Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

Please join me with your comments and make this a dialogue . . . and visit Susan's Poetry!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rambling about speaking or not

I've been acting my Quaker self for a couple of weeks: a retreat, a yearly meeting (PYM) full of sessions and queries and friends and Friends and new and renewed connections.  I think I made a commitment to rejoining Quakers in the Arts today.  I also "anchored" the afternoon session in which PYM passed the yearly meeting budget.  To anchor means 'to hold in the Light," so I did not so much attend the meeting as I did feel the spirit of the session, put prayer around its attendees, their ways of testifying, and the smooth moving forward of the agenda.  In previous years I felt the strong affect of a few people sitting aside to tend to the overall meeting, so I was glad to take on the role.  I will pay physically for sitting so long, but I am full of smiles for doing it.  

Before dinner I attended a "Telling our Stories" Holy Experiment (workshop) in which the leader talked a great deal about the importance of word choice and gesture and we told stories of our experiences with the nonverbal aspects of communication and how--despite commonalities across cultures--we can make some big bloopers.  My story was about being in Italy with the members of a theatre company I was studying.  We were praising the food in our effusive American way--and even broader--because most of us did not speak Italian and so we were gesturing and pointing, etc.  Later I discovered that our hosts assumed we were overacting and not only being stupid, but also lying.  They thought we disliked their food and trusted us less after that interaction.

Words.   As a stage director, I called non-verbal run-throughs as well as normal dress rehearsals because I wanted to be sure that body language communicated even if my viewers were not English speakers.  I'm not talking about overacting or "indicating" but I am talking about being theatrical.  Fun theatrical moments can be made of an opposite meaning between what the body is doing/saying and what the words/tone are saying. 

What's the equivalent for poetry?  I think, like in music, it is the meter, rhyme and vocal emotion that reach beyond the words.  Also sound choices like onomatopoeia and alliteration contribute a lot to mood and meaning.  And PERFORMANCE!  On the blogs, sound clouds allow the poet's voice to carry the poem and pictures add meaning just as they do in children story book.

I read my poem "Making Theatre" at the workshop because I thought it addressed the workshop leader's points, and now I realize that was MY holy experiment--to speak my art here.  I do not know how the rest of the workshop went, because--believe it or not--I am an introvert who has to recover a bit from public speaking my OWN things (teaching is not a problem).  It felt wonderful.  It was a little story, a tiny piece of a life, but it took our talk of words and non-verbals in a slightly different direction and I felt great.  Remember what poet Audre Lorde said?  "It is better to speak."  And to act.

 Making theatre

The theatre director has to expose his uncertainties to the cast, 
but in reward he has a medium which evolves as it responds:
a sculptor says that the choice of material continually 
amends his creation: the living material of actors 
is talking, feeling and exploring all the time — 
 rehearsing is a visible thinking-aloud.
-Peter Brook, The Empty Space
I wrote it.
I speak it.
I listen to an actor speak it
A wonder!  it has more than I thought.
Where is she from and where is she going?  
I ask, and starting here, the actor creates
the character's movement for me 
with the actor’s added motivation, 
always asking "what would I do if?"
what would I mean if?
and who am I doing it to?
and why?  Why?
Wanting something is key
(at least in the Western world)
without desire there is no drive 
and without drive, there is no show.  
Even words are empty gestures 
when they should be strategies.
Use s t i l l n e s s until you must 
speak until you must move.  
What would you 
do if . . . ?
You must speak 
these words
called a script, 
but this script 
is mayhaps only 7%
of what I mean.
 Copyright © 2012 S.L.Chast

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Inspiring Truth in Art


As I say on top of my poetry blog almost everything inspires me to write these days.  This video from 2009 is one of the visuals that I return to again and again to see the small strokes details sounds senses . . . how so little makes so much.  In her sand animation, Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova tells a story of the Ukraine's involvement in WWII so powerfully and sensually that it is also a poem and a dance.   It is truth in art.



Today Mrsupole's post on Theme Thursday convinced me that I should blog occasionally on the videos that inspire me.  You may want to visit his too!  And we'll meet back here to talk.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tell all the truth, but cook it first*

Today a poetic blog buddy wrote in a comment on one of my poems that he thinks "truth plays out best in the tales we tell each other....as opposed to raw truth..."  which made me want to chart my poems and commentaries on a scale of truth.   However,  I can't conceive the dimensions of such a chart and therefore, instead, place all my poems at one point: the point of "how the truth appears to me now in a moment after time."  I wrote a poem about this "moment after" in the lines of Shakespeare's sonnet #18:

Shall I compare my Truth to that of a summer day?
Mine is much more lovely and more temperate.
Rough truths shake us, the limbs of raw truth sway,
And summer's truth hath all too harsh a gait.
Sometimes too bright the truth of heaven shines,
And often is its too solid purpose dimmed;
And every truth with Truth sometimes rhymes
By chance, or Nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But Truth's eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of the greatest Light it caught
Nor shall life brag Truth is of a grey shade,
When in eternal lines to Time Truth is wrought.
     So long as humans can breathe, or eyes can see,
     So long lives my Truth, and this Truth shines on thee.

*reference to Emily Dickinson's poem "Tell all the Truth but tell It Slant."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Truth and Poetry Part Three: Commenting on others' best efforts

perhaps truth is even more varied than I have asserted before
when it comes to comments

let's think about this together

Which comments do we find the most useful?
Which comments do we want from everyone?
Which do we want from only a few?
 I don't know.  I have been basking in encouragement lately, although I get little detailed information from the very short comments.  I like when people give me back a detail and interpret it.  That gives me part of them too.  Sometimes I can tell that way whether I need to do more to get my ideas across.

Which comments can we most easily make?
(Most readily and truthfully make without guilt that is)
Are we commenting to encourage?
Are we commenting to improve?
Are we commenting to give back parts of ourselves? 
I find that I can always give back a detail whether or not I love a poem or see its structure.  I can say when I don't understand--but I cannot say outright if I dislike or see major errors in facts or see overused . . . Indeed, I find that I do not trust others to tell me the truth in these areas either.  There is more going on here than insecurity.  When I obscure part of my response, I assume others do too.

And what if we are wrong?
And what if we disagree?
We have a lot to talk about here.  
I am not afraid to learn I am wrong, and I have a limited amount of tolerance for disagreement.
I don't like either feeling, but so what?

What can I do to be braver and more helpful than I am with all these thoughts about what I and others need and like as inhibitors?

Bring on the theories about stages in creativity.
Bring on the truth about human nature!