Here is a link to my kickstarter project, which if I am funded, I will be able to proceed with the first printing of my upcoming children's book. But are the metaphorical girls in this picture really smiling full smiles yet? No. This is unfinished art. Let me explain further.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mugword/year-of-writing-and-illustrating-my-first-children

So I am going to feature at least 5 main concepts for the children's book, all of which are stirring in my head, and production will be possible for any of them. And I am going to let you - my reader - vote on which one you think is best.

Hojoki for Children is the second possible. I already have some of it's early version sketched out. What would I change? I had told this story from an Appalachian perspective in this edition. I think I would stick to Japanese in the polished final draft. Be sure to vote for the concept you like the best!

One way to do that is as a note after backing my kickstarter! :)

A whirlwind, earthquake, and fire in twelfth century Japan, and a man who disassembled his house, threw it in the river, and reassembled it downstream... many times, until he was left with Hojoki, a ten by ten foot hut he wrote about in his happy last years.

Posted Fri Jan 12 21:41:25 2018

I am parking my new blog right in this spot...

This morning when I woke, I guess it was a little bit quieter, and I looked outside knowing it had snowed.

I am glad my blog is in this new place now. There really is something to be said about trusting the blog host, and I really don't think Steemit is for everybody, meaning most of their money still deceptively goes to a few individuals. With branchable I know exactly what kind of people run the blog, since my brother is one of them. And since he fixed a bug in my computer that was making me not write as much poetry last month, I am eternally grateful.

Start a Poem

Knowing it could just as soon be a war or a fire as a peace or just a place to inspire.

Finish it, too soon, abrupt snow flakes splashing as rain on a glad windshield.

I recently reread a children's book about Basho and another also about Issa. So I got something rad from each book that is informing my haiku writing. According to the Issa book, Cool Melons Turn to Frogs!, Issa wrote his emotions into his haikus. This might surprise you but I usually put more empathy tied to natural things than outright personal emotion into my haiku writing, which is kind of what Grass Sandals the Basho book portrayed.

Day ahead, mud stained snow.

Long path lit up, as under

quilt. Secretly reading.

-MERH

So when I write a haiku, I often just talk about how I think the world around seems to feel, where Issa might say how he actually felt inserted into natural things.

This Issa reminds me of the slow process. And I surely have felt a snail's pace...

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

(Katatsumuri sorosoro nobore Fuji no yama 蝸牛そろそろ登れ富士の山)

One of Basho's poems seems quoted more than any other, and yet...

古池や蛙飛びこむ水の音 furu ike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto an ancient pond / a frog jumps in / the splash of water [1686]

From what I gathered on Basho, I felt more similar in writing styles, as I said, but it is worth mentioning that my haiku are in a collection of about 400 at most. (Mostly unpublished and NOT ready.)

Basho and Issa each wrote 1,000 haikus in their life.

I rarely write more than one haiku a day, though once I wrote 30 in a long intensive spell with memories of a natural place fresh.
Basho once wrote 100 haikus in one sitting, so I have a ways to come.

Here are 17 syllables I once pulled together on the subject of a haiku: Haiku is a person. I am writing an essay about her/him/it.

I used to think American haiku was just an attempt at writing short poetry modeled after an untranslatable form of Japanese poetry. I remember going around Berea College, when I was getting my undergraduate English degree there, and I would think things like, must write haiku, but also that that was just some obligatory random Westernized attempt. Haiku was an obligatory attempt at the impossible. Yet I was so drawn to it. I deeply believed it was a lost cause though, and that there was no real reason to celebrate haiku.

I am but cleaning maid. But this moment eyes the oak leaf hypnotist.

All through my time at Berea College, I walked around staring at the beautiful chestnut tree and the amazing ginkgo both of which nourish the contemplative practice of students and professors and other squirrels. I’d say, this is stupid, but I am going to write a haiku about these beautiful things. The beauty was real. I believed in the beauty. I’m talking career beauty appreciation, like a real artist which I might have done if I realized my talent. Do I hear my words?

