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Posts Tagged ‘clustering’

On the third day we found her, lying in the rippling sunlight beneath the sweetgum tree, her brindled fur quilted amongst the swordleaf fronds, her head pillowed by her one white paw.

My father’s wish, whispered to the breeze, was that she might have climbed upon his lap one last time, but he did not blame her. It was not her way. Like him, she expressed affection in code, in actions to be deciphered, in words oblique, in lengthy silence.

We laid her beneath the sweetgum’s branches, down in the ground of her own choosing, and would wait to see her colors in autumn’s tortoiseshell leaves.

Swordleaf

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.

Old friends sit
beneath magnolia’s
springtime glory,
sipping the red promise
of summer suns.
We recall our past,
think of children’s futures,
and listen to the quiet air
in sunlit branches.

.

Douglas Iris

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Pine Pollen

In the cold air of evening
Wrens forage on a red-barked tree
Cry here here here

Robins flee from my footstep
Eye me from amid apple blossoms
Coughing rum-rum-rum like old cars in the morning

Juncos steal past below me
Seeking midges mid-air
They leap silently through the gloaming

Sunset breaks the lidded sky
Limns the buds of maples
In the cold air of evening

 

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Stack of BooksAlfie drove the black Audi up the hillside curves, through the grey dawn and springtime rain, stopping under the still-burning lamps of the Alta Mira. He got out and opened the passenger door.

She stepped out onto the quiet street, hair wild from the damp, portfolio of photos under her arm, and saw her ex standing at the curb across the street. Sleepy-eyed, disheveled, he looked as if he’d just wakened from a dream.

She smiled, and that was all it took. He stepped toward her.

“I miss you.”

She retreated, eyes glancing, smile snuffed like a candle. “Don’t go there, or I’ll be lost.”

Alfie interposed himself–her guardian, her protector, her armor–“Easy, mate.”

Her footsteps echoed on the brick pathway. The ex watched as she ran up to the hotel, to her dark room, her photos, and her memories.

“Leave her be,” Alfie said as he got her camera bags out of the trunk.

“For years now, everywhere I go, all I see is the light.”

Alfie’s chestnut hair gleamed with droplets of rain. He flashed white teeth in a devil’s smile as he shouldered the bags.”I know exactly what you mean.”

The ex frowned. “Where is she going next?”

“San Francisco. Then Portland.” Alfie walked across the street to the ex and extended his hand. “We won’t see you there, will we?”

The ex looked at the offered hand, then reached out as well. Alfie’s hand was strong, broad, and warm.

“No. You won’t see me.”

“Thanks, mate.” Alfie smiled again and winked. His leather soles scraped on the asphalt as he turned and walked to the hotel.

The ex watched him go, watched him toss his car keys to the valet, watched him go inside.

The ex sighed, smelling the fresh, rain-washed air. He put his hands to his face, scrubbed away his tears, and looked around at the newborn morning.

The light was beautiful.

———————————-

Product of inverse clustering, 23Apr13

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiAs part of my natural writing exercises, I’ve been encouraging my right brain to “do its thing.” As a result, I’ve noticed  a growing number of metaphors and some interesting imagery creeping into my day.

Yesterday, I watched an interesting video about metronomes and a striking metaphor came to my mind.

The video shows 32 metronomes (for you non-musical types, they’re the little tick-tock timekeepers musicians often use to keep a steady beat), and the videographer starts them all out of synch. The sound is a chaotic rush of ticking, like a river of hazelnuts clattering downstream. Now, if the metronomes had been on a table or other solid, static surface, they would continue this way, but the videographer has put them on a moveable surface (it looks like a suspended sheet of foam rubber). As each metronome swings its arm and counterbalance, a tiny amount of its force is imparted to its neighbor. The result was fascinating.

It’s only 4 minutes long, and rather mesmerizing in its way.

Go. Watch it. I’ll wait. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiOver the weekend, I experimented with the “clustering” technique, with mixed success.

It is a great idea generation tool, and similar to Ray Bradbury’s morning word association ritual, can seemingly bring something out of nothing. It needs a seed, a kernel from which to grow, so it’s not literally “from nothing,” but that kernel can just be the first word that pops into your head. I’ve had success before, born of this sort of free-wheeling (my Ploughman Chronicles started from just such a random idea generation technique), but what clustering provides is a definite method.

Another way I found it of use is in focusing and honing an idea I already had. I used it when I created “25 Hz,” posted yesterday. I already had the idea, born of a crappy mood and a little cat therapy, but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say. Clustering around the word “purr” gave me a page of word associations and–to my surprise–almost all of them appeared in the short poem.

However, there was one area in which I found clustering to be of no use whatsoever: Rhyming.

Yesterday, I got the bit of doggerel stuck in my head. I knew the start. I knew the finish. I just needed help with the in-between bits, all of which needed to fit in with a strict meter and rhyming scheme. Here, clustering failed me, utterly. To finish, I had to resort to an old school method; I slept on it.

(more…)

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Yesterday I tried the “clustering” technique for the first time. I was not pleased.

“Clustering” is an idea generation technique where you start with a core idea in the center (the nucleus), and start jotting other notions around it. This sort of random, free-association is what the right-brain does best, and clustering is a way to do that without the left-brain getting in the way.

In the book (Writing the Natural Way), Rico tells of how easily people fall into the technique of clustering, how even second graders are able to generate story ideas using it. It’s the “rare individual,” she says, who has problems with it.

Meet a “rare individual.” (more…)

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