Le Fée Verte, Absinthé … and Your Wednesday Writing Prompt

Absinthe-glass

A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world, what difference is there between a glass of absinthé and a sunset.” Oscar Wilde 

Albert Maignan's Green Muse (1895): a poet succumbs to the Green Fairy.
Albert Maignan’s Green Muse (1895): a poet succumbs to the Green Fairy (public domain)

in the wilderness of those green hours
gliding with the faerie muse along café
walls virescent, sighing jonquil wings of
poetry, inventing tales in the sooty red
mystery of elusive beauty, beguiled by an
opalescent brew, tangible for the poet and
the pedestrian, the same shared illusions
breaching the rosy ramparts of heaven

– Jamie Dedes

WRITING PROMPT

This poem was originally written in 2011 in response to Victoria Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt, which we would host at The BeZine in the years before that site became a zine.  Victoria had written:

As a would-be artist and a former museum docent, I enjoy playing with the elements of art in my writing–both in fiction and poetry. A favorite is to use of color to create mood. In art, abstract expressionists often use color as the primary tool to convey their “story.” There are many interpretations of the meaning or symbolism accorded to each color. I’m offering a few of my own: Yellow is a happy color and can be used to liven up a scene–to make it joyful, while Red signifies anger, passion, love. Think about it: when you’re feeling intense emotions, such as rage and close your eyes, sometimes your visual field appears red. Blue and Green convey calm and  peace Black represents the unknown or fear while Brown is a grounded, earthy color. Violet or Lavender speak of spirituality while White is used to represent truth and innocence.

– Victoria C. Slotto

How does color influence your mood? How do you use color when you dress, decorate your home or choose a car? Do certain colors represent an event, holiday or childhood memory? What colors have symbolic meaning for you, perhaps related to your religion, country or ethnicity? Think for awhile about your own use of and reactions to color. Experiment: write a poem, flash fiction or creative nonfiction piece intentionally using color to set the mood or to foreshadow outcome. Take your time and enjoy yourself.

RELATED:

© 2011, poem, and 2016, prompt text, Jamie Dedes, and Victoria’s text, Victoria C Slotto, All rights reserved; photograph, glass of absinthé by Eric Litton under CC BY-SA license.

CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (16): Victoria C. Slotto, Jacaranda Rain …

Victoria C. Slotto, the poet as captured in (c) photo by David Slotto

Plain as a needle a poem may be, or opulent as the shell of the channeled whelk, or the ace of the lily, it matters not; it is a ceremony of words, a story, a prayer, an invitation, a flow o words that reaches out and, hopefully, without being real in the way that the least incident is real, is able to stir in the reader a real response.” San Dabs, Seven from Winter Hours by Mary Oliver

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Thus begins Victoria C. Slotto’s 2012 poetry collection, Jacaranda Rain, which she dedicated to Oliver “my mentor unaware.”  Like Mary Oliver, nature is frequent inspiration for Victoria. The collection includes some fifty-five poems on nature, spirituality, death and dying, which are arranged rather charmingly in alpha order.

What haunts me,” said the dead man
to his wife whose ashes mingled with
his own, “are books I’ve never read –”
from About the Dead Man and Books

“What haunts me more,” the dead man said
for no one else to hear, “are books I never
wrote — ideas fanned to life by life …”
from More About the Dead Man and Books

Victoria certainly will have no such regrets. Since 2009 she’s been publishing her poetry on her blog  (Victoria C. Slotto, Author; Fiction, Poetry, Essays). Her original intention in starting the blog was to promote her first novel, Winter Is Pastwhich was ultimately published by Lucky Bat Books in 2011.

Victoria is however a lover of poetry and was drawn to write and published more and more poetry – Lovely! – becoming involved in poetry groups. (We met via Jingle’s poetry group for those of you who have been around as long as we have and remember that dear lady.)

Victoria eventually became involved with dVerse ~ Poets Pub, “a place for poets and writers to gather to celebrate poetry. We are many voices, but one song. Our goal is to celebrate; poets, verse & the difference it can make in the world. To discover poetry’s many facets and revel in its beauty, even when ugly at times.”  dVerse is a collaborative effort offering inspiration, encouragement and education. I highly recommend it, especially if you are just getting started online and want to make connections. Jacaranda Rain includes several poems that were part of an anthology published by dVerse (also recommended). Victoria was for a time a core-team member of The BeZine where she offered monthly prompts for poets and writers.

Victoria’s collection includes explanatory notes for some of the poems and these are engaging and not intrusive.

I dreamt
I flew among the stars
skirted between planets,
cracked open doors
to distant worlds
from Quantum Leaps in Jacaranda Rain

In all since 2009, Victoria has maintained a blog, been an inspiration to poets and a friend to many, written two novels (the second is The Sin of His Father) and a nonfiction book, Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria is a former registered nurse who worked primarily with the elderly. She writes from that experience and the more intimate experience of caring for her own mother. As her mother faced early stages of dementia, they worked together to devise practical steps to help her mom remain independent for as long as possible. Victoria offers memory prompts, health care considerations, ideas to help one find meaning in life, suggestions for preparing for the future and more in this very worthy book.

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Though I must leave you
I’ll come to you again
a shower of purple petals
on dew covered sod –
from the poem Jacaranda Rain in the collection

Victoria now has a second blog, Be Still and Know That I Am God.

© poem excerpts, book covers/art, and portrait, Victoria C. Slotto

 

Calling all poets and writers: Writers’ Fourth Wednesday is tomorrow

The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise (1890) by Vincent  van Gogh (1853-1890), Dutch post-Impressionist painter
The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise (1890) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Dutch post-Impressionist painter

Each month on the fourth Wednesday, novelist, poet and writing coach, Victoria C. Slotto, presents a prompt on The Bardo Group blog.

Tomorrow’s discussion involves reaching into the artist’s tool box to use “color, line, shape, space, texture, perspective, balance, contrast, movement, form, pattern, value, emphasis, rhythm and unity.”

Won’t you join us? Mister Linky will stay open for seventy-two hours so that you can link in your own work. Victoria and I will visit and comment. We hope that you will visit other poets and writers to read, comment and encourage.

I look forward to seeing you at The Bardo Group blog tomorrow. Until then, blog on …

there is this …

am i dreamer
or is dream dreaming me

does it matter after all, if i am or i am not

does sun feel the heat of day
does light see its image in the dark
during rain, do fish absorb more water
and would brown bear rather be horse

does it matter after all, the curiosities

when fish and water are one
when light and dark are indistinguishable
when brown bear is neither content nor discontent
when questions cease and ideologies melt
when there is no helping and no taking
. . . there is this

Enso

This is my poem offered for Victoria C. Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt today, ekphrasis, or a rhetorical response inspired by artwork.

The artwork here is an ensō, which in Zen Buddhism is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two unrestrained strokes. It is meant to express that moment when the mind is still, allowing for creation. It symbolizes enlightenment. I find it visually and spiritually elegant. I appreciate its spare message and the void it represents, called mu. Those of us from the Abrahamic traditions frequently misunderstand this concept and think it is negative and depressing. It’s not.

The ensō is done as a part of spiritual practice and it is a kind of meditation in the way that all creative efforts are meditation. It is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi. In that spirit, I kept the poem simple and included white space in the layout.

Join us HERE at The Bardo Group blog for the details on today’s prompt and to include your own work. We’d love to see you and to have the opportunity to drop by your place and read your work.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ Ensõ , calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX via Jordan Langeller under CC SA 3.0 unported