Archive for the ‘art’ Category:

Can We Talk?

I have not shared any of my work-in-progress here because it has felt too close to the bone. It’s a YA. It’s about art. And it’s about time-travel. It’s about a girl who feels responsible for keeping someone else alive, and how she goes back in time and thinks she wants to stay there. It’s a verse-novel, so it’s made up entirely of poems.

But it’s time for some mutual sharing. I’m looking for a small group of young people (high school/college) and some art. We’d all need pens and notebooks and maybe sketchpads. I’m going to share part of the book with you and then we’ll talk about the girl in the book and maybe about ourselves, too. Then we’ll need the art, because art has this amazing capacity for healing. We’re going to each choose a piece of art–on a gallery wall, maybe, and sit with it for a while, and write. The fancy term for this is “ekphrastic poetry” (a term I like very much).

That’s about it.  The workshop would be free (I got a 4Culture grant for it), so all I need is the people and the art. I could take a max of maybe a dozen. If you know someone who doesn’t usually get to do this kind of thing because of money, let me know. We’ll figure out the dates when we’ve got the people, but I’d like to do it in the summer. The only constraint is it has to happen in King County. Who’s in? Who can find us some art?

Here’s an excerpt from the book. In this poem, Alice, the main character, is staring at a Jackson Pollack painting at the Seattle Art Museum.

Jackson Pollack--Sea ChangeSea Change

I could get lost here

In the tarry black of the Pollack.

It spiders me in,

Webbing faces, flames,

The sails of ships.

 

When I’m here,

I’m not there,

Not home,

Alert to every change

In his cadence.

 

If I climbed into this painting,

Tumbled

Into the starry depths

I would land somewhere

Quiet.

 

What would it be

To stop the ringing fear

Inside my head?

To lose my footing

And fall, no way

for anyone to reach me?

 

I would land in a hall of mirrors,

Each self beckoning me

To follow in and in

Until all I could hear

Was my own abandoned voice.

©2014 Katherine Grace Bond, from Looking-Glass Girl, manuscript in progress

 

Ekphrastic Poem–“Mountain (Relievo)” after Cris Brodahl

“Relievo” by Cris Brodahl, 2010. Oil on Linen.

 

Mountain (Relievo)

 

And when you climb,

Anticipate the weight

Of the journey—

Rope, pick,

Pack, piton—

Consider

The deceptiveness of glaciers,

The hut you never reach, the gorge

That takes you, without warning,

To the bosom of the earth.

 

Don’t ask yourself

Why you are here—

You know.

 

You are encumbered

Even standing still, even

If you never had begun the climb.

 

Wet snow, waterfall, shock

Of edelweiss—

This is your native land,

Beautiful Yeti—

The eye that stares out from the stone

Is yours—

Fear of steepness,

Wariness of ice,

Your birthright.

 

Feel

The pull of your calves,

Your hands’

Grasp

On each crevice,

And, arriving at the peak,

The sway of your own heart.

 

Let yourself be slight

And the mountain immeasurable.

The rock

Cradles your bones inside:

Foot,

Shoulder,

The raised contours of the face—

You see yourself

In relief.

 

©2010 by Katherine Grace Bond. Written as part of the Seattle Art Museum’s SAM Word Program, in response to Cris Brodahl‘s “Mountain” exhibit.

 

Naked

Now that I have your attention…

I’ve been thinking again about why I write. With THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS so close to release, I barely have time to think about this. But every debut novelist has to grapple with “Me-And-My-Ego.” While I’m busy with promotion, it’s easy for me to get distracted by “Please love my book and say I’m wonderful,” as if that is the point of what I do. But since I have no desire to relive junior high (“What do you think of me? Am I pretty? Does my crush think I’m pretty? What can I do to make you like me?”), I have to consider why I really write.

It’s because I want my readers to look at each other’s eyes.

No, really. Really look. A book can help us do that, I think. We meet someone new–even if it’s a fictional character–and then maybe we can risk stepping out of our isolation or into someone else’s. A real someone. The girl at the next lunch table, maybe. Or the guy bagging our groceries. Or a friend we haven’t really talked to in a long time.

I wrote a bunch of poems at the Seattle Art Museum a couple of years ago, in response to the artist Cris Brodahl. I sat with her paintings for hours, watching people come in and out. They’d look at the work for a short time or a long time. She has this kind of layered thing she does, where she’ll put one painting on top of another, like this one called “The Fall.” The face behind is different from the face in front. And the painting is a nude so, yeah, lots of people stare at it for a while. (Ah, NOW you’re clicking the link.) Okay, so I’m not encouraging lunchroom nudity or anything, but I thought about the risk we take when we expose our true selves, when we say what we think and how we feel and who we are. And I wondered if it was worth it to do that. And I’m still not absolutely certain that it is. But sometimes when we do, we see each other’s eyes for the first time.

 

The Fall

When publicly undressed
You must
Remain serene.
Do not notice
The breeze across your belly,
Tightness of shoulders,
Weight of your breasts.

Pretend
No one stands, head atilt,
Scrutinizing the curves of your body,
Crook of an elbow,
The intermittent catch of your throat.

Imagine you do not lean
Over a precipice.

Instead, be rain,
Shale, Snow,
Small tumble that shakes the mountain,
Behind your face
A clandestine smile.

You alone
Know your secret tipping point,
How to slide out of view,
Hidden in your skin.

Rockfall,
Facefall,
Voicefall,
Freefall.

Do not mistake
Serenity for safety,
You, who chose this starkness.
Danger attends revelation,
Like a brooding lady-in-waiting.
Danger
Has her own secrets.

Wait
For the one who will stare into your eyes.
Hold still and do not look away.
The earth tips under both of you.
Let it.

Fall
Like a flame,
Like a dying star,
And do not be afraid.

©2010 Katherine Grace Bond