Friday, April 6, 2012

30 Habits of Highly Effective Poets #6: Diane Mayr on Tubular Vision

It's the first Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month 2012. The double celebration reminds me of certain winter holidays when I was a kid. I grew up interfaith and those special years when Hanukkah and Christmas coincided -- happiness to the nth degree!

All this month, highly effective poets from across the country and around the world are visiting Author Amok, sharing their favorite writing habits. (The full schedule of guest bloggers is here.) So far we've heard about tea drinking, relaxation, dream-writing, paying attention, and anchoring.

Today, Poetry Friday regular Diane Mayr (of Random Noodling) is with us to talk about pasta and "Tubular Vision." Non-poets call it "focus."

Penne -- we like it best with pomodoro sauce.
Here is Diane:  Tubular Vision

Despite the fact that I'm way beyond childhood, I still find myself doing some kid-type stuff.  For instance, if I'm going to cook macaroni, such as ditalini or penne, I almost always look through one of the little tubes before cooking it.  The limited area I'm viewing through the pasta is isolated and clear, everything else seems out of focus.  For a kid it's a fun thing to do.


I find that writing poetry is like looking through macaroni.  You want to view the little patch.  Don't write about the whole cat when you can focus on her whiskers or the tip of her tail.  It's unexpected and more interesting to read about the cat's elongated pupils than it is to read about the purrs coming from the soft furry ball curled up on a lap.  No matter what the topic, look for the particulars.  Don't write about universal love, write about how your companion orders you a cup of coffee before you even realize you're thirsty.  Look at the relationship with tubular vision! 


Here are two photos I took at a New England fair.  They're actually the same, it's just that the second one is looking more closely at one part of it. 



In the first, did you even notice the baby?  Not only do you now see the baby in the second one, you can read the sign behind it.  And what's the story behind that baby?  It's up to you to discover it!

Diane Mayr is a public librarian who also writes for kids.  Her picture book, Run, Turkey, Run! (Walker Books, 2007) is being adapted into a musical and will be performed in Portsmouth, NH in the fall of 2012!  Diane's short form poetry such as haiku and tanka, can be found at Random Noodling http://www.randomnoodling.com .  She also enjoys writing about history through poetry; visit http://www.homefrontarmy.com to read poems in the ongoing series, Kids of the Homefront Army: Poems of WW II America.

The lucky host of today's National Poetry Month/Poetry Friday is Robyn Hood Black. Robyn will be my guest at Author Amok next Friday, April 13.

16 comments:

Diane Mayr said...

Thanks Laura! The photos work well together side by side. Have a good weekend.

jama said...

What a fun post. Great analogy with the pasta!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Now I'm a little hungry for some pasta! :) Thank you for sharing such thoughtful advice. :)

Author Amok said...

Oh -- ha ha! I just got the pasta/Random Noodling connection. Diane, you are so funny!

Betsy said...

Tubular Vision, I love it! Great photos and great connections, now off to find a noodle to look through.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Betsy. Now I'm picturing Diane in a pair of pasta goggles.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Pasta goggles! She'll figure out a way to make some and then write a poem about them. "...writing poetry is like looking through macaroni" - that's just a little brilliant. Love the visuals of those two pictures as well. Great post -thanks, you two!

Anonymous said...

Love it. I'm fishing a penne out of the box when I get home to keep in my purse.

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Great post, Diane. Love the idea of looking at life through a piece of macaroni. I've got to quit being so serious.

Diane Mayr said...

Well, everyone, macaroni isn't the only thing you can look through. It's a little more limited, but try looking through the holes in a cracker. Or, for a larger view there's Swiss cheese. Bagels are almost a little too much, but they'd be easier to adapt into goggles.

You know what else is fun? Drinking water out of a clear glass tumbler while looking in the mirror. You get a real interesting view of your mouth and teeth.

Mary Lee said...

Maybe we all need to make a macaroni necklace as our ID badge for the Society of Serious and Silly Poem Makers.

Tara said...

Don't write about universal love, write about how your companion orders you a cup of coffee before you even realize you're thirsty.
How wonderful an observation about writing is that?!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Laura, what a fantastic idea for a series! I think Diane's "macaroni focus" is another formulation of "show, don't tell"--a genius one. Can't you see doing that in a classroom?

Author Amok said...

Heidi, I can totally see it. And our Society of Serious and Silly Poem Makers necklaces. Maybe we should make our goggles out of toilet paper rolls -- recycling.

I'm glad you're all enjoying the series. I haven't looked at myself while drinking, Diane, but my daughter has taken some amazing -- point of view shifting photos of a glass of water.

Diane Mayr said...

Are your daughters photos posted anywhere?

Cathy said...

The importance of writing small. A great reminder.