Monday, May 22, 2017

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ AN UPDATE WITH SHERRI BRANNON

Today, my friends, we are catching up with Sherri Brannon, a Poets United member who has been away from the blogosphere for a time. When I saw her name pop up again on Mr. Linky, I hastened to ask her for an update and, happily, she said yes. Pull your chairs in close. Sherri, we are all ears!






Sherry: I was so happy to see you pop up online again, after some time away. Would you like to bring us up to date with what you've been up to? 

Sherri: The past year has been a bit crazy because I've been planning my daughter's wedding, TWICE. Her wedding was originally supposed to be last October 9th - a destination wedding in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We were all a bit stunned when, 48 hours before the ceremony, Hurricane Matthew directly hit the island. The governor issued a mandatory evacuation of everyone and the entire wedding had to be cancelled...it was a horrible day. The island suffered significant damage. 

But, we have moved on and the new date is June 18th! So once again, I am in full wedding planning mode with my daughter for the second year in a row. At least they'll have a fun story to tell their future grandchildren! My creative time was minimal this past year because of all that was going on.

Sherry: It does sound like a whirl. What brought you back to poetry? 

Sherri: In addition to the wedding planning, my poetry writing had completely stopped until recently. And one very specific thing I did seemed to turn my writing switch back on - I stopped watching the news. It was having such a negative effect on my spirit that I think I felt numb. When I did all of these things, it felt so good to just sit in the silence and listen to music again. My stress level went down dramatically. And the poems started coming, almost immediately!

Sherry: I know how the news, especially recently, can shut everything down. I am so happy your Muse returned. I love your poem "Grounded" - what inspired it? 

Sherri: There's a lot of political turmoil in our country these days, to put it mildly. I've been so disheartened by how cruel and malicious people have become towards one another just because they share different political views. It was really wearing me down to see such nastiness and anger every day, especially on Facebook, from people of BOTH parties. As someone who intensely dislikes fighting and conflict, I had been doing what I always do: spending time in nature. Nature is always a beautiful escape. It was these thoughts that brought on my poem. 

Copyright Sherri Brannon



GROUNDED

I seek out the water
and we breathe together
I look into the
honest eyes
of the dusk flowers
and we see each other
I love these moments
how my soul
takes time to notice
I have long resisted
that my sensitivity 
is my strength
we fools of the world
there are days 
I'd rather not
have my fragile heart 
be my super power
with my soft approach
my love of dead poets
my lofty thoughts of God
all tethered down 
by this ball and chain
of a brain

I seek comfort in nature
its wordless wonder
with no malice or sting
there are no greedy stars
with cynical hearts
I think about the sound
the moon must make
when it brushes
against the water
and I'm forever grateful
the herons don't mock
they have no sharp tongues
no sorrows that burn
no eyes filled
with fire and ego 
I watch them fly
daring me to follow
and I stand there
earth-grounded
as they depart
for the sky
to their paradise,
their star-God life.

© Sherri Brannon 2017


The jewel is the awaring presence, not the object being seen. That’s why we can be bored and disappointed while gazing at the Swiss Alps and ecstatic and blissed out over a crumpled cigarette package in the gutter. The beauty is in the quality of the seeing, the awareness, the presence, not in the object being seen. ~Joan Tollifson 


Sherry: This is the most beautiful poem. I love that there are no cynical or greedy stars, and my heart swooped up with the herons, flying up to their "star-God life".

Tell us about your poem "Wild". 

Sherri: This poem came about while thinking about the fact that I have never been that wild, adventurous free-spirit sort of a person. I've always been very cautious and careful. However, I've always had a wild imagination and for that I'm really grateful! I took that observation and had fun making it a poem.


copyright Sherri Brannon


WILD

Most people carry the husks 
of their wild oats
in their pockets
and every once in awhile 
their hand reaches in
to scoop out an old piece of rebellion 
turned to sawdust
and it makes them smile

But I was that child 
whose only version of wild
was to raise my hand to read out loud in class
in my own quiet way of daring
and it turned into a lifelong thing
this cautious mind, with empty pockets
lost in an inner world
deep within the confines 
of my careful cage of a body

It's all okay, though, 
I'm coming back around
I was always afraid of my own shadow
but God was just making sure 
I was breaking it in
growing me into a better version 
of that bookworm child
teaching me to see 
beyond the hard edges
of my knowledge

And I have come to love 
my own way of the wild
the soul-side kind
curve of spirit, circle of dreams
soft epiphanies and wonders 
spiraling behind my eyes
which may have aging lines 
but now seek out the light in others
because the eyes 
can never tell lies

My wild oats are alive 
and they're with me even now
I shake them off my fingers
collecting them 
between the pages of my journal
soulful word husks 
pressed into the grain of the paper
where I can sit in my wild silence
and read them, and smile.

© Sherri Brannon 2017

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
 ~Anne Sexton


Sherry: Ahhhhhh....so lovely. I especially love the seeking out the light in others.

In the past year, I know you have been very busy with your art, so your creative juices were still flowing. What excites you about it? 




Sherri: This past year I've become consumed with learning the Procreate app and doing all of my artwork with my iPad Pro. I love the idea of having "my studio" in a portable device that I can carry with me anywhere I want to. 



