Monday, February 29, 2016

Creativity Tips: 29 Creative Ideas for Leap Day

Whoo hoo! Not only is it Monday -- start of a whole fabulous new week -- but it's leap day. Bonus! We have an extra 24 hours of spectacularness. Spectacularnous? Whatever. Here are 29 ways to add creative fun to your day. C'mon. Drink your coffee, wake up, choose one. Party on!
Make your frog any color but green.

  1. Check out the leap year specials.
  2. Go to the library and choose a book off a top shelf -- a book I would have to leap to get.
  3. Take an artistic leap. Draw a frog
  4. Play hopscotch. 
  5. Try to remember the classic Leap Year Poem from Mother Goose before you look it up. 
  6. Take a culinary leap. At some point in the day, eat at a restaurant you've never visited before. 
  7. Consider what you'd write on a birthday cake for a leapling, aka a leaper. You know, someone who was born on February 29. 
  8. Decide whether you'd rather be a leapling or a leaper. Then ask yourself: "Why?" Isn't it amazing how much words matter?
  9. Stay moist. Check out Kermit the Frog answering questions for the Daily News. 
  10. Go shopping. Look for something that costs $29. 
  11. Think happy thoughts of my Kate and Mary, both born on the 29th. Kate, in March; Mary, in August. That makes this their monthday. (Any reason to celebrate is a good reason.)
  12. Take a leap of faith. Believe this will be a good week. 
  13. Watch the movie Annie. Leaping lizards!
  14. Speaking of leaping lizards, check out Seth Godin's video on Quieting the Lizard Brain -- it's about the creative affliction of sabotaging our own ideas. 
  15. Enjoy a chocolate frog while you visit Harry Potter's homeland.
  16. Take a photo that illustrates 29.
  17. Leap ahead in your calendar. Find one "to do" you have scheduled in March that you can delete. Got it? Great. Delete it.  
  18. Replace that dreaded "to do" with something fun. Something fun could be doing nothing at all. 
  19. Leap tall buildings in a single bound! Read a comic book. Superman was always my fav. 
  20. Enjoy 29 pieces of your favorite small candy -- M&Ms, chocolate-covered raisins, gummy bears, whatever. 
  21. Did you eat the candy? Cool beans. Now, do 29 jumping jacks. 
  22. Take a leap into the future. Write a haiku about the year 2020. What's the syllable count for the lines? 5-7-5. Thank you for asking. 
  23. Listen to Aileen Quinn and the Leapin' Lizards
  24. Take a photo that illustrates leaping. 
  25. Make a list of 29 places you want to visit. These could be cities or sites within your city. It could be a friend's house. Whatever. 
  26. See how many words you can make out of the letters in the words leap year
  27. Look at these leaping animals. The jumping spider? Terrifying. 
  28. Bundle up and take a 29-minute walk.  
  29. Close your eyes. For 29 seconds, just breathe. Just be. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Fun: Cropped

People always think poetry is autobiographical. It ain't always autobiographical. With that said, here's my latest poem. Happy weekend!

Tonight, on Instagram, I posted a picture of the picture
Frank took at Lake Lotawanna back in ’75.
Remember that day?
Our first annual summer skinny dipping celebration.
You and me and Jesse and Kat and Frank and Karen.
And cold, cold water in unprepared places.

I look at the picture and hear us laughing.
God, do you remember Kat’s giggle?
In the photo, we’re dressed again, hair dripping and happy.
The girls at the picnic table, making sandwiches,
Jesse behind us, flashing a peace sign.
Or rabbit ears. Hard to say with Jesse.

You’re there too, but a ways away.
You liked your space.  
And I’m glad you did,
Because that made it easy,
with 40 years distance,
to crop you right out of the picture.

               --- Jan Sokoloff Harness, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

"I Worried" by Mary Oliver

One of the many reasons I love poetry is because -- now and then -- I find a poem that perfectly captures a shared emotion, a poem that reminds me we are all in this together. So for all of us worrying warriors, here's hope:

I Worried
Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How to Write a Valentine: Take Two

Happy Valentine's Day week! This Valentine is more than 100 years old -- some guy named Frank gave it to my grandmother Sophie, long before she was my grandmother. She never mentioned Frank to me, but I believe this may have been from her elementary school days -- back in the early 1900s. 

Want to give a Valentine that's worthy of being saved for generations? Here's a tip: Make your own! I posted advice to help you get started five years ago, and it still holds true. 

My Valentine's Day wish for you? I hope you are surrounded by love. And, of course, chocolate