On Thinking Small, Picking Your Brains, & Never Growing Old

Washerwoman and Child (La Blanchisseuse et son enfant)

  • Have you come up with your New Year resolutions yet?

Have you already broken some? If you’re thinking of setting a few goals for 2019, heed Rachelle Gardner’s advice. Her approach helped her reach her goals — try it.

  • Have you picked your brain lately?

Check out the best of Brain Pickings from 2018. A good read to bid farewell to the old year, and ring in the new one.

  • Happy New Year!

“May you stay forever young,” as the song goes. Defy the odds, and prove it possible. And if you feel the odds are winning, write a song, or a poem about it. Read Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas for inspiration.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Washerwoman and Child (La Blanchisseuse et son enfant), 1886. Oil on canvas, Overall: 32 x 25 9/16 in. (81.3 x 65 cm). BF219. Public Domain.

 

 

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Are You Feeling Christmas?

Head (Tête); also called Etude de brodeuse

Christmas Wish

I feel no Christmas, cried a little girl,
I don’t feel any of the Christmas cheer,
the tree is up and lit, the garlands swirl,
and Rudolph leads his pack of swift reindeer,

but I feel nothing. Sobbing would not cease…
Old Santa hugged her, Don’t be sad, my dear,
they are not always real — the things one sees,
what’s real is hidden from the eye, but near.

So close your eyes, put on your largest grin,
unlock your heart and let your Christmas in!

© 2013 Sasha A. Palmer (aka Happy)

Wishing you lots of Christmas cheer!

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Head (Tête); also called Etude de brodeuse, 1904. Oil on canvas, Overall (lower edge irregular): 15 x 12 3/4 in. (38.1 x 32.4 cm). BF553. Public Domain.

On “Delete” Buttons & November

Landscape (Paysage)

  • Think of deleting your Blogger blog?

Think again. According to Adam of Too Clever By Half, there’re at least four reasons why you shouldn’t do it. Luckily, if you’re tired of your Blogger blog, don’t want to see it, etc., you have a much better option than hitting the “delete” button.

  • It’s November — are you writing?

Whether you’re on Blogger, WordPress..whether you blog or not, if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve set some daring writing goals for November. That’s great.

However…if you feel that NaNoWriMo isn’t your thing — you aren’t alone. It’s okay to be a slow writer. Some of them are doing quite well. Heed what Anne R. Allen has to say.

Do what feels right, and write.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), c. 1900–1905. Oil on canvas, Overall: 8 x 12 1/4 in. (20.3 x 31.1 cm). BF236. Public Domain.

Why Read, Write & Teach Poetry?

Promenade (La Promenade)

“A good poem is a delight to read because it sparks the imagination and elicits a response from the reader–a chuckle, a groan, a sigh, an epiphany. The conciseness of poetry, especially when combined with an engaging rhyme and meter, can make just about any topic memorable.”

Listen to Heidi Roemer–author of many poetry picture books and more than 400 poems published in various children’s magazines–talk about poetry, the importance of reading it, writing it, and teaching it to young children.

Get inspired, and start creating your own “Child’s Garden of Verses.” 

And don’t forget to mix a bit of mystery in. Steer clear of the–often encouraged–“quantifiable process of demystification.”  It’s okay to leave poems unsolved.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Promenade (La Promenade), c. 1906. Oil on canvas, Overall: 64 3/4 x 50 15/16 in. (164.5 x 129.4 cm). BF571. Public Domain.

What’s Your Author Persona Mask Like?

Study of Girls' Heads (Étude de têtes de jeunes filles)

Should you wear a mask when in public?

Should you ever discuss the Great Pumpkin?

What’s the biggest benefit of having a public persona?

Even if you don’t (yet) give interviews, or do book signings, or deliver keynote speeches, etc., it’s not too early to think about your public author persona.

If you’re a writer, if you have a blog, if you’re active on social media — your public persona will protect you, and help you find the audience for your writing.

Here’s more on developing your author persona, and brand.

Go for it.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Study of Girls’ Heads (Étude de têtes de jeunes filles), c. 1893. Oil on canvas, Overall: 16 1/4 x 12 11/16 in. (41.3 x 32.2 cm). BF474. Public Domain.

On Poeming Online & Submitting Published Work

Vase of Flowers (Vase de fleurs )

  • Are you looking for a friendly and supportive online community of poets?

Poetic Bloomings is “the best garden for verse”. Established in 2011, the site now reunites Marie Elena Good and Walter J Wojtanik “to help nurture and inspire the poetic spirit”.

