23 November 2015

Already planning for 2016?

Every man should be born again on the first of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle, if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but, on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take interest in the things that are and are to be, and not in the things that were and are past. ~Henry Ward Beecher, "A Completed Year," 1882 December 31st

I've always loved a new year, the possibilities, the challenges, the chance to better myself. While letting go of the past can be trying I've always loved the idea of moving forward and what better way to do that than with setting achievable goals. And for me there is no way to achieve goals unless I make them a habit. Maybe you have stopped making New Year's Resolutions, you know the ones you make on New Year's Day but then a few weeks later seem so challenging or not fun at all so you drop them?

The all or nothing approach has never worked for me but in 2015 I created several healthy habits that stuck and continuing them helped me reach my goals. In reflecting on the year, these are the seven ways I created healthy habits. I use the term healthy not only for body health but also for mind, soul and creative spirit. You can also create financial habits such as saving more money or paying off debt. Maybe your goal is to create a clutter-free house so tidying can become a healthy habit. Whatever your desire there are habits you can put in place to achieve your goals, wishes and dreams.  

Habit: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:

the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.

18 November 2015

10 Gifts for a Poet

I reworked this content article on 10 Gifts for a Poet for the holiday season. Although I would never turn down a gift card, it seems like this has become the go to gift for the writer. If you have some other suggestions please comment on this post and I'll add or expand my gift list. What is the best writing related gift you have ever received? Was it as simple as a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop or the gift of time to write? For many writers and poets it's simply the acknowledgment that their friend or family member is a serious writer or poet and is committed to the craft.

08 November 2015

November Night discovering Cinquain

Yesterday when I walked in the park, it felt like a true autumn day. It was chilly but the sun was warm and the colors of the leaves were still golden bright against a clear blue sky. This morning's walk looked and felt different. After an evening frost, the colors were muted, the trees have lost many leaves.
The following poems are in the public domain. I love it, it has the feel of an Asian short form poem and the choice of words frost-crisp'd sounds like leaves breaking from the trees. I don't know anything about the poet Adelaide Crapsey but this piece makes me want to explore her other poems. I did read on Poets.org that she invented this form, "The cinquain: a twenty-two-syllable, five-line poem."
And not surprisingly she took her inspiration from the Asian short form poems of haiku and tanka.

Adelaide Crapsey1878 - 1915

Listen. . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.
Autumn is so fleeting in Colorado while summer seems to last forever. While we didn't get any snow on Halloween this year, which seems to be the norm, I expect it sooner than later. 
Look up…
From bleakening hills
Blows down the light, first breath
Of wintry wind…look up, and scent
The snow! 

30 May 2015

Little Red Writing

Many of us grew up with the familiar fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the cast of characters: Grandma, The Woodsman and the Big Bad Wolf. This story has been told and retold in many differing versions since before the 17th century. But what if Red Riding Hood was a pencil named Little Red who attends Pencilvania School and the new cast of characters are Principal Granny, Mr. Woodcutter, the janitor and the Wolf 3000 (a ferocious electric pencil sharpener)!
This is the premise behind the charming and beautifully illustrated children's picture book Little Red Writing, authored by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

The story starts out with Ms. 2, the teacher, giving all of the different pencils an assignment. They will all write a story. And what happens next is a lovely way to teach children what a story is and how a story develops as Little Red takes her 15 red words in her basket and begins her journey.
Along the way Little Red learns all about what makes a story. She is introduced to action, adjectives, editing, sticking to the story, adverbs, conjunctions, run on sentences, punctuation, sentence structure and being brave when writing.

If you're a fan of anthropomorphic characters you'll find not only pencils but glue, staplers, tape, pencil sharpeners and more ! I loved the colorful and collage inspired illustrations and the abundance of puns. Just one example, one pencil is driving the adverb truck filled with adverbs of course, on the side of the truck, Adverbs "We Deliver Speedily."

I think this is a book that will grow with your young child. They will surely love the fairy tale told with a modern twist and as they get older there are a lot of writing concepts and vocabulary words to learn and explore. This could just be the inspiration your child needs to get excited about writing and telling a story.

Teaching Story to Children

I fell in love with books early on and I was writing stories as soon as I learned how to write. If your children are just starting to learn how to put together a story there are several children's books that will help them understand beginning creative writing concepts and story elements like characters, setting and plot and what makes a story as well as parts of speech. The Plot Chickens illustrates simplistically the process of writing a book, submitting it to publishers and for this chicken rejection. It would be a great starting off place to introduce children to the concept of publishing and what makes a good story.


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