sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

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The Ripple Effect of Sharing Poetry

A monthly poetry, performance and literary event —
with featured authors and an open mic
Presented by The Eugene Poetry Foundation in conjunction with
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Sunday, April 9, 2017, from 3-5 PM @ Eugene Barnes & Noble
Website: http://www.wordsongs.com/burnindownthebarnes
Barnes & Noble Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/258294591266050/

— This is a family friendly event —
Hosted by C. Steven Blue & Charles Castle

 

I’m a Featured Reader at this month’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore /  Eugene Poetry Foundation  “BURNIN’ DOWN THE BARNES !!” event. My co-reader is a brilliant high school freshman I’ve had the pleasure and honor of mentoring a bit over the past couple of years.

Decisions about what poems to read, arranging them in a good flow, balancing the deep and the funny ones, are a bigger task than the actual on-stage time. I’ve taught poetry classes, coached others on how to read aloud, emotion and emoting. Each time I’m involved in an event like this, I go back to Step 1 myself and take a deep breath.

We’ll each have half an hour to present our own work, followed by an hour of “open mic” time, where the audience can read their own poems. I’ve invited several shy poetic friends to attend, and consider reading.

It’s a terrific way to wade into the stream of sharing, and Eugene has one of the most amazing, supportive collection of people who listen well, encourage new poets (of all ages), and appreciate everyone’s efforts.

I love the writing relationship we have as the Poetic Muselings: the synergy, energy, creativity, aha! moments, insights, and fun. As I pull my collection together, I always ask each of my Sister Muselings for a poem to read. Our approaches to life are reflected in the material they contribute.

This year, in addition to her own poem, Anne sent me one that I’m going to lead with — reflecting a universal I wish I’d written.

It’s too good to keep to myself, and I want the world to learn about the poet, read her blog, and laugh at:

An Ode To The Overwhelmed

And as you stand there
Late again
Because you forgot to allow time to park
And the elevator was slow
And you left 10 minutes late to begin with

With your shoes that pinch
And your pants that are a little too small
Since you started eating white bread again

And as you paw through your bag
Looking for the suite number
That you’re not sure you wrote down to
begin with

Let us now praise you.

You, the untidy.
You, the careless.
You, the easily distracted by sparkly things.

The money you spend on late fees alone
Could feed a family in Africa – Which
reminds you that you meant to send in the
kids’ Unicef money and
Forgot.

And that despite your best efforts,
You rarely eat a square meal,
You almost never get enough sleep
And exercise seems like a word that
magazines have developed
Just to make you feel bad about yourself.

But you are good and brave.
You, flying by the seat of your pants
Making it work
Putting out fires
Saying your prayers
And dancing your dance of now and later and
maybe and
I’ll-have-to-call-you-back-on-that-could-you-
send-me-an-email-to-remind-me-to-call-you-
back-on-that?

As innocent as each morning’s sunrise,
You are a fount of good intentions.
Your good humor is as graceful as a baby
giraffe,
Even if that joke you were trying to make to
the hotel clerk fell flat
And your toast at the wedding came out
sounding a little…funny.

But you have gifts that no one knows about.

You have the strength to bend in the wind

You have the joyful spirit that loves a good
belly laugh,

You have the wisdom to understand that
everything will all come out all right in the
end and

You have the faith to light a candle rather
than curse the darkness.

That is, if you could find the book of
matches from that romantic restaurant that
you went to for your anniversary but since
you didn’t have a reservation they made you
wait at the bar for half an hour during which
you had two appletinis and the rest of the
night is a bit of a blur.

So much for the overpriced lingerie.

You are beautiful.

You are beautiful.

Frazzled and overworked and underpaid
You are the one who forgot your wallet
And forgot your receipt for the dry cleaners
And forgot your keys which you just set
down five seconds ago, so where could they
possibly have gone?

But you never forget to say, “I love you”

And you never forget to give a big smile to
that nice parking guy

And you never fail to show endless patience
when the
Too-tightly wrapped and overly-
conscientious start to offer their
Oh-so-helpful suggestions about how you
might feel better if you would just learn to
alphabetize your spice rack.

You are beautiful.

So, wear the lingerie on Monday for no
reason.
And why not just refuse to participate in the
bake sale this year?
And give yourself a compliment for
something you did well today.

Because you are the most beautiful person
I’ve ever known.

