Wednesday, December 4, 2019

IWSG Day: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 ~ That Bolt from the Black!






It's the first Wednesday of the month,
the day that members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.






To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh are:
Tonja Drecker,  Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, and Tyrean Martinson, and Fundy Blue. (That's me!)


I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every month the IWSG announces a question that members can answer
with advice, insight, a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is:

Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi, Everyone!
My plan for this post radically changed direction when I received
an unexpected email from the IWSG administrators in mid-November.

The email informed me that my short story was selected
for publication in the 2019 IWSG Anthology Contest!

All of a sudden I was living the dream,
dancing all around, jumping up and down,
and getting a lot of congratulatory hugs from Terry.

He knew I had won only because he was sitting
at the kitchen counter near me when I discovered the email.
My immediate response to utter delight and surprise is not subtle.

How does it feel?  Like I'm really real!


No Longer a WIP Pining to Be Real!
Bartolucci's Store and Workshop
September 19, 2018
Florence, Italy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I've been a member of the IWSG for years,
and I've admired all the writing successes of the IWSG members.
It's wonderful and inspiring to see.

Meanwhile, even though I know I'm a writer and I've written throughout my life,
I felt like a fraud.  I didn't feel really real.
I have multiple manuscripts in the works, but I haven't published anything 
other than my blog posts since I joined the IWSG.

It feels amazing to receive the honor and validation
of having a story of mine published in the next IWSG anthology.

And Terry is so damn proud of me!
He ran right downstairs to my copious bookshelves
and brought the four previous IWSG anthologies upstairs.
Then he began reading them and researching all things IWSG-related online.
It's been hard to keep my exciting news a secret from everyone but Terry, 
but I have managed to do so.  He hasn't breathed a word either.

In late August an unexpected clap of thunder broke right over our home.
I was so shocked that I shot straight up out of the high chair
I was sitting on at our kitchen counter and fell over backwards.
My legs followed my body, and I landed on my tailbone in a perfect V formation.


A Bolt from the Black!
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay




I interpreted that bolt from the black as a message from the Universe
to get off my butt and write that story for the anthology contest
that I had been mulling over for several months.
I received that dramatic message and got to work.
I'm so glad I did!

Terry would just as soon have me not receive
any more dramatic messages from the Universe.
He literally thought I had been struck by lightning.

I wrote my story sitting on a painful tailbone while Terry cheered me on
and placed an occasional plate of food by my computer.
He knew better than to ask me what was for dinner,
or should I take a shower or get some sleep.
And he definitely knew better than to ask me 
if I was having fun, if I was doing what I wanted to do.

And he didn't say a word when a special delivery order from Amazon
for an obscure reference landed on our doorstep.
Wisest of all, he didn't roll his eyes or make a snarky remark 
about the cost when he handed me the parcel.
Truly he is my Ever-Patient and best fan!

What would I change or improve about feeling really real?
Publish more and often!  LOL!


Someone Who Always Has My Back
At Maggiano's for Thanksgiving Dinner
November 28, 2019
Denver, Colorado, USA
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Speaking of successful and published IWSG authors, 
I recently read another wonderful book by an IWSG author:
Survival of the Fittest by Jacqui Murray.



Goodreads


This book filled 
my geological and paleontological heart!

I couldn't believe it!
Here was a great story starring Homo erectus,
considered the most long-lived
of all the hominid species.

They lived throughout most
of the Pleistocene Epoch,
appearing about 2 million years ago
and lasting until 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.

The characters in this story lived 850,000 years ago.





Some have hypothesized  that Homo erectus did not go extinct, but may have
descendants among other hominid groups including Homo neanderthalensis.

Five Tribes.  One leader.  A treacherous journey across three continents
in search of a new home headlines the cover. 
I love a fierce story with a strong female protagonist,
and Jacqui Murray delivers an unforgettable one in Xhosa.

After my career in petroleum geology, I became an elementary teacher.
My students and I spent a lot of time discussing
text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections.

I was very happy to claim a text-to-self connection
with Xhosa, the main character and her People, 
thanks to National Geographic's Genome 2.0 Project.

