Broken: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is BROKEN:

  • Capture something broken:  broken windows and tools, an old window, a toy never fixed, and so on.

Each of the pictures below depicts something “broken” — whether it’s Anthony Burgess’s disturbing novel of social dysfunction in an England of the future ruled by thugs, A Clockwork Orange (the book was in a visual art exhibit at the Walter Phillips Gallery here in Banff), a preserved dinosaur head, or an installation representing America’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan:

Anthony Burgess's CLOCKWORK ANGEL

Anthony Burgess’s CLOCKWORK ANGEL — Ooops! Self means A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Self’s got too much Infernal Devices on the brain, dear blog readers!

Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller, Alberta

Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller, Alberta

Harriet Bart, American:

Harriet Bart: “Enduring Afghanistan” – map of Afghanistan rendered in dog tags, at the Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Forces of Nature 2: Around Banff

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is FORCE OF NATURE. Since arriving in Calgary several weeks ago, self has been truly awed by, to borrow a phrase from The Daily Post prompt, “the sheer scale and power” of the physical surroundings. And even more since getting to Banff, which is in the Canadian Rockies.

Self had signed up for a one-day tour to Lake Louise, today. But she got the meeting place wrong, and by the time she found the Eric Harvie Theatre, the tour was long gone. Anyhoo, self was all right with that, because she ended up doing more work on her novel-in-progress (Working Title: That Wilderness).

Apologies for her photographs being smaller in scale than she was expecting to post today. But the human imprint is also a “force of nature,” isn’t it?

A path leading to the Eric Harvie Theatre

A path leading to the Eric Harvie Theatre in The Banff Centre. Well-traveled. Clearly.

Bridge Over a Gully -- Stumbled Across During A Walk This Morning

Bridge Over a Gully — Stumbled Across During A Walk This Morning. Puts new meaning into the phrase “river of stones.”

And this was the view yesterday, from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. One of the other writers, Sheila Stevenson, asked if she’d like to go there for a fancy drink. We were joined by writer Jill Frayn. And self had her first Canadian beer. The three of us shared a huge appetizer of Nachos with Flatiron Steak. The beef here in Alberta is really good.

from the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

from the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The hotel was crowded yesterday: full of families and wedding parties. There was live music. And many Asian tourists.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What Is Story?

Maple, 1989: A Painting in Lloyd Hall, The Banff Centre

Wendy Allen, “Maple, 1989″: Collage, Mixed Media, Lloyd Hall, The Banff Centre

A few thoughts self scribbled down after yesterday’s symposium/discussion between mentors and participants here in the Banff Writing Studio:

  • The end of a novel is not the end of a STORY.
  • The writer is not responsible for hope.
  • Sample story: Someone comes. They make someone miserable. And then they leave. (Or maybe they don’t leave. Thereby extending the misery? Wouldn’t it be so Deus ex machina for the cause of misery to just pick up and go?)

Self this afternoon finished reading the first story in the Bluestem Spring 2015 issue:  Meagan Cass’s “ActivAmerica.” Oh, it is a good one. Here are a few of the gorgeous sentences:

Out on the track, the cold settled over our bodies like wet cement.

*          *          *

“No weather exceptions for non-management,” the monitor told us, his face shining with Vaseline, heavy lines around his mouth, dark shadows under his eyes . . . “You’d have to check the binder . . . I think there’s a liability clause.” I didn’t want to know his story, what they were paying him and who was sick in his family and why he needed the money. I only wanted to kick him in the shins.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Intricate 4: A Walk

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is INTRICATE:

What does the word “intricate” mean to you? It could be the deep, fibrous bark on the ancient oak tree in your yard. Maybe it’s the robin’s nest under construction near your window — that ornithological engineering marvel of mud and twigs.

It was another gorgeous day in Banff. Self took a walk, and here’s what she found.

Each thing is intricate in its own way. What’s important is to gaze. To pay attention to the smallest detail.

There are two of these things in front of the Kinnear Centre.

There are two of these things in front of the Kinnear Centre.

Strange things. Don't know what they are.

Strange things. Don’t know what they are.

Self also dropped by the Walter Phillips Gallery to explore the current show, Séance Fiction, a multi-media installation.

In a dark room, there were two huge screens, showing clips from old movies featuring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Self took a quick snap of one screen. It’s layered with other images (accidentally, but self kinda likes the effect):

A Still from

A Still from “The Time That Remains,” which consists of found footage from old Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies. The work is by the Australian duo Soda_Jerk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Intricate 3: Memories of Ireland

Self spent most of the day wandering around by herself. It was a glorious day in Banff.

None of the photos she took today seem to fit with this week’s photo challenge, INTRICATE, so she scanned her photo archives and came up with these, taken when she was in Ireland, May-June 2014.

In the Dublin park next to the Chester Beatty Museum

In the Dublin park next to the Chester Beatty Museum

For some reason, self is very interested in birds and other animal life.

