Listening To Bob Dylan

American folk and rock singer Bob Dylan, who was born on the 24th of may in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. — Image by © 91040/dpa/Corbis

Recently I have taken to liking Bob Dylan and his music. Not all of it, but a select few. I find it funny since I used to inwardly scoff at his music. Possibly because he was popular during the Vietnam War. Why that should make any difference at all doesn’t make any sense since I particularly like music from the 60s and 70s. Maybe it’s because I can actually appreciate the story being told in one of his many songs, whereas before, I was more interested in the beat. I didn’t know how connected to stories in songs I would get over the years of writing.

The first song I remember being introduced to was ‘Lay, Lady, Lay‘, and at the time I didn’t even know it was Dylan. But I fell in love with it. Over the years I’ve slowly added to my small collection of his songs. The stories in all of them are magical and as a writer, I can appreciate the condensed tale told.  I actually wonder if contemporary folk music appeals to the writer in us due to the story being told? I can honestly say that country music that has a story, I do have to quantify it, appeals to me. I like songs without a story, in fact, most of what I listen to wouldn’t qualify as much of a story and more of a ‘feeling’.  But if I start really thinking about songs that grab and hold me, they tell a story.

Thinking about Bob Dylan always reminds me of something I read in Poemcrazy where Susan Wooldridge was talking about him carrying around an armload of words. Turns out, it wasn’t Bob Dylan she was talking about, but Dylan Thomas, the poet. While I have a book of his poetry, I’m not as familiar with his works, so somehow I thought it was  Bob Dylan. While I had the person wrong, I still picture Bob Dylan carrying around armloads of words, racing to get to his black typewriter, up winding stairs in a small garret at an Irish inn on dreary, wet Irish days.

The actual quote about Dylan Thomas from Poemcrazy is as follows:

Dylan Thomas loved the words he heard and saw around him in Wales. “When I experience anything,” he once said, “I experience it as a thing and a word at the same time, both equally amazing.” Writing one ballad, he said, was like carrying around an armload of words to a table upstairs and wondering if he’d get there in time.

My image is certainly fanciful at best in regards to Bob Dylan. Who knows if he used a typewriter or wrote his music in Ireland.  I know I’m probably completely wrong, but if you listen to his words you feel the lyrical quality, and I can’t help but imagine the songwriter is this way. In Ireland. Go figure.

I carry boatloads of words in my head constantly. I have lost countless poems or starts of poems by not having paper at hand when I need it. I have a small pocket journal I have just for this reason, but like my camera when I don’t have it I need it and when I do have it I don’t need it, my writing is the same way. I never write when I have paper at hand. I write when I am scrambling frantically for any scrap piece of paper at hand. Netflix flyers, bill envelopes, receipts, margins of something and various other odd places. I have a folder/envelope of scraps of paper with the starts of poems. I have been meaning to transcribe them onto a document, or into one notebook, but I have yet to sit down and do anything with it. The question of, ‘Will I ever really use that and do I need to compile it all down?’ frequently hits my mind.

There is a panic that starts when I can’t find paper. I try to repeat the lines over and over in my head in the hopes that I will remember it for the next five minutes till I find paper, but inevitably I am asked a question, interrupted or just don’t have a moment to grab a paper and pencil.  It’s aggravating like that itch you can’t scratch. Knowing that the lines were just there. If only there was a way to scoop all those words up in a bucket that holds onto them until you can come back to collect them.

I try to make sure I keep a notebook, journal or index card with me whenever I go out. Of course, because I have that ready, I rarely write out in public.

In no particular order, Bob Dylan songs I currently love are, Lay, Lady, Lay, The Girl From The North Country, Mr. Tamborine Man, To Fall in Love With You, and Shelter From The Storm.

My one Dylan Thomas poem I currently keep rereading due to a friend’s young wife having cancer and is recovering from a stroke, is Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.

 

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Writing In A Book and The Story It Created – Flash Fiction-y

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford the other day, and within a few moments I read a couple of lines that had me needing a pencil as I had an idea that I had to write down.  At the time, I was indisposed without my notebook or pen. I started panicking because I knew if I didn’t write it down I would forget it. Fortunately, I found blank pages at the back of the paperback and I was able to have my sister get me a pencil tout de suite.

