Monday, April 22, 2013

Common Sense: Book-in-a-Day 16

Title: Common Sense
Structure: One page book / Snake Structure
Dimensions: 5 x 5 closed
Video of my process 

It really feels like I'm so behind in everything this month. It's a month filled with great things happening, but it keeps me from being able to keep up with it all. So this book almost didn't happen. It got me thinking about what I might do if I missed a week. I think I'd be tremendously bummed and it might impact how I went forward. Luckily, that did not happen and so here I am with book 16. 

Each week, I have to reorder my list of top five BIAD books. It seems like I like the books more and more as I create them. So, to date, my top five are: 

  • Book 4: Urbanite (accordion with pockets)
  • Book 15: 15 (the blank art journal)
  • Book 10: 20 Ways of Talking to Your Poem (Fan Book)
  • Book 12: Game On (Domino Book) 
  • Book 16: Common Sense (Snake Book)
This week's book, Common Sense uses a great structure with unexpected twists and turns. I love this structure, but had never made it using a painted page. The Fabriano watercolor paper I used really adds a layer of quality that I love. It gives it a thickness that alleviates the need for hard covers on the book. I think all the layers of gesso and acrylic paint help with that as well. 

The text for the book comes from a collaborative poem written by me, my husband, Damon, and my two nephews, Cameron and Treavor. We were eating a meal at some restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida during the summer of 2009 (actually I think it was in 2007 or 2008), and we decided to do an exquisite corpse poem (each person writes a stanza using the last line of the previous person's stanza). I was happy to come across the poem because it really does fit the background and color palette I used. I love it when that happens organically. 

I needed this book to be easy and it was. It's one of the easiest structures I know how to make. The one page painted paper had some amazing textures and colors that really add to the narrative of the poem. I'm happy about that. 

Two things I wish I had done differently with this book:
  1. The title -- Common Sense is okay, but I think if I had thought about it a little more, I might have called it Freedom Thinkers. That's a repeated phrase in the poem and I really like it.
  2. The text strips -- I used printed text strips for the poem and I'm okay with that, but I didn't really try to get them on straight or even and so some of them are a little wonky. Of course, this adds to the handmade quality of the book, but I can see it so clearly and it bugs me a little to know that I could have done a lot better with that part of it. But I'm also trying to embrace the imperfection in my art (that's the quote from book 12). 

I realized today that this week, I'll be on the road again Thursday and Friday. That means I'm either doing the book on Wednesday or Saturday or maybe even Sunday again. I know that there are at least two weeks in the summer where I will be away for an entire week, which means the book will have to be made away from home -- that should be fun :-). So if I can avoid making the book away from home, I will, until I can't avoid it.

I'm looking forward to what this week brings. Stay tuned! If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please share here or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

15: A Canvas Covered Art Journal: Book-in-a-Day 15

Title: 15
Structure: Canvas Covered Art Journal
Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 9
21 blank pages
Video of my process

Immediately after this book was done, I was on to making another just like it. That's how much I loved the final product. The feel of the canvas around the watercolor papers had me eager to start journaling with paints and inks and gesso. 

If you watch the video, you'll hear me talk about the book that inspired this week's book. One of the members of the Giving Hands Creative Community, Lorrie, made a beautiful hand bound art journal for the current art journal swap. I was so enamored by it that I wanted to make my own. She used a pair of old khaki pants to make her cover. I used raw canvas. The results were amazingly similar. 

My plan for this blank book is to take a class with one of my favorite art journal teachers and fill the book with goodness. OR to simply make a new page each week. Maybe I'll even video that process too. :-) 

I'll be making a lot more of these. I really enjoyed it. I think I'll even teach a live workshop where I teach this process to others and we make art journal pages in one day. Sound fun???

I'm looking forward to next week, as always. Stay tuned! If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please share here or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 10

Erotic Bake Sale One Liners

once it is lined
with parchment


let cool
occasionally press
wrap directly

dark-brown sugar
one at a time

alternating with the date
transfer to prepare
smooth top

inserted into center
comes out clean
let cool

run around edge of rack
turn right side up
let cool

light brown sugar
let cool

assemble trim
place on stand
spread date over top

drip down sides
remove the pit
make a short slit
use the tip
coax the pit


Prompt: use a recipe to create a found poem

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 9


without a receipt
product availability within
the last 90 days

identification will be required
discontinued or redeemable for cash

return tender
limit or decline
corporate issued check

not satisfied with your purchase?
merchandise exchange
full refund

we reserve the right to...

Prompt: look on the back of a receipt and read the return policy. Use the language from there to write a poem.

Monday, April 8, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 8

bento box

choose any two

rock & roll
curry avocado
alaskan yam
mixed ribs

choose any two

soy beans
seaweed pot sticker
diced egg rolls
poke sauce

choose two

deep fried salad
soda juice
hot & spicy beer

choose two

imported cheese ice cream
chocolate cheese
green cheese with tea

Prompt: create a poem using a menu of your choice

Sunday, April 7, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 7

21 degrees

you are starting to see
the plan of the universe,
cardinal signs define direction,
points on the compass
sweep cobwebs from your life,
delete the people who are not supportive,
shape a new life

full moon lit
new revelations and shifts
an area of influence

turn your attention to your living
your physical space;
planets are heading to your fourth house
heavenly bodies will be in place,

entertain others
the new moon
rapid moving fire
followed by the Sun

keep your guard up
like pearls on a necklace.
a shimmering beam is positive.

an earth sign for your life.

