“Poetry does not feed a physical hunger,” she said. “But I persisted because of how it has allowed me to develop as a person spiritually.”
“If you are too focused on the technical elements – getting the how and what right – you can forget the why. The why, for me, is what makes the poem succeed.
“Writing is a form of prayer for me,”
“It is never about you as the writer, but the art you bring to society.”
(Quotes from poet Anne Lee Tzu Pheng)
Excerpts from her poem “Why is your poetry so normal?”
Because this is meant to be human;
a familiar voice, plain, intelligible,
and close to home.
Somewhere in you, I know,
you have the same voice too…
Why should I choose
to lose you in a maze as if I’m, hiding from you? I’d rather
take your hand and lead us through.
This crazy road of life
is challenging enough.
So listen: what’s worth saying
is worth saying strong and clear,
for the words we catch to serve us
will work their worth and more, if not
mistreated, disrespected, or despised-
become abnormal utterance-
as would be done, if used to make a poem
it’s unmade before begun.”
(Excerpts from “Why is your poem so normal?” from Catching Connections, poems, prosexcursions, crucifictions, 2012)
An Evanescent rose. I took this picture in late November 2015 at Santa Cruz, CA. I have a soft spot for roses. Is it because of their beauty despite the thorns? Or should I rephrase my question to, is it because of their beauty in having the thorns? I believe there are two perspectives. One can view the thorns as encumbrances. Another may view the thorns as added advantages. I like to think that the thorns of a rose demonstrate the strength of an otherwise seemingly fragile looking flower. I do not like to liken a rose to a woman or vice versa. But if anyone ever thinks of a woman as a rose, please also think of the thorns, that is, the inherent strength of a woman. No, women are not the weaker ones.
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project has been a neighborhood effort to create a beautiful mosaic running up the risers of the 163 steps located at 16th and Moraga in San Francisco. The residents had been working on this project since January of 2003. It was inspired by the famous stairs in Rio De Janero, these steps were meticulously created over a summer to build a beautiful walkway for the whole city to enjoy. Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the creation of the 163 mosaic panels that were applied to the step risers, over 300 neighbors joined us in making them, and over 220 neighbors sponsored handmade animal, bird and fish name tiles imbedded within the mosaic.
To get to the Mosaic Steps you would take the bus from Golden Gate Park (about 15 minutes away) and then get off around 16th avenue. Approaching from 16th avenue you can immediately see the Mosaic Steps as they ascend to Grand View Park. After walking up the two blocks of steep streets (like everything in San Francisco) you will reach the base of the steps.
Enjoy climbing the decorative path, which may be viewed as a labor of love from a group of neighborly people. Their labor is not in vain.
Luke 10:29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
Matthew 22:37-40 New King James Version (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
The senior visitor is optimistic even when looking at the winter solstice and the vast changes of weather that have arrived with the season of general bleakness and cold.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
Harper Lee was accepted into the university’s law school, but she soon decided that writing was her true calling. In 1949, a 23-year-old Lee arrived in New York City to start her writing career. Her first book was published in 1960, the famous classic for which she is now best known , the Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and Go Set a Watchman (2015). A classic of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages with more than a million copies sold each year. Lee’s second novel also broke pre-sale records for publishing house and was on target to become one of the fastest-selling literary works in history.
Random quotes from Harper Lee’s books. (The headings are added by me.)
WHAT IS A SIN
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
A WATCHMAN FOR ONE’S LIFE
“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.”
“As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, ‘I’m probably no better than you, but I’m certainly your equal. ”
WHAT REAL COURAGE IS
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in” his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
“You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.”
“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”
SEE BOTH THE BIG AND SMALL PICTURE AND YET REMAIN YOURSELF
“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
BE WISE. CHOOSE FAITH AND NOT PREJUDICE
“It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not ladylike — in the second place, folks don’t like to have someone around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates them. Your not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.”
“People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”
“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.”
“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”
THE BOOK YOU READ MAKES YOU WHO YOU BECOME
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
“The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.”
Writer Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. In 1959, she finished the manuscript for her Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird. Soon after, she helped fellow-writer and friend Truman Capote write an article for The New Yorker which would later evolve into his nonfiction masterpiece, In Cold Blood. In July 2015, Lee published her second novel Go Set a Watchman, which was written before To Kill a Mockingbird and portrays the later lives of the characters from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.