2016, April 29

Six Reasons to Smile in April – the Poetry edition

Today is the last stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour

For those who are new to my blog, this is part of my year-round series of sharing six reasons I smiled each month, in picture form.

As April and National Poetry Month come to an end, I thought I’d try something different and go with a poetry theme for my six reasons to smile photo collage this month. It was so much fun reading more poetry, the interviews and other poetry-themed blog posts, and sharing it all with friends!

page six reasons to smile in april

You still have time to go check out all of the participating blog posts, reviews and interviews born this month! All the stops of the blog tour are compiled into this neat list on Savvy Verse & Wit.

How did your National Poetry Month go? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2016, April 22

Book Spine Poetry – Paris

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Today is the fourth stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

The concept of book spine poetry appeared in 1993 with Nina Katchadourian’s Sorted Books project. Katchadourian began collecting interesting titles and arranging them in clusters so the spines could be read like a sentence. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings adapted the spine sentences into poetry, and the idea quickly spread around.

NPMBlogTour2016I learned that teachers have been using this technique to inspire kids to write poems (and use their books!), and that there are book spine poetry contests floating around the internet.

Since I last created book spine poems three years ago, inspired by a friend of mine who wrote the most stunning book title poem, I bought quite a few new books.

To name the best examples, I gave up buying something else and bought one book each month in 2013.
And then after receiving an Amazon voucher in December 2015 as the sole winner of an Innovation Week event our client held at work, I bought seven books in one fell swoop.

Some of them I’ve read already, some not yet.
However, here is some book spine poetry I managed to arrange from the newer titles I own.

For some reason, my heart was drawn to a Paris theme this time around.

20160414_182903

Paris letters,
the sweet life in Paris,
(and) Paris in love –
All the brights places,
(are) hidden in Paris.

Messing up my beautifully organized shelves was worth it.

Want to play? Go arrange some of your books into pretty book spine poetry and then leave me a link to your photo in the comments section so I can check it out :)

How is your National Poetry Month going? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2016, April 15

That moment – by Estrella Azul

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Today is the third stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Last week, I printed out the National poetry Month poster and displayed it on a cork board at work, hoping it’ll inspire some of my colleagues, too.
I have to say I’m having a lot of fun this month reading more poetry than I do on a regular basis!

Since I haven’t posted this on my blog before, and lately I felt the need to start gathering all of me/my writing in just this one place, I will share with you my poem, “That Moment”, which was featured on ArtiPeeps back in 2014.

~

NPMBlogTour2016That Moment,
by Estrella Azul

Four hours… passed by in a flash.
A cup of fragrant Jasmine tea in a cozy cafe,
gave way to a long walk as the wind made them shiver.
A fire lit up inside as dusk turned into night,
as drizzle turned into rain, as two lips touched.
That moment… it felt like eternity.
For her, that moment felt like a hike.
It felt like sunbathing on a hilltop,
surrounded by mountains covered in sparkly snow.
She felt her soul fill with warmth and calmness.
That moment… it felt like perfection,
in her world filled to the brim with uncertainty.

~

In other news, my wonderful writer friend, Janel Gradowski who first introduced me to National Poetry Month when she interviewed me as part of the 2010 blog tour, has the first book of her culinary competition series, “Pies and Peril” now free on Amazon through April 24th. This is the first time any book in that series has been offered for free, so I urge you to go download and read it as it’s truly a book worth spending your precious reading time on!

How is your National Poetry Month going? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2016, April 8

Where do You Find Inspiration?

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoToday is the second stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

My writer friend, Judy Clement Wall, shared the first post of the “Coffee Shop Moments” series back in 2013. She often writes in coffee shops, and she defined this as a way for her to combine writing with her (then) new-found passion of doodling, practice her hand lettering, experiment with some different doodling techniques and tools, and justify the time she spends shamelessly eavesdropping on people in coffee shops.

Since then, she is not a newcomer in illustrating anymore, as you can see from her Meet-the-artist video for HCI Books’s Inkspirations launch.
Hope you drop by and read her thoughts, and given they have inspired me a lot, I am sure they are bound to do the same for you.

NPMBlogTour2016From pen, to paper, to screen…

Personally, I don’t write in coffee shops – that would be way too loud, or at least busy, for me. However, for “inventory” purposes, so far I have written both poems and flash fiction:
in quiet spots while traveling, on a flat’s rooftop, as part of long walks in the park, on a walk with a friend where both of us got our notebooks out and started writing away after a nice long talk, and in various spots in my home that I’ve called my writing spaces.

