Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Ralph Waldo Emerson

When Words Fail, Music and Poetry Connect

Writing is difficult, and one of its greatest challenges stems from the fact that words, which are mere strings of letters, are clumsy in their attempts to convey emotion.  Writers arrange letters together in formats that have become standardized symbols for something else. For instance, the letters “a-p-p-l-e” are recognized as symbolic of a red fruit that grows on trees and is usually harvested in fall. If a writer adds other words, he might foster emotions about the red fruit or he might remind the reader of the fruit’s tartness, its, crunchiness, and its juiciness. If the writer is able to carefully juxtapose other letters around the word “apple,” the reader may leap toward memories of a grandmother and the rolling of homemade pie crust, and of warm, cinnamon desserts topped with vanilla ice cream. Yet, by merely spelling the word “a-p-p-l-e,” a writer is telling his readers very little. A writer must add more strings of letters and a bit of polish to the letters before hopefully, the letters can begin to mean. Music, on the other hand, has a more direct impact than simple strings of words.

The ancient Tao Te Ching says that as soon as we begin to verbalize a feeling, the emotion vanishes. In other words, the ancient Asians recognized that there is a vein of emotion within us that defies being conveyed through words.

Chapter 1 – Tao Te Ching

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things 

Some believe that music has the power to connect in ways that words often fail.

Music is the shorthand of emotion. – Leo Tolstoy

Image result for jacki kellum language of the birds

I believe that music, for humans, is like the language of the birds.

 

In Ancient Greece, music was believed to have an almost magical power of communication.

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. – Plato

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the movie Out of Africa. I have seen that movie several times before, and the music of that movie helps make it monumental. As I watched the movie again this past Thursday, I entered the Out of Africa experience as soon as I heard the music. The music of Out of Africa had become a type of shorthand link into my mind. The music could communicate to me in a way that words could not, and that is why I prefer excellent movies to reading. A well-made movie employs several passages into the spirit.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about the inadequacy of words. He said that a child who feels about what is around him understands better than the scientist who tries to capsulize life into words. Emerson adds that poetry, unlike logical words, does have a music-like power to connect:

Science was false by being unpoetical. It assumed to explain a reptile or mollusk, and isolated it…. The metaphysician, the poet, only sees each animal form as an inevitable step in the path of the creating mind. The Indian, the hunter, the boy with his pets, have sweeter knowledge of these than the savant. …The poet knows the missing link by the joy it gives. The poet gives us the eminent experiences only,–a god stepping from peak to peak, nor planting his foot but on a mountain.

. . .

Poetry is the perpetual endeavor to express the spirit of the thing, to pass the brute body and search the life and reason which causes it to exist….It is a presence of mind that gives a miraculous command of all means of uttering the thought and feeling of the moment.

. . .

Imagination.–Whilst common sense looks at things or visible Nature as real and final facts, poetry, or the imagination which dictates it, is a second sight, looking through these, and using them as types or words for thoughts which they signify.

. . .

A poet comes who lifts the veil; gives them glimpses of the laws of the universe….

The solid men complain that the idealist leaves out the fundamental facts; the poet complains that the solid men leave out the sky.

Read More Here

Autumn scene. Fall. Trees and leaves in sun light

Ralph Waldo Emerson sought to explain through words how poetry communicates the essence of life that is beyond words:

No definition of poetry is adequate unless it be poetry itself. The most accurate analysis by the rarest wisdom is yet insufficient, and the poet will instantly prove it false by setting aside its requisitions. It is indeed all that we do not know. The poet does not need to see how meadows are something else than earth, grass, and water, but how they are thus much. He does not need discover that potato blows are as beautiful as violets, as the farmer thinks, but only how good potato blows are. The poem is drawn out from under the feet of the poet, his whole weight has rested on this ground. It has a logic more severe than the logician’s.  You might as well think to go in pursuit of the rainbow, and embrace it on the next hill, as to embrace the whole of poetry even in thought. – Emerson

Jacki Kellum Garden

I have a beautiful garden, and I often say that I am a nature watcher, but that is not the absolute truth. I do more than simply watch nature. Nature entrances me. I like to lose myself in nature. I like to become one with nature.  Nature communicates the primordial to me in ways that words hardly ever do.

“I find peace where the sun kissed leaves dance in the melody of the cool breeze that floats through the air.” ― Saim Cheeda

At times, I also connect with music and/or poetry  in that primordial way. The power of poetry is not that of its words, because words themselves are weak vessels. The power of poetry lies within its ability to capture and distill life itself.

