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Tag: Oregon

A Sonnet Odyssey

For the last few years, I said I was going to write a sonnet, so I could check this item off my list. Yet, I kept putting if off, because it is not as easy as writing a 30 minute haiku.

A Bit of History

Sonnets were invented in the 13th century in Italy. The word sonnet derives from the Italian word sonetto, which translated means “little song.” Michelangelo wrote them as well as the sculptures he created. Shakespeare popularized them in English during the turn into the 17th century. Plutarchian and Shakespearian are the two most popular forms of sonnets.

A Bit of Form

Sonnets have a musical quality to them with a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables called feet. An iamb is an unstressed then a stressed syllable equaling one foot. Pentameter is five feet, so there are ten syllables for each of the fourteen lines. Sounds like dancing with a partner who has two left feet! But just as in dancing, practice makes if not perfect, then easier.

Words at the end of the lines have a rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg – same letters rhyme. Lastly, the first twelve lines set up a story, and the last two bring it to a resolution. Shakespearean and Plutarchian sonnets are mostly alike, but do have different rhyme schemes and story approaches.

My Process

Iambic pentameter closely mimics human speech. I dug up this tidbit in my research, making a difference in being able to write one or not. I had stressed over words I chose fitting the pattern by looking them up in the dictionary. The light bulb went off when I realized all I had to do was read it aloud listening for the rhythm and anything sticking out needed correction. I also researched it being a perfect fit, and found out there can be a very small amount of variations to still qualify as a sonnet. I used one slant rhyme, and some variations in the iambic pentameter.

My steps:

  • Wrote a list outline for subject matter,
  • Drafted the fourteen lines close to ten syllables,
  • Picked the end rhymes for each stanza, and
  • Worked on the iambic pentameter.

I decided I could work on it forever, or get somewhat close and chose the latter route. Walt Whitman kept revising his self-published work Leaves of Grass from 1855 to the end of his days. I don’t want to be Walt Whitman. Without further ado –

Arrest

 Her land was robbed in virginal attire:
 A fossil bed in fashion lined hued sand,
 The coastal pines intoned the ocean choir,
 Majestic mountains stood by His own hand.
 The scissor cut directed forest fires,
 Her swatches shorn in blackened forest floor.
 Bound by the gods of Delilah’s hellfire,
 She fought against entrance into her soul.
 The smoke burning darkened the sky by day,
 Air slipped through cracks of doors into twilight.
 Her cloak and dress and her lands were repayed.
 Delilah’s deceits ravished His birthright.  
 The heavens poured rain in His fierce backlash;  
 He washed away the floor plan's lifeless ash. 
1

FaithMy poemsPoetryWriting

She Flies With Her Own Wings

Several years ago, I ventured to David’s Tent in Salem to pray for Oregon. I went inside the white tent staked in the parking lot across from the state capital building to pray. Before I left, David’s Tent placed an invitation to write the name of the town that you came from (I think it was a small piece of wood) and I did. I wrote the name of my town and said a prayer over it too.

Inside the state capital building is a small gift shop. I bought a few things, among them a plague that had the state motto written in Latin and English: Alis Volat Propiis or She Flies With Her Own Wings.

Oregon territory seal

The motto has not always been so. In 1854, Supreme Court Judge Jessie Quinn Thornton translated the Latin phrase and added it to the Oregon territory provisional government seal. It symbolized the independent spirit of the Oregon settlers outside both the British and United States government.

In 1957, it was changed to The Union, showing that Oregon was no longer divided by the issues of slavery from the Civil War. Finally, the motto She Flies With Her Own Wings returned home in 1987.

Oregon has been avant-garde in national legislation. Some laws include the recall of public officials, state-wide voter registration, and one dear to me, public access to the beaches.

Though I have lived in the Midwest most of my life, I have found a kinship with the spirit of Oregon – the beautiful vistas, the potential of her independent spirit.

Five Oregon counties are, for a second attempt, trying to join with Idaho since Salem does not represent conservative interests, and has a statewide super majority in all branches of government. I am torn. I desperately want Oregon to stay Oregon, but with draconian bills possibly being passed, living here would be miserable, to say the least.

Not only did I pray in Salem that day, I have walked the local beaches praying for my local area and beyond. I believe my prayers, and the prayers of other Oregonians, are stored in Heaven waiting for the right time to be answered.

