Thursday, May 30, 2013

Facing off with the Social Media Borg

I know I'm not the only one out there on a quest to find more balance in my life.  Unfortunately, it's rarely a question of will I drop a ball today, it's how many balls will be dropped and who will be affected by my lack of perfection.  My husband says that my self-expectations are too high.  While that's probably true (my fatal flaw is that I am prone to taking on too much), I do pride myself in picking many of those balls back up eventually. 

My lack of juggling stamina has never been more evident than now, as I've been pressing forward, determined to find my way as a children's writer.  It is said that in order for a writer to be successful these days, you must maintain a social platform as well as find time for your craft.  And to be fair, I do enjoy maintaining a public image on this blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.  But facing the social media monster day after day can be treacherous to my time, my family, and my sanity.  I feel like a struggling addict-- there are the good days when I keep my exposure to a minimum, and then there are the bad days when resistance is futile, and I've lost myself to the Social Media Borg.

Which brings me to today's little ditty...

     S ucking me in and swallowing whole,
     O ne after another, we all pay the toll.
     C aught up 
     I  n the whirlwind, 
     A nonymous cloud,
     L eave our bags at the door and prepare to be wowed.

     M indless machine,
     E ntertain and
     D evour!
     I    give myself freely—
     A bduct my last hour.

                                    © 2013  Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.  All rights reserved.

Have you found a way to preserve balance and sanity in your life?  If so, do tell!  And if not, well, perhaps Betsy at Teaching Young Writers can teach us a thing or two about how to control the chaos that comes with today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Losing my keys... and my marbles.

This week marks the peak of the end-of-school-year crazies, jam-packed with final projects, field trips, parties, performances, ceremonies... you name it, we're there with smiles and a donation of snack food.

Add to that, preparations for out of town visitors to celebrate my 13 year old's birthday party and my 10 year old's graduation from elementary school, plus final revisions on two picture book manuscripts that I am taking with me to the SCBWI conference in Orlando in two weeks, and you should have a pretty good picture of my current state of mind.

But hey, just in case that picture's still not in focus, my daughter Miranda (the 10 year old graduate) is today's guest poet, here with the ditty du jour:


                                                        My mom lost her keys.  I found
                                                        Them       with ease.  Turns out
                                                        They        were
                                                         In the      car.
                                                         Wow, Mom.

© 2013 Miranda Barnes.  All rights reserved.

This scatterbrained mother could not be more proud.  Happy Graduation, Sweetheart!  I see a bright and creative future ahead of you... but don't even think about dating or borrowing the car keys for another 20 years.  (Just kidding... 12-15 will do.)

Anyone else planning to be at the SCBWI conference in Orlando?  Would love to meet up with new Poetry Friday friends.

And speaking of Poetry Friday, don't forget to check out today's round up, hosted by the delightful Jama, at Jama's Alphabet Soup!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meet you at Limerick Alley

I LOVE this photo that I found on Wikimedia Commons: Joe Malone's Pub, Denmark Street, Limerick, May 1982.  (Photo taken by Sean an Scuab.)  Complete with dapper Irish gentleman and "Children Crossing" sign, could there be a more perfect visual introduction to my newest feature on Today's Little Ditty?  I think not.

Welcome to Limerick Alley!  

Ah limericks!  Lilting, roll-off-the-tongue-and-dance-a-little-jig ditties that will steal your heart with five lines, a quick wit, and a pint of good cheer.  While Joe Malone's Pub was demolished c. 1990, may Limerick Alley always be a community gathering spot where children (and adults who appreciate children's poetry) can come play with words, rhyme, and meter!

As with Haiku Garden (have you checked out Laura Purdie Salas' golden haiku from this past week?), Limerick Alley will be only as lively and colorful as the community it represents.  If you are interested in sharing a limerick of your own, please contact me at michelle (at) MichelleHBarnes (dot) com, or by commenting below.  It will be my pleasure to feature you and your blog!

And now, without further ado, today's little ditty...
          Grandpa Joe Shears

          A barber named Grandpa Joe Shears
          Had a habit of snipping men’s ears
          Took most by surprise
          He was blind in both eyes
          But too old to go changing careers

                                        © 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

 Gerry's Barber Shop, Wikimedia Commons, by Ardfern

Ahhh... 'tis a fine day for poetry, indeed.  
Join Ed DeCaria at Think Kid, Think! for today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Haiku Garden: Laura Purdie Salas

I am delighted to have children's writer and poet Laura Purdie Salas join us today in the Haiku Garden!

Laura professes not to be a gardener, but the proof of her green thumb would be this little beauty she's planted right here.  Today's little ditty was inspired by the six-packs of annuals she recently bought to perk up her own surroundings.

petunia six-pack:
six golden suns wait to shine
on May summer lawns

© 2013 Laura Purdie Salas. All rights reserved.

I do believe I am overdue for a trip to my local garden center for some sunshine and inspiration!

If you, too, are seeking inspiration, visit Laura's website to explore her own vast garden of information and resources for kids, teachers, writers, and for the many readers out there who are nourished by Laura's works of poetry and nonfiction.  While there, you can subscribe to her blog, Writing the World for Kids, which is also a lovely melange of poetry and nonfiction.  I promise you won't be sorry you made the trip.

Thank you for visiting today, Laura, and for bringing your sunshine to Today's Little Ditty!

                                                      Golden Petunias © Rayanda Arts.

If you would like to share a haiku or other Japanese short form on Today's Little Ditty, please contact me at michelle (at) MichelleHBarnes (dot) com, or by commenting below.  Haiku Garden will only grow as beautiful as the community it represents, and I look forward to featuring you and your blog! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Love you, Mom

Today's little ditty is for all the mothers out there, and dedicated, with love, to my own.


She cooks the roast
And washes dishes
Offers hugs
And healing kisses
Does the laundry
Drives the car
Chauffeurs kids
Both near and far
Cleans up messes
Packs the lunch
Laughs a lot
And smiles a bunch
Helps her children
Learn and grow
And when it’s time
She lets them go.

© 2008 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.  All rights reserved.

Hey Mom and poetry fans, there's more!
Visit Anastasia Suen's Poetry Blog for today's Poetry Friday round up.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mutual Admiration

Maternal Admiration (1869), PD-1923

In keeping with last week's celebration of babies, today's little ditty explores the bond between our helplessly loveable miracle-child and his/her mother.  (Can you see where I'm headed later in the week?)

I was delighted to find this gorgeous work by French painter, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), Maternal Admiration.  It so perfectly illustrates an ethereal and unbreakable bond between mother and child.

Here's my take on that special bond, from the baby's point of view:

          Sing to me softly a sweet lullaby
          Comfort and hold me whenever I cry
          Love me and love me and love me some more
          For you are my mommy, the one I adore. 
                                                             © 2005 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Tuesday's Miracle

"A rest in rotten row" 
1892 watercolour by Rose Maynard Barton (1856 - 1929), PD -1923

Springtime and babies—the two get along famously.  So in honor of the former, today's little ditty describes the latter.  Works for me. 

Tuesday’s Miracle

Five little fingers clutched around one
A smile that’s brighter than midday sun
A dear little face with sparkling eyes
A miracle dressed in a baby’s disguise

© 2005 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.

For more poetic delights, don't forget to visit Elizabeth Steinglass with today's Poetry Friday round-up.