My DNA contains 3% Homo neanderthalensis genes.
It makes me feel so good to think my ancestors
may go back beyond H. neanderthalensis to H. erectus.
It was fascinating and fun for me to imagine Xhosa as one of my deep ancestors.

As for text-to-text connections ~ 
I immediately thought of Jean  M. Auel's Earth's Children Series.
But I liked this book better than Clan of the Cave Bear and other books in the series.
Murray's characters seemed more authentic, like they were truly H. erectus 
and not more modern people fitted into a Prehistoric mold.

The way Murray has her characters functioning in this long ago time,
their rudimentary culture, their communication, 
their ability to adapt and survive in a violent and treacherous world, 
was a marvelous construction of how alike and unlike they are from modern H. sapiens.
I thought Murray's use of smell as a form of communication was brilliant!

And text-to-world connections ~
The physical world Murray created for her main characters
to journey across three continents was vivid and authentic.
It reflected the extensive research underlying everything in the book.

I'll be reading the other two books in this series, for sure!

Wishing you seasons greetings and happy times with your families and friends!
And happy writing too!


Our Little Traveling Tree 
on the Road in Surprise, Arizona
Christmas Eve 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends
celebrating Thanksgiving this week!

May you have lots of fun as you celebrate,
and if you're traveling, be safe!
Bad weather is slamming a lot of the continental U.S.

When I was growing up, we didn't take Thanksgiving photographs.
Buying and developing film was an expensive luxury for our large family.
You might take one photo of a special event,
and you'd likely not know for several months if the photo was a good one.

I have one treasured Thanksgiving photograph of my family, 
taken in Sioux Lookout, Ontario on October 8, 1962.


Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner
Donnie, me, Dad, Barbie, Roy, and Bertie
October 8, 1962
Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Since my post last Friday was rather grim and gut-wrenching,
I thought I'd share a little Thanksgiving humor.



























        Till next time ~ 
        Fundy Blue

           Out on the Bay of Fundy
           On the Chad and Sisters Two
                 Out of Westport, Brier Island, Nova Scotia 
                 July 31, 2014
                   © M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
                   All Rights Reserved













Blogging Schedule for the Next Two Weeks:
I'm posting this on Thanksgiving Day.  
It will be my only post this week.

I'm co-hosting for the IWSG on Wednesday, December 4th.  
That will be my only post next week.

Then I'll be back to posting regularly starting Friday, December 13th.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Dead Speak


Nothing from Pompeii speaks to me more profoundly 
than the heart-rending casts recovered from its buried ruins.

A Young Woman Protecting Her Face
Her Dress Tangled around Her Upper Body 
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Most of Pompeii's 20,000 residents escaped during the first phase
of the volcano's eruption when it ejected a column of gas and magma
66,000 feet (20 kilometers) into the atmosphere
and rained ash and pumice on Pompeii for eighteen hours.

Two Men, Friends, Brothers, or Lovers
(Once Thought to Be Women ~  telegraph.co.uk )
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



About 2000 inhabitants who sought shelter in Pompeii
or who were unable to flee perished during the second phase of the eruption
when avalanching clouds of superheated gases and ash
raced down from the volcano and engulfed the city.
Many died instantly from extreme heat.


A Shackled Slave or Prisoner
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




People weren't the only living things to die.
The animal casts recovered are as gut-wrenching as the human.


A Domestic Pig
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I've seen many photographs of the casts recovered from Pompeii
because I've been fascinated with the city and the volcano since I was a little girl.
They didn't prepare me for the reality of seeing the actual casts for the first time:
so big, so expressive, so alive in death.

A Man Shields a Woman's Face
To Comfort or Protect Her 
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Some of the most famous resin casts were displayed 
in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
a few years before I visited Pompeii.
I kept returning to the museum's exhibit to see the casts,
haunted by their humanity or sentience, their terror and suffering.

A Man Crouches Against a Wall
Covering His Mouth with the Edge of His Hooded Cloak
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I didn't think about Giuseppe Fiorelli, the director of excavations
in Pompeii from 1860-75,
and his realization that cavities in the hardened ash
could be the molds of corpses or other organic materials.

