Questions Week 2 Answered Week 4/ 2015 Artist Writer Mash Up


How much have you written in the first week?

In the first week I did not write much other than blog posts for the project. I found the set of questions helpful in entering the artwork. At this point those answers have informed or rooted themselves into the piece that is developing.

How do you feel about it, positive or negative?

The first week I was not concerned about having a draft. I wanted to order the print in order to have it in front of me to work from rather than a print out or my computer screen. I wanted the art on my wall before I started writing. So, I held off from really beginning the piece.

As far as what I have written so far, I feel ok about it. There is still work to do. I have a solid draft. But, I don’t think I have found the poem yet within those lines. I have to take myself to task on revision. I am hoping to do this tomorrow.

I don’t generally feel positive or negative about my work. Instead, I feel done or undone. So, I would say I feel “undone”.

Do you have a set goal in mind or could all your plans change tomorrow?


I wouldn’t say I have a “set goal.” I want to write a genuine and decent piece of poetry from the artwork. These are my expectations of myself.   The work on the poem could change tomorrow. I could find another thread that is the poem tomorrow. In fact, I hope I do.


What’s the most difficult part for you?


As far as the project, I have fallen behind in blogs. I’d rather spend more time on the poem than writing about the poem or process. I do gain insight from some of the questions but when I am working on answering the questions I think I’d rather be writing a poem!   At one point worrying about getting the blogs done became more of a priority than writing the piece. I turned my blog mind off and let myself off the hook for that portion of the project. Then got into my poetry head.


Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror | 2015 Artist Writer Mashup

Before answering posed questions I have an apology. I am behind on posts! So, I may be posting rather often in the next few days to catch up. Be warned!

What are your feelings about the illustration? What drives these feelings?

I find this illustration to be in flux. The jellyfish is in between states. I want it to answer questions for me. There is both a delicacy reflected in the appearance of tentacles floating, and still there is strength. The hub of the body of the jellyfish is a muscled mass. The creature must carry a weighted cargo. Strength here is evident. The jellyfish does not appear to be struggling, however, I worry about movement. I am concerned with the distance the creature must travel and if he will make it.

What drives these feelings? Oh, I don’t know. I am going to sit on the couch and put my feet up, wave my hand about the air and ramble on as though I am being analyzed for the remainder of the blog session. I am still on the nature of the creature and the nature of the contents it carries. My imagination brings me to other places in the illustration to insert into the piece I am working on writing.   I am concerned with what is essential here. How is this creature thriving? How will it survive? This is quite literal of me, and again, my imagination won’t move off it of. The first lines I wrote to begin the writing session for a poem are, “In between states of recovery/ Where is water? Where is air?”  I’m sure these lines will go, but this is where my mind is focused. And I will attempt to mine this and push forward into a discovery.

Can you see yourself in the illustration?


I can see myself sitting in the basket! I’m teasing. I can see myself in between states of being carrying forth a discovery, one that uses strength to carry. Yes, this is life, I suppose. Do we not all carry forth our personal discoveries? Or carry things that are not our own?

Do you find yourself in your writing, too?

This is an interesting question. I find myself looking for the writer in the poems I read. And it becomes a tricky question, as poets are we not to admit we are in the writing? In my undergrad as a literature major we were told not to connect the author with the writing in analyzing text. I find this so difficult to do. And again, in my MFA this came up. I personally cannot separate the writer from the writing. This is not to say all writing comes from a personal experience but rather that as a writer in writing there is an impulse within pulling you to sit with the image, idea, or thread of emotional response to something whether it be a world event, observation of strangers interacting or even if the point of inspiration of writing is watching a hawk pick and kill its prey. The impulse is the exchange between the writer mind (and all “mind” encompasses) and that which is observed. This is where separation is difficult for me.

For myself, the writing is a direct result of my life, or at least the life of my mind, if not my emotional, intellectual, spiritual reflection or output of what I am taking in.

I literally find myself in my writing. And by this I mean, this is where I discover who I am. What I think and how I feel. So, I am answering this question in a sense by avoiding the question!

As far as the draft of this piece I am working on for Lamplighter magazine I suppose, yes, I am in here. I think we all have certain propensities or patterns of thought. When you are looking at art it is very much subjective. Your response to a piece of artwork is coming from you interacting within your mind to the artist’s creation.

Try injecting yourself into your writing and amplify the aspects of you that already exist in it. 

