Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Notes from the Guest Editor: Theme Challenges and Community Poem

Hi to all my friends, fellow babylost community and artists.

I would like to say thanks to Angie for letting me come onto still life 365 to be a guest editor for the month of April. Angie has selflessly offered this experience to me, so that I can know what it is like to be in every day contact with such amazing artists and supporters. I am having a great time already, and its barely even started. I am having lots of email contact with Angie and I can't help anticipating all the inspiring work that is going to flow into this sacred space this month.

I love still life365, I can't say it enough. I am such a big fan. I love seeing the photos arrive on Photo Sunday, as a group we all contribute a photo that expresses our perception of the theme, for me it's like seeing a piece of your soul, being invited to look out from your window and see your world. I love the secretness of the group poem, because everyone submits something individual but no one sees the lines that others are submitting. The group poem always takes the temperature of grief in our community, even though each portion is so deeply personal and straight from the heart it all fits together. And I love the questions that Angie posts, so many contributors have posted that their exploration of the questions have prompted something unknown to rise to the surface, things that have been lying in the depths.

Speaking of depths, this month I have chosen water as the theme

I personally connect with the analogies of grief and water. Ones like "grief is as heavy as water", or it feeling like an unnatural state "exhausting as walking through water", and the very commonly stated "waves of grief rolling in".

We all use water everyday, for most of us we have very constant and unremarkable contact with water. I mean do we call up our best friend and tell them the story of when the water came out of the tap and into our sink? Of course we don't. We flush it, wash in it, drink it, we do countless other mundane things with it. It's just ordinary.

But, there are times when water becomes something else, especially when it gets bigger. Like a lake or a stream or a river or the sea. Being near water becomes a spiritual thing, we feel closer to the source of our beings, we feel a connection with the universe, our creator. Things are more intense and more intimate when we can hear see or feel water.

In Australia we are so focussed on water. It surrounds us, there are thousands of miles of it between us and just about everyone else. We have a very fragile existence because of the lack of water, many parts of our amazing country cannot be inhabited by the ordinary person because they would just die of thirst. We have just had a 10 year long drought which was broken by an extremely rainy and tragic summer. Huge tracts of land disappeared under water and caused the most catastrophic consequences from the top of our nation to the bottom. Some of that land is still under water, or it has been flooded for the second and third time this season. In Australia it seems that there is either too much or not enough. Of course it's not true

Our babies were all protected by water, they floated in an climate controlled amniotic fluid filled sac while they were alive.  That sac of water was one of the lifelines that our body gave to protect their life, for every single one of our babies. For some the water was too much and for others too little, and that signaled problems. For me that is where my journey with grief became coupled with water. 

This month I would like you all to create art using water as your theme.

Please send in any submissions that relate to water at any time, especially if you created something because of the prompts. Angie has been calling for submissions over the last week or two weeks, so if you are not sure please send it to Angie and she will forward it to me and one of us will reply (because I still have my training wheels on) with encouragement and love. I know that I personally have art that has never been published here, so I will take my own advice.

We are trying something a little different this month, instead of posting the community art challenges on Sundays we are going to do them on Mondays.

The publication dates and deadlines are:
Photo Monday 11th April and the deadline for submissions is Saturday 9th April at 8pm
Community Poem 18th April and the deadline for submissions is Saturday 17th April at 8pm
Visual Community Poetry Project 25th April (Easter Monday) and the deadline for submissions is Thursday 21st April at 8pm (because of Easter)

Please send your submissions to stilllife365days(at)gmail(dot)com. And use the submissions type (photo sunday, community poem, visual challenge) as the subject. Next Monday will be Photo Monday, and you have less than one week before the deadline. The challenge with Photo Monday is to take a picture that explores your grief using the theme of water. If you find you are having trouble getting a creative visual idea, post a help message in the comments section of this post and we can all help out with ideas.

I love the Community Poem, I think I already said that. It is going to be the following Monday 18th April.

About the Community Poem. This month I would like you to write two lines of prose exploring your reflections on water and grief. I am posting two lists of words, please use one of the words from each list in each line of your prose. So that is one word from list 1 written into Line 1, and one word from List 2 written into Line 2

Here are the lists,


I did a poetry workshop last year sometime and there were so many wonderful individual bohemian type people there who wrote some very amazing things. One thing I remembered from the guest poet (Drew Dellinger) was that poetry was essentially "memorable speech". So I will attempt some memorable speech to explain where I am going.

I will use the words bathe and ripple.

First, I try to collect phrases and words that come to mind that relate to the word bathe;
stepping into, foot first, hot ankles, naked, prepared, wash, pink, heat, anticipate, bubble

This is how my two lines read;

Awkward weary steps in fear spreading
wraps grief ripples round ankles unused to bathing in death

Here is the second part of this challenge which I am calling the Community Visual Poetry Project. Its a visual project because we are going to see your written art take the form of visual art.

I would love to see your handwriting, in this technology age we rarely see handwritten things. Please try to use your natural handwriting, so that means the language and the style that you would normally scribble a note to yourself is perfect. I would like you to please write your lines in circles like the ripples that raindrops make in puddles. Then scan or photograph it and send it to stilllife365. I will create a visual project from everyone's lines to post on the third Sunday in April.

This is how I did it, I drew circles on a piece of paper with a black marker. I put my sheet of copy paper over it and wrote my lines using the black marker circles as a guide. This is how it looks. I am sure yours will be wonderful and together it will be amazing.

Happy photo snapping and poem building my village.

Love from Australia,



  1. Water is an awesome theme, Julie. These challenges sound amazing and fun, and I can't wait to participate as a reader. Thank you for guest editing. xo

  2. Yay! I've missed the community pieces! Welcome Julie!

  3. Thinking cap is on as I trot off to bed in this part of the world.
    Sounds wonderful, Julie. And welcome aboard.

  4. Thanks for the welcomes! I am so looking forward to the art that is going to come into the editors inbox. You are all going to blow me away I know. I am counting the hours till next monday (136).

  5. Looking forward to this! Great ideas Julie :)


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