So there I was scribbling in a book. Something that I rarely do. In fact, I posted my interesting dilemma on Facebook and Susan Wooldridge’s responses were wonderful.

read-ex-libris

 

 

ann-fadiman

I found out as an interesting factoid today in my writing group that those pages at the back of the book are for taking notes. I love it! I am forever needing to make notes, but I am not always one to go crazy and write in my books. I make notes in the margins; word definitions and such. But It’s almost hard to go crazy with my markings in a book. I’m learning if I am going ot keep the book and it’s one I need to make notes in, I do. Cookbooks especially.

Well, writing in this particular book created this bit of flash fiction that  I have no idea if it is going anywhere, but I like it.

 

Despite their close proximity to their neighbors, the dead keep to themselves in their solitary graves; they don’t talk back. At least to each other. It makes cemeteries rather quiet, unless you’re like me. You see, I can talk to the dead. Sometimes at night, when the dead seem to be more restless, I go and perch on headstones and have a chat. I’ve met lots of nice dead people. The fresh ones being more chatty than ones who have been dead for quite some time. But they never talk to each other.

Why I can talk to them but they can’t talk to each other is a mystery. I’ve talked to my psychic friend, Paul, but even he can’t get a proper hello out of any dead. They ignore him. In fact, they ignore me if he’s around. Trust me, I’ve tried to prove that they talk to me, but whenever I bring Paul around, it’s like nobody is home. Dead silence. Ha ha, even I have to laugh at that joke.

So, when I can’t sleep at night, I head up to Piedmont Hill and visit. I have my favorites; the ones who talk about their kids and life, or the ones who have been buried a while and want to know what’s new in the world. Sometimes I try to talk with someone who has been buried for a hundred years or so and saw the old days, but like I said, they are content in their solitary confinement, rarely answering. Though there is one grave for a Captain John Werthers who was originally from Liverpool, England. he always tells me to go bugger off. Even though it’s really rude for him to say that, it always makes me chuckle. Sometimes I go to say hello just to be annoying. Supposedly he was a loving father and devoted husband, but I wonder since he’s so crotchety.

My favorite graves are the Deveraux Sisters; Elise and Della. Both dies of scarlet fever in the 30s. They are so sweet and hilarious, though again, they only talk to me, never to each other and they don’t want to hear about the other sister. Inf fact, they don’t ever believe me when I mention they are buried next to each other. I’ve tried seeing if anyone ever wants me to carry a message to someone else buried, but there’s this weird sort of structure where no one ever believes that they are buried next to a loved one. Like everyone is in stasis and the loved ones must be living.

Which is funny and annoying when they ask about how a loved one is doing and I tell them they are buried next to each other, or two rows down. They start shouting at me to which I shout at them and look like a crazy person yelling in a cemetery. At night. Which I am. Maybe I am crazy….

 

So there it is. I sish I could find an image I saved years ago that I feel fit with this story, but I have too many image files. If I ever find it I’ll add it….

Kate

Writing in the Car

innovative journal writing

 

I rarely write in the car due to motion-sickness. Ah the joy of looking down at print then suddenly you are swimming and ready to half pass out. Bleh. It happens more often than not, so I’ve grown quite used to just riding in the car and making sure I am staring straight out the window.

However, one thing that I’ve wanted to try for a while is jotting down the things I see as I am in the car and create a poem from it. Susan Wooldridge wrote a whole poem on it when she visited us up north from Chico. She wrote down our street names and what she saw along the road. I knew where she was because of what she had written up. In another poem from her Bathing With Ants, you know she is writing down things as she is driving a car full of vegetables somewhere, as the signs and places and feelings are there.

On a recent trip to Klamath Falls, I was fortunate enough to have my new pocket journal I splurged on for my birthday. It’s this gorgeous little leather cover with snazzy, expensive paper inside (I hacked it and made my own insert-able booklet so as not to go crazy spendy on paper) The picture above is me in the car, writing as I go.  Phrases to the poem that I’m writing, which I’ve yet to finish yet, are “Throw out the buttercups, there are cornflowers along the road, and the wallflower pops up its orange head, the milkweed’s about to burst……
Grass lake and falling snows and geese standing in dismay, a Phantom driving slowly…..

