Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grace is a Painted Woman: Unfolding Imagination

Stained Glass

Why do we fold up our imaginations when we get older? This question (my paraphrase) sparked Jeffrey Overstreet to write a novel about characters who fold their imaginations and put them away. I'm guessing it was the safe thing to do in that fantasy world. I'm guessing too that Overstreet probably uncovers the hidden dangers of squelching an ability to see the fantastical. (Sorry, Jeffrey, I haven't read the book, but it sounds really cool.)

Today I happened upon a brave poem that must have sprung from an open imagination. Here's the beginning...

I found grace
painting her toe-nails
along a street filled with graves.

She wore a white-lace hat
and a dress to match,
its bottom corners stained with grass.

I love that. Grace as a painted woman in white lace. How unusual. Very imaginative. This got me thinking about our next writing project. Why not open our imaginations, with the following prompt as a start? (Offerings due by next Thursday evening, March 19, for possible feature and definite links at High Calling Blogs).

I found my soul...

What did it look like? Was it animal, vegetable, mineral? Where was it sitting, standing, dancing? What else was it doing, or what was being done to it? A quick example (quick, not sophisticated, just for illustration purposes : )

I found my soul
in the oven, five days
old, almost empty but
for a few crusty flakes
and stray apples spilling
over the side of a glass
pie plate, threatening stainless
steel racks and self-cleaning
walls with caramelized sugar.

Okay, that's it. Let me know what you unfold.

Stained Glass photo by Elizabeth O. Weller, at Mindwhisperings. Used with permission. You can visit Elizabeth's Etsy Store here.

Nikki's Awake, My Soul
Lynet's poem here in the comment box
Erica's Soul-Sucking Laundry
Cindy's A New Soul
Prairie Chick's I Found My Soul
Ivy Rain's The Journey
Laura's Soul Searching
Jim's I Found My Soul
Kimberly in the comment box
Brian's Reflections on Finding My Soul
nAncY's Find My Soul
Denise's I Find My Soul
Joelle's Finding Soul
Katrina's Where My Soul is Found
Robin's Set Free
Ann's Finding Lost Pieces
LL's Song of Myself
Emily's I Found My Soul in China
LL's daughter's En La Manana
Brian's I Found My Soul, Take 2
Michelle's Buried Treasure
MyBigThree's Up-Front Confession
Tina's I Found My Soul

High Calling Blogs RAP: Finding Poetry in Your Work, Your Wounds and Your Grass Stains
Marcus's The Myth of Grace
nAncY's Love > Death
Jim's Spring Training
Mom2Six's Son's Picture on the Wall
Cindy's Promised Paradise
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

grass that.

what a colourful photo you posted today! nice.

3:38 PM  
Blogger sojourner said...

i agree with nancy, nice photo, your quick illustration of unfolding imagination was cute!

5:22 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

nAncY... great, isn't it? The photo is Elizabeth's. She's an awesome artist and has a terrific Etsy store.

Sojourner... Wish I could take credit for the photo. I was just the finder, while Elizabeth was the visionary with the shutter. Thanks, on the little poem.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Bought as is said...

Unfolding imagination, I like that. I must admit "unfolding" is a bit descriptive of me lately. As is the "I found my soul". Thanks for this.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Marcus Goodyear said...

Parts of me unfold while other parts fold up again. I'm like one of my daughter's cootie catchers, I guess.

I enjoyed the last four lines of your poem because the line breaks had the fun double meanings.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Lynet said...

I made my soul from scraps of wool
to colour me and keep me warm.
I tangled them and tatted them
and plaited them with fantasy,
and when I finished, it was bright,
but far too much a mess, and so
I put the rainbow cloak aside
and picked up something new.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

I was about to try to go back to sleep after waking too early and eating a bit, but my brain was too busy with your prompt. So, instead I got up and wrote. My image will hardly be the most imaginative, but I did find it to ring true somehow. Thanks for the inspiration.

8:25 AM  
Blogger RissaRoo said...

I love the image of the painted lady! I posted mine this morning...a little more tongue-in-cheek than I normally am, but then again I do hate laundry that much!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Prairie Chick said...

Thank you L.L. You are such a source of inspiration to me. I love your challenges and the beauty they awaken within.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

love grace as a painted lady. makes me see.

Here's mine:

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Rain said...

Thanks L.L. for this challenge, and the example of the painted lady was really good. It makes you think beyond what is just there. Here is my contribution:

I started reading your book this weekend. It has been such a blessing, especially the chapters on love and sacrifice. Thank you.

2:07 AM  
Blogger Robin Sloboda said...

I am not sure if I am too late to post my poem, but I will give it a try. You will find mine posted

I love challenges and this one really set my creativity free.

I have not edited it will need a makeover I am sure.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i tried it...called "find my soul"

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yes...and

here it is

1:50 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Laura encouraged me to jump here is mine


4:25 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Tried to write about finding my soul. You can see it at alivening, though it didn't come freely, so I think I need to try it again or wait until it comes to me without contriving....

10:05 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Hello L.L.

I love what you've written here... that top poem really got me thinking... imagining...

So here is my contribution over at my blog today:

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Quiet Knowing Place
(Where I Find My Soul)

There is a quiet knowing place
Where the bustle of the street
Slows to a crawl
And the noise of the crowd
Is but a whisper

You lean in to speak
And the world tilts on its axis
Walls tumble down
My heart leaps into
Your soft voice

Your words hold me:
There is nothing I desire
More than this
More than this quiet
Knowing of you

1:53 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

A few minutes past the deadline... Just read about it at Ann's this evening b/c I've been out of town. Here's my link to a hastily-crafted musing on my trip:

1:31 AM  
Blogger Bought as is said...

While listening to the new U2 today it struck me that they did your challenge too.
excerpt from "Breathe"
"...walk out
into a sun burned street
sing your heart out
sing your heart out
I found grace
inside a sound
I found grace
it's all I found
and I can breathe
breathe, now..."

Thanks again for these.

11:09 PM  
Blogger e.o.w. said...

I'm just seeing this post- how did I miss it? Thank you so... (I've been in New Orleans visiting graveyards and witnessing beauty and hope, souls dressed in brilliant costumes of bead and feather, playing tuba, dancing in doorways colored purple, closing in on the distances between...)

Again, many thanks for your insight and support!

11:13 PM  

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