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Creative Writing Workshop Series - Free Verse & Personal Essay

08/06/2020

Creative Writing Workshop Series - Free Verse & Personal Essay

FREE VERSE

Robert L. 
“Look at Me Now”

She cried
and I held her
the day I heard
Parkinson’s

Could it be a mistake?
no one suspects
my hands are stable
and I smile widely

In time I will
lose sense of smell
walk with
rigid arms

Speak soft no one hears me
choke often when swallowing
appear hypnotized in photos
lose balance and fall

I once was a wizard
on the dance floor
never missed a beat
never missed a step

LOOK AT ME NOW
Solo free moving with a cane
women surround me
dancing with my rod

They love to
dance we with me
is it pity?
or am I still cool?


“Goodbyes”

I hesitate
to utter
the word
goodbye

Sad goodbyes
are the only
goodbyes
I know

Goodbyes leave
me with a
feeling of
abandonment

Sadness, regret
and anxiety
are my substitute
companions

Funerals remind me of
lost opportunities
to say a final
goodbye

I wonder
will goodbye ever
mean,
“See you again?”


PERSONAL ESSAY/ARTICLE

Louise C.
“Synchronicity”

The vectors that connect us to our existence, and now in the time of covid to our memories of experiences.  Social experiences.

It begins with a decision that is somehow subconsciously read or acknowledged that leads to action.

In my case it revolves around an art project of making coronavirus greeting cards for longtime friends as an outreach, a connection to shared experiences of the past, or that which creates "friendship", now with a common experience of: life in the time of coronavirus. 

While finding myself , and many of my friends , in a "vulnerable" category, vulnerable to the coronavirus, mostly an age number of over 60, and some with a few extra "vulnerable " qualifiers , in a new reality. One changed from just 'retired' or 'grandparent' or "gardener "or "international traveler". But suddenly as one who lost her art studio access due to the classification.

 an artist must do what they can to make art,  and maintain mindfulness and friendship.(this is not to diminish anyone who found themselves in suddenly no job, or suddenly in the hospital dying with coronavirus. No. It is just about synchronicity)

 

and so, with some good photographs ( i have been making photos of the week for my friends for several years now), a stamp, and a computer,  coronavirus greeting cards evolved for me.  as a way to mark the strangeness of finding ourselves where we isolatedly are currently stuck, and the weirdness of the "what is happening day to day scenario", documenting it through greeting cards to friends seemed like a jolly fun approach : old -school, my-house to your-house, quarantine-like(;a captive audience if you will).,hand-crafted way to get along without a studio.

As a series, i like the way the ideas and visuals and words have come together. Come together. Believing in my images, which i want to share with my long time friends; and my family, but not confident in my necessary inspirational words which are the other half of a greeting card,

 i started listening and viewing the cable music channel soundscapes. Over a couple of weeks, i randomly watched the inspirational quotes that accompany the music on the screen, and made a list of some of my favorites to get started....don't count the days.  Make the days count ...   By mouhamid ali , that sounded like a good coronavirus  quarantine greeting card. And so it began.

Soon i was setting up shots with cards in mind , like photographing the botanica garden salvadore dali show . If coronavirus wasn't surreal...ei ..yi . ..yi ...what was!?


-but scheesch! This thing was supposed to disappear, fade to zero in the summer. What was with the rising numbers here in florida? What ? Why are we suddenly the hot spot of the nation.-four months later i am still compelled to make them, coronavirus greeting cards, that now feature various portraits of me as my signature on the back of the card with a mask on!  

But the beat goes on and i had exhausted all the photos i thought worthy of the project. So i geared up for a brief foray to the grounds of the ringling art museum on 'free monday' in hopes of finding the right images to capture the continued shock and awe of where we are in florida today. While hiding from the virus,of course, with really big social distancing. I knew this would be possible because the grounds and museum are huge ,it was hot as hell,and there were no tram /cart rides for the elderly or infirm due to covid. Zip zip ...big walkabout...whisk into the museum through the asian addition: the farthest from the front door,with the least used bathroom in the estate. Took the freight elevator to the third floor library ,which was closed due to covid, and walked down the stairs. Boom. Found it-- two surreal shots of clouds and reflections that would tie in perfectly to my cover photo for the card:my feet up in the air backed by clouds, called cloud walking.  

Relieved of the pressure, i continued a fast walk through the entire museum stopping to look at four huge sixteenth century paintings in the great room. They were all so fuzzy to me that i wondered if i had been quarantined for so long i didn't notice my over 60 eyesight had changed. Remembering that there was a women's photo exhibit , i wondered on to find it.  Once i did , i was delighted to find my focus was still sharp when the image was sharp, and so i cruised the rest of that exhibit. 

On the back wall were three black and white silver gelatin archival prints of nude female forms. The first one drew me in close,  and when i looked at the artist's signature it was by ruth bernhard. Ruth was my first ever mentor and she mentored me in black and white photography for two years in san francisco in 1973 and 1974. She taught me how to see light. She studied with edward weston, and was part of the  F 64 movement of california photographers. I have only ever seen her work exhibited once before at the minneapolis art institute, ten years ago, in a show called 100 influential photographers.

So i came today , here,  to photograph for my coronavirus cards, on a 'free monday", and in an effort to verify my ability to focus, find my mentor's photographs on the wall. Synchronicity.

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The health and safety of our Parkinson’s community is our number one priority. Until further notice, Neuro Challenge's programs and services are being offered virtually.

Neuro Challenge's goal is to educate, engage and empower the Parkinson’s community. During these uncertain times we find it most important to provide information and resources that address COVID-19 and Parkinson’s Disease. Please visit our Covid-19 and PD page for more information. 

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