Come closer, I've got a secret...
Today's my birthday.
There. I said it. I tend to be one of those folks who lets birthdays slide under the radar. But this one's a little different— it's the last of my 40-something years. I've been stockpiling enough hopes, dreams, plans, and expectations over the past few decades that it may take some doing to make sense of it all before the big 5-0.
Welcome to my mid-life crisis.
I'm hoping you can help me out, but more about that later.
Did you know that David L. Harrison was here last week? Here's the link in case you missed it. David challenged us to write poems this month inspired by the word DITTY, and so far I've featured some fantabulous poems by Jane Yolen, Kate O'Neil, David himself, and Diane Mayr. Now I'd like to share mine.
Even though I didn't write something new for this DMC challenge, my ditty will probably be new to most of you. Be kind. It may not be the best poem I've ever written, but it's dear to my heart because it was my first blog post. Ever.
WELCOME TO TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY
Hello! I am here
with the blog of the day—
another keen writer
with something to say.
I’m not much for rants
or lengthy tirades,
for tangents, or rambling,
or silly charades.
What I’ve got to say
can be said in a ditty—
brief and concise,
though it may not be pretty.
In fact, truth be known,
it may not make much sense.
“I yam what I yam”
is my only defense.
So welcome aboard,
glad to have you along
to this world I call life
chiseled down to a song.
© 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.
It's a good little ditty. It's served me well even though it's not 100% truthful— I am prone to rambling, tangents, and assorted other deviant behaviors, which may or may not be divulged over the next several paragraphs.
SOoooooooo... if you'd rather just read something new and call it a day, visit David's Word of the Month Challenge. My poem is called "In February...". You may even want to consider contributing a leaves poem of your own. It will earn you an extra entry in this month's giveaway of NOW YOU SEE THEM NOW YOU DON'T (Charlesbridge) to be released this Tuesday!
Now where were we? (Shame on me– rambling already.)
Right. Welcome to Today's Little Ditty. It was written about three years ago, a few weeks before my blog launched in April 2013. In three short years, look what Today's Little Ditty has become! The blog is scarcely about me anymore. It's about you, the TLD community, the Poetry Friday community, the children's poetry community, the kidlit community. It's really taken on a life of its own. I'm just the momma— the one who feeds and clothes it.
And here comes a tangent... (bear with me...)
Usually by this time in the new year I have my One Little Word (OLW) picked, primed, and fully functioning. In 2014 my OLW was FLYING. Last year it was HEARTBEAT. But this year the process took longer. I've known from the get-go what my goals were for the year— to stay focused and be more deliberate in my choices; to maintain balance in my life while at the same time moving forward (no more status quo); to make the most of this writing career I've adopted. But how do I consolidate all of that into one little word?
Eventually my word found me... with a little help from Carrie Clickard. Given a recent conversation, she sent me this article by James Clear: "The Akrasia Effect: Why We Don't Follow Through on What We Set Out to Do (And What to Do About It)."
The Oxford Dictionary defines akrasia as "the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will."
Procrastination.The article presents a time inconsistency conflict that explains why making plans for your future self usually takes a back seat to gratifying your present self. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with a bit of idling and dilly-dallying. For creative people, those behaviors are desirable (within reason), but not so much when you're trying to build a career. To be honest, I don't even consider myself a procrastinator. More of a distractinator. I don't WASTE time (most everything I do is important to some degree), but I do get distracted by things that give instant gratification (like blogging) rather than keeping focused on my future success as working writer (emphasis on WORKING).
i.e., idling... frittering... dilly-dallying... aren't those great words? (Much better than procrastination.)
It wasn't until the last paragraph of the article that I found my One Little Word. Aristotle, who was kind enough to come up with the word akrasia, was also kind enough to coin its opposite:
Enkrateia = to be "in power over oneself."
Aha! Looking through the lens of enkrateia, I'm coming to terms with what I need to do. I need to cut back on some things in order to make room for others. Duh.
There are some things that I'm not willing to give up. The camaraderie of this community is a big one. Also the spotlight interviews and the challenges. (I need the motivation as much as anybody else!) But there are ways to cut back and I'm considering a number of options.
Here's where you come in, i.e., HELP!!!
Besides the Ditty of the Month Club, there are several other repeating features on Today's Little Ditty (listed as links in the sidebar to the right). The main ones are:
- Haiku Garden
- Limerick Alley
- Two Line Tuesday
- Poetry in Action
- Five for Friday parties
I'd love to know which (if any) of these are more, or less, important to you as a subscriber/frequent visitor to the blog.
Also, taking a closer look at the Ditty of the Month Club:
- Do you think the DMC would lose momentum if it was only, say, every other month?
- How would you feel if all of the month's poems were collected via comments, as David does with his monthly WOM challenges or Laura Purdie Salas does with the 15 Words or Less feature on her blog?
- How would you feel if we did away with the wrap-up celebrations at the end of each month?
- What appeals to you about the ditty challenges—
- is it the challenge itself?
- the possibility of seeing your poem featured as a daily ditty?
- seeing all the poems together in the end-of-month wrap-up celebration?
- something else?
I would be ever so grateful for your feedback—
as much or as little as you care to provide. If you can't leave a comment (I know Blogger makes it difficult for some of you) or would rather contact me via email, please do! Send your message to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com (or use the blog's contact form).
None of these changes are imminent. I'm just exploring possibilities.
So what have we got here:
THANK YOU for being such a special part of my life.
I couldn't ask for a better birthday present.