Zentangle #3

An evening spent with Jostein Gaarder’s “Through A Glass Darkly” (where the previous two zentagle poems have come from) brought about this piece.

invisible words
float between 
each voice

you can lie with 
a single word

what delicate instruments
when the window is shut

I can sometimes
see with my ears



Unlike other zentangle examples, I cannot doodle. I find it difficult. Shapes, patterns, scribbles, images do not figure in my thinking.

I see the page for the words and the meaning contained therein.

If I had the foresight I could have used the space within the speech balloons as a canvas for doodling but I preferred the blackness; the negative space to draw attention to the words.

Making art because art. No other reason. And that’s the thing. You art. You experiment. You play. As Neil Gaiman says, “Make good art.” Not sure this is good art but I’m making art.

I hope you’re making art, too.

Alice’s Adventures In Blackout Poetry

It’s funny how way leads on to way when it comes to creativity.

Last week I was chatting with Jodi (my writing co-conspirator) and she posed the question, “What would we do with the same page of text to create a poem?”

We think very differently in some respects when it comes to creativity. 

I tend to use the blackout/erasure method while Jodi has been utilising a cut and paste methodology. 

It’s different architectures for artistry. Jodi prefers the physicality of moving chunks of text to create and find meaning whereas I use the text as it is available, using the pieces to create the whole. It is physically passive whereas the cut and paste adds another physical, active dimension to creativity.

Simply different approaches to creating art.

Even in a brief discussion about creating these poems there are lessons to be learned; different approaches and different perspectives that can be translated into other creative areas. Take each creative activity as a learning experience. 

This is my contribution (I will arrange it into lines for easier reading):

the reason
time happens
is the young
know a proposal
every word a story
their names were
questions of the extraordinary


You can see Jodi’s contribution over on her blog, Pursuing Parallels.

Handwritten Pages #11


She imagines through the window a future she holds as fantasy.
Behind glass she views smudged with fingerprints and streaks of leftover rain.
Remembers there isn’t an egg for the cake she wanted to bake because it broke while making breakfast for an imagined lover who wreathed her in a sensuality of stockings that spoke of opportunity and a brashness to wear trousers.

Francois Kollar

The image above is the base for today’s Handwritten Page is a photo by Francois Kollar who was a vogue photographer in the 20’s-40’s.

Earlier this week I was speaking with a friend in another city via Facebook, talking about what we were working on (I wasn’t working on anything; instead I was recovering from a migraine and procrastinating). She was in the middle of working on bibliomancy poems – taking images and old books and cutting up the text to form poems, and gave me a preview of what she was working on. The photo was the foundation image for her poem.

In my usual flippancy I made a silly comment about what the woman in the photograph was looking at. Jodi provided a list of alternatives and I melded them into a single, obtuse sentence. In her usual fashion, Jodi downloaded a quick poem, sparked by the initial thoughts and posted it. I took a single line from Jodi’s poem and remixed it into the narrative.

If you want to buy some of Jodi’s works or place an order for a commission, drop along to her website.

Creativity can be sparked by anything, anywhere, anytime. Another little glimpse behind the curtain to spoil the mystery.

What have you been creating lately?

The Heart Is An Echo Chamber Release Day

Today The Heart Is An Echo Chamber is released. It is the companion to Jodi Cleghorn’s No Need to Reply.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.19.01 AM

My story, “Untethering” is a response story to “Squeezebox.” Get both books and see what the authors have done with the original idea.

You can grab yourself a copy by heading over here.

Zentangle Poetry #2


I realise I am better at blackout/erasure poetry than I am at doodling for zentangle poetry. Not that I am going to give up creating zentangle poems; it’s admitting a limitation to a skill set I do not have mastery of. 

I also realised I made this poem harder to read due to the division of the sections. It looks like a comic book format which makes the reading more complex as it divides the words in a way that I had not planned. It’s an error of planning on my part.

To read it, read across from left to right as you normally would and ignore the arbitrary divisions. Hope that makes sense. 

Still learning. Still having fun creating. 

Handwritten Pages #10


They sat opposite each other in the sand, knees drawn up and toes touching.
She pressed her finger to her lips, paused, withdrew it.
“You will know me in my silence.”
He nodded in response before resting his head on his knees and tucking his arms under his thighs.
Around their feet she smoothed the sand into a clean palimpsest. She traced patterns in the mandala of silence.
Taking a handful of sand she poured it over their toes until they disappeared in a poetry of communion.


I was about to take a picture when I saw the error of a repeated word. I debated what to do: rewrite or edit? First, I scribbled out the word, made the edit. Then I looked over it again and rewrote it. Oh the glamour of artistry (letting you behind the curtain of creativity).

Zentangle Poetry #1


This is my first attempt at zentangle poetry. I have dabbled with blackout and erasure poetry in the past but zentangle poetry was unfamiliar. 

Zentangle poetry is a combination form of blackout/erasure and found poetry where the author/artist adds an illustrative aspect to the poem. Think of an illuminated manuscript. But more scribbly. Google it for some quite stunning examples. 

But why do it?

It’s another way of being creative; a short activity that can be done in between other tasks or in some down time, or a way to relax. There are colouring in books for adults so think of this as another form of colouring in.

The down side is the defacing of a book.

In this case it’s Jostein Gaarder’s Through A Glass Darkly. Might make a thematic approach as I work through this one or let the page decide what it wants to speak.

I love the tactile sensation of handwriting. My sister-in-law has a custom chalk wall in the foyer of her house. When I get the chance to play with chalk I do. Here are a couple of my initial experiments.


Mixed typography but I’m happy with this. 


With additions from one of my nephews – this was done on Christmas Day. A little bit better than my first attempt after some research on my phone for typography.


My very first attempt; the family was watching Carols on the television so I utilised the time for some creative play. Not very good for a first attempt but giving something a try.

I have plans in my head for new designs next time the wall is cleared from her boys having fun all over it. As you can see I’m still developing my calligraphy skills but that’s the joy of creativity.

Start small, make mistakes, continue to practice and improve. 

All the while I need to sort out my Major Projects list and get back to them but these are good, fun activities to continue creative play. 

Go and have some creative play.