Back in college I knew publishing was something I could do if I tried enough. I never said publishing took being good, and I didn’t really believe that either. Humility though, can be a little bit like too many apologies, and though you might feel humbled, maybe you just need to thank. So this essay is meant to be a gratitude essay, meant to get real with the haiku, to thank it for being alive and real and vibrant and a song that I want to sing, a party, a celebration I want to go to. And boy does it take talent for a girl to believe in herself, for a person to embrace poetry, for an egg to decide to hatch.

In college I wrote 5, 7, 5 in my syllable count. I would mark the digits of my fingers as I thought syllables. Just a tap on the table where I did not focus on the study of Christianity, just a tap to indicate a syllable, and most of the time it was ignored as one of my eccentricities.

Publication can be a sign that a person really is invested in their work, and it can be a result of writing good stuff. I like to look in the publications where I have poems now and I order the poets based on how short they have written their poems, and often I come in first place.

I believe Haiku. I have learned from the poem itself, of its worth. I am not saying that I believe in it. I would be a nut to even consider not believing in haiku. When you write a form, The form becomes a friend. Haiku becomes a proper noun. It responds to you. You don’t have to do 5,7,5. You can do short long short. You can learn Japanese. You could travel a long road north with only Haiku to keep you company. You can learn Chinese. You can translate Basho, Issa, and others.

The paradox is good. The humility is good. It is just a poem, the most simple, tiny trivial, skilled, transforming, uplifting, violent, good, expressive, of things. Like one of those chestnuts, a seed forward. A seed forward.

I believe Haiku. Professor arrange chestnuts phallic. Squirrels too.

Lately in spurts I might write up to 30 haiku in a sitting. Writing Haiku is an exercise like swimming laps. Though it might not be called a motor skill entirely, it takes a training that builds with focus. Observing the world is a big part of it. I know some early poets who think they are collecting words for poems only some of their lives. Like they can turn it off. I know the whole life collects poems. So I can sit here and write about my college memories, see? Some of those Haikus have not made it out yet. It is important they get born; they can handle life.

The photo’s mother, chubby woman, snaps ginkgo. Golden day falling.

Posted Sat Jan 13 12:19:08 2018
  1. I will go forward with the book making process.

  2. I will publish it on CreateSpace so it is available on Amazon.

  3. It will be ok.

  4. But I don't really want this to happen, and if you don't either, you can back a second copy to give to someone! :)

Posted Sat Jan 13 17:23:24 2018

I guess it was a former student of mine, a friend named Ashley who I recently asked a question of why she friended me back on facebook. I frankly asked her that because I had forgotten who she was, but her response was she liked my art now... Well, she said it better. But it made me wonder about my artist identity that has changed through my lifetime.

The question came to me what is an artist? I began wondering how I as someone who paints a lot or draws changes me and transforms me. Form fitting function, what is happening to me when I try on these paint spattered shoes?

What comes to mind is a discussion I once had with an artist, Tessa, who told me she used to have cruddy art supplies, but then she started taking care of things and how that changed for her.

I am going through something similar with my art supplies and all things art.

For example, I rephotographed this picture of my art, with dried paint. It is so much better this way. Amazing what a little care can do.

One thing about that is my life has been this constant transformation, and in matters of change, I am feeling hesitant in terms of what I can control, yet it seems art is thrusting itself into me, and I cannot control that at all, so I must embrace it.

When I climbed Quaker Mountain (Monteverde) to ask Lucky Guindon the meaning of life, she said "yes, fate is real, but it is a choice."

My art has never been finished or very polished. Maybe I am noticing that it could use a second layer of paint more than I ever did before.

What I haven't said is this is my whole person. I am defending my argument more than I ever used to, though I meditate and and am not sacrificing everything for trying to be right. Something is changing though.

Once there was a Quaker bookstore worker in Berea, I think. He had a young girl on the back of his bike after school a lot and ultimately died of cancer. I think I am getting some of those details confused. Maybe I just met him in a bookstore. Maybe he was Mr Robie himself. But I had a very deep conversation with him about transience as the true nature of all people. I think that is not said enough to be honest.

