Tag Archives: Creativity

First to the Gate


First to the Gate

If you were born to innovate,
your one desire to create,
take care you don’t equivocate,
for if you do, I fear your fate
will be that you react too late.
Someone will beat you to the plate!
So if you don’t desire this fate,
Act boldly, friend, and do not wait!!!

The Daily Addictions prompt is innovate.

Overworked or Labor Shirked?



Overworked or Labor Shirked?

It’s hard for me to find the middle
between hard labor and the fiddle.
Work? I either overdo it
or endeavor to eschew it.
Work all day and then all night,
being very erudite—
putting words down on the page,
imprisoned in my muse’s cage.

Perhaps I fear my distant past
when good work habits didn’t last
and days were spent in dreaming or
novels read behind closed door—
midnight radio a chance
for fantasies to spin romance.
Whole days stretched as though to catch
an errant dream of true love’s match.

I feared such days were sloth, and yet
perhaps they were just roads to get
to the place where I would tell
the stories that I knew so well
because I’d lived them first in dreams
or days just bursting at the seams
with doing nothing but living life—
its pleasures, problems, romance, strife.

First the doing at my leisure,
then the writing, and the seizure
of all the details of the past
that, once down on paper, are made to last.
Overworked or over-lived,
life first collected, then finely sieved.
Panned like gold to find the treasure—
leisure and work in even measure.

Overworked” is the prompt word today.



This is a piece I did a few years ago entitled “The Circus.”  It deals with that part of us that wants to run away and join the circus.  The porcelain doll has my mother’s face superimposed on it.  Over my mother’s face, I put several layers of Frida Kahlo’s face, peeled off in varying degrees.  Over Frida’s face is a miniature antique paste mask that can be pulled aside or allowed to fall into place.  In her hands are a tiny pair of silver scissors and around her waist is a tiny bag woven of morning glory vines.  She rises out of a toy chest decorated with Loteria cards.  On the chair to her left is a small clown figure with wings.  He is painting a portrait of Frida. Many discarded portraits of her lie crumpled and discarded on the floor. They are all the same. Below him are circus animals and a juggler who have spilled from the pages of a tiny journal that has a story written inside about creativity, sides of the brain, intuition vs. reason and imitation vs. unique inspiration. The overall piece is about the importance of coming from a unique place in ourselves rather than depending upon judgement and imitation. For me, the purpose of art is that experience of going into new realms of ourselves—to allow ourselves to do what most of us couldn’t do when we were young—to run away to join the circus!



Why We Believe

Why We Believe

I think the reason why I believe is probably at the root of it the reason why we all believe in something.  It is just such a miracle that anything exists and that I get to be a part of it. What are the chances out of the entire universe that I would be born  at all, let alone born to the time and place and parents that I was? And what are the chances that I would be healthy and have the benefit of an education and that I would find the courage to live the life I want to and continue to have that courage into my sixties and I hope my seventies and eighties and nineties.

I can understand why it would be hard to continue to believe in the magic of life if one were ill or abused or confined or physically handicapped, yet people do continue to hold onto every scrap of existence.  Life is such an incredible thing and to not appreciate it when we have every reason to appreciate it is such a waste.

There is so much cruelty and oppression and greed and poverty and disease and sadness in this world.  Yes, we do what we can to fight it, but an additional and very important way to fight it is to be as productive and happy as we can be.  Polarity demands its opposite and the world changes for the good by holding onto as much of the positive as we can.  Living it.  Promoting it in others.  Helping each other.  Good mothers and fathers do this every minute of every day and those of use who don’t have children can do it by trying to be surrogates for those children and those adults who need our care and help.  This help may be given in an organized fashion by volunteering and donating or by the way we treat others in our every day life.  We can be observant. We can be helpful.  We can be as kind to each other as possible, given that we are human and feel anger, fatigue, frustration and hopelessness.