Faith

Delayed Presents

I did not know my father except the first few years of my life and the last few years of his. After my mother passed away, I found a shoe box full of letters that he had written to her. I spent the next several weeks reading though them and learning about my past. It was a gift she left, which my brother graciously allowed me to keep. And so a correspondence began with him.

Fast forward several years. My father passed away. I changed one parent’s house for the other, announcing to friends and family I was moving. New starts and all that.

He had a long-time friend that became my friend too. She told me stories about him that had me laughing and saying, boy, that sounds like me! And she gave me a picture of him standing in the snow (if you aren’t familiar with the Oregon coast climate, that doesn’t happen very often).

Though I did not know him very well, he gave me a gift I am still treasuring today: Oregon.


Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

What Is Public Domain?

Surprisingly, some of my most liked posts are public domain poems. I’ll admit, I post them to keep myself from infringing copyright, but I also believe it is important to read from an historical standpoint. And I try to pick ones that have bearing on current events. Poetry is truly timeless.

So what exactly is the public domain? According to Copyright.laws.com, “they are works that are considered to be in the public domain are not protected by copyright. To be in the public domain means that the works can be used, copied, and distributed without any particular authorization from the copyright holder. This situation occurs when a copyright term expires or the rights themselves have been forfeited.”

In United States copyright law – each country and jurisdiction has its own – it is not a cut and dry date for all conditions of how and when a work is produced. Anonymous works can even be copyrighted. Cornell University hosts a downloadable PDF to explain conditions and dates. (Make sure to figure correct dates, based on the date of the PDF.)

Public Domain Day starts on January 1 of every year for all countries/jurisdictions depending on their own laws, and determines what goes into the public domain. Oregon has its own special case regarding unpublished works.

At the beginning of every year, you can surf the internet and usually find a list of works that enter the public domain. For 2021, The Mary Sue entertains us with its list, along with the basics of when a work enters the public domain.

Creative Commons explains two different ways artists can choose to release their works into the public.

Copyright law protects an artist’s ability to receive recognition and financial reward from work that is created. But at some time in the future, they are released into the public for everyone’s benefit.

ReadingWriting

All Things Oregon

When I moved here in 2013, many others were moving to Oregon too. It was the number one state to move to and I was proud to be one of the statistics. I came from Missouri, and for the most part followed the Oregon Trail all the way here.

My father passed here, so I decided to “go west, young man (older woman in my case)” and start a new life. And I have.

I have grown to love Oregon much more than Missouri: mild weather, beautiful shorelines, quiet community for the most part, the arts, the wide open spaces further east. No more tornado alley, however, I lived near the New Madrid fault line so that did not change here.

Many writing ideas came walking the beach with my portable radio and headphones on. Most of them haikus.

Politically, Oregon is not as liberal as many think. It is the same in most other states, the metropolitan areas are largely liberal and the rural areas are largely conservative. But I see much potential here in the days ahead. Dreams can come true here.


Have a blessed weekend!

Writing

Modern Day Revolution

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” is the opening line of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. Setting the stage of the book is the French Revolution, both before and during, in Paris and London.

Roughly 230 years ago, a European country had a revolution.

Today another revolution is touching all areas on the globe, and with few exceptions, no one is exempt from the blazing news cycle of events.

On a personal scale, moving to Oregon taught me the true meaning of the A Tale of Two Cities quote. Clarity (and a bit of anger) replaced pain and confusion, with beauty driving the day to day wheels. I did not chose the consequences of moving here, but here I believe I was sent for such a time as this. How that plays out in the weeks ahead is my guess, but I know Who holds my future.

As Gandalf said in The Lord of the Rings, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

And as the Bible would say,On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days So that we won’t take anything for granted.

Faith

What Is A Poet?

While searching for a word meaning in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, I came across the word poet. In the New Testament section, the word means “a maker,” and was later used as a “doer.” The classical Greeks used it to refer to any author, but especially to a “poet.”

John Drury, author of the po·e·try dic·tion·ar·y, defines it as “One who creates poems, or one who has created them, or one who thinks or feels like a poet … or one who prepares to write poems or attempts writing them or otherwise stays alert for words, images, and experiences that might coalesce into the nucleus of a poem.” Other nationalities have different words for poet. And not everyone thinks highly of poets; e.g., poetaster is a term of ridicule.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, defines (I will use the second definition as the first is obvious and not as poetic) poet as “one (as a creative artist) of great imaginative and expressive capabilities and special sensitivity to the medium.”

