Friday, November 24, 2017

Write on the Day After a Big Day

This Morning
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I like holidays.  But I also like the days before and after holidays.  And I like thinking about and writing about the times before and after holidays too.  Sometimes I am reminded that any day can feel important.  For me, today is a quiet home day, a day to remember who I am and what matters most to me.  Today's poem celebrates being not-busy, and as I wrote it, I recommitted to gratitude and to trying to be a less busy person.  Today's poem is about the peace I feel inside when I just slow down.

Slowing down is good for writers.  It is good and healthy for all of us humans.  Cats too, I imagine.  

It is wonderful to host Julie Patterson and her notebooks over at Sharing Our Notebooks this month.  Please stop by my other online home and take a peek into her pages...leave a comment, and you may just win a book!

Carol is hosting today's Poetry Friday party over at Carol's Corner.  Please join us at her place for the weekly roundup and to celebrate a new book by Carole Boston Weatherford.  All are always welcome to join in Poetry Friday, a time for friends old and new to gather and share.

I am thankful for you.


Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Be Ready for Characters to Appear

Ghost Gratitude
by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is in the spirit ('spirit!' - get it?) of the season...the whole season of autumn, rolling two holidays into one.  Earlier this month, sometime between the stretch of Halloween and Thanksgiving, this small sprite appeared in my mind, Sammy, the ghostie who loved Thanksgiving most of all.  I have more thoughts about Sammy, but today's poem was my first official meeting with him on paper.

Sometimes it's fun to turn something on its head a little bit.  You know, ghosts SHOULD favor Halloween ...but in a poem, a writer can flip such an idea around.  The ghost world of this poem is normal.  You know...sheets, ghost families, and all of that.  But this ONE thing is different - Sammy loves the wrong holiday best.

Such playfulness is not only plain fun for a writer, it's surprising for a reader too.  Sometimes writing can just allow a soul to take a little trip into a pretend land of the mind.  Everything doesn't have to be real in writing.  We can let our imaginations float a bit, even right through old stone walls if we wish.  I actually have a picture in my head of wee Sammy with a cranberry sauce stain on his sheet.  But that's for another day.

Did you notice the repetition in this poem, repetition of the words thank you and I love?  

Did you notice how I stretched out those last four lines of the poem? This is to slow readers' reading down toward the end, to emphasize the importance of death not being really final to this young ghost.

Pay attention.  Perhaps this week or sometime at the end of this calendar year, a curious character will walk right into your head.  If she or he does, jot down who it is.  Pay attention.  Your mind is creative; you just must pay attention to it.

Jane is hosting today's Poetry Friday party over at Raincity Librarian!  Jane is not only hosting for the first time today...but she is doing so from Osaka, Japan.  Please stop over, congratulate her on her new book WILD ONE....and take part in the poetry joy.  All are always welcome to join this gathering of poemlove and friendship.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Looking for Joy...Everywhere!

Students - It is good and wise to look for happiness.  To find small and big seek out stories of kindness and love and friendship and people and animals being their best selves.  Sometimes you find these by looking, and sometimes they come across your path.  This true storypoem you find here today came across my path in the form of news.  Good news does not always plop into your lap; sometimes you do have to look for it.  I got lucky here...the story of sweet Max and darling Quackers did plop right into lap!  And now, I plop it into yours!

When you read today's poem, you'll notice specifics, specifics such as the death of Quackers' friends, and even the name of the road that Max and Quackers walk along - Route 28.  These specifics all came straight from an article I read online; I did not invent them.  I could invent facts to make up my own story...but I did not do so in this case.  This is a straight storypoem retelling of a surprising friendship.

Writing it made me happy.

Find stories that make you happy. Find joy and goodness.  Look up from your screen.  That's where you'll find the best stuff.  Pass your good stories on.  Make up good stories.  We humans of all ages need and want to read them.

Teachers, through tonight, Heinemann is still holding a giveaway for 5 copies of my new POEMS ARE TEACHERS at Goodreads. If you're interested in the book, please try to win it.

It's a delight to welcome writer and professor Julie Patterson over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks. I feel so lucky to get to peek into others' notebooks, and doing so has helped my own writer self find ideas and inspiration.  Please, teachers and students both, visit. You may also leave a comment to be entered into a book giveaway.

Jama is hosting week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Jama's Alphabet Soup with a delicious celebration of doughnuts. Yum indeed...all are welcome.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Look Out Your Window & Snag a Line

Past, Present, Future
by Amy LV

Students - Yesterday, while I was driving home from teaching, I saw a beautiful red barn with a neat woodpile and also a yet-to-be stacked pile of wood.  I stopped to take a picture. See it below?

Scene from My Car Window
Photo by Amy LV

Well, I love red barns.  And I love woodpiles.  So this was a dreamy scene for me.  Later I got to thinking about the wood: how it used to be trees and how it will one day be just smoke and ash. Just like all of us - once not here, now here, one day gone. This line floated into my head: "When I see a pile of firewood..." I just followed that line and it led to a whole lot of other lines which ended up as this poem.

Pay attention when you go for drives.  Don't just hold a screen up to your face.  Really look out of the window and see what is there, the real objects and animals and buildings and humans and plants and skies and weather all around you. What do you love and wonder and think about?  Each one of these thoughts could be a wondrous starting-off point for a poem or a story or another piece of writing.

And listen.  Sometimes, if you're paying attention, a whole line will just pop into your head whole.  Snag and follow that line...see where it winds and leads.  Often, your words will surprise even yourself.

Last week here at The Poem Farm, we were lucky enough to hear from Kate Coombs, author of BREATHE AND BE. The publisher of this book, Sounds True, was generous enough to offer a giveaway to a commenter, and the winner is...Frank!  Congratulations!  Please send me a message with your snail mail address, and I will send it along to Kate so that the book can wing its way to you.

In other giveaway news, through next week, Heinemann is still holding a giveaway for 5 copies of my new POEMS ARE TEACHERS at Goodreads.

It's a delight to welcome a new poster over at Sharing Our Notebooks.  Adjunct professor and writer-in-residence for the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers, Julie Patterson shares an inspiring peek into her pages, something to try, and a book giveaway too. Please visit that post, enjoy, and comment!

Happy Poetry Friday, friends!  Visit Linda for this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at her welcoming home, TeacherDance. Join us in feeling gratitude for the beauties of November.