Pages of Awesome

Friday, June 22, 2012

GSA Poem

-Nathan R. Petrie-

Truth is a song and a story
sung by a small blackbird
who crescendos with age alone;
it is uninterested
in opinions or whether you listen—
it just sings,
humming with reserved energy,
like the waters of Mississippi
were dammed at its mouth.
Be silent and listen
to the songs of the streams,
for your hearing is wanted
and solitude beckons—
like a calling blackbird.

(PS Week of poetry is almost completed! This was written during a workshop with Pulitzer Prize nominee Maurice Manning. Sweet right??)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GSA Day 2: Wish I Could Say More...

Click HERE for GSA's website--filled with videos and pictures of what we're doing during the program! I'm actually in Day One's video! So, check it out!!

Blogger isn't letting me post pictures, due to the college's computer system so unfortunately you'll have to check them out on GSA's site if you are interested. And please do! They are very cool.

Today's program began with a "performance" by a filmmaker. He showed clips from his new documentary entitled, "Carbonation" (or some variation of that) about global warming. A lot of his arguments were slippery at best, but his point was different and refreshing. He didn't come to convince us that we should believe in climate change or die. He came to tell us that we all actually agree on most solutions to cilmate change, energy, etc. And should take steps toward what we agree instead of where we disagree.

In studio today, we, again, worked on poetry. This time we focused on three aspects: detail, music, and story.

For detail, Kelly Norman Ellis (one of our instructors) read one of her own poems which she referred to as an "Inventory" poem. Essentially, it was a long list of all the things in her grandfather's gas station and what they meant to her. The point was this--be specific. Put simply she said;

"Give things the dignity of their names."

The idea that a specific name speaks for itself.

Now, my poem in response to this was garbage. But what I took away, that details are important, is very useful.

When talking about the music of poetry, I think this is a very obvious part of writing poetry. Rhythm, alliteration, possible rhyme or no rhyme, etc. We read the poem "The Tour" and were then challenged to write a poem with a strong sense of place and movement. I called my piece "Brothers" and I think it turned out pretty well.

The best part of the workshop part of the day came during Ellen's turn to teach. She had us make a timeilne of our lives and mark world events and personal events. Then, after several readings of published poetry, ("Everything has to Change") we wrote a piece that connected a world event with a personal event.

This is my second favorite piece I've written so far. Very exciting.

At night we typed up and worked with pieces started in other workshops and free writes. My favorite piece came out of this: "The Maverick Red Mustang."

I won't post too much of my writing on here just yet--we're making chapbooks at the end of the week and I don't want to spoil it for my parents and others who may be reading and coming to hear.

And there's so much more to say: jam sessions, fuz ball, euchre, novel chats, fire drills at 12:30 AM, and so much more!

Suffice to say, I'm having a blast.

What sort of things have you written lately?

Strength and Courage,

Monday, June 18, 2012

GSA Day 1: Poetry?

And so it begins.

The first week of the writing program of the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts consists of poetry--lots of poetry.

The second week consists of fiction.

The third week: public readings.

Sound fun? So far it is.

Today we listened to an amazing jazz pianist perform live for us, along with a classical bassist and a drummer. It was truly inspiring, as was his speech about what it means to be an artist following this. His name is Harry Pickens, and is is absolutely incredible. Look him up.

We then broke up into our discipline studies in our discipline studios. Creative Writing started with a 25 minute free write in response to the morning performance. Then we read some poetry. Then we wrote so. And so began the continual cycle.

My first several free writes wouldn't have sold for free if I'd tried. They were crap, garbage, useless. But such is writing, no?

Later we talked about metaphors, obstacles we've faced in life, and what it was that made us who we were. It wasn't until these prompts that I finally created something worth reading aloud to the class. A good thing too, since we were then required to--no longer on a volunteer basis.

We were to write an invocation poem modeled after "Invocation" by Aracelis Girmay. And this is what I wrote:

Coming and Going
-Nathan R. Petrie-

Come Julia, Ryan, Shirley.
Come Charles, Bill, Eileen.
Come Butler, Hardings, Dunlaps;
a child’s needs your wing.

