February 2 (Tidal Pool)

A paint chip with a haiku about a tidepool written on it.

There has been some confusion on the part of some people about what the heck this is, exactly. It’s a paint chip.

I have a huge stack of these left over from when we were contemplating painting things in our house, but then we realized that would take time and energy, which we would rather preserve for things that contribute either to our survival or our entertainment, so we said nahhh, let’s just leave the walls in their current state of dilapidation.

But paint chips! I love them in so many ways. They’re like little tickets, or tokens, granting you entrance to a color. You can stack them, you can sort them, you can flip through them and watch a rainbow in flight. I’m always trying to think of brilliant artistic things to do with them, which is why I have a box filled with them, and pick up more every time I go to a hardware store, even though we don’t have any immediate plans to paint anything.

Then the last time I pulled them out — which was when I was preparing my present for Alegria and hauled out all my boxes of random paper scraps and ephemera that I always think I will do something brilliant and artistic with and hardly ever do — I realized: these things don’t just have colors on them, they have words on them. And not just any words, but highly evocative words, because the makers of paint chips know that you are more likely to buy paint called “Tidal Pool” than paint called, um, “Light Grayish Blue.”

Well, I have this little hobby that involves doing things with words. So I sort of went crazy using the names of colors on paint chips as haiku writing prompts. I’ve got a big stack of these now and I’m thinking of dropping by the hardware store soon for some more free inspiration. God knows I need it these days.

(And by the way? I have declared a moratorium on my writing haiku about snow for the rest of the winter. I feel like that’s all I ever write lately. So if you see any more of those around here [except those that have been previously published], remind me that I can find something else to write about, perhaps by staring at paint chips.)

25 thoughts on “February 2 (Tidal Pool)

  1. I think I have to agree with you on the moratorium. I myself have only considered snow and cold to be worth writing about this last week, and I have to put an end to it.

    • Yes … I keep telling myself that Issa probably wrote a few thousand snow haiku or something, and then I think, “But how many of them were any good?” 🙂 Anyway, yeah, time to stop the snow insanity … so many other things in the world to write about!

  2. bwahahahahahahahahaha. well. i mean…. aloha Melissa – and – no …excuse me…. no. write on snow! it’s there now. do it. okay, okay, post them in your summer. when…. you know.. you could use a little cool. snow on mercilessly. …until it’s done and gone. …that is, i mean… not snow on you literally. snow on in ku. . . …is what i mean… this is the most intense snow – right now – that you will ever feel. …okay, okay – because every now is the most intense now there ever is… so… …still – (in the words of a manufacturing company that swiped them from me) – Just do it.

    this is stunningly beautiful. and… ha – artistic? – ha. you have more artistic ability than you can dream of at this point. you may not have the appropriate definition of artistic at this point… – hey, get another dictionary!. would you like mine? bwahahahahahaha.

    …and hobby? hobby my… your.. .you know… this is no hobby. this is life. heck, ThE …okay, okay – A – PaSSiOn oF LiFe. personally, i like the way you are living this life thing. here especially – but clearly in your Wisconsnowson as well. Paint Chip On! yeah. you nailed that naming and titling of color thing down with railroad spikes. …may be skyscraper rivets…

    book. book. this speaks of book…. make one.

    oh. and hey… wait till you get a discarded wallpaper catalog… bwahahahahahahaha. wayhahahahhaa… mercy? no way. write on. write on all of it. endlessly. bwahahahaha – …okay, okay – imo.

    i know i’ve been missing in presence. my cintiq is down. my scanner is down. my net is off. sheesh. bwahahahaha – life. life whispering to me i suspect.. . telling me to get on with it. okay, okay. i’m running as fast as i can and it’s only blood ma. (to semi-quote a remembered phrase… …when i cant remember who to attibute it too… dylan?)

    do more of these – as Steve says – smudges and all – it contributes to the richness of patina. way cool on that.

    by the way… i looked into renga. i wanna try. i’m still too lost to know where to start. …and dont take that as a request to start. i’m way too immersed in GeTTinG thAT cinTiQ fixed!

    beautiful post Melissa. …just in case i didnt make that clear. aloha.

    • Oh, don’t worry, Wrick. I have a backlog of, like, seventeen thousand snow haiku I can pull out in the summer if I’m really desperate for them. 🙂 But I am enjoying writing haiku a lot more now that I’ve forbidden myself to write about snow. It was too damn easy to do that — you just look out the window and what do you see, you see snow, so you jot down something about snow and wham, you’re done for the day. No more, my friend! Last night I wrote haiku about semiautomatic weapons, staticky sweaters, LEDs, buttercups, blind men, field guides, nesting dolls, family reunions, woodpeckers, birdseed, mirrors, hydrangeas, and strawberries. You have no idea how satisfying it was. There are other things in the world besides snow! Huge relief, let me tell you.

      Oh, okay, okay, fine, I’m artistic. Are you happy now? 🙂 Yeah, I like me some creative expression. Sometimes it turns out well and sometimes… not. You know, like life. And I don’t know why it can’t be a hobby and life at the same time. 🙂 For a lot of people their hobbies are their lives, because you can’t make a life out of being a middle manager at a widget factory or a bagger at Widgets R Us, or if you do I’m worried about you. So they ride dirt bikes or crochet baby blankets or raise llamas instead. And that’s their life. My life is doing weird stuff with words, mostly. Sometimes it involves other materials as well but words are the basic building blocks most of the time.

