October 19, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I missed going to the Big E this year, but I did manage to take in the Topsfield Fair!

Click on the image to enlarge for better reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 16, 2014

Poetry Friday--My Trip to the Witch City

I headed to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA last Saturday to see the Sketchbook Project mobile library. I was hoping to get some idea of the type of end product I should expect to turn in. (For more information about my participation in the Project, click here.)

But first, this rant! Whoever thought it would be a good idea arrange for a mobile library to visit Salem, MA on a Saturday in October, should have their head examined. Salem is an absolute circus in October. It seems to be a mecca for anyone who wants to don a costume, and for those who want to gawk. It took me forever to get through the traffic jam going into the city, and an eternity to find a parking spot. I ended up about a mile away from the PEM. Walking is normally okay, but, it was raining. And it was chilly.

When I got to the PEM, I found that the mobile library was set up outdoors. Yes, I understand how a trailer would require an outside location, but with the huge PEM lobby, there was no reason why the picnic table reading area couldn't have been indoors. It certainly would have been safer for the books! In the rain, there was no way I was going to sit outside, juggle my phone to request a book to "borrow," and sit at a picnic table that had a tendency to tip if two people were sitting at opposite ends and one got up!

Fortunately, I had borrowed my public library's pass to the PEM, so I went into the museum instead. It was a fantastic day to visit the PEM! The atrium floors and walls were covered with painters' tape art created by the visitors. Here's a photo, and a haiku I wrote after observing a child while I sat in the cafe area:

street art:
the girl playing hopscotch
between the lines

There was also a 30-minute sequence of animated films, one of which was Harold and the Purple Crayon. Another was Catson Pawlick, which I posted at KK's Kwotes on Sunday.

The best part of my visit was viewing the Alexander Calder exhibit of mobiles and stabiles. After walking around, I sat in the Calder exhibit area and wrote a few haiku. I suppose they could be labeled ekphrasis--art about art--but, since they are more reflective of viewing an exhibit, I wonder if the term still applies?

I would have liked to take a photo of some of the objects, but, photography of that particular exhibit was forbidden. This is a photo from the PEM site, it shows "La Demoiselle," but what you miss is the exhibit area lighting and the shadow play, which is outstanding, adds a whole other dimension to the viewing, and is what really inspired my haiku.

Alexander Calder, La Demoiselle, 1939. Glenstone. © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. PEM website.

Calder mobile
wires and shadows

museum guard
his toupee shifts
in the light

Calder exhibit
shadows step across
visitors' feet

When I left the PEM, I found that the rain had stopped and the sun had made an appearance. I was able to borrow several sketchbooks before the library closed. I snapped a photo of two very different sketchbooks. One, from Japan, was primarily manga characters, but, it also had a variety of interesting collage embellishments, for example, the cover and an inside illustration, used crocheted doilies. The other sketchbook, I believe it was from Baltimore, was an incomplete volume of verbal musings and pencil sketches. It ended a few pages before the end of the 32 pages with something like this: Once again, I've run out of time.

At this point, I'm still not completely comfortable in the direction I'm taking with my project, but, from what I saw on the shelves of the mobile library, anything goes.

To be fair, I think the Sketchbook Project folks must have been pleased with introducing the Project to vast numbers of people who floated by as part of the street show, so my earlier rant is to be taken with a grain of salt! However, to give you the flavor of Salem during October, take a look at this trailer for a 1997 documentary film called Witch City:

Michelle of Today's Little Ditty is today's host of the Round-Up, and, she is currently challenging readers to create a zeno! Visit her blog to learn more about the zeno challenge.

Photos, except for the Calder mobile, and haiku, © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 14, 2014

October 12, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I've had this in my files for many years, but I don't believe I've posted it before. I guess it's time!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Japanese print courtesy Library of Congress.

October 9, 2014

Poetry Friday--Me & Mr. Poe

When I created the haiga, posted this past Sunday, I didn't realize that the posting date would coincidentally be the day of the unveiling of a new Edgar Allan Poe statue in Boston, and that it was two days prior to the 165th anniversary of the death of Poe (October 7, 1849). But, when I found out (thanks to my favorite NPR station, WBUR in Boston), I decided to take it as a sign to write a little about me and Edgar Allan Poe.

I have fond memories of the Saturday afternoon matinees (admission price, 25 cents) that I often attended with my friend, Nancy Hubbard. One of the movies I remember seeing is House of Usher, starring Vincent Price, which is, of course, based upon "The Fall of the House of Usher." The film came out in 1960, which is about the same year I was in 4th grade. I think, too, that it was my 4th grade teacher who read the Poe stories.

I don't much care for scary movies now (I think the last one I willingly sat through was The Shining in 1980), I wonder if the Poe movies had any influence on that?

Also, when I was in elementary school, I remember a college student came into our classroom to talk to us. She told us about a course she was taking in etymology (word origins). For some reason I thought it was wonderful--who knew you could learn such interesting stuff in college? (When I took a etymology course in college, I'm sorry to say, it was a big snore. Nothing at all about the nitty-gritty of word origins. It was more about the history of the English language.)

I've always been interested in words it seems, and one of the first poems that sticks out in my mind was Poe's "The Bells," with it's "tintinnabulation." What a musical word! Here's the first two stanzas of the poem.
The Bells

Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

I don't much care for any of the other Poe poems I've read, and I don't believe I've read any Poe stories after college, but I sure think my early experience with Poe has been imprinted on my psyche! For better or for worse.

This week the Round-Up has a change of venue and Tricia will be hosting at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Tricia shared a great zombie poem a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, I highly recommend you check it out here.

October 7, 2014

Haiku Sticky #274

Haiku blogger, Gillena Cox, surprised me a few weeks back when I went to her blog, Lunch Break, and was greeted by "Jingle Bells" and a one-hundred-day countdown. I wrote this one for her:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 5, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I think it was my 4th grade teacher who read Edgar Allan Poe aloud to us. At that age, bricked-up dead people and cats, tended to imprint themselves in one's memory.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.