Maybe that is a big part of why I love the story of impermanence that Hojoki tells. I am not worried about my personality change. It really seems to be a step in the right direction.

Art was always this thing I left for someone else. Now, I guess, I am that person.

Posted Sat Jan 13 20:57:24 2018

I am glad we took a picture

in 2001 of the biological reserve casa

where Anna and I had hiked

so far down hill from the Monteverde

cloud forest reserve

but so many things were not in that picture.

When we got to the bottom of the mountain

and found ourselves in the Penas Blancas valley

Anna went to draw some rare plant

and I told her I would be right back

then I skinny dipped in that clear river

unaware and brazen

in the face of 500 foot waterfalls.

So I returned to the hut shouting to Anna

"hey I went skinny dipping and it was wonderf..."

before I noticed a bunch of Tico forest workers

who laughed so hard at me saying

in Spanish that ended in piranhas.

The thing is, in this world of possible nuclear annihilation, I really would prefer to choose ignorant bliss, like I did in Costa Rica, so long ago.

Posted Sun Jan 14 14:11:17 2018

Only having gotten up to 251 dollars with 16 days left yesterday, it would have been humanly possible to launch the Kickstarter with success, but doubt was weighing a heavy stress upon me. I just got to a point of impatience, where I realized I could not endure the stress anymore. And I gave into it and took the Kickstarter down.

I am extremely glad I ran the first 2 weeks of the campaign, because it helped me clarify that I perceive a need for me to write and illustrate a children's book about Hojoki, and that I think the world needs that book more than anything! Where there is a will, there is a way, and now I know what I want to happen.

But it is a big disappointment to have had to take it down, and that I could not raise the funds needed for a sure first printing.

If you read this and didn't know I was making the book please comment if you decide you want one. Or if you are disappointed - fear not, just tell me and I will sell you the finished book - when it is complete.

Sorry I put you through this and thanks to the many people who did pledge.

Posted Mon Jan 15 16:00:35 2018

There is something about reading a book, finding a favorite book, and connecting with someone else who also loves that book. Of all the connections I have known, I recently corresponded with a professor who loves Hojoki, and I was touched deeply by sharing that text. I guess book club runs in the family.

There is a myth to blackberry pie that honey is to strong or it fights the flavor. Told this story, I laugh as if the joke is on me, but after these morsels of over sweetened pie are gone, I come home to my secret recipe.

Honey 1/2 cup

blackberries just enough

butter more than I'd admit

flour 2 cups for 2 shells

I have made some amazing pies, with berries in season that I had just picked. It is winter and I rely on foreign farmers or frozen berries. But I still make one of the best pies known, and the secret always is raw local honey.

Posted Tue Jan 16 11:27:25 2018

I need to go swimming but it snowed. I have had this feeling lately that I am a flawed person, that I was over-confident in my self expression about my mental state, that it will always be uphill with mental illness. I want to increase my confidence. Everything else is going to have to wait for that.

Posted Wed Jan 17 12:41:22 2018

I have been trying to make big decisions too quick. Turns out all I really needed for my necessary clarity was to take a good snowy morning nap. So I woke up early as a bird, as usual, but by 10AM I gave up and went back to bed.

I woke up again, knowing I am not going into the MFA program in Children's Writing/Illustrating. I am going to write Hojoki for Children but I am a great number of more things than a children's book writer. I don't want to invest my MFA into being geared for children, because I want to leave my options open so that some day I can pursue my other talents rather than solidifying and deciding on children's books. Getting a MFA would be great for me, and I have one outstanding application for a Creative Writing degree, that is tuition free, and if I get that you betcha I will take that. But right now, and if I don't get that, I am working on this children's book I want to create, Hojoki for Children.

It sure feels good to know that I know something for a change. :)

Posted Wed Jan 17 17:41:44 2018

Yesterday, three strangers said negative criticism on my painting style on a Children's Writing and Illustrating group on facebook. I had pasted 3 rough pictures looking for some feedback. But what I came away with was disapproval at some artists for being judgmental and not supportive of one another. So I went back to my root emotions and knowledge and painted what I had inside.

