Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sharks, poems, pretty phrases



This is the background on my computer screen these days. Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley. I think it is avery provocative painting and I am endlessly fascinated by it. I saw it up close at the Louvre a couple of years ago. It gave me chills. Maybe because it was in a room by itself with dark lighting. Creepy but delicious. I need to write about it. Or write something based on how it makes me feel.

I have several fragments of poems based on pieces of art that I've seen. My 2006 trip to Europe I spent plenty of time in museums. The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, The Prado. I carried a notebook and whenever a certain piece of art captivated me I tried to write notes about the piece itself or my reaction. I also took many notes just walking the streets of Paris or on the train in Spain. Yes, on the plain. No, no rain. Lots of aging sunflowers with heads too heavy for their stems.

These days I'm carrying a notebook again and jot down phrases and ideas that come to me. I then write them on post-it notes I stick around my office. When I'm stuck with the writing, I use these interesting phrases to inspire me. My favorite post-it is the one with the term "hysterical pregnancy" written on it. A friend was talking about sympathy pains in labor and instead said hysterical pregnancy. I immediately grabbed my stomach in fake despair and started shrieking. It was a good laugh and a great phrase.

I just finished Sold by Patricia McCormick. It was written in free verse. Tiny, ethereal chapters in the voice of a Nepalese girl sold in to sex slavery in India. Heartbreaking. Heart. Breaking. But beautiful. A worthy read. I would have preferred regular narrative but I see what the author was doing. Little flashes of thought. Poems of a life not poetic at all.

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