Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tripping the light ekphrastic

Call me Ekphrastic.

Or (my husband's suggestion for the opening lines of today's blog)  Can you be arrested for Ekphrasis?

Ekphrasis (I am learning about this because of a presentation being given for a writers' group here on the island) is all about art in one medium being composed in response to art in another medium.  Which means that when I pull up an image and write in response to it, I am practicing Ekphrasis.  Especially if my writing serves to describe the image itself.

Plus it can get even more complicated -- for example, what if, inspired by a poem, I take a photograph of a sculpture, post it here, write about it, and then choose another photo for the poetry blog -- inspired by what I wrote here -- and then write a poem about it? That's all ekphrasis.

Or, what if ECVA, the arts organization whose exhibitions I direct, were to feature a call to artists to create images in response to chant? Oh, wait, we're DOING that (note: submissions are due October 24th...)

There's actually a quarterly online journal, The Light Ekphrastic, dedicated to the creation of new written and visual artworks through collaboration between artists. "For each issue, writers and artists will be paired, each creating a new poem, story, photograph, painting or other piece of artwork inspired by work previously created by their partner artist."

Who knew what I do here had a name?  And now the challenge is, what on earth should I say about THIS image, which demanded to be placed here this morning?

I think I'll just say this is what my brain feels like after all the craziness of yesterday.  The day began with that curious poetic coincidence I wrote about in yesterday's blog, and then, when I was walking the dog before catching the ferry, I found ELEVEN dead Murres on the beach. (Murres are large birds, sort of a cross between Loons and penguins, with tuxedo coloring.) It was very sad, and a little scary...

So I delayed my ferry ride by an hour to deal with the Wildlife Rescue people (who were very helpful and concerned, and collected all the carcasses so as to assess why they died and to avoid possibly poisoning other local predators) and then I headed into the city (without my GPS, unfortunately) to meet my daughter to celebrate her last day of work at her heinous job -- and promptly got lost.

Eventually I found her, but our celebration was short-lived because I was meeting my husband and a friend of his for dinner -- a friend who turned out to have some delightful and fascinating observations and philosophies about meditation and how we choose to be in the world -- but then we had to rush to catch a ferry in order to get home in time to feed and inoculate our diabetic dog, and then we ran into friends on the ferry who'd been drinking and needed a ride home...  My head was positively swimming by the time we pulled into the driveway.

And so, thinking ekphrastically, I see in that lead image the complexity of the day and the confusion in my brain, the possibility of enlightenment and the bubbling up of ideas -- or is that from that little glass of prosecco we shared with dinner? -- and the gray and confusing streets of Seattle and the delighted sparkle in my daughter's eyes now that she is free of work and the exact shade of blue in the new jacket I wore to celebrate the occasion (corduroy, with velvet cuffs)... 

Clearly ekphrasis isn't all it's cut out to be...

3 comments:

Joyce Wycoff said...

How lovely to learn a new work in such a delightfully descriptive way. What a day!

Caris said...

Whew! I'm worn out just reading about your day! I like the word.
I practice it too. :-)

Louise Gallagher said...

Great word!

Rest today and let ekphrastic thinking surface into light.