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It’s been a long and inspirational weekend. I’m a big fan of quotes and I collected a lot of quotes over the past few days. Hope you find them just as inspiring…

donkey skin filmFriday night I succumbed to my ever-present love of French films and checked out Donkey Skin (Jacques Demy, 1970) at the Surrealism in Film Fall Series held by the NC Museum of Art. You may not have heard of Donkey Skin, but it’s one of the original fairy tales that appeared in Charles Perrault’s 1697 collection alongside “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Why wasn’t it so popular? It’s about a king requesting his princess daughter to marry him. With the help of her fairy godmother, the princess disguises herself in a donkey’s skin and flees the kingdom to escape the incestuous marriage. Not really Disney material, right? Amazing that the story hibernated for 300 years before finding its place on the screen. Interesting tidbits:

  • Jim Morrison visited the set of this film, which was just a year before his death.
  • Demy wanted to cast Harrison Ford in his film after this one, but the studios told him that Ford had no future in film.
  • Catherine Deneuve’s gown is created out of an actual movie screen so that Demy could project images on it. Here’s a clip of her requesting “a dress the color of the moon.”

Film quotes:

  • “The greatest good is mixed with evil.”
  • “Love is never wise.”
  • “Love–caught on the nail of memory.”

Writing Workshop and Poetry Festival

Saturday morning I had a full house for the last of my fall writing workshops, Self-Publishing Basics, in downtown Raleigh. Then it was out to the West End Poets Weekend in Carrboro, wrote poems on demand for Living Poetry, listened to awesome music by the East Cackalacky Ascetic Marching Death Band, then enjoyed tea, cupcakes and a comedy show. Over cupcakes a writer friend of mine (you may remember her taste-tripping party) wrote me a little piece and I’m including an excerpt from her work here:

  • “Choose the people, the experiences and the actions that change you into the person you want to be. This is your only chance. When you are dead, there it ends.”

A Poets’ Walk

On Sunday, fellow poet Angelika (you may remember our journey to the coast), myself and the Ramz (my dog) went for a walk around a lake. Angelika is taking a psychonanalysis in creativity class, which is where this great quote is from:

  • “Creativity comes from playfulness and playfulness rests in chaos.”

Poet Laureate WS Merwin Visits Raleigh

WS Merwin Raleigh

WS Merwin Raleigh Reading

Today, on his last day as the US Poet Laureate, WS Merwin paid a visit to Raleigh and gave a free reading at NC State. He spent quite some time discussing our place in the universe, discovery of new planets and what possible life may be outside our own planet. Then he spoke of the history of poetry and explained how everyone used to listen to poetry because they enjoyed it; there was not a time when people didn’t understand it. But then it became something that was taken for granted. Merwin explored the discovery process through writing poetry, certain ways at looking at the world and what distinguishes our species from others. (I heard somewhere last year that what makes humans different than other species–in the creative sense–is that we are aware of mortality and other species are not. However, Merwin says the difference is in imagination.) I’ve jotted down a few great lines from his reading and they will surely fuel my writing for some time:

  • “Anger is one of the most dangerous passions to put in a poem…I think it’s impossible.”
  • “There are things we can’t do much about except pay attention to them.”
  • “And the universe isn’t all there is.”
  • “Time doesn’t come and go, time is still there.”
  • “Poetry is the clarification of something that was there to begin with…an awakening of things that were there all along.”