I didn't think about his famous process of filling the cavities with plaster of Paris,
then extracting the hardened cast by carefully removing the surrounding ash.

Sometimes all you can absorb is hearing the dead speak.


A Chained Dog
Caught by Its Bronze-Studded Collar
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
January 9, 2013
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

A Very Overloaded Me 
after eight hours running around 
Pompei Scavi, Italy 
May 20, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







For Map Lovers Like Me:


Location of Italy
Attribution: User:David Liuzzo



Location of Pompeii



Location of Modern and Ancient Pompeii


Friday, November 15, 2019

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky! Mitoraj at Pompeii


Did you, as a young child, ever hear a story that wouldn't let you go?
That made you determined to visit where it happened before you died?
On May 20, 2016 I finally realized one such dream.

I stood in the Forum in Pompeii and looked to the north at Mount Vesuvius,
imagining the horror of the 79 A.D. eruption that destroyed the city.

The volcano literally blew its top off and ejected a column
of hot gases and volcanic debris into the stratosphere.
Ash and pumice rained on Pompeii for over eighteen hours
and accumulated to a depth of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters).
Then hot, dense, rapid flows of gas and volcanic material
buried the city, killing any living things in their paths.  

Mount Vesuvius from Pompeii's Forum
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



To walk the streets and explore the buildings of Pompeii was beyond amazing!
But for those of us fortunate enough to visit this storied place
between May 14, 2016 and May 1, 2017 there was an extraordinary event.

For me Pompeii has always been about the violent volcano, 
the unparalleled look into the lives of Pompeii's citizens,
the buildings and public spaces, humble and grand,
the frescoes, statuary, mosaics, and architecture.

I did not anticipate a temporary exhibit of monumental sculptures
by a Polish artist I had never heard of and likely never would have:
an exhibit that had me standing in awe at the sight
of huge, fragmented, and broken heads and bodies.


Hermanos
Brothers (2010)
by Igor Mitoraj
Bronze: 293 cm. X 326 cm. X 295 cm. 
Outside, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Ikaro Blu or Blue Icarus (2013) and Tindareus (1997)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background, 
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





The Back of Eros Alato Con Mano
Winged Eros with Hand (2013 ~ bronze)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






The Front of Eros Alato Con Mano
Winged Eros with Hand (2013 ~ bronze)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Initially Terry and I explored Pompeii in a guided group.
This made it difficult for me to gather information on the Igor Mitoraj sculptures; 
but I kept photographing them because they were hauntingly beautiful.
It wasn't until much later that I was able to find out more
about this Polish artist and his huge sculptures.


Gambe Alato or Winged Legs (left) and Torso di Ikaro (right) 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Looking toward the Teatro Grande from the Triangular Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Ikaria (left ~ 1996) and Ikaro Alato (right ~ 2000)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Looking from within the Teatro Grande
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Teseo Screpolato (2011)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Bronze: 295 cm. X 188 cm. X 180 cm. 
Looking toward the Quadriportico by the Theaters
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Igor Mitoraj was born in Oederan, Germany on March 26, 1944,
the child of a Polish mother and a French father.
After the end of WW II, he returned to Poland with his mother
and grew up in Grójec, southwest of Warsaw.
He graduated from art school in Bielsko-Biała
and studied painting at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.

Mitoraj turned to sculpture and traveled in Mexico, France, and Italy
to increase his artistic knowledge as he worked with bronze terracotta, and marble.


Igor Mitoraj
29 April, 2014


Mitoraj's monumental sculptures tap into the classical Greek and Roman tradition
that emphasizes idealized, perfectly proportioned human bodies and unemotional faces.
His truncated torsos and severed limbs reflect the damage
suffered by many of those ancient sculptures throughout time.

