3pm

After writing a haiku yesterday about the first long “summer” weekend of the year, I felt that I had to write another one today about the true meaning of Memorial Day. The photo was taken from the Arlington Cemetery website:

Memorial Day

Moment of silence honors

Those who fell before

 

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Miracles on Mother’s Day

Recently, I checked out a book, “Miracles: Poems by children of the English-speaking world” by Richard Lewis from my local library. I’m currently writing a few things for children and thought the book might help me to gain a better understanding of what words appeal to them. What I found was an impressive collection of poems from children between the ages of 5-13.  Since it is Mother’s Day, I went through the book and pulled out some pieces that address the subject of mothers even if the poem is not specifically written about a mother. They are not as naive and lighthearted as one would think and offer a complex description of emotions. I thought I would share a few of them with you today.

The first one refers to Mother Earth but it’s astonishing how well the child taps into the imagery of a mother’s womb.

“The Mine”

Here we are; in the darkness, 

Close to the very heart of Mother 

Earth,

Where her blood flows in seams of 

shining coal, 

And our picks beat a rhythm to her heart, 

Where her warm brown flesh encloses 

us

And her rocky bones trap us. 

By Bronwyn Mason, Age 12

 

The next one is written by a little boy named David Recht, Age 10, under the subject matter “The Sea”. This one struck me as so sensitive since he seems to project his own feelings of how awful it would be to lose his mother onto a baby fish.

The little fish cries; 

His mother has been

Taken by

Nets. 

He dives 

to the bottom

Trying to forget. 

His stillness makes 

Him afraid. 

He swims after his 

Mother

Silently crying. 

The last one, written by a 10-year-old named Martha White, seems to express nostalgia and loss in her grandmother’s house. It appears the grandmother is no longer there.

“The Memory-Filled House”

Along the long, dark hallway, 

Up the memory-filled stairs, 

Walking down the back way, 

In the bare kitchen, with a harshness in the air, 

In the dining room, no table or chair, 

On the sideboard, no apple, orange, or pear, 

In Grandma’s room, no pictures on the wall, 

Again, down the long, dark hall. 

The book is filled with amazing poems on several different subjects. There wasn’t an area devoted to writing specifically about the children’s mothers and if there was, I feel that I would have found more light-hearted poems. But what I did find in the poems I pulled out was a theme of how deeply connected, to the core, we are to our mothers.

If you are lover of poetry, you may want to see if it is available at your local library.

I hope everyone has a splendid Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

Greensboro Writer’s Conference

This weekend, I did something very writery and attended the NC Writer’s Spring Conference. Located at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the conference offered exhibits and book sales, a choice of one morning and one afternoon workshop, faculty readings, open Mike readings and more.

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It was actually a busy weekend in Greensboro as an annual Furniture Market was also taking place. After driving over three hours to Greensboro on Friday afternoon, I was glad to have secured a room early at the local Hyatt as rooms were scarce and overpriced in response to the crowds.  While I sat at the hotel bar sipping a rum and coke and dining on chili and spinach salad, I overheard a few people at the front desk trying to get a room, only to be told that there were no rooms available. I felt very fortunate for mine.

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I slept well on Friday and arrived at the conference on Saturday morning early enough to peruse the exhibit tables. Small publishers and independent bookstores filled their tables with books from NC authors that they had published or were affiliated. A few of them offered information on writing contests. I met a woman who offered to put my name on an email list for an online critique group for people who write children’s books.

 

Next, I attended my first workshop at the conference. The topic was building poems that editors will publish. In the workshop, we discussed lyricism in poetry and finding one’s unique voice as a poet. The author and editor leading the workshop gave us some insight on what she looks for when she screens poems for her press.

 

Afterwards, we broke for lunch. I had never been to the UNCG campus so I googled restaurants close by. There were two within walking distance. As I stood inside the Old Town Draught House, a fellow workshopper from Charlotte, Reita, offered me a look at her menu. A gentleman behind us told us that in order to be served we simply needed to sit down at the bar. We decided to sit together and order. I dined on the Turkey melt with veggies and sweet tea and conversed with Reita over lunch. By the time we finished eating, we had exchanged contact information. We walked back to the workshop and parted ways. I went on to listen to a few faculty readings.

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My afternoon workshop, geared towards children’s authors, was titled “Exercising the Imagination”.  We discussed ways to tap into our personal passions and take our stories in new directions. The author leading the workshop gave us some ideas for exercises that we could use to access our imaginations. He was also a good source of information regarding future conferences.

 

Before I left for the day, I decided to pick up a book from both of my workshop presenters. They were on sale at the exhibit tables and were reasonably priced. Running Music  by Crystal Simone Smith is a book of poems and The Nine Pound Hammer  by John Claude Bemis is a YA fantasy book that explores American mythology. I look forward to reading them both.

 

Before I hit the road, I googled the closest Starbuck’s and picked up a Starbuck’s Mocha and a cookie. Probably not so wise as I’m trying to lose a little weight, but I’ll start over tomorrow. I had a long ride ahead of me and kind of wanted something special to take the edge off the commute.

I’m really glad I went to the conference this weekend. It was a great source of instruction and information, and I met a lot of pleasant people. Plus it was empowering. I don’t often travel alone overnight and it was kind of nice to go on my own. It was also nice to take another step towards fulfilling my desire to be a writer.   

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