©Jack Kellum August 20, 2017

Trance

Everyone Has the Same Destination – The Question Is How Will You Make Your Journey

When I was in the 7th grade, a teacher wrote the following words on the blackboard: “Hitch Your Wagon to a Star.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

That was almost half a century ago, and I was living in a little rural town in the cotton-growing part of the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri. Before that day, I had never heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I had not thought much about life outside of my little community. In many ways, that one teacher changed the course of my life. Her name was Miss King, and she challenged me to be more than I might have been had I never met her. God Bless Great Teachers, and God Bless Miss King for opening my eyes to the ever wondrous nuances of living life fully.

Miss King was an outstanding English teacher and after my 7th-grade year under her tutelage, grammar was never too difficult for me. That, in itself, was one of the greatest gifts that I ever received, but because I lived in a very small town, Miss King also taught me again in 10th grade. That year, she taught me English literature. That is when she opened my eyes to William Blake and to his Songs of Innocence and Experience.

I have always been interested in both writing and visual art, and I loved the fact that William Blake both wrote and illustrated his work. I became fascinated by the idea that one day I might write and illustrate my writing, too.  I also became interested in the message in Blake’s writing. Blake challenged mankind to have a depth feelings, and he warned against becoming emotionally old. William Blake was the subject of my first master’s thesis, and his work has fueled my own vision. I owe a great deal to William Blake, but I owe even more to Miss King, who introduced me to William Blake. It was because of Miss King that when I was 12 years old, I Hitched my own Wagon to a Star, and it was because of Miss King that my journey has not been like that of most people.

road-1072823_1920-RobertFrost

Miss King also introduced me to Robert Frost and through Miss King and Robert Frost, I began to realize that there was a path that led out of the cotton patches of my childhood. Thank goodness, that passage goes both ways. Although I have left my childhood home, I return to it daily through my writing. I have not turned my back on who I was, but because of who I once was and because of great teachers like Miss King, I learned to reach for other worlds. I learned to set goals, and I began walking toward those goals.

shoot-for-the-moon900

When I was in the 7th grade, I heard what Miss King was saying. I actually “got” what she was trying to teach my class. She was challenging us to aim for greatness in our lives. She was opening a door for us and encouraging us to begin the journey that would become the courses of our lives.  I will be the first to admit that I have not yet reached the moon of my own goals. In fact, it has taken me quite some time to decide exactly which path that I wanted to follow. But because very early in life, I aimed for the moon, my life has indeed been lighted by the stars. And that has made all the difference to me.

Several months ago, I wrote a simple little poem. Ostensibly, the poem was a recording of the way that I felt when I initially awoke one morning. Within a few hours of having written the verse, however, I realized that through a few, simple words, I had actually captured something about the way that I have decided to journey through my entire life.

silver-sheets

On Silver Sheets, I Sail
by Jacki Kellum

Just before I open my eyes
I float along the misty skies.

I reach, I feel the soft, white hair
and fairy wings that flutter there.

I listen, I hear the slumber song,
The angel band that plays along

My dreams are in my pillow-pail.
On silver sheets, I sail.

©Jacki Kellum  July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day – Let Your Freedom Ring!

Sail

Hitch Your Wagon to a Star – The Importance of Setting Goals & of Mapping Out Your Vision

When I was in the 7th grade, a teacher wrote the following words on the blackboard: “Hitch Your Wagon to a Star.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

That was almost half a century ago, and I was living in a little rural town in the cotton-growing part of the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri. Before that day, I had never heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I had not thought much about life outside of my little community. In many ways, that one teacher changed the course of my life. Her name was Miss King, and she challenged me to be more than I might have been had I never met her. God Bless Great Teachers.

Miss King was an outstanding English teacher and because of her tutelage, I never had to worry about grammar after she taught me in 7th grade. That, in itself, was one of the greatest gifts that I ever received, but because I lived in a very small town, Miss King also taught me English literature in the 10th grade. That is when she opened my eyes to William Blake and to his Songs of Innocence and Experience.

As soon as I saw William Blake’s writing that he himself had illustrated, I knew that I myself wanted to write and to illustrate my own words. At least once a month, I talk about William Blake in my blogs, and I discuss how Blake challenged mankind to have feelings and to have an emotional depth. William Blake was the subject of my first master’s thesis, and his  work has fueled my own vision. I owe a great deal to William Blake, but I owe even more to Miss King, who introduced me to William Blake. It was because of Miss King that when I was 12 years old, I Hitched my own Wagon to a Star.

road-1072823_1920-RobertFrost

Miss King also introduced me to Robert Frost and through Miss King and Robert Frost, I began to realize that there was a path that led out of the cotton patches of my childhood. Thank goodness, that passage goes both ways. Although I have left my childhood home, I return to it daily through my writing. I have not turned my back on who I was, but because of who I once was and because of great teachers like Miss King, I learned to reach for other worlds. I learned to set goals, and I began walking toward those goals.

shoot-for-the-moon900

When I was in the 7th grade, I heard what Miss King was saying. I actually “got” what she was trying to tell my class. She was challenging us to aim for greatness in our lives. She was opening a door for us and challenging us to begin the journey that would become the courses of our lives.  I will be the first to admit that I have not yet reached the moon of my own goals. In fact, it has taken me quite some time to decide exactly which path that I wanted to follow. But because very early in life, I aimed for the moon, my life has indeed been lighted by the stars. And that has made all the difference to me.