At the end of the day–even the worst day–we get to choose whether to give up or to continue to believe, and even if the choice is to give up, we have one more chance.  I think dreams are messages and reminders we send to ourselves–little boosts encouraging us to listen to that deep part of ourselves that will always believe, even if it has to go on without the support of our conscious minds.  It is the part we get to when we write or draw or paint or dance or sing or play an instrument.  That is the importance of the arts.  They connect us to our beliefs.

So when I find myself floundering, whatever time of the day or night, my easiest way to find a reason to keep going is to do what I’m doing now.  To write. Or to make art out of whatever I find around me.  For in this aspect, art imitates life.  It is simply looking around for what we can find around us and making the best of it.  Someone once says “It is the job of the artist to take the detritus that the world creates and to hand it back to the world as art.”  That is exactly what I do in my “found art” collages.  And this, at the end of the day, is enough for me to believe in.


Click on any one of the images to enlarge and enter gallery.  Can you find “Lord Love a Duck,” a pheasant, frigate birds, the ballerina, puffin, a seal, a sea bird, wild pig or “Found Heart?”  I just realized I left out my favorite, so I’m going to add it below.

DSCF1949 (1)


The Prompt: In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

Second Chance

I wish that I’d been wilder and freer in my day.
Had imaginative friends to join me in my play.
I wanted to stage circuses and playact vivid scenes,
but schemes like this were always far beyond my means.
There wasn’t enough zaniness in anyone I knew
to dream my dreams or want to do what I yearned to do.

We’d play school or hospital or house when we were smaller,
but this imagination palled as we grew taller.
I wish there had been classes in writing and in art
to allow  that side of me to flourish from the start.
Instead, I had to search for whatever it might be,
never finding anyone who seemed at all like me.

What was it I was lacking? Where was the rest of me?
I didn’t have a clue about what I was meant to be.
Half of my life I think that I was trying to fit in
to places and activities where I’d never win–
achieving just enough to make my life appear successful,
yet still I felt unsatisfied–unfulfilled and stressful.

Since I was nobody’s mom, nobody’s loving wife,
at thirty-one I ran away to find another life.
I quit my job and sold my house and caught a westbound train.
Perhaps I’d find in water what was lacking on the plain.
So I went to California and took a writing class.
Then another and another, until it came to pass

that I finally found the playmates lost to me in youth.
They were irreverent, creative, clever and uncouth.
Here, at last, I finally felt like I had found it all.
Words were the playthings that we tossed among us like a ball.
My own life now surrounded me–securely, like a bowl.
Here I felt a part of things–a section of the whole.

Later, I discovered I was an artist, too,
All my life, I hadn’t known.  Hadn’t had a clue.
It took someone just guessing and pushing me that way.
Then I had two mediums for saying what I say.
Art filled out the rest of me ’til I was full at last.
It took almost forty years to find how I was cast.

And then all of those playmates lost to me as a child
began to pull me out with them–out into the wild
to paint myself and write myself anew each dawning day–
discovering those hiding parts in what I sculpt and say.
Every day, like hide-and-seek, I find another part–
all those portions of me I’ve been seeking from the start.

I know that second childhood is a derisive term,
but I have found in fact it is the apple, not the worm.
It is the food I feed upon, the fruit I’ve always sought.
It is simply what I am instead of what I’m not.
It’s filled with messy, juicy things like paint and flux and glue.
Explosive things like nouns and all those verbs like “am” and “do.”

What I missed in childhood, I found when I was thirty,
and it was simply glorious: naughty, messy, dirty.
I rolled around in words and paint with others of my ilk–
these artful things more nourishing than bread or mother’s milk.
At forty, fifty, sixty, I’ve become what I can be–
found what I lacked in childhood: friends that are like me!

The Prompt: is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/childhood-revisited-2/


The Window

opens onto an empty lot.
Guamuchil trees and wild castor beans
rise from its slope to lift toward
where I sit above, hands engaged
in taking me away to a place
far beyond ideas.
It is that destination dreams only point us to–
that place where, perhaps, I’ll float
after the feared moment
when I’ll leave this world for good.

