Thursday, October 26, 2023

Giant Artist's Date

Friday Poets, I've missed you!

I've been elbow-deep in a gathering of school librarians from all 50 states and US Territories in Tampa, Florida for the American Association of School Librarians Conference. 

In addition to a tremendous amount of information related to how to library with kids these days, there were many encounters with art and creativity.

I started out at the Tampa Art Museum. If you ever have a chance to visit, do! It's not huge, you can cover a lot of amazing art throughout a wide span of history in a few hours. Of course, I was drawn to art that had words embedded in it.

In homage to his home
His signature, Love, is
stars, numbers, and stenciled letters.
Yield Brother,
his call for civility
recognized as a peace sign.
words found by Linda Mitchell Oct '23

Back at the conference center, illustrator Nikkolas Smith shared his inspirational message, 

"You can be an ally by making art with those that need an ally." 

Indeed, Mr. Smith is an ally of kids with books that bring children into a world of creativity and beauty.

Mr. Smith also shared an artivist prompt: Think about how you would complete this sentence: 

"When I was ten years old, I made art of...." 

Gosh, when I was ten...I arranged bookshelves in my room in all kinds of ways...which I am still doing. How about that?!

Finally, my favorite speaker was Nic Stone, author of many tremendous middle-grade books. Years ago, she submitted a manuscript. The editor at that time said that although they liked the manuscript, they couldn't sell it. Then asked, do you have anything else? Like a good author, she said, yes...and half a day of intense-writing later, submitted the first part of her debut novel. Dear Martin. 

Ember Press. 2018

Now, Stone is seeing that first manuscript coming out in 2024. It's about mental health...and I can't wait to read it. Her creative prompt to us all was to describe the difference between nonfiction and fiction with one, two-letter word, if

She sees nonfiction as what is. Fiction is what if? Stone went on to illustrate this difference with stories from her life and finished by asking her audience to think about our what if?  I'm still daydreaming about my if...what's yours?

For Nic Stone

This is a story of what is:

war, floods, fire, death.

What if


rewrite the words?
What if


write peace, health, life?

What if


Linda Mitchell

Truly, this is a thumbnail catch-up of AASL. There was much, much more. But, I wanted to share a little bit.

Look! I found our friend Buffy Silverman's book in the wild...OK, the exhibit hall. It's truly beautiful, Buffy. I'm proud of you.

Now, I'm preparing for my STATE conference starting November 1st. No rest for the weary! 

Thank you, Carol, for hosting our round-up this week at The Apples in My Orchard.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Friday the Thirteenth

I never used to pay Friday the thirteenth much attention...until March 13th, 2020. That Friday the thirteenth was the day we were sent home from school for an indefinite amount of time and the world seemed to dissolve into COVID weirdness.

You can't blame me for being a little Paraskevedekatriaphobic-- someone who is afraid of Friday the 13th. 

There are plenty of people wary of the number thirteen no matter what! This fear is triskaidekaphobia, not a word that trips off the tongue easily. 

A rondel has thirteen eight-syllable lines. Ooooh. There's a poetry connection

This poem is still a bit clunky, much like its inspiration word, triskaidekaphobia. C'est la vie times 13!

It’s triskaidekaphobia!

A menacing diagnosis

with no hopeful prognosis.

We’re stuck in paranoia.

Our fear, our fright, our phobias

of one plus two plus four plus six–

It’s triskaidekaphobia!

A menacing diagnosis.

No baker’s dozen mania.

Rondel readings can provoke us.

New teenagers just alarm us.

Thursday night brings insomnia.

It’s triskaidekaphobia!

Linda Mitchell

There's a new poem on Word's padlet. If it's beautiful fall's spring elsewhere. Inspiration comes from Jama's Tuesday blog of beautiful things. I loved the artist, David Bromley, who she featured a few weeks ago.

Next week, I'll be at a School Librarian's conference in Florida. I'm giving myself permission to take a break from blogging. See you in a couple of weeks.

Thank you, Catherine, at Reading to the Core for hosting this week's round-up.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Choose a visual framework--write a poem

HelLOOOOO October!

I'm not sure what you did with September, but here I am pumpkin-spiced and ready to roll.

Mary Lee tossed out this month's Inklings challenge and I love it! I have to warn you though, if you click on the Visual Frameworks link below...prepare yourself for a bit scrolling time through all the cool images.

From Mary Lee:

                    Choose an image from the                     Visual Frameworks site.                     Write a poem inspired by the image.

I can't tell you why but the gears in the image below called to me.

Gears sparked this sonnet--I'm still working on a title. Any ideas?

Sonnet Practice

These gears are turning round and round again

an automated poem for you and me

a chain of drivers and the driven spin

as syllables arranged in metric feet.

A sonnet as mechanical as this

well-oiled tick and turn of cogs whirring

gives listeners a pleasant space of bliss

when the noise of life becomes unnerving.

These gears are turning round and round again

Without a care to who will hear them spin

Turn words and phrases over end to end

A poetry in motion word-smith gin.

It’s now your turn – go out to find your pen

make words as gears and gears as words again.

Linda Mitchell 10/6/23

WORD showed up in another Gears poem. It's on WORD's padlet.

Thank you to Matt Forest Esenwine for hosting this week's Poetry Friday round-up. He's a busy poet these days and I love seeing that!


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

SJT. Gathering Gladness


Proverbs 27:7

Thank you, Ramona, for planting the seeds of gathering gladness. This was a delicious and thought-provoking prompt.

I'm listening with fascination to Bitter Sweet by Susan Cain (©2022 Susan Cain (P)2022 Penguin Audio). In her book, Cain attempts to understand why she and so many humans are drawn to music in a minor key (considered sorrowful), TV ads that bring on tears, and things that are a mix of happy and sad. What this book is doing for me is providing permission to embrace the positives and negatives of life in ways that make my heart glad.

One of the questions of Cain's survey for readers is, "Do you prefer poetry to sports (or maybe you find poetry in sports?) 
Um, yes, yes I do.

I was raised by wonderful parents who gave their best efforts to raising daughters in a rural, conservative town in a time when such ideas as the power of positive thinking after a book of the same title by Norman Vince Peale were popular. I understood early that I was expected to be pleasant and demonstratively cheerful as evidence of inner rightness. For example, I was punished for my curled lip and encouraged to smile more.

I've not read Peale's book. But I agree that my penchant for spirituality, poetry, stories with tragic plots, and poetry writing were an indicator that I would struggle with showing an accepted form of glad heart in my community. I was once described by a visiting poet as a "poor old soul." There are, Cain points out, many creatives, famous and unknown, similarly strung. 

I've not finished Bitter Sweet quite yet. And I'm not claiming to be a devotee of all the author's arguments. However, I am happy to broaden my view of a glad heart. My glad heart has room for poetry about the world's state of affairs--which I worry over, my thoughts on my aging body, children growing up and leaving my nest, and a love for novels set in World War II. 

I'm absolutely delighted over cooler sunny days, red-tinted maple leaves, upcoming conferences with like-minded professionals, and, new lessons to plan. I also love a foggy day to sit and stare out a window at nothing in particular. I enjoy sorting thoughts of some of life's big questions. Rumination isn't all bad.

October is perfect for consideration of Bitter Sweet. This past week was gray, gray, and, gray as a hurricane wound down and back out to sea in my area only to be replaced by another soggy low-pressure system. Today, it's sunny and balmy. I've enjoyed time at Parent's Weekend with my son who is a scientist. I'll go home to where his room is silent and empty...I've been meaning to re-paint.

Life is is sweet...I gather all into a heart that is glad for how they enhance each other.

pixabay. Timothy Paule II