Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crumpled Paper

Photo by Rita Bourland - 2012

Crumpled Paper

Once the hallmark of a busy writer, piles of crumpled paper strewn around the desk are no longer there to signify a day of hard work.  Such a sad loss for a writer.  The wadded up papers used to indicate busyness, genius, frustration and creativity.  They were also a ‘do not disturb’ sign for any possible intruders.

Can’t you see there’s important work being done here, they seemed to cry.  

All those words strewn about the floor in angry dismissal.  It was cathartic to toss them aside. They spoke for the writer.

Too wordy, too boring, too careful, not enough detail, too much detail, and so on.

But all those words lay silently taunting the writer as well.  

You can’t do better than me.  I’ll just lie here quietly.  You may want to take another look at what I have to offer.
So, sometimes a crumpled paper was retrieved by a writer who was ever so grateful she still had access to her previously rejected prose.  With a loud, AHA, she would kiss the words on the page, and place the paper back on the desk for further work.

I miss crumpled paper.  I miss signs of my tortured struggles.  Hours spent in front of the computer searching for the right word or the right phrase can pass by with nothing to show for it.  There is no way to know how many sentences I’ve begun, only to delete them one by one with a tap of the backspace key. 

I want something to crumple, something to toss, something to add gravity to the creative angst I’m going through.  I want proof that what I’m doing has meaning and a physical presence in this world.  


 I’ve been working hard all day.  I really mean it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Felted Fantasies

All artwork by Yiling Tien, all photos and poetry by Rita Bourland

 Trojan Horse
 Felted Fantasies
I arrived for yoga class one day and was greeted by a spectacular array of felted fantasies.  They were gorgeously wrought from the finest of wool and I immediately wanted to learn more.

I had the good fortune to meet YilingTien, the felt artist, and she gave me permission to photograph her creations.  Her knowledge of wool and her ability to turn the wool into magical, whimsical beasts inspired me.

Her items are all painstakingly formed (never sewn or knitted) by shaping the wool with barbed needles (needle felting) or rubbing it while it’s immersed in hot, soapy water (wet felting).  Many of the individual parts like ears, tails, spines, etc. have been wet-felted separately and then needle felted together. 

The wool comes from a variety of sources:  Merino Sheep, Angora Goats, Angora Bunnies, alpacas - even yaks and camels.  She sometimes blends the coarser wools with silk to get the right texture.  She predominantly uses a Merino-cross wool because of its near perfect texture for felting. Felting probably originated among Mongolian sheep herding people, perhaps more than a thousand years ago.

Enjoy her creations and my accompanying poem.

 Pink-Face Lummox 

Sharah the Cat

 Baaalda the Turtle

 Pink and the Black Chinese Cats


Isinglass the Dragon



A Ring for Each Finger 

  Felted Fantasies

Felted fantasies,
fibrous wonders,
fashioned of wool
with artistic flair, 

fetchingly familiar
yet out of this world,
a fanciful feast
for the eyes,

brought to life
to fascinate the senses,
like fairy tales 
in fleece,

the fibers connect us back
 to days of yore,
to shepherds keeping watch
over flocks by night,

the fibers of the wool,
the fibers of the soul,
formed so long ago.

Contact information for the artist:
Yiling Tien

Friday, May 18, 2012

At the Zoo with Roo

I went to a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at the Columbus Zoo last night and had the opportunity to hold a seven month old kangaroo (joey).  He is being hand-raised by the zoo staff.  They keep him in a fabric pouch much of the day to mimic his mother’s pouch.  When a kangaroo is born he is as small as a lima bean and stays in his mother's pouch for nine months before starting to venture out for small periods.  It  was thrilling to hold this baby Roo.  He was incredibly soft and gentle.

Rita with Roo - 2012
At the Zoo with Roo
The magnificence of nature
A heartbeat away,
 Cradled in human arms,
Trusting no harm
Will befall
In a place
Where the order
Of things
Sometimes flips,
Where docents rear young
Keeping watch in the night
With a small nursery light;
Raising young Roo
At the zoo.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Poem: There was a Young Mother who Lived in a Shoe

There was a Young Mother who Lived in a Shoe

There was a young mother who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do,

They hung from the rafters; they swung from the trees,
They jumped on their beds; they skinned up their knees,

They slid down the stairs; they played hide and seek,
They caught lots of critters while down at the creek,

They pulled the dogs tail and chased after bees,
She asked them to stop; she even said please,

She cried and she ranted; she prayed and she pleaded,
She told them their silence was all that she needed,

They found a few marbles; they mixed them with soup,
Then tried to get kitty to gobble the goop,

They locked all the doors and tossed away keys,
They found lots of rope and made a trapeze,

But just when poor mother was ready to drop,
The children’s mad antics came to a stop,

They jumped in the tub one after another,
Then trudged off to bed each kissing their mother,

She sang them a song about sunshine and grace,
Then walked through the room kissing each tender face,

She brewed a small cup of peppermint tea,
Then reached 'neath her seat and found a loose key,

She sighed and she laughed at the odd life she had,
As tears filled her eyes she knew she was glad.


Thank you, Mother Goose, for the inspiration!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank You, Maurice Sendak

photo by Rita Bourland - 2012

Thank You, Maurice Sendak
(June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012)

The day Maurice picked up a pen and made mischief
of one kind and another
and another
his readers called him “GENIUS!”
and Maurice said, “I’LL WRITE ANOTHER!”
so he went to his room and began to write

that very night in Maurice’s room an idea grew
and grew
until his mind was full of vines
and his words became the world all around

an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for him
and he sailed off through night and day

writing all the while
to tell his tale
of lands where wild things grow
and children grow
because they know that even with scary things
 all around
things that roar and gnash their teeth
and roll their eyes and show their claws
they have the power
to tame the beasts
to find the joy that lies within
the hearts of beast and man

but Maurice’s pen paused near the end
his tale not yet complete
he closed his eyes and saw a scene
of a family
together again

so he wrote once more
of a boat on the sea
headed for home leaving monsters behind
sailing for a year
and in and out of weeks and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his papers covered with words
 a life fully lived
his rest well-deserved.

Thank you, Maurice Sendak.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Poem: Lily of the Valley

Photo by Rita Bourland © 2012

Lily of the Valley

Legends speak of tiny blooms,
sprung from Eve’s sad weeping,
or Mary’s tears on bended knee
beneath the cross on Calvary,
or from the blood of knighted men
on battlefields of valor, 

from sorrow came the flower,

winking in the gentle wind,
its lush perfume aloft,
who’s the fairest of them all?
‘tis thee thy dainty one,

each bell a fragile vessel,
a tiny fairy cup,
suggesting sips of nectar sweet,
 to lips so raw from winter,

 a balm and rare elixir,

but taste ye not its tender bloom,
a poison it will offer,
enjoy the scent, the visual feast,
but taste ye not the flower,

lest sorrow come the morrow.