 

I love the Phantom line because we were following behind a semi truck with the name Phantom on it.  And fortunately I wasn’t driving. I could not have written anything had I been driving. That’s just too dangerous.  Anyways, I liked how I could capture what I was seeing, though as you drive 60+ mph, it’s hard to capture it all. I had to start just writing down snippets and hope for the best, all while watching amazing bird life and mountain snows fall, and strawberry fields all planted, and rain and rivers and lakes and pelicans flying by…. yes, pelicans, and I swear I saw cormorants as well…. Klamath Falls is stopping and breeding point for some ‘exotic’ birds.  I think it’s cool.

And Mrs. B was wondering why I was writing in the car, but I can’t turn off my brain. I haven’t been able to turn it off since April when I was writing every day, multiple poems and thinking about things differently.  No, I haven’t posted much here since april, but I have been crazy thinking and writing things down in other places. I have so much I’ve written that it’s crazy. And half the things I write, I don’t know what to do with them!

But I must ask, have you ever written in the car? While driving? At a stop sign? As the passenger?  Do you note things you see and write them down later?  I try and make this giant moving picture in my head, a film of sorts, but I can’t keep it all. I try to remember every detail but there is so much to see.

Kate

Imagining Opening Shots to Music

In Poemcrazy, Susan talks about seeing things and having them be ‘opening shots’, like in films where you have that first opening scene.  While I don’t pay attention always to opening scenes, I make up my own in my head when I hear music that I like. Recently the song used for the Behr paint has been stuck in my head.  The song, “Imagine Color” by Kasper Ramone makes think of New York in the 1940s and you see this panorama of buildings in greys panning to an artist swirling paint over canvas and you start sing the city come alive with different color.

I have been thinking a lot of opening scenes as I listen to music.  Or closing shots sometimes. Like that end of the movie where everything figures itself out okay?  There is a song by Jesse Malin, “Downliner”, and I feel like this is one of those songs where you see people getting out of a car on the sidewalk overlooking a bay on a bright, sunny, windy day, at the end when everyone is coming together and the story is done.

It’s funny how music always creates a story in my head.  “Lay, Lady, Lay” by Bob Dylan has a very 70s western vibe to me and I imagine scenes from Once Upon a Time in the West, or something risque from the 70s.  It fits with the Janet Dailey books I read; romance novels that are, as one person mentioned at my writing group, candy books.  You read candy novels for fun and nothing specific other than you enjoy a bit of fluff.  I figure you could get a toothache if you read too many of those.  (I’ve read enough and my PC Kindle is filled with a few too many.)

I create stories for most of the music I listen to, or I insert it into a story I’m writing, or the song itself is a story. I think I wrote about that years ago when I mentioned the song “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” I like a song that has a story behind it.  Probably why I like a lot of folk music. I can see the story.  It’s also the reason I like certain music videos that have a definite story in them, or something that seems to need to be written about.   Maybe this is why I like flash fiction.  It’s a little blip of a story in three and a half minutes; music videos, that is.

Does anyone else ever hear a song and it brings a scene to mind?  Or a story in a music video?  I’d love to know some of your favorites.

Kate

Glimpse At The Girly Journal – Day No. 11

My 3rd Journal inner cover IMG_7777

I rarely share a personal thing about myself, and by personal… because whoa some of my poetry would make a shrink just have a giddy time….. I mean snapshots of my inner me. I don’t talk about my life much in the day to day sense, or the inner thoughts all the time. So, today, here is a snapshot of the inside cover of my last journal. The current journal has not been ‘decorated’ with clippings. I’m taking my time to make sure I really know what I want inside. The margins have been fair game, but then they always are. People that don’t write in the margins just don’t know how much fun it really can be. And honestly, my journals are rather neat compared to what they could be. But the front inside always gets filled with things that inspire me.

Susan Wooldridge's journal display at Magna Carta on 2nd st. In Chico for Artoberfest

Susan Wooldridge’s journal display at Magna Carta on 2nd st. In Chico for Artoberfest

Susan Wooldridge is currently displaying her journals in Chico for Artoberfest, and I am so jealous of how free and open her journals are. She pastes petals and leaves, pictures, notes…. They are very, very her. I’m still stuck in the follow the lines and write semi neatly… Some day I’ll be a more artistic person. Maybe.