In these same places I also found and continue to find inspiration. Ideas for theme, setting, and characters come from there. To elaborate on that, I’ll name only a few.

One of my favorite poems, “That Moment”, was written three months after a particularly amazing first date.
Silence prompted writing “Some Silences”, which I still think holds so much truth in just a few sentences. “Heart on the beach” came to life during a walk on one of the sandy beaches of Sicily.
One of my most emotion-filled poems still is “The slowest dance”, bringing up memories of a time long gone every time I read it. While the haiku “Stillness” was inspired by as little as the natural artsy light/shadows effect coming through our, at that time, new window after closing the curtains for the first time.

I wrote “Overwriting Memories”, one night after looking through the pictures of my trip, for a future travel article about Paris. In one of the photos I noticed a couple in the Eiffel Tower whom I inadvertently captured. Prompted by this, the flash fiction piece basically wrote itself.
“Sleeping Beauty of Palermo” came to life a couple of days after arriving home from my trip to Sicily. It is true to this day, that ever since my friends and I visited the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily, the memory of it is still one which stands out to all of us, one that left us tongue tied for the rest of that day. The face of Rosalia Lombardo is etched into my memory, still keeping me speechless, yet I was compelled to act on my thoughts, to write a story around what I have seen.
“Predictable” is one of my favorite flashes inspired by my cat, Onyx, and says something about this writer life, about how inspiration comes to me.

As I write this article, I am sitting on a bench overlooking the lake in Central Park here in Cluj-Napoca. It’s past seven in the evening, the sun is setting, and the heat turned into a nice breeze. To my left, a middle aged woman leans back reading “The Little Prince”.
If asked about it, I imagine she would reply: “All my books are children’s books. After all, what is the difference between children and adults, and books written for one or the other? I was drawn in by a title, a first sentence, by a memory of school vacations from a long time ago, a quote I’ve known by heart for years and which I have rediscovered again while reading today.”

These thoughts might turn into a poem, or a flash fiction piece sometime in the future. Or they might only remain here as proof of how this writer’s mind works when out and about. Any and all of the above are welcome.

Now I am wondering about You. Please share in the comments below: where do You find inspiration?

How is your National Poetry Month going? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2016, April 1

National Poetry Month 2016: Blackout Poetry

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoTo quote the official description from the website,
“This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.
Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

Please join in the celebration by listing your events and attending other events in your community, displaying this year’s posterparticipating in Poem in Your Pocket Day, recommending the Dear Poet project to a young personsigning up to read a Poem-a-Day, and checking out 30 more ways to celebrate.

We hope National Poetry Month’s events and activities will inspire you to keep celebrating poetry all year long!”

NPMBlogTour2016I’m celebrating by writing some poetry myself, creating book spine poetry, overall reading more poetry this month and visiting the blogs and articles in the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour listings.

~

For my first poetry-related creative project, I decided to try blackout poetry. It was really simple to form!
All I did was print out a page I deemed okay as far as the text was concerned. I printed it out so that I wouldn’t actually mess up any of my books – I love them too much! Then, I took the page with me on a lunch break and started forming a poem with some of the words.  After my poem was formed, I went to town with the rest of the page, blacking out.
Truth be told I would’ve liked to create an interesting design, something like a doodle on the page, but my sharpie really wasn’t cooperating. Anyway, below is the result and a transcript of the poem itself :)

blackout poetry

Together as the stars came out,
tiny silver bells whispered aloud.
They stopped beside a small stream.
She felt as fragile as glass in his hands,
trembling he turned to look at her.
His hand rubbed away the tears
touched her hair lightly,
lifted her head, their faces finally at height.
They sat silently, and strangely tender, unmoving.

~

Want to play? Go black out words on a page of your favorite novel to form a poem, and then leave me a link to your photo in the comments section so I can check it out :)

2016, March 25

Six Reasons to Smile in March

First off, Happy Easter to everyone celebrating it this weekend! Hope you’ll have a lovely time with loved ones :)

This month is nearly over, and something that I’ve noticed is that I smile more since I started doing Yoga. I feel lighter. And I actually wake up early on some days to do yoga before starting to get ready for work. (I’ll write another blog post just about this experience.)
Pixel also cracks me up when, after I lay flat on my back for a few seconds, he comes over and curls up on my leg or chest. I certainly like it better than when he wants to tear up my yoga mat.