I dread it so, that zone,
and yet if what my fingers have just told is right,
it’s where I choose to go again and again,
escaping to that little house
down in my garden
where I keep my tools and paint
and ten thousand small objects
all of which have a particular place they want to be fastened.

I am just here to help them go where they want to go.
Where they have, perhaps, been created to go–
taking me with them to the zone,

all of us
headed toward
the inevitable.


“The little house” is my studio, here seen from the garden. The earlier view was of the wild lot next door, seen from the window of my studio.


A message from the zone. Click to enlarge, then hover over objects and click again to see more detail..

The Prompt: Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in  “The Zone?”

Night Gallery

Night Gallery

They surround me, wall by wall,
so many I can’t name them all.
Paintings of people, things or beasts–
my eyes devour this visual feast.
I sleep beneath each rendered ghost,
the lives of painters caught in most.

A shapely leg with heel inclined–
the painter lying full-reclined
watching his cousin’s shapely wife
reach in the kitchen for a knife.
His teenage mind caught fast in love,
touches the leg and what’s above.

To its side, a fish is rendered.
Its face is human, vaguely gendered.
Does it think or does it dream
as it floats at rest in a somber stream?
The colors muted, it seems at peace.
As though from the world it seeks surcease.

More fish in a smaller frame
float in water that’s not the same.
There’s movement here. The head of one
floats bodyless beneath the sun
of inspiration far above.
Does it dream of art or dream of love?

Farther right, the queen of all.
A stately woman, four feet tall
with birds on shoulders, palms and head,
she’s stood for years above my bed
reminding me that I am free
to be whatever I want to be.

To her right, a tall bookcase
holds ones I love, face after face.
And to its right, a rabbit–eyes
wide open furnish a disguise
for those for whom it is the task
to sleep behind a wooden mask.

Beneath the rabbit, a monkey sits
in landscape full of fruit and pits.
Prosperity and monkeyshine
perhaps leak in as I recline
just feet from totems such as these
to take my nightly dose of ease.

Beneath these animals again
a wide-eyed fish comes swimming in.
Its face is staring nose-to-nose
at a man with eyes closed in repose.
Just the head of man and fish.
I wonder which is dreaming which?

An angel and ex votos four
hang beside my closet door.
One in wood, the others tin,
they simply fill the spare space in.
I keep them there behind my back.
Perhaps they fill in what I lack.

How strange as I’ve said what I see,
I’ve missed the art in front of me.
The Huichole piece painted with thread
with angels floating overhead.
A deer head peering down into
a cauldron of peyote stew.

A bird and man pinned to the wall
to the right, far over all.
Beneath, a woman hung by her heart,
reveals where I both end and start.
It is a sculpture made by me
addressing creativity.

Just one more wall I’ve saved till last–
the hardest one to try to cast
my mind against, for it is hung
with fifteen pieces so far unsung.
But time, I know, is running out.
You’ve other things to read, no doubt,

and yet I simply can’t resist
mentioning them in a list.
Two nudes, a Huichole painting and
ten retablos made by my hand.
An etching plate, painted and framed,
a Victorian child, unknown, unnamed.

These are the walls I’m centered by
as nightly in my bed I lie
and in the morning as I write,
they watch in horror or delight
as my word portraits are unfurled
to grace the walls of a wider world.

You can view images to go with this poem HERE

Note: I’ve actually written today to an earlier prompt Wall to Wall that asked that we write about what is on the walls of our houses and what it reveals about us.  One friend joked that this could keep me busy for years!  I was at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference at the time and hadn’t time to write about anything, let alone a whole house filled with paintings and art and since I woke up before today’s prompt was posted, I decided to fill in the time writing about the earlier prompt. Three hours later, I’ve only finished the task as it describes my bedroom walls, so perhaps I’ll continue at a later date, perhaps not.  I still have today’s prompt to write about, but first…I’ll post this.