Marie Elena and Walt are posting prompts every Sunday. Here’s the latest one.

  • Looking for a contest that accepts published poems?

Submit your work (published and unpublished) to Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest by September 30, 2018.

TOM HOWARD PRIZE: $1,500 for a poem in any style or genre
MARGARET REID PRIZE: $1,500 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Vase of Flowers (Vase de fleurs ), c. 1889. Oil on canvas, Overall: 16 1/4 x 13 in. (41.3 x 33 cm). BF156. Public Domain.

 

 

August Submission Alerts, Don’t Miss

Lemons and Orange (Citrons et orange)

Happy August!

  • If you don’t mind $20-25 submission fees, here’s something to consider:

If you have an unpublished poetry or short story collection, and you haven’t published a full-length collection yet — submit to Black Lawrence Press for THE ST. LAWRENCE BOOK AWARD. The winner receives book publication, $1000, and 10 copies of the book. Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: August 31

Are you a writer, and a parent? The Sustainable Arts Foundation is awarding $5000 each to twenty writers and artists, who combine creative work with raising a family. It’s an opportunity for writers of creative nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels, poetry, and more. Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: August 31

  • And if you aren’t a fan of paying-to-play, here’s a free opportunity for you:

Have you published (or considered publishing) your book through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.co.uk? Submit to Kindle Storyteller Award (UK). No entry fee. Prize: £20,000. Deadline: August 31, 2018.

Enjoyed the post? Like it, share it — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Lemons and Orange (Citrons et orange), c. 1913. Oil on canvas (later mounted to fiberboard), Overall: 9 1/4

 

On Narrative-Fitting Summer Reading Lists & First Amendment Rights

Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire)

  • Two books that include police brutality and racism as themes have drawn attention to a suburban Charleston, South Carolina high school.

The Hate U Give (HarperCollins, 2017) by Angie Thomas and All American Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2015) by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely are two out of four books that comprise a summer reading list for Wando High School students.

The Fraternal Order of Police has a problem with the list, and the police organization president, John Blackmon has called for The Hate U Give and All American Boys to be dropped.

In the guild’s open letter to the police group, executive director Mary Rasenberger writes, “This interference–which is clearly based on the content of the books in question–must stop.

It is a blatant violation of students’ first amendment rights and an improper attempt at censorship by law-enforcement officials.”

Find out why The Fraternal Order of Police is in fact free “to support or oppose just about anything they desire.”

Or why a “First Amendment infringement argument could be made by or on behalf of the students” in this case.

“Just one more thing” (© Columbo):

Why aren’t there any classics on the reading list?

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire), 1876–1877. Oil on canvas, Overall: 73 13/16 x 46 1/4 in. (187.5 x 117.5 cm). BF862. Public Domain.

 

 

 

On June Poets & Friends We’ve Never Met

Landscape (Paysage)

Happy Birthday to my friend Janet whose poetry and photography never cease to amaze and delight. If you haven’t discovered Another Porch yet, stop by it today. And every day. Many happy returns!

  • Yesterday another special friend of mine had his birthday.

On June 6 Russia celebrated the 219th birthday of her greatest poet Alexander Pushkin (June 6, 1799–February 10, 1837). Here are just ten of all the countless reasons why Pushkin is great.

To me the incredible thing about Pushkin is that no matter what might come your way, whether you experience joy, sadness, or anything in between — turn to him, and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

His lines just pop up in my head, and I think, yes, that’s exactly what I needed to hear right now. Learning poetry by heart as part of the school curriculum sure has benefits. So does growing older.

Have you got the best friend you’ve never met? A favorite poet you “talk” to?

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), 1916. Oil on canvas, Overall: 18 11/16 x 22 1/16 in. (47.5 x 56 cm). BF818. Public Domain.

 

Happy Medium: How to Become a Medium Author

Landscape (Paysage)

  • Want to write for Medium, but don’t know how to go about it?

A detailed tutorial from Indies Unlimited will help you get started.

  • Although Medium allows you to import already published blog posts, bear in mind that Medium is not the same as, say, WordPress.

You might find yourself writing different content for these two platforms.

  • Note: The posts I’ve linked to have important info in the comment threads as well. Don’t forget to check out the comments.

Found the post useful? Share it with others, like it. Thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), c. 1917. Oil on canvas, Overall: 10 7/8 x 16 in. (27.6 x 40.6 cm). BF4. Public Domain.