I will do so. And when done return here or in another blog post to report on how this influenced the writing, and or if any discoveries were made that will stay in the piece.

Artist Writer Mashup: Questions

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Who are you?

Who am I? Chelsea, simply, put. I am a 31 one-year -old woman who has spent her life in various stages of creation, or perhaps I should say becoming. Both these processes churned out the person sitting here sipping coffee typing the answer to this question.

When I was a young Chelsea I had ideas of the type of grown up I wanted to be. I wanted a life where I could create and help people. Those were my two main requests of my life. Simply put yet again. Today, this is what I do.

Simple does not mean easy. The process of committing to a life of art was hard-earned. At times I was full of fear and doubt. For a period I didn’t want to share my work. Though, time spent in the vacuum of creating was never fearful. I have been following this thread in my life for quite some time. I don’t plan on stopping the path of forging the authentic life in art that is who I am.

What is your experience with writing?

My “experience” with writing is central to who I am. Writing and I began our relationship a long time ago.   For Christmas I received my first journal from my aunt and uncle. I was 9 years old.  I remember the feeling of putting pencil to the page in the stillness of my room ( I still wrote in pencil in 4th grade.). I loved the physicality of pressing words on the page. The sound of the graphite sliding over paper. I loved the silence of self. Claiming a space only for me. It was a safe place. A place I would return to again and again. Perhaps it was and is an addiction. Perhaps writing is my salvation.

Twenty-two years later I continue to write. In two more decades I will still be writing. This is a lifelong journey, a commitment. For the past seven years or so poetry has taken over. There was a time when I wrote essays, fiction, creative nonfiction and plays. Maybe there will be a return to this?

I have discovered much of who I really am through writing. Writing is how I think and process the world. Writing is truth.

I sometimes think of what my younger self would say about where I am in life. Today, I think she would smile. She would say thank you.

How Did You Find Lamplighter?

I found Lamplighter magazine through the wonders of Facebook. I spend a decent amount of time investigating on Facebook other musicians, artists, poets, venues, publications and the likes. I search not only for myself as an artist but also for the Ministry of Artistic Intent. The MAI has both a Facebook page and a community forum group page. These pages include MAI events as well as information on events run by other individuals and groups and opportunities for MAI artists. One day I was digging and happened upon Lamplighter magazine. A terrific find, indeed. Lamplighter was launching the music chart. As a musician I was rather excited. As a head of an organization I had to share with our community. I continue to admire the work of Lamplighter magazine and keep my eye on their happenings.

What do you expect to accomplish while participating in the project? 

 I expect to write. I went through a heavy period of writing this past summer and fall as I was working on my manuscript for my MFA in Poetry. This halted, as my father was rather ill for several months through the bulk of winter. I haven’t looked at my manuscript or written a poem in since December when I decided to close my notebook and walk away from my desk. Life shifted into tending family mode and I needed a bit of  distance from the mass of writing that has been accumulating since beginning the MFA program. The Artist Writer Mash Up popped in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago as life was returning to normalcy. And I thought this is a way to begin again. I am drawn to ekphrastic poetry, as I am also a big fan of collaboration. So, this project fit the bill. I don’t have hard expectations or a bar set to hit. I simply expect to write again. And for me, that works.

When working on the manuscript I thought to myself How could I ever not be writing or revising poetry daily? When this stopped I thought How am I not writing? Life gets in the way sometimes. And sometimes you need to walk away.

I expect to learn about my process in a new way through this project. In my MFA I had a goal to write 8 poems a month. And I wrote 8 poems a month, sometimes more. I wanted to accumulate as much writing as possible to have full control and choices in putting my manuscript together. Now, I want to write 1 poem in 30 days. I want to sit with this piece of artwork. I plan to order it and have it at my desk. I expect to slow down, to meditate and enter the process of uncovering. This I think will prove valuable to my continued learning as a poet and working with craft. So, I suppose I expect to learn.

I expect to also learn much from the writers participating in the project. We have each embarked on a journey. And the neat thing about this project is that we get to read and watch each others process and discuss in the Facebook group page set up for us.

(I suppose, too, at this point I expect to have a full-fledged blog up and running by the end of April.   By post three I dig the whole thing. Ironic, as I never viewed myself as someone who would blog. And I really don’t like the word blog? Blahg. B-log. Can we remain it? Add that to the list. I expect to rename “blog” by the end of April, too! )

Today, I Am Not An Artist. Today, I Am The Observer.

