Thank you to the 151 authors who participated in our WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series

151 writers & poets contributed? And here I thought that I was special.
Silver Birch Press is a great way to broaden your skills; just use their prompts for inspiration!

Silver Birch Press

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Thank you to the 151 writers — from 33 states and 17 countries — who participated in our WHEN I MOVED Poetry & Prose Series, which ran from August 9 – September 27, 2016. Many thanks to the following authors for their moving work!

Reina Adriano (Philippines)
Janet Banks (Massachusetts)
Cynthia Anderson (California)
Prerna Bakshi (China)
Shreerupa Basu Das (England)
Ruth Bavetta (California)
Gary Beck (New York)
Alice Venessa Bever (Wyoming)
RIck Blum (Massachusetts)
Katley Demetria Brown (Massachusetts)
Mary Buchinger (Massachusetts)
Larry Burns (California)
Alex Carr-Malcolm (England)
Susana H. Case (New York)
Abby Chew (California)
Jackie Chou (California)
Tricia Marcella Cimera (Illinois)
Sara Clancy (Arizona)
Marion Clarke (Northern Ireland)
Joan Colby (Illinois)
Clive Collins (Japan)
Chloe Cotter (Canada)
Neil Creighton (Australia)
Barbara Crooker (Pennsylvania)
Gareth Culshaw (Wales)
Howard Richard Debs (Florida)
Carolyn Divish (Indiana)
Evel Masten Economakis (Greece)
Barbara Eknoian (California)
Kristina England (Massachusetts)
Ruth Evans (Massachusetts)
Peter Faziani (Pennsylvania)

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I resolve to lie to myself…

Yeesh. New Year’s resolutions…. I hate to lie to myself.

I resolve to stop snacking after dinner (lie! that’s the best time of day for chocolate).

I resolve to keep a spotless home (lie! who wants to live in a home that feels like it doesn’t want actual people to actually live in it?! Messiness is good for the soul. Actually. And that must be the Word of The Day: Actually)

I resolve to learn how to blog like a pro (that’s doable, just need to actually read “Blogging for Dummies”) … ok, that takes me to the next one:

I resolve to actually read “Blogging for Dummies” (lie! I hate reading instructions. Why do I keep purchasing  How-to books and manuals = subconsciously I want to support our economy?)

I resolve to learn how to play the harmonica. (Yes!! My son & his fiancee gifted me with a harmonica, accompanied with written instructions AND a CD that reads them to you.)  Alright!! The harmonica was an inside joke. Once upon a time, I was gifted with one by my parents, per my request, so that I might join a rock band.

I resolve to join a Rock Band as lead harmonica. (We shall see.)

I resolve to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! (finally! a resolution that I can actually keep) I hope that your new year is bright and shiny with purpose and good surprises. xoxo

The Reformed Slow-Poke gets the Pig

This story was recently published in Just BE Parenting. It is the saga of how my family came to own the first of many guinea pigs, and how I was to surprise my parents, for better or worse, for their entire lives. Never a dull moment …

http://www.justbeparenting.com/pet-ownership-revealed-our-childs-determination

Ta-Daa!!

By George, I did it. I spent two weeks –OVER two weeks– without logging onto Facebook or reading all the fascinating, funny and/or forlorn blog entries that come across my inbox everyday. Was it easy? No, sir, it was not. Nope, not at all. It was very lonely. I feel as though I had been a castaway on a deserted island with NO WIFI. Thank goodness I was rescued!! How did I possibly survive? There is a gaping hole in my soul after missing all those adorable kitty/puppy/baby videos. How will I ever catch up on Life?  I don’t know where you went on your vacation or whose great aunt landed in the hospital. I failed to wish near-strangers a happy birthday. I did not get to view the photos of what you and your friends ate at that fancy new restaurant (ahem, without me!!), nor did I have the opportunity to admire your latest selfie. Ewwww! I have become some kind of Social Reject.

But surely I jest, and I do. Social Media is an incredible way to unite the Planet. Now, more than ever, I firmly believe in email, texting, messaging, blogging,  Facebook; we need to be connected to the world around us, and not just by watching FOX News. [was that a joke?] Facebook, in particular, easily  enables reunions and daily contact with old and new friends. We now can be alerted to world events the millisecond after they have occurred, and set up a Fund to help. We are more than casual Observers of our world: we are Instigators for Good. But, sadly, there are also those who are Instigators for Evil.

Social media can be abused, and I understand that the folks at FB are constantly seeking better ways to monitor and remove the monsters. Social media can be a powerful tool or it can be utilized by Powerful Tools. (fyi: “tool” is American slang for “an offensive comment, mainly aimed towards the male of the species, when one is being particularly nasty, stupid, or facetious”, per urbandictionary.com). 