But as you can see by what I paste into my cover, I have a style. Girly is definitely something I would say I am. I love, love, love the girl standing in green with the Oscar Wilde quote. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”  12106772_1072375282781852_1360914271801965849_n It makes me think of what James M. Sama has posted on his Facebook page the other day.  I’ve had a couple people say that I intimidate guys because I’m smart and confident. (not sure about the confident part) but I think to myself, uh, why wouldn’t a guy want a smart girl? I mean, I think intelligent guys are sexy.

Anyways, this is a jumbled neurotic post, but it’s how I roll. And I think it’s girly enough to fit with Day 10. So…

Kate

My Gal Poets – Day No. 5

Emily Dickinson Poems Book Cover

Emily Dickinson Poems Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Emily Dickinson is my girl. My poet. My inspiration. She says all those wonderful things I’m thinking of in only a few lines. She is probably the first poet I fell in love with. I’m not evne sure when she first came on the scene with me, but her words have stuck over the years. “Wild nights, wild nights…..”

Years ago, my then boyfriend gave me a selection of her poems, in this delicate white and rose colored book. Satin ribbon, and his writing inside of my name. To this day, it is one of my cherished possessions. While he and I parted ways, I loved the gift and when I’m in a romantic, sad, or poetic mood, her’s is the first book I pull out. I recently found a paperback of her entire collection of works. Whoa! I did not know she had written that much. I don’t have the time to read her often, but when I do, I want to start reading it to anyone who will listen. Sadly, very people do. ( I actually feel this way about a lot of poetry, and my family just doesn’t quite get my fascination.)

e-millay-end-of-summer

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s The End of Summer

I love male poets. Sir Walter Scott (dreamy), Billy Collins (stunning), Shelley (ethereal), John Keats (moving), Tennyson (powerful)…. I could go on as there are many others.  However, there is something about what women poets write that always gets to me. (excluding Billy Collins who’s poetry hits me like a cannon blast and I have yet to recover from some of his) Edna St. Vincent Millay is a new old poet who is rather amazing when you start reading her work. I’m seriously jealous of her sonnets partly because I cannot write a decent sonnet.   And her poem “The End of Summer” is so perfect for this time of year.

Emily Bronte is another beautiful poet. And she’s another Emily. I love my Emilys. (Emily Dickinson, Emilie Loring, Emily Bronte) Unlike the other Bronte sisters, Emily wrote a fair amount of poetry that is unique only to her. Elegant and classic, I pull out her little blue book of poetry I have when I want to feel intellectual. I rarely do, reading her. Half the time I’m not sure what exactly she is talking about, but she is lovely.

Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christina Rossetti is another classic poet.  I have one of her little ditties on my wall from an old Country Living magazine where they were talking about blue and white. “White sheep, white sheep, On a blue hill, When the wind stops, You all stand still.”  So cute in it’s own way. It would be one I would teach a child to say.  Then she has her marvelous poem “In the Bleak Midwinter” which has been turned into an ethereal song by Sarah McLachlan. I absolutely adore that song. It’s message is so perfect for Christmas and about our Lord.  If you haven’t heard it, you must. Just click below.

And lastly, Susan Wooldridge. Someone whom I’ve written about, met, and read extensively. Being that she only has three books, it’s fairly easy to do. But she has a poetry that is unique; modern in feeling. I feel like a friend is telling me things.  Her chapbook “Bathing with Ants” is so lovely and reminds me of getting a call from a friend who wanted to let you know what they thought. I female version of Billy Collins.  I can’t explain it, but you should check out her poetry and books on writing poetry.

Ah yes, woman poets and their words. Magical, and personal. I feel like a part of me is escaping when I read something of theirs. Like they are telling me what I already know, but didn’t know how to say it. And as I read more poetry, I want to collect more women poets.  I feel like they are speaking my life.

So, dearies, do you have any women poets you love?  Tell me. I’m always collecting new poets.