Mitoraj wanted his sculptures to reveal human nature and human imperfection.
He said of his art:  “The idea of beauty is ambiguous, a double-edged sword
that can easily hurt you, causing pain and torture.  
My art is an example of this dichotomy: 
mesmerizing perfection attached to corrupted imperfection.”
artsy


 Ikaro(left),  Ikaria Bretelle(center), and Ikaro Screpolato (right) 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Looking toward the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Ikaro Screpolato or Ikaro Cracked (1998) 
by Igor Mitoraj
Adjacent to the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







The Feet of Ikaro Screpolato (Icarus Cracked) 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Adjacent to the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







 Ikaro Screpolato (left),  Ikaria Bretelle (center), and Ikaro (right) 
by Igor Mitoraj

Ikaro Screpolato Bronze: 360 cm. X 120 cm. X 85 cm.
Ikaria Bretelle Bronze: 373 cm. X 153 cm. X 111 cm.
Ikaro Bronze: 360 cm. X 120 cm. X 85 cm. 
  
By the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





As a writer, I am always fascinated by the creative process,
especially with how inspiration strikes and where ideas come from.

Mitoraj said of his process, "There are no theories, there are no explanations.
The works impose themselves on me - I am their slave."
ansa  

The tragic story of Daedalus and Icarus inspired Mitoraj,
and the exhibit contained a number of magnificent sculptures
based on the two:
Daedalus, the skilled craftsman and artist who created 
the labyrinth for King Minos of Crete,
and his son Icarus who flew too close to the sun with wax wings
and plunged to the earth when they melted.

King Minos had imprisoned father and son in the labyrinth,
and Daedalus and Icarus tried to escape with wings crafted by Daedalus.
Icarus drowned in the Mediterranean while his father watched from above.

Mitoraj built on the legend by imagining a sister Ikaria for Ikaro (Icarus).

The Death of Icarus 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
Daedalus and Icarus fresco, villa imperiale, Pompeii

To me there was a wonderful synergy in the connection
between ancient Pompeii and Igor Mitoraj's art.

After the exhibit ended, the Mitoraj Foundation and the Contini Art Gallery
gave Italy a gift of Mitoraj's Daedalus, one of his sculptures displayed in Pompeii.
It will remain at the entrance to Pompeii near the Temple of Venus.

Daedalus
by Igor Mitoraj 
At the Entrance to Pompeii near the Temple of Venus
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Daedalus
by Igor Mitoraj 
Overlooking the Sorrento Peninsula from the Temple of Venus
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


   
It was Mitoraj's dream to have his sculptures displayed in Pompeii.
He selected the exact location for each sculpture chosen for the temporary exhibit.
Sadly, he died in Paris on October 6, 2014 and never saw his sculptures
in situ among the excavations of ancient Pompeii.

This extraordinary exhibit was designed and promoted
by the foundation Terzo Pilastro ~ Italia e Mediterraneo,
with the support of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
It was organized by Pompeii's Superintendency, the Contini Art Gallery,
and the Atelier Igor Mitoraj Contemporary Art Museum in Pietrasanta.

Centauro or Centaur 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Pompeiani III (2007) 
by Igor Mitoraj
Bronze and Marble: 176 cm. X 75 cm. X 75.5 cm. 
Terme Stabiane or Stabian Baths
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





One of the Few Female Sculptures at the Pompeii Exhibit 
by Igor Mitoraj
Terme Stabiane or Stabian Baths
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Grande Toscano (1981)
by Igor Mitoraj
Bronze: 272 cm. X 185 cm. X 80 cm. 
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





The temporary Mitoraj exhibit in Pompeii may be long over,
but I will always remember how exquisite these sculptures were.

To think I knew nothing about it, when I first walked into Pompeii.
Sometimes you just get lucky!


Memorie (2012)
by Igor Mitoraj
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved








Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

A Very Overloaded Me 
after eight hours running around 
Pompei Scavi, Italy 
May 20, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Note:  I did extensive research for this post.  
I have provided the best information, documentation, and attributions that I could.  
It was difficult because source after source contained similar or verbatim passages,
and for some sources I had to translate text from Italian with Google Translator.  
Any mistakes are mine.


For Map Lovers Like Me:


Location of Italy
Attribution: User:David Liuzzo



Location of Pompeii



Location of Modern and Ancient Pompeii




Ikaro Blu or Blue Icarus (2013)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Bronze: 223 cm. X 650 cm. X 238 cm. 
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Tindareus (1997)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background, 
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved