Tag Archives: poetry

Dragon Comics 98

Not all who wander are lost. But some percentage of those who wander are lost. And it's probably not a small percentage either.

Not all who wander are lost. But some percentage of those who wander are lost. And it’s probably not a small percentage either.

Getting lost in the woods is a way of life.

Antioch College, where I earned my psych degree, faces a 500-acre nature preserve, Glen Helen, which a lot of people consider a sort of hotbed of magic. Whether it is or isn’t, I spent a lot of time wandering around there, getting deliberately lost so I could find my way out again. As a result, I know those woods very well, well enough to walk around them in the dark and know where I am. You could probably drop me in them now, almost 20 years later, and I wouldn’t have any trouble getting out again.

I used this same technique to learn how to navigate in Chicago when I moved there after college. Even though I grew up in the north suburbs, we rarely visited the city, and when we did it was typically to very specific destinations, usually with detailed instructions. When I lived there as an adult and got irritated with the traffic, I would simply find some other way. Yes, I got ridiculously lost all the time, but after a couple months, that didn’t happen anyway. When I thought I was lost, I would suddenly realize that I had been lost in this exact place before. All I had to do then was remember how I found my way out the previous time.

This was before GPS, of course,

Now I have The Man, whose sense of direction is unerring, except for this one time that the VA prescribed him a very powerful headache medication and he became disoriented in an IKEA parking lot. Typically, though, he can look at a map and recall all the salient features, even in a city he’s never visited before. Seriously, I’ve probably flown into Miami-Dade Airport over 30 times in my life, and the idea of renting a car and driving myself out of there is terrifying. The Man not only tackled this task with no anxiety, he also refused to pay extra for the SunPass and managed to drive us all over the state without ever once getting on a toll road. He can drive from my dad’s cousin’s in Coral Gables to my mom’s sister’s in Boca Raton without even thinking about it. At least that’s how it looks. He does have GPS, so I could be wrong about the extent of his abilities.

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Ode to the World’s Most Horrible Cat

This is actually a sketch of Algernon, who passed away a few weeks ago. If Lupin noticed I was drawing her portrait she would deliberately move every 15 seconds.

This is actually a sketch of Algernon, who passed away a few weeks ago. If Lupin noticed I was drawing her portrait she would deliberately move every 15 seconds and probably try to take the pencil out of my hand. Just imagine a fluffy black ball of evil with poisonous yellow eyes.

I’m not much of a poet. But Lupin is not much of a cat.

Lupin, a Long-Hair

I am a kitty with fur so fine
I sit on your things to prove that they’re mine
I know that you love me because I’m divine
I love you too but won’t give you a sign

You scream at dead mousies? I’ll bring you some more
You don’t need these books, right? I’ll knock them to the floor
You’re trying to sleep now? I’ll scratch on this door
You cleaned up my fur dread? I’ll just shed four

When your stepkids pet me I’ll scratch at their faces
When your husband gets dressed I’ll eat his bootlaces
When you drop your elastics I’ll hide them in places
When you invite friends in I’ll lick without graces

Because I’m the queen I must always be free
Because there’s a window I must climb up to see
Because I’m the kitty I’ll tell you the key
Because you’re my person you must always love me

(This sketch is from an exercise in the Trickster’s Hat that I did not do properly. But it’s a nice sketch of a cat much more lovable than the one in whose honor I dashed these verses.)

The Breezeway Part 4

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

It’s important to photograph these images as soon as they’re posted. The colors do fade very quickly, and every once in a while, the kids deface things. This one not only got sun-bleached in a week or two, but also got scribbled on by someone who clearly was too young to hold a magic marker. It’s still very beautiful to me. These letters were all cut out freehand.

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

More freehand letters, plus I cut every one of those leaves out by hand. Sort of wish I had planned the layout a little better, but it’s still fairly striking.

And here is my last bulletin board of the 2013-2014 school year. Anyone who lives in southern Arizona has seen the sky like this: during the monsoon, if it rains in the afternoon, sometimes it clearly slightly afterward. The clouds are all lined up like this, with sun tumbling through the breaks and spilling down over the mountains, which glow gold, red, and purple, depending on the time of day.

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

This sampling of a dozen images represents most of my favorite, and maybe about half of the designs I’ve done since 2009, when I first started. Looking back, it’s not an insubstantial body of work!

 

The Breezeway Part 3

Spring 2011, a Tree of Knowledge

Spring 2011, a Tree of Knowledge

I’m interested in the idea of dimensionality. Some of the previous bulletin boards used layers to create depth, but I experiment with other methods of making the images pop. For this tree, I actually constructed a number of little books and then attached them at various angles to showcase the third dimension.

Summer 2012, a Sonoran Desert Mandala

Summer 2012, a Sonoran Desert Mandala

Here, I used multiple layers and curled the edges of the flower using the blade of a pair of scissors to create the 3D effect. The species represented in this image include saguaro, prickly pear, ocotillo, palo verde, yucca, fishhook barrel, cholla, and bird of paradise.

It’s always a challenge to create holiday bulletin boards that reflect our local culture while remaining nondenominational.

Winter 2013, Another Ofelia Zepeda quote, paired with my take on the beautiful Mexican tin lanterns. I used layers and string for dimensionality here.

Winter 2013, Another Ofelia Zepeda quote, paired with my take on the beautiful Mexican tin lanterns. I used layers and string for dimensionality here.

The Breezeway Part 2

Winter 2013. I had the idea for the bird first and found the Maya Angelou quote after I did the image.

Winter 2013. I had the idea for the bird first and found the Maya Angelou quote after I did the image.

For the last four or five years, this bulletin board has been my baby. While the wind has, on more than one occasion, ripped my work from the wall, while a PTA mom has, on more than one occasion, tried to hijack my real estate with badly rendered licensed characters, this space, where I create ephemeral works of art for children, is regarded as mine, and most staff and students seem interested in seeing what comes next.

Winter 2011, One of my favorites. The poem is by a local poet called Ofelia Zepeda. At the time, my husband worked at the same university where she teaches and, unbeknownst to me, forwarded her this image! She wrote back that she found it beautiful. I was a little embarrassed, but 2 years later when I happened to meet Ofelia Zepeda at the Tucson Festival of Books, I was glad to have a funny story to share with her.

Winter 2011, One of my favorites. The poem is by a local poet called Ofelia Zepeda. At the time, my husband worked at the same university where she teaches and, unbeknownst to me, forwarded her this image! She wrote back that she found it beautiful. I was a little embarrassed, but 2 years later when I happened to meet Ofelia Zepeda at the Tucson Festival of Books, I was glad to have a funny story to share with her.

I work almost entirely in cut colored paper, either the butcher type paper that comes in a long roll, or sturdy sheets of construction paper, using rubber cement and staples. Periodically, the work requires other elements (paint pens, string), but generally it’s just the paper, the glue, and the staples. Since these murals are exposed to the elements, the colors fade quickly and need replacement every six or eight weeks. All the letters are hand-drawn and hand-cut. Some of the fonts come from books, others from my own mind. Most bulletin boards take around six or eight hours to complete. The most complicated one (the Tohono O’odham Man in the Maze) took about fourteen hours.

Winter 2014, the Tohono O'odham Man in the Maze

Winter 2014, the Tohono O’odham Man in the Maze