© 2014 Samantha Bennett
…. excerpted from her remarkably popular book: By The Way, You Look Really Great Today: Selected Poems by Samantha Bennett

Dive, don’t surf, her blog:  TheOrganizedArtistCompany.com.

Caveat: prepare to add your own verse to her poem, because, inevitably, you WILL end up missing something else going on in your life, but you’ll have an ever-so-good-reason-for-why . . .

Michele

 

 

 

 

Supporting Literacy

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend Fox Hills Elementary’s Literacy Night as a local poet. There was a nice variety of writers represented. The poet, the short story and article writer, the picture book author/illustrator, and the YA fantasy author. Also attending was the children’s librarian from our local library.

On my table, I set up a tri-fold board with a sign identifying me as a poet, as well as Chiaroscuro book cover and some sample poems, a few poems for kids, and my certificate for first place poetry from a local contest. For handouts, I had my Stego Stomp poem printed on fun paper for the kids, and postcards about Chiaroscuro for the parents.

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poetry tri-fold

There was a big turnout. I enjoyed the excitement about books in the air. The kids who stopped and took time to read my poem all enjoyed it. It was a big hit. One boy is even going to have his mom hang it on his bedroom wall. One goal of poetry is to share and create enjoyment, and I feel I succeeded.

chiaroscuro-postcards
There was even some genuine interest in my poetry book. One mom admitted she hasn’t read a poem since she was a teenager. Hopefully I encouraged her to revisit poetry. 

I ran out of the dino poem handout with about half hour left of the night, but even without it kids and parents were still reading poems from my board. What a great feeling hearing others read and enjoy my poems.

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Inspiration through Participation

My favourite poetry book

My favourite poetry book (Photo credit: Nick Kenrick . enuf protesting)

This being National Poetry Month, I challenged myself once again to writing more poetry. Last year I wrote a lot of new poetry, but didn’t make the goal of a new one every day. I followed one community’s challenge, and some days the prompt simply didn’t work for me or I tired out.

This year, I am following not one, but five challenges. The Poetic Asides blog is doing it’s annual Poem A Day challenge. I discovered the NaPoWriMo (National Poem Writing Month) blog which posts daily prompts. The 30 Day Challenge page on Facebook is another to write a poem a day. I also joined the A to Z blogging challenge, which means blogging every Monday through Saturday in April with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. And there’s the challenge on the Sims game forums again this year, but for a poem a week instead of one a day.

Last year I ended the month with 19 new poems. This year, I have written at least one poem every day. Some days more. With nine days to go, I already have 30 new poems! What really made a difference was having so many prompts to choose from. I could combine different prompts, or choose just one, or do something completely different. In addition to just the prompts, I met new bloggers and poets, and was inspired by their poems. It was from following a fellow blogger‘s AtoZ challenge that I learned about the Elfje poetry form, which in the few short days since I tried it has become a favorite.

Don’t limit yourself. It’s by broadening our horizons that we find inspiration. 

mary-sig2

 

 

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Muse Con Learning: Facebook Fan Page

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One of the things I took from Muse Con this year was how to make use of an Author Page on Facebook, presented by C.J. Ellisson. I had always thought it wasn’t worth having an author page until I had a book to promote. C.J. pointed out that she created her page 16 months before her book came out, and already had 1600 followers by the time her first book released. That is amazing. And it does make sense, to create a reader base before I have something to sell.

An Author Page isn’t all about selling a book, it’s about sharing an interest, growing a reader community. I can share not only about my book, but fun memes for the genre, questions for discussion. Currently I’m building up to Halloween by talking about different paranormal creatures. I’ve also started Fairy Fridays, something for my followers to expect on a weekly basis.

Another important thing I learned was that your friends list, your family and peers, is not your target audience. That’s another reason to have a separate author or fan page. Send out an initial invite or notice, and let them make that choice to follow or not. Don’t keep spamming them with invites or book news.

My goal for this next month is to find some fantasy groups to join, where I can interact as my Author persona. Start contributing, get people familiar with my name. I’m not ready to promote through Facebook ads, which would take money, so I get to take full advantage of other organic ways to connect with readers.

If you’d like to join me on my journey, you can follow me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/MaryWJensenFanPage

 

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Sign up for the Muse Online Writers Conference Now!