My personal definition of poet is a state of mind, connecting and associating things in metaphorical language to convey an idea, feeling, or image. It is the soul part of my personality, wanting to break free from my state of silence. It is my beautiful Oregon geography which supplies me with multiple ideas. It is communication with the Holy Spirit, who creates dreams and visions for me to scan for meaning and wisdom.

Who is the Master Poet? God, who used His imagination to create the heavens and the earth. Then created man in His likeness to co-create with Him.

FaithPoetryWriting

What Is Your Reputation?

The Bible says that your reputation is more valuable than gold. And I agree, that you have to make wise decisions, based on Holy Spirit’s wisdom. But even that can cause derision, because man’s ways are not God’s ways – He sees the future and knows how to either remove blockades or hold our hand while we plow or tiptoe through them.

But no matter how hard you try to keep your reputation clean, there are mess ups and downright libel/slander. It is the latter I want to address. The mess ups are under the blood of Jesus if we ask forgiveness and a way forward, not looking to the right or left or engaging with those who wish to throw our sins in our faces.

When I moved here, I moved from the Midwest – the Bible belt. I naively assumed that people are pretty much the same everywhere here in America. I did not account for cultural differences. I had made some decisions that were less than stellar, but for the most part everyone saw my mistakes as just that and allowed me to move on with grace. I knew I would be moving to a more liberal state, but again I thought people were basically the same.

After I moved here, God told me to not and I quote, “worship my reputation.” At the time I did not understand this. Curious wording, because I am an introvert and for the most part felt I was free of others opinions of me. I wanted a new start. But He saw my heart and knew I had work to be done in this area. He saw ahead of me and let me know He was in control by giving me fair warning. He knew and would walk me though what I found. On day one.

I am a huge privacy fan, but quickly saw there is none. I have always known this to be true, but it was exacerbated here. I was forced to keep walking. I stumbled much, but God kept me from major mistakes. I will always be a privacy advocate, but there is a silver lining to the lack of it. It forces you to either stay authentic, or expose you as a phony. It forced me to be me.

The second big thing He told me: to be me. Being yourself is right now a revolutionary act. There is no hiding. At all. To not be you is to die inside, to be a dead man walking as they say.

And as for the eyes of the gossipers, don’t look to the left or right. Sometimes that means filtering what you see or hear. Cherish those that God gives you to weather the storms.

For to give in to their distractions is to get your eye off the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

Faith

Inspiration Comes My Way, Part 1

My inspiration for writing projects usually doesn’t stem from butt-in-chair, or in my case a prop to make my chair more ergonomically fitting. And they almost always don’t come from writing exercises – I have an aversion to these prompts.

Sitting down and writing the types of activities that inspire me deep dives into how I roll. I do get most of my blog posts by butt-in-chair. Which begs the question what is the real difference here? Is it writing small essays vs. fiction? Maybe.

After I got settled here in Oregon, I got most of my inspiration by walking. My haikus usually came to me this way. The beauty of the coastline is great material for these, as well as further inland.

I have reorganized my project starts and finished most of the smaller ones and a few medium sized ones. Finishing them clears room for more inspiration to flow through my head. Too many can overwhelm and freeze my writing. Just a few in my project folders is the right fit.

Part 2 tomorrow…

FaithWriting

God and Creativity

In 1963, Joseph Brodsky was charged by his native country, Russia, of “social parasitism.” During his trial, the judge asked him who enrolled him in the ranks of poet and translator, since he did not have a high school education. His reply got him sent to internal exile. His response:

I didn’t think this was a matter of education, Brodsky said. I thought it came from God.

Since God is the creator of art, and mankind is made in His image, our genes of art are passed on from Father to His children. Some refer to the Muse as being their inspiration, as in the nine Greek Muses of mythology, or some other entity, perhaps evil in nature. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, He said it was better that He go, so the Holy Spirit could empower us to live what I would paraphrase as a creative life.

When I sometimes get a Holy Spirit idea, it is just the idea, and He wants me to worship through fleshing out this idea. A co-creation. Sometimes I ask Him for ideas on my own. But it is still up to me to write and edit it through to completion.

When I moved here to Oregon several years ago, I was ready to start a new life, a new writing life. And the beauty of where I live, started me to do just that. Despite the obstacles, to write.

Poets are not pariahs. Without art, or beauty, our lives would be dull, drab, utilitarian, and even perhaps evil.

FaithPoetryWriting

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