthusiasm; quivering; pulsating; (of color) bright and striking.

I made this photo last April at Palouse Falls, Washington near Washtucna and Pullman, and Moscow and  Lewiston in Idaho. Below I cropped the image two ways for different looks. I think I still like the full image best. What do you think?

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Cropped 1

I took out that glaring bright rock face on the right. I need to learn to dodge and burn in Creative Suite. I was just not able to bring out the texture I know is in the data.

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Cropped 2

In this crop I took off the left side to give more attention to the rainbow and the contrasts in the image.

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Palouse Falls is magnificent. This rainbow attracted me almost as much. For the close up photo I used for the challenge, I moved to another perspective, and of course zoomed in. You can see more bloggers’ vibrant photos and join the challenge here.