Monday, April 27, 2015

orange moon, orange pub, orange stairway, orange hour...

"Orange" the photo challenge said ... and turned into a journey through seasons and moods:

orange stairway, fall 2012

orange moon, winter 2011

orange hour, summer 2013

orange detail, spring 2013

orange pub, fall 2014

more photo journeys: city + gray + faces
more orange moments: photo friday

Saturday, April 25, 2015

sky crossing + tulip umbrella

For sky friday: A sky crossing moment from this week, which came with warm sunny weather. The trees are blooming already, and the tulips opened some days ago.

Unfortunately, now the skies turned overcast just in wrong timing for the weekend. The tulips decided to stay closed yet, turning into their own umbrellas. Still they shine:

Have a lovely sky weekend, everyone~


more skies from around the world: sky friday
more sky moments in this blog: sky diary

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

wet, courage, sky blue

A moment from this week: walking along the river, I saw some ducks happily floating along in the spring sun. I took a photo of the moment, for the photo friday theme "wet" - and then remembered another floating moment:

There was almost no one in the pool. Then a young girl stepped into the water, and started to swim along the edge - and then towards the artificial small island in the middle of it, throught the "deep" water. She is french, I realized when i heard her speak - it was just one word, but it was easy to understand: "courage". Same in french and in english, only pronounced differently. It even exists in german, but isn't really used there: Courage. Seeing her, it made me think that the word has coeur in it: "heart", in french.

And so she took heart, and saw. saying to herself with each stroke:




That's how she arrived there at the palm island, despite her fear.


Which again, made me think of another floating moment, one that turned into a published flash fiction once:

Sky Blue

She loves shiny, colored things. Her glasses are pink. Her bikini is green. The gun in her hand is sky blue. She aims it at me, there, on the shallow side of the pool. There’s a wild mix of joy and thrill playing on her face.

Our eyes meet and I realize that I will be the one to remember this moment, while she will forget about it. But I don’t get splashed: she is ordered back before she can shoot. “Time for your swimming class,” her father tells her.

She lowers the blue gun. Water drips from its plastic barrel while her father inflates her beginner’s armbands.

Later, I see her in the water, struggling to coordinate her arms and legs. The blue gun is gone. The moment still floats.


(first published in Metazen, which isn't online anymore, but the waybackmachine has a copy: Metazen/Sky Blue)


Friday, April 17, 2015

sky friday + international "light" haiku day

For sky friday: a sunrise moment from earlier this week, with clouds moving in.

And more skies:
In celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day, April 17, 2015, the haiku foundation is organizing an “EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration”. Everyone is invited to join with a "light" haiku written at dawn at their time.

The collab is happening directly online, here's the webpage: EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration

Below are my contributions, the first is from dawn:

single rain drops 
sunrise without color 
still the blackbird sings 

And the second from noon, noted while waiting to be picked up at the oncology centre after the next chemo session:

a blue bottle rolls 
in the wind
all the things 
that wait for us

Take a sky photo and/or write a "light" haiku to join the round-the-world collabs:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

summer in April, or: in the mauric magnolia garden

It was summer in April today: sunny skies, warm air carried by southern wind, and the magnolias in the botanical garden near here in full bloom. Walking there felt like being in another world, a mix of Japanese cherry blossom festival and fairy tale.

The botanical garden started as mauric garden, and hosts the largest magnolia tree collection in Northern Europe, with dozens of different magnolia trees, and thousands of petals:


Also, there are pelicans, herons, and amazing buildings with storchs nesting on top:

And two additional photo. The first is from inside one of the green houses. Again the feeling: step through a door, and arrive in another world:

And here's a wider view of the botanical garden and the area:

The botanical garden belongs to Stuttgart city. At the horizon, you can see a mix of old houses, and the curve of the modern Mercedes stadium on the left side. And on the right side, there's currently a ferris wheel, for the "Frühlingsfest" (spring festival) that is starting this weekend.

for photo friday, "buildings"

Thursday, April 9, 2015

reading: stories from Japan + Basho poetry + the April Poetry issue (free) + Allen Ginsberg longread

Reading this week: Granta's "Japan" collection, and books + stories it leads to.

"Everyone knows this country and no one knows it. Here are twenty new Japans by its writers and artists, and by residents and visitors and neighbours. A special issue of Granta, published simultaneously in Japanese and English." - That's the introduction note of the issue, and like the other Granta collections I read, it offers a fascinating range of stories + essays + photos.

The issue is edited by Japanese author and editor Yuka Igarashi, For a peek into it, try: Granta 127: Japan, with 5 online stories. Or read the review in the JapanTimes: ‘Granta’ opens a window into Japanese literature

For me, the issue also brought some good cross-connection: it includes an essay by Ruth Ozeki, whose book “A tale for the time being” I read last year. It's one of my fav reads of that year, and itself conntected to previous reads, here are the reading notes: global reading: A Tale for the Time Being (or: Ozeki, Proust, Past, Present)

In the Granta issue, Ozeki has an essay that also is about connections. It's called: "Linked" and ends with a haiku dialogue between the past and the now:

Which fits perfeclty to the haiku-theme i blogged about last week, with the Folded Word haiku challenge: rain haiku effect

Following the theme, I visited lines from Matsuo Basho, the classic poet of haiku, and his lines:

“Every day is a journey, 
 and the journey itself
is home.” 
 ― Matsuo Bashō

More of his lines, here at goodreads: Matsuo_Basho


Basho + April Poetry issue + Ginsberg longread

...and when I looked for his work in Poetry magazine, I arrived at Basho's biography ("The 17th-century Japanese haiku master Basho was born Matsuo Kinsaku near Kyoto...")... and then saw in the sidebar that they April issue of Poetry is up for free download, in celebration of National Poetry Month:

"National Poetry Month Special: Download Poetry Magazine (with Audio & Video) for Free! The April 2015 issue of Poetry is largely devoted to the work of the BreakBeat poets..."

