|"Curiouser and curiouser"|
Photo by Stanley Howe
Wondering what this band of bovines are curious about?
I bet Diane Mayr knows... or if not, I bet she can find out.
That's what librarians do best!
In today's post, the second in her "Ask a Librarian" series, Diane explores some terrific resources for finding inspiration. Her first post in the series, about ekphrastic poetry, can be found HERE.
Thank you, Diane, for feeding our muses and our brains!
(Would you mind feeding the cows while you're at it?)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I'm a librarian, but I'm also a writer who has done school visits. I have never visited a school where this question wasn't asked:
"Where do you get your ideas?"
The answer, for me at least, is everywhere! The key is to be curious--about everything! (Well, maybe not toenail fungus...)
Being a curious person, I subscribe to a number of general interest newsletters that deliver content to my inbox. Most times I don't read one completely, but I think it's fair to say that almost every link I click on is a path to an article or a story or a poem waiting to be written.
The other day, I ended up at a site on tactile paving as the result of a newsletter. [Tactile paving is a system of "textured ground surface indicators" found on sidewalks, train station platforms, and other areas that assist pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired.] It was fascinating. After reading, I couldn't help thinking about writing a mystery where a tactile paving surface became a clue.
Here are a few of my favorite newsletters:
Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project. We depend on our far-flung community of explorers (like you!) to help us discover amazing, hidden spots, and share them with the world.In their newsletter I found an article on America as a nation of immigrants. It certainly is good to have a little background on issues being discussed today.
In the same newsletter is an article on the continuing search for the Holy Grail. Maybe it will inspire someone to write a novel of adventure and intrigue. Move over Dan Brown.
Subscribe on the home page.
At the top of the 2/10/17 newsletter:
This week: productivity vs. creativity, amusing ourselves to death, and more...Austin Kleon is a writer and illustrator. You may have seen his Newspaper Blackout book of found poems. He also wrote Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work!, both of which I have read and highly recommend! His newsletter is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Click here to see the 2/10/17 edition.
Like an omelet, we believe in pulling together various ingredients to make something extraordinary. We share genuinely inspiring content to spark action and change. ....That's our mission: to inspire you to live a more purposeful life.Many of the newsletter items are things I have seen on social media, but there's always something completely new to me. In one edition of the daily email there was a link to a video about a musician. His instrument of choice? Ice. Another link led to a video about someone who has collected snow data for decades. There is generally something that's going to make you grab box of tissues (I'm a firm believer in the value of a good cry), and sometimes there's poetry.
If you are a history fan, you're in luck! History newsletters abound!
Whether in the classroom or the courtroom, people learn from examining evidence (primary sources) and hearing differing viewpoints, as all those items are pulled-together in a story format. When the stories are also interactive, as they are at AwesomeStories, learners are involved in the process.Written for and by teachers, the articles are meant for classroom use, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read them! A February Black History Month newsletter had links to topics such as Frederick Douglass (whose name has been in the news recently).
Subscribe on the home page.
New England Historical Society.
(Become a member it's completely free, and I have yet to receive a solicitation for money.) There is no mission statement listed, tsk, tsk, but the articles cover the six New England states.
"There’s an old expression in New England that if nothing seems to go right for you, you have the luck of Hiram Smith." I learned that Hiram Smith died in many different ways. Say what? Find out here.
Most state and regional historical societies will have a newsletter. Sign up and learn about your own neck of the woods.
Here's a curious-history-buff bonus:
If you want to give your eyes a break, there is an ongoing series of history podcasts from Stuff You Missed in History Class that are lively and fun to listen to. Glance through the archives here.
Not a history buff? Then perhaps there is another topic that interests you? There are newsletters for practically every subject under the sun—and the sun, moon, and stars, too!
Stay curious, my friend.
Diane Mayr is a long-time public librarian and a freelance writer. She is the author of a storyhour favorite picture book, Run, Turkey, Run! (Walker & Co., 2007). Since 2007, she has concentrated on haiku and other short form poems, and works to improve her graphic skills by illustrating them. Find out more about Diane at her website.
Jeannine Atkin's DMC challenge to write a poem using personified feeling is going gangbusters! Featured poems this week included ones by David McMullin, Bridget Magee, Kathleen Mazurowski, and Keri Collins Lewis. Post yours on our February 2017 padlet, then come back next Friday for our end-of-month wrap-up.
Check it Out. Thanks, Jone!