Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Creative Inspiration: If by Rudyard Kipling

One of the great joys of being a reader is remembering lines, and having them pop into mind exactly when you need them.

The right words, at the right time, guide us through life. They make us feel less alone.

I was talking to my friend Vanessa recently about writer's angst -- and the stress of sending my book draft out for initial reader reviews. The line that came to mind is from If by Rudyard Kipling:

"If all men count with you, but none too much."

You'll find the entire poem here. Bonus! Sir Michael Caine reciting it here.



It's beyond me how people can not love poetry ... 


Friday, May 10, 2019

The Castor Oil Song: A Mother's Day Treat

When my girls were little, they would periodically exclaim, "That sucks!" I would then give them the full Mom stare-down, and they would quickly add, " ... like a vacuum."

Well, it has come to my attention that for many people, for a variety of reasons, Mother's Day sucks. Like a vacuum. We can't have that, can we? Absolutely not. My mom is here, with a song -- assuming the video works. Fingers crossed. Because I guarantee you, Lillian Sokoloff and the Castor Oil song make any day better. Even a sucky day. 

"When you're feeling lonely, and you're kinda blue, 
I bet, that I have the remedy for you!"


(If the embedded video doesn't work, click here. My technology skills are ... not skills.)




Monday, April 29, 2019

Are You My #Creative Type?

The Adobe creativity quiz I linked to on Friday was such fascinating fun, that I encouraged my husband, Tom, to take it. He did, and the following conversation ensued:

Jan: What creative type are you?
Tom: I'm the Thinker.
Jan (Squealing. Because. Jan.): That's perfect! We're meant to be together! According to the quiz, I'm supposed to partner with a Thinker!!
Tom (Pause. Because. Tom.): Well ...
Jan: What?
Tom: According to the quiz, I should partner with an Adventurer.

HOW COOL IS THAT? I assumed if the Visionary was supposed to partner with the Thinker, then the Thinker would partner with the Visionary. Nope. To get the best creative results, you need all types.

Love it. Happy Monday. Go find your type(s).




Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday Fun: What's Your #Creative Type?

My friend Vanessa got a link to this creativity quiz from her friend Melinda, and passed it along to me. My friend Jody got a link to the same quiz from her friend Claire, and passed it along to me. And now, since I'm your friend, I'm passing it along to you!


Take the quiz. It's a hoot. Some of the questions and responses made me laugh out loud. And, I'd like to think the results are right on the mark! (If you read my creative strengths carefully, you'll note that humility isn't mentioned.)



P.S. Mom used to say, "Little things amuse little minds." It amuses me to now set the blogs for automatic posting at 4:23 a.m. rather than 4:22 a.m. to honor her birthday, rather than mine.
P.P.S. Yes. She's up there laughing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Lanyard: It's a Mom Thing

Today,
in honor of National Poetry Month,
in honor of Mom's love for poetry,
in honor of what would have been her 98th birthday,
and in honor of her delight in dozens of useless, goofy gifts ...

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past-
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-clothes on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift - not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

------------------------------------------------

While I was looking for "The Lanyard" online (too lazy to type it out), I found several versions. All with mistakes -- in words, punctuation, spacing, line breaks, you name it. When online, the old saying is true: Trust, but verify. I had Aimless Love by Collins on my bookshelf, so I finally got off my lazy tush, found the poem on page 60, and typed it out.

Mom, of course, would tell us that everything happens for the best. I will say that while looking around online, I stumbled across a poet I wasn't familiar with, Julia Kasdorf, and I love her poem: "What I Learned From My Mother."

You know what I learned from my mother?
Look up! And enjoy every possible moment. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

#NPM -- Play with Poetry on Emerge

It's National Poetry Month, and you have the chance to be an instantly published poet! If you've ever seen erasure or blackout poems -- where you cross out words in a newspaper or book -- Emerge provides a similar opposite. You select words from one of their selected writings, and your poetry pops out of the copy.

Clear as mud? Like this:

Fun stuff. Go play! Thanks to the American Academy of Poets for the link.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday Fun: When I'm 100 ...

Today, in honor of Kate's birthday, a flashback Friday illustration! My firstborn has always been a no BS, straight-shooting, funny person. This, my friends, was what the little artist drew in first grade:


Oh, Kate. Only you. 
Fortunately, there are a few good years between 29 and 100. 
Happy Birthday! I hope it's the best year ever.