Ghost in the Machine

“As If Someone Was Blowing on Feathers,” Beth Weaver-Kreider and AI

I’m experimenting with AI art and poetry these days. I like the surprises. I feel like I can call these things mine to some degree, because I offer the seed and the sense, but then the Ghost in the Machine plays her part and makes magic.

I began this poem with the somewhat bland first line, and then played with the line lengths, and changed a couple words:

The snow fell softly through the night
as if someone was blowing on feathers,
and the branches touched my face
in the coldest breeze I had ever felt.
I awoke with a start
and realized that it was not snow falling upon me,
but tears.

I am filled with wonder at the surprise of that last line. The Ghost in the Machine is delivering the pathos. I then put the first two lines (my own and the first of the Ghost’s) into Wombo Dream AI Art Generator, and received the illustration above.

Gratitude List:
1. A snowy day at home. Breathing Space.
2. The magic and surprise of collaborating with the Ghost in the Machine.
3. We put money down to hold a little green Prius with fewer than 30,000 miles. It’s an old model, but the lowest mileage of any car we’ve ever bought. And the instrument panel and console are almost identical to Pippi Prius, so it’s a seamless learning curve. And the gas mileage is better than Pippi’s. We’ll pick it up early next week, when we’ve got Pippi sold and the dealer fixes the green car’s headlight and hatch latch. I’m excited to drive a reliable car again. Pippi was getting iffy.
4. These cats
5. How the light shines in.
May we walk in Wisdom!

“We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or hate, to see or be seen. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become a story-teller.” —Rebecca Solnit

“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
—Zora Neale Hurston

I see her walking
on a path through a pathless forest
or a maze, a labyrinth.
As she walks, she spins
and the fine threads fall behind her
following her way,
where she is going,
where she has gone.
Telling the story.
The line, the thread of voice,
the sentences saying the way.
—Ursula K. Le Guin (from “The Writer On, and At, Her Work)

“I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.” —President Franklin Roosevelt

“A condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything…” —T.S. Elliot

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