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Posts Tagged ‘Calligrams for inspiration’

After writing the post about the link between managing spasm and improving walking, I continued thinking about how important it is to never, never give up. No matter the obstacles, challenges, frustrations, fears never give up. I had this image in my head of enormous blocks that are seemingly unsurmountable …

Never, Never Give Up

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A friend remarked, as he picked up an iPod, that his grandmother would refuse to believe that a thing so tiny could possibly hold thousands of songs.

It started me thinking how extraordinary the playing of recorded music has become. It’s the stuff of Science Fiction, except no Science Fiction writer predicted the storage of vast tracks of music in such a portable device, and that the quality of the music would be superb.

It isn’t long ago that we were astounded by the amount of music stored on a CD, and that a CD player could be carried so easily, although there was the problem of jumping tracks as a portable player moved. I still have a CD player in my car.
The CD superseded the Walkman, and that was less than ten years ago!

I don’t have an iPod because I doubt I could walk well with my crutches if I was listening to music through ear plugs. Also, I hate having things in my ears. ( Now, if someone could come up with a way to listen to music through the bone behind the ear …)

When I’m at home, which is quite a lot of the time, I listen to music through iTunes. Fantastic! A quality sound through a home theatre system (bought for listening to music, not watching movies) that enables me listen to anything from Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto to the Rolling Stones “Angie”.

And that’s when I get “lost in the music”. With thousands of pieces of music to choose from, I vacillate instead of just clicking the mouse and letting the music seep out, spill out, rock out, or boom out I get lost in the playlist … Do I feel like listening to Cat Stevens, Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Joan Baez, Mozart, Beethoven, Mussorgsky … Do I want to listen to protest music from the sixties, or do I want to listen to country music, or classical. The library is organised into categories, but sometimes the mix in the categories doesn’t suit. Then more questions …Do I want to buy music from the Internet, or own a CD?

I’m lost in all the possibilities.

But, once I’ve found the music for the moment, then I’m reminded of the true meaning of “lost in the music”. There is no sense of time or space, just the emotional response to something primal. Music moves me. It moves me to joy, sadness, wonder. Music fills me up. Music speaks to my soul.I’m lost in the music …

Lost In The Music

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All of us at some time in our lives experience trauma or tragedy. I was listening to an interview on National Radio where a self help guru was talking about a book he had written about dealing with tragedy after his young son was diagnosed with autism. He had developed a phrase called the “reality gap” to describe the adjustment people in tragic situations have to make between their expectations and their new reality.

I don’t like this phrase. Everything about it seems negative. “Reality” smacks of “get real” and gap emphasises what you’ve lost.

I compare this to the strategies that are implemented in the spinal unit to help paraplaegics and tetraplaegics get back on their feet, figuratively speaking … Hit the deck running, so to speak. (Humour is a great tool.) Patients are encouraged to grieve, for loss of mobility, loss of bodily function … and to understand the stages of grief they will experience. Then there is a plaque on the wall “Think about what you can do, not what you cannot.” This is hammered in. Staff demand the maximum independence possible.

In these circumstance the human spirit is at its finest. People discover personal qualities of resilience, problem solving, empathy, co-operation, determination, optimism, hope. I met a gang member who extended his hand in friendship by showing me, a middle aged, middle class woman, how to use my wheelchair as a weapon. There is also depression, frustration, anger, denial, but nearly always people find the strength and the tools to move forward. The only thing that can stop someone growing and adapting is bitterness. Bitterness is the great enemy.

I don’t believe a catch phrase like “reality gap” is particularly helpful. Focussing on what you can do, not what you cannot is a powerful force.

I do believe that having a mantra can be a useful way of empowering yourself. My favourite is ” Steel is forged in great heat” another is “the best roses grow in real shit” and “diamonds are just bits of coal that did well under pressure”

It’s a bummer, but we don’t grow in peace and contentment, we grow in adversity. Some of my best thinking and inspiration has happened under pressure, not moments of quiet reflection.

As Winston Churchill said, “We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.”

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My gallery of original artwork is now continually updated as a page. This page can be found as a tab at the very top of the page above the banner, along with “About Me” and “about Spinal Cord Injuries” (since February 2012). It’s much more iinteresting than either of these. Please check it out.

Here is my artwork posted til then:

Welcome to my gallery of original artwork, calligrams. The word calligram means “beautiful writing”, probably because the letters and words are arranged into an image. It is sometimes called concrete poetry. I prefer to describe it as visual poetry. From most recent:

Calligram – The Beginning of Love

Calligram – Reach For THe Sky

Calligram – Music Breaks My Heart

Calligram – Music Sets Fire To Your Soul

Calligram – Music Sets My Heart On Fire

Calligram – Life Is A Gift

I Am What I Think And Do

Calligram – Just Another Dream

Just Another Dream

Calligram – I Dream Therefore I Am:

I Am What I Think And Do

Calligram – Lost in the music:

Calligram – One more for Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Rose

Calligrams – For Valentine Day:

Heart On Fire

For Valentine Day

What Is Love

Calligram – The Sweet Sleep – Anastheasia

Sweet Sleep – Anastheasia

Calligram – Adversity, Forging Steel In Great Heat

A Christmas Calligram

Calligram – Blood Diamond

Calligram – Blow Your Own Trumpet

Calligram – Bubbles

Calligram – Let Your Heart Sing

Calligram – Reach High, Dream Deep

Calligrams – Destiny
The next two are meant to be viewed together as one work:

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I am exploring the power of visual poetry.

