Tag Archives: photography

The Art of Subtle Communication

Something different today, primarily because I promised a dear friend of mine, Stacy J. Garrett, to support her project, “The Door.” Stacy has an amazing talent to draw her audience into the magic she sees through her camera lens. The Door is a project that shows us the hidden world, the one we forget as we grow older; even though we may need it even more.

Door

Stacy has created a game as part of her fundraiser. A scavenger hunt, if you will, where words are tucked away on various blogs which, once found, may lead you to the password that unlocks a secret door on her website. You can also find the location of the other clues for this week’s contest there.

As for my part, the clue is fairly obvious within this bit of prose, but here’s another hint; the whole piece can help you figure out what mischief she’s up to this week.

Recent fanfare on social media has led me to ponder a bit on the art of communication. More specifically, how we communicate when we think that saying things plainly will not be, well, fully communicated. When plain speech does not penetrate the white noise, we resort to methods that can be effective, or total disasters. This, of course, was part of the fanfare. As it happens, I suffer from a rather dry sense of humor. I find it soothing, and it works a bit like a code. Not everyone “gets it,” so they leave you alone. This is sad, however, because being able to get your point across without executing a direct hit, so to speak, can have a more lasting effect. Let’s start with a couple definitions.

Sarcasm: the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny. (remember the funny part)

Satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Ah, there it is, in order to expose and criticize people’s, um, well, you get the picture. I call this form of communication an art for a very good reason. In most of human history, speaking to power required subterfuge; it required things like the plays of Voltaire, the traveling minstrels of the middle ages, the stereo-typical parts that any audience would recognize, saying things no one dared to say “in plain text.”

One excellent example of the development of this art form was the Commedia dell’arte, or the full name translated from the Italian: Comedy of the craft of improvisation. The characters of the commedia were fixed characters, roles every audience would know and recognize. However, the actors would improvise freely within that character. Some of the players became so famous in their ability to move within the role, that they became the representation of that role.

One of the favorites, if you will, was a joker of sorts. A fellow that seemed to always be derailing the plans of his master, falling in love with his master’s maid, and making a general mess of things. But, while everyone was laughing at his antics, he delivered solid satire on the people, places, and foibles of the world he lived in.

This is the art, the ability to draw people out so that, while they are laughing, something of import slips into the thinking side of the brain. The art of delivering food for thought to an audience laughing, perhaps, because they do not want to accept that the actor is truly serious, whatever his, or her, expression or attitude.

For a taste of some masters at the art try a few of these:

A Modest Proposal, Jonathon Swift
The Lottery, Susan Jackson
Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis
Candide, Voltaire
Tartuffe, Moliere

Go visit Stacy – you’ll be glad you did.

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Filed under General Comments, Humanties for the Unbound Mind, Personal Journeys

Review ~ Wild Woman Waking: Finding the Path to Who You Are

Wild Woman Waking by Morgan Dragonwillow with photography by Tui Snider

Morgacover18n is a dear friend of mine. One of those found in the madness known as Facebook. This is her second visit to my little alcove. You may remember her previous offering, Dancing within Shadow. Her poetry touched me then, and it continues to do so. Through her poetry she finds a way to paint a story of the pain, discovery and joy of her life. She openly shares her journey so that others may find the strength necessary to seek their own path, their own journey to healing.

Morgan’s work is beautifully illustrated by photos from another friend of mine, Tue Snider. This lady has an incredible eye for detail and can turn the mundane into an amazing inner journey. Who would think that a photo of a drain in a boat house would have artist interest? Somehow, this photographer can and does.

Here are just a few bits of how these artists have managed to create together. I chose this first piece because it speaks to me. I know something of the journey from insecurity and fear to strength and peace.

Fall

When you are hiding
within yourself
afraid to be who
you really are
it is hard to speak
your inner truth
fear is a constant
companion
daring you to trip
daring you to fall
but falling is
the only option
because standing
hurts
too
much

Another one that resonated with me so deeply was “Fire.”  I don’t recall have a circle of friends I could feel this free with; but I do know a few people who can make my heart dance and sing.

fire sm

Fire
Born in the dark of night
slow
moist
and sacred
embrace your brilliant self
wake to your desires
to the blazing morning fire
velvet
soft
wild
open
where the soul remembers
bringing women to the circle
to dance laugh and celebrate.
in the dazzling joy of life

And just one more teaser of Tui’s work, finding extraordinary in the ordinary:

Pic3 2Check out Morgan’s musings, and Tui’s impressions of the world around us. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something just for you.