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We are just over a week away from the 2013 Muse Online Writers Conference. For those unfamiliar with the conference, it’s a free week-long event with workshops and chats. The workshops are forum-based, so you can jump in and participate any time of day. The chats are scheduled throughout the week at various times (times listed are all Eastern US). Workshops can vary from daily exercises to Q&A to more of a casual chat about a topic.

There is something offered for nearly everyone. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, genre or otherwise. Sadly, there are no poetry workshops listed in the schedule at this time.

If you have a finished manuscript, there are pitch sessions with both agents and publishers. These are live chats. If you’re not already signed up, however, your pitch needs to be submitted by TOMORROW, September 30.  Check the website for more details.

Registration

For details on how to register, visit: http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/muse_front/index.php/2013-registration. You do not have to register for individual classes. Just check in to the forums for anything that interests you.

The site is a new build, so returnees will want to ensure they have the most recent link, and test their log-in. All accounts should have been migrated from the old site. If you have problems, refer to this HELP page.

One note: The site says registration will be open until Oct 1, but I have it on good authority that you will be able to register up until the start of the conference on Oct 7. But don’t waste time, as you don’t want to hit a problem with registration by waiting until the last moment.

My Experiences with Muse Con

If you’re interested, you can read up on my experience from last year’s conference. I think this will be my sixth(!) conference.

I love Muse Con. It’s a great way for a writer like me, with limited budget, to network with my fellow writers and members of the industry, and work on my skills. I’ve pitched books, started new novels, strengthened existing writing, and generally had a lot of fun.

Our group emerged from this conference, we learned the tools to create our poetry collection LIFELINES. We pitched our book to publishers at a later Muse Conference, and it was during Muse Con that we got our acceptance letter. We owe the success of this group and our book to Muse Conference.

Some of the Workshops

One of the classes I’m interested about this year is Plotting With Scrivener. I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient with Scrivener. And even if you don’t own a copy, you can download the trial version to play with during the conference.

A few of the other 30+ workshops:

  • Breaking into the Homeschool Market
  • Horror and Paranormal Trends
  • Housekeeping for Writers
  • Introduction to ePublishing
  • Creating a Character
  • Plotting a Series

Hope to see you there!

Muse Online Writers Conference
October 7-13, 2013

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Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon turned tragic this past Monday when two bombs went off near the finish line of the race. Two of our kids were downtown when it happened. Both are, thank God, safe, but others were not so lucky. Our hearts go out to all.

Boston Marathon

Boston_Marathon_2010_in_Wellesley

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in Wellesley, just after the halfway mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blank page accuses me

but I’m wordless,
my mind stuck in the moment
I heard the explosion,

the second glass shattered,

viewing stands collapsed,
runners crashed to the street
from the bomb’s blast

A pressure cooker,
a timer,
nails and such

from the hardware store

Anyone could buy
at the Ace on the corner

put together in the garage.
No one would suspect a thing.

We have the method,
but not the motive:
neither who nor why,
and it leaves us wrecked.

We toss and turn,
wake at 2 AM,
imagined footsteps
clomp by our door.

Only a dream,

a stand-in for the worry
we are vulnerable,
fragile,

and anyone
with a few dollars,
a little know-how,
a stain on their soul,

could, in a moment,
change our lives forever.

 

 

 

The Mystery- Dealing with Grief

The  Mystery

By Lin Neiswender

You were the cutest thing
So happy with a simple toy like green grass
A carpet to comfort your feet
Leaves blowing down sidewalks

Yours to track  by scratchy sound
When  wind blew stone-cold
Sharing a snack with the rest of the pack

Barking fiercely while picking goodies
from kitchen trash bin with no one home
Quick to guard me like a Rottweiler

But actually just a Shetland Sheep dog
Who then dashes behind me for protection
Mysterious fur shiny white, gray, black and silver

White lion’s mane, stripes  on face, back, chest, feathers on legs
He could have been a show dog if he was a little shorter
You are a shy but beautiful boy

But I know that someday
We will meet again, all of us,
Humans and dogs and cats  and everyone

As we dance our way

 

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I had to put my sweet Sheltie Smokey to sleep last Saturday.When I saw the suffering in his eyes and it seemed to say Mom, please do something for me. So I did the right thing and had him put to sleep. Cancer has taken another of my sweet dogs. I’m across the Rainbow Bridge still expecting to see him when I first come in. When thoughts come like that, I know I can find comfort about my decision. He is out of pain. What a good dog he was. So now life goes on with me and the cat.

 

 

 

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