SPARK Collaboration for Writers, Photographers

Amy Souza runs the blog SPARK. It’s a creative jump start for collaborations between writers and artists. Souza says, ” Writers send artists a story or poem, and artists send writers an image of their painting, photograph, or sculpture. During the 10-day project period, each person uses their partner’s piece as a jumping off point for new work of their own.”

The goal is simply to give writers and artists a challenge, a new way of looking at the world and their work, and a chance to inspire another creative soul.” The project runs four times a year, and you can sign up any time.

The project continues each month and new examples go up. (See the most recent contest.)  My friend Lin Jorgensen participated in this imaginative exchange with Louisa Di Pietro.  Lin’s poem is below.

Lullabies for a Rainy House

I wouldn’t leave my house
Though the roof, unmended
For decades, sent rain seeping
Down through the walls
To meet water seeping
Up through broken pipes.

I stayed when the walls lifted
Away from floorboards
That sank, gaping.
With hell close underfoot
I stumbled tilting from
Room to room, amazed by
This decaying ark
Covered by a tattered tarp
Always damp and mostly dark
That I called home

Until, fifty years standing,
Thirty of them mine
Through ice and rainstorm
The elm tree let go

A quarter-ton bouquet
A rude awakening
A roaring boom across
The bow of the roof
Twelve feet from my bed
Shook the house
And ran my ark aground.
I knew it was bad before
I saw it: We’re sunk
I whispered to the cats.
It’ll never stop raining now.

The dog and I blinked
Through 3 a.m. murk
At a huge limb leaning
The length of the roof
Balanced on a single eave,
The crushing weight scarcely
Piercing a little room
I thought might be spared.
But already rain swept in. Soon
Every surface would I knew
Brimming, buckling, fall asunder

No more praying the elm
Tossing above in ice or rain
Stands fast until the morning.
Free from all hope, but things
Could always be worse!
That’s what we always said.
That’s boats for you. That’s
Staying afloat. That’s being
An elm tree, that’s living
Under one!  The dog and I
Crept back inside, weary from
Staring at the damage.

The worst had come and
It staggered, it beggared, it
Knocked all the wind out
And made me long for shelter

So I took what I could of the garden
And a slice of the elm and moved house.
New people bought my ark, razed it.
Built clean over my streaming sadness.
Cut down the elm.  I could never go back.
It’s safe here. The worst is over.
But comes a strong rain, I swear
A blue tarp frays and flaps like sails
I hear the steady hiss of hidden water
Leaking soaking sinking and
The elm tosses fifty feet above
Us, quaking, praying for morning.

Our old lullabies wake us:
The little cats keep close, the dog eyes
My face, then the window, and sighs.
We grow still, comforted, waiting for
The crack of doom together. Trusting
The ark of sleep to carry us home

—Lin Jorgensen