Blog party at Matt Forrest Esenwine’s house!

Hi everyone,

Unless you have come to this blog during the past six months, you may already know about the twice yearly blog parties. I hosted the first four, starting December 2015, and Matt Forrest Esenwine took over from me in December 2017.

The concept of having virtual blog parties originated in conversations among Matt, Joy Acey, and me in December 15 so it seemed fitting that Matt would step in to become the second host for this fun event that routinely brings so many people together from the comfort of their own homes.

It’s astonishing how fertile imaginations can conjure a party that seems very nearly real. Guests come and go all day. Many bring refreshments. Old friends greet one another as warmly as though they were meeting face to face. Guests with questions feel free to ask them of the group or of individuals.

I don’t know if our blog party has a future but it’s fun to imagine that others will step up when Matt is ready to pass the hosting role to someone else. Right now I think he’s an ideal host because he’s riding a wave of publishing success and seems poised to enjoy more of it as he goes. So good for him and good for us as we click over to his house tomorrow at

I hope to see you there. Please spread the word to anyone you know who would enjoy dropping by to enjoy warm company and great food!

Change of host for the virtual holiday party

BULLETIN: Meant to tell you I’ll post December’s word tomorrow.

Hi everyone,

I’ve hosted four virtual blog parties at my house and I’ve loved them all. Now that we’ve established these events as a lively and congenial way to gather now and then, I think it’s time to take the next step to keep our parties exciting. I believe it needs to move around from host to host and maybe become a lasting tradition.

Joy Acey Frelinger and Matt Forrest Esenwine were the original creative drive behind my decision to have the first party so I turned to them for new advice. Matt graciously agreed to host this next event at his place two weeks from today on Friday, December 15. I’m delighted to pass the baton into such capable hands and I know that Matt will count on Joy for her always valuable ideas.

Matt is making the announcement today on his blog at so please go there for further information and make your plans to attend the party on the 15th. Matt, many thanks for agreeing to be the second host. I hope we’ll see many others step forward in the future.

As anyone knows who has ever hosted a party — virtual or otherwise — it takes some work to prepare and to see to your guests as they arrive. One big item is getting out the guest list! I’ve assured Matt that I’ll invite everyone I always have and I hope you’ll pitch in to help too. The more peeps, the more party!

And one last thing. Thank you very much for coming to my virtual events and making them so much fun. It has been a privilege.

“See” you at the grill

Don’t anyone dare leave! People and refreshments keep arriving. I’m looking for Steven Withrow, Lester Laminack, Kate Messner, Sarah Holbrook, Michael Salinger, and many others at any minute.

Hi everyone,

The other day when I asked for ideas to talk about, Matt Forrest and Joy Acey both liked the idea of hanging out at the grill. Joy went a step farther, as you see here.
Matt ForrestJoy Acey
You asked for topics or you were going to be away grilling… What if you plan a garden party on your blog. Everyone needs to bring a dish to share and we could all hang around and chat. For instance, if I knew Sandy Asher was going to be there, I’d want to ask her how one gets into writing plays and what is she currently working on. I’d want to know from all of the guests what they’re reading and what is their favorite book on craft . Get out the ice cream freezer, I’m bringing the ingredients.”
20150620_164255So there you have it. You are hereby invited to join us at my first ever blog party around the grill at Goose Lake. You know what it looks like so imagine you’re here in my back yard. The party is now in its third day but there are plenty of good seats left. Look around and get comfortable.20150620_164445
Check in on the comments so we’ll know you’re here and tell us what dish you decided to bring. I hope it will be something you like to prepare and that you’ll share the recipe. Once we know you’ve checked in, please look for messages from time to time.20150620_164345
Everyone is busy but I hope we’ll have a nice turnout and enjoy the chance to chat as we stroll around or sit to enjoy the view. It’s going to be rainy today but tomorrow will be in the low to mid 90s so shorts would be a good idea.20150620_164502

As soon as I post this I’m going to send out some special invitations but you should feel free to invite friends and neighbors too. After all, what’s a garden party without a lot of people?20150620_164537

Thanks, Joy. See you and Matt around the grill.


How do we keep track of our work?

Hi everyone,

I’m taking suggestions for post conversations in the order in which they arrived. This one came from Joy Acey.
Joy AceyDavid, you mentioned once about having to keep your log/journal up to date with your publications. I think that’s what you called it. It led me to believe you keep a central record of submissions and publications. I’d like to “see” what that looks like for you. What system do you use to remember where and at what stage things are at? I know it is a small thing, but how does Jane, Sandy, Bard, or your other real poetry friends do it?

Joy, when I wrote my first story to submit, in 1959, I bought a little record book and on page one, #1 I proudly printed the name of the story, its word length, where I sent it, and how much it cost to mail it. When the story came back, as they all did, I recorded the second try, and so on. In the back of the book I started a second list that merely recorded the name of the work and when I wrote it, a tally of my efforts. I didn’t buy my first computer (a TRS-80) until 1982 so by then the habit of keeping a written record was firmly established.

Today I am less attentive to keeping up with my records. With all of my correspondence on the computer, it’s possible to track the history of my work by combing through those files and folders, should I have an interest in doing so. I often neglect my little record book (I’ve nearly filled the second one now) but from time to time I make myself spend the hours it takes to catch up. I’m not sure why I do it anymore. Some sense of obligation to tradition I think.

I just scanned for you sample pages of both kinds of records. This first shows a couple of pieces and where I placed them. The rest of the section happens to reflect one of my catch-up day findings when I attempted to round up some of the anthologies I’d been in but never thought to record anyplace.

From records – examples of sold work

This one is another case of catching up, which is why dates are all over the place. Where I found a poem unrecorded, I dutifully recorded it. As I said, I’m not sure why I keep doing this. I admit I enjoy looking back over time to see what I was up to in this year or that, but when I’m gone I can’t imagine anyone else caring enough about how I spent my life to wade through such tedious details.

From records – examples of written work

So there you have it. The floor is open if anyone else would like to respond to Joy’s question. I’m guessing I’m the last to convert entirely to the computer.

Yesterday at IBBY

Hi everyone,

Yesterday Sandy and I drove to St. Louis so that I could join Sylvia Vardell in a presentation at the IBBY regional conference. Everything went well, at least as far as I was concerned. I loved presenting with Sylvia, and I loved it that one of the poems that she featured in her half of of the hour was by none other than Joy Acey. Way to go Joy! It’s the poem in which Joy learns that in some cultures, the position of your hand — palm down or palm facing out — is important when showing size. The audience appreciated the poem and I enjoyed it again.

Sylvia and Janet Wong printed post cards of one of my poems in the newest collection: POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL. I handed out the post cards and read the poem. You may have seen this one already but here it is.

He was so Little
David L. Harrison

Couldn’t reach a chair,
just stood there begging,
eyes bright, fanny wagging
until I reached down.

His puddles were so little
sometimes I’d miss them,
but he always gave himself away,
head hanging,
ears drooping,

Loud noises scared him,
made him whimper,
come running to me
too scared to know what to do,
I’d pick him up,
hold him against my chest
till the shivering stopped.

We grew up together
except I got bigger,
he just got older.

we took him to the vet,
said goodbye,
left him there.

He was so little.
The hole in my heart