Posted Wed Jan 17 23:08:43 2018

Posted Sun Jan 21 15:51:41 2018

Play with special effects.

Posted Sun Jan 21 17:02:55 2018

I guess I am juggling. I have been researching a new way to earn money, and if I succeed at this method, it will be solvent enough that I won't likely want to spend time transcribing for my mentor. I love it in small doses, and maybe I would do my current transcription part time gig as a volunteer project, if I do succeed with my entrepreneurial venture. :)

Basically what I am talking about in terms of earning is "retail arbitrage" a somewhat surprisingly and simple concept that I learned about, also entirely legal, but decidedly un-purpose-driven. Except for the purpose of self empowerment, mobility, and to me that is a valid purpose for me right now.

I am hopeful it will work, and confident as I can be, but I haven't started yet, and am waiting until Feb.

(In short it really is just buying cheap clearance items and reselling them on Amazon.)

Meanwhile, the world moves on. Meanwhile, I continue to be me and to be creative sometimes and to be boring as a wall other times. And that's just life.

:)

Thinking about myself as unstuck in terms of economic situation is something that could change my life if I can make this work. So I am hoping hard!

I just have been so poor for so long, and I did quit trying to make money mostly, for the past bit - in terms of a whole income. And I was relying on disability, and I am. In fact I will continue being able to supplement my life with the modest disability income until I am earning quite a lot monthly.

So that is good.

But yes, being able to envision fiscal freedom opens something for me.

I woke up at like 4:45 with anticipation. I want to buy Mom's house someday. I want to travel more than I have. There is this floating fact that people who have lived in 5 or more international cultures are increased in their likelihood of being original minds. It always intrigued me. I know I am original, but the constraints I have been counting as my normal for too long, have reduced me. I have spent time doing things that I did not want to do. I have felt trapped in a place.

Nothing has really changed but the fact that I am now certain I can be my own manager/boss/ person and make a solvent enough living to not have to rely on other people for what I need.

By 6:15 AM I took out an Atlas and started a list of countries I would like to visit and countries I probably am ruling out. It had a maybe list too. It was fun and empowering.

I want to chose my own adventure!

I want to be able to help my Mom in terms of finances the way she always was there for me with a home too.

So I am letting myself dream. I am letting myself make a goal and a plan and hopefully to make the dream a reality.

Everybody should have the right to this feeling.

Everyone should be able to feel they are capable of pulling themselves out of a place that is not fulfilling.

For a month of my life, I lived in the town of Appalachia Virginia. I spent a lot of time then and thereafter wondering what could be done to help poor people whose communities used to depend on coal money, a kind of money called script, that really was given to coal workers to buy things in company stores. It was the most cyclical of poverties and it was immoral that the coal companies did what they did. (Of course I did not live in the era of actual script. But the idea of company generated poverty was everywhere.)

I had no idea of a way to stimulate the economy in Appalachia Virginia. I wanted to help, but I just was a kid with a few college credits, and no clue!

I thought getting the college degree would plant the clue into my mind, but it didn't. Getting the college degree showed me how hard it is to stick to a goal.

The thing is, I wasn't sure if that was even the goal I needed.

The thing about life goals is they are hard to get at age 20 or 25 and maybe the goal at 25 is different from 35 or 75. Well, that is clearly true.

Also, in 2000 me having a goal to be a writer one day meant one thing. In 2010 it meant another thing. It means something different now.

Impermanence is the key I guess to everything; we must let go of the idea of control, yet mean what we do.

It is hard to make decisions, but I feel good about what I am doing now.

Posted Thu Jan 25 13:14:10 2018

I have been continuing my work writing Hojoki.

Life is complicated. This time, research found me in the area clinic...

It is funny how things all tie together. I went to the library today to return some books for Mom. Since I was there, I went to look for a children's book I once read but they must have culled from the shelves. There is a book about Issa the Japanese poet that I once loved, but it is not "Cool Melons Turn to Frogs" which seems to have replaced it on most shelves. The book I remember was rougher, older, and thicker. It had poems but it was published prior to 1998, and I just can't seem to find it anywhere. It is like a figment of my imagination.