Several months ago, I wrote a simple little poem. Ostensibly, the poem was a recording of the way that I felt when I initially awoke one morning. Within a few hours of having written the verse, however, I realized that through a few, simple words, I had actually captured something about the way that I have journeyed through my entire life.

silver-sheets

On Silver Sheets, I Sail
by Jacki Kellum

Just before I open my eyes
I float along the misty skies.

I reach, I feel the soft, white hair
and fairy wings that flutter there.

I listen, I hear the slumber song,
The angel band that plays along

My dreams are in my pillow-pail.
On silver sheets, I sail.

©Jacki Kellum December 16, 2016

For at least the past 50 years, I have Sailed on Silver sheets, and because I have allowed myself to do that, I have filled my pockets with stardust, and I have had a plethora of glorious experiences, as well as some terrible ones. But while I was bouncing from star to star, I didn’t really accomplish much that is tangible. Although it has taken a while for me to reach this point, I am finally at the place that I am ready to begin reaching for some concrete goals.

For almost a year, I have been blogging voraciously.  Even at the time that I had begun to blog, I knew that I was in the first phase of a process that is called Blogging to Book. As it turns out, I have several WordPress blogs, however, and I have been blogging to several books. Yesterday, I launched a new site that is a combination WordPress blog and website, and I have entered phase 2 of my goal to Blog to Books . I encourage everyone to read a post about my Blog to Book Experience Here.

The purpose of my blog site Blog to Memoir is to provide a home where I’ll record my experiences as I begin to hone my blogs and to turn them into books. Unlike a place where I’ll continue to “Sail on Silver Sheets,” the Blog to Memoir site is the place that you will watch me, as I begin to turn pixie dust into reality.

In the first post on Blog to Memoir, I outline the steps that I now realize should be everyone’s course, as they begin blogging to book. I wish that a year ago, I knew the things that I share in that post. I have made some business mistakes and I have wasted some time. The steps that I outline in this post will help prevent you from making some of those same mistakes. Here.

brand-800px-text

Among other things on Blog to Memoir, I tell you that in order to Blog to Book, you need to turn yourself AND each of your book ideas into Brands and you need to establish a Writer’s Platform:

What Is A Writer’s Platform?

  1. One of the first and most important things that a writer can do is to turn himself into a brand. Blogging helps with this, and if the writer tags his blogging posts and images correctly, it will help faster and more efficiently.  Each writer needs a web home where he can be found, and his web home needs to reflect the image that he wishes to portray of himself or herself.jacki_kellum_website_headerMy personal web home is http://www.jackikellum.com. Here
  2. Second, the writer needs to turn each of his books into brands. On the same Blog to Memoir post, I suggested that before you begin to blog your book, you need to title it and to buy a domain that will be associated with each book that you are blogging to book. As soon as you begin to blog your book, you need to mention the book’s domain name and your own name each time that you post. At times, the only way to do that is to mention these things in the tags, but this will also help. Following are some of the books that I officially began blogging this week: paint_past_header
     www.paintyourpast.com Herecomputer_clever_header
    http://www.computerclever.com Here

    draw_nature_headerhttp://www.drawnature.com Here
  3. If you are considering self-publishing, you may want to create your own publishing house and begin to Brand that, too. Nothing seems more amateur to me than to say that you [as an individual] published your own book. I have launched my own publishing company, too.

logo-horizontal-1280
http://www.juxtapositionspress.com Here

mine-memories

To help publicize your upcoming books or to increase interest in yourself and your book, you might host a free blogging event.  Here is the Free Event that I am hosting, and I hope that all of you will find the time to participate in that event Mine Your Memories: Find Your VoiceHere

As you can see, I have finally managed to step out of my starry-eyed self long enough to establish some authentic goals, and I have created several combination WordPress and Blog sites to help me move toward those goals.  If you look closely at those blog sites, however, you will see that most of them are business-related or they are places where I am teaching and offering tutorials. Contrary to places where I am “Sailing on Silver Sheets,” my new blog sites will become the virtual bricks and mortar of my quest to Blog to Book. This does not mean, however, that I have quit creating my more artistic stuff. What you will see on my site Blog to Memoir is the very unartistic process that I realize is necessary for me to get the artistic part of myself published and “out there.”

©Jacki Kellum August 13, 2016

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