Ekphrastic Mama

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I am the mother of three daughters, each born in a different decade, and three sons in a somewhat closer clump. One "hub" hold us together. This is not what passes for wise family planning in American culture, but as the beat poet Alice Notley wrote, “I didn’t plan my pregnancies. I’m an experimentalist.” When I was writing Ekphrastic Mama for Mothers Creating/Writing Lives: Motherhood Memoir, I took stock of our family span: with one child married, one in college, one in high school, one in junior high, an elementary schooler, a toddler, and now a grandbaby, I was experiencing all phases of motherhood simultaneously. Years later I'm still experimenting with ekphrasis- art that speaks out- and hoping to inspire others in their writing ventures.

Celebrating Birth-days

You celebrate your children’s birthdays, your husband’s, and your own birthday, but do you also celebrate you on the day you gave birth? I do. Which means I have 6 extra birth-days a year, and I deserve a bit of celebration myself on every one of them. 15 years ago today I gave birth to child #6 (not in my plans, but then neither was #1, or #5, all girls by the way; the ones we planned turned out to be boys…) I was 47. We went dancing that weekend, because, why not celebrate? And get this party started! Our oldest daughter was pregnant with our first grandchild, who was born five months later.  She went dancing with us that night.     Today, on the day I gave birth to my third daughter, I celebrated with a spa-bath (triangular tub, lavendar bath salts, time to relax and breathe deep), in the…

Interviews and Other Views

Women-On-Writing’s Renee Roberson asked some fun questions that made me think about ekphrasis, the writing process, and the novel I’m working on. They do this when you win a story award. Take a quick break and enjoy The Muffin, with coffee or tea, and me! https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2022/04/interview-with-lori-lynn-greenstone.html

Things You Might Miss

about your partner… It’s inevitable, I suppose, after being married a certain and very large number of years, like 42 or so– your friends start losing their partners in various ways… They’ve tossed or replaced them, and some have died. So you start thinking of what you might miss about your own partner. I start with his arms around me, the way our bodies, somewhat similar in height, meet each other on equal ground, wrap around, fit together. His stomach at 63 is still flat, almost concave on some days when he doesn’t remember how much food he actually needs… My stomach has no such issues, having housed six children (not in my stomach exactly, I know), and often thinking about the next food fix, but I tend toward not allowing myself to fill out too much so we still fit together well. After this many years, I’m thankful he…

Ekphrasis of the Schuffeneckers: Gifts Bestowed wins award

Stare at a painting and eventually it will begin to tell its story- that’s ekphrasis, my favorite way to write. I’ve been working on the novel, An Ear to Hear, about the woman, Rachel, who received the gift of Vincent’s ear after it was sliced from his head. Many secrets surround this historical, almost mythical story. Rachel was not only the recipient of the ear, but also did laundry for the artists, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh in Arles, and became their model. An aspiring artist, she kept a sketchbook and journal which has been passed on to her great granddaughter in America (my fiction).  Only recently translated, Rachel’s sketchbook and journal gives a different voice to the generally accepted story of how Vincent lost his ear.  I sometimes need a break from the long work of the novel, so I turn to writing short stories and essays. Sometimes…

The Laughing Giraffe Draft

How an art installation can help you trust your creative process- Do you ever get a vision of something you’d like to create but don’t know the process that might turn your idea into a reality? I envisioned a life-size giraffe grazing on the tree tops in my yard, a spirit animal* with a whimsical neck and winsome body. When we moved from southern California to the Pacific Northwest, where forests meet yards, even in housing developments, I thought about how I might construct one of these stately, elegant creatures to view out my window. The idea first occurred to me when we moved to Bend, Oregon; a local artist constructs larger than life horses from lost and found pieces of metal. My hub was learning to weld so we started collecting rusty objects in hopes of constructing our own sculptures. Collecting and constructing are two different activities; we never…

How Small Prompts Help You Nano

And how to use them to keep the story flowing If you write with random prompts, or have, you are probably already a believer- this is the way; write in it. But even a believer falls by the wayside, forgets what tips and tricks have helped them in the past, and resorts to staring at the page or writing what turn out to be dull prose lacking the magic. How to get the magic back? Prompts- but what kind? from where?… I take phrases or words from books I’m reading, the stuff that jumps out at me since I read like the writer I am- looking for anything I can use, anything at all that will move my own story down the finish lane. Where to get the best prompts Currently I keep returning to a little known novel I find fascinating: The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre about how…

Ekphrastic Mama meets Mama Matanuska

Like a huge bird our airplane touches down on the tarmac and soon makes a turn–we are here in Cordova, Alaska, turning away from the mountains and rivers so immense it tries the mind, taking in this northern tundra from above–what specks we are, yearning for meaning, traveling at high speeds, and covering so much ground in a day that we may never catch up with ourselves. Next stop Yakutat; just for fun, the milk-run flight. Grounded for 45 minutes my mind turns back to home where a small urn sits on a shelf with all that is left to me of my mother, but once was arms and legs leading to toes turned into appendages from tadpole-like little pieces inside her mother, my grandmother. As we take to the air again, the image takes shape like a plane ride, the kind that turns upside down and right-side-up again just…

A New Thought for Today

I have lots of old thoughts that circulate regularly so when a new thought flits by I notice it and see if it’s one I want to keep. Today’s thought, early on this Sunday morning Mother’s Day, was about privilege, a hot topic and one I’ve been entertaining in new ways. This new thought took me by surprise, as new thoughts often do, being new. It was a privilege to be my mother’s daughter. Many of you might think these kinds of thoughts quite often; I confess that I haven’t had a lot of thoughts like this, but the thought seemed beautiful to me. I decided it could stay, that I would like to think this way more. It is a thought that serves me well. After it came another I liked equally well, maybe even better: It’s a privilege to be a mother of my three daughters (three sons…

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