Monday, April 30, 2018

Thank you for the music

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

I was listening to the radio on Friday and the host (Joshua Johnson, I think) said that, after all the bad news they had been discussing that hour, he finally had some good news to share. The good news -- ABBA is getting back together and will release some new music. Yay! That's the kind of news I can get behind.

I remember hearing some years ago that ABBA was offered a ton of money to tour and they turned it down because they didn't want to do it. I totally respect that. The reason they are making music now? They thought it would be fun. How awesome is that?? Fun > $$$.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

My fellow errorists

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.
~John Dryden

Finishing off National Poetry Month with a little more about mistakes, in honor of IMPERFECT.

Did you know that there are museums and libraries dedicated to mistakes? There's the Library of Mistakes in Edinburgh, which is a "comprehensive collection of books and other materials related to business and finance and our failure to learn the lessons of the past." Their motto is "Changing the world one mistake at a time." On the Library of Mistakes blog, posts are charmingly addressed to "my fellow errorists."

And now for The Museum of Failure:


Edgar Guest was a big believer in the sentiment behind the Japanese expression "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." An excerpt from Defeat by Edgar Guest:

No one is beat till he quits,
No one is through till he stops,
No matter how hard Failure hits,
No matter how often he drops,
A fellow's not down till he lies
In the dust and refuses to rise.


Here's a poem by Emily Dickinson about a situation where you really don't want to be making mistakes:

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit—Life!


Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!

Don't forget to drop me a line or leave a comment about winning a kintsugi kit (gold or silver) if you haven't already!


Sometimes, she thought Scotland was more than a country, more than a rough and magnificent land with a border created by men, written on a map, and defended for hundreds of years. Scotland was almost a living creature that could turn and bite your hand if you didn't speak about it in fond and loving tones.
~Karen Ranney

How did I pick today's Art Thursday theme? I saw a photo of Plockton and thought it was lovely. So here we are, looking at a wee town in Scotland.

photo by Bryan Ledgard

Daddy Highland Cow
Sandy Sieczkarek

Cottages and Cabbage Trees in Plockton
photo by Nessy-Pic

Plockton, Scotland
Andrew Murgatroyd

photo by Brian Gillman

Thatch Roof Plockton
photo by Brian Gillman

Duncraig Castle, a Plockton B&B...would love to stay there!

Cape Breton Oatcakes (yes, Cape Breton is in Canada not Scotland, but they are Scottish oatcakes and also I love them wholeheartedly so here's a recipe) (They may be an acquired taste?)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Introverted feeling types have a wealth of warmth and enthusiasm, but they may not show it until they know someone well. They wear their warm side inside, like a fur-lined coat.
~Isabel Briggs Myers

For Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about how we become re-energized. Does having quiet time alone help you recharge or do you seek out other people? In other words, do you know whether you are an introvert or an extrovert or somewhere in between? Being aware of your preferences, and that they are perfectly fine whatever they are, can be helpful.

Susan Cain (who wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking) speaking for 2 minutes:

Here's the 19 minute version

And for people who are wondering what "Extrovert Problems" might be:

25 Frustrating Things About Being An Extrovert

Lastly, some bits about meeting in the middle:

Hospitality tips from an introvert married to an extrovert

22 Tips To Better Care for Introverts and Extroverts

Monday, April 23, 2018

Extended dramatic compositions

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
~Queen of the Night aria

Have you heard the Queen of the Night aria by Mozart? It's an unusual-sounding piece, which makes sense when you consider the words she's singing (and that she's trying to get her daughter to kill somebody).

My daughter was singing that aria to herself the other day; I don't know what made it come to her mind, but it's been in mine ever since. It made this list of Top 10 Opera Songs:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

I have the next line of this year's Progressive Poem, brainchild of beloved poet-friend Irene Latham. When the poem began, I thought the seed might spend time wondering what she was going to become, but I was off-base! We found that out in line 4! And in line 5, a game was introduced. Both my daughter Elena and I wanted to know more about the game, so I circled back around there with my line today. We're in the middle of a party, and a poem within a poem, so things are busy already, but if you're at a party, maybe you'll play a game, right? (Elena also wanted more stardrops, but I didn't see how I could shoehorn those in!)

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.

Oh, what wonderful dreams she had!

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with

the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine

invented a game.

"Moon?" she called across warm honeyed air.

"I'm sad you're alone; come join Owl and me.

We're feasting on stardrops, we'll share them with you."

"Come find me," Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in gentle talons' embrace, Jasmine rose

and set. She split, twining up Owl's toes, pale

moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.

Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee's party!

Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.

                                                       Jas grinned,
                                                                          a new,
                                                   around          tender

a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.

Her green melody line twisted and clung.

Because she was twining poet's jasmine, she

wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem.

Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind,

filled with light and starsong. "Revelers, lean in –

let's add to this merriment a game that grows

...Take it away, Amy!


1 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

2 Jane at Raincity Librarian

3 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

5 Jan at bookseedstudio

6 Irene at Live Your Poem

7 Linda at TeacherDance

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales

12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

13 Linda A Word Edgewise

14 Heidi at  my juicy little universe

15 Donna at Mainely Write

16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle

17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town

18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering

19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

20 Linda at Write Time

21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

23 The Poem Farm

24 A Year of Reading

25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge

26 No Water River

27 Buffy's Blog

28 Kat's Whiskers

29 April atTeaching Authors

30 Doraine at Dori Reads


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.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Corinne Morris

When I die, I'd like to come back as a cello.
~Wayne Newton

Corinne Morris for Music Monday:

Friday, April 6, 2018


All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.
~John Ruskin

I'm celebrating IMPERFECT, the mistakes anthology for middle schoolers, all month, and especially on its release date: April 20th! The cover of IMPERFECT has a kintsugi vase. Here's a pretty print that explains kintsugi (click to embiggen):

Mistakes can be tragic, useful, or anything in between. These mini riddle poems contain famous mistakes...can you name them?

Fleming's neglected dish
turns a moldy blue-green --
bacteria killer!

I always run late...
maybe I should fix my watch
for important dates

Keys left back on shore,
binoculars stay locked up --
iceberg spotted too late.


The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Little Stones

“I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone.”
—ALICE PAUL, Women’s Rights Activist

The name of Little Stones, a 2017 documentary about four women around the world who use art to create positive change, comes from the above quote. I think it also applies to the world...don't we all contribute a stone?

There are a heartening number of young men who help out in the video below:

Panmela Castro Fights Domestic Violence Through Graffiti - LITTLE STONES Sneak Preview from Driftseed on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.
~Wendell Berry

Today for Wellness Wednesday: decluttering, an activity which never fails to make me feel good. It's definitely time to do it again.

* There's a nice article on Becoming Minimalist about creative ways to declutter, which includes this tip:
The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.
* The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home
* About Swedish Death Cleaning