The issue, it probably connects to the Longread i started to read this week: “The Craft of Poetry: A Semester with Allen Ginsberg.” - the piece originally appeared in the Summer 1995 issue of the Paris Review.


And some more links / cross-connections:

Talking about classics: one story of the Japan issue mentions The Tale of Genji, which I dipped into some summers ago. "The Tale of Genji" was written by Murasaki Shikibu win the eleventh century, and is one of the world's first novel. I just looked, the collective reading notes are still online: The Summer of Genji - a joined approach to tackle this classic read.

Haruki Murakami is inclued, too. Two years ago, I read his Tokyo story "After Dark" (reading note), and before that, his book on running and writing.

The Japan issue also features an essay by Tao Lin, who once contributed to BluePrintReview, so I went to re-read that one, too: Tao Lin: Something Happened

One of the most fascinating stories for me is "Arrival Gates" by Rebecca Solnit. It leads to a place I hadn't know of: The Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine: "There are multiple routes up the mountain, and the routes take you through thousands of rjther torii gates.."
The photo is from wiki, here's a whole page of photos. And a link: the story isn't inlcuded online, but there is a Granta Posdcast with the editor Yuka Igarahsi and the author Rebecca Solnit. 

So I will listen to that now while going for a visual trip along photos from Japan - such a variety of atmospheres, just like in the Granta collection. And then move from Japan to the BreakBeats...


Global Reading Challenge 2015 + Currently Reading:

For 2015, I try to read books / authors from different countries, the idea is to visit all continents. If you want to, join the reading challenge: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - or just join the international facebook reading group.

In the previous book post, I put together some reading statistics and book memories of 2014 - so if you are into geeky reading statistics, try this link: A year in reading in geek statistics +  book memories

For more reading notes, click here: life as a journey with books. A reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

Monday, April 6, 2015

Darkness, to a void

to a void

alone in a house. in the night.
shadows on a wall. on the move.
silence. listening to silence

to avoid the silence turn on the music the song
the song over and over and over

to avoid the shadows turn on the tv the
light the candles the night

to avoid the loneliness
to avoid a void

play with motions with the flickers of the flame
with the sound of syllables scattered in sentences

yet you are alone.
alone in this house in this night.

you will be alone, tomorrow night.
you will be alone, the night after tomorrow night.
and the next. and the next.

the house. it has so many doors, so many windows
opening to the outside, letting the light in
the wind, the echoes.

the window in front of you, it is flickering while you type this.
it's the wind touching it.
wind on window.

is that where the word is coming from?

wind. it is the same in German.
der Wind. the wind.
Wind and wind.

not many words that stay the very same.
roses do. eine Rose. a rose.
it even is a rose in France. la rose.

a rose is a rose is a rose.

maybe that is what she meant, after all. Gertrude Stein.

Stein. stone.
lang. long.
Kuss. kiss.
Wort. word.
Ozean. ocean.

change a letter
change the language.

sometimes you try to imagine
what would happen
if you were alone in a house
for a whole month.

just you the house and pencils and paper.
maybe you have to try it

one day


about + links: 
Inspired by the current photo friday theme "Darkness" ...

...which made me remember this night story I once wrote, The story was first published in Empty Mirror magazines: to a void - and nice to see that Empty Mirror is still running.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

plans, or: rain haiku effect

"Introducing our new monthly Folded Word-Lab. This month you can read, write, and win with Ben Moeller-Gaa's haiku workshop. It's free. It's online. Give it a try? Folded Word-Lab: Haiku"

Reading the lines made me remember the plan i had in mind while in December, to start January with noticing and writing a daily small moment. I even had prepared the blog tag for it back then (see sidebar): smallstones - tiny moments

I wrote a stanza for the collab 2015 of Leaf Press, though, which is rather telling:
...every day h/our pattern of life: 
 this c/age of possibility—
until life happens
 while we were sk/etching plan(e)s.
So: plans.
If the moments didn't work out in January, why not try again now in April?

And, following that thought: Why not finally revisit that file that I once started? That was another plan I had in mind. To put together a small collection of those January smallstones, just for me. The first idea was to add photos, too. But now I tried the other way: instead of adding photos and make it complicated, simply make a word file out of it, and send it to myself, or rather: to my e-reader. So that those moments are easy to reach.

So the rain today, which is pouring since this morning, at least had a poetic effect: the first two new haiku are written. And there now is a simple file full of moments on my e-reader.

Including the one that I wrote this January after a walk through the snow, and found again in twitter (so much for organizing my own words well...):
Underneath the skin of white
The landscape of yesterday:
All the things that are there,
Beyond our sight