I wrote this article for the January 2018 issue of the Co-op Voice. Please read here to get the scoop on net neutrality:
Hello Lovely Supporters!
This is probably my last update for this semester. It is hard to write presentable updates, while also writing at least three papers a week. It’s nearing the end of a Spring Break that wasn’t as productive as expected. Perhaps I’m just measuring productivity wrong. I did guiltily steal some sleep and treated myself to a belated birthday movie (Black Panther) —totally worth it! From here on until May 5th, I’ll be working almost primarily on my course.
I will dedicate a little time to the Co-op Voice because I love the Co-op, I love to write, and I need the practice. Please check out the latest issue on Sunday. By the way, the Co-op Voice has a great deal on advertising!
I’m doing well in the class. My mid-term grade is in the 90s. I don’t know the exact grade because I haven’t seen it yet. Considering all but one grade range from 93.5-100, I think I’m good so far. The tough part is the three-part final project counts for 25% of my grade, so no resting yet.
I’ve been struggling with fatigue, chemical sensitivities, and other symptoms. That’s not entirely new, just a bit worse recently. I’m keeping up my medical appointments and will see a neurologist (to rule out anything in that area) when the semester is over.
I hope to see a bit more of my friends after May 5th. I’d like to get out for poetry, AlbanyUU, Co-op activities, recreation, and the like. I’ll also be downsizing and packing what I can for my move to Brockport before Fall semester.
My living and working situation is unsure June through August. Last update, I let you know I received a call for subsidized housing in Brockport. Between the timing and the money situation, I had to turn it down. There is an expected opening in June and there is a good chance I will get a call for that. I hope to raise enough money and other support, such as packing and moving transportation, by mid-May to cover the costs of that move.
It is more than I’m paying now and there is smoking allowed (very bad for me). There is slim chance I will find a better alternative. I don’t do well with roommates and I doubt I will find any that are good with a month-to-month lease. The cheapest apartment complex in the area is still $60 more AND I’m not eligible because my income isn’t 2.5 times the rent. Everywhere I’ve lived on my income has allowed smoking and has cost more than the place I’m looking to get into. (Current place is non-smoking, but not always.) I will dig out my budget from three years ago (before I lived in subsidized housing) to figure out how to get by until I get fully subsidized rent. I’m on a list for that, so the rent can go down. I’m also on two lists for non-smoking buildings with fully subsidized rent. I can move to one when I come up on the list.
I meet with someone, who presumably has some capital letters after her name, hired by the bureaucratic agency that supposedly exists to help disabled folks get back to work, to take some tests to prove my skills, aptitudes, and interests. The purpose of this is not to support my goal, but to offer me other goal options. Not thrilled about this technique, but going through the motions (since June 26, 2017). This happens Monday. Wish me luck, pray, send vibes – whatever you want to do.
I have found work enough to maintain qualification for affordable insurance! I will be looking for about ten hours more a week after May 5th to help pay for the move and tuition. It will be a challenge not knowing when I will move. Remote work would be ideal. I’m all booked on housekeeping work, which is tough on my body. I can offer editing and writing services, clerical work, organizing help, house sitting, and pet sitting. Please keep me in mind. (Supporters get a lower price!)
I have to admit I’m anxious about my final grade and the many upcoming changes, but I also know I can’t tolerate living without this goal. I am also aware of how messed up things are politically. I don’t count on anything except that time is limited on this planet. No more waiting or saying I can’t do it.
Thanks to your donations, I will have Spring semester tuition paid in full on Tuesday. Thanks to a generous donor, I have almost half of what I need for first month’s rent and deposit in June! Would you please share my campaign so I can raise money for the move? I am raising my goal to accommodate two classes in the Fall; in the event bureaucratic helper agency does not come through again.
Peace and love. Hope to see you soon!
