ForgottenMan gave me permissioninstructed megave me his blessing said it might be a good idea … to inform you about the project I’m working on. He added this photo of me in Ethiopia in 1973. The book I’m writing is about this period during which the Ethiopian Marxist revolution was brewing. My friend Leslie offered to come over for a three day intensive where we would both work only on our books. It worked so well that we’re doing it again for four days, starting tomorrow. Here are a few shots of last week’s session. I’ll see you on Monday! (Click on first photo to enlarge all and read captions.)
My work station
Annie guarding my files
Leslie hard at work at her chosen work station
Kukla reserved my chair for me on the rare occasions that I left it
Isidro and I met at Viva Mexico to discuss illustrations for our next book. He now has three of my children’s books stacked up to illustrate. This one is entitled “I Really Want A Puppy.” It’s quite a job as he needs to come up with at least 7 different puppy characters as well as a family of six: two children, Mom, Pop and grandparents as well as friends. (Click on the first photo to enlarge photos and see captions.)
First came the story conference over the present book, plus the Spanish translations of the next two. I did the translating. No word on how I did. Hopefully, the two books after this one will be bilingual.
I forgot to take photos of the new colored sketches but here is one of the early prototypes,
and another. (You’ve seen these sketches before when you voted on which ones to use.) These two made it through to the final cut, with some changes.
I have to pick one for the main dog character, Isidro instructs.
Meanwhile, I had to leave to inspect something of interest on the back wall. I thought from a distance it was two mounted wall pieces,
Then Isidro had pork shank
and I had my usual chiles en nogada.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, others were waiting patiently to be fed. The End. (For now.)
Yesterday I talked about writing the Tin Man poem in my hot tub. Today I showed Forgottenman my originals, scrawled in the drink. He urges that I should show y’all and although at first it seemed pretentious, it occurred to me that I loved looking at original drafts, with corrections, back when we all wrote by hand. So, I’m showing them to you, water drips and all. It actually shows my process pretty well. Line-by-line, making lists of rhyming words, choosing one and working toward it in the next line. Crossing out, moving lines. If you enjoy this, why not show me yours? You can see the finished poem HERE.
There is a reason and a rhyme to the word they chose this time. For though I am not in my prime and don’t play tennis, do not climb or stoop too low to conquer grime, In any terrain, any clime, my mind spins like a twirling dime. If over-rhyming were a crime, I’d probably be doing time.
(If you are a glutton for punishment, yes, you can click on these to enlarge them.)
New words fly at me in a swarm. They do not mean to do me harm, but still I feel beaten and battered. They might feel they haven’t mattered if I do not use them all, and yet I feel the beach’s call. The dog is clamoring to be fed while I am writing this instead.
The guilt of it cuts like a knife. I’ve got to go and have a life! I save the words already used, and lest the others feel abused, I leave them on the page as well to tell the stories they might tell If I had the time to use them. I hope you’ll take time to peruse them:
When she enters, I’m in her thrall,
and I have no control at all.
Sometimes she carries a riding crop
and drives me on so I can’t stop.
She rides in smoothly from my dreams
inspiring reams and reams and reams
that must be written when I wake.
I’m driven onward for her sake.
If my muse should feel abused,
believe me, she is not amused.
She mounts my back and spurs me on
until all her words are gone––
released upon the teeming pages
while she rides off to join the sages
sitting there upon the shelf,
and I am left with just myself.
About “photopainting”: the photo above was created using only iPhoto tools from this original taken at my favorite crazy story (Galeria El Triunfo) in Guadalajara yesterday :
I’m not so good at carefree, don’t know how to be gay.
When others loll out on the grass, I’m always cutting hay.
While other people spend the day on some fun and dumb thing,
something whispers in my ear I should be doing something!
When the alarm bell signals, my day’s labors start:
feeding dogs, then writing, sorting, filing, making art.
Even when at leisure, my mind is always working.
If I’m not doing something, I feel that I am shirking.
It’s one thing when you’re with someone and sharing repartee,
or watching interactions you encounter day-by-day.
It’s another to rethink all that has been done or said––
to mix them with the other things you have in your head.
If I put them all together, they make a lovely story––
sometimes love and romance and sometimes sad and gory.
And that is what I think about even in my bed.
I guess my retirement will be when I am dead.
(Click first photo to enlarge, then click on arrows.)
This Poem is a Sort of Street
This poem is a sort of street.
I wonder who I’m going to meet
as I walk down the dust of it––
plod along the “must” of it.
I do not know where I am going.
I follow it while never knowing
what’s around the next blind bend.
I do not know how it will end.
Each line is a new adventure
leading to acclaim or censure.
The GPS that’s guiding me––
determining what I will see––
is lodged so deep and far inside
a road stretched out so long and wide
that it must guide or I’ll get lost
in ruts of words and pay the cost
of trying to control by mind––
a street that’s meant to twist and wind
guided by a force within
that is intuitive and yin.
It is a guide that’s mostly lost
in this world so tempest-tossed.
The drop of it that I infuse
in rhymes that others then may choose
to read and ponder is the way
that I have chosen to try to pay
the toll for this tremendous gift
of life where I have learned too well
the lessons of the school bell.
I’ve learned to turn a deaf ear to
what pedants say I need to do
and take each day a road that’s new.
I’m led by dreams and intuition
down streets with no thought of fruition
but instead careen and ramble
without an outline or preamble
into places I’d never go
if I just reported what I know.
Then I record all that I see
so you can learn along with me.