Come pen and paper, Franklin.
Come gravel grounds of play.
Come swing sets, soccer, zoo trips
on anxious days of rain.

Come tacos, pizza, Fruitloops.
Come Reese’s, Skyline time.
Come forest, creeks, and mountains;
mature this child of thine.

Come jazz and improv saxes.
Come buildings, old and new.
Come euchre, and come castles;
come more—there are too few.

Come Gandalf, Aslan, Potter
Come Dickens, Dekker, Frost.
Come Joseph, and come David
before this child is lost.

Come Alpha and Omega.
Come Logos, El-Shaddai
Come Elohim and Father—
stay with me or I die.
Come take these things and make me, me,
then let me find myself in Thee.
Additionally, we had to write using randomly generated metaphoprs. The one assigned to me was: the chair is like a storm. Here's what I did with it:

His first day in town
was his first day in middleschool.
And as he lumbered into class--
small earthquakes rippling the tiled floor as he went--
sweat raining off of him,
he worried about teachers, about classes, and about friends.
He found his seat--reflecting the sun at the front of the class.
He would survive.
He slumped into his seat and crashed
into the floor,
wincing like lightning at the thundering laughter,
as his new chair shattered--
like the shattering of storm clouds--
Like his pride.
Check out my estimated word count! Not too shabby. Nothing is typed so....

Strength and Courage,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Packing and Prizes


Started packing for GSA today! So many clothes, so many snacks, so much fun to be had. Check out my video blog on the subject, not too exciting but hey, it's me!

The video cuts out at the end so....keep reading for details!

What was I going to show you on my book shelf??

3 copies of Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper's Venom and Song, that's what!

And what was I going to say?

Whosoever gets the highest word count of any and all the challengers over the next three weeks shall win a copy of Venom and Song (unless they choose to deny it).

Naturally, only the 48 "land" states--I don't have a trillion dollars. And if you already have a copy, get it to share! If not, we can just give it to the second place person ;)

Now it's both a writing challenge...and an award challenge. Who wants in?

Strength and Courage,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gov. School for the Arts: Word War

I have two days until I leave for Transylvania University for three weeks of unprecedented writing and training in the craft. That makes today the negative third day of GSA.

Today I'm shopping for weird things I didn't know I needed: shorts, underwear, and a watch. Yeah...I don't get to have my phone out for three weeks. Fun and exciting.

As I reviewed the packets of information given to me by the GSA staff, a thought hit me: I have no idea what to expect. Pages and pages titled "What to Excpet" read, and I still don't have a clue. And that's okay, isn't it?

So what did I do? The only thing I know how to--pile up notebooks filled with writing, printed short stories and poems, and set them on the table. Just because they're fun to look at.

Here's a look at my schedule for the next three weeks:

8AM - 8:50AM           Breakfast
9AM - 9:50AM           Morning Presentation / Performance and Announcements
10AM - 12:55PM        Discipline Specific Classes
1PM - 2PM                  Lunch
2PM - 6PM                  Discipline Specific and Interdisciplinary Classes
6PM - 7PM                  Dinner
7PM - 10PM                Art Events and "Studio Time"

Now I know what you're thinking. Nathan, what do these words mean: performances, interdisiplinary classes, art events, studio time? My answer? I have no idea.

Interdiscipline: Will my writing be set to music? My stories illustrated? Will I be interpreting music into poetry? Images into story? Will I be writing plays for the drama students?

Who knows, and who cares. It's going to be a fun three weeks. And I'll be doing a lot of writing, which rocks.

And with that comes my challenge:

I, Nathan R. Petrie, do hearby challenge any and all writers from across all the world and all areas of life, to write, and write often, and to write as much as they possibly can.

And if any dare, attempt to match or pass my GSA writing wordcount, they will be mightily rewarded emoticon and large, colored fonts.

Are there any brave enough?

I'll try to keep the interwebs updated. They may try and take my laptop ;)

Strength and Courage,
"Stand tall now and proclaim what you have seen, speak in whispered roars..."