Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Three Stars and Atlantis: Micro Readings with Liz Brennan

Summer time: time enough to fold cup after cup of blackberries into muffin dough, pancake batter, home made pie shells.

Time enough, once the rest of the household snores, for a mother with insomnia to grab and eat raw by the chilled handful the remainder of the crop…

And time enough, mercifully, to slip into Perhaps, Maybe, play with Liz Brennan.  

Three stars (on longing and flowering plums):

Micro Reading and Text of Poem: Maybe, when peering into the depths of my own shadow, every beginning...

Atlantis (on fathers and daughters):


Text of Poem: Perhaps the female body, at point of conception...

Liz is currently looking for others to collaborate with her... Perhaps once you start, maybe you'll find it hard to stop...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Announcing Website Launch, Upcoming Classes and Blogging Book Project

In the kingdom of hope there is no winter--Russian proverb

This winter I spent a good deal of time working behind the scenes on preparing a new website, the latest in a series of steps along the way to developing my life as a professional writer. With my youngest child finally in school, I spent this last year devoting time to editing, interviewing, cross-posting and promoting the work of other writers, all valuable and worthy work I intend to continue. But with our family at a financial cross-roads, perched on the cusp of choosing one city to live in so we can potentially forgo the two city insanity, it is time for me to fund that writing life.

Additionally, I began to feel Feral Mom, Feral Writer’s usual focus (on the changes of heart and hearth as I write and raise children) became diluted with posting announcements for classes and forthcoming published writing. So I’m attempting to allow Feral Mom her due and let my other site be the new hub for published work, classes I’ll be teaching, and a new blog I’ll be starting in August about the transformative blogging book I am in the process of writing for women bloggers.

Teaching a subject, of course, always pushes one to grow; teaching Transformative Blogging continues to be rich. In the networking world, I’ve come across the work of writer and blogger Nick Thacker (thanks to research expert and blogger Marlene Samuels). I bought Thacker's book and am working my way through it (actually answering his questions, putting in the footwork to look around the net), as he provides very tangible ways for understanding the business side of blogging (something I am definitely not savvy about) as well as how to grow one’s roots and connect to others. Here’s a link to his blog: Nick Thacker and a link to his book on Amazon ($4.99 on Kindle, and you'll see I wrote him a review) Building a Blog for Readers: 101 Questions to Ask Before you Launch your Blogging Empire.

While Thacker and I share some similarities in terms of questions and the inventory approach to the blogging process, I find the worksheets I'm using and developing for women cover what I'd loosely define as emotional and spiritual aspects of the blogging process. But I wanted to spend the next year inviting women bloggers to work with me so that what I offer extends past my own potentially myopic view of what we face as women bloggers. I invite you to come along with me--I will be blogging at my new site (www.taniapryputniewicz.com) and offering sample worksheets to subscribers starting in August.

But until then, I have worked to make the site visually appealing, so I hope you'll visit. You’ll find links to the projects I’m enjoying, including the collaborative photo poem montages. Robyn Beattie and I just completed our fourth montage, “Nefertiti Among Us,” a companion montage to “Nefertiti on the Astral.” We are also very excited to have submitted our montages to a gallery—a goal we have long had in the back of our minds. I’ll be sure to let you know when we do finally find ourselves with a gallery opportunity.

I’m so grateful to be a writer, today, now, given the many ways we have of connecting (as a writing mother, I’m thrilled we have the venue of online teaching). I get so much pleasure out of coming up with on-line classes, and then having the chance to work with my students. You know the saying, that the map is not the terrain--I start with the course map, and we veer where we need to go given who arrives to take the class. I’m excited about the scope of the International poetry workshop, as well as the new class for couples recovering from parenting (class structure will include the usual sharing of poems in progress, but the secret assignment: writing a poem we won’t share, to be mailed to the better half by Valentine’s Day).

Over at Mother Writer Mentor, here’s the forthcoming class list:

Around The World in 30 Days: Reading and Writing the International Poetry of Motherhood and Fatherhood: September 10-October 5th, 2012

Transformative Blogging for Writing Mothers: November 1-November 30th 2012

Send Me a Letter: Love Poetry for Couples Recovering from Parenting: Jan 8th to February 1, 2013

Excavating and Writing the Poetry of Motherhood: April 1-April 26th 2013

Excavating and Writing the Poetry of Fatherhood: May 6-May 31st 2013

For a blog post about the support I’ve received from other women writers and a link to an interview with writer Julianna Baggot: Mother Writer Mentor Blog post by T

Or to go directly to full course descriptions or to sign up: Mother Writer Mentor Workshops.

Look forward to our writing lives crossing. As always, we are ever on the lookout for guest posts written by writing mothers about any aspect of that dual role.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Three Percent Girl: The Chrysalis and the Coffin

artwork by Jaime Zollars
In its first moments out of the chrysalis, the butterfly voids a drop of excreta that has been accumulating during pupation.  This drop is frequently red and sometimes voided during first flight….A shower of butterflies may produce a shower of blood. The Pregnant Virgin: A Process of Psychological Transformation by Marion Woodman

 I’ve missed blogging from my heart. I’ve been quiet, observing, waiting until I could say what I need to say with equanimity, taking the advice I give my women blogging students.

