Friday, November 16, 2012

This Week, Feeling Inspired by...

The Matt & Kim concert in Columbus (on Wednesday night). Their energy and joyfulness is incredible and completely contagious. In the best way possible, there was a distinctly Sesame Street/singalong feel to their performance (see my blurry photo at the right--yup, those are balloons that they passed out to the audience!). I was reminded of singing songs in kindergarten, when my teacher would point at the students, encouraging us to sing along with her even more loudly, whether or not it sounded good. They also worked bits of hip hop songs into their show, dancing wildly. It amazed me how they managed to be both performers and fans onstage--maybe that’s why the audience responds so exuberantly to Matt and Kim. They honor the power and fun of being a devoted fan by blurring the line between performer and audience. (How would this work at a poetry reading? Could it? Not with the same volume, but somehow....)

This bumper sticker, spotted while driving to work one morning: “Trees are the answer.”  Sound familiar?

This article, “Diamonds Unearthed,” from

This video by Paul Octavious (I love his photography, too). I’ve been thinking lately that one of the most essential qualities that artists can have is attentiveness. This video is a beautiful example of how being present can lead to inspiration.

Ghana In Fog from Paul Octavious on Vimeo.


  1. You've offered much to enjoy and ponder, as usual, Hannah. It's an interesting exercise, to remember and record some of the brighter and shinier objects formed around this porous head of mine over a week.

    Among the highpoints: following the miraculous poshthumous buzz for Jack Gilbert (who was mentioned in your comments last week!), like this fascinating interview in Paris Review that shows him to be a man of uncommon honesty, integrity and heart. There's even an incident where he's asked "why do you feel lucky to be alive?" and, you guessed it, the answer is trees.

    I find it fascinating that he died on the day of a solar eclipse that (discernment alert) heralds a shift to a different way of looking at love - that shift he was always searching for in it seems all of his poems. I shared the following articles for Divali (also on Tuesday), but why not here as well?

    11/11/12 and 11/12/12

    Things are slowly lurching back to normal in New York, and the talk has shifted subtly from "it is what it is" regarding gas lines, power outages, commuter inconvenience to "it is what it is" about the Presidential election, fiscal cliff, and undercovers cover stories for CIA directors. I've found great solace for my cognitive dissonance regarding the current occupant of the White House in the following classic movie clip, finding my own personal Jon Stewart moment of zenTM at 7:24:

    He hates all this

    Speaking of movies (and your posts this week), I have to also say that Skyfall in IMAX is an unbelievable experience - the 50th anniversary Bond edition makes the mature wine taste cider-fresh as it pulls out all the exotic contraption stops and cinematic art (Thomas Newman doing the soundtrack?!? Are you kidding me?!?) to locate this exemplary product of the British Empire for the first time in the belly of the beast: London and Scotland.

    I hope you and all your readers have a happy Thanksgiving week!

  2. Hi Hannah,

    Why is it, I'm hoping to read a poem from you, titled, Hope Diamond, after reading your linked article? Have you ever found an article, as much as an image, to inspire you to write; or does an article like this internalize and synthesize and emerge later in unexpected ways?

  3. ". . . long to pet
    the land, her soft,
    fluffy creature."

    Those Thursday words of yours immediately reminded me of the focus coming and going in the Octavius film. And I found that music weirdly perfect for a soccer game much dreamier than any I've seen in real life. Nice combinations, Hannah (and Octavius).

  4. Bill, thanks for these thoughts. I love that Paris Review piece...wonderful. Glad you liked Skyfall :).

    Annie, thank you for this comment! This article did indeed help to inspire "As Far As We Know," but I went in search of stuff about diamonds in order to find it. So mostly, this research helps me refine my ideas in the midst of writing (as opposed to providing initial inspiration).

    Glad you liked that video, Banjo! It's fun and dreamy, as you describe :).

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  6. "Every so often, the planet
    spits out glittering bits of wisdom
    for us to gather up. We play on
    the surface, children on the beach,
    squealing when the sea foam
    skims our toes."

    I didn't make the connection, but now that you've said it, the appeal of the article and the appeal of your poem are definitely linked, and I'm the one who synthesized. "As Far As We Know" has become one my very favorites of your poems. It gives me a feeling of wonder and delight. You always amaze me.


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