Anyway, I clearly didn't get it. So I went to poke in the book store there with the faint idea of "maybe something good will come of me poking in here." Something was going on with me, that is not much of a change, it was like I am becoming fainter and fainter in terms of being awake, tuned in, focused, and alert. But maybe my mental parts are just on auto pilot. I poked through the maps, but found nothing. Then I found myself in front of sale children's books, and there was this one that laughed to me. It was The Funny Little Woman a book "retold by" Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent. It was one I think I have brushed through before, maybe just as an adult. But the story is about a Japanese woman and her hut. For many reasons it could be very useful to have this book, I thought to myself, then saw the price. One dollar and fifty cents! A steal, usually, I guess, but there was just a small pile of change in my purse, and it actually is all I have. I started reading the book and fumbled. Then I started counting the change and fumbled. I read the first page and found it familiar, but my brain wasn't 100% there. I think that children's books remind me of how mentally together I am because I might have first seen the book when I was younger, or much younger, or at varying times though my history when I was much younger. It took me 4 attempts to count the change in my pocket, which was 13 cents short.

So I, with my privilege and strong sense of entitlement, though I never am perfectly aware, took the book, and asked the librarian if she might consider selling me the book for what I had. She did and I was grateful. I have donated money to the library and will do it again. I hope. I walked on.

As I walked to my car I began thinking more about my neurodeficits. I guess like most matters of the mind, this is not something people always talk about publicly and openly. In a brief summary, I think I have had a lot of cognitive declines all gradually over the past 15 to 17 years. Because of the gradual nature of the decline I never have asked anyone about it, meaning a doctor, though I have mentioned it once or twice in a list of problems.

Anyway. I suddenly don't feel like explaining everything that happened when I went to the walk in clinic, here, now. But that is the story of how children's book research can possibly make a person feel they must go to the doctor.

Posted Fri Jan 26 21:33:20 2018

DSCF2071.AVI

Video of Steele Creek in January

barescape picture

wild geese mirroring children's laughs.

Mom puts up a video of Jane Fonda and Amy Goodman for me to watch while she walks the dog. https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/26/a_lifetime_of_activism_jane_fonda

I love Jane and Amy like distant family, but I am so tired of politics that this talk about activism initially rubs me wrong. Lately I notice myself not wanting to think about what is going on in the world. But I watch to the end of it, I learn a lot. And though this is a phase in my life when I prefer painting to news, it feels worthwhile to watch this Democracy Now episode.

Posted Fri Jan 26 22:34:34 2018

Posted Fri Jan 26 22:38:34 2018

Evil sister

mumbled a brother

in his fever

a hundred miles away

the evilest sister

counted pennies

but she could not count that high.

If you had to rate your sisters

in terms of evilness

how would you count us

how would we rate?

Posted Fri Jan 26 22:44:18 2018

Like my new pair of glasses? Amazed at what you can get for super cheap online. :)

Posted Fri Jan 26 23:01:41 2018

An low income lesbian African American, trans-gender woman comes to a fork in the road high at the top of a hill.

There is a white light ahead to the right and she sees it clearly, her chances for prosperity will improve quickly if she can make it past the lurking gangs of CEO rapists. Past the CEO rapist, there is one successful well educated woman like her, someone who is trans and lesbian and African American. But unlike those conditions that are static, she sees a potential for changing the income variable if she takes that road.

To the left is a green light and a taller mountain. A top the tall mountain stand the Kings and Queens of the land. Over to the left of all of them she can barely make out one formerly poor, lesbian African American, trans-gender woman, standing solid so not to be knocked off her hard earned throne.

Like all women in this land who are trans, the Queen woman wears a giant T over her shoulders and down her backbone. Only one throne could even fit the T letter.

How many gangsters would she need to fight just to have some peace? The cost of peace for this woman on the hill was more than most of us can imagine.

I know because I wrote her thinking of myself. And that is the reason I only feel right sending her back home before the night.