Kate

Poetry from Poemcrazy Workshop

Here are three poems from the workshop with Susan Wooldridge.

Using word tickets, word pools, post cards, stolen words and pure magic.  All of these poems here brought tears, full of raw emotion and feelings.  I do hope you enjoy.

I Remember by V. Krueger

I Remember
Hewn stone
Hopscotch on the kitchen floor,
Blue sky, full moons
Strange surprises and early spring
I remember
Frail old people, laughing children
Rambunctious conversations over dinner
The smell of a warm stove and coffee

I remember
Enchanting, silly, lost little girls,
Plates stacked, silver, really?
Dark, dank, scary, stairs to the cellar
I remember
Cold winters, pancakes and syrup
Important dreams
Steaming milk, the smell of diesel.
I remember
Shaggy horses,
The delightful smell of cows,
swish, swish, swish , milk in the pail, a warm barn..



Amnesia, I Have Forgotten What I Was by Katie Lyn Branson

I am Life the dishsoap in the
Spanish home disembodied as my
Mother stands at the kitchen sink
Singing to my sister about shortning
Bread
The sweet, sweet, sweet smell of chocolate
Chip cookies, the chlorine as she cleans the
Sink
Sewing up shadows of compact berries
I remember the expression, No problem
Knocking full of neon light-script
Nom Nom she says, yes yes I’ll have
Another song
The language of the north hand calls me
And I’m the dishes as I set the table
Come back to me potato chips
Crunchy with mustard, sour, salty
Honey tastes, not dainty
Amnesia, I have forgotten what I was
Encounter me in Monaco, a glittering
Firebrat, stunning as a Japanese Geisha
Three lovely syllables form me
Mira, headlights Wildfire
I am leafless trees of burnt umber
Dancing and sensual,
I am a cactus prickly when you prod me
I am a Victorian lady, proper and prim
Every moaning lover calls me home
The agony of eternity’s with them
An ocean full of squares, sharp
The softness of a waterfall full of leaves
Beckons me to the bloodroot of me
The Swamp Dewberry, earthy and sweet
I am so many things knocking at myself
As I chain-smoke my words on paper and
Become a lurking mask of myself
sewing up shadows of a bubble

Ball on the Green by Katie Lyn Branson
I feel like the endless golf ball on the
green, lonely and waiting to be hit from
the club
The luminosity of the sun shines on my
white surface in a desert of green
The rain hits the umbrella, plink plunk thunk
The feather boa around my neck is soft
Tickling my chin
I feel like wearing red and dancing on the
green. The green velvet lawn in July
as you take the weekend to burrow yourself
away and forget what I said to you in a musical moment.
I feel lost waiting for the hit to come
from you sending me spinning and reeling
towards the hole.
Another point for you as you score a
Par four and write it with your little
pencil of grafite
I could erase your marks and write
in my own.
I win! I shout at you.
For once I have the upper hand
Your stalking Jaguar-self won’t scare
me this century
Photograph me as I dance in the rain
over cobblestoned streets, my silken skirts
An Oriental Poppy of endless movement.

Kate

All poetry is copywrited 2015 by V. Krueger and Katie Lyn Branson.  Do not use without permission.

Meeting Susan G. Wooldridge

I lead a very quiet life, so having the chance to meet an author I absolutely love, has been a huge highlight of my year.  I have rambled on a fair amount about Susan Wooldridge, author of Poemcrazy and Foolsgold often enough that I worry I’m going to wear you readers out.  However, when one falls in love with a book or set of books, or in this case, the author, one tends to go on about it quite a lot.

Just recently my local library hosted a free workshop with Susan Wooldridge and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend.  It was all and more than I could have ever imagined, leaving me with some stunning poetry, if I do say so myself, and a host of inspiration. I was able to meet other authors that gather every Saturday, at my library none the less, and it was a wonderful experience.

Susan is even more fun in person than I would have ever thought. I mean, I love her books and her style of writing is wonderful, but she’s actually like that in person! I could gush…. Okay, I kind of am gushing. I may continue through this with much more.

