Friday, October 12, 2018

Invite Art to Inspire a Story

Thank you to artist Richard Smythe for one mouse, one teacup, one idea.

A Little Mouse on a Big Adventure (Title from a Tweet!)

Students - Three weeks ago, I found this adorable mouse by Richard Smythe's in his Twitter post.  As I often do with Smythe's art, I fell head over heels in love.  I wrote and asked his A Little Mouse on a Big Adventure along with a poem.  He kindly agreed, and so I have been thinking about this little one for some time.

But I had not written a word until today.  This morning when I woke, I woke with the words one teacup, one mouse in my head.  I told myself, "I'll jot those down and write more when I really wake up, not now at 5:30am."  But I could not go back to sleep.  The mouse was here. The teacup was here.  The grandma was here.  And the poem was here.

If you find yourself unsure of what to write, look at some art.  You might check out Richard Smythe's website, read an art book, or walk through a museum.  Perhaps ask your art teacher to allow you to look at some art made by the students in your school. Allow one thing to lead to another.  Delight your brain with a picture, and go from there.  

You may, as I did, choose to tell the story behind and beyond what you see in the image.  I had fun imagining a grandma and a missing teacup, a stone path, and that helpful beagle.

Teachers - if you wish, you may read more about finding ideas and crafting writing in my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS published by Heinemann and filled with over 150 poems by contemporary adult poets and children alike.

Again, much gratitude to Richard, an artist and human I admire and hope one day to meet.

Tomorrow I look forward to joining the School Librarians' Association of Western New York for part of their Fall Sharing Day.  It is always a joy to connect with librarians, and I look forward to meeting some new book lovers.

Laura is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup today at Writing the World for Kids.  Enjoy a peaceful moment as you read her beautiful poem from the new THE POETRY OF US edited by J. Patrick Lewis. And while the tones are quite different, you might notice that our poems could be considered cousins!

Please know that every Poetry Friday, we gather together to share books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  Everyone is always welcome to visit, comment, and post.  We invite you!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I love the repetition in this poem, Amy. And how it comes full circle at the end. So fun. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I adore the story that you wove from this about this illustration. The repetition of the word "one" is really effective.

  3. Very cute, Amy...isn't it wonderful when the poem wants to write itself??

  4. I love the little twist at the end. I love writing poems to art. Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

  5. I love that our poems are cousins. Your poem (and the art, of course) is SO charming. I love this one, Amy. Wow.

  6. Delightful Amy your poem wedded with Richard Smythe's art–love the ending too, thanks!