Posted Sat Jan 27 23:46:16 2018

My sister Anna responded to my blog about cognitive detriments. She wrote she "wanted to let you know that cognitive issues tend to run hand-in-hand with stress for me. The "Hess memory" only gets really bad if I'm worried/tired/etc. So it's not necessarily a linear path --- cognitive inclines can happen as well as declines." It reminded me that I am the same person who is also a lot more capable than a lot of people too, in addition to being more incapable at times.

The more I think about it, if there was something I could do that brought out my capabilities more, that would be the main goal of my life. But then I realized that swimming already is something that I have done that boosts my capacities when I do it. For whatever reason, swimming is what I need to harness my super powers. So I'm resolving to start swimming as much as I can.

Tho, I am not conclusive that the "Hess memory" is just Hesses. It might be the human condition.

Posted Sun Jan 28 11:47:09 2018

I am reading the whole of "A Room of One's Own" which apparently I never read before. What a beautiful piece of Bloomsbury and early feminism!

Posted Sun Jan 28 14:30:44 2018

When I went to college, I was over medicated.

Everyone else had writers block, as we were getting educated.

Not me, I had stream of creation.

Well lately I've been released of that, a humbling vindication.



All of my schooling in visual arts, happened in pre secondary.

So I took back up painting, but critics can be quite contrary.

It's like when I started in poetry, misspelling but you got what I was saying.

I'm a creative genius, but my smarty pants are never staying.



It's like that old adage about giving up, that just goes "give up, you suck."

And to top it I started writing for kids, and nothing rhymes with suck.

So children and kittens, I have a decree and I want you to listen.

When words don't come, think of me and how morning dew glistens.



There's nothing wrong with giving up, but I say keep on trying.

It's hard to switch careers, the competition's vying.


If you become an artist and suddenly there's nothing to say.

Be thankful for your mental health, and then go out to play.



In the course of playing, and pumping up your blood.

The words that were not staying, will run and grow like spuds.

Maybe you miss your crazy ideas, well reckon they still are in deep.

There are other ways to dredge up ideas, and promises to keep.

Posted Mon Jan 29 03:33:18 2018

I watched a TED lecture I was drawn to a couple nights ago, Julie Lithcott-Hains spoke eloquently in her talk "How to Raise Successful Kids -- without Over-parenting." So I am not raising kids, but my reaction comes in terms of self rearing and continuing to improve in adulthood.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyElHdaqkjo

Lithcott-Hains emphasized self efficacy and chores in terms of better goals than what many parents are aspiring for. I guess this speaks to the basic fact that routine maintenance does something good for a person, whether that routine is walking dogs, doing dishes, swimming, or writing in a journal, or whatever.

You see I think I need to work on my self efficacy or ability to deal with prospective situations. Some areas I glow others I could grow. I have strengths in some places; in others not so much. And I notice that when I am "not doing anything worthwhile" those are the times I neglect my chores.

So with future plans on my horizon, these are the times to focus the hardest on the quotidian aspects of life. Swimming has always been empowering for me, in more than just the swimming moment. So I am happy to say I have started a new routine of swimming just a fourth a mile per day, but doing that much.

If I am getting this right, my progress has looked like the following. Day one I swam just thinking about doing the task at hand. It also was an intensely crowded day at the pool, so I drank a cup of water that the person sharing the lane lodged in my throat and kept going, which said something. Day two I was aware of the locker room, and little details in social interactions. Day three, I had to lap in the small pool because the big one was over-occupied. I thought a lot about how small 9 laps is in terms of a work out, and momentarily doubted the usefulness. Day four, I began mentally listing reasons to change my small routine, but then caught myself and corrected the questioning with steadfast reasons to do the little thing every day. That I not burn out. That I therefore am certain to mingle in society once a day, no less. That I exercise buoyant in greatness's beautiful hydrostatic pressure. That by the end of the year I will swim 90 miles if I can keep to this little goal. That it is a goal I am keeping to. That I decided.

Speaking of which, it is time for laundry, and now it is written.

Posted Wed Jan 31 19:48:35 2018