Sunday, July 20, 2014

November Butterflies: First Proof, The Female Hanged One, and Balboa Park Haiku

“Like the Fool, which signified doing what you sensed was best, even if other people thought it foolish, the Hanged Man indicates being who you are, even if others think you have it backwards.” Rachel Pollack, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot

 “You write poetry all day! I’ve seen you! What chore are you going to do?” says my-eight-year-old, chortling as I dive for him across the bed. We’ve reinstated the job chart (which had fallen behind the fridge, releasing all parties from responsibility for the last six months). Clearly, vacuuming the living room tapped him; he refuses to take his socks to his sock drawer and throws a half dozen balled-up pairs at me one by one.
I wouldn’t say I write poetry all day, but I’m delighted he thinks I do. Daily for years a little scribbling occurs between matching socks, pulling hair out of shower drains, and juggling three sibling triage with feeding and watering all household persons and pets.

Here’s Ruth Thompson of Saddle Road Press in Hilo, holding in her hands like a newborn, proof: the first 3-D copy of November Butterfly, cover design by Don Mitchell and photograph on book’s cover by my long-time photo-poem montage collaborator Robyn Beattie. I love the blues and the browns of the image, the way Don chose to echo the blue heart-seam of the cocooned figure with blue lettering. The back is lovely too—a future reveal I can’t wait to share.

Early reactions to the cover startled me almost as much as early comments on some of the poems; I’m a poetry wallflower, a bit late to the sharing game. How to respond to reactions to work finally loosed to the public? I’m as vulnerable as the next writer—most of us want blessings (though we probably grow more under siege).
“It’s so…dark,” said one of my friends when she first saw the cover. I laughed a little, then said, “Well…the book itself is dark in places, but overall, we hope it errs on the side of light and love through adversity.” She asked me to explain the cover image choice (which rightly so, involves a constellation of artistic ideas, impulses, and behind the scenes conversations and negotiations you trust and appreciate because final decisions are made by those with the talent to make them).

Determined to make her see, I tried again. “Obviously, for the cocoon image…right?…something transformed, about to emerge.” She pointed out it looked like a shroud, as in for the dead.
I tried a third time. “It’s also a nod to the Tarot, a female Hanged One, if you will.” Which, I realized as I said it, sounded potentially just as dark as a death shroud to someone unfamiliar with the Tarot and thus unfamiliar with the gift implied in The Hanged One. The card asks the querent who finds herself in the context of seemingly crucifying circumstances (or forced stasis) to dig for the patience and ability to use all senses and forms of sight to get her bearings. To come to know herself more deeply in the night mirror afforded her so she can be prepared when the period of “stuckness” clears.

Angeles Arrien (1940-2014) who remains one of my favorites when it comes to interpretations for the Thoth deck, states, “The Hanged Man is the pattern breaker… In order to break limiting patterns, it is often necessary to take a distinctly different posture, or stance.” On the page introducing The Hanged One, Arrien quotes Alan Cohen: “The world would have you agree with its dismal dream of limitation. But the light would have you soar like the eagle of your sacred visions.” (Quotes taken from Arrien's Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols, Arcus Publishing Company, 1993.)
The MotherPeace deck calls this card, Artemis, Hanged One, using a female-centered image, describing Artemis as one who “had a sanctuary in Arcadia in Ancient Greece where the cypress was sacred to her and where it still represents resurrection.” A part of the self dies, or leaves, but returns illuminated with new insight in a shaman-type initiation. (Quote taken from Vicki Noble's MotherPeace: A Way to the Goddess Through Myth, Art and Tarot, Harper San Francisco, 1994). 
I’ll be curious to hear reactions to the cover image we chose for November Butterfly once the poems have been considered alongside the image. My wish: that the cover inspire some intrigue, enough to welcome you in to see for yourself. Let me know what you think. I’m also curious to hear from other writers and writers-to-be…What did you hope to convey in your own book’s cover image? If you have a book in you, what image do you see on your future book’s cover and why?

 Regardless, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t celebrating the book’s arrival…every chance I get.
As I did on this magical evening with my cousin Sarah (blogged about her earlier on Feral Mom here in a mini-review of one of her performances) visiting us from San Francisco. At dusk, on our way to Liberty Station’s First Friday Gallery walk and reception (every first Friday night of the month—wine, cheese, art, stellar conversation), we stopped by Balboa Park, winding past the live play in session in the butterfly garden, which resulted of course in a handful of haiku (I'm still enjoying the camaraderie of the writers in the Haiku Room converging to share haiku daily):

In Zoro Garden

Thespians crown nudists’ stage

Shakespeare midst cocoons

We strolled past the fountain, taking the bridge across the road to the rows of roses, where for the first time I discovered the cactus garden:

Tree tall aloes furl

Dusty cantaloupe green limbs

Like Sendak’s Wild Things


Not far from a tiny sign for a variety of rose called The Dark Lady, The Sugar Moon roses
won me over almost as much as the thought of their juxtaposition (dark muse, saccharine bloom):


Sugar Moon roses

Rim cactus garden, lunar

Silt lips, fuschia throats.


At Liberty Station, my cousin bought earrings and we spent time talking to Jill G. Hall at Inspirations Gallery  about one of her mosaic plates that incorporated a tiny three dimensional figure of Marilyn Monroe (I've included a close-up of the round assemblage here, added July 22, 2014). The Gallery is right next to the Ink Spot (where I teach Beginning Blogging for San Diego Writers, Ink).
Jill G. Hall Assemblage Some Like it Hot
 I will be teaching an Intermediate Blogging course starting Tuesday evenings September 16, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Topics we explore include finding one's blogging tribe and growing the network, choosing one's blogging mask, revisiting blogging habits, post titles, tags and variations, social media, vlogging (video blogging), and blog tours.

I’ll post a link to the course description when it goes live at SDWI but in the meantime, pass it on—we don’t just brainstorm--we write actual posts and create community as we go. Visit my teaching page for testimonials and links to the blogs of bloggers I’ve been blessed to work with in the past…

…Such as Lisa Rizzo, poet behind Poet Teacher Seeks World, blogging about the blog mask she made with me at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico: Discovering Ourselves, Memories of Making a Blog Mask.

Additional notes:

In preparation for November Butterfly’s November 1 release, I’m working slowly on updating my website: 

Under Print you’ll now find extended blurbs about the book.

And thank you a thousand-fold for putting up with my exuberance about the book coming out...I wouldn't be here without the love and support of everyone reading here! In gratitude, one final quote from Dylan Thomas:

My one and noble heart has witnesses / In all love's countries...from "When All My Five and Country Senses Sees" (Dylan Thomas)...



Ruth Thompson said...

Beautiful book and beautiful cover and beautiful post!

The caterpillar wrapped in its shroud is not dead but transforming into a butterfly.

Not dark and frightening but magical!

The moment
before the butterfly opens her eyes and slips out of the cocoon and tries her wings - lovely image!

Tania Pryputniewicz said...

Thanks for the love Ruth...I loved the conversation about the dark with the friend I wrote about here, for how it helped me articulate where I think I'm going or heading with work. Where would we be without our friends, our mirrors? Magical, yes.

Martha said...

I look forward to reading your book - love the cover, love the conversation. Your blog reflections are always so interesting… I love how you cover so much ground - from the playful exchange with your son to the thoughtful conversation about your cover image.
xo, Martha

Tania Pryputniewicz said...

Thanks so much Martha--always appreciate the support, especially right now when I fear having gone off the deep end in love with the process of having the book on its is very much like birth itself--anxiety, joy, anticipation, and a good dose of over-exuberance!

Tania Pryputniewicz said...
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