The 'Wild Women of Etna"

The ‘Wild Women of Etna”

We started off our session ‘stealing words’ from the stacks of poetry books Susan brought with her. (on a side note, I want to have half of those books. I didn’t have time to write down all the amazing titles!) Flipping through the books we grabbed words we liked or called to us from these books, writing them down on a sheet of paper.  I grabbed so many words I wanted to keep going and going! I had a huge list.  Here is a sample.

headlights, eternity’s, the expression, No problem, every moaning lover, chain-smoking, neon light-script, leafless trees, cactus, disembodied, dainty, waterful full of leaves, detective, compact berries, gasoline, ocean, Bloodroot, Swamp Dewberry, Victorian, Paint November…..

Then we started throwing words up onto the whiteboard until we had this AMAZING wordpool.

Susan standing with our word pool.

Susan standing with our word pool.

One of our more hilarious moments was talking about the ‘detective (my word) who charged 3.95 a second’. We kept repeating the phrase over and over trying to fling it into our writing.

Susan then had us all loosen up with dancing in the library parking lot. Our library delivery guy saw us all acting like ninnies, and declined to join in. (I don’t blame him. I mean, the Wild Women were at it…. ) We spun around and said our vowels in a song of movement.

We pulled out Susan’s word tickets; words cut from various sources and taped to ‘Admit One’ tickets. If you have read Poemcrazy, you will know what these are. Sadly, I did not get a picture of them.  I need to make my own, but have not gotten around to it yet.

IMG_5659

Our poetry starters, now on my ceiling for further inspiration.

Then we started writing using starter phrases of I remember, I come from, I am not, I am, and so forth.  We used our word pools we had stolen and the words thrown up on the white board. We scribbled away, me with my red fountain pen, writing furiously.

Then came the heart wrenching moment when Susan asked if she could read our poems aloud.  I have to say, while I handed out mine first because I was done, I was quivering inside. Do you know how personal a poem is? If you are a poet, then yes, but for those that do not write it , it can be a nerve wracking experience to have someone read a very rough draft of what you just wrote.

As Erin Andrews said recently on an episode of Dancing with the Stars, ‘this show is sponsored by Kleenix’….

We cried and we laughed, oohed, aahed and were blown away by the stories we told in just moments.  One writer, Robbie, made me want to cry with how beautiful her poetry was. She described this place that I wanted to step into that reminded me of the Melendy Family in Elizabeth Enright‘s  “The Four Story Mistake.”  And Vicki’s poem was so beautiful…. I will include hers within this post as she was gracious enough to allow me to post her poetry to share.

A small break, goodies from the Friends of the Library, then back to work this time  with switched out word tickets and postcards we selected that called to us.  I chose three, that I don’t have a picture of. A Georgia O’Keefe red poppy, an impressionist painting of rain on a cobblestone street in some French city, and a stone sphere on a green lawn in an abstract painting.  Word tickets and postcards transformed us into a sobbing mess.  I was writing, so quietly, filled with this burning ache in my chest.   I ended crying as Susan read my poem.  It was like I had been slammed by pure emotion.  It was amazing, but wow.

She read all of our poetry and it was stunning.  One phrase from one of the poems I loved was “I’m having a silent affair with my land’.  Isn’t that amazing?

"What's that word?"  with Donna May

“What’s that word?” with Donna May

Reading about the "Snow Angel"

Reading about the “Snow Angel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended the three hour workshop with requests for Susan to come back and moments of awe. I met some amazing ladies and have been invited to meet for the Saturday writing circle!

Susan handed us our Poetry license and we are all official. She even graciously signed our books. (I now have two books signed by an author. I don’t think I could be more jazzed)

I’m seriously inspired and I have started collecting a sample of obscure poetry books to steal words. I mean, I already have done that, but nothing like what I did  at this workshop.

Susan signing her book Poemcrazy

Susan signing her book Poemcrazy

I will post a separate post of my poetry and Vicki’s poetry.  If I can ever get any of the other ladies to share, I will try and post them in another post.

This was one of the best days ever. I know, I sound gushing…. If you ever get the opportunity to go to a workshop with Susan, I highly recommend it. It was incredible.

Kate

Susan and me.  I wanted to go with her.... She said I can visit any time. I will have to take her up on it.

Susan and me. I wanted to go with her…. She said I can visit any time. I will have to take her up on it.

 

 

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