 And so, here goes. I’m recovering recently from marital tension (particulars best left undisclosed, but entirely understandable after two, going on three years of two-city living). And so, my body has been the 3% host of my presence, with 97% of my awareness drifting in search of viable ground in an attempt to anchor my family again to the homestead where I try to restore the joint heart of the entity my husband and I created thirteen years ago when we said I do.

I do wonder what happens next. I do wonder why I’m at this juncture. Except it must be exactly where I need to be to grow, even if arriving at first flight involves the red rain Woodman refers to in the quote above. You can focus on the rain, or you can focus on the view from above, the wet, so newly unfurled wings.

But more likely, I need to position myself in the middle, neither observing the wings from an aerial perspective nor observing the fallout, but resting calmly, blindly, in the long black root of the thorax, where I do nothing but sense where wings begin and the rush of air on the downbeat and the up.

I see women’s fragility everywhere I go. In the locker room at the gym, a beautiful graying blonde in her sixties shyly tells me she loves my green dress, the thin black sandals I’m wearing. She used to wear sandals, she says. “But I can’t wear them, now,” she confides… “you know, varicose veins…” I watch her from the mirror where I’m Nefertiti-ing my eyes so I exist a little more, eye-liner for the self-esteem, her pale blue eyes darting away from mine.  On my way out I touch her shoulder, say to her, “You enjoy those strong legs of yours.” She laughs, and I hope she thinks about all the places they’ve carried her.

A female poet friend of mine, in response to my confusion, suggests burying something or a version of someone (metaphorically, of course) in response, to plant something new, to start over in order to restore trust. Her words drive me down to my writing cabin, where I stand in front of a piece of artwork my brother gave me three years ago by Jaime Zollars.

It used to hang in my bedroom, until a friend said to me, “I would never hang that image where I sleep.” I suppose for its graphic underworld content, how it might invite one’s dreamer to soak in the image, lead one into strange forests. But I am in a strange forest, and I find the image comforting.

I had some assumptions backwards when I first saw it, a little afraid, I was, just like my friend: why the red coffin beneath the little girl, the pale pink flower on the earth’s surface losing a petal in the wind, why does the child float innocently towards the flower, totally unaware that mere yards beneath her bare feet, the white spider of rootlets siphon a shade of pink from the coffin’s red for each pale petal above.

This time, I don’t fear some force swallowing the girl child from beneath, but marvel instead how the umbilical root cord releases her out of the blood coffin to the sky, ever a flower, primally, eternally in bloom, meeting a mirror image of herself on the earth’s surface.

There’s little left to do for now. Wait it out. Observe the heart mending. No seeing yet where the path leads from here. I can walk it alone but I would rather not. But is that either/or opposition accurate anymore, or useful? Time to grow up, again. Differentiate, but not fear it means the end, signals instead a beginning.

Which, in the course of a healthy marriage, I imagine you do—differentiate, take stock, take responsibility for power you may have relinquished, revisit the ground rules--over and over again. When you are both willing to grow.

 Hello underworld, hello fairytale perfectly suited to us both in this marriage. Classical music, to and from, everywhere I drive--the silver serenade of violins--traces the tiny fractures where adrenaline courses. I sleep with curtains open, the slight night wind pushing aside the tree branches just enough to give me a trio of stars, dual physical and astral anchor points, destinations from which I draw strength.

 Further Reading/Image Hunting:

The talent of Jaime Zollars moves me across selves, if that makes sense—the images, for me, bypass the rational, right to the soul, and accurately depict an array of emotional states we’ve inhabited as human beings, are inhabiting, fear inhabiting, love inhabiting, wish we could shift, and/or wish we could more fully inhabit. Whimsical and archetypal (fairytale meets totem meets high desert meets inner city), settings are often crowned with childlike folk, fragile but sturdy, the promise of resilience barely masked by their beautiful and deceptively innocent faces. See more of Jaime's work: Jaime Zollars.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beautiful Unity and A Fine Disinterest: Micro Readings with Liz Brennan

Here are the latest two collaborations posted on Perhaps, Maybe, composed with Liz Brennan (one on roses and motherhood, and one on the reverse kaleidoscope of aging--the spiral back to birth). We meet, we drink tea, we step out on the back deck in the perfect light of late summer dusk and record. The challenge: to get through both verses before the roar of random motorcycle or pickup truck surging up the hill.
1) Beautiful Unity: Perhaps just after the rose is cut and set into a crystal vase it brings summer into any room… Text of Poem and Micro Reading

2) A Fine Disinterest: Perhaps as we age, we cultivate a fine disinterest in the attraction of objects until they no longer catch at us like brambles… Text of poem ,

Thank you Liz for the invitation to play.