Some of the reasons I smiled in March are different than in the previous months. I noticed this little photo challenge on Instagram by Jenny Bravo (@blotsandplots), and decided to take part. I love the idea of photo challenges, and I really like this one’s suggestions as they add a little bit more creativity in our lives.
Here are six pictures that made me smile wider as I came up with creative ways to interpret some of the suggestions:

page six reasons to smile in march

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2016, March 18

From Scene to Screen – Edward Ormondroyd’s “Time at the top”

1881Three years ago over at Friday Flash Dot Org, in one of the From Scene to Screen features on the website, I talked about Edward Ormondroyd’s “Time at the top” and the movie adaptation by the same name easily being two of my favorites.

In it, I also shared a picture of my copy of the book below my Ramsing of my favorite number, won in a giveaway from Rukmini’s place. Just perfect together! (See photo to your left here.)

Since the Friday Flash Dot Org website closed last year and I didn’t talk about this book on my blog before, I decided to post today in case you’re up for a little review type reading.

~~~

Edward Ormondroyd’s “Time at the top” and the movie adaptation by the same name are easily two of my favorites from what writing I was introduced to during my young adult years.

From the moment the movie started I was drawn in, even more so when the single line “based on the novel…” came up on my TV screen. Normally, I read the book, then watch the movie, but given that the first time I saw this movie was still in my high school years, back then the sequence did not matter as much as it does now. As soon as the movie ended however, I had “Time at the top” on my wish list of books to purchase.

A book about time travel was definitely something I wanted to read, and the main character, Susan was someone I wanted to read about in her own “setting” in the novel. Susan is someone I could relate to, having lost someone dear to me. She is adventuresome, curious, invested, and filled with a desire to help out her new friends while trying to better her own life – these are traits I wish everyone possessed.

Of course, some things are inevitably lost or changed in “translation” from scene to screen so differences appear throughout the two works when compared. Not many did I find distracting from the book’s original feel, however.

The book’s action and story line take place in the early 1960s and goes back to 1881. The movie’s story line changes slightly, the present being 1998 instead of the 60s. While it is one of the biggest differences, this did not strike me as too distracting from the plot itself. The writers managed to make the change believable. It might be because viewers relate better to movies shot in the present of what their current present is.

That said, I find it particularly interesting that in the book (which was first published in 1963), the author and Susan are talking about how the pace of life is too fast and there seemed to be a longing to more peaceful times where cities were smaller, a longing for fresh air, green open spaces, of seeing the country sky full of stars in a way one has never thought about them before in the city. This longing of a time long gone is something I see my present filled with. Because of this, I’m positive this plays a huge role in the novel’s timelessness, the plot is still compelling and enjoyable whether it was read in 1980, in 1998, in 2011 when I reread it, is being read at the moment in 2016, or will be read in 2088.

At the beginning of the novel, Susan has an odd encounter with an older woman and from helping the stranger she is given “three” as a reward. Three turns out to be how many times she can travel in her apartment building’s elevator to the top, and travel further than the last floor, back to the past. In the movie, she discovers this by accident when a neighbor asks her to take some things to the basement for them.

The main plot line stays the same in both the novel and the movie, as gradually discovering the power of the elevator time machine, Susan and her new friends from 1881 travel back and forth in time and succeed in changing both the past and the future, changing a little piece of history. I really liked how the elevator took Susan back in time into Victoria and Robert’s house, which stands in the same spot as her apartment building stands in 1998; this turns into a constant mark for distance during her travels.

Susan ends up play acting to get what she wants, like Portia from “The Merchant of Venice”. She wants a big house in the country, where it’s quiet and pretty, where birds are singing and there is room for everybody. She believes that with a little luck and a little bit of faith one can change the life they’ve made. She believes that when one feels that hope is awry, things can still turn out right.

“Time at the top” is a book where the author self-inserts himself into the narrative in an adorable way. In the movie adaptation he is portrayed as a quirky writer with pen and notepad in hand, and a little bit prone to ridicule on screen. He sums it up well himself when asked if he doesn’t have someplace he needs to be “Oh no, I’m a writer and keep any hours I want.” (Wish I could say that myself, but I digress.) While on paper the change between first person narrative and third person narrative can be a little bit confusing, I liked his presence overall.

If you haven’t yet, I’ll let you all discover the unusual, very unlike-most-time-travel-books, ending by reading the book or watching the movie. Come back here and let me know what you think!

Or have you already read this book, or seen the movie adaptation? Tell me if you liked each one, what do you think of the two in comparison?

PS: I also credit Edward Ormondroyd for providing my young adult self with my favorite number, 1881. Ever since first watching the movie, I’m truly aware of the numbers 1 and 8, and of their presence in my life.

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