A Flight of Fancy

“A flight of fancy”, you say,
and I think,
“what does a fancy look like
flying: does it have two legs
extended like a heron
or curled talons like a hawk;
perhaps it carries fire
beneath its wings
like the silver brolga;
does fancy fly across hemispheres
like a Siberian sandpiper
navigating by the sun and stars
to winter in Australia…

On the other hand, could be
fancy has six legs
like an azure butterfly
dancing in rainforests…”

Smiling,
I incline my head,
behind your head
three dragonflies
are waltzing in the sun.

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Apply, apply, apply
seductive mantra sings;
what if…
doubt creeps in
invisible, tangling words
tying my tongue,
a caring voice from long ago
worries at me,
don’t stick your head up,
crouch low, beneath notice,
stay out of trouble,
survive…

I want to climb a tree
and crow with the rooster
like yesteryear,
when the caring voice was too loud
fighting my sister,
by myself in the tree I could sit
and think untrammeled thoughts…

I breath, press numbers,
he answers, listens
then says, slow down,
I pause,
gather splintered thoughts,
tell my vision,
he says, don a confident mask,
and apply for that grant.

One or Multiple Personas?

A few of the people I follow on Twitter have multiple personas for a variety of reasons. This got me thinking. Some changed their persona name to better reflect who they wish to be in the Twitter world. Others found that too many work colleagues etc knew who they were; this cramped their style. Some found their timelines too busy and wanted to pare things back. Some were hacked and needed to start over. It seems we can build up baggage in these floating worlds that can weigh us down. Some vanish for a while, only to re-emerge with a new name and avi. They give themselves away quite quickly.

No matter how hard we try we are only ever ourselves even if we are playing a character role. And we reveal ourselves no matter how much we try to remain ‘in character’. I have had the same handle but like to change my avi – I have at various times been a set of Vietnamese water puppets in an image I made, a pre-Raphaelite painting, myself and an upside down cat. I am not sure what ‘face’ I will have next. But I know I can never be anyone other than myself. Even if I try on a disguise, I will betray myself and you will spot me.

Others have a couple of twitter handles, one may be associated with a business venture or community, the other is used as a tool for personal expression. I find such machinations fascinating as I try to unravel the new ways of being together in the floating world we create in social media universes.

I have also being trying to figure out whether I want to spend time in Google+. There one can have only one identity but multiple circles of acquaintances that can be kept separate. Perhaps the designers got it wrong. Maybe what people want is a space where they can have multiple personas in the same space to express different aspects of themselves.

I wonder how good we are at spotting people with multiple personas … and how easily can we be fooled by people who create multiple personas …

Unus Mundus

This was my first experience of practicing the ancient Japanese art of Renga. Peter (@peterwilkins1) found the link to Wikipedia and we became very exited. Before that we had been chatting about the dragon Renku and what fun it had been. We were wondering how many could play this poetry game. The Wikipedia article gave us the information we desired – 3 to 15. We were thinking about who would be interested in participating in a Twitter renga and when we should start. Unbeknown to us, there was someone already there in the stream watching our conversation ready to write.

Louise (@bookwriter222) suggested we do a renga on unicorns. We all read the “How to write” section and decided we would do an 18 verse version – Han-kasen. The formal format is 5-7-5 followed by 7-7. We followed this form pretty much throughout but bent the rules for aesthetic purposes when we needed to.

We wrote under the constraints of time zones. We couldn’t do the writing at one sitting. Louise provided a superb summary when she and Peter picked up the threads on day two: a hazy dawn ~ brings black witch ~ back into the fray ~ our unicorn is in grave danger ~ we race towards the moon. I added one verse on my own to their two. On the third night we completed the renga.

We had no predetermined narrative scenario.  After the event we reflected back on the experience. I think Peter’s observation distills the experience:

peterwilkin1 peterwilkin @bookwriter222 @marousia I think we have [finished] 🙂 Think we wandered through pathless woods at times but the journey was wonderful #unicornrenga

Unus Mundus ~ A Renga where each line represents a verse

A forgotten time/ two moons collide together/unicorn breathes am struggling with moon/flowers thing

Sparks from the moons collision/ kiss unicorn’s velvet horn

Drops of rain glisten / like pearls on flower petals / round unicorn’s hooves

Flowing silver mane whips back/unicorn races the moon

Violets spring up/ wherever unicorn’s hooves touch/ trees whisper secrets

Unicorn hears plaintive cry / bluebird with a broken wing

A bird from heaven/as blue as the sky is old/secrets bind them both

Unicorn lowers his horn/ a single touch heals the wing

Bluebird sings his song / unicorn rears high, his eyes / like pools of moonshine

Black witch readies her poison/a unicorn of beauty

Ground unicorn horn/ prized aphrodisiac/ temptation was great

Unicorn sees moon shadows / of black witch in bluebird’s eyes

Black witch casts a spell/withered petals turn to dust/unicorn shudders

Bluebird’s sweet song fills the air/ Black witch’s spell returns to her

Black witch clutches throat / dissolves in putrid green steam / hail the unicorn

An eternal flame shines bright / in unicorns moonkissed eyes

Unicorn breathes/ on the putrid slime/ turning it to gold

Sunlight and shadows merging / death becomes life. Alchemy

 

Corners

It’s late,
tired faces
surround him.
He sits
in a corner
on the train
checking
his reflection
in the window,
She sits
beside him
on the aisle
leaning
into him.
He draws her gaze
to a magazine
filled
with plastic people.
He opens
his laptop.
Her attention,
snake fast
switches
to his screen.
He stares blankly
at a page.
The wheels
beat out
a steady rhythm.

Talking with Photos

We are still wrestling with what it means to have an ever-present camera. Modernistdream aka mediamongrel has written some fantastic posts about this on his blog. My proposition here is that having a camera constantly about our person coupled with the ability to share images we take is changing the part played by photography in our everyday lives, social activities and rituals. Not only are we reshaping the ways in which we make memories or memorialise significant events as Modernistdream points out, we are also using photography as a means of communication that moves beyond the postcard effect of ‘I was here’. The relationship between word and visual images is drawing closer and sometimes the visual image is displacing words entirely as a form of communication.

However, I am not proposing that photographs are replacing words. I think it is more matter that we often send photographs to clearly show where we are, what has struck us ridiculous, delicious, beautiful or disgusting in a quest to reduce ambiguity given the strictures of 140 characters. With Twitter it is really easy to post photographs and there are applications specifically designed to coexist with Twitter in its mobile incarnation such as instagram.With these applications you can follow people, rate their photos but if you want to communicate via the images you still need to link to twitter. So photography is developing an almost symbiotic relationship to words in this environment.

Another phenomenon I have observed and experienced is when a follower may pick up an image and write a post in response to it. The first time this happened to me I was delighted. I had posted a photo of a flower I wanted to share. Within a few moments I saw that someone had written a haiku about the flower. This reminded me of parlour games such as exquisite corpse where someone would start a story that would be continued by someone else and so on. Naturally I checked out her profile and followed her.

So are we using photography more readily now as a form of self-expression and communication? And do we make judgments about people based on the kinds of photos they post in similar ways to how we judge them by their verbal posts?