I now have a much better appreciation of Social Media, and an understanding that it is there to enhance my life — not rule it. I will limit my laptop time, but — whoops, gotta go! My husband wants to show me this vid on FB of an adorable doggie in a cute hat.

Social Media Addiction

Hello and good bye. I am about to conduct a very special, top secret, totally unscientific experiment. I am going off the Social Media grid for TWO ENTIRE WEEKS.

I don’t know if I can do this. If I was a champion at achieving my goals, I wouldn’t be wiggling around with an extra ten pounds of flub. [warning: poetic license at work: watch for bumpy exaggerations in the road!!]However, this goal is of the utmost importance, because my addiction is threatening to ruin my life. I can’t sleep: I must wake up every two hours to check email, texts, facebook, blog posts. I hide in the bathroom to check my phone for updates: “Honey, I’ll be right out!”

I find myself jonesing at the dinner table, in the movies, while DRIVING MY CAR [note to Law Enforcement: even I am not that stupid to Drive Under the Influence of texting]. It is an uncontrollable urge and I must conquer it to regain control over my life. I know I will miss many videos of cute little (fill in the blank ____) (puppy/babies/kitties) being absolutely adorable; my life will be the worse for it. I will not be able to wish you a happy birthday by messaging you. I will have to actually pick up the telephone, dial your number, and … speak to you!! Do I still have a voice? It’s all rusty from not being used.

And so I bid you a fond adieu … ttyl [type to you later!] xo

Slacker’s Guide to Creativity

I try to post every OTHER day, but I just thought that the Universe needed some creative help. I am more than happy to oblige. Here are my suggested Guidelines: 

Step One. Enroll in a class, preferably led by a boring, monotone, burnt-out professor. Better yet, take a class that is truly a total and complete waste of your time. Perhaps it is a stupid prerequisite to something you really do want to learn about, or you are repeating Geometry because you just didn’t care the first time around, and your attitude and aptitude do not seem to be improving very much during this rerun.

Step Two. Place a note book in front of you; it should have plenty of empty pages and not be college-lined. Obtain a pen that is so fluid, that as it deposits your precious words onto paper it begs for more than these miserable class notes. In fact, this pen demands that you put it to much better use, and allow it to achieve its full potential. You have no choice but to obey and set your pen free to perform magic and deliver its message, like the planchette of a Ouija board.

Step Three. Now please pay close attention. This is the important part. Utilize the margins of your notebook to compose poetry or artwork or the outline of your novel. Stare out the window at the trees whose leaves quiver in the soft wind, and allow your mind to roam and dream and only occasionally to check in with the here and now. Pretend that the teacher is your mother, and ignore her just as you did when you were an annoying teenager. But, be sure to nod your head every so often, and open your mouth and widen your eyes as though you had just received the most brilliant piece of learning that was ever offered up in the course of human history. The teacher will appreciate your façade of rapt attention and leave you alone.

Step Four. Be at peace with yourself, because you have found the perfect place to unleash your creativity. Allow a Buddha smile to slowly spread across your face. Discover the hidden realm of the deepest, previously unmapped facets of your heart and your mind. Perhaps you will somehow actually learn something from this class, as you sit in the chair that tethers you to Earth. Or perhaps you will be back to compose more poetry next semester. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.

this was originally published on Medium 2/12/2016

https://medium.com/@willowgirrrl/slacker-s-guide-to-creativity-79332f737f55#.cuuocsj9k

don’t “gift” me with coupons, Retailers!

Does anyone else feel ripped off by emailed “presents” from favorite retailers that go something like this: “Happy Birthday! Here is a 15% off coupon” or “Happy Holidays, you can take $20 off a $100 purchase!” My favorite was a restaurant honoring my anniversary: “Buy One, Get One main course”. Woo Hoo!! Their generosity is truly overwhelming. Don’t they get it? If you had told me that dinner was on the house …what would I do? Show up alone? I don’t think so. It’s my ANNIVERSARY. I would bring my husband. Same outcome, just phrased a little better.

What kind of sick marketing is all this?? And I was just about to succumb to the $20 off a $50 make-up purchase [hey!! you can’t throw away free money!] when I realized I didn’t WANT to spend $50. I needed something that cost $20 but was being forced to spend more, WHICH OF COURSE IS THEIR EVIL ULTERIOR MOTIVE. Instead, I bought n-o-t-h-i-n-g. I give them plenty of business. They can take their lousy $20 and … go buy some Starbucks on me.

Keep your crappy coupons. A gift should be a REAL GIFT. FREEBIES FOR ALL!!!