Thoughts on Interpretation

As you probably know, I’ve been posting various art-related entries to my tumblr. I recently received an interesting comment there to one of my posts with my morning journal pages (this partucular one incorporating my drawing of a tree), and I thought it was interesting enough to share here.

searchingforsuperpowers wrote: 

your tree is bent to the “mother side” which would lead me to ask questions about your relationship with your mother. You added bark, which signals the need for protection… i could go on… my own quote.. (the tree is the wondow to the soul) 

My response: 
Wow. Hah. I can’t say that I put that much thought into it. I just sort of needed something to draw, saw a tree on the cover of a book similar to this, and so I drew it. But perhaps your suggesting there are some subconscious tendencies to this, which is to be expected, I suppose. It’s common that unexpected meaning comes out when you create something.

Or to think about it another way, once any art or writing is made, it owns itself and is free to be many things to many people. Anyone can take any piece of art and interpret it as they will. At that point, the art begins to say less about the artist than it does about the person interpreting it. 

Your response tells me a bit about you, that which fascinates you, and the way in which you view the world. You seem to show your spiritual side here, and certainly your passion for trees. (I would be interesting to learn how you developed your theories on trees.)

As to my relationship with my mother… we are very close, always have been. I must admit to some recent tension due to a series of recent challenges, which have affected the entire family. The result of this was that I have been the stable rod supporting my mother’s emotional rollercoaster. A role I’ve been honored to play, able thus to clearly see my mother grow and become a stronger person. But I’ve also recently reached a place in which I have had to seek my own sanctuary, my own space for personal emotional growth. A goal I’m still in the progress of working toward.

Maybe all that is in that little sketch that I threw together yesterday morning. I’m not inclined to think so (it was such a quick little drawing based on an existing tree), but who knows. Many, many things are possible. (^_^)

the lists monsters (a monday update)

I love lists. I love making them, lining up my to-dos or to-be-reads or hope-to-bes all in a row of possibilities. I love their logical assertions, or their assumptions of logic regardless of whether any single item has anything to do with any other single item. I love the feeling you get when you get to cross one off and feel as though a job’s been well done.

But I have a habit of making and then poking them idly from a distance with sticks. Or of simply abandoning them entirely as soon as they are composed.

This is a dangerous thing, this making and then abandoning. Because lists have a tendency to grow of their own accord, to become feral and monstrous and hungry. They will attack you in your dreams if you do not attend to them. They will scratch and paw and bite at your inner calm and security.

It’s best to tend them, to bring out the shears and prune them by striking out your accomplishments. Or better yet, by making your lists no greater than you can manage.

Which is to say that other than a few minor sketches in my morning poetry journal, I mostly ignored my list this past week (and many more lists in the weeks before), and I am beginning to grow concerned. So, I post this week with tentative fear and the hope that I can accomplish what I set forth in order to keep myself from being eaten alive.

To Do in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— write, edit and/or polish 1-2 of my current poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

Wish I were, wish I might?

From livejournal’s writer’s block forum: Do you wish you had grown up in another time and/or place? If so, when, where, and why?

No. If I grew up in another time, another place, then I would be another person. For all intents and purposes, I like the person I am. I enjoy my life. I don’t really see the point in wishing for something that can’t be changed. That’s a form of arguing with reality, which seems rather silly to me. Right now, my life is imperfect, but then every life is. Exchanging my current reality for another would mean exchanging my current joys, sorrows, and challenges for a new set of joys, sorrows, and challenges. My life would not be better or worse having grown up elsewhere — just different.

I do enjoy imagining what it might be like to have grown up elsewhere and elsewhen. That’s is what writing and reading are for.

In books, I can follow a character into a different life. Watch them live and make choices, having grown up in places and worlds and times that are often very, very different from my own. I get to see them make choices that I might not choose to make.

In writing, I get to not just follow, but create. I get to imagine and invent a world and characters to fill it. I get to try on their skin and walk around in it for a while. In that way, I get to superficially experience lives that are quite different from my own, and for me, that’s enough.

What about you? Do you wish for a life that is different from your own?

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

there's no sting…. okay, maybe a little.

I have received a rejection on the four poems that I sent to The New Yorker. This was not a surprise really.

My immediate thought was, “Ah, well. C’est la vie.” I’m rather proud of the poems I sent in. I like them quite a lot, but that doesn’t mean their suited for that market. Besides, if nothing else, I’ve learned in the process of writing them, and maybe in a while I’ll have a new set of poems that will be even better. That’s what that writing process is all about.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a wee bit disappointed. But honestly, it was fun just sending something out to such a prestigious market, knowing that while it floated on the slush pile, I could hold on to that small spark of hope. 🙂

ETA: I forgot to mention that I already have another market lined up for these poems. So certainly, hope is alive an well.

[x-posted to my livejournal. you can comment here or there.]

Monday Update

Feeling good about this last week. I’m slowly building up my level of “getting shit done” again.

A set of four (short, short) poems were submitted to Bear Creek Haiku. I’ve been published in that journal before. Some really nice short poetry and haiku in that one.

In terms of actual writing, I’ve finally managed to turn back to the short story that I’ve been avoiding for a while. Up until this point, it’s been in a jumble of different pieces, which I have now assembled into one document. Now I just need to work my way through a rewrite so that I have a draft that I would actually allow someone to read.

I also edited and polished three more poems, which are now not quite complete, but at the point where they are starting to resemble completion. The morning poetry journal progress was only sporadic this week, mainly due to my keeping up with yoga in the mornings, which sometimes conflicts.

Also got two really good walking days in. In fact, my Saturday walk was more intense than intended. My sister walked the loop we always walk, taking us up a rather long hill, and then down a short steep one, before looping around to our car. Except, there was no looping around, because the trail was closed off. Our only choice was to return up the really steep hill in order to get back — which kind of sucked, but also turned out to be less difficult than I though. I guess I am improving, after all.

To Do in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 2-3 of my current poems
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3-4 walking and/or running days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. you may comment here or there.]