      A book a book a book. Yes. A book will be forthcoming. I don’t know when but someday. First I must abandon my perfectionistic need for it to be the most beautiful and brilliant book ever produced. I’m working on it. Mostly subconsciously but I am, I promise. I’m all about smudges and patina too so you’d think I could do it … but you know, they have to be the right smudges and patina. So complicated …

      We miss you around here but everyone understands how petty and vindictive technology is. Come back and ramble at us whenever you’re able.

      And yeah, no one knows where to start or what they’re doing when they first start renga. Ask me and Steve. Ask me again. I’m just finishing up another one and I barely have any more of an idea what’s going on than before. But it is so exciting writing poetry with other people. It’s like a drug. My advice would be, though, that you try to round up some people you can do it with in person, or at least over IM or something, so you have direct interaction. I think you get more exciting results that way and have more fun. Not that I’ve ever done it that way. But I’ve thought about it a lot. I want to have a renga party where everyone gets slightly drunk and writes funnier and crazier and more real verses the drunker they get. There are not enough haiku poets where I live. I must create more or something.

      I’m glad you liked the post. I had a suspicion you would. 🙂

      • bwahahahahahaaha – you had a suspicion i would like this paint chip ku…. bwahahahahaha. that’s scary you know. you may know me too well.

        yeah, okay. you are forbidden! ha. yeah, that almost always gets me right in there to what ever that stuff is that is forbidden… i’m almost always tempted by Kapu signs – usually i just wonder what might be there tho (kapu is hawaiian for forbidden or keep out or taboo or something like that – altho it can mean sacred too – only in old hawaii it also meant if you didnt stay out you could have your head lopped off). kapu snow… snow kapu… ha. no snow ku.

        the weight of snow
        fifty pounds of inter net
        in wet concrete

        see? okay okay, probably not ku. but heck, i like writing notku just about as much as writing isku. …i’m just better at one than the other.

        yeah, that must have been some kind of mind journey, your last night of ku-ing. okay, 17,000 snow ku. oh!

        white storm
        seventeen thousand snow ku
        on paper

        wait. do you have a white paint chip? something like Second Snow White? or may be Off Snow White? no, i know – Snow White and The Seventeen Thousand Snow Dwarfs. nah. thats too long. oh! Dandruff White. there. that’s a real color you know. oh, or wait… how about Salt White. yeah. or better still Sea Salt White. yeah. no. too much of a tongue twister, that one. Sea Foam White? clearly this color naming is tough work.

        Soap Ring White?
        Snow Blind White?
        White on Rice White?
        Sugar White.
        Snow Egret White.
        Blue Sky Cloud White.

        Laundry Sheet White.
        Pale Cave White.
        Bleached Bone White
        Eye White
        Egg Yolk White White
        Daikon White
        Eraser White
        White Out White
        Tooth Paste Ad White
        Waterfall White
        Picket Fence White
        Snow Leopard White
        Flour White
        Ice Cream White
        Star White
        Candy Cane Without The Red White

        fun. i only have 16,972 to go.

        Lace White
        Pedestrian Cross Walk White
        Refrigerator White
        Bathtub White (kind of an off white, you know?)
        Powdered Doughnut White
        Invitation White

        yeah. fun. and yeah, i’m happy now that you’re artistic. that means i can claim wordist status right? or do i have to be able to say that first?

        hmmm… a hobby AND life. at the same time? nah, one of those is serious business. the other is more than serious buisness – like play. can life be play? hmmm. okay. yeah. at least i’ll hope so. or is that too serious?

        no need to worry about me, i’d never be accepted in the Widgets R Us Bagging Union. i’d want to bag them my own way. and Middle Management. hey, i’m working on it. yeah, i suppose it’s true you need a hobby to be happy in life. i just slightly resent the things i’m passionate about being called a hobby.

        okay. yeah, i’m working on that subconscious book too. it surfaces every so often. i hope it floats soon. The Right Smudges. ha. …okay okay, yeah. and the left smudges too.

        thanks. i think i’m near rambled out now. as long as no one is really listening i’ll be slightly okay.

        yeah, i went through the renga you and Steve have here. that i could understand. (and renga in a few other places too – which was way more confusing – altho it looked like fun too). renga with REAL people? what are people? i’m not sure i know any one, in person, who does ku. oh. wait. i did meet someone recently. well cool on that. renga in IM hmmmm… nah. it would be too obvious that i didnt know anything about it. a slightly drunk renga party. …now that i might consider.

        okay. consider this rambled. fun on your non-snow ku. stay warm – at least till summer. aloha.

          • speechless? nah. impressed? with myself? nah. speechless is easy. duct tape (altho, i’d never!). impressing me with myself. not so easy. yeah, i know me too well. …and really i’m not even priceless. just me being ordinary. thanks tho. and thanks for your blog. aloha.

  3. What a fun project! I’d love to see it in book form.

    I wrote a post about paint colors once, too, http://randomnoodling.blogspot.com/2010/03/poetry-friday-thompsons-lunch-room.html .

    One of the comments on that post led to another poem by Julie Larios:
    http://julielarios.blogspot.com/search?q=paint+chips .

    Who knew there was so much waiting to be discovered at the hardware store?

    This is my first time commenting though I have been reading your blog for a while. You do a great job, Melissa.

    • Brilliant post over there, Dalloway — both the paint job and the haiku. 🙂

      Also brilliant of you to drop by just in time to leave comment #1700 on the blog (I don’t know why I keep track of these things, I just do). It’s wonderful to see you again. Congratulations on the degree! I hope this means we will be seeing new haiga over at your place soon. 🙂

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