I also love that with the Procreate app I have no fear of mistakes because there is an Undo button. If i mess up, I can instantly undo however many strokes I want to! It's amazing, and the Apple Pencil is magic. As a self-taught artist learning to draw and paint, it has been such a gift to have this wonderful app.

Sherry: Your portraits are beautiful! Wow! I think portraits must be the hardest thing to paint.  You have a real  talent for it. It must be very fulfilling to produce works of art. 

Is there anything you'd like to say to Poets United? 

Sherri: Just that I'm very grateful that this group exists. It is such a welcoming place, and I truly enjoy sharing my poetry here. Thank you again for featuring me!

Sherry: Thank you for saying yes, Sherri. And I hope this time the weather is perfect for your daughter's wedding!

So there you have it, my friends, another poet making her journey. I hope you enjoyed this visit as much as I did. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!




26 comments:

  1. Sherry, thank you so much for introducing me to Sherri. I love both of her poems, and am so glad that she reserves that wild streak for her creativity, both words and images.

    Sherri, I, too, was quiet, reining in those wild impulses with a heavy hand while a child. Then let them loose for a short time, well after thirty. Found myself nodding my head and grinning to your word portrait of that part of me. And love your nature images. Want to learn all about your Procreate App. Would you consider giving some lessons?

    Elizabeth

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    1. Elizabeth, thanks for your kind words...I think there are a lot of us out there, the "quiet ones" who actually have a whole lot to say lol. As far as Procreate, it's a very powerful app, and to teach it I'd have to create about a six month course! The app comes with a very detailed manual that describes all of its features - I know it's a bit tedious, but the best way to learn it is to literally read through the manual and practice each feature as you read through it. Then it really begins to stick! I also highly recommend an online course I took which introduced me to Procreate - it's called "Paint & Pixels" and it's taught by Ivy NewPort and Robin Laws. They are both incredible artists and wonderful teachers. Taking this class changed my creative life!

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  2. Oh, Elizabeth, of course you would be interested in the app, given your own artistic leanings. I so love Sherri's photo of the heron, which looks like a painting itself.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry...the wonder of apps! :)

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  3. Sherri, so nice to see you back in the poetry blogosphere again. Love the poetry Sherry shared of yours, and also enjoyed examples of your artwork. Procreate seems to be a cool Ap. I will have to look at it. Smiles. Looking forward to reading more of your poems. Sherry, thanks for another fascinating interview!

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    1. Thank you, Mary - after my daughter's wedding, I hope to be in the blogosphere on a much more regular basis.

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  4. Oh, Sherri, I definitely have your kind of wild--and I LOVE the growth image in your last stanza!
    "My wild oats are alive
    and they're with me even now
    I shake them off my fingers
    collecting them
    between the pages of my journal
    soulful word husks
    pressed into the grain of the paper
    where I can sit in my wild silence
    and read them, and smile."
    (golly gee willikers! My stay at home Quaker self is smiling all the way into my bones.)
    And how blessed we are that you share your words, knowing
    "my sensitivity
    is my strength"
    O, don't resist. You give us so much from your encounters with the eternal honesty of nature. Thank you!

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    1. Susan, you said it to perfection! I smile, too, deep inside, at those same lines. Yay for poets!

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    2. Susan, thank you so much...there are a lot of us sensitive souls out there, taking in the world and grappling with how to take it all in (and express it all out). It sounds like you are part of the tribe! I appreciate your kindness. :)

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  5. Another wonderful interview! I loved..loved..loved - the poem 'Wild'. The last stanza, in particular, is stunning. It really resonated with me. Also, I was fascinated by your art work, Sherri. All the best with the upcoming wedding. Thanks so much for this, ladies.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Wendy! I'm so glad my words connected with you.

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  6. You are most welcome indeed. It is my pleasure!!!! I love every minute of doing these features.

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  7. So wonderful to learn more ab out Sherri. I just love the art featured here. I will have to learn more about that app. Thank you again Sherry for another amazing interview!

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  8. Oh, what a treat to come to this post this morning! Wonderful images, soul-stirring poems, and those perfect quotes accompanying the poems. Lovely to welcome you back, Sherri, and best of luck for the wedding this time. (Smile.)

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    1. PS *Goes off to search Procreate app.*

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    2. Rosemary, I hope you had success finding the app - it's worth every penny of the $4.99 it costs!!

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  9. Congratulations Sherri on your daughter's wedding, your beautiful poetry which tells your story of coming to terms with your true self and congratulations on your lovely art. I've toyed with procreate, but don't have the basic skills to paint something worthwhile on it. You have mastered it and your paintings are stunning. So nice to get to know you.

    Sherry, once again, a wonderful write. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Myrna - I think you'd be surprised at what you're capable of with painting and/or drawing. I strongly believe that everyone has it inside them to express themselves in this way!

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  10. Sherry, thank you so much for including me as a Blog of the Week, and for the hard work you put in here - I'm honored to be featured!

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  11. You are most welcome, Sherri. It was a true pleasure. Looking forward to reading much more of your work once your daughter's wedding is over. I hope it all goes wonderfully, and am sure it will.

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  12. Good to met you Sherri, I can only reiterate what the others have said and do hope that we read and see what more what poems you will write and artwork you create with the Procreate app over the coming months...once the wedding is over!

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  13. Beautiful art and thoughtful poetry...nice to meet you Sherri. And SherrY thanks for bringing us this lovely interview....

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