Lauren Clark’s illustration is composed of a central image of a jellyfish whose tentacles are the strings of the basket of a hot air balloon. Some of the tentacles float outward into the white space that is the background of the image. This adds a delicacy to the composition while creating a sense of movement. The jellyfish is gliding upward. It moves with ease while towing its woven weighted cargo.

The beauty of this image is the sense of one being the other. The impression is that the jellyfish is the hot air balloon. As though this jellyfish floats in the sea carrying the other creatures, or that this jellyfish has been excised from the sea to carry man and his material objects. The tentacles are not tied, tethered or bound into knots to the loops of the basket. There is a choice here both for the artist, and for the jellyfish. And now there is a choice, too, for the poet observer.

The image is created with what appears to be pen and ink. The artist used a combination of stippling with a light wash of watercolor over parts of the image. The slight watercolor wash creates a feeling of iridescent reflection with tones of pink, blue, purple and green. I am left with the impression of water while questioning the place of this creature in space. I am left wondering why this creature carries this cargo.

The surrealist base Clark is working from permits questions to enter and to linger. She juxtaposes two realms of water and air, while fusing nature and man’s creation. Specifically, man’s creation to exist in spaces of nature not intended for him.   The jellyfish cannot exist in air, nor can a hot air balloon exist in water. Through the artist’s overall composition and choices of white space, stippling and light wash of color on a centrally focused surrealist image I learn that this artist uses simplicity to draw the viewer into the implicit questions living within the piece.

These questions lead me to learn about the artist behind the image while reflecting back my own impressions of the piece as a source of uncovering a discovery of self. I am drawn in to this image. Upon opening the image I scrolled down in anticipation to finally see the piece I would be assigned to work with. At first I saw the beauty of the jellyfish, the hub of the base of the body. I continued to scroll down to see long tentacles. And there towards the bottom was the discovery or “ah hah” moment.   The tentacles wrapped about and floating around the basket. This is where my poet self entered the image. This was the first tinge of knowing there was work to be done, something to uncover.   The draw to want to sit and meditate on the piece to uncover a poem within the image struck me.

I began piecing a storyline, as the writer wants a story. The writer must find what is to be said.  I imagined the jellyfish at the base of the sea hovering over the balloon wreckage then wrapping her tentacles about the basket and propelling upward and upward towards the shore. The artist speaks in images to tell the story.  Clark’s image speaks to me. It asks me to question and probe further. I am pulled to go under the sea in the the realm of my imagination to pull up my own discovery buried in the sand amongst the coral. The journey of uncovering the piece has begun. I seek to find the source of the wreckage, as man’s lost basket becomes the jellyfish’s found treasure.  This is why, today, I am not the artist. Today, I am the questioning observer.

A Place To Begin

Greetings Reader!

Welcome to my first blog post. Thank you for joining me. I suppose I should begin with an introduction of sorts to let you know what you may find here and what has led me to create a blog.  First off, bear with me as far as appearances. I have recently moved into this space and as you can see  I have much sprucing up to do!

For the past several years I have enjoyed the online anonymity of running the Ministry of Artistic Intent and her website.  Those unfamiliar with the MAI can stumble upon the website and not know who formed it. And that’s the way I like it. The arts organization is a collective. It’s for all of us, not about one person.

This blog is to create a separate space for my personal musings and creative endeavors.  I am a poet, an artist and a musician. I suspect this page will grow as I grow in each of these arts. I write with slight trepidation as my art is quite personal to me and a private space. And alas, here I am typing away in a public forum.  The walls of privacy are being torn down! And I am holding the controls on the bulldozer!

Why, then, if I feel awkward and nervous about a blog am I doing this, you ask? Well, I joined a thing. And here I am! Lamplighter Magazine is running the Artist Writer Mashup Project. I loved the idea and jumped on board.  Upon joining we were asked to blog about the process and experience.  The MAI website has a blog. Initially, I was going to go with this. Then, decided against it.  The project requires weekly writing and process sharing.  The MAI page is not appropriate to be clogged up with my self-discovery in forming a poem.  Hence, a separate space was called for. Hence, my confessing to you that this is all quite odd to me.  Enough of my confessing! Let’s get this party started.

To begin I will be posting twice a week about the Artist Writer Mashup. Slowly, I will add musings on art, writing, music and whatever else catches my eye.

For more information on Lamplighter Magazine check out these pages:

For more information on the Ministry of Artistic Intent check out these pages:

Thanks for stopping by.