I’ve Been Writing a Lot…

 

 

mach writing Josef_Löwy_Handstudie_vor1872
Josef Löwy: “Handstudie” 1872.  Public domain

 

 

I’ve been writing quite a lot for several years now.  At first I wrote a book about personal experience.  Many people begin with the personal when they first write. After I finished that book, I cast my eyes out, and saw a universe of interesting subjects.

A blog followed–on Godaddy.  Then I opened a Twitter account. A few children’s books followed.  As the years passed, I wrote more books and found more mediums on which to feature my writing.

WordPress offered a convenient platform…and so here I am.  It may be my temperament that leads me down different paths.  Or it may be a symptom of the times. So many opportunities exist for people who want to write.  There’s no such thing as a closed door anymore.  We all have a key and an invitation to enter.

I’m blogging today about two lovely opportunities for writing, besides this one, that I explored this week.  Both of them are on Steemit and both are extraordinarily accessible to just about anyone.

The first I’ll mention is dedicated to haiku writing.  This has turned into a weekly exercise for me.  This is supposed to be a contest, but I don’t write to win.  I write because the community and the exercise are enjoyable.  Each week we are offered a picture and are asked to write a haiku in response.  This is a link to the contest.  My haiku is on the bottom, in the Comment section (under @agmoore).

Another exercise I’ve engaged in this week is a short story contest, Tell A Story to Me.  Contests abound on Steemit. I rarely win, but I do have fun writing for them.  Tell a Story to Me really captured my imagination in this round.  The prompt was the Golden Record.  My story is done, and I’ll post it on Monday.  The theme is so rich I can see this story developing into a book.  I’ll let you know how that works out 🙂

One thing you’ll notice, as you navigate around the creative writing blogs on Steemit, is that a lot of names reappear on different blogs.  There is a true creative writing community and after a while you get to recognize different writers and their styles.  You also appreciate how writers grow as they practice their craft.

And I don’t know much about cryptocurrency.  Steemit pays rewards in cryptocurrency.  But that is not the attraction for me or for a lot of people who blog there.  Maybe we’ll make money and maybe we won’t.  But in the meantime, we’re having a very rich experience.

I think I’ll try my hand at a haiku here.  This is in response to the picture featured in the contest.  Can’t show it…might be considered plagiarism.  When you read my haiku, you’ll see why I don’t win the contest 🙂

accent accent

Sunlight warms the pier

Wisp of a brown leaf withers

Atop its shadow

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Art Literacy

art literacy excerpt2
Clementine Hunter

 

In November of 2016 I read about a symposium that addressed the challenge of educating immigrant children.  The symposium was held at the Roosevelt School District, in Roosevelt, New York.  Not long after this symposium was held, I read that research indicates children from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from cultural enrichment.   These two bits of information were connected in my mind and from that connection grew the idea for Art Literacy

Art Literacy is a showcase for artistic expression, and an invitation to create art.  The picture at the top of the page, of Clementine Hunter, and the excerpt below this paragraph, are typical of material students will find in the book.   A total of forty-three feature images are presented.  At least one smaller image accompanies the feature image.   In the case of Clementine Hunter, there are two feature images and two companion images. 

A caption that describes Clementine Hunter’s personal history:

clementine Blurb

A smaller image that helps to introduce Clementine Hunter to students:

clothesline website
Clothesline, by Clementine Hunter.  The Picture is Credited to the Ethel Van Derlip Morrison Fund.

 

With every picture, there is an invitation to act.  Students are asked to write a response and to create a visual work of art.  They are reminded of art’s essential nature:  It is a genuine expression of an individual’s perspective and experience.   

The kinds of images featured in Art Literacy range from a Sami family (Lapland) posing in front of a traditional residence, to children playing along the seashore in Zanzibar.  Subjects covered include Stone Age cave art and NASA space missions.  

There are quotes from James Baldwin, and there is poetry from Rabindranath Tagore. 

The question is asked at the beginning of the book, What is art?  By the end of the book, students may be prepared to answer,  Art is a form of communication, a way for people to share their perceptions and insights.

A supplemental guide to Art Literacy has been created.  This consists of keyed sheets that offer background information on some of the covered topics.   The sheets can be copied and distributed to students who want them.

Collages introduce the five thematic sections: Animals in Art, Fantasy in Art, People in Art, Places in Art and Things in Art.  The collages are visual demonstrations of the book’s operating theme: Let imagination be the guide as experience and perception are explored.

A representative collage, from the section entitled Fantasy in Art, is shown below:

 

collage fantasy elsas pig2 website

Art Literacy is for sale on Amazon.  However, the long-term plan is to set up an apparatus through which the book and accompanying material can be distributed, at no cost, to students.  

 

art literacy front cover website

 

A. G. Moore    June, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Why Are You a Writer?

cave art La_Pasiega-Galeria_A-Ciervas_(panel_22)
Cave art from La Pasiega, in Cantabria, Spain; Author: Hugo Obermaier, 1913. This work is in the public domain.

 

The human effort to leave a record may be seen in cave art dating back 40,000 years.  What prompted these impulses?  Were early humans teaching a lesson?  Leaving a message?  Were they expressing devotion to a deity or satisfying an inchoate desire for self-fulfillment?  Unknowable as the answers to these questions are, so too, for many of us, is the answer to the question, “Why are you a writer?”

Writing is certainly not the most dependable way to earn money.  And it is a career that carries with it the risk of severe, personal criticism.  So, why write?

I have been writing since I was a child.  For me, writing is a way to communicate.  There are other paths to communication–music, art and dance, for example.  Sadly these avenues are not open to me.  Though I express myself with joy through many art forms, I don’t communicate well through them.  They remain my private pleasures.  Words, however, are malleable in my hands.  I mold them, sometimes nimbly, until they convey my intentions in a way that others can understand.  That’s communication.  That’s why I write.

Was I born a writer?  There’s a school of thought that holds some people are born artists and some are not.  I’ve never subscribed to this view.  Give children crayons and they color.  Read nursery rhymes to them and they respond to the cadence of words.  Creativity and art, I believe, are intrinsic to human nature.  Talents vary, as do life influences and opportunity.  The role each of these played in my choice to write–that is impossible to sort out.

I’m a writer.  I’m comfortable in the role and believe I understand the reasons for my choice.

Why are you a writer?