Thursday, April 19, 2018

Come on in!

A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.
~Stephen King

Welcome! The Poetry Friday round-up is here -- looking forward to seeing your poetry posts!

Today we're celebrating the release of IMPERFECT, poems about mistakes for middle schoolers. We're also having a mistake party on the TEAM IMPERFECT blog. Bring your melty ice cream cake that you almost tossed in the bin and wear your shirt that turned pink in the laundry. Somebody accidentally delivered a giant butter statue in the shape of a frog and I don't know where it's really supposed to go (a herpetology convention?). Looks like we're having froggy butter with our bread and bagels!

In addition to our virtual parties, we're giving away real-world kintsugi kits! Both here and at TEAM IMPERFECT (The one here is silver and the one at TI is can try for either or both.) The deadline for the giveaways is May 4. Just leave a comment or drop me a line.

Why kintsugi? We have it on the cover of IMPERFECT...Kat Apel wrote this poem from the text of our cover reveal:

by Kat Apel

Precious scars
filling cracks
with liquid gold,
more beautiful;
broken history
displayed with pride;

imperfection golden.


An off-the-cuff limerick for imperfect poets:

There once was a mistake-making poet
whose persistence was truly heroic
every word she'd misspell
made her feel so unwell
her stomach moaned that she wasn't more stoic


Do you Pin? Here's the Pinterest board for IMPERFECT.

Please leave your link below!


The thorns are still there — there are more thorns than flowers — but we do not call it a thorn plant. We call it a rose plant because of that single rose. Everyone's attention goes more towards that single rose than a hundred thorns that are on the plant, isn't it? So all the thorns in you, maybe you cannot remove them right now, but if one rose flower blossoms, everyone is willing to overlook those things.

Yes, we're challenging ourselves to find the beauty in thorns this Art Thursday. The animals don't seem concerned, do they? (Except for the lion.)

Euphorbia viguieri var. capuroniana
by Frank Vincentz

from Europa's fairy book (1916)
by Joseph Jacobs and John Dickson Batten

A Cattle Egret in Breeding Plumage searching for the stems for constructing nest
by Vaibhavmridul

by Kathy

Elephant grasping a thorn tree
by Tim & Annette

Dans les dunes de Sables d'or les pins, dans les côtes d'Armor
by Benjamin Scalvenzi

Rosa sericea prickles in botanical garden in Kraków
by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spoon Theory

Most people live in fear of some terrible event changing their lives, the death of a loved one or a serious illness. For the chronically ill, this terrible event has already happened, and we have been let in on an amazing secret: You survive. You adapt, and your life changes, but in the end you go on, with whatever compromises you have been forced to make, whatever losses you have been forced to endure. You learn to balance your fears with the simple truth that you must go on living.
~Jamie Weisman

For Wellness Wednesday, we have a very helpful theory for understanding what it's like to have a reduced amount of energy due to chronic illness. If someone says that they are saving their spoons for later, do you know what it means?

An excerpt from
The Spoon Theory
by Christine Miserandino

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born.

Read the rest here

25 Helpful Things to Say to Spoonies

23 Spoonie Hacks That Can Make Life With Chronic Illness Easier

Monday, April 16, 2018

Água de Beber

I believe I learned my songs from the birds of the Brazilian forest.
~Tom Jobim

A song by Brazilian composer Tom Jobim for Music Monday. The Portuguese lyrics (first video) are by Vinicius de Moraes and the English lyrics (second video) are by Norman Gimbel:

Flora Purim
Connie Evingson

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thieves, Fairies, and Hearts

My plan is just to love harder than I've ever loved before, hide nothing, and embrace that I'm an imperfect human being.
~Sam Smith

Happy birthday to Lee Bennett Hopkins! And many happy returns. More mini mistake-maker poems this Friday in honor of IMPERFECT, a poetry anthology for middle schoolers (release date: April 20th!).

Can you name these books and invention?


Burglars think stealing from a girl alone will be child's play...
look at those piles of gold coins!

But she gets them to dance the polka all night
and they stagger out sheepish with nothing purloined.


photo by John Graham


a faithful fairy friend
drank the poisoned medicine...
clap or it's the end!



Wilson Greatbatch tried
to make a heartbeat recorder

but putting the wrong resistor inside
mimicked the beat's proper order

This canny mistake-maker
led to the ______


There are more minis on IMPERFECT's blog. None of these are in the book, so maybe I'll collect all of the mini mistake-maker poems and put them in a pdf for anyone who wants them. If you have one to share, email me or leave them in the comments.

Robyn Hood Black has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Robyn!

Looking into the distance

The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also omit to paint that which he sees before him.
~Caspar David Friedrich

I like these paintings by German artist Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) showing people looking into the distance (although in Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, they seem to have dropped something!):

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
by Caspar David Friedrich

The Stages of Life shows five ships at various distances from the shore, echoing the five figures at various stages of life
by Caspar David Friedrich

Two Men Contemplating the Moon
by Caspar David Friedrich

Moonrise over the Sea
by Caspar David Friedrich

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen
by Caspar David Friedrich

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Plant your heels on cobblestone

The three ordinary things that we often don't pay enough attention to, but which I believe are the drivers of all success, are hard work, perseverance, and basic honesty.
~Azim Premji

This Wellness Wednesday, we're singing the praises of hunkering down and doing the work. Isn't it satisfying to feel productive?

To be of use
By Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

read the rest here


by Tanita Davis
with no apologies to Disney whatsoever

When you’ve wished upon a ROCK
You’ve wished, at least, on sturdy stock,
& tethered it to solid ground –
(not vague celestial hopes unsound).

Wishes on stars are ill-advised;
A heavenly-body’s VAST, in size
You wish might land… or, go astray,
Become some wind-tossed castaway…

But plant your heels on cobblestone,
‘Wish’ turns to ‘deed’ with your backbone.
Persist, and dreams you’ll undertake,
That starlight’s whimsies cannot make.