Category Archives: philosophy

Vertical Interrogations (and my graduating capstone) part I

Watercolor, salt, glue

Watercolor, salt, glue

These questions. Questions in line with Bhanu Kapil’s method of asking people about their lives which really, really crossed borders. Please click on the link to answer the vertical interrogations. You will be amazed by your creativity, humor, and tenderness. [click on the reply number in the gray circle to add your response]. Have fun. Write something today.

https://heronsandplenum.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/laura/

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Few Things Keep Me Tethered

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One is my MFA. Presently struggling to keep up with thesis production and the class’ creative writing project. Here’s my pushing up against something with weight / reflecting my breathing in and out / without

If you’re looking for generative prompts and writing tips to twist open the spigot for your summer writing projects and/or ambitions, please check out https://heronsandplenum.wordpress.com/

Plenum captures the spirit, energy, and creative urgency flowing through a diverse community of writers–the OSU-Cascades MFA Class of 2015. For seven days of seven weeks, the Plenum Capstone invites the World to join us in creating and experiencing the art of the written word through an innovative e-publishing exploration of the writing and the creative process. The project’s ephemeral nature distinguishes it from the aspirations of growth and longevity associated with more traditional digital media. The Plenum Capstone also echoes the broader MFA experience–brief, intense, and transient, yet providing experiences we will carry through the rest of our lives.

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Assignment: More Advice for the Student Writers

In preparation for my third residency, we were assigned with a welcoming task/event/gesture for the incoming MFA-ers.

1. Quote of advice: “I enjoy posting feedback because that was important to me when I started–before I knew faces, and families, and quirky quirks. We cared. We heard you. We encouraged and laughed. After we met, we laughed deeper and true.”

2. A visual piece: my abstract of a journey and family/ familiarity/inclusion. Toes reveal a lot about a person–where they’ve been or where they’re going, personal priorities, definitely personality, and definitely a heightened perspective of one’s future writing goals. (I am the fourth generation to inherit a hooked left ring toe…is there a ring toe? You know, like if someone were to get it totally wrong and place an engagement ring on your toe, yeah, it’d be that one.) I think my point was toes:  journey, starts with the first step, individually not much, but together you could evoke a deep humpphh from Michael Ballent when you landed the perfect kickball in his stomach during the second grade.IMG_0512

 

 

So You Want to be a Buddhist Monk, I mean, a Writer?

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The first step is recognizing the Noble Truth: that some dissatisfaction comes into our lives and alternatives are sought. For many, there is something that registers as ‘interesting’ – or even inspiring – and we all come back to writing.

The process of training a monk or nun or writer is one that involves time and is not just about ‘learning the rules.’ There is much that can only be learned by patient observation.

The new novice is expected to commit to a stay of one year’s training under the general guidance of the sangha (Mentors). The ordination ceremony itself is quite simple. It would usually be in the evening on a full moon day, as part of the community’s usual observance, and the candidate would have had help learning the necessary chanting and the ‘choreography’ of the ritual. (I was planning on editing this out, but it’s actually true–chant and perform away young novices! You’ll be amazed how it can affect your writing!)

Respect for elders is a significant part of defining the monastic ‘container.’ As a novice, or junior member of the sangha, one obviously arrives with a range of preferences and views. In a mentorship life, there must always be a readiness to relinquish these and ‘bow’ down to the lead suggested by more senior members of the sangha.

The general process is one of patience, calmness, and humility. Monasteries and mentorships are blessed in that they don’t have production quotas, and training is able to be seen as a lifetime’s work. There is no hurry. Relax. Write. Create.

Have No Clue

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I have no clue why my panic button on my car keys is worn down (maybe).

The Window or The Mirror: Part II

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When artists choose to write or create what’s urgent or passionate for themselves while holding up the window for others to peer into their very inner core and layering a mirror behind their art, then people might be moved by that art and see a part of themselves in it. That’s my definition of truly powerful art.

An example? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee jumps immediately to mind.

To see a list of the most life-changing novels by women as posted in The Guardian, click here.

Tips for Writers

I was asked to submit some advice for the new cohorts in my low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at OSU
Here was my advice to all the new incoming, aspiring writers:

Three words of wisdom: flutter, beat, breathe

Flutter through drafts. They’re just that. Not chiseled in stone.

Beat. Find the heartbeat of the writers you love. Beat in harmony. Daily.

Breathe. The birthing process of discovering your writer’s voice is painfully beautiful and almost eternal.
Bear down, breathe along the way, or you’ll pass out.

What to pack for the low-residency at the beautiful artists’ residency?
Snacks: welcome to the CID Pack (Chocoholics in Denial). Bleed some, share some.
Note: one small, disposable bag of insecurities is allowed. See travel regulations Section 4.2 for size restrictions.

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