For some reason, self is very interested in birds and other animal life.

Illuminated Lightbox, Part of an Exhibit in the School of Fine Arts in Cork

Illuminated Lightbox, Part of an Exhibit in the Crawford School of Art and Design in Cork, Ireland (June 2014) — Self regrets she didn’t note the name of the artist.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Intricate 2: Balboa Park, San Diego

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is INTRICATE.

Krista explains:

Visiting the Alhambra is something I’ll never forget. To this day, when I think of the beauty and majesty of that massive palace, I wonder about the people who inhabited this stone fortress high on a hill above Granada, so many centuries ago. I think of the craftsmen who worked magic in stone, in metal, and in tile, in intricate color and texture.

So far, self has been posting mostly about buildings. The San Diego Museum of Man, self thinks, is very rococco. She visited last year, with one of her former classmates from Assumption Convent in Manila. The museum and the California Tower next to it are in Balboa Park.

The California Tower is Next to the San Diego Museum of Man.

The California Tower is Next to the San Diego Museum of Man.

Here’s another view of the California Tower. It is open for public tours.

The tower can be reached through a climb of seven floors. It is open to public tours.

The tower can be reached through a climb of seven floors.

The California Tower's Spanish Colonial Facade was the design of Bertram Goodhue, who was inspired by Spanish churches in Mexico. It was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

The California Tower’s Spanish Colonial Facade was the design of Bertram Goodhue, who was inspired by Spanish churches in Mexico. It was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Dear blog readers can find out more about artchitect Bertram Goodhue here.

“Art pre-existing in Nature, and Nature Is Reproduced in Art.”

(Written above a dormer in Goodhue’s attic room)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.”

Intricate: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is INTRICATE.

The prompt is from Krista, who gave as her inspiration the Palace of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Here are a few of self’s pictures of intricacy:

Llorona, a print by Alicia Reyes McNamara

Llorona, a print by former Mendocino Art Center Artist-in-Residence Alicia Reyes McNamara

Ceiling of the cathedral of Christ Church, in Oxford, England, May 2014

Ceiling of the cathedral of Christ Church, in Oxford, England, which self saw for the first time in May 2014

More of Christ Church in Oxford, England

The stained glass windows in Christ Church are a wonder to behold.

Each of the subjects is a work of art. As for the pictures of Christ Church, they bring back a host of memories. Self had gone to Oxford to attend the 2014 Saboteur Awards announcement of their literary award winners. Self was able to meet up with poet Jenny Lewis, who self first met during an artists residency in Hawthornden in 2012, and who teaches at Oxford. It was great to see her!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matthew Park’s Illustration for “The Freeze”

Lately, self has been writing science fiction in the apocalyptic vein.

She wrote a story called “The Freeze” which imagined a woman as the only survivor of a drastic temperature drop, who decides to abandon her home city of San Francisco and head south. Along the way, she encounters a band of teen-agers; they all somehow find each other while stumbling around in the dark. She joins their group. Keeping the Pacific Ocean to their right, the group heads for Mexico (What? You expected them to come up with a better plan? They’re all starving, freezing, and in semi-shock. Sorry, this was the best anyone could come up with)

The story’s been published on Bluestem (Spring 2015) but here’s the illustration Matthew Park did for self.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

TheFreezecover_concept02-3

Afloat 4: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

DSCN9288

Self went to the Walker Art Center today. It was a beautiful day — warm! When she was reaching for her wallet to pay the entrance fee, the woman stopped her and said people attending the AWP writing conference received free museum admission.

!!!!

Unfortunately, she doesn’t know the name of the artist who was responsible for this particular installation. She’ll look through the Walker Art Center website when she has a little more time.

DSCN9287

Look carefully: each bubble has a different design.

Robert Motherwell, "Untitled"

Robert Motherwell, “Untitled”

Self took a picture of this Motherwell painting because it really does seem to float out from the white wall. There is something so inscrutable about Motherwell’s paintings. It’s as if he’s constantly challenging the viewers to say: “What’s this about?” Motherwell cheekily left a corner of the painting white.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blur 4: Self’s Head Is Still in Winter

It had been decades since self had ridden on Amtrak. But when she lived in New York City, and her sister was still taking her MBA in Wharton, she used to take trains all the time.

Last month, she visited one of her sister’s closest friends, Kathleen Burkhalter, who is now Mrs. David Bell and lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was officially spring, but the landscape was still snowy.

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

When self lived in New York, she started out sharing the basement of a house in Flushing, then moved to a sublet on 8th and First. She loved New York with a passion.

Returning last month, she saw her first heavy snowfall in decades. The snow coated the sidewalks, the streets, the trees in Central Park.

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Finally, Bjork’s Swan Dress.

Self managed to catch the Bjork retrospective at the NY Museum of Modern Art.

What.A.Fascinating.Exhibit.

Self took many pictures of the dress. But since this week’s Photo Challenge theme is BLUR, she picked one of the blurry ones:

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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