Prompt: find your horoscope for today and write a poem using the language/text from it. I'm using the one for Capricorn over at

Full Circle: Book-in-a-Day Wk14

Title: Full Circle
Structure: Circle Flexagon
Dimensions: 5 inch circle
Video of my process

The flexagon is a magical structure. Even though I know how it is made and I see how and why it works the way it does, I still find it magical every time I experience it. 

The topic for this week's book was full circle because I made the book the same day I read as a faculty member at Mills College. Five years ago, almost to the day, my hubby and I sat at Mills College for a faculty reading and I was in awe at the amazing readers and faculty members and the staff of the English department. 

Now, I'm a part of this fabulous department and that feels full circle if nothing else. So I started the book early in the day, then went to the reading and talked to some of our incoming students (who are amazing). Talking with them helped me gain some clarity on how to move the book forward. 

I don't have much to say about this one, except that seeing it in a photo does not do it justice. You must watch the video. 

I'm looking forward to what this week brings. Stay tuned! If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please share here or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 6

masculinity & hero making

a whirling force
has been feeding him
the unusual tests

manhood locked in
the antiquated epic

a mad scientist

laughter is the first sign
of infection

maniacal rantings
are a cautionary tale
passed down
for generations

the legacy of his family
blends saga & lore

a radioactive relic
he learns to accept his fate

Prompt: Pick up one of the books you are currently reading. Flip it over to the back of the book and write a poem using the blurbs and info on the back cover. I'm using the back of League of Somebodies by Samuel Sattin.

Friday, April 5, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 5

artistic license

the wronged women
bond in the forest
with the modern world

creating stories
taking characters
spinning tales around them

a feminist commentary
she tried to seduce
delightful blasphemy

specifically thinking
of the younger generations

empowering our characters
in offshoot tales

doubt intends to put us
in touch with the muses

Prompt: grab your favorite magazine. Make a poem using words and phrases from the editor's letter. I'm using the most recent letter from Supriya Bhatnagar -- editor of The Writer's Chronicle!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 4


in Italy
there are ways to know
what to eat, what to drink, what to leave for poison
and all these roads be luminous
waiting for you to consume them like
rice & wisteria

#dear twitter
somebody blew up america...
you don't miss your water
standing in the republic of poetry
your brutal imagination
singing grace notes
from the cables of genocide
black feeling black talk black judgement

the undertaker's daughter
wants to know about your
prayers like shoes
she's Leaving Yuba City
and unfortunately, it was paradise
but, then's elsewhere

not like american smooth talkers
they are missing you, metropolis
wanting to know about your lighthead
head off & split
burning the skin, inc

Prompt: Go to your bookshelf. Record the information on the spines of each book in one section of your shelf. Use those words to write a poem. Here's a photo of the section I'm using (of course they are poetry books!!) Here's the list I used -- in the order they appear in the poem:
1. Italy by Johanna Drucker
2. What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison by Camille T. Dungy
3. And All These Roads Be Luminous by Angela Jackson
4. Tender by Toi Derricotte
5. Rice by Nikky Finney
6. Wisteria by Kwame Dawes
7. #dear twitter by Mahogany L. Browne
8. Somebody Blew Up America by Amiri Baraka
9. You Don't Miss Your Water by Cornelius Eady
10. The Republic of Poetry by Martín Espada
11. Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady
12. Grace Notes by Rita Dove
13. From the Cables of Genocide by Lorna Dee Cervantes
14. Captivity by Toi Derricotte
15. Black Feeling Black Talk Black Judgement by Nikki Giovanni
16. The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte
17. Prayers Like Shoes by Ruth Forman
18. Leaving Yuba City by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
19. Unfortunately, it was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish
20. then's elsewhere by Rebekah Lael Edwards
21. American Smooth by Rita Dove
22. Missing You, Metropolis by Gary Jackson
23. Lighthead by Terrance Hayes
24. Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
25. Skin, Inc, by Thomas Sayers Ellis

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 3

useless us

information about you
is the information that's required

you sign up
you choose to share

you sign up
you are required to provide information

you choose to share
you choose to share

post a status update
upload a photo

comment on a friend
what's on your mind?

you choose to share
you take action
you add a friend like a page

you are in a relationship
allows us to do things
show your age whenever you interact

look at another person

search for a friend

you took the photo
we receive data from the device you use
your friends are nearby
we receive data

you're on
you are logged in
tell us information about you
information we already have about you

data about you
we show you
suggest you
tell you

until it is no longer useful

PROMPT: Visit the Facebook privacy policy page and write a poem using the language presented there. For an added challenge, give yourself a set of parameters. For example, black out every 5th word or only use every 7th word. 

<----the policy with highlighted lines that I used

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 2

creative combinations

skin reflects
natural goodness
     make a fist

found in nature
internal impurities
entice the senses
     knee over toes

we think before we blend
inspire yourself
     parallel to the ground

work with whole, not parts
mirror health
work with body and mind
     eyes fixed to the horizon

experience the radiance
     rose petal hibiscus
     red clover burdock
     dandelion root

switch sides
pause up
     love as much as we do

My prompt: find one of your favorite food items that comes in a box, package, or wrapper -- use the text from it to create a poem. Here's a photo of what I'm using for my poem today.

Monday, April 1, 2013

NaPoWriMo Poem 1

no postage necessary

first remove tape
insert anything

remove tape
report a problem

remove tape
permit addressee
if necessary

remove envelope
visit mailer facility
do not seal envelope

please tape

no united shipping
has been prepaid

seal nearest mail

remove tape

My prompt: grab a piece of junk mail and write a found poem using all (or as many as you can) of the words in it/on it!!!! I used the return envelope from Netflix. Since I wanted to mark out the words as I used them, I made a copy of the envelope. That was helpful.