I haven’t had a chance to tell you what a fine time I had last Friday when dear friend Cheryl Harness came to town from Independence, Missouri to do a writing workshop for veterans hosted at Drury University. http://www.cherylharness.com/biography.htm What a talented lady! She paints, she writes, she sculpts, and she carries an encyclopedic amount of history in her brain.
Our last time together was when we were the two speakers at a conference at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas last year so we had tons of catching up to do. I took her to Big Whiskey’s where we whiled away the afternoon sipping milk and nibbling cookies. We had a fine time.
And as if that weren’t enough excitement in my life, another talented friend of many years, Bill Anderson, is coming to town next week — the very day I get back from Houston — and we’re already planning on a good visit. http://www.williamandersonbooks.com
Bill also knows how to make history come alive for young audiences and his fans flock to hear him talk about his books on Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain, The von Trapp Family, and many others. I took Cheryl to see “my” school and Bill is kind enough to ask to see it too. Oh twist my arm!
We had a great run of poems and comments in January. Now let’s see what we can do with the word for February. It is LEAVES. Variations of leaf, leaving or leafing are acceptable. As always, I look forward to what you are inspired to write. And also as always, I appreciate the support you share on this blog. I love comments from people who say they feel safe and appreciated. We have a wonderful community of visitors and contributors.
For anyone unfamiliar with the site, you can post your poem by clicking on the box to the upper left of this post where it says, Adult W.O.M. Poems. Scroll down to the box at the bottom where you can post your poem or comment and click on post comment. If it’s your first time, your entry will wait until I approve you. After that the computer recognizes you and there’s never a wait. There is also a box where teachers can post poems by their students to the upper right of the daily post. We all love it when students join us.
At the end of each month I sweep away the W.O.M. postings to make way for the new ones. I keep no permanent record and of course make no claim on your work. I’m not sure if you can call your poem a previously un-published poem if an editor should ask, and I suspect that the answer will vary, but it’s my understanding that once your work has been posted you are protected.
This monthly exercise has been going on for six years. You don’t have to be published to join the fun so don’t be bashful. Over the years we’ve been honored by numerous poets of the highest caliber and they set examples that others can study. We’ve also been the leaping off point for many first-time poets and they have without fail found understanding, appreciation, and support here. If you’re newish to this game and have been wondering how your poem might sound to others, 2016 is a good time to find out.
Sometimes you’ll see poems placed in the comments to my daily post. Often these poems are in direct response to something I said in the post. Among a few noted folks who do that, Jane Yolen, one of the best in the business and lightning fast and Cheryl Harness, multi-talented artist and author, sometimes respond that way to kick off further discussion of the day’s subject. You can do that too if you like as long as you understand that people may or may not return to that day’s post but many will follow the Word of the Month column throughout the month. Either way I’m glad to see what you’ve written.
I rarely comment on the poems posted in Word of the Month. I read them. I enjoy them. I just can’t keep up with commenting on each one. However, many others who regularly follow W.O.M. are wonderful about commenting, asking questions, and issuing atta-boys and atta-girls.
So here’s to another good month. Let’s get it done!
It was a pleasure to participate in The Santa Fe Trail Literature Festival in Sterling, Kansas on the beautiful campus of Sterling College. None other than Cheryl Harness was the other speaker and my dear M.O.W. went with me. Cheryl signed books on Wednesday afternoon. We went to eat with our great friend Merrillyn Kloefkorn that evening, and on Thursday Cheryl and I each gave three presentations of an hour per session. There were 1,500 students there, grades 1-8, so we each saw a lot of young people.
I was impressed by how smoothly the conference was run by Terri Gaeddert, Professor and Chair of Education and Associate Dean of Sterling College, and her very able team of faculty and students. It all ran on time and the way it was supposed to go. Bravo all around!
I think I’m going to receive some pictures of the event so maybe I can post one or two when they arrive.
Next week it’s New York, but more about that later.
My thanks to Jeanne Poland for providing such a fun word for August. So far we’ve had seven takers. Jane Yolen, Cheryl Harness, and Teresa Robeson posted their poems on the daily posts and Jeanne, Bryn Strudwick, Linda Boyden, and Karen Eastlund posted theirs on the Word of the Month page.
For anyone not familiar with the Word of the Month page, click on the “Adult W.O.M. Poems” box in the bar above the daily post. You can post your poem there anytime all month, see what others have done with the monthly word challenge, and leave a comment if you want to.
We also have a page for student poets that you reach by clicking on the “Young Poets W.O.M. Poems” box on the same bar. We don’t get as many student poems as we used to but now and then we’re blessed with a few and we always love to see the kids join us.
Thanks, everyone. Keep them coming!
Sometimes people who are not in the business ask how it’s possible to be at work on so many books at once. Here’s part of the answer. As of now:
1) Last Friday I completed the third draft of the long story I’ve been mentioning. I promptly sent it out. I’ll continue to fact check a bit but basically I’m in a waiting period on that one for now.
2) A story in verse that I co-wrote with Sandy Asher is with an editor who says she likes it but wants to make some suggestions. The play that grew from it (JESSE AND GRACE) was published some time ago and has been produced. The current interest in publishing the story as a book might or might not lead to a contract but of course we’re eager to see what she has to say. We expect to receive her notes later this week. For now, I wait.
3) I’m working on a 200+ page professional book with Mary Jo Fresch. We wrote a 9,000 word prospectus, waited for readers to respond, and now need to get back together to plan how to finish the book. But for unrelated reasons, my writing partner is involved in something else for a while so for now, I wait.
4) Early last week I completed a new book of poems, a work that began years ago. I don’t want to know how many times I rewrote that manuscript or how many of the original poems I eventually replaced. Now it’s done and that feels good. It has no artist yet and no pub date. Next step will be when I hear from the copyeditor with a list of questions. For now, of course, I wait.
5) I’ve proposed to write an expanded version of a professional book co-authored with Laurie Edmondson. Tentative interest has been expressed by a publisher but further discussion probably won’t happen until July or perhaps September. For now? Wait.
6) I wrote poems for three books for the classroom: grades 4, 5, and 6, all supporting specific core curriculum subjects. My co-author for content is Tim Rasinski. After completing my work, the publisher elected to roll all three books into one. Some work remains to be done but the combined title is on track for publication this fall. For now I have nothing to do but wait.
There are several other manuscripts out for review, a typical situation for a writer. At the moment I have nine, including a couple I wrote with Jane Yolen and a collaboration with Cheryl Harness.
So as of today I am officially out of work on all fifteen projects. Something new could drop in my lap any time, and usually does, but for now I can do one of two things. Write or wait. I’m not good at waiting.