Sunday, July 29, 2007

Painting with Paint Words

Recently I heard the word "cerulean" and it made me think about oil paints and the wonderful names some of those colors have. Cerulean is a beautiful blue, although artists often mix it with other blues, or with white or green, making their own un-named colors. I thought about how I usually describe blue (bright, royal, navy) and realized that cerulean was more exciting. Then I did a search for oil paint and visited sites where you can buy it over the internet, reveling in all the names I found. And I thought, maybe people who visit West Coast Writers would like to try this themselves. Or, maybe they'd just like to think of great descriptors for colors, whether or not they come from oil paints.

I created a poem with blanks. This time, I'm not giving you any words to choose from, but asking you to suggest 16 words to fill in the blanks. I will award your choice of two books to a 'winner,' picked purely by my response meter. You can choose either Heather King's Parched or Susan Straight's Highwire Moon. I ended up with two copies of each book, and I think they are both wonderful, but I'd be willing to give the winner the second (unused) copy of either one.

Here is the poem:
Painter’s Garden

The cannas stood tall, matching the cardinal in their 1.___________________ blossoms
But taller still the delphiniums, rivaling the sea with their 2. ____________spikes.
And poking over their heads, the hollyhocks, blushing 3. _____________
Are dwarfed themselves by the giant sunflowers bright in 4. ____________

Here and there a buttercup peeks out with its 5._______________petals,
A late California poppy’s screaming bright in 6.________________,
Next to Mexican sage blooming in magenta from 7._________ leaves,
Each fuzzy flower rich with 8.______________.

The daisies look fresh and clean in 9.______________,
While Lilies of the Nile remember the river with their 10.____________.
The geraniums shine like a clown’s nose in 11. ______________
And the columbines hold up sunny 12.______________ blooms.

I feel for sad Bleeding Hearts, white tears from the 13.______heart,
Laugh at snapping snapdragons, flaming in 14.__________
Play with clovers, making chains of knotted 15. ___________ heads,
Make a crown of stock like 16._______angel wings, and dance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One of the top ten towns....

Claremont, CA where I live, has been picked as number five on Money magazine's list of the top ten towns in the US. Is that good? I doubt it. If a lot of people decide to move here, the small town flavor that I like will be lost. We won't have tricycles full of toddlers in our Fourth of July parade; we won't have a politically correct "Egg Hunt" instead of an Easter Egg Hunt: we won't have Monday night oldie rock concerts in the band shell in Memorial Park. We'll become a city.

I think cities are fine in their place, but I don't want to live in one if I can help it. The problem, as Verlyn Klinkenborg pointed out in a recent editorial in NYT, is that California keeps on growing, projecting a doubling of population soon. Why not plan NOT to keep on growing? But that seems to violate all of our laid back principles, our laissez faire, our "whatever" approach to life. The problem is, planning to have a quality life without growing is HARD, and it's not fun to do hard things. But if we don't make any plans, then we'll be caroming off each other everywhere we turn. So couldn't we try to do some projections for limiting growth instead of encouraging it? Maybe Al Gore could help, he's taking on the giants these days. We will surely waste far too many resources and cause far too much pollution if we go on this way. It's time to wake up and think about these issues.

Do you agree? Or do you think it's just sort of a NIMBY response I'm having, saying I have mine but if I can, I'll keep you from having yours too? It's difficult to sort out motives here, for me too.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Let's Play a Little....

I just read Arthur Plotnik's article in the August, 2007 issue of The Writer magazine, "Making it rill," and it made me think of the fun of seeing and learning new words. His article was about landscape words, so here is a poem I made up using some of his words. See if you can match the numbered words in the poem with the lettered definitions below. Beware, there are more definitions than there are words, so you have to select, not just match them. If you post your answer, I will tell you if you got them all right.

Limning Landscapes--A Game of Landscape Words
Exploring again, I climbed and scrambled, scanning the ground
The rill_1 tried its best to distract me with its riffle_2,
Instead, I searched the arroyo_3 for a kiss tank_4,
Quiet and tranquil beside the scarp_5,
Hidden and silent, as different from
Yesterday's secret guzzle_6 and last month's pingo_7
As the freeway differs from a thank-you-ma'am_8!

a. waterfall b. rapids in a tiny brook c. divided stream d. dirt road e. low place in the dunes where water drains f. gentle ridge g. river bed h. collection of noisy birds i. sharply rising cliff j. upthrust of permafrost k. valley, often dry l. bump or hollow place that jounces the car driving over it m. pool of rain water in a natural rock basin n. small brook o. deep, quiet pool