My friend and I were sharing our thoughts on the meaning of “character”. Our thoughts can be summed up as
Watch your thoughts, they become your words,
watch your words, they become your actions,
watch your actions, they become your habits
watch your habits, they become your character
watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

This was a “light bulb” moment for me, and I immediately saw how powerfully this message could be conveyed using visuals, and turning this into visual poetry – a calligram, or calligrams.

Take two extremes of people whose thoughts, words and actions changed the world:

Calligram – Hitler’s Destiny

Hitler was a destructive tornado, a cold dangerous wind that blew through Europe. The power of his words swept ordinary people into acts of bigotry, hatred and cruelty. The character and destinies of millions were changed.

Calligram – Gandhi’s Destiny

Gandhi was committed to non-violence, human freedom, equality and justice. His ideals of truth and non-violence led to acts of passive resistance. His words and actions sent ripples of change around the world. Ripples that continue to remind us of alternatives to war and military action.

Words can inspire, but combined with typography or calligraphy, colours and shapes, transformed to visual poetry, become powerful and provocative.

Other poetry – calligram posts:
Calligrams – Visual Poetry
Blood Diamonds
A Christmas Calligram
Poetry – Calligrams

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More calligrams!
A `calligram` is a poem, phrase, or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image. The image created by the words expresses visually what the word, or words, say.

Since I found out about calligrams and poetry I have played around with the idea of calligrams, letting it cook for a while in my sub-conscious, taking it out every now and then, and now I’ve come out with a few images that I like.
First was the Christmas calligram, then a Blood Diamond.

I have a few phrases that resonate with my soul, and inspired more calligrams

“Something that makes my heart sing” This can be music, or a painting, or sculpture that moves me to tears or laughter, or something I’ve read or heard about that inspires me or gives me something to aspire to. Or it might simply be a memory. Or feeling proud of my children and their achievements.

“Reaching for the stars” I love the image of a star as being something to reach for, dream about and that inspires goals. There’s something about the infinity of the night sky broken by pin pricks of light that makes me want to reach out past the world I know and search for more – needing to know more, do more, be more.


“Blowing your own trumpet” We’re not supposed to do this. But sometimes I’m so darn happy that I’ve been finally able to move a muscle or make a movement that shouldn’t be possible after damaging my spinal cord all those years ago, that I just have to let the joy out!


I love watching people blowing bubbles. Well, I love watching both the person and the bubbles. I recently blew coloured bubbles onto canvas, and it was fun. There is something amazing about a bubble. That it can exist, even for a few moments, is incredible. And each one contains a small rainbow, floating and shining.

Watch this space for more …

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How could I have lived this long and not known about about calligrams? I love letters and art, so throw poetry into the mix and voila, there is a thing of such beauty it takes my breath away.

I’ve seen letters cleverly arranged into shapes to create an image that expresses the meaning of the letters or words. Simple, nice. For example,

Letters or words create a visual image of themselves

An image created using related words

But calligram poetry! It’s beautiful:

Apollinaire's Dessin

Apollinaire's Dessin Il Pleut

Apollinaire's Eiffel Tower

Guillaume Apollinaire was a French writer born in Italy in 1880 of Polish parents. He famously wrote a book about calligrams, published in 1918. (Makes me feel really ignorant, having not heard of or seen these wonderful visual poems.) Calligrammes: Poèmes de la paix et de la guerre 1913- 1916 (1918) from An Introduction to Guillaume Apollinaire. He also wrote the children’s books “Madeleine”, which I do know about.

Other beautiful calligrams that I’ve found:
(Click on the title to find out more about the author)

DIAMOND

*
*the*
*diamond*
*on my hand*
*reflecting love*
*stars , dance*
*an endless*
*diamond*
*sky*

Tears

t        a            d
e                       o
a         r             w
r               i           n
s                v
e            a
  s               r
t                              s
r            o             a
e            f                d
a
m            s                 f
i                 o                a
n                  r            c
g                r                e
o
w

(Sometimes it is called concrete poetry – I suppose because the visual element gives a solid dimension – but I don’t like this description at all) This author calls her poem a concrete poem …

‘A gentle breeze … “

Apparently calligram means beautiful writing, and so it is!

I’ve started creating my own calligrams. These can be viewed in My Artwork and Calligrams Where you will find calligrams for love, inspiration, hearts, music, valentines and more …

If you’re interested, the context for these calligrams can be seen in these posts:
The Power of Visual Poetry – Destiny
Calligrams – Visual Poetry here you will find calligrams of hearts, stars, music and more.
A Christmas Calligram
Blood Diamonds

Calligrams for Inspiration

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