Two of my favorite things, photography and poetry combine in this unique and beautiful book of innovative photopoems by a woman with a unique and beautiful name – Oneida Morningstar Cramer. Her first published work, Idealism is an attractive flower, which won Gold in the poetry category of the 2015 Feathered Quill Book Awards and also received the 2015 North Texas Book Festival Silver Book Award, is a pleasurable wander through the author’s perspective and imagination — drawing the reader to be present and rapt in the wonderment of each moment frozen in her photographs. Cramer is simple in her presentation, occasionally philosophical, and often comical or charming in her compositions — speaking through a child-like voice, the voice of the experienced parent, the voice of the scientist, or her personal perspective.
Perhaps the number of poems in this book relate to one of it’s common themes – music —as in one poem for each of the eighty-eight keys on a piano. Coincidentally, or not, it ends in a musical poem that may wrap up the overall intention of this book. “Bow for the muse… Bow for the music,” is perhaps a summation of the muse each photograph inspires and the music (or art) created by the author as a result. (I was not surprised to read that she had worked for a music conservatory.)
Then, I think of the title photopoem, Idealism is an attractive flower; and I wonder if it is about using imagination to step outside reality, to create the music, to change the reader’s mental state – which may be all the reader truly knows. The theme that stands out most is of a temporal nature — interestingly, so is music (and mental states). She notes the temporary, “ephemeral” nature of life. Another strong theme, not entirely unrelated to time (or music), are her allusions to the stage performance. We are given a space – a stage, a backdrop, maybe some props, and life awaits our actions. She will also show you her ecological passion, kinetic sensibilities, familial love, and musings on modern life and joys of past times.
This beautiful, Smyth sewn book has eighty-eight stunning photographs (including the cover) juxtaposed with words thoughtfully arranged within and sometimes outside the borders of the photograph in various fonts and colors, although Century Gothic seems to be appreciated. (What’s not to love?!) The result is a mixed media art otherwise known as photopoem. Inspired by her work as a journalist/photographer, O.M. Cramer developed this form of art. In the photopoem, the image on the page and the images the author conjures through words are interdependent and transfix the reader simultaneously. One photograph, not accompanied by words, has no need for them.
Her poems are short – frequently consisting of one stanza with about three stressed beats per line, make skilled use of assonance and consonance, and often illustrate with action and personification. I suspect she is a fan of T.S. Elliot. Rarely does she make use of rhyme — one exception being the wonderfully musical, ECHO CHAMBER.
It was difficult to highlight my favorites without spoiling the book. While sitting in a drugstore… yanked my heartstrings. The simple image of a butterfly resting atop the orange stamens of a Marigold personifies the soda jerk and evokes memories of sipping on a root beer float while sitting on a spinning stool at the long counter in front of the soda fountain. In the artist studio… is a delight for the eyes and mind. In a playful font, she employs action and props to describe different types of artists. Her finale describes the performance of the chef with vividness intensified by the image of hands working over bowls surrounded by the props of the kitchen bathed in warm light. Down my alley… is one of two photos with felines as subject; but the felines’ challenges become very human in her poetry. This high-bred house cat sitting at an open gate longs to be feral– to take her “chance to run in the wind,” or will she “follow the line?”
Aside from the sublime contents – I particularly love the size (6” x 9”), shape, and weight of this book; as it makes it easy to hold in one hand, bring it in close, and absorb every detail of the photography and layout. The glossy photos enhance the experience. Enjoy drinking in the image before reading the text. This durable hardcover book has a matte finish and includes the author’s photo and bio on the back cover. Aside from a short dedication and introduction, Idealism is an attractive flower consists of page after satisfying page of photopoems that utilize the space provided unfettered by page numbers or ornate borders. If you appreciate sweet simplicity and creative imagination, I recommend this book from Eudora Publishing Company, ISBN-13: 978-0-9905190-0-3, for $24.99, $4.99 (e-book — available as an .epub on iBooks release date, publisher: 12.31.14, Eudora Publishing Company, genre: poetry/photography).
Idealism is an attractive flower is available at Amazon – URL: http://amzn.com/0990519007 and iTunes (e-book) – URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/idealism-is-attractive-flower/id960973546?mt=11&uo=4.