Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Every Unfamiliar Trail Is an Invitation"

This poem came out of the January 5, 2021 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anonymous on Dreamwidth. It also fills the "Unfamiliar" square in my 1-3-21 card for the Fresh Starts Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series Arts and Crafts America.

"Every Unfamiliar Trail Is an Invitation"

[Saturday, May 30, 2021]

Láadan: non-cup, a hollow accomplishment, something one acquires or receives or accomplishes but is empty of all satisfaction [ra = non- + ni = cup]

Nellie Augustine held
her new art diploma in
her hand and felt nothing.

She had been promised
a sense of accomplishment
and a good job, neither
of which had arrived.

So Nellie took off
her cap and gown
while her classmates
were still celebrating
and dumped them
on the return table.

She went home and
tossed her diploma
in a drawer, then
made arrangements
for a long absence.

Next she packed
her travel supplies
and plein air kit,
plus a travel guide
and a Láadan novel.

Nellie took a bus to
the nearest national park,
shouldered her bags,
and started hiking.

She had tried out
the conventional way
and it hadn't worked.

Now she would go
where inspiration is
around each turn and
every unfamiliar trail
is an invitation.

* * *


"Every unfamiliar trail is an invitation."
-- Trenton Lee Stewart, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

non-cup, a hollow accomplishment, something one acquires or receives or accomplishes but is empty of all satisfaction [ra = non- + ni = cup]
-- Láadan to English

Láadan is the womanlanguage created by Suzette Haden Elgin to express the worldview of women. It happens to have caught on a lot more in Arts and Crafts America -- enough that people write beach novels in it.

Plein air art is done outside. Explore paints and other supplies for it. Oil paint, watercolor, and drawing all work. This kit is watercolor. Choosing a surface can mean watercolor canvas or paper, regular canvas, pastel paper, or studio canvas.

White Nights Artists Watercolour Plein Air Set – 12 Whole Pans, Plastic Box

Cretacolor Noir Charcoal Drawing Set - 11 Pieces

You can make your own plein air kit for watercolors.

Nellie's complete travel kit for plein air can be reduced to a medium set or an everyday carry set. This way she can pick and choose based on current needs, without needing to lug a whole art studio around the world. You really don't need much for watercolor in the wild or basic sketching.

Packing light is essential on a long trip. Read a list written by and for men if you want the real deal. This is Nellie's luggage.

This is a typical "women's backpacking" layout. It is bigger, flimsier, and generally ridiculous. Nellie is packing to hike around the world painting and taking pictures and having adventures, not to show off her tits.
Tags: art, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, life lessons, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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