Morgan Dragonwillow is a shadow poet and recovering perfectionist that strives to inspire other poets and writers. She especially enjoys helping those that have had trouble letting go of the fear holding back their words from landing on the page. It thrills her to her marrow when her words inspire someone to write; it is one of her greatest joys. Morgan released her first poetry book, Dancing within Shadow, in March 2013. She is intimate with shadow and dances into the heart of it. She believes that diving into what most people try to avoid makes great fertilizer for all types of creativity, especially writing and poetry. She writes poetry to be able to say things, feel things that she can’t seem to express or feel anywhere else. Morgan lives in Marietta Ga. with her partner, their Pekinese, and their long haired Tabby. She loves creating of all kinds but words are her passion. You can connect with Morgan from the links below.
Morgan Dragonwillow’s Amazon author page
Morgan Dragonwillow’s Shadow Poet & Author Page: Dancing where others fear to tread.
Facebook Author Page
Pinterest
Twitter

Tui Snider is a freelance writer and travel blogger specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cultural traditions, and quirky travel destinations. She is also a photographer. Her articles and photos have appeared in BMIbaby, easyJet, Wizzit, Click, Ling, PlanetEye Traveler, iStopover, SkyEurope, and North Texas Farm and Ranch magazines, among others. She also wrote the shopping chapter for the “Time Out Naples: Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast 2010” travel guidebook. Unexpected Texas is her first book. For Tui, travel is a mindset. Her motto is “Even home is a travel destination,” and she believes that “The world is only boring if you take everyone else’s word for it.” She has worn a lot of hats in her life – literally – and is especially fond of berets. Her first book, “Unexpected Texas” is a guide to offbeat and overlooked places within easy reach of the Dallas – Fort Worth region of North Texas. You can find Tui all around the web.  Tui has been a guest here as well, check out her book Unexpected Texas.

Feel free to say hi:

Tui Snider’s Amazon author page
Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel blog
Facebook author page
Instagram
Pinterest

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Filed under My Bookshelf ~ Current times, Poetry

An Interview ~ With Etta Jean on Chronicles of Summer

summerFrequently in the Alcove, we take the time to wander off into the world of fiction to see what the process of telling a tale does to enlighten the many facets of learning, thinking, exploring the universe.  Both the one we find within and the one we find without. A fundamental question in the quest relates to creativity.  Who does, what is it, how does it contribute to the history and future of the universe and to us as human beings.  From our most ancient legends and faiths, we hear that we were created in the image of one of more gods. That what sets us apart from all other life on this planet is the ability, the skill, the imagination to create.

One of my new friends from the world of writing and publishing is Etta Jean. Other than being a just plan delightful person to know, I find her artistic eye fascinating.  She will be releasing Chronicle of Summer, the second volume in her series this month.  I wanted to know how the heart and eye of the artist impacted her writing, her characters, and special kind of storytelling.  Here is Etta Jean on Chronicle of Summer, due out on Amazon on February 14, 2014.  (Such symmetry in that date; that should mean something very special)!

Etta Jean:

The ability to create is something that is deeply treasured by me. I’m the person who has to be careful trying new outlets because I’m sure to love it enough to want to keep doing it, and I have too much on my plate already. (There are only so many hours in a day.) That longing to create, I think, is something that often sloughs over into most any character I write. In SUMMER alone, there are three master artisans and there are others who are mentioned to love art as well.

Kelsey. Well, what can I say about Kelsey? She is a Master Weaponsmith who creates weapons so beautiful that they are works of art. She’ll stand over a forge for hours upon hours until she is satisfied, and like her surrogate brothers, she often forgets about time entirely. To me, the creation of weapons—despite their eventual use for bloody acts—is still an art. If you research old-school smithing techniques online, you will see people who have dedicated their entire lives to learning what machines cannot do—and that is an art.

C.J. is a weaver, and unlike his brethren in SUMMER, his power is only of the arts. Where Kelsey can use her fire to forge or fight, C.J. at best can create quakes to disrupt balance. Where he truly shines is when he takes sand into his hands and weaves clothworks of color and light. Blankets that keep a family warm. Tapestries so stunning they hang in a palace. His art is how he shares his heart with others when he simply can’t bear a city comfortably in person.

Roman is the most like me, I think. His art is not his career; he is a farmer who runs a windmill. Instead, he uses his art as an escape from the mundane. He etches glass with lightning to bring the tiniest details to brilliant life. He wakes in the morning and goes to his mill and then he returns to craft. It is his sanctuary.

That isn’t to say their artistic side has their downfalls. Poor C.J. is left without defenses short of throwing cloth at people, and Roman’s temperamental nature means he isn’t a happy Air Chronicle when one of his works gets smashed. Kelsey gets herself into the stickiest mess of all when her skills have her working for the Militia right as everything is going to hell. Their ability to create makes them, I think, more real, and it has a way to reach out universally so that a human on Earth can look at these Chronicles on another world and think ‘I get you. I know how you feel.’

Art is the great communicator in the end.

Bio:

Etta Jean was born in Sacramento, California and destined from birth to be a bard. She told tall tales while devouring the creative worlds of others until she finally had to create her own. She has seen both good and evil in her life, and her stories, like life, have no half measures. Her happy endings never come without cost, though, for she truly believes we can’t appreciate the good and the joy without the bad and the pain along the way. Her current haunt is a comfy house in her beloved hometown where she wrangles three feline fur-kids while constantly overbooking her calendar. If she’s not chained to her desk, she’s stomping through the scenery in search of equally fantastical photographs.

Info:

CHRONICLE OF SUMMER will be available from Amazon on February 14, 2014. Etta’s Summer Fest blog tour continues through February, and there are prizes to be won by commenting on the stops along the way.

CHRONICLE OF DESTINY, the original Chronicle tale, can be purchased from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Chronicle-Destiny-Book/dp/1940938104/

Stop by and check out her fascinating website. www.ettajeanfantasy.com

 

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Filed under Humanties for the Unbound Mind, My Bookshelf ~ Fiction